Keeping the kids happy in Krabi

Kids get up close to colourful wildlife

Kids get up close to colourful wildlife

By Lesley Chittayanon

Thailand is a great country for a family holiday. Aside from enjoying the beaches and sunny weather, children can learn a lot from the local culture and nature. Experiencing different ways of life, language, animals and even transport, is even more exciting for children than adults.

Sometimes heat, tiredness and public transport can take its toll on little ones and the mood suddenly changes. Organising regular outings and activities will help keep the kids’ happy, and parents happier. For more on transport around Krabi.

Although Krabi lacks any major play centres or water parks, there are places where kids can expend that endless supply of energy, while gaining new skills or knowledge.

Krabi is a great place for explorer Dora and Diego wannabes. Horse riding, elephant trekking and rock climbing are all great ways to get active while learning new facts about animals and experiencing the area’s diverse wildlife at close range.

At Nosey Parkers Elephant Camp in Ao Nang, kids can sit on top of the gentle giants as they plod through the leafy wilderness, upstream to the enchanting caves. They will catch sight of monkeys, birds and an array of colourful insects along the way, so their imaginations will be ticking away as the adventure unfolds.

The Giant Catfish Farm provides another fantastic opportunity to observe animals. Aside from the huge hungry catfish, there are rabbits, turtles, crocodiles and a very cute and playful baby parrot (sun conure). Hundreds of huge, wide-mouthed, whiskered catfish squirming and splashing will have little ones squealing with excitement and joy.

Care needs to be taken while exploring the site, but the rickety wooden walkways and meandering paths leading through the rampant jungle brings all their favourite storybooks to life. If you have a little Spiderman in tow, sign him up for a kid’s climbing course. Hot Rock Climbing School on Railay Beach has special routes for junior climbers and provides English-speaking instructors who are experienced in teaching children.

Aside from increasing their level of fitness, rock climbing helps children develop teamwork skills, trust, self-confidence and motivation. The school has equipment for children of ages, so even kids as young as three can find their inner monkey – as if it was ever lost.

Art classes allow children to be creative

Art classes allow children to be creative

If you’re not a crag addict yourself and have concerns for your child’s safety, talk to the friendly owner, Saralisa, who will explain the ‘top rope’ method, which is the very safest way to climb.

Klong Thom Museum does little to defy the stereotypical image of a dusty museum, but it does contain a good collection of ancient artefacts and fossils. The whale spine and fossilized turtles will catch children’s attention straight away, while a selection of ancient stone tools, ornaments and beads provide insight into life in Krabi 5,000 years ago.

The museum is located inside Wat Klong Thom (temple) compound. The temple itself is a striking structure with intimidating nagas guarding the entrance from evil spirits. Here, children can learn about Buddhist worship and temple etiquette. For more on Krabi attractions.

A WWII Navy ship docked in Krabi last month is currently being converted into a museum. Soon visitors will be able to board the imposing battlecruiser and experience the big guns and armoury first hand.

Tara Park is a welcome escape from the stifling heat during this excessively sultry season. The shady forested area overlooking the river is the ideal setting for a leisurely picnic lunch and fun art class. Stalls sell little white cartoon statues and paint palettes, so kids can get creative while parents kick back and enjoy some spicy som tam (papaya salad).

Children can gain a lot from yoga; aside from the obvious physical benefits, it improves their concentration and calmness. So perhaps it’s fair to say parents also enjoy the benefits. The new ‘Soul of Yoga’ studio in Krabi holds kid’s yoga classes every Saturday.

Although Krabi lacks a commercial fun outlet, there are still ways to entertain little ones. The surrounding nature provides the ultimate adventure playground, as well as an ideal backdrop for creative, spiritual and play-based learning.

Child experts believe exposure to nature stimulates all aspects of children’s development, in particular their observation, creativity and imagination. So there’s another good reason to leave the Lego on the floor and take today’s play outdoors.

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