Traditional family travel can often bring up images of Disneyland, an overcrowded minivan, or all-inclusive resorts with kids camps and large playgrounds. But what’s it like to travel as a family ‘off-grid’, in a non-traditional way? Something like a farmstay holiday in Thailand, for example.
Friends have travelled to Thailand on a just such a holiday. Tim and his family aimed to get away from it all and experience the spirit and flavour of how a traditional Thai family lives their lives. That meant leaving the bustle of their family vacation in Bangkok behind, and heading towards the jungles of northern Thailand for a farmstay with a local family.
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How to Plan a Farmstay Holiday Thailand
How did you find this farmstay?
We used the Internet for the research and planning of our itinerary for our extended stay in Thailand. There are so many travel resources online that it can take quite a long time to sort through them all to find the right place. We had an itinerary for our extended stay in Thailand When you’re travelling off the beaten path, you also need to trust your instincts in reserving a place that may not have been ‘rated’ on any travel website or found in a guidebook. You need to have an appetite for adventure in booking a farmstay holiday.
How did your family react with the different food and cuisine?
Our family is used to Asian cooking as my wife is Korean. The children enjoy a wide variety of foods and tastes. They are not fussy eaters, but they haven’t been allowed to be, growing up. That certainly helps, in being open to new foods and experiences in general. The fresh nature of the food – just picked or harvested or caught in the lake – tasted so amazing that there was not an occasion to reject it. The challenge was in some of the ‘non-traditional’ food offerings, like roasted rat – it’s ‘better than chicken‘!
What was a memorable moment or impact for your children?
One of the most significant things for my children was witnessing how the local people live off the land. They don’t have grocery stores or Costco to do their shopping. They go out and fish for their dinner, or use a weapon to kill the bird or slaughter the pig they’ll enjoy for their next meal. You don’t forget the shock of witnessing a beautiful bird shot before your eyes.
The lesson of understanding the line between life and death and how humans live and survive in most parts of the world is also unforgettable, and extremely important.
How did you keep busy?
We wanted a relaxing holiday that wasn’t programmed or over-scheduled. We hoped to experience everyday life in Thailand, and I believe we really did. We rode bikes along dirt roads and tried to learn to cook Thai food alongside our hosts. We fished and swam, enjoyed walks and excursions in nature, and saw all kinds of wildlife, like elephants, frogs, insects and exotic birds. There was so much to keep the kids busy.
The husband and my son also visited the Happy Days Shop website and arguably went out and got Chiang Mai’s Best Rental Scooters on a hire for two days. They spent those two days exploring the local towns and cities.
What would you say to other parents thinking about this type of holiday?
Go for it! Start with some research to familiarize yourself with the options. Get a feeling about what to expect when travelling to a developing country like Thailand. It’s important to prepare your children as well, in discussing issues like poverty, and explaining that other kids and their families live life differently than we may, but that there is always something to learn in that discovery.
Photo Credit: GoWay.com
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