Family life in Thailand is an abundant array of commitment, emotional connections, and valuable time. Known as the Land of the Smiles, you can’t expect less about the rich family traditions and culture that abide in the Thai way of life.
Household structure plays a big role in emphasizing the importance of family in Thai culture. Households usually grow up close and connected, living together until the very end of time. Moreover, Thailand has a family-friendly space for expats to raise children and spend time in various activities.
You can accept culture, diversity, and knowledge to bring your family closer together whenever you choose to live in the country. There are various opportunities for your children to get the knowledge they need, with excellent international schools and programs.
Household Structure in Thailand
The typical structure of Thai households follows through a family-friendly light. You will often find several generations of families living under the same roof. This includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, and older siblings who help raise the more minor children in the house (4). It is often expected that most kids live with their parents, even after they get married or until they have children.
Thai people put value and importance on family connections in financial and emotional aspects (4). Family businesses often determine career paths. For example, males in the family typically get into their father’s businesses. In this way, the family can grow in interest and love mutually.
Additionally, there is a high level of respect bestowed upon the elderly. One must place significant importance on their parents regarding general interactions and etiquettes (4). Thai people feel a sense of duty and responsibility in caring for their parents and respecting elders’ requests and wishes. It is common for the family home to be passed down to the youngest daughter, who will soon return home with her husband and take care of her parents (4).
Family aspects are also embedded into the dating and marriage culture in Thailand. While the attitudes might differ from western dating, you can still find some similarities in the urban sphere. On the other hand, the rural areas can be more conservative (4).
Males are often asked to introduce the female’s family before dating. In the same way, traditional beliefs make dating less common or more so dating for the right reasons. The younger generation is becoming more liberal when it comes to choosing their partner instead of traditional arranged marriages (4).
Family Life in Thailand Compared to the West
While living in Thailand, foreigners will quickly spot the differences between Thai families and their own. Asian households are a lot more conservative when it comes to family connections. For example, you will find that most Thais, male and female, live with their families while in university, and some even after marriage. Many Thais live with their parents, even up to having children (5).
In Thailand, family is as important as a spouse. While western culture gives the freedom to advocate your life towards your independent family, Asian households value that significant life decisions always go to the parents.
For this reason, it is expected that Thais respect their parents’ decisions versus the findings of their spouses. In this way, they give back to their parents for bringing them up and taking care of them (5). However, this does not cause problems with marital relationships in Thai culture, as you would expect in the West.
Additionally, family is considered more important than your job. It is scarce to come across Thais who choose a career over their family. Moreover, another factor that comes into play is privacy. Commonly, there is little privacy in Thai households. While living in the same house, most family members sleep in one room (5).
However, Thai people do not fear physical closeness as much as Western people do. In the long run, all these aspects show that family life is much different in Thailand compared to Western countries.
5 Family Friendly Activities in Thailand
While holding particular emphasis on family culture, Thailand is well-known for being a top tourist attraction and an excellent and secure place for families to settle in. There are a variety of activities you can do with kids while staying in the country. It is guaranteed that kids will find Thailand a place of excitement and adventure.
1. Meeting Elephants
Thailand is well known as a family-friendly location. Temples and floating markets might be of top attraction; however, you can never say no to animals regarding family activities. Majestic elephants are perfect for children to spend time with animals.
The Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai has rescued elephants that freely roam the park. You Can play with these adorable animals and learn how to take proper care of them. Under ethical purposes, you are not allowed to ride the elephants.
Another popular area to see elephants is the trekking park in Kok Chang Safari. With a complete course guide, kids can feed and bathe the elephants.
2. Dream World
Another family fun adventure is going to Dream World. Located in Bueng Yitho, about a 45-minute drive from Bangkok, it is a spectacular theme park. It is a no-brainer that this amusement park is the perfect venue for kids. You can find rides for all ages, fictional cartoon characters, and local and international cuisine (6). Alongside a snow town and water park, you can even watch an animated film.
Another popular adventure in Thailand is going zipline. The Tarzan Adventure at the Flying Hanuman is the most popular location in Kathu. Phuket. Children can experience the wilderness. Additionally, it is the best place to spend time with family and let loose of your fears. The journey has 28 platforms, 15 ziplines, and two sky bridges (6).
Kids will never be disappointed when it comes to indoor air-conditioned spaces. The malls in Thailand are enormous and include various activities for children. Most notably, in the center of Bangkok, you will find Siam Paragon, Emquartier, and Central World. They all offer cinemas, indoor play areas, bowling alleys, and ice skating.
Family life is only made more potent by Thailand’s unique cafes. The Little Zoo Cafe, Dog in Town, Pool Cafe, and Rabbito Cafe are just some examples of locations that allow you to play with all sorts of animals (7).
Expat Families Living in Thailand
Suppose you are a foreigner looking to move to Thailand with your family, while you are just in luck. The country is a popular choice for couples looking to bring their families somewhere unique.
There are several excellent international schools that are considered by expats living in Thailand. These include: (1)
- American School of Bangkok
- Australian International School Bangkok
- Bangkok Patana School
- Bangkok Prep
- Berkley International School
- Brighton College International School
- Concordian International School
- ELC International School-City
- Harrow International School Bangkok
You will also be welcomed by an appealing culture perfect for families. The rich heritage is made evident by temples, villages, and everyday energy you will feel around you. Even then, alongside Thai traditions, you will experience modern life. Thailand is full of modern-day malls, international brands, and transportation services. There is something for children of all ages (3).
Cost of Living:
Moreover, the cost of living is relatively low in Thailand. In the HSBC Expat Explorer survey, Thailand ranked higher than the U.S. and U.K. for childcare quality. They also have more accessible systems and healthcare services (3). The country ranks 7th place globally when it comes to healthcare. Medical care is expected with international assistance and health insurance professionals who speak English (3).
4 Ideal Cities in Thailand for Families
When it comes to relocating and moving across the world, you must research what city serves you best. Thailand has beautiful wonders from landmarks, beaches, and some of the most delicious cuisines in the world (2). Moreover, the country has excellent and affordable health care and low living costs. It is the perfect place to raise a family in the long run.
Here are four cities that are recommended for expat families thinking of making the big move to Thailand: (2)
Bangkok has to be number 1 when it comes to convenience. The city is a unique melting pot of culture. There is excellent infrastructure, cultural locations, and modern-day architecture. You can quickly get around the city with access to transportation services such as taxis, tuk-tuks, trains, bikes, and buses.
Bangkok is also home to international brands and food chains. When moving to Thailand as an expat, you will find that Thailand has low costs of living and a large expatriate community (2). It is also home to the best international schools in the region.
2. Hua Hin
Hua Hin is the perfect quiet family escape. Beautiful seaside retreats also have gorgeous houses located by the beach. Moreover, growing restaurants and landmarks give a small-town feel. You can take your kids to the local festivals and beach now and then (2).
Hua Hin is also well-known for having top-rated international schools with British teachers. Your children will be receiving a top-notch education, equivalent to back home. Surprisingly, the cost of living in Hua Hin is also very affordable. You can find real estate agents in the area who can help you find the perfect home (2).
3. Chiang Mai
Another excellent place to raise your family is in Chiang Mai. Located in the mountainous terrain of northern Thailand, the city has a beautiful cultural landscape. You can take your children to visit the local Lanna Buddhist temples and learn about 700 years’ worth of history (2). Whatsmore, the weather is excellent in the northern parts of Thailand compared to the central city.
Yes, the natural beauty of Thailand can not get better than in Phuket. Known as a tourist attraction, famous for its peaches, Phuket is also known as “the pearl of the Andaman Sea” (2). You will find mountains and sandy white beaches. At the same time, Phuket is also a family-friendly location suited for expatriates. You can find great hospitals, international schools, and a diverse community (2).
All in all, family life in Thailand is exceptional. Thai people emphasize spending quality time with elders and spending as much time as possible with the people who raised you. Their lifestyle can show this by going to the temples and spending time with their parents and children in various activities. As an expat hoping to move to Thailand, you will find it conveniently easy to adjust to the nurturing lifestyle. The country has made room for modern-day education, healthcare services, and low living costs (2).
1. The Good Schools Guide. Best Schools In Bangkok Considered By Expats. The Good Schools Guide. [Online] [Cited: March 15, 2022.] www.goodschoolsguide.co.uk/international/thailand/bangkok/best-schools/.
2. The Travel Manuel. 4 Ideal Thai Cities For Expats With Children. The Travel Manuel. [Online] September 25, 2018. thetravelmanuel.com/4-ideal-thai-cities-for-expats-with-children/.
3. Farrar, Tabby. 3 Reasons Why Thailand Is Great For Expat Families. Expatclic. [Online] June 11, 2019. www.expatclic.com/family-life-in-thailand/?lang=en.
4. Cultural Atlas. Thai Culture . Cultural Atlas. [Online] [Cited: March 15, 2022.] culturalatlas.sbs.com.au/thai-culture/.
5. Tasty Thailand. Thai Family Values And How They Are Different From Western Ones. Tasty Thailand. [Online] June 17, 2011. https://tastythailand.com/thai-family-values-and-how-theyre-different-from-western-ones/.
6. Edarabia. 15 Things To Do In Thailand With Kids (2022). Edarabia. [Online] [Cited: March 15, 2022.] https://www.edarabia.com/things-to-do-thailand-with-kids/ .
7. Veyroniqa. 10 Animal Cafes In Bangkok With Meerkats, Raccoons, Fennec Foxes And Other Animals. TripCanvas. [Online] February 20, 2020. https://thailand.tripcanvas.co/bangkok/animal-cafes/.