The ‘Phuket for Kids’ website is a great idea. How did it come about?
When my son was born 11 years ago, I was looking for things to do with him.
I began a baby group to get to know new mums and we began to share ideas. As more new mothers joined I shared my growing knowledge about Phuket with them.
In my role as a teacher we also plan class trips to relate to topics and I did struggle to find similar venues that I was used to at home such as concert halls, museums, marine parks and so on.
However, I began talking to a lot of Thai people on the island and realised if I thought creatively and ventured off the tourist trail that there were lots of great venues and things to do.
Tell us a little bit about the website. How does it work?
We have tried very hard to make the website as user friendly as possible.
There are ten sections with amusements, sports, festivals, kid’s bites and many more. There is also an option to search for a particular venue or activity and find it that way.
The site has an extensive photo gallery so you can see what many of the activities look like.
There is also an events calendar. This I am very excited about.
This is an opportunity for businesses, charities; anyone offering a service or activity for kids, to promote their events. Now there is one calendar to look up children’s events, sporting activities or anything that specifically relates to children.
There will also be a regular news update section to see what specific activities or events are happening at any time of year.
You have been here for 12 years. Did you raise your children here?
Yes my first son was born here in Phuket 11 years ago and has lived on Phuket all his life. He goes to an international school.
My second son was adopted in Thailand and has been living with us in Phuket since he was 18 months old.
My children love Phuket and often when away visiting family or on holidays they ask when are we coming home.
Are there more opportunities for children’s activities nowadays?
When I first came to Phuket there were not many activities on Phuket or indeed so many expatriate children.
Tesco Lotus (well half of it) had been built. The beaches were still great but there were not many clubs, sporting activities and generally things to do on Phuket for children.
Even buying necessities for children such as car seats and safety railings was near impossible.
The number of international schools now on Phuket illustrates the growth in the number of families moving here. Phuket is also seen much more as a holiday destination for families.
There are now lots of activities and organisations specifically catering to children: holiday activities, theme parks, cooking classes, sports activities and much more.
Is Phuket a good place to raise children?
Absolutely. There are lots of great schools and lots of activities, football clubs, dance groups and swimming clubs both foreign and locally run.
Whilst typical distractions such as television and computer games are global, I feel that children on Phuket tend to be more physical and adventurous.
This is shown by the increase in numbers trying trapeze, surfing, triathlons and zip-lining.
I also have found that many children living here are very inclusive, meaning that they are able to make friends quickly and generally allow others into their groups.
I suppose that comes from being third culture children and living in an international environment.
What are the best things to do in Phuket for kids?
Well you will have to check out the website for the answer to that!
But for me personally I still find a late afternoon swim at a quiet beach and dinner at a local restaurant one of my favourite activities.
Dad can have a beer; mum even a foot massage and the children can busily dig in the sand or play with a Frisbee.
Do you have activities aimed at all age groups?
My eldest son is 11 years old and he is extremely adventurous so we are always on the lookout to keep both age groups happy, but I won’t let him try base jumping yet!
Phuket has always had bungee jumping and go-kart racing but there are a lot of activities that do cater for the older thrill seeker such as zip-lining, zorbing, surfing and more.
I feel this is a resource that toddlers, children, teenagers, mums, grandparents, resorts and anyone can find something fun to do.
You also have a book out, how much is that?
We have a downloadable PDF version which is sold for B250.
We are trying to keep costs low and ensure people can access this information anytime, especially if you are not connected to wi-fi.
This especially suits the holiday maker as they may only have internet connection in their hotel but want to be able to read Phuket For Kids wherever they are.
The downloadable version is updated simultaneously with the website.
What are the most frequently-asked questions?
The common question I receive is: ‘Where can I get a copy of your book?’
Now we have the website and downloadable version of Phuket for Kids it is easy for anyone to access this book at anytime at phuketforkids.com
What’s the one piece of advice you would give to young families in Phuket?
On Phuket and indeed in Southeast Asia, some standards expected in your home country may not be the same as those in Thailand.
Don’t compromise your safety standards and gut instincts even if people tell you an activity is okay.
If your gut feeling tells you the activity unsafe I would follow your parental instinct.
In saying that, leave some room for adventure. There are a lot of activities unique to Phuket and Thailand that are very safe and are lots of fun!
In short always ensure your children are safely buckled up when travelling, always insist on your child having a life jacket when boating and remember that many beaches are not patrolled so do take care.
Phuket for kids is a website aimed at providing families in Phuket with ideas of what to do for activities, games and fun to keep the little ones and not the so-little ones amused. phuketforkids.com