Exploring Thailand via car, bus, or motorbike is an incredible experience. We’ve driving throughout both Northern and Southern Thailand, and my husband has taken the train to Bangkok dozens of times.
We started roadtripping in Thailand back when we lived in Phuket. Driving up Ranong to take a boat on over the The Andaman Club in Myanmar was a real delight. You drive through Phang Nga and get to see the stunning countryside when you do this drive. We frequently stopped in Khao Lak to break up the trip on our way back to Phuket. and found a fantastic family friendly hotel there that had a playground for Kaya to enjoy on our stay.
Driving through Krabi all the way down to Penang was a fun ( albeit long) trip. We’ve actually driven through Krabi on a number of occasions, and one time stayed in Ao Nang for a few nights. Krabi has majestic, huge limestone karst that looked both cool and eerie when we drove through the province at night. Everyone else on the bus was asleep, but the countryside and kart was so beautiful, I stayed up all the way to Hat Yai.
Northern Thailand is equally as beautiful, although it’s very different than Southern Thailand in its culture, landscape, and climate. Before we moved to Chiang Mai about a year ago, we went on a fact-finding roadtrip to see if we wanted to live here or in Chiang Rai. The drive was so serene and beautiful. Because of the many farms up here in the North, you’ll see coffee and strawberry farms, as well as national parks and other agrotourism related places. This means you’ll have loads of places to stop and give the kids a break, as well as restaurants, cafes, and gas stations.
It’s important to note that many Thais regularly take the train or bus over flying. It’s more affordable and pretty easy, with plenty of buses ( and different classes of buses) available to go basically anywhere. If you want to go to Chiang Khan for example, you can take a bus from Bangkok and be there in about 6 hours or so.
The large roads are safe and well traversed by trucks, buses, and even motorbikes, not to mention the huge, pimped out tourist buses. My neighbor regularly drives from Phuket to Bangkok to visit her family, bringing her 3 year old son along for the 12+ hour drive. There are plenty of roadside stops for coffee, lodging, and food along the way, whether you are going to Ao Nang or Ranong.