It is tempting, when travelling with a small baby, to pack everything but the kitchen sink. However you will find most of the everyday things you need can be purchased here if you prefer to travel light, or run out.
First, the essentials: nappies / diapers can be found everywhere, so don’t waste valuable luggage allowance on anything more than a few days’ supply. In diapers, Mamy Poko brand are considered to be the best quality (and are priced to match); second best would be Drypers or Huggies. Brand name (e.g. Johnson & Johnson) baby wipes, anti-bacterial hand gel, and other toiletry items such as powder, lotion and bath creme are also widely available. Do note, however, if your baby has sensitive skin that organic or 100% natural ranges are not easy to find here, so you should bring your own.
Baby milk formula powder is common in Krabi as most Thai women bottle feed. Expect to find brand names such as Wyeth S-26 (SMA), Nestle, Enfamil, Similac, Gain Advance, as well as lactose-free formulas from the same. You will pay 300 – 500 Baht per 550 – 750g box, depending on the brand / age chosen. New BPA-free bottles and teats can also be bought very cheaply in most supermarkets along with specially formulated washing up liquid and bottle brushes. Soy milk and soy milk products are also widely available for children with cow’s milk allergies, though many will be sweetened, so check the label first. A bottle warmer should not be necessary in this climate, as ambient temperature is in the low 30s. If baby is drinking water and juice, a range of 100% fruit juice can be found in all convenience stores.
For laundry, there are several liquid detergents for baby clothes cheaply available that will allow you to easily handwash; if you have a balcony, clothes will usually dry in a couple of hours on a sunny day.
All of the above products can be found in Ao Nang – the best place to look is in Boots or Mother Marche on the main road opposite Siam Commercial Bank; Watsons on the beachfront; or Tesco, around 2.5km out of town at the traffic lights. 7-Eleven and Family Mart stores may also have a limited choice on offer. For a wider range and larger sizes of all these products, visit the large Tesco Lotus or Big C outside of Krabi Town, on the way to the airport (taxis available from the beach areas).
The following is a list of baby items that are definitely not available in Krabi, so make sure (if you need them) to bring enough to last your holiday here:
- Swim nappies
- A wide range of pre-prepared baby food (though please see section on food below)
- Baby (infant) sun screen – older children’s sun cream (Nivea etc.) is widely available
- Teething gel
- Certain brands of nappy rash cream e.g. Sudocreme
- Sterilising tablets / liquid (e.g. Milton)
A note on baby food: if your baby has just started on solids, you may be concerned about the availability of pre-prepared baby food – there is not a lot of choice here. The only product widely available is Nestle Cerelac, a sugar-heavy instant cereal, available in several flavours. However, if you prefer your baby to eat rice, it is very easy to ask your hotel, or most restaurants, to prepare you some plain rice porridge, which is essentially rice that is over-cooked to a very soft consistency that is easy for baby to eat and digest. This is known as johk (โจ้ก in Thai script). Salt is not normally used in rice preparation here, so this should not be an issue, though it won’t do any harm to specify this. They should also be able to add shredded chicken, vegetables or fish to the johk mixture. Any extra can be refrigerated and reheated later. Bananas and other baby-friendly soft fruit such as papaya and mango are also widely available.
There are lots of self-catering accommodation options now available in Krabi; these would be ideal if you prefer having the facilities to prepare your own food.
Covered breast-feeding is perfectly acceptable in all areas: remember to drink a lot of extra water to stay hydrated in this climate.
In terms of clothing, long-sleeved loose cotton tops / dresses and a good sun hat are probably the most important items baby will need. If mobile, a pair of Crocs or other waterproof shoes are useful to protect delicate feet at the beach; and if travelling by boat, an infant life vest will be essential.
A sling or baby carrier is more practical than a stroller given the steep kerbs or complete absence of footpaths in some areas, but bear in mind it can get very hot in Krabi, so your baby may be uncomfortable wrapped up and close to your body.
If you do decide to bring a pushchair or buggy, then a proper sun hood, or a parasol is essential, especially for napping. You may also like to consider bringing a stroller mosquito net if you will be out and about in the evenings. Note: a stroller is almost useless in beach areas such as Railay and Koh Lanta, unless you are prepared to carry it, as the wheels will simply not move in the sand.