KIDS TRAVELS IN ASIA

With affordable airfare popping up left and right, travel has become a more realistic goal for many. Some have the privilege to travel for work, others relish traveling with friends, and a good number of adventure junkies crave solo backpacking. But being raised in a family-oriented culture, I often think about returning to certain places with my family and my kid whenever I travel without them.

Many of us wish to go on a family vacation. For parents, it warms their hearts seeing their children having the time of their lives. Traveling with kids seems daunting at first. But many destinations in Asia are becoming more family-friendly, opening and building attractions that even kids will enjoy.

Give your children the best education by travelling to Asia and within Asia. As the largest continent on Earth, Asia offers plenty for all kinds of travellers – including those with kids. From visiting ancient sites to volcanic mountains and getting stuck into water sports, these are the best destinations for family-friendly vacations in Asia:

Phuket, Thailand

Whether you and your family are looking for lively stretches of sand with water sports or somewhere a little quieter and away from the crowds, the beaches of Thailand’s largest island, Phuket, are sure to please. Karon, Kamala and Patong are family favourites, from which you can take boat trips to one of the many nearby islands. Elsewhere, the interactive Phuket Trickeye Museum and the novel Baan Teelanka (Upside Down House) offers many marvellous photo opportunities. Play a round of mini golf at Dino Park, feel the rush at Kathu’s Flying Hanuman treetop adventure course (kid-friendly activities available) and discover aquatic life at Phuket Aquarium.

Sapa, Vietnam

Active families will love Sapa, Vietnam’s mountain haven near the Chinese border. Escape the heat of Hanoi on an overnight sleeper train (which kids will adore) to the former French hill station. You can give back while you travel by booking a guided trek with one of Sapa’s social enterprises to explore the alpine scenery and towering rice terraces. But to really immerse yourself in Sapa’s culture? Arrange a homestay experience with a Hmong family in their village.

Bali, Indonesia

Bali, one of Indonesia’s most popular islands, attracts many people throughout the year. If you want a change from the more popular, and busier beach resorts, like Kuta and Sanur, check out pretty Nusa Dua, where older children might like to try their hand at surfing. While in the area, visit The Pirates Bay to let your kids’ imaginations run free and take a pirate-themed dinner cruise. There are a couple of great water parks in Bali as well, including Waterbom Bali Park and Splash Water Park, plus volcanic mountains, rice terraces, waterfalls and wildlife-rich forests to explore. Thrill-seeking families should add Bali Treetop Adventure Park to their itinerary.

Phu Quoc, Vietnam

The island of Phu Quoc is a great place for families looking for some laidback beach time in Vietnam. Many spend days sunbathing, swimming and playing on the numerous beaches. Long Beach is the most popular, and where you’ll find the greatest selection of amenities and facilities, while other top beaches include Bai Thom, Bai Sao and Vung Bao. Boat trips and snorkelling are fun and, for something a bit different, how about an evening of squid fishing? The Coi Nguon Museum provides an educational experience, as is a visit to one of the island’s famous fish-sauce factories and pearl farms. The Ganh Dau Trail offers great hiking and the Suoi Tranh waterfall is a scenic sight.

The Maldives

Think the Maldives is just for loved-up honeymooners? Think again. The tropical Asian archipelago is now positioning itself as a family-friendly destination, too. Many of the country’s top-end resorts cater to children with lavish family suites, dedicated kids clubs and splash pools. Then, of course, there’s the world-famous beaches and mirror-clear waters ideal for family beach days. Take a boat trip or snorkelling excursion, you might even spot a sea turtle.

Sabah, Malaysia

The Malaysian state of Sabah, on the island of Borneo, is a great choice for adventurous families that are looking for somewhere a bit different. A trip to Sabah will require a bit more planning and patience than many other places on this list, and it’s more suited to older kids and teenagers than toddlers. In the state capital of Kota Kinabalu, take a cultural excursion to the Monsopiad Heritage Village to learn more about the area’s past, explore the underwater world with incredible snorkelling at Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park and spot an array of wildlife at Lok Kawi Wildlife Park. The long-nosed proboscis monkeys are normally crowd-pleasers. Nearby, Rumah Terbalik (Upside Down House) is an unusual attraction.

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto is packed with child-friendly attractions that’ll make for a fun family trip. Start at the Railway Museum, with its full-scale models, or indulge Ninjago fans with a trip to the Samurai and Ninja Museum. There are some peaceful green spaces in Kyoto where you can picnic and play; don’t miss the Imperial Palace Park which has a large playground where kids can run wild. Slip in a visit to a few of the city’s 2,000 temples and shrines for some culture.

Seoul, South Korea

If you’re planning a cultural family getaway, South Korea’s  vibrant capital fits the bill. This concrete jungle is clean and safe, with an accessible public transport system and pay-per-hour play cafes everywhere. Spend some time temple hopping and then let the kids unwind in one of Seoul’s parks or Lotte World Theme Park. Seoul’s hotels offer stellar facilities for kids, from pools to cooking classes; the Four Seasons even has a Lego-themed lounge.

Singapore

With a public transportation system that is clean, efficient and easy to use, ample places to eat out and plentiful attractions, Singapore is a firm favourite for families exploring Asia. The beaches may not be the best, but many hotels have pools and you can stroll along the sands of East Coast Park and take trips to the interesting of Lazarus, St John’s and Pulau Ubin. Singapore really comes into its own for families on Sentosa Island, with theme parks and fun activities galore. Enjoy movie-themed rides and shows at Universal Studios Singapore, see the exhibits at Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom, ride the luge, soak up the views from the Tiger Sky Tower, marvel at the gigantic Merlion, and step back in time at Fort Siloso. Adventurous kids will love MegaZip Adventure Park, and Kidzania Singapore is perfect for younger children.

Bohol, Philippines

Bohol is easily accessible via quick ferry ride from Cebu or plane ride from Manila. It offers a wide array of attractions for those traveling with their families — beaches, adventure activities, nature tours, historical sites, and wildlife. You just need to choose from this tropical paradise the attractions that appeal to your family. What’s great about Bohol if you’re based in the Philippines is that it is home to some of the wonders that are featured on their history textbooks! They will recognize the Chocolate Hills and the Sandugo monument in an instant! If you are coming from Cebu and you want to do a day tour in Bohol, Klook is offering a tour inclusive of transportation, entrance fees, tour guide, hotel pick up and drop off. The places covered are Chocolate Hills, Loboc River cruise, butterfly sanctuary, tarsier sanctuary, Bilar manmade forest, Baclayon Church, and Sandugo monument.

Boracay, Philippines

Boracay, being one of the most sought-after vacation destinations, has learned to adjust to the needs of its diverse patrons. Tourists from different parts of the Philippines and abroad flock this piece of island paradise all year round. Whatever your family’s preference is, Boracay has it — from budget to luxury, chill to extreme activities, local cuisine to the popular food establishments, water to land attractions. Top Boracay Attractions for Kids are White Beach, Bulabog Beach, Ariel’s Point Cliff Diving, Mainland Adventure Tour, Flyfish Ride, Scuba Diving, Mermaid Swimming, D’Mall, Kite Surfing, other water activities, and a lot more!