So you want to go on a family vacation to Asia? Excellent decision! Asia is fantastic for families. There is so much to see and do, and most of it is inexpensive! From the beautiful food in Penang to the beautiful villas in Bali to the adventure in the Philippines, we love traveling and living in Asia. However, if you are anything like us, deciding on a specific Asian destination is difficult! There are numerous excellent family vacation destinations. We enjoy it here in Malaysia, but we’ve also enjoyed it with our children in Bali, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, and the Philippines – and I’m sure this list will grow as we travel to more Asian destinations as a family.
Here are the recommendations for your next Asian family vacation.
What could be more exciting than introducing your little global citizen to a foreign country? Showing them one where different cultures coexist and work together harmoniously. Malaysia is a centuries-old melting pot of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and British cultures. The children can see incense wafting up from the front of a Chinese temple, hear the call to prayer from the mosque down the street, and smell the inviting aroma of Indian food from the cart on the corner all at the same time. It’s like visiting several countries at once. Malaysia appeals to the intrepid explorer in all children. Trek through the jungle in search of the unique Rafflesia flower, which can grow up to 100 cm wide and is known for smelling like rotten meat. Visit semi-wild orangutans in rehabilitation sanctuaries in Malaysian Borneo, or cruise rivers in search of endangered probosci’s monkeys and river dolphins. Visit cultural villages to learn about now-forbidden tribal practices such as headhunting, and let the kids test their skills with a blow dart. Climb 272 steps to the Hindu temple built high up inside Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur. Children who enjoy modern sights will want to visit the Skybridge of the Petronas Towers, the world’s tallest twin towers. If that isn’t enough, visit LEGOLAND Malaysia, which is just across the border from Singapore. They will undoubtedly be entertained by the water park, themed hotel, and amusement park rides. Make time to visit Miniland Asia, which features LEGO models of everything from China’s Forbidden City to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. Your children will feel as if they have visited more than one country after visiting Malaysia.
The MTR (train system) is simple to use and will take you anywhere you want to go. Octopus Cards can be purchased at the airport for this service, and any money paid will be refunded when you depart. In Hong Kong, English is widely spoken and understood. There will always be someone who understands and can assist you. The locals adore foreign children and go out of their way to make them feel at ease. Feeding the pickiest eaters is also simple in Hong Kong. There are plenty of places to eat, including all of the western take-out joints we are accustomed to, and my children ate traditional Chinese dumplings at least once a day. There are no food problems; unlike in many other Asian countries, you can eat anywhere. Among the many attractions available in Hong Kong for children are Disneyland and Ocean Park. Disneyland caters to children under the age of ten, whereas Ocean Park caters to teenagers, though young children will enjoy the animals and many of the rides. Both Disneyland and Ocean Park are very affordable in Hong Kong, easy to get to by public transportation, and the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Shopping is also fantastic, with everything from markets to high-end labels available. But remember to barter hard in the markets – it’s a competitive sport!
Bali has so many wonderful characteristics. From the perfect weather in every season to the welcoming Balinese who adore children. The price is low, so you can have a luxurious vacation for a reasonable price, and there are numerous activities to choose from, including water parks, monkey forests, and shows.
Travel Tip: The Balinese are extremely friendly, so don’t be alarmed if they take your children for a walk while you’re eating at a restaurant. They are not being kidnapped. They’re just keeping them entertained so you can eat in peace. It’s a novel idea, but it’s certainly welcome.
The mix of Malay, Indian, and Chinese cultures is visible and adds to Singapore’s appeal – as well as its taste! There is also a strong British influence and a large number of ex-pats, giving it a very multicultural feel. The common language is English, and you will see it everywhere, making things even easier. The subway system is unbelievable. Efficient and thorough, it will take you to the majority of your destinations. There are numerous attractions! We especially enjoyed Universal Studios Singapore, but there are also water parks, the world’s largest aquarium, a fantastic zoo, and numerous cultural attractions. You could stay here for weeks and never run out of new things to do. The only disadvantage is the high cost of living in Singapore.
Travel Tip: Bring plenty of cash; the cost will not be comparable to neighboring countries. Try a variety of foods and visit some hawker centers.
Laos was an excellent destination for family vacations. We enjoyed it because of the culture and the people, who were warm and generous. However, we loved it most for the incredible nature and endless opportunities to be outside. We spent our days riding around rice paddies, exploring small villages, caves, and stunning blue lagoons on our scooters. We then spent our evenings at one of the laid-back restaurants/bars, where the food was delicious, reasonably priced, and actually quite varied.
Travel Tip: One thing you should be sure to do is hit Vang Vieng! Many people think it is just a party town and when you first arrive you may sense that is all it is as well, but give it a couple of days and get out exploring! Even the tubing is great fun for kids of all ages.
Japan is a year-round destination with a stunning and diverse landscape. It is clean, safe, and has one of the most efficient public transportation systems in the world, with shinkansen or bullet trains transporting visitors throughout the country. Japan is a mix of the old and the new. Tokyo has the most cutting-edge technologies and skyscrapers, whereas Kyoto is the epitome of old Japan, with over 2,000 temples and shrines. It’s a country rich in history and culture, with some of the nicest and most helpful people we’ve ever met. There are numerous family-friendly attractions and activities in Japan, including parks, gardens, museums, castles, and even temples for some cultural immersion. Some attractions are quite unique, such as watching sumo wrestling tournaments, seeing Mt. Fuji, visiting a Hello Kitty park, or riding the Studio Ghibli Museum’s cat bus. It also has many amusement parks, such as Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Sea, Universal Studios, and Space World, which can keep families entertained for days. Disney Sea is one of the best theme parks we’ve ever seen.
China is one of our favorite Asian destinations. It was a must to do with the children after falling in love with the country on a business trip 8 years ago. In 2013, we returned for two weeks. With its rich heritage, diverse culture, exotic food, and fantastic shopping, China have something for everyone. It truly is an amazing place to visit with children.
Long sandy beaches, delicious food, and extremely low-cost resorts. It’s no surprise that families adore Thailand.
The beaches of Phuket, Phi Phi, and Krabi are particularly popular with Australian families. However, we’ve discovered that an increasing number of families are looking to get off the beaten path in Thailand. Some are adding a stopover in Bangkok, while others are heading to the hills to explore the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya or the thriving night markets of Chiang Mai.
Thailand is a fantastic destination for teenagers, with some travel companies offering teen-only Thailand tours. Thailand is a winner for families in any area you choose.