With these kid-friendly travel destinations, your little ones won’t be wailing on the plane – once they know a whole lot of fun is coming their way.
Once it’s safe to travel widely, consider booking your next family holiday in these kid-friendly travel destinations around Asia Pacific…
1. Ipoh, Malaysia
You don’t have to look far for the dream family vacay. Take a whiff of Ipoh’s glorious past in the laneways and shophouses of the charismatic old town, bring the kids to the Lost World water theme park, or hunt down the best ayam taugeh (chicken with beansprouts), Ipoh’s signature dish, in the heritage restaurants that even local Malaysian families love.
2. Da Nang, Vietnam
Shed your impression of Vietnam as notoriously hectic – this provincial beach town is anything but. Down at the Pham Van Dong Beach, patrolled by lifeguards for your peace of mind, you’ll find fellow families at play. When night falls, the beautifully lit Dragon Bridge is a must-see – it even spits fire every Saturday and Sunday at 9 p.m.!
3. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Sure, you’ll still find families of four zooming past on a single motorbike in Chiang Mai. But it’s nonetheless not only safe for kids, it’s got tonnes to offer for families, too. Must-dos: a temple tour, picnicking by the Huay Kaew waterfalls, craftsy activities at the Bo Sang handicraft village and more.
4. Malacca, Malaysia
Most of the tourist attractions are concentrated within the city centre within walking distance of each other, where tourist information counters readily offer you any help you need. Plus, Malacca prides itself on having the best Peranakan food in the region. Or head to the famous Chop Chung Wah, where chicken rice is served rolled into balls, for a Singapore-vs.-Malaysia chicken rice showdown (the crowd is divided!).
5. Hue, Vietnam
For your next kid-friendly travel destination, check out Hue. Hue’s (pronounced hway) legacy as Vietnam’s old imperial capital resonates even today, most notably through the glorious Citadel. On the outskirts of Hue, experience the unique gradient hot springs – the hot spring stream divides into pools of varying temperatures. So relaxing!
6. Davao, Philippines
Known for its ultra-friendly, law-abiding locals, Davao city has a no-smoking-in-public policy, which makes traveling with kids that much easier. That’s not all – the air gets much fresher in the Eden Nature Park & Resort, 3,000 feet above sea level, where you can ride a Skycycle in mid-air. Yes, the kids too.
7. Pai, Thailand
It’s not hard for everyone in the family to love the gift of nature that is Pai. Jump into waterfalls along with the fun-loving local kids, hike up the Pai Canyon for breath-taking views of the valleys and vistas, sample authentic street food, stay in a treehouse resort, and more.
8. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
This Cambodian capital’s seamless blend of modern and old-world culture is what makes it so family-friendly. Beside authentically local attractions like the Royal Palace, Buddhist temples and street markets are malls, luxury hotels and amazing restaurants.
9. Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Kaohsiung in Taiwan offers families lots to see, do – and eat! As Taiwan’s second-largest city, there is plenty to explore. Check out their night markets – Liuhe and Ruifeng – for delicious food and carnival games for the kids. Get picturesque sunset at Mount Guan in Pingtung Country, a two hours’ drive south of Kaohsiung.
10. Pyeongchang, South Korea
Located in the mountainous province of Gangwon in the north-east, Pyeongchang – not to be confused with North Korean capital Pyongyang – is known among locals for its meandering peaks and pristine ski slopes. Check out ski resorts like Yongpyong Ski Resort which has its own water theme park for the kids.
11. Borocay, Philippines
Getting there may involve multiple connections, but travellers are being drawn to the place repeatedly named “the best island in the world” and finding that it is worth the effort. Ride banana boats, explore bat caves and go island hopping for a truly unique experience with your family.
12. Phuket, Thailand
Head to Phuket for beautiful tropic sceneries and luxurious resorts. Stay at The Surin, renowned to be baby-friendly. These cottage-like rooms are nestled in the West Coast, with access to a private beach and pools. Head over to Splash Jungle Water Park for more energy-packed fun for the kids.
13. Nikoi Island, Singapore
This kid-friendly 15-hectare resort is a well-kept secret of those in the know, particularly for those living or staying in Singapore. With pristine waters and just 15 beach houses built out of driftwood, it’s perfect for both families with young ones but also older children (they recommend ages four and up). Let the kids explore the natural rock slides, hidden reefs and treehouses. A true island getaway less than three hours from SG!
14. Shanghai, China
Shanghai isn’t often thought of as a family-friendly destination but with Disneyland Shanghai located right in Pudong, it’s a destination worth considering. Other family-friendly attractions include the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium and Shanghai Circus World and art gallery district of Moganshan. Plus, if your kid is learning Mandarin, he or she’ll have a chance to practice it daily.
15. Bali, Indonesia
Be warned, you may never come back from your Bali family holiday. With pool-villas easily available, an array of beaches, outdoor activities (downhill cycling, white water rafting, hiking Mount Agung) and no shortage of food options, local or otherwise, Bali is a no-brainer. Just don’t blame us if you come back hooked and never travel anywhere else again.
One final suggestion: Study up on 9 tropical diseases common in some of these destinations, so you can prepare accordingly and prevent your family from falling sick while on that long-awaited vacay!
Originally by Pinky Chng, February 2017 / Additional reporting: Isabel Wibowo, March 2021
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