So you’re itching to travel to Asia yet you’re worried about the taking the kids?
The dropping prices of airline tickets, simple travel planning apps, and affordable accommodations just made touring the world with your little tot a whole lot easier. But the best part? Asia’s got plenty of spots the entire family will enjoy!
Whether you want to take a dip in the water, sample fine Asian food, have fun while learning, or shop til you drop, these top five Asian destinations have what you’re looking for.
So get your luggage and travel gear ready. Grab a car seat and make sure it isn’t too old. Because you will want to visit each of these places!
Thailand – The Land Of Smiles
Thailand is a fantastic destination for just about any age.
For grown-ups looking to get rowdy, Bangkok is where the action and adventure is at.
But if you want to stay somewhere laidback and closer to nature, Chiang Mai has much to recommend.
While the city sits atop the mountainous northern region of Thailand, Chiang Mai is an urban destination. It has humongous entertainment centers and shopping malls you’d find in bustling metropolises, the Maya Lifestyle Shopping Center being a notable example.
However, what made Chiang Mai an excellent choice for the traveling family is the wide array of cultural and natural delights on offer. From elephant sanctuaries, temples, to ancient villages, the city has it all!
If you want to spend your days near the sea, check out Rai Leh, the small peninsula between Krabi and Ao Nang.
The island has kid-friendly beaches – all secluded and swimmable for everyone. You will not find any cars or roads in the area. So to go from one place to another, you will have to cross the sandy paths. Something kids are sure to love.
Rai Leh is only accessible by boat due to high cliffs preventing mainland access. Not a biggie though as it only makes your arrival dramatic and breathtaking!
Singapore – The Land Of Lions
Singapore is a small city and country, spanning only three-fifths the total area of New York City. But this compact destination boasts plus-sized attractions for the entire family.
Visit the Gardens By The Bay and marvel at the Supertree Grove.
These 18 tree-like vertical gardens are home to more than 162,900 plants, comprising more than 200 species. Visitors also soak in music and sparkling lights from 7:45 PM to 8:45 PM everyday in the Garden Rhapsody sound and light show.
Want child-friendly accommodation?
Book a room at the Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort, located at the Siloso Beach.
Rasa Sentosa packs more than 400 rooms alongside facilities and amenities you’d expect from a world-class beachfront resort. What made this hotel stand out, however, is its kid’s club: The Cool Zone. Open from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM, it spans over two floors and has sections for games, arts, and crafts.
The Cool Zone also has spacious activity centers called the Toots Club and the Mini Toots Club, where kids can dive into ball pits, play with toys, ride a carousel, or simply watch TV.
And the best part:
Hotel guests aged between five and 12 years old get free access – and free lunch if they decide to stay all day.
Philippines – The Pearl Of The Orient Seas
Stop by Manila where you can find one of the biggest shopping centers in the continent: SM Mall of Asia.
Called MOA by the locals, the mall boasts an area of more than 4.3 million square feet and over 1,000 shops, including over 300 restaurants. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, exotic eats, playgrounds, or fireworks display, you can find it here.
If you want to catch up on Philippine’s past and its culture, head over to Intramuros where you can find stone fortresses built by Spanish conquistadors over 300 years ago, museums teeming with religious art, and old world churches which bore witness to history unfolding.
The island of Palawan, on the other hand, will treat grown-ups and kids to jaw-dropping sights and sounds of nature.
The hidden Miniloc Island Resort, found in Palawan’s El Nido, isn’t the most accessible of destinations.
One would need to take a flight from Manila to El Nido and ride a boat to get to the island. But if your family is up to the task, spectacular views of limestone cliffs, pristine waters, rich marine life, and lush greens are waiting for you.
At the hotel, adults can choose from a variety of activities from scuba diving, snorkelling, cave exploration, water sports, to guided tours. For little guests, Miniloc Resort offers babysitters, and it has a Kid’s Activity Center where tots and tykes can get their dose of fun and learning.
Japan – The Land Of The Rising Sun
Visit Tokyo! But the busy city doesn’t really come across as a fun-filled, child-friendly holiday destination, does it?
Well, guess what:
Tokyo has more than enough fun and learning to quench your curious kid’s search for knowledge!
Check out the National Museum of Nature and Science where kids can examine dinosaur replicas, high-quality specimens of animals from around the world, and man’s finest inventions.
Want to get a little closer to wildlife? Visit the Ueno Zoo, which more than 3,000 individual animals call home. Elephants and tigers are part of the highlights as expected. But rare creatures like the zebra-horse hybrid okapis, aye-ayes, and pandas are on show, too!
If your little ones love roleplaying, they can dress up as firefighters at the Fire Museum in Shinjuku. Toddlers can also marvel at the trucks, helicopters, and firefighting equipment from different eras.
Mind you, though, the museum doesn’t have a restaurant. But they do have a small lunch room at the top floor with vending machines (you’re in Japan, after all).
Of course, Tokyo isn’t the only family-friendly destination in Japan.
In Okinawa, visitors will find the beaches, vegetation, roads, and shopping malls truly delightful. On the other hand, the city is also home to one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites: the Shurijo Castle.
The castle was the official residence of Ryukyu kings. Its lavish main hall still has architectural influences from China and other parts of the world, all carved and engraved across walls and gates of the castle.
Malaysia – Truly Asia
In Bali, Malaysia, your family will never run out of things to see and do.
Visit the Bali Elephant Park and experience what it’s like to be on the shoulder of awe-inspiring giants. You can also feed monkeys at the Ubud Monkey Forest, or swim and splash with playful dolphins.
If beaches are your thing, drop by the Kuta Beach and be mesmerized by its white coastline. From the shore, you can hop over to Waterbom Bali, the finest water park in the island. Cultural attractions are also aplenty, including temples, villages, and shows.
If you getting around easily is priority, Penang is a must-visit. The dons an Old Asian feel, while boasting modern attractions.
Drop by one of the kopitiams to grab a cup of coffee and sweetened nutmeg juice for the kids. Sample the stinky but flavorful fruit that is durian at night. Cruise along Kinabatangan River, stretching 560 kilometers and home to plenty of wildlife.
Candice Whitlock is the mom and blogger behind BabyLic, a blog that reviews and curates the best products and resources for babies and their families.
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