We love Asia and so do our kids. Asia is different to our home in the UK. The culture, the food, the people, the transport, the climate, the language. So much for your kids to learn and experience. Travelling or holidaying in Asia with kids is a fantastic adventure, one that will stay with them for a long time, no matter what their age.
Since we returned from our year-long backpacking adventure around Asia with our children, the question that we’re asked the most has to be “Where was your favourite place?”. It’s a tricky question with no right answer. It depends on you. It depends on your family and your kids. It depends on what sort of travelling you like, what sort of adventures you are looking for as a family.
If this is your first travel adventure in this part of the world with your kids, this is our list of top travel destinations in Asia with kids.
Thailand is the first place that we travelled to with our kids, and it really has got everything going for it for family travel. In the north you can’t move without tripping over several thousand years of history and culture. The capital city, Bangkok, is exciting and full of things to do and see. The south islands have the best beaches with the most incredible sunsets in the world. The food is out of this world and no matter how fussy your kids are, within the week they’ll be picking up some chopsticks and tucking into something delicious and healthy like natives. Everywhere you go, the Thai people will welcome you in with a huge smile and make you and your kids feel special for just being there.
Choose your itinerary carefully though, it can get horribly hot and humid after Easter, and the seasons vary hugely between the West and the East of the country. Also think carefully about visiting during the Thai festival of Songkran – lots of fun but a bit manic for some kids.
Ok, so Australia isn’t actually Asia. It’s more…erm… Australasia. But if Asia seems a bit too “different” as a travel destination with kids, then Australia will give you the family adventure you’re looking for but all wrapped up in a familiar and welcoming culture. The East coast is embarrassingly easy to travel along with a perfect combination of big cities, small villages and perfect beaches to explore. Getting away from it all and heading into the outback can be as hard-core or as comfortable as you wish. Grab an off-road vehicle and head out along the Gibb River Road. Before you know it you’ll be barbecuing under the stars at least a million miles away from the rest of the world.
Australians love to tour their amazing country and no matter what age your kids are you’re bound to meet many families with kids the same age. With no language or cultural barriers between them, kids soon make friends whilst the grown-ups can kick back and watch the sun go down. Australia is definitely a perfect family travel destination, even if it’s not strictly Asia :o)
It might surprise a lot of people to see India on a list of top travel destinations for kids, even one just about Asia with kids. Let’s face it, everyone knows someone who’s got an Indian travel horror story – most of which centre around bodily fluids. But I think that it’s fair to say that we’ve all had less than stellar food experiences close to home.
As long as you take some basic precautions, don’t drink the water, eat where the locals eat and use plenty of hand sanitiser, then the rewards easily outweigh the risks, even with kids.
India is beautiful country and is completely unlike anywhere else you’ll ever experience. It wraps itself around you, gets under your skin and into your heart. Love it or loathe it, nobody ever sits on the fence when it comes to India. We tried it before we had kids, and hated it. We tried it with kids and loved it.
Use the kids as an excuse to make your lives easier. Hire a driver for a day rather than struggling with public transport. Spend a few extra Rupees to upgrade your accommodation. Linger a couple of extra days on that perfect beach in Goa. Relax, slow down and embrace the differences – you’ll earn your adventuring stripes, and never be stuck for dinner party conversation ever again.
India? A top adventure travel destination with kids?? Well, it will certainly be an adventure!
Vietnam is a fantastic choice for kids, and it’s easily one of our favourite family travel destinations. There’s so much to see and experience in Vietnam, with or without kids, that it has to be on your Asia travel list.
Travel around the country is super easy with cheap and reasonably efficient sleeper trains. All kids love a sleeper train, fact.
There are also a good selection of low cost airlines that can bounce you around the country if you’re a bit pushed for time or the children don’t love long train journeys. Best of all, geographically the country lends itself to easy travel planning. With the country being only sixty miles wide in places, the only real decision is whether to go North to South (Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh) or South to North.
Hanoi really is a city that never sleeps and has to be experienced (seen, heard, smelt, tasted) to be believed. Sleepy Hoi An is a real world Disney-esque post-card of a place. Phong Nha defies all description and gives you a feeling of living in the “real” Vietnam. The kids will love the Dark Cave – probably – read about it here.
If you are thinking of travelling to Asia with kids, Vietnam is a must.
Nepal is probably our top travel destination on any list, anywhere in the world, kids or no kids. Nepal has something for everyone, and encompasses the best of everywhere on our list of top travel destinations with kids. It has the culture, the scenery, the history, the space, the food and above all, the people. It’s friendly and safe. The Nepalese people genuinely revere children, and wherever you go with your family you’ll be true travelling celebrities.
OK, so Nepal is probably not for everyone. There are easier places to travel in Asia with kids. I was pretty dubious about bringing our kids here and living with a local family in the Kathmandu valley whist teaching in a school, but the kids completely and instantly adapted to it. They recognised very little of the food, but wolfed it down every meal time. They loved the trekking, the rafting, the cities, the villages, the bus journeys, the animals and the weather. Everything you do in Nepal will be exciting, different and above all it all felt safe.
There are many reasons that I always say that Nepal was my favourite travel destination – the scenery, the culture, the “other worldliness” of it all – but the single biggest reason is the people. There is so much to see and learn in Nepal, but being lucky enough to get to know some of them as true friends was a real privilege.
Asia is a fantastic destination for travelling with kids. It is totally different from the UK, Europe or the US. So much to see and do with a different culture and so many learning opportunities. Wherever you choose as your family adventure travelling destination, you’re bound to have an amazing time. Whatever age your kids are (and we met families with babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers, teenagers – the whole range), there’s nothing to stop you. With the power of the internet behind you, you can easily book the whole thing from the comfort of your living room. We booked a three week Thailand adventure one dreary, wet and cold Sunday afternoon.
Go on! Do a bit of research, read some reviews, get some guide books and get out there. There’s nothing to stop you taking your kids on some of the best adventures ever! The difficult part will be coming home….
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