Some people tend to want to stay close to home when they have young children, while others see it as the perfect opportunity to take them out to see the world and kick start their adventurous streak when they’re young. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, but being mindful of the customs and quirks of your destination is really important for safety and comfort. Some destinations further afield are great with families with small children, such as East Asia. With so many incredible sights, smells, sounds, and tastes to experience, as well as cultures and colors that they’ve never even dreamed of, East Asia is sure to get your little one’s travel bug started at an early age. Here are my top five recommendations for travelling with young ones in East Asia.
With stunning beaches for mum and dad to relax on with the little ones nearby making sandcastles, it’s like a more tropical Scarborough, only without all the arcades and seagulls. The shows in Bali are every kid’s dream, with bright colours, energetic music, and lots of singing and theatre. If you’re a bit worried about travelling so far afield with young children, the number of expats in Bali should put your mind at ease. There is lots of great food, including some more Western styles for any fussy little ones, and delicious dishes for the adventurous among you. The scenery is just incredible with paddy-field walks and pretty hikes. The Balinese love children as well, so they’re happy to have them in restaurants in the evenings, ridding you of the worries of childcare.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysia is a brilliant melting pot of cultures from around East Asia, making it great for kids to explore and experience new things. If you’ve got particularly young kids, it’s said that Kuala Lumpur is particularly great for prams and pushchairs as their infrastructure is so well managed and their paths are so smooth. Kids love the trek up the 272 steps to a Hindu temple hidden high above the city, and there is also a Skybridge with views over the city, and even a Legoland with a mini Asia to explore – it’s any kid’s dream destination.
If you’re looking for an Asian city which caters brilliantly to kids and adults alike, Hong Kong might be the one for you. It’s ridiculously easy to navigate, even by public transport, and everyone speaks English as well as we do, which is really reassuring if anything goes wrong. The locals love kids, especially Westerners, so they go out of their way to make you all feel welcome and entertained. There’s even a Disneyland for a treat, which is specifically geared towards the under ten crowd, making Hong Kong even better for young families. And kids and adults alike will fall in love with the traditional Chinese dumplings served everywhere.
Japan is a great destination for families with both young and older children. It’s futuristic infrastructure makes Japan tours between cities particularly straightforward, and the huge variety of sights and scenery make a little tour of the country and attractive holiday plan for many young families – what kid wouldn’t love a trip on their bullet train or up one of Kyoto’s skyscrapers? Tokyo itself is chock full of entertainment for both adults and children, such as Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, and SpaceWorld. Further afield there’s even a Hello Kitty park and a Studio Ghibli Museum, so they’ll never get bored – just make sure that you do your research before you set off so you don’t miss anything amazing.
The people of Laos make it an incredible family holiday destination – they’re so welcoming, generous, and helpful that you’ll probably never want to leave. Its natural landscapes, incredible flora and fauna, and beautiful rice paddies make it an amazing country to explore by foot, boat, or by land. If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, Laos is probably going to be more your cup of tea than Tokyo. The food is to die for too, and there’s enough variety that even fussy little ones will find something they enjoy. If you want a bit of adventure, and mum and dad fancy a few drinks, head to the lively town of Vang Vieng for a couple of days and get out and explore.
East Asia is a treasure trove of beautiful scenery, incredible food, and new sights and sounds for the whole family to fall in love with. While it might not have been your first choice of destination, there are many areas of East Asia which are perfect for family holidays with young children, and great for both adults and kids to explore and enjoy.