Family travel in Southeast Asia is ridiculously easy: there are hundreds of fantastic family destinations close and far, for every budget – and kids are welcome everywhere. These have been our family holiday favourites this year:
Elephants in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Spending a day with the elephants in the Elephant Nature Park was one of the coolest things we’ve done with the kids. If you have deep pockets, there are enough activities to fill a week with kids in Chiang Mai – many suitable for older kids and fans of adventure. The city is pleasant and full of beautiful temples, markets and gorgeous food. Read more about our elephant encounter and the rest of our trip.
Quiet Thai islands
For many, Thailand means busy beaches, action-packed days and herds of tourists. However, it is fairly easy to find quiet corners to put down your towel (and mountain of toddler-related stuff). Sometimes you need a holiday somewhere with absolutely nothing to do – well, it helps if it has a sandy beach, turquoise sea and cheap Thai food – and exactly that can be found on Koh Lipe and Koh Jum.
Malaysian islands for families in Southeast Asia
While the Malaysian islands are not as much geared towards international tourists as their Northern neighbours (no juice bars, iced cappuccinos or cheap massages), they do have breathtaking beaches and beautiful sea life within easy reach. Even young kids can try snorkeling and virtually all resorts welcome children. With no more flights to Tioman and Redang, getting there involves a long drive+boat combo, though. This year we’ve explored Perhentian Islands (read more here, here and here) but Tioman and Redang offer the same set up. We are thinking about checking out the smaller islands of Gem Island and Kapas Island next!
Hong Kong: Disneyland and more
Many parents dread big cities with young kids but we thought Hong Kong is a fabulous family destination that offers something for everyone. Biggest drawback is budget – hotel prices are astronomical – but with good planning you can find reasonable accommodation. Read more about our visit here and our tips for visiting Disneyland here.
Stretching it a bit to include Yangshuo on the SE Asia list, but it was such a lovely surprise. A well established tourism infrastructure makes it an easy destination for China novices. We loved the crisp spring air, outdoor activities and the views, of course. We managed to pick one of the coziest hotels ever and explored the area with wide eyes. Read all about our trip here.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Siem Reap is a lovely small town and Angkor Wat needs no introductions. It is one of those ideal Asian destinations that works with kids or without. It is an affordable destination with lovely independent hotels and atmospheric restaurants. Activities are available, if you wish to do more than temple-spot.
Hoi An, Vietnam
With Air Asia flying to Danang again, Hoi An should definitively be on this list. Famous for its tailors, this small town with bicycle rickshaws, picturesque AND pedestrianised centre, beautiful beaches nearby and good day-tripping opportunities is a perfect destination for a quick getaway.