Bringing the kids along for a romp through Southeast Asia might not be on your parental to-do list. Traveling with youngsters is nothing like exploring the world on your own. It’s different, that’s undeniable, but that doesn’t mean that it should be avoided. In fact, exploring a foreign place as a family has been proven to be the most rewarding familial activities.
This is especially true when it comes to traveling within Southeast Asia. This part of the world is often referred to as the ultimate destination for budget backpackers, but it’s so much more than just that. Southeast Asia offers up so many opportunities to bond as a family, create unforgettable memories, and explore the world together.
If that sounds like something you’d be interested in experiencing as a parent, bring the entire family along for a trip to any or all of these SE Asian destinations.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
Halong Bay, also spelled Ha Long Bay, is the ultimate spot for families traveling to Vietnam. Most of Vietnam caters to kids, but Halong Bay offers a whole new level of family-friendliness. You might have trouble when traveling with infants, but once your kids reach a certain age they’ll appreciate no place more than here.
Halong Bay isn’t just one island, but instead it is comprised of many. There are thousands of limestone structures all throughout the emerald waters, making it an amazing spot for this year’s family Christmas card. Families with teenagers love Halong Bay for its endless opportunities for adventure, like diving, snorkeling, rock climbing, and hiking.
Once you’ve spent at least a few days here, consider taking the trip from Halong Bay to Ninh Binh. If you want your children to have an authentic Vietnamese experience, Ninh Binh is the ultimate place to experience culture.
Phuket has a bad rep among family travelers, mainly because it is often seen as a party destination. This is true in a sense, but it really depends on where you go in Phuket. Sure, Patong in Phuket is known for its abundance of lady boys and Ping Pong shows, but this doesn’t properly represent the rest of Phuket.
Spending time as a family is easy in Phuket; there are plenty of family-friendly beaches, restaurants, and tourist activities that the entire family will enjoy. Check out Splash Jungle Water Park for the ultimate day of family fun. As far as accommodations go, your best bet is to choose a hotel or resort that caters to families. There are tons of hostels and homestays throughout the area, but a hotel is much better suited for families traveling to Thailand.
Bali is by far the most popular island out of the 17,000+ islands in Indonesia. The island of Bali attracts mostly Australians since it is just a short flight from the Australian continent. Many of these travelers are families. There are plenty of family-friendly places to stay, activities to do together, and restaurants catering to children.
Families are typically attracted to the Bali towns of Kuta and Sanur, but for quieter vibes head to the north of the island to the town of Amed. Surfing is best on the west side of Bali where the winds are the strongest, and surf lessons are available for kids of all ages. The north, specifically Amed, is great for diving, building sand castles, and experiencing Balinese culture.
Sabah is located on the Malaysian island of Borneo, and it is the best place on this list for adventurous family travel. It doesn’t offer the traditional adventure activities like Bali or Phuket, like diving and surfing. Instead, Sabah offers unique activities that can be done alongside the locals. Your children will get the chance to meet and play alongside the Malay children of Sabah.
Just keep in mind that traveling to Sabah can be difficult and time consuming. In other words, it isn’t suggested if you are bringing an infant or toddler. However, older children and teenagers will have no problem with getting to Sabah. They’ll realize it was entirely worth it as soon as they set eyes on the sparkling clear waters.
Tokyo, Japan is like no other place in the world. The bright lights and massive crowds might be a bit overwhelming for some families. But if yours can handle it, a trip to Tokyo is highly recommended. Tokyo is something of a Japanese Disney World for kids. Your young daughters will love a trip to the World of Hello Kitty, and boys will have a blast at the Legoland Discovery Center.