by Wan Phing Lim of AsiaRooms.com
Southeast Asia has always been a major destination on the backpacker trail, but as we all get a little older, I for one would like to share these adventures with my family. Now it’s possible thanks to the advent of cheaper flights and with the rise of budget airlines within the region. The whole of Asia has opened up and the resorts and activities aimed at families have skyrocketed. Here is a taster of the possibilities.
The city-state of Singapore on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula offers everything you would expect from a wealthy, modern metropolis. A major international airport makes it a doddle to get to and there are a huge number of world class hotels and resorts, gourmet restaurants and luxury shops. The amazing Sentosa resort is a world in itself with luxury hotels, theme park attractions including Universal Studios, beaches, nature walks and two world-class golf courses. If you do manage to take yourself away from Sentosa, a personal favourite is the Singapore Zoo, which boasts more than 2,800 animals and a Night Safari that’s like nothing else you’ll find in the country.
2. Hong Kong
Many have stopped off in Hong Kong en-route to other destinations, but for an unforgettable family holiday, you really needn’t go any further. The unbelievable skyline is the first thing you’ll recognize, so a trip to The Peak is a must. The highest point on Hong Kong Island, The Peak offers views that will stay with you and your family for a lifetime. The Star Ferry Cruise gives great views of the metropolis from the harbour, and it provides a relaxing way to explore Hong Kong. You may be surprised by possibilities of outdoor activities away from the city, and with Disneyland and Ocean Park theme parks you’re truly spoilt for choice. One last thing: at night the city is transformed into a neon wonderland, so make sure to go out in the evening and enjoy the lights.
3. Phuket, Thailand
When you first hear Phuket, you might think beach party, but this tropical paradise has really developed since its backpacker heydays, and is now a major family destination. Phuket hotels are world class and for the ultimate beach side family break, you can’t do much better than this resort. Thailand’s excellent value for money still applies, and elephant rides for the kids and parents alike will be an activity you’ll never forget. There are tons of other great activities too, like diving, windsurfing, island hopping and even and go-karting. That is, if you can drag yourselves away from the beach first!
4. Nha Trang, Vietnam
Nha Trang is considered one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Friendly locals, a fascinating history, stunning beaches with crystal clear waters, and warm sunny weather all year round make this part of Vietnam a tourist hotspot. A number of large family oriented resorts have sprung up along the shore, including Vinpearl Island, which is home to its own theme park. The resort is connected to the mainland by the world’s longest over water cable car, and is an attraction in itself.
5. Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
In the heart of Malaysia, the Cameron Highlands sit high above sea level. Surrounded by endless valleys of stunning green, made up of tea plantations and forests, any family with a passion for nature and rural life will relish the Cameron Highlands. The nature reserves make for perfect trekking and 4WD tours that are ideal for families. The area is rich in colonial history and with fertile soils ideal for farming, a trip to some of the farms is a must. The tea plantations are some of the world’s finest, and this ancient process is fascinating to experience firsthand. You also won’t want to miss out on the strawberry picking either – delicious!
Wan Phing is the online editor at AsiaRooms.com. Born and raised in Penang, Malaysia, she has lvied in Beijing, London, Benevento, Kuala Lumpur, Manchester and currently resides in Singapore. She loves travel, photography and discovering new trends.