South-east Asia with kids
Fancy a holiday to south-east Asia, but nervous about taking the kids? Here are our top tips for exotic family travel.
When choosing a family-friendly destination for your next holiday it often comes down to three main factors: budget, keeping the kids happy and how long the flight is. For some people this will rule out more exotic locations such as the Far East but you’re missing out. But it is possible to travel to this fabulous part of the world with kids and on a budget. Oh, and that plane journey is most definitely worth it. The experts at Blue Eye Travel in Oxted give us the lowdown on this beautiful destination
Why should you visit south-east Asia?
With white soft sand and aquamarine water fringed with palm trees, Asia has some of the world’s best beaches, not to mention being one of the most biodiverse places on the planet!
Keeping the kids entertained is key to a good family holiday, and Asia will definitely not disappoint you. From serene temples and beautiful rainforests to theme parks and water sports there is always an interesting place to visit.
The food is my favourite part of visiting Asia whether you eat street food (it’s cheap and delicious!) or enjoy a high-end restaurant the variety and flavours within the food are vast. For those that are less adventurous then there are numerous western options if your little ones need some home comforts.
TRAVEL STYLE: FAMILY
If you’re looking to travel in a bit more style but still have plenty of opportunities to explore then a twin centre holiday to Singapore and Bali would be perfect. Flying to the modern and cosmopolitan city of Singapore you have the chance to explore its rich colonial heritage as well as the modern skyscrapers and shopping malls.
Travel 2.5 hours on and you will be in the Island of the Gods, Bali where you can explore numerous parts of the island from beautiful beaches to cultural elements in the form of numerous temples so it will keep all the family entertained no matter their age!
SINGAPORE & BALI
Flight time to Singapore: 13 hrs
Flight time to Bali from Singapore: 2.5 hrs
Time difference: +7hrs
Fly direct: Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Norwegian Air
Connecting flights: Qantas, Emirates, Turkish Airlines
WHERE TO GO
Days 1 – 3: Singapore. Explore this cosmopolitan city, eat in the hawker centres or head to the beach for some relaxation time.
Days 4 – 7: After arrival into Denpasar head to the rice paddy fields of Ubud. Cycle through the fields, explore Mount Batur, check out the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary or take a walk through the markets for some souvenirs!
Days 8 – 12: Stay in Seminyak or Nusa Dua for some beach time.
From Seminyak you can travel to Tanah Lot which is Hindu temple perched on a rock formation in the sea. In Nusa Dua watch the Water Blow where you can watch the waves crash against the peninsula.
WHERE TO STAY
• Singapore Hotel: D’Resort @ Downtown East. This hotel is geared towards kids with an Underwater Themed Family Room, bunk beds and a treasure chest of games. Explore the neighbouring Water Park.
• Ubud Hotel: Four Seasons Bali at Sayan, Ubud is actively geared towards kids with its Pici Pici Club which will keep them entertained with their private jungle, tree house, Balinese dance lessons and cooking lessons.
• Seminyak Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Bali Seminyak Resort. As well as having a swim-up pool bar, this hotel caters for children with a Kids’ Club (ages 4-12). There are PlayStation pods, a ball pit, arts & crafts plus a host of daily activities on offer. And, the the hotel has a great kids’ menu.
TRAVEL STYLE: ADVENTURE
If you’re after something that’s off the beaten track, then Myanmar is your perfect destination. Since the end of the military rule in 2011, Myanmar has opened its doors to tourism with temples, beaches, lakes and history there’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained!
When I travelled there we used coaches which included air conditioning, leather reclining seats, and in-seat TV entertainment, and are a cheap form of transport. We also took the train to Mandalay which was a fabulous experience as you pass through some magical scenery. If this does not appeal then a private driver can be arranged to transport you.
Flight time to Yangon: 15+ hrs
Time Difference: +5.5hrs
There are no direct flights to Yangon but you can take a connecting flight with Thai Airways, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways.
WHERE TO GO
Days 1 – 3: Yangon. The largest city in Myanmar, it has gleaming golden temples at the Buddhist monument of Shwedagon Paya or explore the Colonial architecture within the city.
Days 4 – 6: Bagan. The land of temples, it has over 2,000 Buddhist structures covering 67 square km. The area is split into Old and New Bagan with the old walled palace and countless temples that are great spot for viewing the sunset.
Days 7 – 9: Mandalay. Founded in 1857 the city of Mandalay has temples and Colonial architecture which can be explored in a horse drawn cart that will take you around the ruins of this city.
Days 10 – 13: Inle Lake: The pretty lake is the centre of this area where you can watch fisherman balancing on one leg on their boats or explore the hills and stilt-house villages. Take a traditional boat across the lake for a first-hand experience and local interaction.
WHERE TO STAY
• Yangon Hotel: Esperado Lakeview Hotel has views over Kandawgyi Lake and Swedagon Pagoda, and plenty to keep the kids entertained.
• Bagan Hotel: Aureum Palace Bagan in Old Bagan in the Archaeological Preservation Zone. Great spot to explore the temples!
• Mandalay Hotel: Hotel Pyin Oo Lwin has big chalets and is close to the lake and botanic gardens.
• Inle Lake: Aureum Inle set on the lake itself with a pool, terrace and villas it allows you to explore more easily.
Some useful gadgets
JetKids Bedbox: This kid’s suitcase has many uses including Ride-On / Carry-On / Sleep-On. The bed/leg-rest feature is adjustable making sleep easier!
Koo-di Pop-Up Travel Bubble Cot: A polycotton travel cot which is ideal for 6-18 months and when outgrown, makes an ideal playhouse for little ones.
Keep em Quiet: A variety of entertainment packs for kids!
Pod Highchair: This compact clip on high chair is perfect for travelling as it is lightweight and functional. Making meal times easier!