For those wishing to take holidays with kids this summer, Asia should be strongly considered in your plans. Offering great value for money and a culturally rich experience, here are the best destinations in Asia for family holidays.
Singapore is known for it’s shopping, cleanliness, and incredible cuisine. It’s an excellent destination for those who have limited holiday time and it caters extremely well for families. Sentosa Island is the heart of family action in Singapore and it includes Universal Studios, SEA Aquarium and numerous water activities – one could spend days here and still not do everything!
Away from Sentosa Island is the relaxing Botanic Gardens, the world’s first and only tropical botanic garden on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Head out to Jurong to enjoy the impressive Bird Park and interactive Science Centre. One of the world’s greatest zoos is Singapore Zoo – take the Night Safari to see animals that are most active after sunset. Walking through the zoo at night and hearing the distant roar of a lion is an incredible experience.
Another destination for those with limited time, Hong Kong is an excellent place for holidays with kids. It is rightly famed for its shopping, but there are many other activities that families can enjoy, such as a visit to Hong Kong Disneyland, a cruise on Victoria Harbour, or the Hong Kong Observation Wheel. For something different, visit Kung Fu Corner in Kowloon Park every Sunday to watch lion and dragon dances, as well as kung fu demonstrations.
An essential stop in Hong Kong is Victoria Peak. The Peak Tram quickly brings you to a large lookout area where you can admire one of the world’s greatest skylines. Try visiting at dusk, for the blazing lights of Hong Kong show the sparkling city in all its glory.
Japan is known for its safety, cleanliness and courteous hospitality. Using Tokyo as a base there are plenty of family attractions nearby including Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Sea, the artistic Ghibli Museum, and fans of Hello Kitty can take a 1 hour train ride to Sanrio Puoroland.
Ride one of Japan’s bullet trains (Shinkansen) where children under 5 travel for free, and head to Osaka where you can visit Universal Studios. Nearby Kyoto is one of the world’s great cities – a place with so much history that it contains an astonishing 17 UNESCO World Heritage List sites. Many of these sites have gardens and large outdoor areas, perfect for a family outing.
Speaking of history, if you want to experience the Edo period of Japan (400-600 years ago) visit either Edo Wonderland (2 hours from Tokyo) or Toei Kyoto Studio Park where you can watch shows, take rides and even dress in traditional Japanese clothes.
If your budget doesn’t suit Japan, consider neighbouring South Korea. Like Japan, it offers similar experiences for families, but for less cost. The capital Seoul is a sprawling city with a comprehensive metro system that can take you to historic places with large outdoor areas such as the palaces of Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung, and the family entertainment hubs of Lotte World and Children’s Grand Park.
If you want to experience nature in Seoul, take a cable car up Mt Namsan, but the best nature experiences are further afield. An overnight trip is recommended to the gorgeous Seoraksan National Park with it’s dramatic granite rocks and diverse fauna. There are many walking and hiking trails, but choose carefully as some are steep or long and not suited to families.
For lovers of history, take the 2 hour ride on a KTX train to Gyeongju which feels like a large open air museum. Attractions include the Bulguksa Temple, Anapji Pond, and the expansive park of the Daereungwon Tomb Complex. Stay at least two nights here to best enjoy the former capital of the ancient Silla kingdom that ruled much of the Korean peninsula for 1000 years.
The most affordable destination on this list. With an impressive mix of Malay, Indian, Chinese and British cultures – Malaysia is one of the best destinations in Asia to visit for its natural beauty. Head north from the capital of Kuala Lumpur to explore Cameron Highlands where you can wander along nature trails that weave through a lush green landscape.
One of Malaysia’s highlights is Lankgawi Island – best accessed by flying from Kuala Lumpur or Changi Airport in neighbouring Singapore. With resorts and accommodation to suit every budget, spend a few days enjoying the slower pace of life that this island offers. If you feel active, why not try Underwater World Langkawi, Langkawi Cable Car or take a mangrove boat tour of Kilim Geopark.
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