Traveling to South East Asia with Children
Always wanted to go to Asia with children but are afraid to do so? This article explains why there is no need to worry!
First of all....
Asia is not for everyone...
Asia just does not appeal to everyone. It has a different climate, different hygiene standards and a very different culture to any Western culture. If Asia does not appeal to you, stop reading now. It certainly won't appeal to you with Children.
Taking your family to Asia is not like a trip down the road to a organised family park with impeccably cleaned cabins, recently done up washrooms and your usual fast food.
If you want something different and exciting but still not too challenging with your children, I invite you to read on!
South East Asia
What is South East Asia?
As you can read in the Wikipedia article above there are quite a few counties in SEA (South East Asia) you can visit. They all have their own charm and culture. With children there are only a few I would recommend: Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
Package tours are a whole different story and then your choice could be quite different.
The type of holiday I am talking about is one you book yourself so you have the choice what to do and where to go.
I prefer these countries with children since they are generally politically stable, reasonably clean and you get away with just speaking English.
Also one of the main attractions of Asia with children is that the locals just love children, They get a lot of attention, they can run around just about anywhere without being told off.
|Lonely Planet Southeast Asia: On a Sh...|
|The Rough Guide to Malaysia, Singapor...|
|The Rough Guide to Thailand (Rough Gu...|
|Lonely Planet Malaysia Singapore & Br...|
|Lonely Planet Thailand (Country Trave...|
First of all all the three countries above have excellent airlines flying directly to their capitals. That is already a good start of your holiday. I always consider the flight part of my holiday so if you can fly the national airline it already brings you into holiday mode and gives you a taste of the country. The advantage of flying directly is that especially with children, everybody will be so much fitter when you arrive at your destination.
All the times my family and I visited the above countries we only booked a hotel for the first night or two and decided there and then where to go next. In that case it is extremely handy to have a Smartphone/tablet/laptop and a travel guide (like the Rough Guide or Lonely Planet). With these you can book hotels ahead and decide where to go. Both travel guides have the highlights listed in them and from experience I can tell you that those are in general really the things you can go and see.
Easiest is of course to go to the beach resorts and stay there for your whole holiday. If you want to do that, fine but then you might as well stay home and book a beach holiday in your own country. This does not take advantage of being in an exciting Asian country.
Also the beach resorts will be packed with tourists and if there is one thing I do not like while on holiday is being in a place where most of the people are not locals!
The advantage of Asia is that is is reasonably cheap. So if you are looking for accommodation I would recommend a site like http://www.ratestogo.com or http://www.asiarooms.com to book last minute hotels. This means you can book a more luxurious hotel for less money. I always make sure I have a hotel with a pool and a family room including breakfast. The pool entertains the children for a long time, especially after a hot day out and about.
Secondly in Malaysia and Thailand it is quite handy to have a rental car, you can leave carseats (if you need them) in there and your stuff is easier carted around. It also allows you to go places that public transport does not reach and is generally faster too.
Rental cars can be arranged via the internet, with or without carseats, navigation etc.
Make sure that you licence is valid!
A lot of people are scared of the food in Asia. Do not worry! Firstly your Western food is available if you cannot do without. Secondly use common sense and your own judgement and you will be fine!
Most restaurants provide excellent meals and cater for the kids (my kids love anything with noodles and rice as well as Satay).
What to do....
Asia is loaded with national parks, animal parks, temples, museums, caves, shows, shopping malls, snorkeling. Too many things to describe,
If you are interested I could write another article about specific things to do in SEA with children. Let me know in the comments what you are interested in reading and I will write an article about it.
Digital Travel Guides
|Lonely Planet Southeast Asia (Country Guide) (Shoestring Travel Guide)|
For 35 years Lonely Planet's Southeast Asia on a Shoestring has been the backpacker's bible. Discover Cambodia's ancient temples, Thailand's island paradises and the best pho ...Lonely Planet / Only $26.99
|Lonely Planet Thailand (Country Guide) (Country Travel Guide)|
Nobody knows Thailand like Lonely Planet. Our 13th edition will have you soaking up the sun on the island paradises of the south, trekking among the hill tribes and riding ...Lonely Planet / Only $26.99
|Lonely Planet Singapore (City Guide) (City Travel Guide)|
Take in the scent of spices as you trawl through the five-foot-ways of Little India. Ride the MRT out to little-visited Singapore surprises. Discover why locals leave food out ...Lonely Planet / Only $21.99
|Kuala Lumpur Melaka & Penang (Regional Travel Guide)|
‘Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other’. New York TimesThe ultimate, most comprehensive guide to travelling in Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Penang includes up-to ...Lonely Planet
What about those tummy bugs?
First rule of thumb: use common sense!
In all my travels to SEA I have had a tummy bug twice. Once from eating in an American chain restaurant (!) and secondly in a hotel. My children have NEVER been sick,
If you take precautions and you still need medical attention, the facilities in these countries are excellent and easily accessible!
Packing for your vacation
Especially with Children it is important not to have too much stuff with you.