While your kids have months off from their studies, it’s the best time to slip in some R&R whilst getting the whole family to bond at the same time. Gather your leaves and book that trip you truly deserve this summer, and making it more special by taking along the people you love.
The Philippines has its fair share of vacation destinations for the whole family, but with the right budget you can take the gang overseas for a new type of adventure. Southeast Asia has the most diverse amalgamation of cultures while being relatively near to the country, thus less expensive air fares. And with the boom in tourism in Asia, most countries are ready for all types of jet-setters, whether children or adults. Here are a few countries that have been dubbed as the most family-friendly in terms of dining and exploring.
1. Taipei, Taiwan
The Taiwanese are a culture that is known to take their food seriously so you can expect a great variety of dining choices all around the city. Taiwan’s prices for everything are also one of the least expensive in Southeast Asia, much cheaper even than that of the Philippines. The city of Taipei is home to the second tallest tower in the world, the Taipei 101 where your kids can revel in the view from the top floors. Taipei also has a number of shrines and temples, a zoo (which houses pandas), a gondola or cable car going up to the mountain’s peak as well as public parks and vast playgrounds. While most of the residents are not English speakers, they are very hospitable and welcoming to tourists.[crp]
Since the 1990s, Singapore’s government has pushed for the city-state to become a center for culture and the arts. At the present, it is a destination sought for its devotion to tradition and innovations in modernism. Singapore is filled with family-friendly activities that is sure to exhaust your children into their beds at the end of the day. Just a boat ride away, Sentosa Island is home to the massive Underwater World which houses 2,500 species of marine animals and features a petting area. Around the mainland, your kids can still get personal with wildlife at the world-class Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and the exciting Night Safari. Take a stroll or go on a picnic at the Singapore Botanic Gardens where the much-loved Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden is a sure hit for the kids. And if that isn’t enough to fill your family’s itinerary, visit one of the many museums around the city, experience the hawker food stalls or catch a show at the posh Marina Bay Sands. Best of all, there is a plethora of family-friendly resorts and hotels (Festive Hotels and Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa are just a few) around Singapore that won’t leave your kids bored when the day is over.
3. Hong Kong
Bringing your kids to the grand metropolis of Hong Kong can seem daunting at first but you’d be surprised at the child-friendly features the cosmopolitan city has to offer. Of course, there’s the famous Hong Kong Disneyland Theme Park on Lantau Island where you and your kids can be part of the magic for a day, and the Ocean Park Hong Kong in Aberdeen where there are less crowds and offers a majestic view of Southern Hong Kong from their cable car rides. Check out The Peak where it is said to have the best view of the city while the tram towards it is always an exciting experience. For something more laid back, catch a ride on the Star Ferry and the iconic Duk Ling which cruises along Victoria Harbor. And once the sun sets, the streets are alive with the cityscape’s illumination and by the beautiful Symphony of Lights at the Victoria Harbor every night at 8pm.
So get out there and explore the neighboring countries of Southeast Asia. There’s so much more to discover but the countries mentioned above are the friendliest for families wielding younger children. Save your exotic adventures to Cambodia, Vietnam or Indonesia when the kids are older.
However, do remember that cross-cultural experiences are rich pools of learning your children can gain outside of school. So, instill a natural sense of wanderlust in them while they’re young.
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Bea is a single mother addicted to life hacks, books, food and the ocean. Bent on creating a better world for her daughter, she's using writing as a medium to get to where she needs to be, one chapter at a time.