What is the best family holiday destination in Asia? We love traveling around Asia, especially South East Asia. It really is one of the best travel destinations with kids. We traveled for 10 months around Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and the Philippines a few years ago when our son was a toddler and would go back in a heartbeat. Obviously, we haven’t been everywhere (it’s on the list though! ;-)) so we’ve asked our favorite travel bloggers to help us create this roundup with the best places to visit in Asia with your family.
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- 1 Getting around in Asia
- 2 Best time to visit Asia
- 3 Best places to visit in Asia with kids
- 4 Asia with kids, yes or no?
If you’re looking for family vacation ideas for destinations in Asia, this is a great place to start. Twelve of our fellow family travel bloggers recommend the best family holiday destinations in Asia, from their own experience. From budget travel to luxury travel, Asia has it all. And we found it surprisingly easy to travel around Asia, even with a toddler.
Interested in other family travel destinations? Also read:
Best places in Europe to visit with kids
Best places to visit with kids in the USA & Canada
Getting around in Asia
As I mentioned before we traveled around South East Asia with a toddler for ten months. Every though traveling with kids is very different from traveling solo or traveling as a couple, it was much easier than we thought. We’ve traveled by plane, train, bus, boat, car, tuk-tuk, motorbike and just about any other form of transport you can think about. And had a blast. Of course, traveling with young kids that still nap during the day requires some adjustment, but it’s very doable!
It varies per country what forms of transportation are available. Most things in Asia are very affordable for us, and this includes transportation. So hiring a driver, whether it’s for a one-way trip or a few days can be a very good option for families with young kids. We chose to hire a driver to get to a few destinations in Bali and also in Sri Lanka for sections where there wasn’t a direct bus or train connection. In Vietnam we traveled from Nha Trang to Dalat with an EasyRider tour by motorbike (with our little boy in the back carrier on my back). Thailand has an excellent train network and in The Philippines buses and ferries are a great way to get around. Domestic flights are often quite cheap, with budget airlines like AirAsia, Nok Air and Jetstar offering great deals.
Best time to visit Asia
Asia is a huge continent and it’s impossible to determine the best time to visit for all the countries combined. Even within a country it varies. For instance, in Thailand the rainy season on the Gulf Coast (Koh Samui, Koh Phangan & Koh Tao) starts in November, but this is when it ends on the Andaman Sea coast. So November to May is a great time to visit the Andaman Coast (Phuket, Krabi, Koh Phi Phi), while the best time to visit the Gulf Coast is April to October. Make sure to check before you book! If you don’t mind the rain (which usually doesn’t last all day anyway), you can get great deals in the low season!
Best places to visit in Asia with kids
If you’re planning your Asia holidays with kids, it’s good to be prepared. Which countries and places are great to visit with kids and what can you expect? Is it easy to get to and to travel around, what attractions are there, what activities are especially great with kids? Check our recommended destinations in Asia below and find out.
Komodo with kids
While Bali is the go-to destination for families visiting Indonesia, there are so many other amazing islands to discover. Komodo National Park may be best known as being home to the famous Komodo dragons, but the National Park offers so much more for families as well. Crystal clear beautiful blue waters teeming with underwater wildlife, picturesque traditional phinisi Indonesian boats and mountainous volcanic islands are just waiting to be explored.
The gateway to Komodo National Park is the town of Laluan Bajo on the island of Flores. Fly in and take a multi-day boat trip through Komodo National Park with lots of opportunities to snorkel or dive, see the world’s largest lizards, hike to some epic viewpoints, swim with manta rays and enjoy amazing sunsets over the water. Our kids loved the adventure of sleeping and living on a boat for a few days. There are boats to suit any style and budget, from backpackers budget boats to luxurious schooners to fully equipped dive liveaboards. The island of Flores is definitely worth exploring as well with its traditional villages, volcanoes, and off-the-beaten-path vibe.
Recommended by Dawn from 5 Lost Together. Read more about their trip from Flores to Lombok by boat.
Kuala Lumpur with kids
Kuala Lumpur is a fabulous destination for a family holiday. It’s a great introduction to Asia in easy, modern surrounds with tons of attractions for families. It also has fabulous food and is very affordable.
One of the best places for families to visit is KLCC. This is the center of Kuala Lumpur and there is a huge park area with one of the biggest playgrounds I have seen and has a big water playground as well. Surrounding this park are some great family attractions including an aquarium and the Petrosains Discovery Centre which is a fun science museum. There’s also the gigantic Petronas Twin Towers with a big shopping center and many eating options.
Another favorite place of ours is the KL Bird Park. This massive bird park is beautiful to walk around with many chances to get close to and learn about the birds.
Finally, Kuala Lumpur also has a KidZania which is our kids favorite attraction in the world. It’s the perfect place for your next holiday.
Recommended by Sharon from Dive into Malaysia. Read about the best places in Malaysia she recommends you to visit.
Singapore with kids
Singapore is a great place to visit with your family. We lived there for 7 years and we still go back often because it is such a fun place to visit for the kids.
There is loads to do in Singapore to keep the kids entertained. A visit to the Singapore Zoo should definitely be on your list, and the next-door Night Safari also makes for a thrilling visit. Across town the beautifully landscaped Jurong Bird Park houses over 8,000 birds and boasts the world’s largest walk-in aviary. Sentosa Island is family-getaway paradise, jam-packed with family-friendly attractions, including Universal Studios Singapore, the Southeast Asia Aquarium and Adventure Cove Waterpark.
Beyond the theme parks and zoos, there are two beautiful gardens: the Botanic Gardens and Gardens by the Bay to wander around, beaches to play on, the Singapore River to sightsee by boat, and colorful neighborhoods, such as Chinatown and Little India to explore.
On top of all of this, Singapore is buggy friendly, nearly all restaurants are child-friendly, and the majority of malls have excellent baby care facilities.
Recommended by Marianne from Mum on the Move. Read more about things to do in Singapore with kids.
Langkawi with kids
I always thought the island of Langkawi in Malaysia was more of a honeymoon destination however, when we visited, I was happily surprised to find there are plenty of things for kids to do in Langkawi. I would even say it should be considered one of the most family-friendly destinations in South East Asia. Langkawi is a relatively small island yet it has a good variety of activities to suit all age groups.
We spent 5 nights on Langkawi and visited the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, did a Mangrove Tour, took the Langkawi SkyCab and SkyBridge, went to Paradise 101 Island, saw a cultural show at the Aseania Resort, did a sunset dinner cruise and visited the local market. We were so busy with activities we hardly had time to spend at the beautiful beaches surrounding Langkawi. Underwater World Langkawi is another great place to visit with young kids, we ran out of time for this one.
We stayed at the Meritus Pelangi Resort, about 10mins drive from the airport on Pantai Penang Beach. There are a number of shops and restaurants a short walk along the beach if you don’t want to eat at the resort. Taxies are cheap on Langkawi making getting around really easy.
Recommended by Sally from Our3kidsvtheworld.
Koh Lipe with kids
Koh Lipe is a Thai island destination that has recently been growing in popularity. On my latest visit in 2018, I noticed quite a lot of young families staying on the island. Why does this island suit young families so well?
Firstly, there are no parties. Koh Phangan and Koh Phi Phi are well known for their late night party vibe. However, Koh Lipe is tame in comparison. There are a handful of chilled out bars to hang out at, and kids are generally welcome to join and have a fruit shake instead of a Long Island Iced Tea.
Secondly, there’s loads to do. Snorkeling, sea kayaking, hiking on the neighboring Koh Adang, and riding longtail boats around the Andaman. There is no lack of things to do on Koh Lipe, meaning that you and the family will never get bored.
So, if you’re looking to visit one of the Thai islands next, I definitely suggest considering Koh Lipe. You won’t be disappointed.
Recommended by Josh from The Lost Passport.
Southern Sri Lanka with kids
Visiting southern Sri Lanka was a highlight for our family, with so many attractions to suit families. Depending on how much time you have for your visit, choosing what to see can be the most difficult part.
The beach towns in southern Sri Lanka are relaxed, with the beaches themselves clean and great for families to swim in. Our family stayed in Mirissa, and we enjoyed fresh seafood on the beach every night, and went on a whale watching boat trip where we were able to see two whales and other ocean wildlife. There are two well-known national parks in southern Sri Lanka, Yala and Udawalawe National Parks, where families can take part in an affordable safari. There are plenty of animals to see, including the child-pleasing elephants, with not a lot of time between sightings to make sure our 6-year-old was kept entertained throughout.
Then there is the famous Sri Lankan tea country, with cooler temperatures and laid back towns, tea plantations to explore and see how tea is made, and best of all, the chance to take an old world train ride through the hills along the famous Ella to Kandy route.
Getting around southern Sri Lanka is a breeze, with families being able to hire affordable and comfortable cars with drivers to make travel between towns hassle free. And the Sri Lankans absolutely love children. There are many homestays and small family run hotels in southern Sri Lanka. And our 6-year-old was always the center of attention and often given the run of the house, letting us enjoy our cup of Sri Lankan tea in peace.
Southern Sri Lanka is affordable, friendly, and with a great many attractions, a wonderful place for families to visit.
Recommended by Markus from The Roaming Fork. Also check their 2-week itinerary for Sri Lanka.
Taiwan with kids
Traveling to the subtropical island of Taiwan with kids is the perfect way to experience Asia and have an adventure that takes you from city action to nature’s wonders. Taiwan is a family-friendly travel destination because it is safe and affordable while offering all kinds of entertainment and spectacular attractions. As an expat living in Taiwan with our two kids, I have explored all over the island taking in the culinary delights like dumplings and sesame noodles, and hiking trails in one of the 9 national parks such as Taroko National Park, the deepest marble canyon in the world.
Plan your trip to Taiwan to make time for the major cities and a few off-the-beaten-path adventures. Taipei is Taiwan’s largest city and makes a good starting point for a few days exploring the famous night markets where kids can try new foods and play carnival games. Daan Park offers kids a fun place to play, while a gondola ride on the Maokong tram is a great way to get above Taipei and enjoy a cup of oolong tea at the top. Our kids loved biking around Sun Moon Lake and learning about Taiwan’s aboriginal tribes in the area.
Make your way south to Taiwan’s cultural heart, Tainan, where old traditions blend with modern scenes. Further south, Taiwan’s second largest city of Kaohsiung offers a vibrant art scene, scenic pagodas on Lotus Lake, and snorkeling with green sea turtles on nearby Xiaoliuqiu island. A visit to Taiwan isn’t complete without a visit to Taiwan’s aquamarine waters near Kenting where you can relax at sunset while kids play at the beach. Come see why Taiwan is perfect for your next family trip to Asia!
Recommended by Cerise from Enchanted Vagabond.
Vang Vieng with kids
The picturesque town of Vang Vieng in Laos lies along the banks of the Nam Song River surrounded by towering limestone karst cliffs, numerous caves, icy blue lagoons, and endless rice paddies.
Once famous for its wild river parties and backpacker excess, Vang Vieng has now cleaned up its act to become one of South East Asia’s top adventure centers. If you’re looking for an action-packed family destination, Vang Vieng has it all.
Rock climb up the limestone cliffs, go tubing down the river, hike to the top of Phangern Mountain, rent a kayak or a mountain bike, go spelunking any one of the four surrounding caves, swim in the Blue Lagoon, fly through the countryside in an ATV or our top choice, go hot air ballooning. At $90 per person, this is probably the cheapest place in the world to experience the magical feeling of floating high up above the rice paddies.
At the end of a jam-packed day take a moment to enjoy a sundowner drink at any of the numerous riverside restaurants and cafes. This dusty little town will charm and delight you, but above all, it will definitely get your adrenaline pumping!
Recommended by Jeanne from Learning to Breathe Abroad.
Siem Reap with kids
Siem Reap in Cambodia is the gateway to incredible Angkor Wat, and hosts millions of tourists every year. It is a bustling city with accommodation and dining options to suit all different travelers, including families. Tuk-tuks are the main form of transport, which is a real novelty for most kids and is great fun to experience together! And the food was one of the highlights for us in Siem Reap as there is a huge, inexpensive café scene there which hosts every type of cuisine to taste. Ice-cream is also very important to kids in such a hot place, so we sampled a lot of that too!
The temples of Angkor Wat are fascinating, though young kids may get bored of it after a day or two. Our kids loved exploring Ta Prohm (the Tomb Raider temple) but that was about enough for them. Luckily there are many more activities for families to enjoy! We spent a lovely afternoon spotting all sorts of butterflies at the Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre, and we highly recommend the high-energy Phare Circus! The performers are amazing and it was a lot of fun to attend. There are also many tours families can take, to explore the Tonle Sap lake where there is a huge bird sanctuary and a floating village, or to learn traditional martial arts, cooking, crafts, dancing, fishing and much more!
Recommended by Emma from Small footprints big adventures
Shanghai with kids
Shanghai is a very modern metropolis and is a very family-friendly destination. First of all, It has a labyrinth metro system which enables the families to move around comfortably. The entire public transportation system is not only helpful but also low-cost.
There are many activities for families with kids in Shanghai. Many indoor playgrounds are open to babies and small kids. These places are usually located in shopping malls. Parks in Shanghai offer many family-friendly activities, such as flying kites, picnics and kids playgrounds. Some parks are free for the public. On a sunny day, visiting one of the many theme parks is also a nice excursion.
On a rainy day, families can visit one of the many museums, such as the Shanghai Natural History Museum. Most of the museums have bilingual (English and Chinese) descriptions. If your kids aren’t into skyscrapers and mega shopping malls, then take them to one of the 12 ancient water towns near Shanghai.
Many families with kids always struggle to find food for their kids while traveling abroad. In Shanghai, this is never the problem. You can find all the types of food your family eats back home. Alternatively, most well-known international fast-food chains have their establishments in Shanghai. It is very convenient to cater to your family.
Recommended by Mijia from My Magic Earth.
Japan with kids
Japan is one of only a few countries we have visited that truly caters to families traveling with children. From tiny toilets in public restrooms to child-sized pajamas and slippers in hotels, you’ll find family amenities everywhere you go. The country is one of the safest and cleanest countries in the world which is something every parent can appreciate. But it isn’t just the conveniences and comforts Japan offers that makes the country a great family destination.
Children will be fascinated with the bright lights and neon colors in Tokyo. And kids of all ages will enjoy taking part in hands-on cultural lessons at temples and shrines throughout the country, especially in cities like Kyoto and Nara.
Japan is also the birthplace of anime. For this reason, many of the restaurants, shopping centers, and family attractions have a whimsical, cartoonish appeal to them that kids will adore. If you’re looking for a family-friendly destination to add to your bucket list, Japan is definitely one to consider.
Recommended by Melissa from Parenthood and Passports. Read more about visiting Japan with kids.
Port Dickson with kids
Port Dickson is a town in the West Coast of Malaysia, approximate 90 km from the capital – Kuala Lumpur. We love Port Dickson particularly the Lexis Hibiscus resort.
Every room has their private pool, and they hold the World Record for the most number of swimming pools in a resort. The resort is one of Malaysia’s iconic beach resorts. The only one in the shape of a Hibiscus. Everything is pretty self-sufficient in the resort. They have facilities like a water theme park, water sports activities, indoor kids playground. And since the resort is big, they offer buggy services to your room doorstep. Saving a lot of energy and time on commuting. What I like best about this resort is the private pool, you can basically soak yourself in the water all day. Great for a family with kids, because they can have the whole pool to themselves.
And if you have your own transport, you can drive out to nearby eateries for a very affordable meal. Sumptuous Seafood meal for 2 costs less than RM100.
Recommended by Donovan from Money Saving Daddy.
Asia with kids, yes or no?
After reading all these wonderful experiences our fellow family travel bloggers had in various Asian countries I’m just about ready to pack our bags! How about you? So much culture, nature and amazing new things to discover. A few of these destinations in Asia we’ve already visited (and loved!) but a lot are still on our bucket list! Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, and Komodo NP to name a few. The short answer to the question ‘should you visit Asia with kids?’ is a very simple yes. The long answer? Well, just read all those wonderful stories above and you’ll know exactly why!