My very favourite place to visit with my daughter is Asia. If I don’t take a trip to South East Asia at least once a year, I start to go a little crazy. It’s not just the weather, although you can definitely find somewhere warm at any time in the year. But also the food, the hotel standards and the amazingly friendly people. I’ve written heaps on visiting Asia with kids so thought it would be helpful to have all the blogs in one place. Hopefully this will help you plan your next family holiday to South East Asia.
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Admittedly a long way for us to travel but this stunning Indonesian island is well worth the immense journey. If you’re nervous about the journey, be sure to check out this post on travelling long haul with kids. Bali is home to some of the most incredible coastline and mountains I have seen. It has sandy beaches a plenty and cultural hotspots perfect for teaching kids about history and spirituality. Despite its reputation as a bit of a backpackers playground there are still plenty of spots that feel relatively undiscovered.
If it’s your first time in Asia with kids the head to the family friendly resort area of Nusa Dua. This small peninsular is pretty much all Western chain hotels making it ideal for little kids. Find out more about visiting Nusa Dua with kids and discover why this tourist bubble is an ideal base to explore much of the island. Here you’ll also find one of my very favourite hotels. The Westin Nusa Dua is a five star luxury resort home to some brilliant pools, a private beach and amazing kids club.
If its culture you’re after then make sure to visit the city of Ubud, Bali’s cultural capital. This is the one place in the world we seriously considered relocating to. The people are wonderful, the spirituality and culture draws you in. Whilst the surrounding mountains, rice terraces and small villages means you wont want to leave. And with its many, many vegetarian restaurants, foot spas and yoga retreats it feels like one of the healthiest places in the world. Read more about Ubud with kids in this full destination guide. Whilst here we stayed at the lovely Lokha Ubud Hotel and Spa. It has the most amazing infinity pool which looks out to the surrounding jungle. Heaven!
Jimbaran still feels very undiscovered and authentic. It’s a small fishing village with a handful of luxury hotels. It’s close proximity to the airport, Uluwatu and Seminyak make it a brilliant first stop in Bali. Make sure to visit the fish BBQ restaurants on Jimbaran beach and take in a spectacular sunset over the Bali Sea. Read my full Jimbaran destination guide for more details.
Seminyak is another great place to base yourselves in Bali with kids. Home to all those colourful beach parasols and bean bags you’ll have spotted all over instagram. This is up market Bali and is home to the famous Potato Head beach club. The perfect place to spend a day relaxing. Read more about visiting Seminyak with kids.
Malaysia is an extremely diverse country, home to stunning remote islands towering out of the Sea and buzzing, vibrant cities. The people of respectful, friendly and happy to help. Whilst you can always find some recognisable brands this is a great place to immerse yourselves in a different culture. If you’re heading all the way to Asia with kids you want it to feel different right?!
You’re likely to start you family trip to Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. A fantastic city which blew me away with its stunning architecture. Little ones will love the interactive Petrosains Science centre in the Petronas Towers and KLCC park with its lovely shady spots and splash play area. Discover more about Kuala Lumpur with kids. Or follow our 3 days in Kuala Lumpur here. We stayed at the Berjaya Times Square hotel which to be honest needed a bit of an upgrade but was in the perfect location next to a shopping mall and indoor theme park.
If a visit to Asia with kids means pristine beaches and luxurious hotels then Langkawi is the perfect island for you. With some of the best beaches in the world and a diverse ecosystem it is one of my ultimate happy places. Discover all the best things to do in Langkawi with kids in this blog. When we stayed on the Island we opted for another amazing Westin hotel.
Penang is another brilliant island to visit in Malaysia with kids. Many parts of it feel untouched by tourism and we found it colourful and quirky. We had 3 days in Penang which felt just about long enough to explore but I could have easily stretched it out to a full week. My favourite part was exploring the street art in George Town, Penang’s capital. Check out what else to do in Penang with kids.
Just off the southern tip of Malaysia is the Island of Singapore. Another great option for your first visit to Asia with kids. It somehow manages to combine big city with nature, has a wealth of great attractions but also a rich and vibrant history which is very much celebrated today. If you’re visiting Singapore with kids they’ll love a trip to Universal Studios Singapore or a magical night safari at Singapore zoo. Everywhere feels super clean, easy to get around due to it’s fabulous transport system and very welcoming. We stayed at the Carlton hotel, Singapore which was a lovey centrally located modern hotel. Just down the road from Raffles.
Thailand is where my love affair with Asia really began. I’ve been back so many times it often feels like coming home. What makes this a great option for a family holiday to Asia is the diverse nature of the cities and islands. There honestly is somewhere to suit everyone and the climate means that during most months of the year you’ll be able to find somewhere dry. You can read more in this Thailand travel guide.
You’ll likely begin your holiday in Bangkok. An absolute belter of a city to visit with kids. Yes, it is a bit bonkers and can be super busy and a little smelly at times but this really is a great place to fully immerse yourselves in the culture. The markets of the Khao San road with kids are fun to visit and barter for souvenirs and the Temples dotted around the city are a must visit for some culture. My favourite family friendly hotel in Bangkok is the Anantara Sathorn. Located close to the train system but slightly away from the madness. Read all about visiting Bangkok with kids.
Koh Samui is one of the most expensive islands in Thailand but it’s also one of my favourites. And a very easy one to visit with kids. It’s home to pristine sandy beaches and luxury hotels with a sprinkling of pretty temples. It’s also the easiest place to stay if you are planning on visiting a full moon party on neighbouring Koh Pha-ngan. Koh Samui is rich in nature with glorious jungle terrain and spectacular views out to sea. We spent two full weeks on the island and didn’t get bored once!
Another beautiful Thai island is Phuket. Slightly cheaper than Koh Samui with more of a party feel but there are still plenty of places to escape the gap year hedonists. We love the southern tip of the island with its quiet white sandy beaches and relaxed vibe.
If you’re looking for culture, head north to Chiang Mai. Home to some absolutely stunning temples in an ancient walled city. It’s here we went rice picking, visited an ethical elephant sanctuary and ate amazing food. This place feel very authentically Thai.
Perhaps less popular than Thailand but no less stunning, Vietnam is an amazing country to book in Asia with kids. It’s still amazing value to visit with five star hotels in slightly off the beaten track locations costing less than a meal out here in the UK. Check out what you need to know if you’re planning a family holiday to Vietnam.
Located on the central coast of Vietnam, Da Nang is a brilliant city to base yourselves. It feels like it’s just starting to develop and much of its tourism is domestic. Check out these brilliant things to do in Da Nang to see why we love it so much. This is also the best place to base yourselves if you plan on visiting the Golden bridge Vietnam in the Ba Na Hills theme park. An absolute bonkers but brilliant day out with kids. Da Nang is also home to some stunning beaches so be sure to pack your bathers. During our visit we stayed at the glorious Ocean Villas which I found on Airbnb. I loved the pool and fact we could cook our own food. But check out these other great places to stay in Da Nang, Vietnam.
Probably one of the prettiest towns we’ve visited in Asia is Hoi An. Famous for its colourful lanterns and brightly decorated fishing boats. The old town has UNESCO heritage status due to its fascinating mix of Japanese, Chinese and European influences. Again it’s located on some brilliant beaches. Read all about visiting Hoi An with kids.
Where to visit in Asia by Month
Much of South East Asia operates a tropical climate. Meaning the weather is hot, then hotter and wetter. The good news is that you can always find a country going through a dry spell during every month of the year.
January – March
Thailand, Vietnam, The Philippines, Laos
April – June
Malaysia, Bali, Borneo, Singapore
July – September
Borneo, Bali, Malaysia
October – December
Recommended reading for kids to get them ready for their Asian Adventure
Before we set off on a family adventure I always like to read up to get excited. And it’s no different for kids. I recommend ordering a couple of kid friendly books on Amazon to look through together.
For Thailand you could try Aya & Bobby discover Thailand which is a sweet little travel guide. If you’re headed to Vietnam then The Dragon Prince: Stories and Legends from Vietnam has some lovely fairytale style stories from the country. A must read befor a visit to Bali is Leap & Hop Bali. Finally for a bit of fun before you head to Malaysia, try Sherlock Sam and the Vanished Robot in Penang.
For adults then I always recommend the lonely planet guide books. I’m really excited to get this South East Asia one ordered.
What to pack for travel to Asia with kids
If your kids are anything like Piper, they’ll always be hot in Asia. Whether it’s rainy season or not. For that reason, I always take a lot of light, cool clothes. Long sleeves, sun hats and even long, loose trousers come in handy as they provide an extra level of protection from the sun. You wont need to take too much, firstly it’s a massive pain to carry around and secondly you’ll be able to get it washed and pressed extremely cheap. A trip to the laundrette is in fact one of our Asia holiday rituals. Just drop your washing off and collect it a day later. We’ve never had any issues. You’ll also likely want to pick up some new clothes found in the markets.
In most parts of Asia you’ll be able to pick up all the supplies you need but I would make sure to pack all the medicine you will need, any prescriptions, Calpol, rehydration sachets and something for upset stomachs. I also always take heaps of sun cream. You can’t guarantee you’ll find a suitable brand and it is mega expensive over there. (One of the few things that are!)
So have I convinced you to book a trip to South East Asia with kids? It really can be the holiday of a lifetime. Where will you head to first?