For families planning a holiday, Southeast Asia offers endless opportunities to have fun and build memories. Children of all ages will gasp with astonishment at the sight of beautiful temples and palaces, and will giggle with delight at a chance to feed and bathe elephants. Here are a list of top recommended activities for families with children in countries throughout Southeast Asia!
Few sights ignite the imagination like the ancient ornate towers of Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument on the planet, covering an astonishing 162.2 hectares of Cambodian jungle. There are many fanciful legends concerning the temple complex. One Chinese traveler in the 13th century named Daguan Zhou reported that many believed that a divine builder constructed Angkor Wat in a single night. Angkor Wat was of course constructed by ancient architects and builders, and it took far more than a single night. But that takes nothing away from its mystique. If anything, it makes their achievement even more astonishing. The lotus-shaped towers, the broad galleries, and the elaborate bas-reliefs are breathtaking. Children and parents alike will enjoy exploring these beautifully preserved ruins. A visit to Angkor Wat is like a trip back in time, where the spiritual heritage of Cambodia brings the past to life.
The city of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand boasts some spectacular sights, but perhaps its greatest draw is its nearby elephant camps. At an elephant camp, families can enjoy How to interact with elephants ethically, and can even help to feed, bathe and care for them. Over recent years, the ethical concerns surrounding elephant camps have become more broadly known to tourists. The important thing to know is that some elephant camps are unethical, but others treat their animals very well, and may even aid in conservation efforts. Any child who has ever enjoyed visiting a zoo will go wild at the chance to actually interact with elephants in Thailand. Parents too will find this activity unforgettable—it is far and away one of the most magical experiences families can have in Southeast Asia!
In northern Vietnam is one of the most majestic, unique landscapes in the world—a special place called Ninh Binh. It is sometimes called the “Ha Long Bay on Land,” because the scenery is so similar—but instead of the tranquil waters of the bay, the karst formations of Ninh Binh rise over bright green rice paddies and lazy winding rivers. One great way for families to enjoy Ninh Binh’s spectacular beauty is by cycling. In fact, this is such a popular activity that you should have no problem finding bicycles to rent—your hotel may even loan them out for free. Because Ninh Binh’s ground is remarkably flat, cycling here is exceptionally easy, even for younger children who might be challenged by hills. Enjoying the fresh air and the magnificent scenery, families that cycle through Ninh Binh will create memories to last a lifetime.
When it comes to escapism, there is no destination to match the opulent modernity of Dubai. This city is famous for its record-setting skyscrapers, its artificial islands, and its luxurious resorts. Naturally, it also is home to some of the most remarkable amusement parks on the planet. Dubai’s most popular theme park is Aquaventure Waterpark, featuring swimming pools and waterslides in an environment made to resemble an ancient temple complex. Not far behind is Wild Wadi Waterpark, located right near the Burj Al Arab and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, where families can enjoy a wave pool, artificial surfing machines, and more thrilling water slides. Other amazing entertainment parks in Dubai include IMG Worlds of Adventure, the largest indoor theme park in the world (opened just last year), Ski Dubai, the third largest indoor ski slope in the world, and Global Village, which is a giant themed marketplace where tourists can purchase souvenirs from around the world in one location. Each of these parks offers a unique and magical experience like no other in the world.
No family vacation to Asia is complete without at least one day at the beach! One fantastic destination to add to any family itinerary for visiting Southeast Asia is Ngapali Beach in Myanmar. Here children can play in pristine white sands while parents relax in the shade of palm trees, gazing out at the clear crystal waters. Ngapali is a wonderful union of opposites, a place where modern comforts meet with traditional life. There are quite a few upscale resorts here where families can enjoy all the amenities of home, but Ngapali retains its local character. While swimming and sunbathing, travelers can watch the locals out fishing in their charming little boats. Later that evening, those same seafood delicacies are served in hotel restaurants. The other reason Ngapali is an especially great choice for families is its tranquil, sleepy atmosphere—including at night. Whereas many other beaches throughout Southeast Asia turn into all-night party destinations after dark, Ngapali actually settles down to sleep. That means children can wake up well-rested and refreshed and ready for their next adventure in the morning.
The delicious flavors of Thailand are renowned worldwide, and are a favorite for many families, who delight in the refreshing taste of lemongrass and the spiciness of curry. Tourists looking for a great way to bond as a family and bring those same authentic flavors home to their own kitchens will find the perfect opportunity to do both at a Thai cooking school! This is also a wonderful way to get to know some of Thailand’s friendly locals, and get to see a different aspect of the country. Families that sign up for Thai cooking classes will discover why Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles.” Southeast Asia truly is a spectacularly diverse part of the world in terms of history and geography. For families with children who want to experience and share in the delights of the region, adventures await around every corner.