Winter in Beijing is one of a kind. This year Beijing is expected to experience one of the coldest winters since 2012. Two to three month-long hibernation like the polar bears isn’t an option. However, packing up and heading to a warmer climate might be what you need to get through the other weeks as we countdown to spring. In our November/December issue we featured four places for families looking to brave the freezing temperatures or those looking to shake off the winter temperature.
Planning a family vacation can be difficult but finding a quick guide of places to visit shouldn’t be. Here are six places we’ve picked:
Hong Kong is the best short flight option to enjoy warm temperatures at low cost. There are a lot of attractions for the family to enjoy such as Hong Kong Disneyland, the Ocean Park, The Peak (panoramic view of Hong Kong), the interactive Hong Kong Science Museum, Space Museum to name a few. The one highlight that shouldn’t be missed is the Symphony of lights. Whether this is your first time to Hong Kong or you are a returning visitor, this feature is one that neither you nor the kids will stop loving. Public transportation, the MTR, makes it very easy to navigate around the city apart from far away places but bus and taxi can get you where you need to go or Uber!
Ages: All ages
Singapore is one of the most beautiful cities in Asia if not the world. The kids will be occupied the entire time with all the cool things to do. The biggest attraction is Sentosa Island that has the Universal Studios, S.E.A Aquarium, Dolphin Island, Adventure Cove Waterpark, and more. There’s a free water play area at the Gardens by the Bay. There’s a lot of water activities and aquatic animals to see but there’s also the Singapore Zoo to see other species in the animal kingdom and the Jirong Bird Park. Unlike Hong Kong, a holiday in Singapore comes at a higher price tag from flights, hotels, airbnb, and food. The trip is worth it though.
Ages: All ages
From Singapore one can drive into Malaysia if you have a valid drivers license. A flight from Singapore is 45minutes away but 6 hours from Beijing. Depending on the type of family you are there’s a little of everything in Malaysia to do: visit the Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Centre near Sandakan, Sabah to get all up close and personal with an Orang-Utan, head to the beautiful beaches of Langkawi, enjoy the tranquility at the oldest rainforest in the world at the Mt Kinabalu National Park, see one of the tallest buildings in the world, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, tour the historic Georgetown in Penang, or explore the tea plantations in Cameron Highlands. Malaysia is home to the Legoland in Asia that accommodates over 70 attraction divided into seven themed parks, a massive water park, and unique themes. There are several theme parks such as the Sunway Lagoon, Des WaterPark, and Mines Wonderland in Kuala Lumpur, A’samosa Water World in Alor Gajah, Burkit Merah Laketown Water Park in Semanggol, Perak. A trip to Malaysia is cheaper than to Singapore but a little more than Hong Kong.
Flight: 5-6 hours
From the big cities of Bangkok and Phuket to the smaller areas such as Koi Samui, Railay Beach, Chang Mai, and much more, there’s always a hidden gem for everyone from backpackers to families. Families will enjoy the smaller places as these areas are less crowded and families can enjoy to unplug. In Koh Chang, families can ride on an elephant in the jungle, head to the waterfalls for mangrove kayaking, snorkeling, and sand castles building or beach-combing during low tide for younger kids. In Koh Samui, this is where martial arts lovers can go to the various specialized gyms for a day of hard training then beach bum. It’s advisable to look for a resort or hotel that has a kids club amenities to keep the younger ones occupied. In Chiang Mai, families can enjoy cultural immersion activities, nature hikes, climbing, a visit to the tallest mountain in the country, and enjoy island life. In Krabi, the nearby Railay Beach is perfect for doing nothing but enjoy the serene beaches. For older kids and the more adventurous families, Railay Beach is perfect for rock climbing. Depending on where you want to stay, Thailand can be budget friendly for every family pocket.
Flight: 5-6 hours
Ages: Ages 8+
The place to visit is Ha Long Bay, that’s a few hours away from Hanoi. The truly captivating activity is a visit to the cave and have to rent out a boat to get to the caves. The whole journey there and back to the hotel is definitely a thrill seekers dream come true. The city of Hue is a cultural and historically heavy place to visit and unless your kids are history or cultural buffs it’s best to keep the trip short. This areas is best traveled using a bicycle or motorbike. Ho Chi Minh City’s attraction are the Cu Chi tunnels and the Cao Dai Temple. The historical tours are packed with visits to the war museum, and this is not recommended for children due to the highly graphic nature of the photography and the replicates of prison conditions. The fun side are the three main theme parks, Dem Sen Water Park, Suoi Tien, and Lac Canh Dai Nam.
Flight: 6 hours
Ages: Ages 8+
If your family loves water based sports like scuba diving or surfing then this is your primary destinations for the holidays. Beach bumming is a welcomed vacation when taking a break from all the sports. In Boracay, water sports are the major attractions but not the only ones as families can go explore the Bat Cave or hike Mount Luho to see the local wildlife. If you head to tourist favorite, Cebu, then be sure to check out the Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary and the Cebu Happy World Museum, where you can take some hilarious family mementos. Palawan might just be the most beautiful region of the Philippines, and families can snorkel, scuba dive, hiking, caving, zip lining, island hopping, sunbathing, or swimming. The one activity to try is kayaking through the World’s longest underground river that winds though a cave. The travel time to these places and costs make this an investment of how truly do you want to escape Beijing.