Looking to broaden your horizons and give your kiddo a real taste of adventure early on because playgrounds just aren’t enough? Behold the wanderlust-inducing, family-friendly, safe but exhilarating, long & short adventures in the air and underground, in the mountains & in the ocean. Let your curiosity run wild in your family and go get the best memories in Asia! These unique short-haul experiences are endemic to these unbelievable short-haul locations and we urge you to read more about each—our space here is limited but the experiences they have in store are endless! Get ready for 19 family-friendly adventures in Asia to remember!
Grasshopper Adventures's Family Adventure gives your family sweet wheels, namely appropriately-sized mountain bikes modified for the adventure that awaits: 7 days of travel through the diversely captivating landscapes of wonderful Myanmar. You get to know the country actively, up close, peek around corners and seek out gems with the help of not only the bikes but also kayaks, a boat, a plane and more still!
Grasshopper Adventures, www.grasshopperadventures.com
Barefoot Yachts Indonesia, www.barefoot-cruising-indonesia.com
The Maldives abound with opportunities for chill luxury & pure enjoyment, but we would like to direct your attention towards the more unusual activities for those adventuring on the island: freshen up with some ice skating or ice hockey by the beach on the first ice rink in the Maldives, go see underwater art in a semi-submerged tidal gallery in the centre of the largest developed coral lagoon in the islands or hang with the majestic manta rays from May to November at Hanifaru Bay!
Ice Rink, www.jumeirah.com (image sourced from this website)
Underwater Art (The Coralarium by Jason DeCaires Taylor), www.fairmont-maldives.com
Manta Ray Snorkelling, www.anantara.com
Song Saa Private Island, www.songsaa.com (image sourced from their website)
Alila Villas Koh Russey, www.alilahotels.com
Six Senses Krabey Island, www.sixsenses.com
The Royal Sands Koh Rong, www.theroyalsandskohrong.com
Japan's Niigata Prefecture's forte is its ski slopes and its rice fields, but the region also cultivates art & community in unprecedented ways. The Echigo-Tsumari region is an Art Field—160 artworks scattered across the 760 square kilometers, including 200 villages. The art complements nature, and global artists collaborate with the local community. It's a uniquely productive and widely celebrated display of beauty & collaboration which is showcased once every three years during the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, one of the largest art festivals in the world!
Now we go from Malaysian treetops to Malaysian mountaintops, those of a World Heritage Site and one of the world's most important biological sites—Kinabalu Mountain. The giant is also delightfully multifaceted and one of the world's most enjoyably conquerable mountains, so your 10-or-up-year-old can enjoy this adventure with you (locals begin to climb it from the age of 3!). A new Kota Belud Trail, the safest and most scenic one, opened following an earthquake in 2015. New safety measures have been put in place, too, so it's important to book the climb in advance due to a reduced daily climber quota.
Mount Kinabalu, www.mountkinabalu.com
The remarkable Luang Prabang is a constellation of 58 adjacent villages, 33 of which are protected by UNESCO as the Town Of Luang Prabang World Heritage Site for its unique and fantastically well-preserved architectural, religious & cultural heritage. Rosewood's exotic retreat is built in a tropical jungle that surrounds the old city and offers captivating Mekong river cruises and heritage walks that reveal the city's secrets. They also take great care of your kiddos' interests!
Rosewood Luang Prabang, www.rosewoodhotels.com
More Family-Friendly Hotels In Luang Prabang, Website
Camping with little kids (or simply for us old folks) can be unpredictably complicated. One indulgent solution is to go glamping instead. Wild Coast Tented Lodge is situated on a beach next to the jungle and the leopard-inhabited Yala National Park. The resort's tents are state-of-the-art hotel rooms cocooned under canvases and the offer lets you have truly the best of both worlds: the intense nature-dwelling & family-bonding and sweet, sweet luxury.
Wild Coast tented Lodge, www.resplendentceylon.com
Though it may not look like it from a distance, The Great Wall of China can be a real treat for kids. With the right choice of sections & activities, the experience is a combination of hiking & camping, myth, legend & story times, on-foot exploration & cable car views, posing for epic photos & sliding on the epic Toboggan ride. There is also a fantastic repurposed tile factory serving as a picturesque luxury resort with rooms open to vistas of the Wall and perks that allow you to skip the lines!
Camping & Hiking Tours:
Wild Great Wall, www.wildgreatwall.com. Also pretty great for advice & info.
Brickyard at Mutianyu Great Wall, www.brickyardatmutianyu.com
The legend says that, at the beginning of Vietnam's history, the locals had to fight invaders in the Halong Bay (another Heritage Site) and were granted a family of guardian dragons who spat out jewels & jade which turned into the bay's 1,600 magnificent limestone monolithic islands and crashed enemy ships. Heritage Line offers two breathtaking tours—the classic 2 days/1 night Dragon Passage & the 3 days/2 nights Jewels of Halong Bay that takes you to more hidden places. You know how the kids these days sarcastically say "cool story, needs more dragons"? This one actually has them. Don't have enough time? On June 1, 2018 - a new highway connecting capital city Hanoi and UNESCO World Heritage site Halong Bay will open, cutting the four-hour drive time between the popular northern destinations in half. Book up the super affordable day-cruise with Paradise Cruise. They will pick you up in Hanoi and bring you back in the same day!
Heritage Line, www.heritage-line.com
Paradise Cruise, www.paradisecruise.com
Cruising Mekong is indeed an unparalleled way to get to know the heart of Southeast Asia. The Mekong Kingdoms crew takes you on your kind of adventure in your kind of vessel: one-day, daytime, evening trips on a river taxi or a shuttle, or multi-day trips from Laos to Thailand aboard what are in essence floating palaces. Stick to the plan or follow your heart's curious whims, see ancient kingdoms, caves, mountains, and waterfalls, mingle or self-reflect... You get our drift, now go catch Mekong's!
Mekong Kingdoms, mekongkingdoms.com
Genghis Khan Riding Adventure Camp is another experience that transports you into another realm. Feel as close as you can get to that primal feeling of freedom as you go horseback riding with the vast Mongolian landscapes in the backdrop or its dense forests around you. The camp goes to great lengths to be family-friendly, with riding lessons, high flexibility, nannies & more!
Genghis Khan Riding Camp, read more here (there's a lot more!): www.littlestepsasia.com/all-cities/articles/travel/genghis-khan-riding-adventure-camp
While on the subject of glamping, Shinta Mani Wild resort is about to take it to a whole new level in the last quarter of 2018. The only resort of its kind in Asia, it comprises 15 spacious, dreamily luxurious tents perched over river waters and waterfalls and protects the 400-acre valley between Cambodia's 3 oldest parks from poaching, mining, and logging in a synergy of hospitality & conservation. Exploring South East Asia’s last wild estuarine ecosystem and accompanying actual explorers and researchers on their missions to get to know the jungle & its wild inhabitants are only two ways to pass the time, the lack of which will be your one & only problem!
Shinta Mani Wild, www.shintamani.com. There is an age requirement for this property - 13 years and up are allowed making it a perfect teen travel destination.
The Habitat on Penang Hill is the way to go for the ultimate, tree- and wildlife-friendly, environmental-consciousness- and conservation-awareness-raising rainforest experience in Malaysia. It's educational, exciting, mesmerizing. The attractions include the new Canopy & the Tree Top Walk, which elevate you up to 15m in height and put you on the highest public viewing point on the island! Talk about a new perspective! A fest for the eyes, lungs & soul.
The Habitat, thehabitat.my
The city of Guilin is among China's top tourist destinations. It's incredibly scenic, fragrant, and abounds in adventure spots. You can bliss out on a bamboo raft ride among the karst mountains from Guilin to Yangshuo, gasp in the 180-million-years-old Reed Flute Cave, i.e. "The Palace of Natural Arts," marvel at diverse and breathtaking flora, fauna & culture of the Seven Star Park. Stay close to it all in (retro) style at the Alila Yangshuo resort, a repurposed old sugar mill.
Alila Yangshuo, www.alilahotels.com
Bali's Kuta Beach has always been famous as a surfer's paradise, and this is true especially for beginners. Odyssey Surf School is among the best ones in Bali, offering private and small group surfing lessons for all, 7 to 65, so bring the grandparents along too! All instructors are experienced, multi-certified, endlessly patient and effortlessly fun. If your family is a surfer family, these guys can take you on surfing tours across Bali instead!
Odyssey Surf School, www.odysseysurfschool.com/surf-lessons/kids-private-surf-lesson
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is located in the mostly virgin rainforest of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve and has been rescuing orphaned orangutans illegally removed from their homes since 1964. The center is a pioneer of orangutan rehabilitation projects and traveling to see them with your family is an unparalleled experience. Oh, there's also a Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre adjacent to it! Animal lovers & animal don't-minders, get your hearts warmed, saddened and incredibly inspired at the same time!
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, www.sabahtourism.com
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, whc.unesco.org
Little things are as fun & motivating as going ever-higher up with a summit in sight. And rock climbing is simply what you do in Krabi. There are numerous climbing schools like Real Rocks, which offer Beginner & Family climbing tours for all ages at the ultimate rock climbing destination—the epitome of limestone gorgeousness that is Railay Beach. Hotels like Rayavadee also teach you how to conquer the rocks so you can return to their cushions with the happiest sense of accomplishment!
Real Rock Climbing, www.realrocksclimbing.com. (Image sourced from their website)