Where to go on vacation with teenagers in Asia? Teens can be hard to please but with so many cool things going on in the region they’ll never want to go home. Check out the Little Steps guide on where to go and what to do with your teen and tween in Southeast Asia, Australia, China, and beyond.
Sydney has beach, the city, mountains, zoos and so much more to keep tweens and teens entertained. For hiker’s head to the Blue Mountains for the day. Just a short ride away there are hikes for kids of all levels. Why not hire a bike and do one of the 3-hour self-guided tours. Take in the views of Harbour Bridge and the coastal beaches. Taronga Zoo - Wild Ropes, offers breath-taking views of Sydney Harbour while you enjoy the Australian outdoors. The Sydney Heli-Tour is great fun for kids who have a bit more money to spend. Manly beach has whale watching and plenty of beach activities. Plenty to do for kids aged 11-18.
Melbourne gets voted one of the most livable cities and there’s activities galore for teens. If you want a cool Instagram post then go to Rankins Lane, Hosier Lane, Hardware Lane and Degraves Street to take a few shots of unique graffiti art. The ‘Lanes’ are filled with coffee shops, cool cafes, and boutiques that your teen will love exploring. For runners, take the old railroad down to the sea and run along to St. Kilda. Breathtaking views and a good way to burn off all the good food you’ll be eating. Bourke Street is the place to go for girls who like to shop! Check out the malls, department stores and one of designers that adorn this road. The Great Ocean Road and St Kilda are perfect for beach babes in the family. Take advantage of the sunny days. Foodies get ready to eat. DOC pizza is an institution and should not be missed. Head to Grill’d for a burger and Jimmy Grants for Greek.
This well-known spot is an activity mecca. Lord of the Rings fans can head out from Queenstown, either by horse, bicycle or 4-wheel drive and visit sites made famous by the films. Funyak safaris begin with a jet boat ride down the river where parents and kids work together to direct and paddle an inflatable funyak. Hunt for gold nuggets in Arrowtown. There’s a delicious ice-cream store for when you’ve finished. Take the Skyline Gondola up to the top of Bob’s Peak where views of The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Lake Wakatipu, and Walter Peak are spectacular. Go quad biking through the stunning New Zealand countryside. The guides are passionate, the equipment safe and well maintained, and kids will love blazing through the country’s best off-road trails. Thrill seekers should try the Shotover Jet. Reaching speeds of over 85 kmph through the narrow Shotover Canyons, the Shotover Jet is New Zealand's most thrilling jet boating ride.
Water babes will enjoy wake boarding. Either on the beach or at one of their lakes, the kids will have hours of fun. One of the most popular things to do on the island is Elephant trekking. Let the elephants guide you through the jungle and go exploring. Quad bike or ATV tours are a great way to see the island and learn more about nature too! Go through forests, rubber plantations and speed through lakes. For swimmers and divers this is one of the best places in the world to see fish. Take a trip out with one of the many dive schools for an under-water adventure.
Shanghai is full of culture. With the waterfront Bund and the French Concessions there is plenty to see and do for culture buffs. Start your day walking down the Bund and take in the majesty of the architecture – you’d think you were in Europe! Spend the afternoon walking down the tree-lined roads of the French Concessions. Check out cool boutiques, antique shops and coffee shops for a spot of people watching. Head back into town and stop by the lanes. The maze-like lanes from Middle Jianguo Road to Taikang Road are a must do. Locals and tourists alike cram together down these narrow Dickensian streets.
Yangon is one of those mysterious places in Asia that is largely untouched and still feels like it belongs in the 1950’s. There is a lot to see and do but make sure you’re wearing good shoes as you’ll be doing lots of walking! Shwedagon Paya is a must do, this stunning gold temple is mesmerizing. For political kids head to Aung San Suu Kyi’s house on Inya Lake. Here you will be able to see where she was kept under house arrest. Animal lovers should head to the zoological gardens. There are many animals to see and they’re kept in relatively good condition. The reclining Buddha is kept in a warehouse like temple, but this lady is a must visit. There’s also a lovely little temple on the other side of the road you should check out.
Teens will not be bored here. Safe as houses, your kids can be left to their own devices. A day in Sentosa will have them ziplining, beaching, swimming, eating, surfing, paddle boarding, luging – and that’s just the morning! The zoo and night safari are fun to do if your teens are animal lovers. The East Coast Park is great for hiring bikes and sail boats – just don’t fall in. The aquarium and adventure cove are fun for water babes; it’s not just for the kids too, plenty of fun for mom and dad to join in if they’re allowed. After a busy day head to Chinatown for some local food and check out the sights and smells. There are a couple of good hawker centers here, Maxwell is a must do for Tim Sum and chicken rice, and Lau Pau Sat for satay.
Swathed in history this is a historical, yet fun and chaotic city your teens will enjoy. Vung Tau by Hydrofoil is a good way to see the commercial maritime areas as the boat runs through the Saigon River to the sea. Head in land to the War Museum, it can be quite shocking as it talks about the Vietnam war which some may find upsetting but for a great history lesson this is a must do. In the evening the Saigon Skydeck is cool to do. Located on the 49th floor the observation deck offers sweeping 360?degree panoramic views of the entire city and the nearby Saigon River. The markets are great for haggling and buying the necessary Vietnamese hat! If you’re hot, head to one of the three water parks for the afternoon. They’re not big but still good fun for an hour or two.
Japan is obsessed with everything cute. Hello Kitty fans and Cosplay dressers this is the city for you! Cosplay, Japanese teenage culture and Harajuku fashion, was created in Tokyo, and evolved into an international trend. Fashion is huge here and for your mini fashionista this is a great place to be. With one off boutiques and major brands lining the streets this is a shopper haven. There’s plenty to see and do, including the fish market – perfect for sushi lovers, just get up early to get the best fish. The Imperial Palace is stunning and has beautiful gardens you can walk around. Shinjuku is a fun area your teens will like to explore. If you’ve seen the Hachiko movie make sure you get your photo by the famous statue. If you want a day away from the chaos of the city, take the train about 75 minutes to Kamakura. The beautiful seaside town has dozens of Buddhist Zen temples and Shinto shrines. The streets are adorned with local shops, street vendors and many Geisha girls.
Beach bums should head to Bali for some surfing. There are loads of surf schools you can sign your teen up to. Want to cycle the padi fields then sign the kids up for an outdoor excursion and discover the more tranquil side to Bali. There are several rafting companies if your beach babes need more action in the water. Want to walk with the fish? The Seawalker experience is one of the most popular water activities in the island. Waterbom Water Park is a must visit if you don’t want to surf or go rafting. This is the largest water park in Bali. Bali Treetop Adventure Park is a massive, outdoor park with different circuits for kids, teens, and grownups. Whoever said Bali was boring didn’t know where to go!
Off the beaten track, Vang Vieng is simply gorgeous and teen-tastic! Years ago this was one of Asia's top party capitals, but the government has cleaned it up and positioned it as an eco-destination packed full of activities including kayaking, hiking, hot air ballooning, and more. Fly into Luang Prabang and you can easily book up a bus to Vang Vieng. Families with teens will love it!