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Having lived in Cambodia with two small children, there isn’t a part of family travel in Southeast Asia Chris Greener hasn’t thought about. He answers some of our most frequently asked questions.
1. Is Southeast Asia safe for children?
Absolutely. The people of Indochina and Burma are some of the most genuine and friendly you will ever meet on your travels. Rough Guides even put them up there as some of the world’s most friendly countries – Burma making 6th, Laos at 3rd and Cambodia at the top spot! Best of all, they have a love for all children.
Travelling around is extremely easy with a private car and guide, and the road conditions are generally very good. There are beautiful, high-quality hotels in all locations, and amazing (safe) food options – always a worry when travelling with kids – are in abundance.
2. Are there ways to keep small children entertained?
When travelling with small children the key is to keep ‘boring’ cultural sights to a minimum. Indochina and Burma have an array of fun, hands-on and interactive experiences that keep kids (and adults) entertained and engaged. From pottery, lantern and kite making classes, to boat/cyclo/tuk tuk rides and interactive days out with elephants, there is something for every family.
3. Does Southeast Asia have anything for teenagers?
Where to begin… The temples of Angkor and Bagan, pagodas of Luang Prabang, the old town of Hoi An and karst mountains of Halong Bay are truly memorable sights – often ending up on bucket lists – but they don’t provide much of a ‘fun’ aspect.
If travelling with teenagers, it’s fun to arrange activities alongside these classic sights. Zipping through jungle canopies by zip wire, kayaking sunken forests and limestone karst mountains, channelling your inner Indiana Jones at long lost jungle temples, tracking gibbons in dense forests, trekking and bathing with elephants, learning how to harvest rice with local farmers, cycling through villages and mountainous scenery, zipping through backstreets on a vintage Vespa or the countryside on the back of a quad bike, snorkelling on pristine coral reefs, the list just goes on and on…
4. Are tailored itineraries stressful with young children?
Not at all. With tours that are tailored to every family’s individual needs, there is plenty of flexibility; whether you want action packed days, time at leisure to explore or relax by the pool, or a combination of both.
Once the itinerary has been finalised, it is still flexible when you are on the ground and can be changed and adapted on the spot. Your private driver and guide take care of everything, so you are free to choose start and end times, as well as when to eat and what to do.
5. Can you go on a group tour as a family?
There is no reason why not, but we would recommend a tailor-made tour for a family in Indochina and Burma (Myanmar). Group tours can be structured with set departure times and are often filled with long days’ sightseeing.
A bespoke holiday, tailored to your requirements gives the greatest flexibility enabling you to choose activities and hotels that suit. Need time by the pool? No problem. Want to leave late the following day? You can choose. Need an early lunch? We know just the place!
6. Is Southeast Asia good for multi-generational holidays?
Absolutely. With a multitude of individual experiences and interesting sites to see, Indochina and Burma have plenty to keep every generation happy. The flexibility of tailored tours mean that kids can stay by the pool while parents or grandparents see classical sites, before getting together for hands-on experiences.
In Asia, it’s also not uncommon for whole families – from great grandparents to great grandkids – to live together, so multi-generational families can expect a warm welcome.
If you had one experience for each age group what would it be?
0 – 2 years
Luang Prabang in Laos is an extremely beautiful, easygoing and laidback town. Boutique and friendly hotels make seeing some of the most iconic sites in Southeast Asia stress-free, and a tailored itinerary means you can wander freely down the old streets of the UNESCO World Heritage town at your own pace.
3 – 6 years
Hands-on workshops in Vietnam such as kite/lantern/ceramics/puppet making are fun activities for all the family, especially little ones.
7 – 10 years
The perfect age for elephant experiences! Kalaw in Myanmar and Luang Prabang in Laos both have very responsible organisations with focus on education and animal welfare.
11 – 14 years
Jungle zip-lining – This can be done in both Siem Reap and Pakse. Incredibly fun, with the highest safety standards. In Siem Reap the Angkor zip-line is a half-day thrill-seeking adventure through the jungle in the heart of the UNESCO Angkor Archaeological Park. With 21 platforms, 10 individual zip-lines, 3 suspended sky bridges and a jungle nature trail trek it’s an amazing experience away from the temples.
In Pakse, this goes up yet another level; stay overnight in tree houses in the jungle while after spending a full day zip-lining, jungle trekking and swimming in waterfalls. Not a ‘boring’ temple in sight!
For more information about travelling to Southeast Asia with a family, get in touch with our team.