Top 10: Kid-friendly family vacation destinations

by | Oct 4, 2017

June is an avid traveller who immerses herself into the local culture wherever she goes. In this list she will take us through her top 10 kid-friendly vacation spots in Asia.

10. Tokyo, Japan
UFO Catchers in Tokyo

I’m not much of a city vacationer, hence I’m listing Tokyo at number ten. For me the city is all about immersive, themed restaurants like fishing for your own sashimi, being locked up in a jail cell drinking transfusion juice, vampire cafe, owl/rabbit/cat/hedgehog cafe, Alice in Wonderland cafe … and so many more. For kids, the excitement of winning a plush toy with the UFO catcher and sticker pictures are super fun. Don’t forget to try stripping naked at a public onsen, it’s quite an experience!

9. Hong Kong SAR, China
Character photos at Hong Kong Disneyland

I must sell a little bit about my hometown. It’s a vibrant city and a food paradise (albeit no Taco Bell) where you can Shop till you Drop … tax-free! It features one of Asia’s best public transport systems and you can easily travel from one attraction to another with English directions everywhere. Yes it hosts the modern Disneyland and Ocean Park for kids, but just a short hike or ferry ride away from the city can take you straight to watching the bubblegum pink dolphins, Geoparks or beaches.

8. Sabah, Malaysia
Swimming with schools of fish in Sabah

Sabah has a wealth of beaches, rainforests, coral reefs and wildlife. You can hang out with monkeys, orangutans, turtles, elephants, birds and even the world’s biggest and stinkiest Rafflesia “corpse flower”. Right at the dock of Manukan island, we were greeted with thousands of fry (baby fish). The water was clear, shallow, calm and filled with fish, putting it at the top my list of best beach islands in Asia.

7. Hoi An, Vietnam
Floating lanterns in Hoi An

Hoi An is one of those places where it’s like you’ve stepped back into a concoction of Chinese, French, Japanese and Vietnamese ancient history. They still farm and fish the same way they did hundreds of years ago. You can bike around the region’s open fields and experience being an organic farmer for a day (which supplies the entire region’s veggies), or cast a fishing net from a basket boat. You can chill in their beaches which are relatively unspoiled by development, and of course don’t forget to try what is possibly the best Banh Mi in the world. You can easily travel around Vietnam by train but the language may be a barrier, so pre-book your train tickets at 12go.asia to avoid confusion at the station.

6. Outskirt of Taipei, Taiwan
Releasing sky laterns in Shifen

The city of Taipei in itself is so-so… well, there’s BabyBoss which is a must go for young children … but once you venture away from the capital, it gets much more fun. From releasing sky laterns in Shifen, to cultivating your own spring onion and making Scallion pancakes in Yilan. There are plenty of hands-on adventures to be explored.

5. Phuket, Thailand
Shellfishing on beach in Phuket

Who doesn’t love Thai food. Tourism is big in Phuket, so there’s an abundance of family-friendly activities to do, like snorkeling at Phi Phi Island, water parks, aquariums, ziplining, and sea cave kayaking. Still, my favourite activity is digging on the beach for unidentifiable seafood with locals.

4. Okinawa, Japan
Beach in Okinawa

My kid’s favorite snack food is triangle sushi, better known as Onigiri. You’ll find them in every convenience store in Japan and for some reason they taste better in Okinawa. The biggest reason to bring your kids to Okinawa is the super long roller slides that set your bum on fire; then soothe it by the Tiffany blue sea, snorkeling in one of the world’s best dive spots.

3. Bali, Indonesia
Beach in Bali, Indonesia

Sun, culture and beautiful beaches! Kids love to chill in Bali’s water parks and watching dophins in their natural habitat during sunrise is magical. There are zoos, elephants and bird sanctuaries where you can get up close and personal … just make sure you select places that treat the animals well.

2. Seoul, South Korea
Snowboarding in Seoul, South Korea

If you have an itch to play with snow in Asia, Seoul is the place to go with its closest resort just about an hour away from the city. Couple that with Lotte World and eating live octopus dipped in pepper garlic-sesame oil 😛

1. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Cycling in Siem Reap

USD 0.50 for beer, USD 1 for fresh fruit juice, USD 3 for one hour’s worth of foot massage, do I need to say more? A nice get away from the city; with biking to Angkor Wat, ziplining with gibbons, horseback riding in the country side, pottery throwing taught through sign and body language… Siem Reap tops my list for fun and value. If you can make it there for the Khmer New Year, you can immerse yourself straight into the heart of the water festival … just awesome!

Check out StrayTravel.Asia for more Siem Reap travel tips.

Top 10: .Asia domains

Over the years there have been numerous exciting .Asia domains set up. One of the earliest examples was Johnny Walker’s KeepWalking.Asia as part of an Asia wide TV and online campaign in 2008. Even though the domain is no longer operational, it inspired our continued tracking of live .Asia websites through the KeepClicking.Asia initiative, now integrated with our main site and social media page: http://www.facebook.asia/dot.asia.

Here are my Top 10 picks (at the moment… as it certainly changes all the time) of high traffic .Asia domains that exemplify or showcase how .Asia domains can be used.

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Top 10: eSports teams

Claiming the World Championship titles in 2013, 2015, 2016 and now among favourites for 2017, SKT is all too obvious as the choice for top spot. While they suffered from a slump in 2014, SKT’s star player Faker, argued by some to be the most dominant player of all time has stayed with the team throughout his dazzling career. SKT have already forged a lasting legend for themselves; winning this season’s championship would only push it to the next level.

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Top 10: Modern history’s Asian political giants

Asia is the largest and most populous continent. Throughout Asian history, there have been several political figures who have been extremely influential in shaping the region. How could I miss this opportunity to list some of the most notable and influential Asian figures in recent history? This is my list of “Asian Political Giants of Modern History”.

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Top 10: Cartoons from Asia

No childhood is complete without hours spent watching cartoons (especially in the 80s)! Here, in my opinion, are the top 10 cartoon / anime characters from Asia! If you are looking to experience Anime culture live, check out animefestival.asia.

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Top 10: Asian movies

As a movie lover, it’s always hard to pick the top 10. Frankly speaking, if there is no year limitation (2017), I would definitely have a wider selection.

A movie is not just a form of entertainment, it can also inspire people and even influence an individual’s way of thinking. So here is my top 10 without any specific ranking orders:

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Top 10: Asian superstitions

Like many other Asians, I grew up in a traditional household and my elders – from my grandmother to my mom (to think of it, maybe it was just the women) are highly superstitious. They told me the craziest things! I didn’t want to believe in them, but I wasn’t going to take any chances so I followed those rules. To this day, even though I still don’t believe in those superstitions, I catch myself passing them onto my own daughter. At the very least, they ARE an excellent way to get her to follow rules.

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Top 10: Superfoods

I started falling in love with concept of “food as medicine” since my childhood when I was inspired by “The Huangdi Neijing” (a.k.a The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine 黃帝內經). Later when I started exploring more from the school library, I found that the Greek physician Hippocrates, known as the Father of Early Medicine (ca. 460 BC – ca. 370 BC) had suggested the same concept around the same period of time. He stated “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” This has become my creed of life as eating right is really important! Here are my top 10 choices for super foods.

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Top 10: Exotic foods in Asia

While I claim myself as an adventurous foodie, I have to firstly put out a disclaimer that these 10 exotic foods may be only baby level for some while daring for others – especially westerners. This is just a snapshot of my personal top 10 for exotic Asian foods (that I’ve tried). My list will begin with #10 for least adventurous to #1 for most daring dishes. So here we go…

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Top 10: Asian athletes

I have always wanted to be an athlete since a very young age, but growing up in a traditional Chinese family, school always came first and there was only just enough room to do sports recreationally. It always makes me proud to see how Asian athletes are making a name for themselves in their respective sports. They have the powerful ability to inspire many more kids, including other Asians to start young. Here are my top 10 Asian athletes of all time that I think have been very influentia

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Top 10: Asian musicians

In the face of declining global music sales in recent years, the music industry in Asia, particularly that of China, South Korea and Japan, is a rapidly growing economic sector; home to some of the world’s largest music markets. I have shortlisted my top 10 most influential and outstanding Asian musicians as follows:

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