We really loved everywhere we visited during our 17 months on the road - it's hard to choose where we loved the most. Here are a few of our favourite places for kids in Asia. These towns tick all the boxes - they have the best beaches for kids, relaxed vibes for families, cultural activities for everyone to enjoy and learn from, and natural beauty to make you fall in love with with the town and country. We would love to return to each of these places, and maybe one day Emmie will bring her daughter here too.
Mulu National Park, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia
Walk, climb and adventure with kids though this ancient World Heritage listed rainforest, home to thousands of species of plants, oversized pre-historic looking insects and the daily bat exodus where millions of bats stream from the massive cave system in winding black ribbons, searching for mosquitos for dinner. The Mulu Caves are the second largest in the world and you can explore them each day, guided by expert rangers. Wooden walkways navigate the rainforest and you can go off the beaten track or climb to the top of the limestone Pinnacles. We love this place so much we’ve been here twice and would gladly return.
One of our biggest surprises during our trip, the welcoming and diverse city of Taipei is one of the best cities for family adventures we’ve ever been to. Easy access public transport with big, clean toilets and breast feeding rooms (I even wrote a post about this!), the friendliest people who constantly offered us help and were just so kind, beautiful Buddhist temples, delicious food in market stalls and fresh food morning markets, big open green spaces, the original Din Tai Fung, world class museums and revered memorials, the incredible Taipei 101 – the world’s X tallest building – and city views from the moderate hike up Elephant Mountain. We just adored Taipei and I definitely want to return.
Straight to the Spirit town list with Yangshuo. This little village surrounded by Karst mountains and nestled on the Yulong River is one of our favourite Chinese towns. If there is one particular feeling I had in Yungshuo it was joy. Joy is everywhere, especially from the tourists floating downriver on their bamboo rafts, hiking in the mountains and riding bikes around the rivers and fields. Emmie and I went into the Gold Water Caves and slid down a mud slide into a mud bath, it was so much fun. We just had a lovely time here and I was really, really sad to leave - I even had a little tear in the taxi.
Lazy Beach, Koh Rong Samloem, Cambodia
Lazy Beach is a beach and a fancy guesthouse although you get the fancy for around $60 a night. We had an incredible time here and met a lovely family we will never forget who was also long term traveling. The kids had such a great time together in a little beach paradise. Bungalows are spaced along the shore and while basic are more than enough with big balconies with chairs and hammocks overlooking the water, beds and mosquito nets and basic shower and toilet, and some have sitting areas. Spend your days swimming, jumping from the jetty, snorkelling, playing, eating from the incredible kitchen, and lazing in the beautiful hammocks, swings and couches all around the open air dining room. A definite goer with its kid friendly beach and lazy vibe.
Hiriketiya, Sri Lanka
Hiri is heaven for us – and one of the best beaches for kids in Sri Lanka. A small jungle beach in a protected horseshoe bay, Hiriketiya is beautiful and peaceful in the low season and ramps up in the high. It’s a gorgeous beach with soft waves in the front, perfect for surf lessons for kids, and bigger waves out the back for adults. There are a few lovely little beach cafes along the shore and locals offering surfing lessons for $20 AUD and hour. Our fave is Matu who taught Emmie most days.
What’s not to love about the Maldives especially when you can have the luxury or the budget holiday and still see the incredible blues of the water and white sand all around you. We adored ur time here - it’s definitely a place that everyone should try to visit once. And it doesn't have to be super expensive. Read all about experiencing the Maldives on a budget by staying at local islands or our luxury stays at the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa and the Sun Siyam Iru Fushi.
Hoi An, Vietnam
We lived here for four months while Emmie was at international school and whenever we went away it always felt like home when we returned. I love the ancient town and the incredible food and the lantern lighting ceremonies and I adore the people. Make sure to eat in a local home for breakfast and enjoy pho and banh mi and all the deliciousness of Vietnam. Oh I want to go back! The beaches are also beautiful and lined with cafes and bars, with local people selling food on the beach. Ride through the rice paddies, make lantern wishes on the river, and eat, eat, eat.
One of our favourite places in the Philippines, Coron is a lovely little village perched over beautiful clear water stacked with coral and fish and white sand beaches. Take day trips on local boats and swim and snorkel all day and climb into freshwater lagoons and swim above shipwrecks. You can also visit Concepcion Falls and if you go early in the morning there’s a good chance you’ll have it all to yourself.
So there they are! Have you been to any of these places? What did you think? There'll be more faves to come soon...xoxox Evie & Emmie