12 kid-friendly experiences in Asia that will broaden their horizons

Embark on these kid-friendly adventures in Asia that will broaden their horizons and expose them to experiences they will never forget. One small step for you when you’re planning your family vacay, one giant leap for them.

Father and child in Bali
  • Delle Chan
  • March 2020

Travelling with kids won’t just bring the family closer, but teach them valuable life lessons. Here are some amazing travel experiences in Asia that will help your children develop empathy, calm and other valuable traits.

Empathy

Be a farmer. Feel like a real-life superhero and rescue wildlife. These experiences will take your kids out of the city (and away from their iPads) and show them the different and wondrous ways people in the world live.

Be a farmer for a day in Hoi An

Kids on a water buffalo
One of the highlights of the tour is the chance to ride and feed water buffaloes.

Rice — both its cultivation and consumption — is an integral part of Vietnamese culture. The Farming Life Experience Tour by Hoi An Eco Tourism offers a unique insight into the staple crop and is set in Cam Thanh, a village known for its lush rice fields. Here, the locals will take you through the process of cultivating rice before inviting your family to work the paddies. After an afternoon of raking soil, planting seeds and an activity the children will particularly love — riding water buffaloes — everyone will sit together to share a meal of rice pancakes and local delights.

Tel: +84905440249
hoianecotourism.com.vn

Live with the hill tribes of Thailand

Akha tribeswomen
The Akha are one of the hill tribes featured on the tour.

A Cultural Journey Through the North by Crooked Trails is an 11-day tour that takes participants from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The highlight of the trip is a homestay with a hill tribe where you will learn about local customs and take part in daily activities like cooking.

crookedtrails.org

Rescue sea turtles near Bali

Rescued sea turtle
Daily tasks include scrubbing and feeding the turtles, monitoring their recovery as well as beach clean-ups.

The Family-friendly Sea Turtle Rescue voluntourism project by GoEco gives you the chance to rehabilitate injured sea turtles on Nusa Penida, an island 45 minutes by boat from Bali. But it is not all work and no play: you will also get to visit the island’s most beautiful spots such as Angel’s Billabong during your downtime. There is a minimum commitment of eight days and kids above five are welcome to participate.

goeco.org

READ MORE: 7 family-friendly things to do in Ubud, Bali

Calm

The stresses of modern life can be overwhelming even for children. These resorts will give everyone a well-deserved break and restful zzz’s at night.

Stretch out in Siem Reap

Family posing at Navutu Dreams Resort
The resort’s serene setting, sprawling gardens and two swimming pools make it a family-friendly getaway. Image from https://www.facebook.com/navutudreams.

Yoga doesn’t just keep little ones limber — it also affords them a slew of emotional benefits like self-acceptance. Help them find their zen at Navutu Dreams Resort, a wellness-focused hideaway that offers yoga classes for both adults and children. Its two yoga shalas are ensconced amid lush greenery, making for an inspiring backdrop for those sun salutations.

Address: Navutu Rd, Siem Reap
Tel: +85563964864
navutudreams.com

Enjoy a family wellness holiday in Phuket

Amatara Wellness Resort balcony
All rooms at Amatara feature a private balcony with sea views. Image from https://www.facebook.com/amatarawellnessresort.

Wellness getaways and family holidays are not natural bedfellows but Amatara Wellness Resort in Cape Panwa successfully marries the two. The resort’s Family Wellness Programme is a comprehensive three-night package that includes multi-generational wellness consultations. Families are also encouraged to bond over various activities such as making bath bombs and natural soaps.

Address: 84, Moo 8, Sakdidej Road Vichit Muang Phuket
Tel: +6676318888
amataraphuket.com

Engage in low-tech play in Koh Kood

Soneva Kiri playground interior
The Den, Soneva Kiri’s huge bamboo playground, is shaped like a manta ray.

Give your kids a much-needed digital detox at Soneva Kiri in Koh Kood, an island south of Bangkok. The resort has an enormous bamboo playground that encourages hands-on play, and conducts engaging outdoor excursions for the little ones.

Address: 110 Moo 4, Koh Kood Sub-District, Koh Kood
Tel: +66822088888
soneva.com

READ MORE: Next-level kids’ clubs in Asia all parents need to know

Creativity

These activities are all about the process, not the result. In other words, they set the scene for inspiration, allowing young minds to think out of the box ... and learn about different cultures through play.

Solve a mystery in Ho Chi Minh City

Cholon District
The Cholon district is regarded as Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown.

The Strange Case of Dr Lam is a self-guided tour by Urban Tales that is styled like a murder mystery. Armed with a map and compass, participants will have to comb the alleys and backstreets of the Cholon district to uncover the identity of Dr Lam’s killer. Amidst hunting for hidden clues, deciphering codes and approaching live actors to solve the case, you will visit Cholon’s best-kept secrets, including century-old temples and hidden lanes. Kids of all ages are welcome to join but do note that there is a fair amount of walking involved.

urban-tales.com

READ MORE: Your cheat sheet to exploring Ho Chi Minh City with kids

Weave some magic in Bangkok

Girl at The Loom, Bangkok
The Loom welcomes kids aged six and above.

Opened in 2009, The Loom in the trendy neighbourhood of Ekkamai is Thailand’s first weaving studio. This is where the little ones can try their hand at the revered craft that has been practiced in the kingdom for centuries. Under the watchful eye of an instructor, they will get to use a traditional loom to fashion either a mini bag or scarf based on their own designs.

Address: 3rd Floor, Gateway Ekamai Shopping Complex, Prakhanong, Klongtoey, Bangkok
Tel: +6620015715
theloombangkok.com

READ MORE: This is not your usual family travel guide to Bangkok

Dye fabric in Okinawa

Coral art at Shuri Ryusen
Workshop participants can choose to flex their artistry on a t-shirt, wrapping cloth or tote bag.

Kids can make their very own souvenirs of Okinawa at craft studio Shuri Ryusen in Naha City. At the workshop on the second floor, visitors choose from a range of coral pieces that they wrap in fabric before rubbing plant-based dye on it to reveal intricate patterns. While there are only a few bright hues to choose from, there are charts that show how to combine the pigments and corals in creative ways. At the end of the class, they will get to take their handiwork home.

Address: 1 Chome-54 Shuriyamagawacho, Naha, Okinawa
Tel: +81988861131
shuri-ryusen.com

Bravery

Step out of your comfort zone, conquer these physical challenges and fears as a family, and emerge feeling on top of the world.

Sleep under the stars in Thailand

Kaeng Krachan suspension bridge
Kaeng Krachan is Thailand’s largest national park.

Embrace the great outdoors on a family camping trip at one of Thailand’s verdant national parks. A 2.5-hour drive from Bangkok, the sprawling Kaeng Krachan National Park is especially popular for overnight stays thanks to its two campsites. There will certainly be novel experiences for city folk like pitching tents, dealing with the elements, crossing the famous rope bridge and, of course, wildlife-spotting.

Address: Kaeng Krachan District, Phetchaburi
thainationalparks.com

Get “high” near Kuala Lumpur

Climbing wall at Colmar Tropicale Adventure Park
The adventure park also has a climbing wall and paintball range. Image from https://www.facebook.com/colmartropicaleberjayahills.

Help your kids conquer their fear of heights at Colmar Tropicale Adventure Park in Bukit Tinggi, which is just under an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur. Here, they can navigate the High Rope Obstacle Course, which is suspended 5m above the ground; or soar above the forest canopy on the Flying Fox, a zip line that spans over 1km. They will leave with jelly legs ... and a great sense of accomplishment.

Address: KM 48 Persimpangan Bertingkat, Karak Expy, Bukit Tinggi
Tel: +6092213666
colmartropicale.com.my

Go on a night-time adventure in Singapore

Owl perched on branch at night
The tour is suitable for kids aged 12 and up.

Singapore is often described as a concrete jungle, but it has natural treasures aplenty too. Discover a different side of the city during the Naturalist Night Adventure tour by Airbnb Experiences. During the two- to three-hour expedition, intrepid participants will be equipped with flashlights that they can use to spot all sorts of nocturnal critters, from owls and fruit bats to snakes and scorpions. The location of the walk will vary depending on the time of year.

airbnb.com.sg/experiences

READ MORE: Singapore day trips for a fun (and drama-free) holiday with the kids