Travelling isn’t always easy, especially with kids! Some parents can find holiday planning daunting, but southeast Asia is the perfect place for families to explore.
Passports, plane tickets, hotel booking – travel is challenging enough, but doing it with kids in tow seems exceptionally daunting for parents planning a holiday. For plenty of families, the notion of planning a trip that’s exciting for adults and children hardly seems worth the hassle. After all, a relaxing day on the beach seems infinitely less serene when faced with the prospect of kids’ boredom and the ensuing debacle. But in Southeast Asia, the colors and cultures of countries like Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam certainly aren’t reserved for grown-ups.
With more and more families grabbing their passports and jet-setting across the globe for adventures abroad, travel and tourism is catching up with the demands of families and kids. With some clever itinerary editing — and in-depth knowledge of family-friendly places to go — there’s something for all ages in Southeast Asia. Plus, tour companies (like Buffalo Tours!) are making building those family-friendly itineraries easier for parents by finding the best activities and creating journeys centered around kid-inclusive fun.
So what does Southeast Asia have in store for kids? Plenty! These are just a few of our favorites, and not just because they’re guaranteed to be fun for everyone. It turns out that they bring out the kid in us, too.
Lantern Making Workshops in Hoi An, Vietnam
The picturesque ancient town of Hoi An is renowned for its rural charm and rustic beauty. Just a stone’s throw from a pristine beach and plenty of quaint, countryside roads and ancient architecture, Hoi An is also home to some of Vietnam’s traditional artisans – including colorful silk lanterns. But rather than just seeing the process of lantern making, Hoi An’s artisans also run workshops where kids and parents alike can try their hand at creating one. Not only does it make for a great, hands-on cultural experience, but a handmade keepsake to reward some hard work.
Trick Eye Museum in Phuket, Thailand
Phuket’s charmingly oddball Trick Eye Museum was once a local family-friendly secret, but now has started welcoming more and more visiting families looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon in beautiful Phuket. Dense with strange 3D paintings and room-sized optical illusions, the photos from the Trick Eye Museum make for some of the most amusing in any travel album – not to mention the hours of fun to be had posing for them. Kids love being in front of the camera as well as behind it, so even parents can enjoy stifling giggles just long enough to have their pictures snapped.
Buddha Park in Vientiane, Laos
The otherwise sleepy town of Vientiane in Laos is perfect for leisurely walks along quiet roads, but just outside of the city centre is one of Southeast Asia’s strangest destinations – Buddha Park. Nestled into a meadow and resembling some of the crumbling ruins common to Laos and nearby Cambodia, at first glance, Buddha Park looks more like an archeological site than a cultural landmark. But since it’s packed with strange statues created by an eccentric monk and his cult of creatively-challenged followers, Buddha Park is a place where kids and parents can enjoy giggling at statues of stick thin Buddhas, pumpkin-headed demons and truly bizarre stone creations.
Tamao Wildlife Sanctuary near Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Kids usually aren’t too excited about the prospect of educational travel, but a journey to a wildlife sanctuary is a great way to combine learning with interactive fun. Tamao Wildlife Sanctuary, located just outside of Phnom Penh in Cambodia, is just one place for kids to get up-close and personal with endangered animals while learning about how wildlife conservation works. In addition to being a hands-on experience for kids, visiting Tamao Sanctuary is also a great way to engage in responsible travel, since the sanctuary has spent over 20 years rescuing some of the region’s most interesting and iconic wildlife. During your visit, go with a guide to get the most out of the adventure, and donate to support the rescue centre’s work on the way out.
Snorkeling at Koh Tao Island, Thailand
Spending a day on a pristine beach in Thailand is certainly a dream for adult travelers, but after a few hours splashing through the ocean, kids are sure to lose interest in all the sun and sand. Thankfully, Thailand is also the centre of some of Southeast Asia’s best snorkeling and diving, and going out to explore what’s lurking under the water’s surface adds a new family-friendly dimension to the beach break. One such prime spot for snorkeling is Koh Tao Island, which boasts incredible marine biodiversity, stunning natural scenery and, of course, expert guides with safety in mind. Snorkeling at Koh Tao is a great way to keep kids active while enjoying the great outdoors, and a perfect way to see another side of Thailand, too.
Buffalo Tours is dedicated to helping families have the time of their lives in Southeast Asia, and has plenty of family-friendly itineraries with plenty of adventure built in. Looking for something unique? Our travel experts can create custom itineraries that meet the demands of every member of your family, including the kids.