Travel Southeast Asia with Kids


Travel can be a wonderful opportunity to nourish your kids’ mind, get them out of the comfort zone and expose the inner curiosity and blooming creativity. On top of those connections, Southeast Asia should be a good selection for family vacation.

First, although Southeast Asia is considered one of the most exotic and adventurous destinations in the world, people here are generally and genuinely love little fellows. In fact, family has been playing an essential role in Eastern culture and religion so there are numerous tourist sites, hotel stays and travel services that parents and children might quickly get used to. On the street, at restaurants or in public locations, you certainly can get support and guide from locals to ensure your kids are having comfortable time.


Secondly, Asian food and drink vary. In addition, people in Southeast Asia greatly appreciate the gifts from nature and prefers freshly cooked culinary; therefore, parents can partly be relieved from the preservatives and safety matters as of package products. Also, street food offers great choices with mixed flavors, from vendor fruits, traditional cakes to noodles, soups and rice, which can easily be found at any corner. You can see on-the-making process for some dishes and decide to extract unwanted ingredients if the kids are allergic to one.

Last but not least, Southeast Asia is home to great numbers of tropical animals, fantastic islands and beaches for family outing. Nothing can beat the fun way and sun way of island visiting as your family can take more time to get close to each other and discover new things.

For instance, your kids will be able to grow themselves after staying amidst nature, helping pamper, feed and bath an elephant in Chiang Mai (Thailand) or Champasak (Laos) for a whole day.

To families who fascinate over the outdoor activities, Phu Quoc Island (Vietnam), Koh Samui, Don Phi Phi (Thailand) would offer most of leisure and discovery, all safe and optional. From sea kayaking, surfing, themed water sports to snorkeling, scuba diving and mountain trekking, family members can choose at wish.


For families looking to plan a Southeast Asia adventure, or really any trip to an exotic locale, we have 7 useful tips to help prevent the oddity and culture shock as followed:

1. Book everything in advance if possible, especially for better rooms.

“Sooner is better” rule applies for the booking stuffs because family trip requires lots of adding conditions. For example, there are different accommodation terms, entrance tickets as well as seat availability for infants, kids under 12 or otherwise. Whenever your family intend going out somewhere, checking beforehand should help you save the cost, shorten the time and reduce parental rushing state. In fact, some hotels and resorts are limited in family-sized room. At comfort boutique stays in rural areas, the existence of connecting room remains a strange concept so let’s make things easier by pre-booking. The sooner you decide, the more convenient your kids will get.

2. Try street food, but with allergy alert.

One minor note, especially to families who are interested in street culture, many dishes here contain lots of peanuts, for example, nom (Vietnamese salad), Pad-Thai (Thai noodles) or Burmese noodles. If your kids (even yourself) have allergy problems, bring along that specific pill and remember to ask for detailed ingredients before trying something in mixture!

3. Bring snacks and sub-meals.

This sounds a bit uncomfortable, especially to long-term trip but the transit stages between countries and even domestic destinations in Southeast Asia might be unfavorable by young fellows. Flights, buses, cruises usually bring certain amount of annoyance to families. An easy snacks during the time being would decrease the down-mood and importantly picky children. Besides, the roadside food stands are more or less not to anyone likings, even locals.   


4. Get vaccination ready and bring along enough medical necessities.

Southeast Asia, the tropical paradise, also means heaven for insects. Plus, weather here is less tender than the Northern countries so parents should be aware and prepare at any time.

Before furthering your adventure to forest and unfamiliar places, get contacts and support from locals upon the nearest medical centers and available doctors might be a great idea. While staying at the open-air residences, ask for a bed net if possible.

Vaccinations can be quite expensive in most countries. One way to save money on these is to have them done once you arrive. 

Suggested list of vaccines:

·         Adult polio booster

·         Tetanus / diphtheria

·         Hepatitis A

·         Typhoid

·         Yellow Fever

·         Rabies

·         Japanese Encephalitis


5. Respect the temple etiquettes.

Indeed, culture understandings would be incredible knowledge for your young ones. However, when entering new places, some are overly excited and playful as to run around and talk loudly. These acts are inappropriate in Southeast Asian temples.

Similar to European cathedrals, temples, shrines, and mosques here require the formal dress code, which means no sleeveless, no see-through, no miniskirt or short. Hence, a perfect solution is to cover your legs and shoulders, maybe by long bloating pants or sarong to make good example for your kids. The clothes not only look stunning but also help your kids adapt to traditional customs and learn to be a part of new culture.

Remember, tell your kids not to touch or have much physical contact with the monks and nuns.

6. Cross the streets confidently like a local.

In most Southeast Asian cities, traffic is usually stuffed by the maneuver of scooters, tuk-tuks, odd lanes and narrow pavements. At rush hours, vehicles, especially the bikes weave around city crowdedly and intensely like hungry fish waving their tails, creating a busy whirring harmony all along. When having your family trip to Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and so on, be confident, listen to the horns and cross the streets without hesitation are keys to face the noisy vehicle line. Sudden pausing or backwards steps make really low-key movements, which may eventually cause drivers out there troubles with speed and control.

A note for young fellows, playing even nearby the streets in Southeast Asia is a huge no. Let’s stick to parents and save energy for the local parks.

7. Be keen and kind on car-seats and seatbelts.

This is a vital note for someone who has carsick. Both private cars and public transportations in Southeast Asia must adjust to the road conditions. As for long trips especially mountain visits, there is great chance that both drivers and guests would travel through rocky and uncomfortable paths. In advance, early-arrival and front-row pick should help parents and children stay healthy, plus, less tired while moving around.

If you sign up with a Travel Agency, ask them to arrange car-seat for your children. A standard TA usually own ready-to-go car seats ready in their office. Sometimes, seatbelts are forgotten in Southeast Asian countries. You may find some buses even cut off the whole seat-belt devices out of the vehicle. Again, notice your Travel Agent how important seatbelts are to your family so they would equip your journey with necessary safety packages. While transferring between destinations, adjust yourself in the position with convenient seatbelt and ask for driver support if you need one though.

Have fun and make memorable time with your kids!

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