So here is the deal: You have two weeks, maybe three for vacation. Maybe, you plan on a long sabbatical and you have a couple of months or you are really lucky and can take a year off with the kids. The key question is WHERE TO GO?
Kiera meeting a Dayak in Sarawak, Borneo
You want a family vacation that everyone will remember. Perhaps you want to see magical sites with historical meaning. You want great food, interesting people, sun, or maybe take in a bit of snow. Where do you go? If you live in North America, maybe you think about travel to Mexico or the Caribbean. Maybe you’re thinking a great European Vacation. Cool, but lots of people have done that. Not many people think about Asia and they are missing out. Here are a few of the top reasons you should bring the kids to Asia:
The JW Marriott Lobby in Phuket Thailand
- ASIA IS CHEAPER. By a long shot. Excluding Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai, and Seoul, most of Asia can be seen for pennies on a dollar. Five Star hotels in Asia can easily be half the cost of comparable hotels in the United States and Europe and the service is far better. Want to stay on one of the world’s best beaches? Hawaii will cost you at least US$200 a night for a room at the Sheraton with super spendy prices for food and beverage. Why not stay in Bali, Indonesia at the Westin for US$150, a much better hotel for $50.00 less and delicious food for the cost of a fast food meal? Better yet, local Three Star hotels with great service and staff will cost you around US$40. Day to day costs are also much cheaper. Food at a ski resort in Lake Tahoe will run you around US$40 per meal for a budget meal for a family of four. You can dine like royalty in Vietnam for less than US$5 per person per meal and great meals may run you around US$2.50 per person.
- VISIT HISTORICAL SITES. Asia has over 900 registered UNESCO world heritage sites. You can see places like the Great Wall of China or the Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia. You can visit sites during the day and walk along the beaches in the evening near Pondicherry, India. Visit the Giant Buddha of Japan, tour the Viet Cong tunnels in Vietnam or the Bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand.
- NATURE AT ITS BEST. Is it beaches you crave? Asia has them! From the backpacker beaches of Thailand, to world class dive spots in Malaysia. Walk Bali’s white sand beaches one day and drive inland to Ubud the next to check out where Julia Roberts filmed Eat, Pray, Love. Visit one of the world’s largest urban tropical forests in Singapore. Ride horses through traditional villages and rice paddies in Cambodia or go hiking through the Mountains in Taiwan. Visit some of the world’s largest surviving rain forests and wild Orangutans in Borneo. If getting back to Nature is your bag, this is the place to visit.
- FOODIE HEAVEN. If you like Chinese Food, there is nothing better than having real Peking Duck, prepared traditionally, in the same Beijing restaurant that has served everyone from Chairman Mao, George Bush Sr., to Jackie Chan. Name a kid that doesn’t like BBQ? Malaysian Satay (or as our family calls it meat on a stick) is about the simplest and best dish you could ever want. The funny named Fish Amok is a simple very light curry dish local only to Cambodia and was a huge hit with our foodie kids. Do you like Sushi? Take the kids to Tsukiji Market in Tokyo for the freshest Sushi in the world. From Kung Pao Chicken in Chungdu, China that will knock your socks off to high end restaurants owned by some of the most famous Celebrity Chefs, Asia has your food options covered.
- ASIA: THE WORLD’S FUTURE. China has the world’s largest population and the second largest economy. Japan has been futuristic for the last 40 years and continues to wow the world with new inventions. India has the second largest population in the world and is a super power for software and computer technology. Singapore is one of the worlds newest, yet most successful economies raising itself from a third world country to a first world in less than 30 years. Your children will work with, and for, people from Asia in all types of businesses in the future. Chinese will be the world’s most useful second language and countries like Vietnam and Malaysia want to become economic miracles within the next 10 years. China buys more products from the United States than France and Holland combined. The Future is Asia and introducing your children to the cultures now will give them a great head-start later.
Declan visiting the historic river city of Zhu Zha Jiao China, near Shanghai
A wild monkey along Singapore’s Bukit Timah Reserve walking trail
Indian Food in Little India, Singapore
The Streets of Tokyo, Japan
There are hundreds of other reasons to travel to Asia with your kids: the people; the sites; the music; and of course the adventure. We have been living and traveling around the region for over 15 years and the last 9 with our kids. While we have seen so much, there is so much more to do. Fear not, memorable sites await, so come on over and take that trip of a lifetime.