Best family escapes in Asia

Beautiful ocean view in Sri Lanka
Image courtesy: ©Amrita Das

Family travel is on the rise. Whether it is young adults travelling with their senior parents or young parents seeking a break with their children, spending time with our loved ones is increasingly growing. If you are looking at international, then these countries, not very far from India can make for good family holidays.

SRI LANKA

The similarities between India and Sri Lanka are a binding factor. It is at a comfortable distance from all major cities of India and also a child-and-senior-friendly destination.

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Enjoy interesting activities for the whole family
Enjoy interesting activities for the whole family
Image courtesy: ©Amrita Das

What to do?

Book your family a beachside resort and explore its neighbours. In the Western Province, the beaches of Bentota, Hikkaduwa and Kalutara are popular with family guests. The available accommodations in these pockets include numerous facilities and activities for them.

Beach sports like glass bottom boat ride and sailing are favourites. Families with young children can try snorkelling. An evening beach-side sunset or a massage is therapeutic for all.

Colourful masks on display
Colourful masks on display
Image courtesy: ©Amrita Das

Drive on the coastal road and visit arty towns like Ambalangoda and cross Hikkaduwa towards Galle. The former is known for its traditional mask making for dance-drama performances, where each mask is representational. Ariyapala Masks Museum and workshop is a worthy quick stop.

On the other hand, the stretch from Hikkaduwa to Galle is known for the wax-designs on cotton (or silk) fabrics, Batik. This work can be traced back to Indonesia, though Sri Lanka is flourishing in this skill. Many Batik shops are seen on Galle Road.

Visit the Sea Turtle Hatchery and Rescue Centre (Hikkaduwa) on Galle Road with kids. It is a great opportunity to show them turtles in their natural habitat.

Outdoors of AVANI Bentota Resort
Outdoors of AVANI Bentota Resort
Image courtesy: ©Amrita Das

Where to stay?

AVANI Kalutara Resort is situated between the ocean and Black (Kalu) River. The property organises activities like cooking classes, water sports like jet skis, kayaking, banana boats, speed boats and fishing; cycling and free yoga classes (every Thursday). They project outdoor cinema (weather permitting) and have cultural shows for their guests. Their tuk-tuk tour is a half-day exploration which gives travellers a glimpse of Kalutara.

Spa at the resort
Spa at the resort
Image courtesy: ©Amrita Das

If you prefer a busily situated stay, pick AVANI Bentota Resort and Spa, which has a brilliant two-kilometre beach, sprawling swimming pools, an Ayurvedic spa, yoga classes and restaurants (which prepare both Sri Lankan and international favourites)—all of these make it a perfect family stay.

How to get around?

Tuk-tuks or three-wheel rickshaws are popular in this part of Sri Lanka. However, booking a cab for planned outdoor explorations is recommended.

SINGAPORE

Ideal for family with young children, Singapore houses Universal Studios—a child’s pilgrimage spot. The little red dot also has long stretches of river quays, a majority of which are pram-friendly and ensure outdoor time with family.

Universal Studios on Sentosa Island is a world full of entertainment
Universal Studios on Sentosa Island is a world full of entertainment
Image courtesy: ©Everything/Shutterstock

What to do?

Depending on whom your travel companions are Singapore has a plethora to offer. If travelling with kids, pace for a busy day at Universal Studios. Entertain children at Madagascar Boogie in Madagascar and WaterWorld in The Lost World.

Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Jurong Bird Park and Pulau Ubin are other places perfect for children. If your child is interested in science, a visit to fun exhibitions at Science Centre Singapore should be included in the list.

When travelling with elders, the River Safari Singapore is a special experience. This, Asia’s first river-themed wildlife tour, is a great chance to get close to animals, while on the course of the river.

You could also spend a day on Sentosa Island which has something for everyone.

Where to stay?

The neighbourhood of Orchard Road or Sentosa Island has many hotels which are a perfect fit for families. Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort and Spa or Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa are family-friendly.

How to get around?

Try Singapore’s very well-connected MRT. Or hail a ‘free’ cab from designated points on the street.

JAPAN

Nijo Castle in Kyoto
Nijo Castle in Kyoto
Image courtesy: ©Amrita Das

A country as culturally rich, visually breath-taking and habitually sensitive as Japan is definitely worth a trip with those you love. Allow elders to witness the peerless strength of faith and decorum, even in the bustling city of Tokyo, and let children endure and imbibe the different practices.

The red corridor in Fushimi Inari
The red corridor in Fushimi Inari
Image courtesy: ©Amrita Das

What to do?

Explore the many facets of Kyoto. From quiet neighbourhood walks to incessant banter in izakaya or Japanese pubs, most of Kyoto’s neighbourhoods are full of character. Take the usual tourist trail to explore Fushimi Inari, Gion, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Kiyomizu-dera temple, Nijo Castle and of course, check the animated Nishiki Market.

Kinkaku-ji, also known as Golden Pavillion, is a Zen Buddhist Temple
Kinkaku-ji, also known as Golden Pavillion, is a Zen Buddhist Temple
Image courtesy: ©Amrita Das

Kyoto for children is a wonderland. Kyoto Railway Museum has an old steam locomotive which you can ride. This interactive museum also houses many miniature trains to keep the curious minds busy.

Imperial Palace Park or Kyoto City Zoo offer nature trails and animal encounters.

Sushi is a must try in Japan, especially Inari sushi in Fushimi Inari Shrine area
Sushi is a must try in Japan, especially Inari sushi in Fushimi Inari Shrine area
Image courtesy: ©Amrita Das

Where to stay?

When travelling with family, choosing a hotel with western-style rooms is recommended. Westin Miyako Kyoto, Granvia and Hyatt Regency Kyoto are good options.

For traditional stays, pick between Aoi Machiya Stay, Seikoro Ryokan or Iori Machiya Stay. Ryokan or traditional Japanese inns may not have baby cots. Book in advance, if necessary.