Follow these experienced travellers for a holiday everyone will remember!
We’re always looking for a quick getaway with the fam to take a breather from the stress of work. If you’re unsure where you can bundle off your kids to for a fun and stress-free time, let these travellers be your guide as they share where their favourite spots are and why.
Who: Aarika Lee, 36, Marketing Director at marketing and branding agency Elementary Co. She has a five-year-old daughter and a three-year old son.
Your favourite family travel destination: Perth, Australia
Why Perth: We’ve been going as family for six years, and I’ve been going since I was little. We have family there so the decision to go is always easy.
What did you all love about it: We love that there are so many options when we’re there — nature, the city, food, festivals (if you’re lucky), craft, flea markets, farmer’s markets…
Special memory from the trip: The most awesome experience we’ve had recently was at the Perth Festival. It happens in Feb/March every year and we signed up for a Silent Disco tour that took us around Perth City, through music and dance, while we learned about native bees! It was so awesome.
Where to next: Philippines, or Perth again! haha! We never get tired of it.
Who: Faz Gaffa-Marsh, 32, a writer who has a 1.5 year old son.
Your favourite family travel destination: Phuket, Thailand
Why Phuket: We love Thai beaches, so our first family holiday when our son was four months old was to Phuket. We stayed at The Surin because of its private beach, and how it was renowned for being baby-friendly.
What did you all love about it: He loved the pool — and we loved that we could tire him out to sleep through the night. Their staff were always so happy to hold for a couple of minutes while we inhaled our food! It was the first time in four months I had hot food, actually.
Special memory from the trip: It was so hot and I was so dehydrated that my breast milk was running low. The resort basically sent about three gallons worth of bottled water to our door.
Where to next: Hong Kong, for its Disneyland!
Who: Tan Su-Lyn, mid-forties, an entrepreneur. She has three children, two sons (eight and one) and a four-year-old daughter.
Your favourite family travel destination: Western Australia.
Why Western Australia: I went to university in Western Australia and my husband and I tied the knot there. So, we’ve always been familiar with the state. We loved spending time in the Margaret River region as a couple. So, when our eldest son turned three in 2014, we decided to rent a house in Prevally and spend a couple of days exploring the region with him. From then on, we’ve tried to get to WA once every two years or so. It’s a short flight. There are fabulous opportunities for the kids to be outdoors and to interact with nature, too. Plus there’s good coffee, wine, fresh produce and dining options. And the establishments are generally incredibly child-friendly. So there’s plenty to keep everyone in the family happy.
What did you all love about it: We love the weather in the fall or winter. It’s mild and cool, such a pleasant change from Singapore’s climate. It means that we can enjoy doing ordinary things like spending time in the playground everyday. On our last trip, we spent a week in Fremantle, spending most of our time just going to places that we could get to on foot. In Margaret River, we love combining outdoor play with some wine tasting and lunch (with a designated driver).
Special memory from the trip: On our last trip to WA, we met up with the family that supplied the fabulous snow crabs to Rene Redzepi for Noma Australia. We visited their premises in the city and the kids were given the chance to feed the lobsters. Our then two-year-old daughter was clutching her kitten stuffed toy (newly purchased from Fremantle Markets) and decided to feed it to the lobsters, too. You can imagine my horror. Fortunately, they were able to retrieve the stuffed toy and no lobsters were hurt. This continues to be a story our children love retelling today.
Where to next: As yet unplanned. But I would love to take the kids further south to the Southern Forests for truffle hunting and rainbow trout fishing.
Who: Christian Barker, 43, an editor / journalist who has two daughters, aged seven and 10.
Your favourite family travel destination: Phuket, Thailand
Why Phuket: We’ve been going to Phuket since before our daughters were born and we continue to return about once a year as a family. Phuket is just so easy to get to. At a little under two hours, the flight is incredibly painless — even if travelling with a budget airline — and once you’ve landed, it’s a 15-minute drive from the airport to the resort where we always stay, Trisara. The quick journey door-to-door allows us to really maximise our limited break time.
What did you all love about it: Trisara is utter paradise, from the natural surroundings to the decor, the cuisine and the service, everything’s just faultless. We rarely leave the resort. The children are really well taken care of — the girls love the kids’ club, collecting shells and hermit crabs on the beach, and swimming in the villa’s private pool. We parents quite like that bit, too. Plus, the food’s amazing. The Thai fare is beautifully authentic and the fine-dining restaurant Pru just won Phuket’s first and so far only Michelin star.
Special memory from the trip: Our daughters were heartbroken they had to leave their pet hermit crab behind when we last departed. My wife and I were quite envious of the little guy. If only we could all have joined ‘Hermie’ and stayed on that beach indefinitely…
Where to next: We’re going a little further afield next, taking the children on their first trip to Italy this summer. But we may well end up going back to Phuket in the meantime. As the journey’s so short, all you need is a free weekend. Tuscany requires a bit more forward planning.
Travel time: 2 hr 40 mins by Jetstar
Why you should go: While the waves on the 32km stretch of My Khe Beach might not be the most swimmable, the white sand beach and stunning sunsets will more than make up for it. For the family that surfs, it also means getting in some surf action, or just sitting and chilling beachside at one of the many restaurants that dot the stretch. As a bonus, the UNESCO-heritage town of Hoi An is just 45 minutes drive away, which makes for an easy day trip.
Travel time: 4 hours flight by Singapore Airlines
Why you should go: The calm azure waters of the Maldives makes this one big swimming pool for the whole family. Accommodation wise, depending on your choice, you could wake up and jump into the ocean before breakfast or just have your own private beach 20 steps from your villa. Another big plus? Most resorts in the Maldives are extremely family-friendly with kid’s clubs and a full activity calendar, that way the kids won’t get bored, and parents get their much needed down time.
Travel time: 2 hr 20 mins by ferry, car and boat
Why you should go: The 15-hectare resort is a well-kept secret of those in the know. With pristine waters and just 15 beach houses built out of driftwood, it’s perfect for both families with young ones but also older children (they recommend ages four and up). The private island has natural rock slides, hidden reefs and treehouses for the kids to explore freely. Plus, the complimentary kid’s club has a daily roster of activities manned by staff well-trained to look after your little ones. Another plus? The eco-friendly nature of the resort means there’s no television in-room and limited Wifi (just enough for emails) which will be a good way to re-introduce the children to non-electronic distractions.
Travel time: 5 hr 10 mins by Singapore Airlines
Why you should go: Shanghai isn’t often thought of as a family-friendly destination but with Disneyland Shanghai located right in Pudong, it’s a destination worth considering. Other family-friendly attractions include the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium and Shanghai Circus World and the art gallery district of Moganshan. Plus, if your kid is learning Mandarin, they’ll have a chance to practice it daily.
Travel time: 2 hr 40 mins on Scoot
Why you should go: Be warned, you may never come back from your Bali vacation. The island is primed as family-friendly destination which, as a family, you can go to again and again as the years go by. With pool-villas easily available, an array of beaches, outdoor activities (downhill cycling, white water rafting, hiking Mount Agung) and no shortage of food options, local or otherwise, Bali is a no-brainer. Just don’t blame us if you come back hooked and never travel anywhere else again.
By Charlene Fang, May 2019
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