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Travel with kids forum

itinerary advice - First time with kids, 5,7,9 years. SE Asian destinations?

Posted by quennoo on 4/1/2012 at 03:22

Hi we are a family of 5 - kids aged 5,7 and 9 - looking to travel for 4-5 weeks in Jan 2013 (i know i'm early in the preparation.......half the fun is researching and planning the trip!!)
We really enjoy meeting the people and not having a 'canned' travel experience eg. Phantasea in Phuket would not be our thing ;o)

At this stage

1. We are looking to fly via singapore with 2 days stop-over then on to Chiang Mai - i would love to do the Mae Hong son loop with a guide + homestay for a night or so. Visiting the Elephant Nature Park, Doi Thetup. Insect Museumetc. I am anticipating that this will take 2 weeks
2. Where would you recommend going next for 2 weeks?
Can anyone recommend destinations that are relatively easy to get to - we are not planning to move around fast with the kids and are happy to stop and relax!

3. should we consider Cambodia? Siem reap?

Any ideas would be very welcome ;o)


#1 quennoo has been a member since 4/1/2012. Posts: 4

Posted by GermanCoastgirl on 17/1/2012 at 07:09

Hi Quennoo,

I know exactly how you feel - with all the excitement.
I started my planning also about a year ago and with normal daily business time went by so quick with weeks of not doing anything....
Nevertheless, here I am, ready to leave for 6 weeks backpacking Laos and Thailand with my 5year old on Feb5th.

Therefore, my route planning still needs proof to have been well done. But what I noticed is that while planning you can double the time when with a kid as they have their own pace.

Traveling in Asia always takes much longer with trains, buses not always being on time. I decided to "only" travel Laos for 3 weeks and Thailand for the final 3 weeks with at least 3 nights on every location to get the chance to relax on travel days and have 2 full days to check the towns/surroundings.

If you like, please check on my route on My first try to blog a travel diary. You can find out whether my planning was fine or a complete mess. ;-)

Enjoy the planning time ! That really cheered me up the past months !

#2 GermanCoastgirl has been a member since 16/2/2011. Posts: 23
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Posted by MADMAC on 18/1/2012 at 04:56

Most kids like the beach, so somemplace like Phuket might be appealing.

#3 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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Posted by john_f on 18/1/2012 at 07:46

We went to Thailand for 3 weeks in August 2010 when our kids were 8 and 10. I wanted to do a loop from Bangkok via the North East and up to Chiang Mai . After looking into it I decided the best way to do it was to hire a car. This was a good way but I think we did too much travelling for the kids. They would have enjoyed it more if we had done the trip over a 4 to 5 week period.

We went straight to Ayutthaya from the airport. We then went to Khao Yai National Park by train. We arranged for the car hire company to deliver the car to us at our guest house near the park. We then drove to a homestay near Bua Yai, which was between Korat and Khon Kaen . We then went to Khon Kaen, Nong Khai, Chiang Khan, Nan and then Chiang Mai. The drive from Chiang Khan to Nan was very long and we had to spend the night in a small town called Ban Khok where no one spoke a word of english. It was quite fun trying to sort out food - everything was closed at about 6 pm and after being directed around, we eventually found somewhere that opened up specially for us.

I would agree with GermanCoastgirl that it is a good idea to spend at least 3 nights in most places. We had a few days where we were spending a night in each place (due to time constraints) and the kids really didn't like it.

Whilst I don't think you have to go to the beach, I would definitely recommend staying in places where you can swim - having a pool in the hotel went down very well with our kids. I also think they would have enjoyed going to the beach but we didn't have enough time.

It was also interesting seeing what they liked and didn't like. One of their favourite places was Khon Kaen - although that was partly because we stayed in a nice hotel there. They enjoyed a day by the lake in the town, hiring tandem bikes (which were nearly falling apart), playing table tennis and going on pedalos on the lake. They didn't particularly like the ruins at Ayutthaya, although we were there on a National Holiday so it was very busy with lots of tour groups everywhere. They enjoyed the trips where they got covered in mud (it was the rainy season) - walking in Khao Yai National park, in the rice paddies at the homestay, a day's trek at Nan and at a place called Sao Din on the way to Nan. They enjoyed weaving at the homestay. They also enjoyed the Cobra boxing near Khon Kaen. We went to the government run elephant park about an hour from Chiang Mai and that was also good, as was Doi Suthep.

I wouldn't discount theme parks completely. In a 4 - 5 week trip, they could have their place. I know our kids would have loved a day at a water slide park.

Anyway, I hope that's given you a few ideas.

#4 john_f has been a member since 26/3/2010. Posts: 18

Posted by MADMAC on 18/1/2012 at 09:16

Interesting you mentioned Khon Kaen. My son lives there and he loves that city. Of course, he's 25...

Whenver I travel with my family, I try to go places with a pool, because my daughter loves to swim.

#5 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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Posted by quennoo on 18/1/2012 at 16:32

Thanks everyone - some very good tips - especially about not moving on too quickly!Birgit - i look forward to reading your travel blog ;o)

#6 quennoo has been a member since 4/1/2012. Posts: 4

Posted by MADMAC on 18/1/2012 at 21:42

Have a great trip.

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Posted by mariespurlock on 25/1/2012 at 02:44

Traveling with kids sometimes is a pain because they are temperamental.. But if you bring them to places they like they surely behave and your family will have a great travel.. Try bringing them to ocean parks and beaches for they love being there..

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#8 mariespurlock has been a member since 25/1/2012. Location: United States. Posts: 2
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Posted by jess_25 on 8/9/2012 at 11:22

Hmmm, some will either agree or disagree with me as to where the exact location of Hong Kong is because there are some that says it is part of Southeast Asia and some says it isn't. But anyway, bottom line is, I believe it's not that far if you're coming from Thailand. It'll just take you an extra 2-2.5 hrs flight.

So if you're all willing to take another flight, first thing that comes to my mind is Hong Kong especially since you have kids. We went there last February 2012 with my 4 year-old son and he surely had a great time.

Kids will love going to Disneyland! A stay in the Disneyland Hotel or in Disney's Hollywood Hotel (where the room rate is slightly cheaper) will surely make your stay truly magical! Relax in the hotel, take a swim, stroll in the different spots of the hotel like in the garden and play area, and more. There's a free bus ride to and from the hotel and Disneyland so I'm sure you won't have a hard time with the kids. Transportation is also accessible if you all want to go to the city.

Other suggested attractions in Hong Kong are: Avenue of the Stars, The Peak, Ocean Park, Madame Tussauds, Ngong Ping 360, Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery, Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, and more. During the night, you can all take Harbour Cruises and watch the Symphony of Lights.

Hope this helps. Enjoy!

#9 jess_25 has been a member since 10/8/2012. Posts: 6

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