Having lived in Asia for five years, I can conclusively say that it is an amazing area to visit whether you’re traveling alone, with a partner, or with your kids. It’s home to some of the oldest cultures in the world, amazing foods unlike any you’ve ever tasted, friendly people, and outstanding hotels.
That said, Asia is a big continent, and you could spend a lifetime exploring it. We tend to return to the same favorite spots over and over again.
Our former home — I have a lot of advice on hotels, family activities, shopping and what to eat.
Hong Kong is a surprisingly kid-friendly destination, and not just because it’s where you’ll find Hong Kong Disneyland® (which is our family’s favorite Disney® park in the world). We come back every year mostly because the list of things to do in Hong Kong with kids is big.
Yes, I’m biased because we lived there but if there’s one easy place to visit in Asia with kids, this is definitely it. You should also see my list of best family hotels in Hong Kong at all price ranges.
Theme parks and food galore — Another family-friendly, super clean Asian city we travel to frequently.
I have a lot to say about visiting Singapore whether you’re with the family or not. My husband worked here quite a bit so I’ve explored it plenty pre-kid and I’ve taken my daughter back about every other year because it’s fabulous.
The Wildlife Singapore Reserves parks are world-class from the Night Safari to Jurong Bird Park. You’ll need four days alone to see each one fully. There are themed cafes, Universal Studios Singapore®, and Gardens by the Bay among the things to do in Singapore with kids.
Attractions aside, there isn’t a place in the world where you can experience multiple cultures so well within a small radius: Indian, Peranakan, Chinese, Malay Singaporean. And, all of their glorious foods. Despite its small size, you can (and I have) visit multiple times and never see it all.
Another place we visit a lot — I have tips for Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Silk Road, Hangzhou, and Macau.
My daughter studies Mandarin. Yes, she was born in Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong but her friends there went to Mandarin-speaking camps so I sent her, too. This sparked a (so far) life-long interest in Mainland China, where my husband and I (again due to his job) traveled extensively before she was born. We visit regularly still, including long stints in Shanghai for Mandarin summer camps.
There are vibrant cities and peaceful country getaways. You’ll find boutique shopping on a budget, chaotic markets, and quick transitions from skyscraper glam to villages lacking modern conveniences, especially when you take the train. I’ve put together a list of must-read tips for visiting China with kids but you can read my travelogues from major cities and elsewhere, including being a volunteer panda keeper in Dujianyan.
My heritage — My mother is Japanese and we have family who live there.
You can also spend a lifetime exploring Japan, believe it or not. Tokyo has lots for families to do, from animal cafes to swan boat rides and conveyor belt sushi — not to mention Tokyo Disneyland, The most common pairing to a Tokyo trip is Kyoto for good reason. But, you should also divert to places like Kanazawa or Uji which is all possible with a JR Rail Pass.
Shop until you drop — Stunning palaces, shopping, and delicious food (also one of my favorite Four Seasons hotels)
Let me count the ways that I love Seoul. You can explore palaces and dive deep into this historic angle—even take a day trip to the DMZ. Or, you can shop for trinkets and beauty products (I think it’s a great city for tweens and teens) in Insadong and other markets.
I recommend taking a food tour to understand why kimchi is important to South Koreans and taste some dumplings that are distinctly different from Chinese counterparts. Also, stay at Four Seasons Seoul.
Best town in Malaysian Borneo – Our good friends lived here.
Put Malaysia on your family travel bucket list ASAP because there are so many things to do in Kota Kinabalu with kids. Kota Kinabalu, in Sabah on the western side of Borneo, is a popular destination for travelers who want to take a break from city life and enjoy the slow pace and natural beauty of the tropics. From checking out the wildlife to white water rafting, your kids will have an amazing time here. We like to stay at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa.
Other Places to Visit When Traveling to Asia with Kids
There’s no need to wait until they’re older to take your children to Asia. Most Asian countries are extremely family-friendly, whether the culture is modern or traditional.
That isn’t to say that you won’t encounter any challenges. But in general, I’ve found that kids are so flexible and curious that even the ones who normally turn up their noses at unfamiliar foods or are shy around strangers will enjoy opening their minds to the kinds of new experiences you’ll encounter here. Taipei is another city we love, that I need to write more about. Same with Kyoto.
A Note About Luxury Hotels in Asia
Luxury hotels in Asia are some of the best in the world. You can read about some of them in my luxury hotel reviews section. And, in some cities, they are an incredible value compared to what you would pay in Europe or even the United States. This is especially true given the value-added benefits I can add for you at many of the luxury hotels in Asia. Search for them on my Virtuoso Asia hotels page.
You might be surprised by the fact that the high-end hotels in Asia are some of the most kid-friendly I’ve ever encountered. This is one of the reasons why I frequently tell people that traveling in Asia with kids is totally doable.