Just when you thought you could take a break between juggling work meetings, parent-teacher conferences, ballet lessons and soccer practices, spending time with your family could be a huge hassle without the proper preparation and research. Think unsuitable locations, none child-friendly activities, inconvenient travelling and food that makes a child’s face turn a sickly green. Why not make life simpler with these amazing destinations that guarantee some family-friendly fun?
By Irvin Hanni
Back to Nature at Kota Kinabalu
Life is easily idyllic in the “Land beneath the Wind”, where this seaside town in Sabah, Malaysia offers great cultural attractions as well as some of the most scenic natural beauty in the region.
Tourists young and old will love the beautiful islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park– Mamutik, Sapi, Sulu, Manukan and Gaya. Just a 20-minute boat ride away from the city centre, you and your family can enjoy some fun frolicking in the clear waters, snorkelling, or just playing with the soft sands.
Get a dose of culture with a visit to Mari-Mari Cultural Village where your family can learn more about the ethnic tribes such as Kadazan, Iban, Bidayuh and more. Be in touch with the great outdoors at Lok Kawi Wildlife Park where kids will be entertained by the antics of exotic Bornean wildlife such as Sumatran tigers, sun bears, proboscis monkeys and not to forget, the adorable orang utans!
More fun stuff: Tanjung Aru, Desa Cattle Farm, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Kundasang
Being a cutting-edge city doesn’t mean that Singapore is devoid of all the fun…on the contrary! While adults may enjoy the shopping paradise and booming cosmopolitan, the young (and the young-at-heart) will absolutely love the fun-packed Sentosa Island.
Wonderland is right here at Universal Studios Singapore, with 24 attractions including the awesome Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure, Revenge Of The Mummy and Transformers within 7 magical zones, namely Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, Lost World, Far Far Away and Madagascar. It does not matter if you’re 7 or 70 years old, the exhilarating rides, singing and dancing shows, street performers and themed stores will give you a day to remember!
Need some rest and relaxation thereafter? Rest on the laidback beaches of Palawan, Sentosa and Tanjong in Sentosa, perfect place for the parents to unwind while the kids take a dip in the shallow waters or build sandcastles by the side.
More fun stuff: Underwater World and Dolphin Lagoon, Sentosa 4D Magix, Songs of the Sea
Bali’s beauty will enchant all – sun-kissed beaches, ancient temples and great cultural heritage.
The resorts are great for families, especially those along Nusa Dua and Sanur. The amenities are complete, with some resorts even offering programmes such as star gazing, movie night and storytelling for the kids. The beaches, meanwhile, are excitingly packed with activities like paragliding, banana boat, and volleyball.
If you think that your children may not enjoy temples and ancient ruins in Bali, they may however be delighted with the heart-thumping Kecak Dance at Uluwatu Temple. Ubud’s many attractions, food and shops will have them entertained, and a visit to the Monkey Forest will definitely not bore them.
More fun stuff: Tanah Lot, Pura Alas Kedaton, Kintamani, Air Banjar Hot Springs
Beyond its glitzy image as a party island, Phuket in Thailand actually holds more to be explored especially for families.
Stay at Kata or Karon Beach, where soft sandy beaches and gentle waves make them the perfect spots to spend a good afternoon of swimming and other beach activities with your kids. Have some great seafood accompanied by stunning sunset at Patong Beach. After that delicious dinner, bring the family to Phuket FantaSea — a night time cultural theme park where there are trapeze artists, performing animals and so much more!
Don’t miss a chance to enjoy a relaxing ride on friendly elephants too as they bring you through the jungles and hills of Phuket.
More fun stuff: Aquarium at Cape Panwa, Splash Jungle Water Park, Big Buddha
Sunny-side of Melbourne
With four seasons, a great amalgamation of world culture and a host of activities to do, Melbourne is the ultimate holiday destination for all!
The beautiful shores around the city are buzzing with energy, with so much going on! The adults can bask in the wonderful sunshine whilst kids play in the clear blue waters or let their imagination run wild in the natural sandbox. Locals flock over to St. Kilda for its many restaurants, and the Luna theme park offers some entertaining rides such as Arabian Merry, Twin Dragon and Scenic Railway. Brighton Beach’s laidback atmosphere is perfectly balanced with brilliantly painted huts, whilst Williamstown Beach is great for a sunny picnic.
Just an hour away from the city centre is Philip Island, where not only do you get to enjoy the beaches, but you can also visit A Maze ‘N Things where there are wacky attractions such as optical illusion rooms, mazes, puzzles as well as a mini golf; watch the famous penguin parade; or pet a Koala at the Phillip Island Nature Park.
More fun stuff: Great Ocean Road, Puffing Billy train ride, Yarra River Cruise, Sovereign Hill
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