Travel the world with your family
Taking a holiday with the entire family can be a stressful affair, but family holidays are so worth it – you return to Singapore tired, but happy and closer to your loved ones than ever. The trick to travelling with a noisy, multi-generational crew is making sure there’s something for everyone to do.
These holiday destinations are jam-packed with activities for all ages and the experience is one you’ll never forget. It may be difficult to find a place that will please everyone from your tiny nephew to your great-grandma, but here are some ideas on the best family-friendly 3D2N trips to get you started. And they are all under 500 SGD per pax with flights and accommodation included!
Note: The following consists of 3D2N itineraries planned over weekdays in January 2016. The lodging recommendations assume that each hotel room will host 2 pax each, and all prices are exclusive of taxes and additional charges.
1. Hoi An, Vietnam – The Venice Of Asia
Hanoi is a bustling mecca for backpackers, but as a family, travel can become very inconvenient. Instead of heading to the capital city, try the outlying area instead. Source Located right beside the sea, Hoi An is perfect for families who’d like a slow-paced vacation. It’s pretty much the Venice of Southeast Asia – a gem unknown to most Singaporeans. The place is well known for its old town, a beautiful architectural mix of Chinese shophouses, French colonial buildings and a Japanese bridge.
Whether you’re an avid walker or a leisurely traveller, there’s plenty to experience in Hoi An. Traverse the entirety of the old quarter on foot, explore the carpentry, pottery and fishing villages, or take a boat ride to Cham Island for a relaxing day. And even if the whole family splits up for the day’s activities, you can meet back in the old quarter for a fantastic Vietnamese dinner!
2. Taipei, Taiwan – Like Singapore But In Mandarin
No one goes hungry in Taipei. Kids will love getting a sugar high from mango shaved ice and bubble tea, adults will love wandering around Shilin night market munching on the best street food, and grandparents will love sitting in the coffeeshop around the corner with some braised pork rice and traditional desserts. There’s something for everyone!
Gathering everyone in front of the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall for an iconic family photo is a definite must-do activity!
The city itself is generally accessible and if herding a large group around gets too tiring, taxis are affordable. Taipei’s also a great base for a tour. Visit the Chiang Kai Shek memorial, rent a car to visit the nearby Yehliu Geopark, or release a sky lantern in Shifen together.
Flight: Tigerair from $297/pax
Hotel: City Suites Taipei Nandong $89/pax for 2 nights
3. Shanghai – Where China meets the rest of the world
It may be one of the busiest cities in the world, but Shanghai has a reputation for being very accessible, especially for older people with physical disabilities. Visit Shanghai in spring and autumn for cool weather, perfect for taking slow walks around the Shanghai Yu Garden. Or check out Tianzifang, an arts enclave of cafes, boutiques and studios within an old French quarter.
Shanghai is also famous for its east-west fusion, and there’s no better way to experience it than through your stomach. Splurge on the best restaurants, or eat your way along Nanjing Road for some of the best Chinese food around.
Source Shanghai’s famous Tang Bao (soup dumplings) anyone?
4. Bali – The Indonesian City where you’ll never run out of things to do
If you’ve read our Bali guide, you’ll know that you’ll never run out of things to do in Bali. For the ones who just want to chillax: relax in your very exclusive pool villa, have dinner on the beach by the sunset or take a boat ride out to sea for dolphin-watching. For the adventurous and fit family: learn to surf, hit up Waterbom Bali for a screaming good time or climb Mount Batur for a breathtaking view. Seriously, there’s so much to do in Bali that your entire extended family can come along and no one will complain of boredom.
Flight: Air Asia $165/pax
Hotel: Why get a hotel when you can get a pool villa for under 80 USD per night? Check out the villa we stayed at below!
5. Chiang Mai – The Most Beautiful Part Of Thailand
Contrary to popular belief, the best place to eat, pray and love is Chiang Mai. Surround yourself with the lush sights and sounds of nature, be swept away by rapids in a thrilling white water rafting adventure or wander amongst the locals at the night market.
Or take a hot air balloon ride
Winter in Chiang Mai is too beautiful to miss – think sakura blooms aplenty and sub-zero temperatures atop Doi Inthanon, the tallest mountain in Thailand. For families who’d fancy a respite from the sweltering heat in Singapore, Chiang Mai has loads to offer between December and February.
6. Penang – The Food Capital of Malaysia
Take a trip back to the old days in Penang, hope of good food and incredible street art. It’s a place for the whole family – near enough to make travelling a breeze, but so different from Singapore that you’ll love exploring every nook and cranny. The street art in Georgetown scratches only the surface of what the small town has to offer.
When in Penang, visiting the Clan Jetties is the true mandatory activity. Here you can have a glimpse of the local’s way of life – rustic and simple. If your family is adventurous enough, do away with the comforts of a hotel and experience a home stay on stilts here! But of course, don’t do that on an empty stomach. Penang is famous for its laksa, char kway teow and seafood. Are you salivating yet? For the best noodles you can find in Penang, check out our guide here.
7. Brunei Darussalam – An underrated city just waiting to be discovered
This lesser known destination is quite the modern metropolis, just like Singapore. That makes getting around a breeze, especially if there are wheelchair bound people in the group. The main city has its fair share of street food, but once you go out of the city, there are so many lakes, waterfalls, rivers and traditional villages that remain undiscovered by most tourists.
The Ulu Temburong National Park is where you can embark on canopy walks, jungle treks and keep a lookout for the wildlife that inhabit the landscape. The untouched rainforest sure lives up to its first name; the one and only way you can get here is by water, on the temuai or longboat. We heard the ride upstream against the rapids is quite the experience. Take a step into the unknown and explore this country rich with culture, starting from its capital city. Brunei is a relatively safe country, but don’t forget to follow their customs while you’re there. Dress decently!
8. Hong Kong – Food and Shopping Haven
Everyone, old or young, loves shopping. Ergo, everyone loves Hong Kong! It’s so easy to take public transport with your handy Octopus card and everyone can head up to Victoria Peak to catch the sunset and night view. If you’re visiting in the summer, visit the Sai Wan Swimming Shed – a pool unlike anything you’ve seen. Watch the elderly make it look easy in the cold waters!
How can we forget the food when there’s bo luo bao (pineapple bun) around every corner and thick toast just dripping with condensed milk in every little cha chan teng (tea restaurant)? For large families, book an entire table at a traditional Chinese restaurant to get your dim sum on.
9. Kyoto – Old World Charm
There’s a reason why the old people in Japan live so long – the food is incredibly healthy, the streets are clean and getting around is easy. Kyoto has a delightful old world charm, with temples, shrines and palaces aplenty. There’s a quiet tranquility in the air and the city has a unique ability to open your eyes to the beauty of the man-made and natural world around you.
The Fushimi Inari shrine is a must-visit in Southern Kyoto, with the thousands of vermilion gates that must’ve graced your Instagram feed at least once. What most people don’t know is that these trails lead to the forest behinds, where visitors can “hike” up the hill.
When that’s done, sit down for an elaborate meal of Kyo Kaiseki.
10. Bonus: Go on a 4D3N cruise!
For a fuss-free family holiday, a cruise is probably your best option. Instead of running around trying to keep track of the whole family, chill out on deck while the young ones play tennis and the older ones join aqua aerobics. Your children will be preoccupied with daily kid club activities, which will let you indulge in some much-needed quality time with your partner. It’s fuss-free, all-inclusive and there’s food 24/7.
Take a weekend trip on the seven seas, or for the more adventurous, choose a cruise with stops in ports around the region. That way, you’ll be able to experience the luxurious cruise life and check out the local scene too.
Cost: $429/pax at Royal Carribean for 3 nights on a Singapore – Kuala Lumpur itinerary
Have a worry-free trip!
I’ve travelled with 20 family members before, it’s chaotic – but good fun. But anyone who’s been on a multi-generational holiday knows that insurance coverage can be a real headache. Most of us purchase travel insurance as an add-on to our airfares, but these plans tend to just provide basic coverage which includes trip cancellation, travel delay and loss or damage of personal belongings, and nothing more. Say someone gets admitted to the hospital for sudden chest pains that arise from an existing heart condition. After all the distress, he may not be able to make claims after he’s back if his travel insurance plan doesn’t cover pre-existing medical conditions. Imagine the tens of thousands he would’ve spent!
NTUC Income Enhanced PreX Travel Insurance
The first of its kind in Singapore, the NTUC Income Enhanced PreX Travel Insurance Plan is designed for travellers with pre-existing medical conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or asthma. This plan offers protection against huge medical expenses and is designed to cover things like emergency medical evacuation, phone charges, or cost to send you home (repatriation of bodily remains), where there could possibly be hefty bills chalked up unexpectedly.
Now, with your travel insurance taken care of, your entire family can travel with a peace of mind. Leave the worrying to NTUC Income. Find out more about the NTUC Income Enhanced PreX Travel Insurance Plan here or call 6788 1222.
This post was brought to you by NTUC Income.