I am so excited this week to be introducing you to Elizabeth, one of my favourite family travel bloggers over at Wander Mum. Her blog is full of inspiring ideas and tips, and this week she shares her family holiday in Asia where she travelled to the Far East and Dubai and proves that taking a toddler to Asia is easy peasy! So if you’re stuck on an itinerary and how to fit in several destinations in one, then this is the perfect tried-and-tested solution to your Asia planning!
What do you look for in a holiday?
I like a bit of everything, culture, good food but I am a big beach fan too! Nothing beats looking out on a crystal blue sea and watching the sunset – bliss!
Where did you go on a family holiday in Asia?
Kuala Lumper in Malaysia then onto the island of Langkawi for six nights, then Singapore and back to the UK via Dubai for three nights.
Why did you choose these destinations?
We love South East Asia. I fell in love with it when I went travelling after uni and my hubby shares my passion after we visited in 2007. We planned a trip around seeing my friend who lives in Singapore and wanted to incorporate some city and beach time.
My husband and I and our daughter, Mrs T, who was 19 months old at the time.
Where did you stay?
We took some advice from friends. My sister and her husband recommended the luxury hotel, The Datai in Langkawi – where we stayed for six nights. It is a truly unique hotel, set in the rainforest – I would love to go back sometime. For Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, we went for location: there’s plenty of good 5-star hotels which are very reasonable in Asia. As we had been to both cities before we chose to stay somewhere different.
Tell us about the accommodation
The first was the hotel at Dubai airport! It was actually really good to break up the journey and get a few hours sleep before heading to KL. We didn’t have to collect our bags or anything so was very easy and helped with the jetlag. We got a good deal at The Datai as we went slightly out of season.
• In Singapore, we stayed close to the Marina at the Pan Pacific Hotel which has a spectacular foyer and we have a fairly big room – for Singapore.
• For our three days in Dubai, we stayed at The Atlantis Palm, one of the few places we could get into due to holidays and events going on in the city.
Were there plenty of activities for the kids?
When there’s a beach, sand and a swimming pool what else do you need? My daughter had a slight issue with the sand (see below) but she found a friend to play with so that kept her happy in Langkawi, and Kuala Lumpur and Singapore are pretty child-friendly. I’m always amazed at how brilliant the Asian malls are – if they start getting bored head there. We even found a huge balloon display in Singapore which went down well!
Your most memorable moment of the trip?
Sooo many! My daughter refusing to walk on sand definitely stands out. All this beautiful golden sand and she would only walk on the smooth wet bits, refusing to put her feet on the lumpy dry sand. Was so sweet. We saw monkeys in Langkawi and ate our way through Singapore (they really like to eat)! It was great to see my daughter embracing the local food, too. She’s a big fan of noodle soup! Being blond with curly hair meant my daughter got a lot of attention in Asia – some people couldn’t believe the curls, they kept asking if they were real!
Any sights, activities you want to shout about?
We went on a brilliant trip on Langkawi’s cable car network which took us high into the mountains and gave us excellent views of the island. Singapore zoo is brilliant too and we enjoyed exploring Chinatown as well. My daughter particularly loved going on the underground system in Singapore (the MRT) – it’s a lot cleaner and more efficient than the one in London. It was helpful to have a local guide (my friend Gen) to show us around and get us to try all the local street food. In Dubai we went to The Atlantis’ waterpark which was good fun although my daughter was perhaps a big young for it. She did love the aquarium which is in the hotel though – it was a big hit!
Was a family holiday in Asia good value for money?
It was a bit of a splurge and we went for almost three weeks but we got what we paid for and were really happy with the trip. It was a bit more expensive in Dubai as we went during the Russian school holidays and the Golf cup horse racing was on so everywhere was pricey.
Your top tip for travelling to Asia with little ones?
It can be hot and humid so be careful with the little ones in the heat and make sure they get lots of water BUT don’t drink the tap water! Be prepared to eat a lot in Singapore. The fusion of cultures means the food is varied and vast – you have to have the chilli crab.
Which photo is your favourite and why? Tell us the story behind it.
I love this photo of the three of us on the roof terrace of the Marina Bay Sands hotel. My Singaporean friend was taking the picture and is one of about 20! It was rather windy and we were all laughing – our daughter Mrs T found it hilarious. I particularly like this one because my hair is defying gravity!
Would you recommend a family holiday in Asia?
Oh, definitely. It was a good combination of lots of different elements. Langkawi, in particular, is beautiful and the Datai hotel which is set in a rainforest is unlike anywhere I’ve been before.