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Inspiration please for special longhaul trip

(30 Posts)
smartiepantsgirl Sat 23-Nov-13 22:21:16

Dh and I are looking to take our 2 ds (age 9 and 5) away next winter for a family celebration. Ideally like a beach break with a city stop off on the way back. Happy to go longhaul. Any recommendations?

AnandaTimeIn Sun 23-Feb-14 23:39:23

I'm resurrecting this thread cos I was looking for threads about Kerala..... So any up-to-date info on that is welcome! smile

OP asked for any Caribbean advice....

I could recommend Cuba, but the food leaves a lot to be desired, especially in the AI. The private restaurants are getting better and better tho I hear.

Dominican Republic is great too. Beautiful nature and beaches, great people and culture and you can go whale watching around March in

Would definately recommend Jamaica. Amazing nature, great beaches, fabulous culture and people, I went once with my then 20 month-old. I even managed to go out to a reggae concert and have a babysitter come into and stay in the hotel room/balcony, tv and all that, till I got home.

Lots to do too for older children in Jamaica too. Snorkelling, learn to Scuba dive, horse riding (in the sea too!), dolphin swimming, zip lining thru the trees, etc.

All those places adore children. They are very welcomed.

Eastwickwitch Wed 18-Dec-13 09:19:12

smartie, I've taken DC to the Caribbean several times but I don't think I could find you a city break.

dontyouknow Tue 10-Dec-13 14:23:03

Please don't be put off Thailand. I have been several times, and two of those with a young child.

Bangkok has lots for children. There is a great aquarium in the shopping district. The grand palace and main temples are good - 5 year old DD loved Wat Po with the huge reclining Budda! Boat trips along the river are also fun.

We went to Cha-am (near Hua Hin) a couple of hours down the coast as we didn't want to have another flight. There are lots of things to do with children in the area (national parks with waterfalls and caves, water parks, elephants etc).

We have also been to Malaysai - Kuala Lumpar and Penang with 18 month old DD. KL is nice enough for a few days. Penang was really good as there were lots of things to do as half day trips with a child.

Also been to Sri Lanka a few times, once with DD aged 2. I would avoid Colombo as there isn't much to do there, so it probably wouldn't fit into your beach and city break idea! We just had a fortnight on the beach and did day trips. Although if you fly emirates you could maybe have a few nights in Dubai on the way back?

Oh dear, DD is sounding very spoilt with holidays..... We love travelling and SE Asia in particular! Just waiting until 8 month old DS is a little older so we can go back to Thailand. Next year maybe!

I think Singapore and Bali as others say would also be a good option (Only been without children myself though).

If you're not too bothered about the city break then how about Goa? Lots to do with children.

TravelLocal Mon 09-Dec-13 10:40:41

I would go along with Thailand - Phuket isn't that great these days, but Khao Lak is much quieter and driving distance from Phuket airport.

Thailand has a great depth of supply - as long as you don't leave it too late you won't have trouble getting a room at a hotel and location that you're happy with.

Inland from Khao Lak you have Khao Sok National Park, which is a great way to see some local scenery and wildlife, and dovetails nicely with the beach.

You can fly via Bangkok, but also Singapore if you prefer the idea of that. Singapore is very well set up for kids.

smartiepantsgirl Sun 08-Dec-13 09:47:06

Thanks so much everyone. Great info! Interestingly I met a couple this week who also had similar things to say about Thailand. As the dc are still quite young perhaps we'll look elsewhere for now. There sounds like some amazing places to go there but think I'd prefer somewhere we could get to more directly to avoid connecting flights/boats at the other end. Any Caribbean advice? smile

NK5BM3 Thu 05-Dec-13 21:32:59

Where ever you go Singapore airlines is fab. Great with kids and lovely edible food. Plus great movies, tv and games. Also now 30kg allowance. Early online check in, choose own seat etcetc. Vv relaxed
Experience at heathrow. Really.

saffronwblue Thu 05-Dec-13 21:26:55

Or Kota Kinabalu - nice resorts, mountain and orangutan sanctuary.

saffronwblue Thu 05-Dec-13 21:25:54

Hua Hin in Thailand is very nice. it is where Thai people go for beach holidays, so a little less geared for Westerners.

cq Thu 05-Dec-13 20:59:00

We went to Thailand when our kids were 6 and 8. We went inland - Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Stayed in Bangkok 2 nights but were very careful where we went - temple, royal palace, market. Went out to the war cemetery and the Bridge over the River Kwai - very moving and a beautiful monument there to the Australian army. Stayed in a floating hotel on the River Kwai - the evening entertainment was jumping in at the top of the hotel (basically a load of barges joined together) and floating downstream until you reached the bottom, then you grabbed the steps, climbed out and did it all again. Magical.

As we toured up country we had elephant rides, cookery classes, massages, visited beautiful temples and stayed in eco-lodges and non-chain hotels. There is the most fabulous white marble temple near Chiang Rai, and while we were standing looking at it, some ceremony just ended and all the Buddhist monks in their bright orange robes came pouring out - we have got some fantastic photos. There's also the heroin museum in Chiang Rai - really interesting and not very complimentary about the British Empire. The world drug problem appears to be mostly our fault confused

It was one of the best holidays we've had and the kids still remember things about it.

Highly recommend the tour company we used - booked through responsible, and they used EastWest Siam tours as their local agent. We had the same guide for the whole trip and she was an absolute star. I think you can book direct with EastWest Siam too but not sure what safeguards there would be (e.g. ATOL).

specialsubject Thu 05-Dec-13 17:53:00

I've been to a bit of Thailand. Koh Lanta island has lovely sandy west facing beaches, enough facilities without too much and no hawkers.

Phuket town is interesting and relaxed. The Phuket island beaches are regimented (rows of sun loungers) and there is some hawking. Got out of there in the evening, not pleasant. Wouldn't go for a beach holiday on Phuket.

In Malaysia, Penang (Georgetown) is a fascinating city but the beaches are dirty. Langkawi was hawker-free, clean and relaxed.

these are big countries. As is Australia. Could find no reason to go to the drunken backpacker coast but loads of other wonderful places. Tasmania, Spencer Gulf, South Australia, Great Ocean Road and many more.

ihatethecold Tue 03-Dec-13 13:32:47

I've always wanted to go to Thailand. This thread puts me off.

AnandaTimeIn Mon 02-Dec-13 13:51:19

I agree with Sri Lanka, though I was there very many moons ago!

This year I was in Malaysia, loved it. Loved KL too. Fascinating city. Clean, lovely friendly helpful people (most speak English), lots to do and see. Little India, Chinatown, Twin Towers (went up it!). Central Market to browse and eat.

Great for kids too are the Bird and Butterfly parks.
They have a hop-on hop-off bus for which the tickets last 24 hours. So you can spread it over two days. (afternoon/morning).

Also went to Langkawi, Tioman and Malacca.

Bali is another great place, they love children. Was in a restaurant in Ubud and a Western lady with toddler came in. The waitresses just scooped her up and generally entertained her smile.

Cerisier Mon 02-Dec-13 13:00:07

nanny I will find out and update.

nannyafrica Sun 01-Dec-13 21:09:10

I don't know where your friends went in Sri Lanka. We found it the total opposite and wished we could have stayed longer 3 weeks was not enough. We had an amazing car and driver and went to some lovely places. A shopkeeper we got to know invited us back to his house to meet his family and have a meal which we knew he could not really afford. We hired bikes and cycled through rice fields and villages meeting elephants along the way.One hotel Turtle Bay near Tangalle was great we were the only tourists on the beach we spent 3 hours helping local fishermen/women pull in the nets I have never laughed so much in my life. The best was going on a local train full of families I was hanging out the window with the kids! There are a few beach areas on the south west side that I would not go to as like many other countries becames a bit tacky!

Cerisier Sun 01-Dec-13 15:24:22

Singapore and Bali or HK and Koh Samui would get my vote. I wasn't impressed with KL when I went, and I'm not sure about the unrest in Bangkok at the moment. Friends of ours got harassed big time in Sri Lanka recently, they were two women friends travelling together and came home early as it was so awful.

India is wonderful, but the children are probably a bit young. I like Phuket, but you have to be careful where you stay. Langkawi is nice. Another place to consider is Australia- Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Gold Coast are all fab.

LayMizzRarb Sun 01-Dec-13 06:55:51

We first went to Thailand about 20 years ago about 3/4 times, when Phuket was little more than a few restaurants. It was literally paradise on earth. Fast forward 10 years and it had become very commercialised. We returned 5 years ago and counted the hours till we left.

The constant selling was relentless. The minute we stepped out of the hotel, people touted for business. You want tuk tuk?, you come to my restaurant? We got a taxi to Phuket town one day, and getting out of the car, were approached by three other drivers asking if we wanted a taxi. You could not relax on the beach. There would be sellers every three minutes who would disturb you, despite you reading a book or listening through headphones.

The sex trade is in your face, and fairly disturbing. Even more disturbing that the Thai Government do little to stop it. All those 16 year old Thai girls are on sitting on the laps of 60 year old men all day because they fancy them. Countless times when my DH was sitting in a bar waiting for me to arrive, he would be offered sex, or 'overnight lady friend' . We were sitting watching a sunset one evening and two girls came up to us, and started chatting, told us they were learning English. Within 5 minutes they were offering to go to bed with us. Yuk. Lovely way to ruin the sunset.

I have been to very many countries, and lived in a few. Thailand, and Coffs Harbour, Australia - I would not go to if you paid me.

Malaysia on the other hand is lovely. Kuala Lumpur is my favourite city on earth. Such contrasts the affluent, little India, China town.

When you book flights , seriously consider Emirates. They are fantastic with kids, and you have a 30kg luggage allowance!

kreecherlivesupstairs Sun 01-Dec-13 06:45:59

Penang for three days max.

saffronwblue Sun 01-Dec-13 06:39:55


kreecherlivesupstairs Sun 01-Dec-13 06:30:12

Well, yes, Thailand is just one big brothel. Nothing else to see or do other than prostitutes or lady boys hmm.
Thailand is brilliant for children. Thai people adore them.
I wouldn't bother with KL, if you do go to Malaysia there are much nicer places.
I'd consider Oman and the emirates, or as nanny says, Sri Lanka.

LayMizzRarb Sun 01-Dec-13 06:27:50

If you are going to Thailand, avoid Phuket like the plague. In fact, avoid most of Thailand, especially the beaches.
It is one big brothel.

carolmillen Fri 29-Nov-13 20:00:47

Singapore far better with kids than Bangkok IMO

nannyafrica Wed 27-Nov-13 19:40:52

Sri Lanka. Been twice this year, fell in love with the place.
Beaches, safaris, sights loads to do.

allmycats Wed 27-Nov-13 15:51:46

Kuala Lumpur/Bali
The Balinese are brilliant with children !!!

New York/Barbados
Once again, Barbados V Good for children

Secretsout Wed 27-Nov-13 15:48:24

Were hoping to do NY and Mexico at October half term. 4 and 10 nights in each. Got 2 kids 11 and 13.

smartiepantsgirl Tue 26-Nov-13 12:23:19

Thanks. I think we are leaning towards the Far East. Is Bangkok good for children or should we just head to the beaches? And which area?

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