Tagged! My Top Three Travel Secrets with Kids

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The lovely Jane from Kidaddle has just tagged me! I'm to share three travel secrets, and of course, mine will be kid-friendly.

Initially, this was tough! I mean, how can you choose from the kajillion best kept secrets around the world? And on top of that, often it's the most obvious places that are best kept (probably because we don't want even MORE people saturating a fabulous site).

So here are just three of my best-kept-secret travel destinations with kids. They're all very different. And make sure you check out Jane's three travel secrets!

1. Beijing, China

When we were first posted to China, I was horrified. Four years later, you had to pry my white-knuckled fingers from our dumpling steamer so we could catch our flight back to Australia. I was devastated to leave.

So much surprised me about Beijing (and China in general), not the least being that it is a fantastic city for kids. This fact is relatively hidden from tourists, alas, which is why this 'secret' destination really needs to be uncovered.

The Chinese adore children and provide a plethora of fabulous sites and activities to keep them entertained. See my post Beijing Sites - Kiddified for tips on the best cultural places to visit (and how to make them kid friendly) and Beijing's Kid-Friendly Parks for some outdoor fun.

If you travel to Beijing, the uttermost thing you could do would be to log onto the websites of the expat magazines to gather the best information on what's happening and where to go with kids. This info is priceless and constantly updated. See beijingkids and City Weekend Parents & Kids. You can also sign up for City Weekend's parents & kids newsletter.

2. Hoi An, Vietnam

Of course, Vietnam is a fabulous travel destination for kids, for so many reasons, but my best pick would have to be Hoi An on the central coast. Not too hot, not too cold, amazing locals, on the beach, a massive variety of hotel accommodation from 1 to 5 star, incredible local food and streets like nothing you've ever known. Just take a teensy French village, dip it in lemongrass, add 400 years, shake well, then add a sprinkling of the Orient, from China to Malayasia.

Exotic, formidable, inimitable in terms of atmosphere - children will feel the vibe. From the astonishing range of historical houses, temples, museums and gardens to the bustling central market, boat rides and myriad cafes and restaurants lining the river, the family can while away days sitting on balconies, nibbling on exquisite French pastries or slurping pho soup - the constrasts are legendary.

But perhaps my deepest Hoi An love would be our experience at the Red Bridge Cooking School, where Ella and I were taken through the basics of Vietnamese cooking. I will never forget watching my 8 year old daughter whip up rice paper sheets from scratch, create a phenomenal eggplant stew (she ate every bit!) and create floral designs from vegetables, in the most divine setting on the banks of the Hoi An river.

It you or the kids have a love of cooking, you must go.

3. San Francisco, USA

San Francisco remains one of our favourite destinations for children - ever. Most people think of San Fran as the place to go for adults hell-bent on a deeply satisfying arts and cultural experience, resplendent with amazing food, music and natural beauty.

Well, times that by a hundred for kids. See my California Adventure series, which features a glimpse at lots of kid-friendly fun in this incomparable city.

Well, that's three of my travel secrets! Now I am tagging some fabbo gals:

Lisa from Canberra's Got Style

Sarah from Oh, the Possibilities!

Nicole from Planning with Kids

Posie from Posie Patchwork


Anonymous said...

Oh thank you so much!!!! I'll have to put my thinking cap on, but luckily we did a fair bit of travel with our littlies too. Great tag! xxxx

Posie Patchwork said...

OH yes, thinking caps on but i can already see ideas whirling around with this one. Have children - will travel!! Love Posie

Dee Andrews said...

Hola Tania,

Glad to find you and your blog through the travel secret game of tag!

I don't know which has inspired me more, your description about the teensy French village dipped in lemongrass or the idea of the cooking class with my daughters. Vietnam may have to be our next destination!

Can't wait to read more.

~ Dee, from Travel and Travails

PlanningQueen said...

I would love to take the kids to Vietnam and I think even my older boys would love that cooking school - what a fab experience!

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