These are our top Travel Tips for Asia. Stay tuned as we continue to develop this review and keep it relevant. Asia is scattered with family friendly vacation spots of all budgets but all with a certain charm, beauty and majesty.
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You could easily trade in you week at en expensive Maldives Resort for a month or more in in more middle of the road budget, beach vacation spots like Thailand or Sri Lanka. Some aspects like these will depend on the circumstances of your family but many planning factors are universal. Here we explore all the options and what you need to go to make your family vacation work.
Asian Destinations can change drastically within a few weeks or days. The difference can mean the difference between catching the cherry blossoms in Korea, Japan, or China or having a bleak end of winter landscape.
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In South East Asia it could mean meeting with the torrential monsoon or missing it entirely. Similarly in Thailand for example you could experience the monsoon on one side of the peninsular and completely miss it on the other.
And have you checked to see if their are important festivals like Ramadan and Chinese new year. I remember catching a Chinese New Year celebration by chance in Korea and was pleasantly surprised by our families experience. However it's better not to leave these happenings to chance where possible, because it can go the other way too.
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We will keep you updated on all the best places for family vacations in Asia but one resource we found invaluable in planning our Asian Adventure was this: Top Destinations — Asia on TripAdvisor.
Plan Plan Plan
Boring you may say. But you can go home complaining about your bad luck, or with a little planning navigate a successful vacation around these very predictable elements. While there is a little variation you will find a little research is invaluable, and can create a surprisingly accurate preview of your travelling future. This is not taking the spontaneity out of the occasion rather choosing the setting you would like your adventure to unfold in.
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This sounds quite obvious but it's worth remembering to make a conscious effort to distinguish between the homogenized global sameness and to identify what is distinctly unique and different about a particular location. This will also involve you suspending judgement on local customs and traditions that you will find a little different to your own. While we will try to identify particular customs and procedures that will help you in your travels it's also your job to also experience for yourself the unique special environments you travel through. You will need to do more than superimpose the observations of your guidebook on the culture you are visiting but rather immerse yourself and connect with what it really means to travel.
Most countries in Asia allow free visa access and don't require any work to encourage tourism. The Maldives for example is no likely to change its visa issued on arrival policy in a hurry. If there is a fee for a visa it is usually only about $20 to $40 and travel visas usually are valid for about 20 to 40 days. Some countries dont even bother with a visa as long as you have a ticket out and are olnly staying for a specified time. Then it is quite easy to do a quick search to see the current arrangement for the country you are visiting
Beware of Scams. A Cambodian visa for example will require a passport photo then it's a good idea to keep one of those handy whenever you travel. And if you arrive by plane it's fairly easy to get the visa at the airport. However at the border you will have to look out for money changing tricks. Also in some cases it has been reported that fake border scams have been set up to take your visa money. Amazing but a real possibility avoided with a little research. Extensions of visa are also options for those who would like to stay longer in a particular country.
Visas to some countries can require a little work and planning and a visit to an Embassy near you. On writing it was a requirement of many English speaking countries to gain a visa in advance for China and Mongolia. Note als that a Hong Kong is treated differently to mainland China and will require a different visa. Travelling to China and Vietnam is also a little more difficult and expensive if you are American but also entirely possible and worthwhile. Similarly, a Myanmar, or Pakistan embassy or mission can pre issue a visa for that country. Also always check information on websites is up to date because visa requirements can change. Funky travel has a good overview of visa requirements for each Asian Country.
Having travel insurance not only protects you from expensive medical expenses it can also save your life. I have personally experienced the inside of a good Asian hospital and it was not at all like a holiday resort. Fortunately I had my wonderful visits from my wife and the assurance that my bed wasn't going to cost my life savings.
Better yet than health insurance is to get acquainted with the local fermented food. Fermented food like Kimchi in Korea carries with it healthy bacteria with crowd out pathogenic bacteria. Also the high acid environment makes it unlikely for dangerous organisms to survive. There have been plenty of cases of people completely avoiding food poisoning after eating fermented food and did you know that whole villages which ate a lot of fermented food avoided the various plagues that have swept the earth. You will also enjoy better health as you travel. If you don't believe this you may do well to take your family to the kimchi museum in Seoul.
Obviously also keep photocopies of important travel documents.