Family travel

Where to Have a Family Holiday in 2021

Trade tense city living for wide-open spaces and a much-needed break at one of these family-friendly destinations in Asia

After months of working – and schooling – from home, every family out there is in need of a getaway. Planning your family holiday isn’t quite as simple as it was before COVID-19, but as countries gradually reopen and travel restrictions begin to loosen, these are the beautiful, easily accessible resort destinations to put on the list.

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Phuket, Thailand

Khao Rang Viewpoint overlooking Phuket City in Thailand
Credit: Shutterstock

With the end of autumn’s monsoon rains and the near-guarantee of sunshine ahead, there’s no better time to hit Thailand’s beaches. Families in search of water-based activities will find these at Kata Beach, while spectacular outlying islands offer more secluded spots. On land, Phuket Town boasts a mixture of old-world charm, with Sino-Portuguese architecture housing traditional Thai meals and a dynamic shopping environment – making it the perfect place to pick up a souvenir for those still at home.

When you can go: Thailand has introduced a long-staying visa option (STV) for tourists from low risk countries who stay for 90 days. STV holders can apply for up to two 90-day visa extensions. Residents of any country may apply for a tourist visa (TR), valid for up to 60 days.

Sentosa, Singapore

Ziplines in Sentosa, a family holiday destination in Singapore
Credit: Shutterstock

There’s family-friendly fun to be had all over Singapore, but few places do it better than the island of Sentosa, a small island just a 20-minute drive south of the middle of Singapore. Universal Studios offers a number of themed attractions and rides for film buffs and thrill-seekers alike, while Fort Siloso sheds light on Singapore’s history and life during the Japanese occupation in World War II. Elsewhere on the island, there’s also an adventure park, complete with a treetop rope course and 450-metre zip line that offers you a speedy route down to the beach. Explore our curated Singapore guide for more things to do and hotel recommendations.

When you can go: A travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore allows those eligible to travel without quarantining; click here for the latest details.

Cebu, Philippines

Kawasan Falls in Cebu, Philippines
Credit: Shutterstock

Cebu is a popular holiday spot for families looking for a beach break just a short flight from Hong Kong. Cebu City will be your first port of call – and local attractions like Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary are well worth a visit. Mactan Island hosts several family-friendly resorts and makes a great base for those in search of an island-hopping experience. Nalusuan and Olango islands are some of the best-known for snorkelling; Nalusuan is a protected marine sanctuary, its crystal clear waters teeming with sea creatures and corals. Kawasan Falls, a few hours’ drive south of Cebu City, is another easy side trip, popular for swimming paired with canyoneering.

When you can go: Philippine borders are expected to reopen to international travellers in the second half of 2021.

Bali, Indonesia

Surfers at Canggu beach in Bali, Indonesia
Credit: Shutterstock

Bali’s best months – June, July and August – coincide with the summer school holidays and promise sunshine with the least chance of rain. Bali won’t initially be open to full capacity either, meaning the discomfort that comes with crowded beaches will stay a distant memory. The long white stretch of sand at Seminyak is home to several resorts perfect for a family holiday, while the water hosts paragliders, boogie boarders, wind surfers and the like – surfers tend to congregate at Canggu, further north. For a picture-perfect family holiday moment, head to the kecak dance at Uluwatu at sunset – touristy though it may be, the dramatic clifftop views and hypnotic performances are worth the sojourn.

When you can go: Bali is likely to welcome international travellers in 2021.

Sanya, China

A pedestrian glass bridge in Yanoda Rainforest in Sanya, China
Credit: Shutterstock

With its clear waters and white sandy beaches, Sanya ­– the southernmost point of China’s Hainan island – offers a tropical family holiday on your doorstep, just an hour and a half’s flight from Hong Kong. Those in search of a quieter stretch of sand will find it in the resorts of Yalong Bay. But there’s also fun to be had on land: the Yanoda Tropical Rainforest Cultural Zone houses hiking trails and treetop walks for families in search of a nature break.

When you can go: Currently, foreign nationals from select countries can travel to China, provided they possess valid permits.

Hong Kong SAR, China

High Junk, one of the most scenic and lesser-known hikes in Hong Kong
Credit: Mike Pickles

For those in our home of Hong Kong, the city offers plenty of family holidays without crossing any borders. For a city break at home, opt for a staycation, complete with fine-dining, luxe spa treatments and all the fringe benefits of a weekend away. But if it’s peace and quiet you’re after, a day trip to the islands leads you to the city’s best beaches away from the crowds. In the eastern reaches, the New Territories offer a whole host of lesser-known hiking trails, passing heritage sites and UNESCO-marked landscapes along the way – the perfect way to combine a bit of learning with a day in the sun. Click here for more ways to keep kids entertained in Hong Kong.

When you can go: Year round.

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