2015 has been a fabulous year of fun family travel for Mum on the Move! We have had so many amazing travel experiences this year. I got to fulfill a lifelong dream to take a boat trip down the Li River from Guilin to Yangshou in Southern China, and finally got to visit Luang Prabang in Laos, that has been on my bucket list for more than 8 years.
We also went back to firm favourites Margaret River in Western Australia, and Hoi An in Vietnam, in addition to a 3-week trip to England and Scotland. Here are some of our highlights from our family travels this year. I hope they help to inspire you for your future family travels!
Margaret River, Western Australia
We kicked off our year of travels in February with a trip to the Margaret River region in Western Australia. We love the Margaret River and visit there regularly at this time of year, when the sky is a solid blue and the temperature is blissfully warm.
What do we love about it so much? Firstly – the region is responsible for 20% of Australia’s premium wine. Secondly, many of the 200+ wineries in Margaret River are hugely child-friendly, with playgrounds, and games to keep the kids occupied while mum and dad taste the amazing wine. Perfect!
In April I fulfilled a lifetime dream to take a boat cruise down the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo, in Southern China. The Chinese claim that Guilin has “the finest landscape under heaven”, and the staggering scenery here has inspired centuries of Chinese landscape paintings and poems.
It’s not hard to see why as you cruise gently down the Li River, gliding past the endless backdrop of spectacular karst mountains, shrouded in mist. The other highlight of our trip here was a visit to the stunning Longji Rice Terraces – a truly beautiful sight and worth the 3-hour drive from Guilin. Read more about Things to Do in Guilin with Kids here.
A few weeks after Guilin, we took a trip to Singapore. We often say that Singapore is one of the most child-friendly cities in Asia, and we proved it this week, with trips to many of Singapore’s major family-friendly attractions, including the Singapore Zoo, the Southeast Asia Aquarium and Universal Studios. All fabulous fun, and inspired our post 50 Things to Do in Singapore with Kids.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Shortly after we got back from Singapore, it was time to head to Hoi An in Vietnam, one of our favourite beach destinations in Asia. We stayed at the fabulous Hyatt Regency Danang and headed out on lots of adventures – including an amazing street food tour of Hoi An, and a super-fun day on a Farming & Fishing tour.
After a couple of hectic moths of travelling we hung out in Hong Kong for the month of June, but that didn’t stop us from exploring! We took the kids for a trip over to Lamma Island for a local seafood lunch and play on the beach there, and another weekend had fun taking photos at the Trick Eye Museum up the Peak.
One of our favourite adventures this month was visiting the Big Buddha on Lantau Island. We loved the cable car ride up there and back, and took the opportunity to explore nearby Tai O – Hong Kong’s oldest fishing village while we were there.
The school summer holidays brought us to London. Despite our British passports, we had never been to London as a family, and this week we had a blast! Despite the UK’s dismal weather, we managed to fit in all the major tourist attractions – the London Eye, the Natural History Museum, Princess Diana Memorial Garden, the London Zoo, the Tower of London… and even some like the Sealife Aquarium and the London Transport Museum that we were driven to explore to escape the rain.
From London we headed up north to Yorkshire to visit family for a week. Having lived in cities Singapore and Hong Kong, I was a bit blown away by the beauty of rural Yorkshire this time round. We loved visiting the traditional English pubs, and had two fabulous days out running round in the fresh country air at Lyme Park National Trust property in Cheshire, and Stockeld Park in Yorkshire.
Our UK adventure ended with a week in Edinburgh, Scotland. We were lucky to be there during the fabulous Edinburgh Festival, so there were plenty of shows to take the kids to, and the fun vibe that accompanies it.
We also took them around beautiful Edinburgh Castle and running around Prince’s Street Gardens (seeing that much grass to run on is a bit of a novelty for kids from Hong Kong!) Read more fun Things to Do in Edinburgh with Kids here.
Yes, we headed back to Singapore again. This time we were in town for the Singapore Grand Prix – such a great weekend; Singapore really knows how to throw a party! While we were there, we stayed at the fabulous Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, one of our favourite city-centre hotels we have stayed in.
In early December we had a few days in Hanoi on our way to Luang Prabang. It had been twelve years since we were last in Hanoi, but the Old Town really hasn’t changed that much. We did an amazing street food walking tour trying out so many delicious dishes, and the kids loved riding around in the cyclos and seeing the water puppets.
Luang Prabang, Laos
Luang Prabang had been top of my bucket list for 8 years, since we first moved to Asia. And finally this year I got my chance to visit. And wow, it didn’t disappoint! I think this was our favourite trip of the year. Luang Prabang is incredible – so relaxed and beautiful. Drinking sundowners alongside the Mekong, visiting the stunning temples, taking a boat cruise along the Mekong, visiting beautiful waterfalls… but the most fun was the day we spent at an Elephant Sanctuary learning to be mahouts for a day! Amazing!
As this goes to print, I hope to be lying on a sunlounger on the beach in Phuket to see in the New Year! What a fabulous 2015. Let’s hope 2016 is just as much fun!