SingaporeMotherhood | Family Fun

March 2023

12 + 1 Most Family-friendly Cities Around the World to Visit in 2023

2023 is the year in which even the most over-cautious worry-warts begin letting their guard down again. In fact, flight searches on Expedia have increased by a whopping 180 per cent compared to last year. It’s a positive trend, especially since the kids have — in COVID times — missed out on the benefits of travelling. With flight prices gradually falling with the uptick in demand, make up for lost time with a family vacation. From our nearest neighbours to far-flung destinations, take your pick from the most family-friendly cities around the world worth visiting this year.

(See also: How Children Benefit When You Travel As a Family)

1. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

family-friendly cities - kuala lumpur
Batu Caves

To many well-travelled Singaporeans, KL may not seem like a very exciting destination. Still, from towering skyscrapers to historic temples, and motley street markets, there’s plenty for families who prefer staying somewhat close to home. Discover a different side of Malaysia through an underwater walkway or uncover the wonders of science at Petrosains. Supposedly over 400 million years old, the majestic labyrinthine Batu Caves is another wonderful family excursion waiting to happen.

Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur
Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur

Stay in a family premier suite with kids’ tent and complementary amenities at the Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur. Its location within the city’s Golden Triangle puts you right smack in the shopping and entertainment districts. The Ascott Kuala Lumpur is another ideal choice for families, complete with a children’s playroom, outdoor playground, and wading pool. The luxury serviced residence offers options from cosy studios to three-bedroom family units.

2. Bangkok, Thailand

family-friendly cities - bangkok
Image: Pororo AquaPark Bangkok Facebook

Thailand’s bustling capital city needs little introduction. But did you know that it is also an ideal destination even with kids in tow? Besides affordable dining and accommodation, Bangkok offers a splendid variety of activities that families can experience together. Pack your swimsuits for Pororo AquaPark, the world’s first rooftop water park, or dive with sharks at Southeast Asia’s largest aquarium. Planning a trip to Chatuchak Weekend Market? Then factor in some time to explore the Children’s Discovery Museum, conveniently located right next door.

Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok
Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok

One of the highlights of a getaway to Bangkok is the opportunity to indulge in swankier hotels without burning a hole in your pocket. For instance, the Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok with its themed family suites, and the Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel, whose central location also makes it the perfect base for all those shopping sprees, relaxing massages, and mookata action.

(See also: Siem Reap with Kids: A Surprisingly Family-friendly Destination)

3. Macao, China

family-friendly cities - macao
teamLab SuperNature Macao (Image: VisualMedia@Venetian)

The tourism industry in Macao (or Macau) is flourishing, with a diverse range of activities for every kind of visitor. It is definitely one of the more underrated family-friendly cities. On indoor days, visit the highly interactive Macao Science Center and get lost in teamLab SuperNature Macao, a 3D art experience like no other. You can also meet adorable pandas at the Giant Panda Pavilion or take the cable car up Guia Hill for a bird’s eye view of the city and beyond.

Sheraton Grand Macao
Sheraton Grand Macao

And if one-stop fun is on the agenda, then there’s plenty to see and do in Macao’s integrated resort hotels. Studio City, for example, encompasses a water park, VR theme park, and Asia’s highest figure-8 Ferris wheel. Bring the fun home with a Family Suite stay at the Sheraton Grand Macao, where kids become little VIPs.

4. Taipei, Taiwan

family-friendly cities - taipei
Raohe Street Night Market

With its rich history, vibrant culture, and beautiful natural scenery, Taipei is unsurprisingly a popular destination among Singaporeans. The city delivers varied experiences and sights, including temple-hopping and street food discovery — Raohe Street Night Market, for one. Kids love Taipei Zoo, where you can interact with bumbling pandas and cuddly koalas alike. If you go during cherry blossom season, the Yangmingshan Flower Festival is a must.

The Howard Plaza Hotel Taipei
The Howard Plaza Hotel Taipei

The Family Suite at The Howard Plaza Hotel Taipei caters for families with little ones looking for a fun stay. It also offers a variety of dining options to suit all tastes. Those with older kids may prefer the Sheraton Grand Taipei Hotel. Give them an outlet for their energy with the entertainment rooms, while you indulge in the spa and fitness centres.

(See also: The Most Kid-Friendly Minsu, B&Bs, and Hotels in Taiwan)

5. Tokyo, Japan

family-friendly cities - tokyo
Owl Café Akiba Fukurou Tokyo

Japan is undoubtedly Singaporeans’ favourite travel destination. From iconic cuisine to fascinating sights and experiences, Tokyo blends traditional culture with cutting-edge technology. Head to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden year-round to admire the artistic landscaping in this oasis within the sprawling metropolis. Then get up close and personal with the natural world at an owl café in the Akihabara district. Plus, don’t miss teamLab Planets TOKYO, a full-body digital art experience for the whole family.

Tokyo Bay Shiomi Prince Hotel
Tokyo Bay Shiomi Prince Hotel

Planning a trip to Tokyo Disneyland? Then stay at Tokyo Bay Shiomi Prince Hotel, which is just 10 minutes away by train. It also has a family room and playroom to keep the little ones entertained. Alternatively, stay at the wellness-centric Hotel Asyl Tokyo Kamata. It’s also just a 10-minute train ride to popular destinations such as Nishikamata Park and Heiwajima Hotspring.

6. Seoul, South Korea

family-friendly cities - seoul
Nami Island

K-drama fans who dream of visiting those royal palaces, traditional villages, and bustling markets, what are you waiting for? The largest city in South Korea is a bewitching mix of ancient and modern. For example, Gyeongbokgung is home to the National Folk Museum and National Palace Museum of Seoul. Choose your favourite hanbok and take the kids around the largest of the Five Palaces built during the Joseon Dynasty. In exchange, let the kids drag you around Insadong’s exciting Color Pool Museum. Take a breather from the bustling metropolis with a day trip to beautiful Nami Island, just two hours away.

Henn na Hotel Seoul Myeongdong
Henn na Hotel Seoul Myeongdong

If your kids love dinosaurs and robots, then a stay at Henn na Hotel Seoul Myeongdong is a no-brainer. From the dinosaur that greets you upon arrival to delivery of guest room services, expect a cutting-edge Jetsons family experience! For a relaxing stay within the bustling Myeongdong shopping district, consider a family suite at the Royal Hotel Seoul. It’s a literal stone’s throw from Myeongdong Cathedral.

7. Melbourne, Australia

family-friendly cities - melbourne
Image: Puffing Billy Railway Facebook

When it comes to family-friendly cities, Melbourne is up there with the best of them. Known for its art scene, the city’s vibrant streets are a treasure trove of hidden artworks waiting to be discovered. Beyond the city centre, take a family road trip to the iconic coastlines of the 12 Apostles, or meet Australia’s native animals in an extinct volcano-turned-wildlife reserve. A scenic ride on the open-side carriages of Australia’s oldest steam railway will also no doubt be a magical experience. The cherry on top? The city offers free or discounted public transport for young children.

Pegasus Apart’Hotel
Pegasus Apart’Hotel

Once the kids are all tired out, head back to some of Australia’s best kid-friendly hotels. You can’t go wrong with Pegasus Apart’Hotel’s kid-themed family apartments, or Ovolo Boutique Hotel Laneways, which has a free snack bar! P.S. Emirates just relaunched daily direct flights between Singapore and Melbourne.

(See also: 15 Family-Friendly Wildlife Adventures in Australia that let you Help Animals)

8. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

family-friendly cities - dubai
Image: Emirates

The gleaming city of Dubai has something for everyone and every family. Home to some of the best theme parks in the world, including the world’s largest indoor theme park, Dubai is sure to keep the thrill-seeking adventurers on the edge of their seats. For families who prefer to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, Dubai’s vast deserts await. Nothing quite like camel riding, sandboarding, and glamping to keep the little ones happy and busy. The gift of new experiences will definitely make a memorable holiday.

Jungle Bay Waterpark at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort
Image: Jungle Bay Waterpark at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort

Take advantage of the popular My Emirates Pass when you fly with Emirates during peak summer or winter seasons. It unlocks exclusive discounts at hundreds of tourist attractions, retail, leisure, and dining outlets across the UAE. For example, enjoy 20% off dining at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort, which has its own water park! Emirates currently operates three flights daily from Singapore to Dubai.

(See also: Ultimate Bucket List Holiday in Dubai for Families and Kids)

9. London, England

family-friendly cities - London
Warner Bros Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter from Central London

Traditionally one of the world’s most popular travel destinations, London offers rich history, diverse cultural experiences, and world-class attractions. Get a bird’s eye vantage point of the Thames, plus far-reaching views of St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, and the Tower of London. Then follow the royal route from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace on a private tour. Finally, fulfil every Potterhead’s dream by venturing into the realm of witchcraft and wizardry.

Holmes Hotel London
Holmes Hotel London

Fans of a particular fictional sleuth living in Baker’s Street flock to Holmes Hotel London. Located in Marylebone Village, four classic Georgian buildings offer a witty blend of heritage and playfulness. Enjoy luxurious loft suites decked in regency style, complete with kid-friendly amenities. Or book the Pan Pacific London, which offers dedicated swimming hours in the infinity pool and spa treatments for kids.

10. Paris, France

family-friendly cities - Paris
Jardin d’Acclimatation

The City of Love is not only about its romantic atmosphere, rich history, art, and culture. Paris is also a fantastic destination for those looking to give their kids the cultural experience of a lifetime. Enjoy a skip-the-line tour of the opulent Versailles Palace, and hop on an open-top bus and river cruise to visit the Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum. Take time for an excursion combining an amusement park with heritage architecture and landscaping with an unlimited pass to Napoleon III’s Jardin d’Acclimatation.

Disney Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel
Disney Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel

Offering immersive experiences from the Superhero Station to the Marvel Design Studio where little heroes can unleash their creativity, Disney Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel is the perfect stop for families looking for a fun-filled getaway. It’s also a Spidey swing to Disneyland Paris, to boot. Another family-friendly hotel is the 3-star Yooma Urban Lodge Eiffel, with an arcade, playroom, and playground, by the river Seine.

(See also: Exotic Family Travel Destinations for That Once-in-a-Lifetime Vacation)

11. Venice, Italy

family-friendly cities - Venice
Image: Ca’ Macana Facebook

The city is like an open-air museum and offers families a great travel experience immersed in arts and culture. You’ll find a wide variety of activities for all ages, including Venice’s iconic carnival mask-making workshops. Another must-do is visit the island of Murano by waterbus, and learn the traditional art of glass-blowing. Do leave time for exploring the piazzas and bridges, and of course, taking a gondola ride down the Grand Canal.

The St Regis Venice
The St Regis Venice

Which you can have a gorgeous view of from your hotel room at The St Regis Venice. From now till 31 October, it’s offering a Family Affair package for travellers. Reserve two rooms and enjoy 50% off the second room for children aged 16 and under. Its central location puts you barely four minutes from landmarks including Teatro La Fenice and Piazza San Marco.

12. Barcelona, Spain

family-friendly cities - Barcelona
Image: Tibidabo Amusement Park Facebook

The City of Counts is innately a family-friendly destination, owing in part to the locals who love kids. Hence families are made to feel welcome everywhere, from giant galleries to tiny tapas bars. Besides kid-specific activities in Barcelona, many of the classic tourist attractions — from Gaudi’s fantastical architecture to the 100 km stretch of beaches — will appeal to children too. Pick up the Barcelona Family Card for free travel and all-inclusive access to main attractions.

Hotel Arts Barcelona
Hotel Arts Barcelona

One of the best places to stay with kids in tow is Hotel Arts Barcelona, where children are pampered VIPs. Standing tall at the edge of the Mediterranean, it presents amenities like balloons and sweets in the guest room and reachable treat displays in the Club Lounge. Complete a fun activity to redeem a free ice cream or milkshake too. Plus, kids dine free till 30 December.

(See also: New Zealand with Kids: Fantastic Adventures for the Whole Family)

From Singapore to Japan on Spectrum of the Seas *BONUS*

Love a vacation that starts before you even get to your destination? Then check out Royal Caribbean’s new 12-night sailings between Singapore and Singaporeans’ top travel destination, Japan! Port visits along the way feature the second-most popular choice, Taipei, as well as other stops unique to this experience. These include Nha Trang and Danang, Vietnam; Hong Kong; and various ports in Japan, such as Kyoto, Mt Fuji, Okinawa, and Tokyo.

Spectrum of the Seas
Spectrum of the Seas

You’ll be cruising on Spectrum of the Seas, Asia’s newest and largest ship that’s perfect multi-generational families. From VR bungee trampolining to water play, it offers endless opportunities for parent-children bonding. And when you need some adult time, the Adventure Ocean kids club caters for that too. Children, parents, and grandparents can travel in style in the duplex Ultimate Family Suite that sleeps up to 10.

If you choose the Singapore-Tokyo cruise, consider staying in Japan for a few days to make the most of your trip before flying home. Or fly there a few days ahead of embarking on the Tokyo-Singapore itinerary. You might even choose to do two back-to-back cruises for a mega 24-day cruise from Singapore to Tokyo and back! P.S. Royal Caribbean has also introduced new 5-, 7-, and 9-night sailings to complement the popular 3- and 4-night getaways. Check them out here and look out for promotions where kids sail free!

(See also: 7 Tips for an Awesome Cruise on Spectrum of the Seas by Royal Caribbean for Families and Kids)

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12 + 1 Most Family-friendly Cities Around the World to Visit in 2023