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2017 Asia Travel Bucket List

Nic and globe
Sometimes I feel as if I have a never-ending travel bucket list. Each year I finish off with a blog post about how next year I’m determined to visit X, Y and Z. Yet I never seem to be able to tick them off. I don’t think it’s because my choices are too out-there (save for the Antarctic boat trip). It’s moreso a combination of time and budget constraints. I reminisce about when my kids were pre-school age (or when I had just one baby!) and wish I’d embarked on far more adventurous travel. So for this year I’ve decided that my 2017 travel bucket list is going to be a bit more achievable. I’ve decided to centre it around Asia as that is where I’m based.  If you have any suggestions, please do throw them my way in the comments section!
 
Kep, Cambodia
 
Best time to visit: Jan to May
 
An early 20th century seaside retreat of the French, Kep has long been on my Cambodia bucket list, even more so after Tamazine’s review!
Kep Crab Market
Cambodia has a special place in our heart as we sponsor an 8-year-old girl, Vichera, through the Cambodian Children’s Fund.  We recently went to visit her in Phnom Penh and will try to make this an annual visit. Having ‘done’ Phnom Penh, I think we will spend time with Vichera then drive just under 3 hour’s south to Kep.  I love the look of the Veranda Natural Eco Resort, which has a ‘Happy Hut’ where there are activities for kids age 3 and over.  This is a hotel which looks like it listens to the needs of families, with ‘Family Retreat Rooms‘ which have 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a veranda. We don’t always want to be stuck in the same room!  If you have been to Kep recently, please do let me know what you made of it.
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Hue, Vietnam

Best time to visit: October to March

With direct flights to Danang on Dragonair, this has opened up a whole realm of holidaying in Danang and Hoi An. We had a brilliant experience at the Nam Hai a few years ago which has since fallen under management of the Four Seasons (and hopefully making it even more family friendly).  Yet I’ve got my eye on Hue, a historic citadel and the old national capital. Hue is just under two hours drive from Danang and there are some beautiful looking accommodation options. Tripadvisor tossed up a colonial art deco gem in La Residence Hue. Plus there’s a lovely pool – perfect bribery for getting the kids round the Citadel, Imperial City, pagodas and royal mausoleums…

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Seoul, Korea

Best time to visit: March to May and September to November

Daughter walking in Seoul Forest

How have my kids never been to Korea?!  Sod Thailand, I’ve got to tick off South Korea for them. Although I have a hankering for Busan (sold by pictures of the fish markets), I think that they’d really enjoy Seoul. Especially if I tell them there’s a Kidzania there.  Seoul is a 3 hour flight from Hong Kong, with lots of hotels to suit all budgets.  I love the look of The Shilla, although if money’s no object then I’d like to stay at the Four Seasons or Grand Hyatt.  Little Steps has a good roundup of activities for the kids in Seoul from Gyeongbokbung Palace to the Leeum Samsung Art Gallery.  I also have a brilliant write-up from Kirti who describes her trip to Seoul in April with her husband and daughter.

 

Okinawa, Japan

Best time to visit: July to November for hot beach weather, although July/September is also typhoon season!

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I received many emails from readers asking where in Asia is Zika free. I can imagine if you are pregnant, it’s a bit of a scary time for travel and you are very limited now, especially in SE Asia. Keep an eye on the CDC website to see the latest in Zika news.  However, one beach destination that seems so far unaffected is Okinawa in Japan.  In case you aren’t familiar, Okinawa is Japan’s southernmost prefecture, consisting of a few dozen, small islands.  For family friendly luxury, check out the Ritz Carlton. Their kids programme ‘Ritz Kids’ even has a special ‘kids hotel tour’.  Now I know you are there for the good weather and beaches but just in case, Bumble Bee Mum has a great write-up of fantastic indoor activities for kids!

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If you fancy venturing to a different island, check out Haimurubushi on Kohaimajima.  You will need to take a short flight from Naha (Okinawa) to reach Ishigaki Airport and then board a ferry.  From snorkeling to cycling, this place will give you much more a laidback vibe than anything on Okinawa itself.  

 

Tibet

Best time to visit: June to August

Earlier this year, Nicole from the ace blog Mint Mocha Musings, shared intoxicating images from her trip to Tibet. I have long wanted to visit this ‘Roof Of The World’, although you do need a special travel permit in addition to a China travel visa.  Getting there from Hong Kong is not easy (you need to fly from Chengdu or catch train from Beijing/Shangai/Chengdu).  However, one look at Nicole’s photos and a read of her travel tales will have you seduced by mystical Tibet.

Photos courtesy of Mint Mocha Musings

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3 comments

  1. Sophie

    Wow, loving your South East Asia travel plans… and then to Tibet too! I’d love to go yet I’ve always thought it would be a challenge to organize. I’ll have to look into it again. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. MummyTravels

    Quite a few of these countries are on my bucket list too – rather wishing I lived closer to travel to them. Looking forward to reading about your adventures.

  3. Shanna Schultz

    We LOVED Seoul, even though we only had 5 days to spend. Lots to do there (and the city felt very welcoming and easy to get around). We also took a bus on a lovely day trip to Sokcho (on the east coast) where we went to Seoraksan National Park (great temples, hiking trails and a gondola up to the top of the mountain that kiddos would LOVE). The DMZ is also a must, but we learned that the best tour to take is the one through the USO (we booked too late and it was full).

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