Direct-flight destinations from Singapore: Family holidays in Asia to add to your travel bucket list

save article
Want to venture further afield than your usual tried-and-tested beach vacays? Start ticking off the travel bucket list with these family-friendly adventures in Asia: and they're all direct flights from Singapore!

So the wanderlust has hit again, and hallelujah, there’s a school holiday coming up! All parents know that the less complicated the journey, the more relaxing the holiday, which is where the holiday destination close to Singapore steps in. But, if you’ve done your fair share of island hopping, you might be wanting something a little different. Have you ticked Laos, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Lombok, Japan and Myanmar off your travel bucket list yet? From Buddha parks to stunning beaches, golden temples and hot springs, we’ve rounded up some amazing destinations that are all just an easy, direct flight from Singapore.

PS Need some tips for keeping the children occupied during the flight? Check out our survival tips for flying with kids.

LAOS
Why go?

If you are looking for somewhere a little more off the beaten track, but still easily accessible with the small people in tow, then how about Vientiane in Laos? With its beautiful scenery, super-friendly people, rich culture and amazing coffee, this small city with big charm is THE place in Asia if you fancy feasting on gourmet French food for very little cost.

How to get there
Direct flights from Singapore to Vientiane with Lao Airlines make Laos an easy peasy choice, and with flying time at just under three hours, the kids won’t go too stir crazy during the flight.

 

If the kids fancy running around in what looks like the set of an Indiana Jones movie then Buddha Park in Vientiane is a must. Photography: Nick Hubbard

What to do
Jaw-droppingly cool and with plenty of room for those kids to run off some crazy energy, our top pick for Vientiane is Buddha Park (Xieng Khuan). This famous sculpture park is home to more than 200 statues, which include a 40m-high reclining Buddha. Once you are all statued out then also make sure to visit the Talaat Sao (morning market) where you will find hundreds of shops selling handmade silk weavings, metalworks and woodcarvings to make perfect Laotian souvenirs. And when sunset rolls around? Head to the Mekong River for spectacular views.

If you can get over to Luang Prabang and the little legs can mange Mount Phousi, then you will be rewarded with by hanging out with these guys...

If you can get over to Luang Prabang, and the little legs can manage Mount Phousi, then you will be rewarded for your efforts by hanging out with these guys. Photography: Paul Le Vicount.

If you can…
Catch one of eight, 45-minute long flights per day over to World Heritage City, Luang Prabang, and spend a few days checking out the amazing mountain scenery (if the little legs can make the 100m climb then definitely head up Mount Phousi for breathtaking views, especially at sunrise and sunset) and marvelling at this showpiece city. Don’t forget to visit the Bear Rescue Centre (a heart-string puller if ever there was one), catch the stunning waterfalls and caves in the area and also flutter over to Kuang Si Falls Butterfly Park. And if you are looking for something as fun as it is environmentally sound, then pack your bags for a night or two, and head to Living Land Farm where you and the littlies will not only learn about growing rice, but help to cultivate it too!

Where to stay
We love the boutique charm of the Ansara Hotel which is just a short stroll from the hustle and bustle of the Mekong River in Vientiane, and offers great-sized rooms for families. It also has a pool to throw the kids in after a hard day of adventuring around the city!

 

Catch the family their dinner fresh from the ocean with a spot of traditional stilt fishing in Sri Lanka.

Catch the family dinner fresh from the ocean with a spot of traditional stilt fishing in Sri Lanka.


SRI LANKA
Why go?
With sun, sea, safari and sand, Sri Lanka has it all going on! So whether you want a city break, or a beach vacay, the potential for adventure is endless!

How to get there
Daily direct flights are available with a heap of airlines including Sri Lanka Airlines (whom we used and LOVED), Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qantas. Flight time is just under four hours, so not too long for fidgety little family members.

What to do
There literally is a million and one things to do in Sri Lanka, and this all very much depends on what kind of holiday you fancy. Popular picks include the gorgeous beaches spread around the island (we had an amazing holiday down at Unawatuna), the beautiful southern city of Galle, a safari in Yala National Park, fishing like a local, stilt-style, whale watching and the Ceylon Tea Trails.

 

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is well-worth of the trip inland.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is well worthy of the trip inland for both the spectacular scenery and a chance to marvel at these truly magical giants.


If you can…
If you and the family love all things nature, then make the trip to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage (we did!) up near Kandy or head down near Galle to release baby turtles at the Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project (we did!).

Where to stay
We adored the beach vibe and perfect location of The Thaproban Beach House in Unawatuna, but also loved combining it with a touch of luxe (and a pool) at its sister hotel The Thaproban Pavilion. The family rooms were spacious at both and the food delish (although we did have a soft spot for dinner with the sand between our toes at the Beach House). Other fabulous family picks include The Fortress in Galle (huge suites for a family to kick back and relax in, a pool, plus a beachfront location), and boutique choice, The Elephant Stables which has the most phenomenal pool overlooking gorgeous mountain scenery up in Kandy (its cottage suite room option is perfect for a family and sleeps up to five people).

TAIWAN
Why go?

If stunning scenery is something that you are keen to catch, then you best make sure you have a huge memory stick for all those photos you will be taking in Taiwan. The beaches are beautiful, the landscapes are breathtaking, the surfing is phenomenal (if that sort of thing floats your boat), and the food is mouth-watering. If you are veggie, then you are totally in luck: over 10% of the population shun meat so vegetarians amongst you will not go hungry with over 6000 veggie restaurants to choose from!

How to get there
If budget is the name of the game then you’re in luck. As well as the bigger airline carriers, Tiger Air and JetStar run direct routes to Taipei daily. Flight time is around four hours, 40 minutes.

 

Stunning scenery and dramatic landscapes would be hard beaten in Taiwan. Photo courtesy of Aliff Tee.

Taiwan’s stunning scenery and dramatic landscapes are hard to beat. Photography: Aliff Tee.


What to do
What is there to do? Plenty! Head to the Central Mountain Range, a magnet for adventurous types, and if you are feeling fit then scale up to East Asia’s tallest peak, Yushan (Jade Mountain). The peak is the perfect spot to catch a family selfie with the ‘sea of clouds’ sweeping over the mountains behind you. If climbing isn’t your idea of a relaxing holiday (scaling mountains with smaller kids in Ergos is not ideal!), then make sure you head to one of the island’s 300 night markets and bazaars. Go with an empty belly and an open mind and feast on street food (xiao-chi; which literally means small eats!) washed down with bubble tea (or snake blood if you are feeling especially adventurous!). And pick up some Hello Kitty souvenirs, of course.

If you can…
Taiwan is full of volcanically activated hot springs, literally on the doorstep of Taipei. Jump on a bus and head out for some natural bubbly spring fun (with a Hello Kitty beer in hand!). Many of the springs have spas attached to them that offer great family retreats.

Did you know?
Singapore’s fave dumpling joint, Din Tai Fung, originated in Taiwan. Those little parcels of deliciousness are served up in 12 different countries since the doors first opened in 1958. Xiao long bao, anyone?

 

Hands up who fancies a view like this from a hotel swimming pool? Us for starters. Head to Silks Place in Taroko National Park. Photo courtesy of Silks Place Hotel.

Hands up who fancies a view like this from a hotel swimming pool? Us for starters. Head to Silks Place Hotel in Taroko National Park. Photo credit: Silks Place Hotel.


Where to stay
If you can make the 150km journey to Taroko National Park, then head to the five-star mountainside hotel, Silks Place Taroko. It has spacious quadruple rooms for families, a kids’ club running activities such as table tennis and LEGO building for the small people, and a soft indoor playground. A pool and a spa seal the deal. If you don’t have the time to get out of Taipei then our pick for a city stay would be the Park City Hotel-Luzhou Taipei, which gets fantastic reviews and provides family rooms large enough to fit the kids AND their Hello Kitty purchases.

 

You and the family will feel on top of the world in the National Park around Mount Rinjani.

For those of you with older kids, why not head up Mount Rinjani for a selfie-in-the-clouds moment? Photo credit: Francesco


LOMBOK
Why go?
Lombok is often overlooked by its neighbour, Bali, but now that Lombok has direct-flight access from Singapore, we are putting it in our top picks for new adventures this year. Mountains, surf, beaches and a gentler pace of life make it the perfect, more sedate choice over tried-and-tested Bali. Plus it makes for a good old fashioned beach holiday! Dad can catch some waves with some surfing, mum can unwind at a spa, and the kids can get in on some serious sandcastle building action on the sand.

How to get there
Direct flights with Silk Air take just under 3 hours, and the route operates four times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday). Alternatively you can fly to Bali and catch a boat from there.

 

Awww how cute is this little guy? Trek through the beautiful National Park surrounding Mount Rinjani and keep your fingers crossed you spot the illusive Ebony Leaf Monkey.

Awww how cute is this little guy? Trek through the beautiful National Park surrounding Mount Rinjani and you may just spot the elusive Ebony Leaf Monkey.

What to do
Aside from the sea and surf, Lombok also has some really amazing, relatively unspoilt scenery and fascinating people. Head towards Mount Rinjani (Indonesia’s second tallest volcano) and trek around the National Park (or climb Rinjani if your kids are teens or have Spiderman-like climbing abilities!) where you will see a ton of flora and fauna. Keep your eyes peeled for the rare and illusive Ebony Leaf monkey, discover some beautiful waterfalls and spend some time at the Senaru Traditional Village. This particular spot will give you a chance to check out life in a traditional hill tribe and and learn about the Sasak tribe and their role as cultural guardians of Mount Rinjani and the surrounding forest.

If you can…
Take yourself off to pure castaway heaven by spending a day or two over on the Gili Isles. Accessible only by boat, and with no motorised transport on the islands, this is a destination where you can definitely all kick back and relax away from the world and do a digital detox. Make sure you take your snorkels!

Where to stay
If a beachfront location, swimming pools, babysitting services, playground and an arcade room tick the boxes for a perfect hotel, then Holiday Resort Lombok has all of this plus two-bedroom accommodation options for you to rest your weary heads after a long day at the beach.

 

Kids will LOVE the futuristic look and the super whizzy speeds of the Shinkansen (bullet train). There is no faster or cooler way to see Japan!

Kids will LOVE the futuristic look and the super whizzy speeds of the Shinkansen (bullet train). There is no faster or cooler way to see Japan!

JAPAN
Why go?
Disney. Cherry blossoms. Hot springs. Beautiful scenery. The bullet train. Sushi… There are so many reasons why we want to go to the Land of the Rising Sun!

How to get there
With a choice of airlines including Singapore Airlines and ANA, there are 14 direct flights per day to Tokyo from Singapore. Flight time is around 6 hours 40 minutes.

What to do
Japan is unquestioningly gorgeous all year around, but you would be hard pushed to find it looking more beautiful than during Spring cherry blossom festival season. Happily for us that coincides with Easter this year, with full bloom ranging between 20th March to 15th April in various parts of Japan. And once you are done with the flowers? Disneyland, of course!

If you are staying in Tokyo then the kids will love the Ueno Zoo (pandas!), the Fire Museum (where the small people can dress up and become firefighters for free!), and the Imperial Palace and Gardens (the actual palace might not be their bag but the grounds are not only beautiful but provide ample running space for energetic kiddos). Oh and don’t forget to catch a bullet train somewhere (Kyoto is fabulous) just for the experience!

Did you know?
Tattoo fans amongst you… many of the traditional Onsens (natural hot spring spas) still have a ban on inked guests! So if you do have a tatt then make sure to check that the Onsen you have in mind will let you and your ink through the door!

Where to stay
If you fancy a bit (or a lot) of a splurge then it goes without saying that Tokyo Disneyland Hotel will be a sure hit with the kids. Otherwise why not rent a traditional Japanese Ryokan through Airbnb? (Japan is pricy so don’t forget to save yourself $29 off of your first stay with Airbnb if you sign up via www.airbnb.com/honeycombers).


MYANMAR

Why go?
Undiscovered gems in Asia are becoming far and few between when it comes to planning a family adventure, so if you fancy a destination that is not littered with McDonalds and Starbucks but instead remains relatively unchanged by time compared to so many popular vacation spots, then Myanmar could be for you! There are surely not many cities you can safely take the kids to and see a rat kebab being served up as a delicious meal!

How to get there
Daily direct flights to Yangon from Singapore are easy to come by with airlines such as Tiger Air, Silk Air and Singapore Airlines covering the route. Flight time is just under three hours.

Be dazzled by Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar.

Be dazzled by Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar. Photo credit: Jason Eppink.

What to do
The first place we are heading with our own kids in tow is the People’s Square and Park! If the small people aren’t impressed with the gardens, fountains, tree-top observation posts (connected by cool swing bridges), an old Myanmar jet and steam train to clamber on as well as all that space to run in, well then those kids are seriously tough nuts to crack. Once the kids have run off some energy then head over to nearby Shwedagon Pagoda where you can all be dazzled by a 325 foot diamond and gold encrusted zedi before climbing to the top (via a network of escalators – believe it or not – so that the little legs can make it too) to take in the amazing golden pagodas. Other great picks for the kids include Inya Lake (best seen at night when it comes alive with stalls and food vendors: dine on that rat kebab if you dare!), Mahabandoola Gardens (centrally located with lots of space for running off some energy, and a playground to boot) and Bogyoke Aung San Market (where you can pick up nick-nacks and handicrafts galore from over 2000 stalls!).

Did you know?
Myanmar’s population is 98% Buddhist, and amongst restrictions Buddhist monks adhere to, they are prohibited from eating fruit or vegetables containing fertile seeds, and can only collect, receive and consume food between dawn and midday. A monk is not allowed to consume food outside of these timings, and is not allowed to store food overnight. Plain water can be taken at any time, and although a monk lives on whatever is offered, vegetarianism is encouraged.

Relax after a hard day's sightseeing at the very charming Belmond Governor's Residence. Photo courtesy of Belmond Govenor's Residence.

Relax after a hard day’s sightseeing at the very charming Belmond Governor’s Residence. Photography courtesy of Belmond Govenor’s Residence.

Where to stay
If you have some cash to splash then Belmond Governor’s Residence certainly tops our ‘yes please’ list. This romantic, colonial-style mansion dates from the 1920s and is packed with charm and memories of bygone days. The kids will love the fan-shaped pool, and you will just HAVE to check out The Governor’s Oasis (spa)… we loved the free yoga sessions on weekends, and the food is absolutely divine.

Hotel Accord is another (more wallet friendly) choice and we love the fact that this modern hotel has fantastic sized executive family rooms from around $100 per night with complimentary brekkie included.

NEXT UP: Summer holidays!

Once the Easter bunny has hopped away, and the chocolate is all gone, before we know it we will be booking our summer holidays! Our pick? 

Fiji
Hurrah! Direct flights to Fiji are just around the corner… sadly not in time for an Easter escape, but don’t forget to bookmark Fiji for your summer vacay: Singapore Airlines launch the direct route on April 5th, making paradise easily accessible for all.