Asia boasts some of the world’s best theme parks – and thrill-seeking families are definitely spoilt for choice when its comes to family-fun (and screams). The September holidays for local schools are now upon us, an the October break for international schools won’t be far behind, which means you need to get cracking on planning for an easy breezy family trip. When travelling with kids, tourist attractions for families are a must, and here’s where the theme park comes in to keep your kids giddy for days. From the iconic Disneyland Tokyo to Hollywood-themed Universal Studios Singapore (check out our guide here), here’s our list of the best theme parks in Asia, with all the gravity-defying rollercoasters, water slides and themed zones you could ever need.
Universal Studios Singapore: Singapore
This high-action theme park is a perennial favourite amongst not only tourists to South East Asia, but locals as well. Help Shrek save Princess Fiona on the Shred 4D adventure, scream your hearts out on Revenge of the Mummy (for bigger kids only) or catch all the behind-the-scenes action of a Steven Spielberg film. Express passes are available (we highly recommend this to keep the kids’ crankiness at bay) and huge lockers for all your supplies are priced at $20. Don’t forget to check out our ultimate guide to Universal Studios Singapore for all the insider’s tips. And also our guide to height restrictions to save tears on the day!
Universal Studios Singapore, 8 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore 098269; www.rwsentosa.com
Chimelong Paradise: Guangzhou, China
The largest amusement park in China boasts 70 rides and eight of them are world record-holders. The Dive Coaster and Ten Inversion Rollercoaster are each one of two in the world. If you’re a rollercoaster fan then these will likely be the rides of your life! For family-friendly fun, check out indoor park Happy Kingdom for the tiny tots and magic shows at Happy Theatre to amuse and captivate kids of all ages.
Chimelong Paradise, Panyu Avenue, Guangzhou, China; www.chimelong.com.
Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Sea: Tokyo, Japan
This household name needs little introduction – like its American and European counterparts, it aims to please everyone with its huge range of themed zones and attractions with iconic characters from Disney classics such as Toy Story, Monsters Inc and Pirates of the Caribbean. For a unforgettable water theme park experience, check out Disney Sea: it’s unique to Japan and is inspired by myths of the sea. Zones are styled around Disney’s classics (say hello to Ariel and her fish friends at the Mermaid Lagoon!) and real-life places such as 20th-century American harbour towns.
Tokyo Disneyland, 1-1 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture 279-0031, Japan; www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en
Sanrio Puroland: Tokyo, Japan
If your kids are fans of cutesy characters like Hello Kitty and Cinnamoroll, they’ll probably adore the Instagram-worthy Sanrio Puroland. Take a boat ride to Kitty’s castle, explore the Alice in Wonderland-esque world of Hello Kitty and catch a musical about Puroland Cadets as they face multiple challenges in becoming Lady Jewel.
Sanrio Puroland, Tokyo 206-0033, Tama, Japan; en.puroland.jp
Cartoon Network Amazone: Pattaya, Thailand
Fulfil your kids’ fantasies about their cartoon heroes with the world’s first Cartoon Network themed water park. Located in Pattaya, it’s packed with heaps of thrilling slides, high-speed tubes and heart-pounding water rollercoasters to thrill adrenaline junkies of all ages. Kids will especially love the Jake Jump, an ode to the beloved Adventure Time character that combines weightlessness and mega drops, and also the family-fave Intergalactic Racers: a multi-lane super slide perfect for racing with the kids.
Cartoon Network Amazone, 888 Moo8 NaJomtien Najomtien, Sattahip District, Chon Buri 20250, Thailand, cartoonnetworkamazone.com
Ocean Park: Hong Kong
This famed park is a must-visit for anyone travelling to Hong Kong, with or without kids – it’s a marine mammal park, oceanarium and amusement park all rolled into one. Chug along on the Mine Train before teetering on the brink along the sea, and then be swayed and whirled on the Flying Swing before taking a journey underwater to observe over a hundred sharks and rays.
Ocean Park, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong, www.oceanpark.com.hk
Hong Kong Disneyland: Hong Kong
Yes, we know we’ve already included one Disneyland on the list, but we can’t not mention its counterpart in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Disneyland is perfectly pitched at the sub-10-year-old market, with rides including Dumbo the Flying Elephant, It’s a Small World, the Cinderella Carousel, Mad Hatter Tea Cups, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, 4D cinema (with strawberry scents and real rain), Jungle River Cruise and the Toy Story Slinky Dog Spin. Beware, the height restriction for Space Mountain is a low one metre, and young riders can be driven to tears in the pitch black with flashing lights and gut-wrenching dips. One thing’s for sure, if you have a family who love a bit of Disney magic, this place has it in spades. None of us are ever too old for a hug with Tigger (pictured top).
Hong Kong Disneyland, Lantau Island, Hong Kong; www.hongkongdisneyland.com
Sunway Lagoon: Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Great for a stop-off on a road trip to Kuala Lumpur, Sunway Lagoon is a water park heaven with its over 80 attractions spread out over its five parks. If you’ve got bigger, brave kids, start the day with hair-raising fun at the Scream Park where an exhilarating and frightening immersive experience awaits over at the three floors of fear. For traditional adrenaline-pumping fun, the extreme park has ATVs and bungee trampolines for thrill-seekers, while the amusement park’s Captain Kids’ Candyland is a wonderland for the little ones.
Sunway Lagoon, 3 Jalan PJS 11/11, Bandar Sunway, 47500 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia; www.sunwaylagoon.com
Everland: South Korea
South Korea is a hugely popular travel destination for Singaporeans not only for K-Pop culture but for the fabulous shopping, idyllic islands and kid-centric attractions including Everland. Immerse yourselves into a magical world of adventures and excitement throughout five zones offering rides and attractions ranging from Indiana Jones-esque safari adventures to rollercoasters (both VR and real-life).
Everland, 199 Everland-ro, Pogog-eup, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea; www.everland.com
YAS Waterworld: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
This water theme park is all about unlimited adventure and non-stop thrills. Housing a whopping 43 rides, slides, and attractions, you’re guaranteed to have an absolute blast with the kids. Whether you and your kids have an insatiable need for speed or you prefer a milder experience at a water playground, YAS Waterworld has everything – we recommend the Dawwama (the words ‘tornado ride’ excite you yet?) and the Falcon’s Falaj with its twists, turns and bumps for six people – the whole family will be shrieking in delight. There’s even a height restriction slider filter for rides and a tots water playground so you can plan your trip around the littlies.
YAS Waterworld, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, yaswaterworld.com
Trans Studio Makssar: Bandung, Indonesia
This huge indoor theme park is located in our very own region of South East Asia and is equipped with 21 rides and attractions to not only provide you with endless thrills, but the chance to feel like a true superstar. Step into ’60s-styled Hollywood architecture and strut through a Walk of Fame, or let your imagination go wild in Cartoon World.
Trans Studio Makksar, Jalan H.M Dg. Patompo, Metro Tanjung Bunga, Kec. Makassar, Indonesia; transstudiomakassar.com
Line Village Bangkok: Thailand
If a theme park with a gentler pace and a steady stream of air con is more your cup of tea, head over to Bangkok’s newest attraction, Line Village Bangkok. We recently checked out this Instragrammer’s dream and can give it a solid thumb’s up for interactive fun for the whole family. The VR rollercoaster was a big hit, as was the Dazzle Corridor, Ice Cave and Jungle Brown zones of this massive 1500sqm indoor theme park.
Line Village Bangkok, Siam Square One (SQ1), Building 388 Rama 1 Road Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand; Line Village Bangkok
Wild Wild Wet: Singapore
Back on home turf, if you haven’t been to the water park jewel of the east recently, then you need to pack your swimmers and head on over, stat. It’s recently had a HUGE makeover, and what was once a pretty decent water theme park, is now a cracking, splashin’ hub of water excellence the whole fam will love. Teens (and braver parents) will love the new star players: vortex, free fall and royal flush, while less brave crew members can still have a whale of a time on the giant unicorn inflatables, trying out the wave pool and water playgrounds, and whizzing down the less terrifying slides.
Wild Wild Wet, Downtown East, 1 Pasir Ris Close, 519599; www.wildwildwet.com
Legoland Malaysia: Malaysia
Just a hop, skip and a jump across the border lies the exciting world of Legoland Malaysia, where you’ll find traditional theme park fun, a water theme park and plenty of brick-tastic activities to keep the kiddos busy with. If you have kids (or a husband) crazy about all things Lego, then this is one pilgrimage you must make. Try out the gravity-defying roller coasters and all the themed zones your kids could possibly dream of, but be be warned: you may have a tough time getting the family to leave! Our advice? Stay in the themed Legoland Hotel and make a weekend of it.
Legoland Malaysia, 7, Jalan Legoland, Medini, 79250 Nusajaya, Johor, Malaysia; www.legoland.com.my
Top image: courtesy of Hong Kong Disneyland
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