Asia

by Sheila  

Asian nations sweep across thousands of miles of territory and include two exciting countries that are taking a spot as major players on the world stage: China and India.

Getting there and getting around

That “thousands of miles” phrase, however, also summarizes one of the primary challenges in taking kids to Asia – the tyranny of distance. Unlike the fairly compact European continent, Asian borders cannot be crossed with as much ease, countries are further apart and there’s that pesky Pacific Ocean to cross if you want to see Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, etc.

Land transportation can be very inexpensive, but it is not terribly reliable in many lesser-developed countries. Slow travel across huge distances is not much fun with children.

The good news is that no-frills, budget airlines are finally beginning to make inroads in Asia, and that helps a great deal if you’re trying to visit more than one country. The list of who flies where keeps changing; also, spend a little time looking into safety records before you plunk down any money.

Don’t forget ferries and hydrofoils, for crossing relatively small bodies of water (Fukuoka, Japan to Busan, South Korea, for example.)

Why Asia?

If transportation challenges mean that visitors stick closely to just one or two nations, what’s wrong with that?

There’s so much to see and enjoy….kids get to inhale “real” manga and anime in Japan. Elephants in India. Friendly people in Bali (most Balinese love children.) Climbing the Great Wall in China. The urban buzz of Seoul. Multicultural Singapore. Beaches in Thailand and Malaysia.

Those who have lived in both Asia and Europe sometimes comment, “Europe seems comfortable and familiar, and English-speakers can read the signs. Asia is much more exotic to the average American; you really feel like you’re in a very different part of the world. I guess that might bother some people, but I actually prefer it.”

(Family Travel Guide posts in the Travel in Asia category.)

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