Families

Crowd-pleasing villa rentals and wisdom for worry-free holidays with kids

Maldives with Kids

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Maldives with kids - Amilla Beach Villa Residences

Not just for lovers, these enchanted islands also set the scene for idyllic family holidays. While not all resorts in the Maldives are kid-friendly, some, such as the stunning Amilla Beach Villa Residences are heaven-sent for family holidays.

Invite your kids to experience an island escape with endless things to do and tons of independence in a world-class destination. Don’t worry, it’s a relatively small island and you’ll all be looked after royally.

AMILLA BEACH VILLA RESIDENCES, MALDIVES

This sublime family holiday destination in Baa Atoll is a UNESCO Biospere Reserve with pristine beaches surrounded by the richest marine life in the Maldives. Powdery white sand begs to have sand castles built upon it, hermit crabs play hide and seek, boat docks call for exploration, pools invite swimmers, bikes need riders. Nature lovers can snorkel, dive, join a turtle safari, go dolphin watching or swim with mantas.

If that doesn’t appeal to the whole family, let your kids discover the fun of Sultan’s Village Kids Club, a mini resort just for them with a wade pool, whimsical playground and plenty of sand. The air-conditioned fully-supervised club house is packed with toys and games.

The Kids Club team have come up with all kinds of fun activities to keep children of all ages entertained for hours. From island-wide treasure hunts to pizza making and snorkeling trips, they are the pros on things to do with kids in the Maldives.

Bigger kids and teens in the Maldives may prefer hanging out at Empire Beach Club where they can shoot pool, play table tennis or get into arcade games, football, volleyball and frisbee. Watersports like wake boarding, parasailing, jet skiing and kayaking are also a guaranteed hit!

There are plenty of eateries for everyone to enjoy. Kids love the relaxed tropical vibe of The Baazaar with its collection of restaurants fanning out around a giant infinity pool.  There is something for everyone, with options including The Fish and Chips Shop, Joe’s Pizza, Barolo Grill, and Wok. Many parents love holiday multi-tasking here, gazing with heart-shaped eyes at their independent happy children whilst enjoying adult company and cocktails expertly prepared by mixologists at the Baazaar Bar.

Going for a family holiday in the Maldives doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy a romantic candle lit dinner on the beach,

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“Unforgettable days” on a Family Holiday in Phuket

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Family holiday photo on Phuket

My family and I had the great pleasure to spend a few days at the amazing Villa Torcello in Phuket during our holidays in Thailand this spring. From the moment we stepped into the area of Villa Torcello we were amazed by its beauty and breathtaking views. I can easily say that this was the most beautiful place we have ever stayed – and my family have traveled a lot and stayed at many luxury resorts and hotels.

boy at Kamala villaTHE KAMALA BEACH SEAVIEW

We simply loved everything about the place and the time we had here still feels a bit like a dream. The villa has 5 different bedrooms, all very nicely decorated, spacious and with fantastic sea views. Villa Torcello is great for families but also a nice spot for a wedding or other kind of celebration. Perfect if you want that little extra privacy and luxury that not even a 5 star resort can offer.

We were very fond of the beautiful  garden at Villa Torcello, full of flowers and cosy corners. And you also have the tropical forest surrounding the place which gives a very tropical feeling.The views from the villa are absolutely stunning and we were hanging all day in the pool area, having lunch and drinks. The staff took such good care of us, always at our service but at the same time they gave us a lot of privacy. The Villa manager Peat is really one of a kind and he made us feel very special and relaxed.

The pool at the villa is fabulous and in the evening it lights up with hundreds of small lamps which make an amazing effect. A night swim is highly recommended!

All the food at Villa Torcello is so yummy! For breakfast you can choose from a classic continental breakfast or a more full Western/Thai style breakfast with everything you can imagine. All cooked and prepared by the villa’s private chef. I finally found a place in Phuket that can make a proper Freddo Cappuccino, it was exactly how a Freddo should be!
 Family in PhuketIN-VILLA DINING

The chef also cooks lunch and dinner, everything after your choice and wishes. The seafood bbq is really to recommend and on evening we had a Thai style dinner with all the classic Thai dishes and that was for sure my best dinner on this vacation!

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Favourite Family Beaches on Sri Lanka’s South Coast

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Sri Lanka beach

Sri Lanka has a LOT of beaches. Almost its entire 1,300-kilometre coastline is sandy and palm-fringed, but not all beaches are swimmable.

Sri Lanka’s popularity as a surfing destination says a lot about the character of the sea. For the most part, gentle rollers wash its beaches, but there are offshore currents and some stretches of coastline are just plain wild, with foaming waves crashing onto the seashore. The Galle coast offers some of Sri Lanka’s best beaches and is a great destination for a family holiday. Read on to learn more about the most suitable (and safest) beaches in Galle for kids and families.  

Best for toddlers

If you’re travelling with a baby or toddler, you’ll be after the calmest sea. A favourite beach with local expat families is Dalawella, around nine kilometres east of Galle. The sea here filters into a shallow lagoon, protected by offshore rocks, and washes onto a sandy beach.

Wijaya Beach Restaurant is a well-known spot for great food and drinks, though it’s neighbour, Beaches, which opened in late 2016, is a better option for families. Set in spacious grounds, there are a lawn and volleyball court, a selection of inflatables for using in the sea and a paddling pool for the tiniest family members.

They also have big daybeds for hire at a very competitive daily rate, which make the perfect rest-stop for exhausted babies and toddlers. Their café-style menu is kid friendly (as well as delicious Asian tapas, expect freshly made burgers, wraps and fish and chips), and from the sunbathing deck, you have a clear view of the beach and sea. There’s also a fun vintage truck converted to a bar.

Fun for kids

If learning to surf is on your kids’ holiday wish list, Dewata Beach, close to Galle, is a convenient spot. The surfing vibe here has really taken off in the last couple of years, and this narrow strip of sand is dotted with surfers’ haunts. At the unassuming Shack café, you’ll find great food and you can organise surf lessons.

But Weligama – a 40-minute drive from Galle – is the south coast’s best place for beginner surfers. Weligama, which means ‘sandy village’, is set on a stunning wide bay with a long strip of sand bordered by surf-orientated guesthouses and restaurants.

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Bali with Kids

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Not many work–weary mums and dads would dispute the attractions of spending a holiday in a luxury Bali villa where they can indulge in the pleasures afforded by a personal chef, private pool, in-villa massages or yoga sessions, sunset cocktails and stunning tropical surroundings.

But what about the rest of the family?  Keeping the kids as happily entertained as their parents is key to every holiday’s success. Ondy Sweeting finds that Bali is an epic destination for families, with a great choice of exciting attractions and fun surprises to engage kids of all ages.

Mud, mud, glorious mud!

Mepantigan is a martial art that has a strong spiritual and emotional component and is performed in the luscious Bali mud.

Mud play is a time-honoured tradition where a person becomes one with the mud of the rice paddy and its eternal companion, the duck! Kids can join these amazing Mepantigan sessions that focus on fitness, agility and stress release while developing camaraderie and sportsmanship.

After a sip of some holy water from a bamboo cup, it’s off for warm-ups under the coconut trees then into the mud for training in balance and playing traditional mud games such a frog catching, eel trapping, body painting and having an all-around blast while rolling in the mud.

When you’re done, all the grime is washed away in the river or under a Balinese shower with a banana-leaf roof. The fun and games are followed by an organic lunch to the sounds of the gamelan.  Parents can join in too, or opt for some peaceful mud yoga followed by a massage in the river.

More information here.

Monkey around in Ubud

Ubud’s famous Monkey Forest is the perfect spot for some monkey madness. More than 600 Balinese long-tailed macaques star in this tropical forest that comes complete with ancient mossy temples dedicated to the revered monkey god, Hanuman.

These well-fed rascals have no fear and can be more than a little cheeky, so some safety tips are in order:

  • Don’t dangle anything! Little hands are quick to snatch sunglasses, spectacles, cameras, or anything else they can grab, and swing straight up into a tree with it.
  • If you buy monkey food from a local vendor – or have a snack in your bag – hand it over quickly as they will sniff it out and make demands that can be a little scary.

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Phuket for Families

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Tropical Phuket, with its miles of golden beaches, has obvious appeal as a family holiday escape. But Thailand’s largest island also holds plenty of charm beyond its sands, with many outdoor attractions and a rich cultural heritage that travellers of all ages will love to explore. 

First, those beaches. With more than 30 beaches around the island, you could spend weeks in Phuket simply relaxing on the sands, but those with kids in tow may want a beach with some fun activities and a bit of shaded comfort. Kamala Beach is one of the most family friendly with its shallow bay for swimming, beachfront eateries, shops, cafés and sea-view foot massages. Bang Tao Beach is an even longer length of sand, some 8km in all, with plenty to do beyond sunbathing with its surfboard rental shops and beach clubs. 

Kata Beach is also a fine spot for families, its powder-soft sands ideal for idling away a day and excellent surfing conditions from May through October. If the sea is too smooth for surfing, then standup paddle boards could be hired, or you could stop at Surf House on the Kata beachfront with its continuous man-made wave offering fun flowboarding action. Villa Amanzi is a perfect holiday haven for friends and families looking to explore Kata Beach.

Nai Yang Beach on the quieter north end of the island is another decent surfing spot and a favourite place for kite boarders and windsurfers. A string of low-key Thai restaurants along the beachfront offer tasty Thai favourites and a tranquil setting where children can play safely on the sand while their parents relax and watch the sunset. Not far away near the airport is Splash Jungle Water Park, offering some wet and wild fun away from the beach with waterslides, a wave pool and a lazy river.phuket-for-families

Few things inspire the imagination more than the sea, and a day out on Phuket’s Andaman Sea is sure to stir the senses. Discover its colourful marine life on a snorkelling trip off the beach or to a nearby island such as Koh Khai or Raya, or families with older children could learn to dive or explore the depths on a scuba diving day trip.

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