When it comes to family holidays, finding destinations that will please everyone can be tricky – especially if you are travelling with teenagers. Asia is an excellent choice, since there is such a wide variety of things to see and do, with Thailand, Laos and Cambodia all offering particularly exciting activities and sights.
In fact, it is possible to combine these three destinations in a single adventurous trip that’s perfect for families with teenagers. Travelling along the Mekong River, you will be able to visit some of the most famous places in each country, such as the renowned temple complex of Angkor Wat.
No trip to Thailand is complete without visiting Bangkok, and this is an excellent place to begin your journey. Among the main sights to add to your itinerary here is Wat Arun – the Temple of the Dawn – and the sprawling, endlessly impressive Grand Palace.
In fact, the palace is actually home to another must-see attraction, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. As its name suggests, this is where you can see the city’s celebrated green Buddha statue which, despite its name, is actually made of jade.
And, if you are keen to see more world-famous sites, do not miss out on a trip to Wat Pho, where you can come face-to-face the 46 m gold-plated reclining Buddha statue. While exploring, do not forget to try travelling on tuk-tuks – an essential Bangkok experience teenagers especially are bound to love.
Once you have explored Bangkok, you can head northwards to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Visit the former first and take a walk to see the city’s historical walls, before browsing the night market. You can also take family cooking lessons here to learn the tricks of Thai cuisine, which is a fun way of spending time together and teaching the kids some new skills.
A real highlight of your family holiday in Thailand is likely to be visiting the Lampang Elephant Sanctuary, which is the largest in Thailand and will give you the chance to ride these gentle giants through the jungle. Before crossing over into Laos, you should also stop off in Chiang Rai, Thailand’s northernmost province, which is home to many hill tribes.
From Thailand you can make your way into Laos via the Mekong River. Ban Houei Sai is a good place to start exploring, as you can accustom yourself to the relaxed local pace of life before travelling by boat through landscapes of beautiful, dense forests and jagged cliffs.
Luang Pratang is both one of the highlights of Laos and the country’s former capital. It is perhaps most famous for its spectacular setting in the hills of the Upper Mekong River, which can you best appreciate by climbing the 328 steps to the top of Mount Phousi.
Before moving on to Cambodia, be sure to visit the Kuang Si Waterfalls, which are approximately a 45-minute drive from the city. This stunning site is guaranteed to wow both teenagers and adults alike.
Fly to Siem Reap for the final leg of your tour. This is an excellent base for your visit to Angkor Wat, the famous and incredibly vast temple complex situated in the Cambodian jungle. Spanning some 155 sq km, this ruined city dates back to the 9th century and its construction continued until the 13th century.
It is worth spending a few days exploring here, particularly as the site is spread over such a large area. The number one place to see is Angkor Wat, a staggering example of Khmer architecture famous for its harmonious design, lotus bud-like towers and intricate engravings.
Also make sure you see Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in south-east Asia. For the best experience, take a boat ride along the water.