Southeast Asia is home to one of the most diverse landscapes in the world. From high volcanic peaks, rice fields, lush rainforests, and cascading waterfalls, it is home to one of the best hiking spots in the world. If you are looking to embark on a family-friendly adventure, Southeast Asia is a great place to go if you have hiking in mind. It is also a great way to discover the local culture and to contribute to the local economy in terms of tourism.
Hiking options in Southeast Asia span a wide spectrum of experiences. If you are going to hike Southeast Asia with younger children, make sure that you choose ones that are categorized as easy hikes so you can explore them on your own without a guide. But if you want a more challenging hike for the bigger kids, then you can opt for the uphill hikes that offer spectacular views of the rainforest in Southeast Asia. Wherever you are in Southeast Asia, you are sure to find great lookout points that offer picturesque views that are unmatched in its quality and scenery.
Whether you are looking for a scenic hike that is also stroller-friendly or more challenging ones to push your hiking skills, Southeast Asia has it covered for you.
Hiking Tips with Kids in Southeast Asia
Are you ready to get started on hiking with your kids? These are the tips you need to keep in mind to ensure that your kids will have as much fun as you do:
1. Research the trail you intend to hike on beforehand.
It is very important to know the exact route and the type of terrain that you are bound to encounter. Unpredictability is not your friend when hiking with kids in Southeast Asia. The more you know about each trail will help you to prepare for the challenge ahead. It is also important to familiarize the trail since you want to know if it is appropriate for your child’s age. Some trails in Southeast Asia are too difficult for younger children (such as toddlers), so knowing about the trails will help you to plan accordingly.
2. Make sure that your child is well-fed and well-rested before you embark on the hiking trip.
Children can get easily cranky during the hike and it can destroy the entire experience – not just for your child. To keep them in a good mood, make sure they are not hungry and thirsty. You should also pack enough snacks and water to sustain them throughout the hike. Due to the popularity of the hiking trails in Southeast Asia, some would have cafes and restaurants that you can go in along the trail. But not all hiking trails have access to these establishments, so it is best to pack your own snacks and drinks before you go.
Southern Ridges in Singapore
3. Check if the trail is stroller-friendly (or not).
This is one of the things that you need to check about the specific trail that you want to hike with your kids in Southeast Asia. Having a stroller is very convenient so your children can use them when they get tired or when they want to sleep. It is also more convenient for parents because you won’t have to carry your child throughout the trail when they get tired. It is a win-win situation for both parents and kids. Therefore, always check beforehand if certain trails would allow the use of strollers.
Singapore is the only country in Southeast Asia where you can hike with your stroller. Make sure to use a stroller designed for trails.
4. Always pack a warm item because the weather in Southeast Asia can be unpredictable.
Even on hot summer days, a downpour can happen at any time of the day. And even when there is no rain for the day, hiking high altitude regions in Southeast Asia can make the temperature drop significantly. It is important that you pack a scarf, light jacket, or any item that you can layer over your hiking clothes to keep you and your child warm.
5. Decide if you should go for a day hiking trip or multi-day excursions.
Wherever you are in Southeast Asia, there are plenty of options for day hiking tours (guided or not). But if you want an immersive experience, you should go for multi-day hiking excursions that give you the opportunity to mingle with the locals. You can even choose a homestay as your accommodation for the night, which gives you the opportunity to live among the locals and partake in home cooked meals. The decision to spend the night in a homestay should be based on your preferences but do take note that the type of accommodation is very basic. The availability of accommodation is something that you should consider when planning either a day hike or multi-day hike with kids.
6. Always carry bottled water with you.
This is the most important tip to remember when hiking with your kids in Southeast Asia: do not drink water straight from the tap. It is, therefore, of utmost importance to pack your own water for the hike. The use of bottled water is recommended even for brushing your teeth.
In Singapore, there are water fountains and vending machines available along the trails. However, make sure to bring bottles of water for your kids.
7. Make sure you pack toilet paper and wet wipes during the hike.
Besides Singapore, toilet facilities are not availabe in most Southeast Asian countries. Especially on hiking trails. If you manage to find a toilet in Southeast Asia, they might not be the same as the modern facilities that you are used to at home.
It is also smart to pack hand sanitizers as you might not have access to soap and water to wash your hands clean after going to the bathroom.
8. Be smart when booking a hiking tour in Southeast Asia.
Many families that choose to go on a hiking adventure in Asia opt to do so via a guided tour. It is important that you choose a legitimate tour company to ensure your safety and those of the places you are hiking. If possible, book only tour companies through your hotel or reputable websites online. This is to ensure that your family and kids won’t have to deal with the stress of planning the hike. Plus, you can also get hotel pick-up and drop-off for your hiking trip.
9. Protect your kids from the sun.
Due to Southeast Asia’s proximity to the equator, the tropical heat can be too much to bear, especially for your young ones. Make sure you are geared to protect them from the sun or else they could get sunburnt. Use sunscreen before you start your hike and always wear protective gear from the sun, such as hat. Make them wear moisture-wicking fabric so they can stay cool and their sweat isn’t absorbed by the fabric.
10. Take out an insurance.
Anything can happen. You or one of the kids can land in the hospital unexpectedly and if you don’t have insurance, the experience can do serious damage to your bank balance.
Hiking with kids in Southeast Asia is a fun adventure that you will look back on as your kids grow older. By keeping the above tips in mind, you will be able to enjoy the experience, even when the hike can prove to be a bit tougher than you would expect. But there is nothing that you can’t conquer if you are well prepared.
The most important thing to remember when you visit Southeast Asia for hiking is to know the seasons. The general rule is to avoid hiking in Southeast Asia with kids during the monsoon season. The rainy season can cause the terrain and hiking conditions tougher to handle. Make sure that you do not underestimate the monsoon rains as they can be quite devastating. By researching about each trail and booking a tour (if you want a more convenient way to hike with a guide), you can spend more time enjoying the hike than planning it.