The locals in these countries will try and get as much money out of you as possible (especially in Vietnam), so know how much you should be paying for each item, and bargain them down! Don't worry — it happens to all of us, but you will need to practice and master your bargaining skills.
You're definitely going to get ripped off once or twice. Be sensible - don't flash cash or valuables, and don't wander off from the safety of your tour group. Cambodia/Vietnam/Laos: All generally safe destinations, but petty crime can happen.
Thai authorities operate several Tourist's Friend Centres" around the airports and Skytrain stations to provide information and assistance - they're worth using. Be especially cautious during the run-up to elections, and avoid Lumpini Park, where protesters congregate. Thailand: Political demonstrations occur frequently in Bangkok, and can escalate rapidly, with the use of weapons and explosives.
Girls, bring a maxi skirt to cover your legs! Take into account the culture of the country you're travelling to and bear in mind that when visiting temples most countries in South East Asia ask that your shoulders and knees are covered. You'll also always come across a pharmacy or two for all of your toiletry needs so there's no need to stock up on shampoo and conditioner before you start your trip!
South East Asia has some of the biggest and Best food in Asia street markets in the world where you can buy clothes (slogan tees, swimwear etc) sunglasses, hats, knock off bags and jewelry and in fact anything else you may want to buy. Luckily, lots of the things you need to take with you can be bought when you get there so if you do forget something, it's not the end of the world! You will come across washing machines wherever you go and next day laundry services in Thailand and Vietnam are readily available & cheap!
Pack enough loose fitting clothes to last you for a few days and remember that the majority of your time will be spent in bikinis/boardies, shorts & flip flops. We leave Cairns for Singapore at the end of February and Hong Kong for London in early June but apart from that haven't decided where to go. We're in New Zealand at the moment and after our next stop (Australia) plan to travel to SE Asia for around 2.5 months.
We are a family from London currently six months into a year-long global adventure (/ouryearaway). Big country though, so allow lots of time in order to see it all properly! There's a terrific variety of activities for the whole family, and in particular for kids from 2+ upwards.
Oh, and i'd also throw Vietnam into the mix as a great destination in SEA to visit with kids. And the people are so friendly, definitely someplace good for families with kids, not just the backpackers. I've heard of people being concerned about their kids not being able to eat the spicy food in SE Asia, but there is plenty of great stuff to eat that isn't spicy.
Great food in that part of the world. Thanks for including my link on what I ate in SE Asia! I will be with my husband and 2 1/2 year old son.
I am heading to Hong Kong in November for a week and wanted to add on another 2 weeks ‘somewhere' (!) in asia (probably not Bali, as you can't get direct flights back to London). I'd be fine going to any of the places you mentioned as long as it's not too far off the beaten track (e.g. the far north of Thailand where malaria is an issue). That said, if budget was an issue then Bangkok is a great choice as you'll get a lot more for your money in hotels (large suite, large pool) than in Singapore.
Singapore is a great base for SE Asia and more kid-friendly parks, playgrounds, activities than most Asian Cities. Would be pleased to hear from you if there is any possibility or opportunity. We would welcome the opportunity to be featured on site.
The appeal of the resort for families has always started with the resort's design - small villas on a hectare and a half of gardens, with 3 swimming pools.