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Monday, June 24, 2024
TripOutlook Travel Blog

3 kids, 3 and under in Asia

This year I self diagnosed my condition: “Travellers ADHD”. We are taking advantage of my parental leave from my job as a project manager, have rented out our house in Perth, Australia and have dragged our kids to Asia for four months to enjoy the warm weather and cheap living. We are having a great time and the kids are loving having both parents around every day.

I found out I was pregnant with our third child when our oldest child turned two which was a few months before our now middle child turned one. The idea of having a third baby was very exciting. The idea of having to look after 3 kids under 3 on my own, not so much.

As time got closer to a new baby arriving and parental leave looming, I googled “where to travel with kids?” “sabbatical with young family” “Asia with young kids” “where to have a mini-retirement?”. I read blog after blog, did cost of living comparisons on numbero.com and read numerous articles from International Livings website trying to find somewhere suitable to escape to and explore.

Our prerequisites were somewhere with a high quality of life for a low cost of living, excellent medical facilities, close to the ocean, good local food, access to a pool, some sort of Childcare facilities (ie low cost nannies, kids club, daycare) and cheap flights if we wanted to get out and explore.

Two weeks before we were due to leave we still had no idea where we were going. Our top 5 locations were Penang Malaysia, Hua Hin Thailand, Hoi An Vietnam, Ensenada Mexico or Puerto Vallarta Mexico.

I woke up one morning just before we were about to leave thinking we have three young kids “let’s just keep it simple” so we booked our tickets for our first trip to Thailand and found a condo to start our journey in Hua Hin.


Welcome to Hua Hin

Hua Hin with kids

We stayed at the Blue Lagoon resort in Hua Hin. It is right next to the Sheraton (Cha-Am) on the beach. You can buy a Sheraton family membership for about $2 a day. You have access to the pools, kids club, kids pool, gym and yoga. The Blue Lagoon resort also has its own lagoon style pool that snakes around the condos. If you have a ground floor condo you can jump into the pool from your patio. It also has a kids pool, is a walk away from Yai Yai hotel where you can similarly buy a membership and use their facilities and join their yoga classes. Food from Lila’s Sawadee restaurant can be delivered to your condo. The Green chicken curry and Penang chicken curry were our favourites at $3 a dish. We had Lila’s delivered for lunch and dinner almost every day.


Kids on the Danang beach

Kids digging on the Danang beach, Vietnam

We are now staying at the Ocean Villas in Danang Vietnam. We rented a 4 bedroom villa with attached maids room. We have a room for each of our kids and another one for our nanny who we brought over with us from Thailand. There are 6 bathrooms with 3 bathtubs in the house and our own private pool. The beach is a few steps away. There is a kids playground and kids pool about 100 metres away at the White caps beach club. Ocean Villas have a number of different sized villas ranging from around $50 – $100 a night if you book a monthly rental.


With Kids in Vietnam

Kids Vietnam Style

Danang is a fantastic place to live. The beach is amazing and being able to drive 30 mins to Hoi An, one of my favourites places in the world is ideal.


Kids Exploring Angkor Wat

Exploring Angkor Wat

During our family sabbatical we have learnt:

  • Book low cost airlines and pay the few extra dollars for premium seats. People who fly low cost airlines, usually want the cheapest deal and do not want to spend more money for premium seats. This usually means that the premium rows are empty so if you have paid for a premium seat you can spread out with your family.
  • Travelling overland by private mini van although it may take longer, is actually easier and about the same cost to flying. You can fill the van with all the toys and stuff you end up accumulating for the kids. Our threshold for travelling with the kids in a minivan was about 11 hours with at least one nanny.
  • The kids will still have fun at a daycare where no one speaks English. New toys, songs and making new friends is the appeal.
  • Renting a villa or condo for a month can be cheaper than booking a villa or hotel for a 10 day holiday. Find somewhere with a great monthly deal and pay for a month but only stay for 10 days if that is all the annual leave you have. 2+ bedroom condos and villas are so much better than cramping your family into hotel rooms. You get the bonus of a kitchen, lounge room, TV and sometimes a pool as well.
  • Our annual, bi-annual, quarterly family holidays will no longer be at a resort in Bali just because we are scared to travel more than 4 hours on a flight with the kids. The places we stayed in Hua Hin and Danang were more economical than any Bali resort we have been to and it has been nice not being surrounded by tourists and tourist prices all the time.
  • We found living 20 minutes out of a city worked best for us. We were still only a taxi ride away from anything we needed and we had luxurious accommodation on a bigger plot at a cheaper price than what we would have paid for inner city living.
  • Apply for the longest multi-entry visa you can well-before arriving at your destination. Because we had too many choices of locations we found it hard to commit to a place until the last moment. We wanted our location to be perfect. I think if we had just booked any of our top choices we would have had a good time. Not having a long multi-entry visa meant we kept on having to leave Thailand to reset our 30 day visas and we kept having to spend money to apply for visas for Vietnam. We would have cut out these costs if we had have applied for the long multi-entry visa at the beginning and we would have still had the freedom to move around if we didn’t like our first choice.

Read more about us on our blog: 3under3asia.com

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