Families who travel together have the opportunity to create new memories that will remain special for years to come. Many families these days are choosing developing countries as their destinations of choice for their holidays.

These countries offer unspoilt landscapes, friendly human interactions and authentic cultures – usually at good value for money.

Here is a countdown of the top 5 developing countries to visit with children:

5. Indonesia

Starting at number five is Indonesia, and especially Bali – a popular holiday destination for many Australian families. The beaches and resorts of Bali offer relaxing getaways for families where they can swim, snorkel and play to their hearts’ content. Spread across the rest of the island there are water parks, zip-lining activities, temples and many monkeys to keep kids happy.

A family looking for adventure beyond Bali will be spoilt for choice. The island of Java alone offers volcano-climbing at Mount Bromo, and large temples to explore in Yogyakarta. The lush rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo are two of only a few remaining places where orangutans can be seen in their natural habitats. Many families opt for short day treks with local guides to navigate these pockets of rainforests in search of wildlife.

4. Thailand

The Thais have a reputation for being laid-back and friendly people who love children. With easily accessible and exotic locations, tropical weather, countless temples, delicious local dishes and good private medical care, it’s not hard to see why this south-east Asian nation is a popular family destination. Thailand’s turquoise waters are ideal for parents looking to relax on the beach while the kids explore the sand and sea around them. Many resorts offer child-friendly facilities where they can safely play in both indoor and outdoor areas.

3. Vietnam

Third on our list is Vietnam. It may not be as well-known, but it should not be overlooked as a family-friendly destination. Vietnam is both affordable and captivating, with a rapidly growing tourism industry. Here, families will have the opportunity to discover rice fields and beaches, new dishes and a rich history and culture. One of the most popular attractions is Halong Bay, this World Heritage site with its limestone cliffs is a great spot for family adventures. The best way to explore the area is by taking one of the many leisurely cruises through the bay, many of which cater specifically for families. The cruise activities usually include island visits, swimming, kayaking, cave exploring and even squid fishing.

2. South Africa

Moving away from Asia, South Africa boasts beautiful beaches, famous mountains, diverse cultures and fantastic African wildlife. This super friendly nation has a lot on offer for budget conscious families. Many head straight to Cape Town for its beautiful scenery and beaches, but the star attraction for most children (and parents) is the wildlife in the countless game parks such as the Kruger National Park. Here, most visitors are lucky enough to experience close encounters with a large variety of wild animals including lions, elephants, giraffes, rhinos, leopards and much more. Families can explore the park through organised safari tours, or drive around on their own – creating a wonderful opportunity for children to appreciate nature and wildlife, some of whose populations are sadly dwindling to the point of possible extinction.

1. Turkey

Top of our list of developing countries to visit with children is Turkey. You may be surprised by its inclusion on our list but Australians share an important part of history with Turkey and many visit the Gallipoli peninsula around ANZAC day to honour those who died there. This beautiful Mediterranean country is a culturally and historically rich destination with warm seas and people who adore children. The ancient attractions such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Sultan Ahmed Mosque and Basilica Cistern are evidence of a history and culture rich in both Asian and European influences. The wide variety of Turkish food is very popular, even with fussy little eaters. Köfte, pide and gözleme are some of the popular dishes, while dondurma, is a type of ice cream that comes in many flavours.

It is important to plan and prepare well for any family holiday, especially to developing countries. Make sure one of the steps you take is speaking with a doctor about vaccinations and any advice you will need.

Do you have any other holiday destinations that you can recommend? Please share in comments below.

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  • Malaysia is awesome. Especially the Island of Pangkor


  • Turkey is definitely off the list this year, according to government warnings. Right before Anzac Day too, thank you terrorists :/


  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


  • We have been to lots of places with the kids, but none of these. Been to thailand on our own… might have to visit one of them.


  • I once met a mother originally from Africa who wanted to take her children to Africa to show them that the world is not equal and expose them to poverty. I always thought that I would like to show my own children this too.


  • I’ve been looking at Thailand and Fiji as I was told to steer clear of Bali with my 4 year old and myself.


  • Thank you xx
    This has added other countries to our family holiday bucket list!


  • We have been taking the kids to Bali ever since they were born and they both love it. They have made some great friends over there and always take over toys and things for the kids when we and now the eldest even keep in touch via social media. We never stay in hotels anymore, always rent a holiday house with a group of friends to we can all experience it together as families :)


  • Thanks for this article, will keep as a good reference for travel.


  • always been a dream of mine!


  • We’re heading to Thailand this year for our first overseas family holiday, we can’t wait. Cant wait to explore all the places on this list.


  • these sound amazing – possibly not Turkey just now though… There are so many great places to visit. Fiji is pretty high on my list too.


  • I have never been overseas


  • So many beautiful places in the world !! We loved Malaysia as well and I hear also positive comments about Fiji.


  • I would tend to wait until my children were somewhat older than the one shown in the photograph that accompanies this comment. Took my children then 15, 11, 9, and 7 on holiday, first time in a plane, etc. and only the older two remember it.


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