The experiences you gain when traveling are unforgettable and often a formative experience for children. Families in Shanghai are blessed with having many incredible destinations right at their fingertips and the opportunity to share these wonders with their children. We asked families around Asia to tell us their most treasured memories and favorite family-friendly destinations. Read on for some fun stories and insider tips!
Dubai needs little introduction to the seasoned global traveller, but more often than not it’s seen as a transit point or short stopover rather than a longer stay destination.
However with perfect weather during Shanghai's grimmest months, namely November through March, not to mention a multitude of direct overnight flights, it's becoming increasingly popular as a spot for families wanting blue skies and no end of distractions for the kids.
First, the basics. You'll want to avoid April to September when the weather is brutally hot, making any outside activity virtually impossible. As far as costs are concerned, all-inclusive packages make most economic sense for a family. Across the city the quality of the hotels, as well as their food and service, is second to none, so you'd be forgiven for not wanting to leave your resort.
Take the Madjinat Jumeirah, for example. This enormous property is breathtaking in scale and finish and, situated bang on the white sands of Jumeirah beach, you also get the best views of the city's unofficial icon, the Burj al Arab hotel.
Taller than the Eiffel Tower and designed in the shape of a billowing Arabian dhow sail, the levels of service and ostentation at the Burj remain unchanged 17 years on from opening.
As a guest at Madinat Al Jumeirah it’s worth remembering you also get access to the Talise spa, watersports and kids facilities galore, not least of which is the ‘Wild Wadi’ waterpark. It’s a short buggy ride away in the shadow of the Burj Al Arab and features more than 30 thrills, spills, slides and rides to keep kids big and small occupied for days.
An old-school dhow on Deira creek is a very pleasant way to spend time, before dinner in one of the traditional restaurants lining the water. If you’re feeling the need to stimulate the grey matter, then the nearby Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding is a brilliant explanation of Dubai’s history and its place in the Muslim world. They also serve an outstanding family style lunch, seated on cushions, as part of their program.
Back in the world of consumerism, Dubai Mall is currently the world's largest at a mind bending 1,200 stores. It also features the world’s largest aquarium, where you can choose to scuba dive with tiger sharks, and a diplodocus skeleton.
If that’s not enough superlatives for you, it’s crowned by the Burj Al Khalifa, the world’s tallest building at 830 metres (more than two and a half times the height of the Eiffel Tower). The restaurant Atmosphere takes some beating in the views stake, while elevators whisk visitors up 124 floors in 80 seconds to the viewpoint ‘At The Top’. It’s worth staying around in the evening for the nightly laser and fountain show at the foot of the tower, sure to wow the kids.
Most of all, however, it’s the eating which makes Dubai so compelling. Every celebrity chef you can think of has a restaurant here, but it’s not just fine dining in hotels and malls. Given the massive South Asian population, mainly of migrant workers, Indian cuisine is cheap and excellent, especially so at the perennially-popular Ravi’s. But nowhere matches the range and quality of cuisines of the Middle East and Levant, with breathtakingly good and cheap Iranian, Moroccan, Turkish, Lebanese and so many more.
In fact, Dubai offers visitors the whole world on a plate: you name it, you can almost certainly find it. For that fact alone, picky kids will never be able to complain about not liking the food. Which already makes for a holiday well spent.
Read more Family-Friendly Travel Destinations here.