What kids want for a summer weekend trip can be summed up in five words: lots of stuff to do. What parents want can be summed up in five very different words: sleeping, relaxing and doing nothing. So getting out of the city for a few days break during the Hong Kong summer can be a challenge. But head to one of these local getaways for a short staycation and you’ll have more options than you can handle.
For Entertainment and History: Macau
The Venetian Macao may be a huge property (it’s large enough to hold ninety Boeing 747 jumbo jets!) but that aside, kids have been considered at every turn, from the gondola rides in the canals and to the special play area by the pool. Older kids will love the interactive Man-U Experience where they can dribble like Ronaldo while the whole family can compete at the 18 hole mini golf course. Throw in Cirque du Soleil plus fantastic shopping and there isn’t really a reason to leave the hotel.
Yummy Mummy Tip: Sign the kids up for the Summer Activity Programme at Qube while you check into the spa.
Bored already? There is a raft of things for kids to do nearby. The outlying islands of Taipa and Coloane are the most obvious selling point, with bicycles to hire and a karting track, but there are also the tamer attractions such as the Giant Panda Pavillion, as well as the historical delights of this former Portugese colony. Travelling with boys? Don’t miss seeing the various forts dotting the landscape, including the Guia Fortress that affords magnificent views from Macau’s highest point.
To book: Visit www.venetianmacao.com
For tourist information and visa requirements: Visit www.macautourism.gov.mo
For Rustic Fun and Beach Pursuits: Lantau
When families arrive at Palm Beach, before they rush to lay claim to their tipis, they gaze at the never ending stretch of sand that is Cheung Sha Beach. One of the longest beaches in Hong Kong (its name in Cantonese means “long sand”) parts of it can be deserted during the week. The Palm Beach Watersports centre has everything to keep kids in the water, from surfing and skim boarding to windsurfing and kiteboarding while teens will love it’s cafe with pool table and BBQ pit. Watch as beach life quickly transforms tired kids in need of an old fashioned outdoor adventure.
Yummy Mummy Tip: Have dinner at The Stoep, a South African restaurant overlooking Cheung Sha beach. The bread alone makes it worth eating there!
Bored already? A trip to the Giant Buddha and Po Lin Monastery is a must. After hiking up 200 steps (yes, really!) you can enjoy a vegetarian lunch at the monastery before heading to Tai O village. The old fashioned rope-drawn ferry of my childhood may be gone but the stilt houses remain.
To book: Visit www.facebook.com/palmbeach.com.hk
To book The Stoep: Visit www.thestoep.com or call +852 2980-2699
For Get Away From It All Luxury: Saffron Cruises
When you are weekending away with children in tow, hotels with cool bars where you sip cocktails until the early hours suddenly hold less allure. Requirements change and the perfect getaway venue becomes one that is comfortable, in a good location, with good food and wine on tap. Saffron Cruises delivers on all fronts. It’s perfect for the baby crowd, offering luxury stays on cruisers such as the Anais, but if you have older kids, go old school with a junk where you sleep on camp beds. True adventurers will love the luxury sailing yacht Harlequin for a few days sailing from bay to bay. Throw in full catering options and the ability to go to North Sai Kung or the Soko Islands and it starts to feel rather like you are on a proper holiday.
Yummy Mummy Tip: Tai Wan beach, one of three beaches at Tai Long Wan is the nicest for it’s remote location, white sands and pristine water.
Bored already? Head to shore and hike some of the wonderful trails found throughout the Sai Kung Country Park, eat at the seafood restaurants of Poi Toi or build sandcastles on the beach.
To book: Visit www.saffron-cruises.com or call +852 2857-1311