TOP FIVE KID FRIENDLY PLACES TO VACATION
We haven't really discussed this because it seems to be a given that we will plan a long distance vacation outside of Canada each year with our family. Our untold reason is the girls will be able to experience, see the world, and realize the beauty of other places. For my own selfish reasons, it is because I want to experience these things as well. Out of all the places we've travelled so far, we've gained some insights as to whether it is kid friendly and stroller friendly. Here are my top five list: KOREA
Kid friendly: 3/5 Stroller friendly: 3/5
This is a wonderful country to see. They got the most stylish kids clothes ever (not cheap though, you would be looking at $10 for a simple tee up to $50 for a fancy dress.) This is also skincare and cosmetic heaven. Every block you go, there is a beauty shop that awaits you with their dazzling products and not to mention - great deals. All of these things are great for adults but less interesting for kids!
In relation to food, there's limited options regarding kid friendly food. There is plenty of Korean BBQ but I constantly worry my daughters will throw themselves at the piping hot charcoals. Other than that ... there's ginseng chicken soup (gas stove) and stone bowl soups (boiling hot). Can you imagine my anxiety?! At the end, we simply just order noodle take out and buy kimbap (sushi) from the traditional market. The transit in Korean is somewhat kids friendly. There are elevators but only at certain stations. You need to know where to exit in order to find the elevator (and there's no sign or map to direct you ... If not, good luck on finding your way out without lifting the stroller up the stairs.) In the end, we just resort to taking taxis. Korean taxis are fairly cheap and affordable. Unfortunately, most of them don't speak English and they will try their hardest to get you to your destination fast. So remember to put your seat belts on! JAPAN
Kid friendly: 5/5 Stroller friendly: 3/5
Who doesn't like Japan? It's the hub for food and amazing culture. There's absolutely nothing wrong with their food - very kid friendly. Some restaurants even provide you with kid's eating utensils. One thing to watch out for is Japanese are heavy smokers and you can find them on the street and even in restaurants. The transit system is fairly simple but same issues as Korea. There are elevators but you really need to know your way around there to find it. One thing that shocked me was how people purposely ignore you on the train. I've been told all my life that Japanese are polite, courteous, and nice. It was definitely news to me to see people purposely ignore you and would not offer you their seat when they see you wearing your kid. HONG KONG
Kid friendly: 2/5 Stroller friendly: 2/5
It's crowded. Period. Don't even think about taking the taxi for short distance in Hong Kong, you will get scolded for wasting their time. If you are planning to take subway, try to avoid rush hours or plan to fight through the crowd. However, always keep in mind that you do need to push your way through. If you happen to have a stroller with you, use that to your advantage. When we were in Hong Kong, we didn't bother to look for elevators. We ended up just getting on to the escalators with our strollers. It turned out to be great training for our future international trips. TAIWAN
Kid friendly: 5/5 Stroller friendly: 5/5
Perhaps I'm biased since I originally came from Taiwan. Yet I feel this is the most kids friendly country I've traveled in regards to restaurants and transit system. There are handicapped ramps everywhere, even on the street. There are elevators everywhere too and extremely easy to find. If they are not right by the ticketing gate, there's usually clear signs to direct you. At every main station, there are changing tables and nursing rooms. We usually take advantage of MRT as much as we can. On occasion, we would resort to taxi and they are very affordable and usually very friendly and accommodating. Most important, they will happily drive you even if it's 5 mins drive away. PARIS
Kid friendly: 3/5 Stroller friendly: 2/5
I might have lowered my expectations in Paris. I expected no elevators, no escalators, and not kid friendly. And I was right! We pretty much had to carry the stroller down the stairs all the time. Occasionally, we would stumbled upon escalator and it was like finding gold mine. Then we would whip out our training from Hong Kong and ride the escalators. In restaurants, no body offered us high chairs, so I'm just going to assume there's no high chairs available. Otherwise, this is an amazing city! I loved walking along the river and browsing through all the art works and antique items. I hope this helps on choose your next destinations. If not, at least give you some insights on what to expect when you travel to these places. All of these countries are amazing and these are simply my experience and opinions. What are you experience? What did you think? Maybe you have different insights compare to mine.