Independent Families: 'We'll need a sunny stopover'

Q. My sister and I want to holiday together with our mother, husbands and toddlers (17 and 15 months respectively) next Easter. My family would travel from London, the rest from Sydney, and we'd like to find somewhere halfway, with one long-haul flight each, where there will be enough to keep two toddlers and two dads occupied and let three mums relax. Somewhere all-inclusive would be nice, but we're not averse to self-catering.

Ann Roberts, London

A. For hot but not exhausting Easter weather, with plenty of sandy beaches for toddlers, and a good choice of sports for the more active members of your divided family, look for resort destinations within reach of Bangkok or Singapore. Both should be monsoon-free in April. And they are the stopover points between London and Sydney for British Airways, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways, giving you and your Australian relatives a good choice of carriers.

From the airport in Singapore, an hour's ferry ride across the Strait of Malacca takes you to the rainforest and red cliffs of the Indonesian island of Bintan. This has long been a retreat for Singaporeans, and is beginning to find a wider audience. There's not a lot of hardcore culture or shopping on offer, but you will find tranquil, empty beaches and one of the best golf courses in Indonesia: the Gary Player-designed Bintan Golf Club (00 62 770 692 839).

At the front of the all-inclusive deals is Club Med Ria Bintan (08453 676767;, a small and - for Club Med, anyway - stylish holiday village arranged around a garden and white sand beach. Two pools and a "Mini Med" play area will keep your babies happy, while you can take your pick from the free activities and lessons: yoga, golf, archery, tennis, sailing, snorkelling and a circus trapeze. The food is plentiful and reputedly good, wine and beer is included in the cost, and children under two get a free Baby Welcome Pack: a cot, stroller, potty and steriliser in your room, and a special corner and menu in the restaurant.

Prices for seven days in April, staying full board in a Club room, start at £1,547 per adult, £272 for under twos, including transfers, membership fees and return flights from Heathrow. The prices on Club Med's Australian site,, work out much the same, though adults pay slightly less, children slightly more.

If you fancy a day trip, the 40-minute shows and hand-feeding opportunities at the Elephant Park should please toddlers, while a dinghy "discovery ride" through the island's mangroves will get you close to the local wildlife, including fireflies, monkeys and kingfishers. Both of these are bookable via the Bintan tour office on 00 62 770 692 029.

Two years on from the devastation of the tsunami, the tourism-reliant inhabitants of southern Thailand would also welcome your trade. Phuket, an 80-minute flight from Bangkok airport, got back on its feet particularly quickly, yet it could welcome many more visitors. The island is a great destination for families prepared to travel long-haul, giving you access to spectacular beaches, rainforest trips and world-class diving and snorkelling.

The beaches of Phuket are dotted with large complexes aimed squarely at the family market, but not all cater for smaller children. One that does is the spanking new JW Marriott Resort and Spa (0800 221222;, an exotic five-star, low-rise complex looking over eight miles of Mai Khao beach. Three huge outdoor pools meander through its acres of tropical gardens, with one separate shallow section with water slides and a bubble pool designed for paddlers and splashers. The children's club here is also in a separate pavilion, with indoor and outdoor sections, and has a busy daily "Little Turtles" programme of activities for pre-schoolers. If this turns out to be too daunting for your children, baby-sitters are on call.

Adults have the whole of the Andaman Sea to play with - the resort provides free kayaks, dinghies and boogie boards, and will arrange boat trips to dive and snorkel sites. Or you can sweat it out in the fitness suite, try free classes in everything from meditation to kick boxing or Thai cooking, bliss out in the spa, or improve your backhand on the tennis courts.

The majority of the accommodation is in luxurious double rooms - some connecting - but the two-bedroom "royal" suite can accommodate an extra camp bed in each room. It also has full cooking and laundry facilities, giving you the option to self-cater should the resort's grill, Italian and sushi restaurants, or its café and deli bar not meet your needs. In April, room rates per night start from US$265 (£147) for a garden room, rising to $2,500 (£1,390) for the two-bedroom suite, with breakfast.

Send your family travel queries to The Independent Parent, Travel Desk, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS or e-mail

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
world cup 2014
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice