Are you planning a hassle-free family trip for the upcoming June Holidays for the more senior members of the family? Or perhaps looking to spend your retirement travelling?
There may be some considerations when you are an elderly and are planning to travel. For instance, the availability of lifts, convenient transportation and other elderly-friendly facilities. Or are there activities that are less strenuous but at the same time fun and fulfilling?
Here’s a list of seven elderly-friendly travel destinations that not only provide convenience but also fun-filled activities. Whether you’re a foodie, historical enthusiast, adrenaline-junkie or a resort lover, this list covers a little of each.
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#1 Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Starting off with a familiar neighbour, Malaysia. Although close to our bustling city, Cameron Highlands offers a peaceful long weekend getaway surrounded by nature. There are cars, buses and minivan services available for an easier journey uphill.
Once at the peak, you will get to enjoy a cool relief from the Singapore summer heatwave with the all-year round cool weather Cameron Highland offers. There are plenty of slower paced explorations such as visiting tea plantations, strawberry farms, butterfly farms and apiaries, which are well-suited for the older crowds.
However, if you’re feeling adventurous, there are also some nature and garden trails that explore Malaysia’s natural indigenous landscapes. Cameron Highlands comprises of nine distinct towns. Brinchang in particular, is known for its local Chinese delicacies. Tanah Rata on the other hand, has a more even terrain compared to the highland’s mountainous terrain. This ensures easier navigation through the shops and attractions.
A two-day stay at Cameron highlands is sufficient to explore the area. The cost breakdown are as follows:
S$42 for a bus ticket from Singapore or
7-hour drive via car with toll prices around S$13 or
Flight from S$75
- Hotel accommodation: S$100 to S$200
- Total cost: From S$288
#2 Borocay, Philippines
This small tropical island in the Philippines is ideal for senior travellers due to its size. Just a short boat trip from Caticlan airport, there is an extensive range of accommodations and facilities that are just a short walk within each other.
Primarily known for its beaches, Boracay is an ideal location for one to relax and enjoy the sun. White Beach is known for its picturesque views of the sunset. It lies west of the island and is divided into three substations with each station catering to different crowds.
This is also ideal for families with different age groups as the younger crowd can explore stations one and two, which are the busier parts of the island with many restaurants and shops. Station three , located on the southern end of the beach is ideal for the elderly as it is known as the quietest part of the beach. It offers a serene and tranquil experience for those looking for a truly relaxing trip.
For those who enjoy a blend of relaxation and activities, Puka Shell beach is another location in Boracay that the elderly can look forward to. Besides relaxing at the beach, massages are also available. Families can also try out water activities such as paddleboarding and beach volley.
An ideal time to travel to Boracay would be between August to December when cooler temperatures are present.
A two-day stay is ideal for this small island. The cost breakdown for basic accommodations are as follows:
Flight from S$390
Ferry trip from the airport to the island: S$14
- Hotel accommodation: From S$61 to S$300 per night
- Total cost: From S$525
#3 Hong Kong
This aging city provides many facilities convenient for elderly travellers. A big part lies with Hong Kong’s octopus smart card system. This card is available to tourists in Hong Kong at a price of HK$39 (SGD$6.65). This is without any initial stored value. Elderly aged 65 and above are able to enjoy transportation fees at just HK$2 (SGD$0.34). Public transport in Hong Kong is also wheelchair-friendly with lifts available in buses and train stations.
For a scenic view of the city skyline, Victoria Peak is an ideal location. This hill is easily accessible via a bus or via the Peak Tram. Reaching the top, you get to experience a 360-degree view of the city through a viewing platform located at Sky Terrace 428. Definitely not for those with a fear of heights.
For those who enjoy theme parks, Noah’s Ark is a theme park ideal for the elderly. Located on Ma Wan Island and accessible by ferry, this theme park is unlike those with zooming rollercoasters and adrenaline-inducing games. Instead, get to experience a walk through the Ark Garden, organic farms, temple visits, Animal Specimen Encounter and relaxing at Tung Wan Beach.
Besides attraction sites, Hong Kong is also a food haven with traditional Cantonese cuisine from Dim sum to pork knuckles to cart noodles there is definitely a wide variety of local dishes to try.
It is recommended to minimally have a three to four days stay in Hong Kong in order to fully experience its offerings.
The cost breakdown are as follows:
- Transportation: S$390 on average for a flight to from Singapore to Hong Kong per adult
Discounted package price for elderly and children for Victoria Peak tram ride and Sky Terrace 428 at S$9.59, S$16.55 for adults via Klook
S$22.18 for tickets to Noah Ark Theme Park via Klook
- Hotel accommodation: From S$100
- Total cost: From S$720
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#4 Guilin, China
The small city of Guilin, China is a must-visit location if you’re one to take the time to appreciate natural scenic landscapes with mountains and rivers. Compared to the modern, fast-paced city landscape, Guilin provides a refreshing countryside escape.
Transportation within Guilin is easily accessible with bullet trains providing a fast and comfortable experience. Cheaper alternatives include buses, taxis and private cars.
The laidback and peaceful environment allows for more elderly-friendly activities such as cruises along the Li River to fully immerse in the beauty of the karst landscape. Other activities to keep one’s mind active such as authentic Chinese cooking workshops, calligraphy and painting workshops are available.
The countryside also offers meaningful insights into how locals tend to their farmlands.
To fully immerse experiencing the peaceful countryside lifestyle, it is recommended for travellers to have a four to seven days stay in Guilin, China.
The cost breakdown are as follows:
Fight: From S$650
Bullet train tickets: About S$42.67
Taxi fares: About S$38.36
City bus fares: From S$0.19 to S$0.38
- Hotel accommodation for two adults: Ranges from as low as S$97 to S$500
- Attraction: Four-hour Li River Cruise: Ranges S$104 to S$170 based on number of stars (3-star to 4.5 stars)
- Total cost: From S$931
#5 Shanghai, China
Shanghai, China gives the best of both worlds in terms of having the cosmopolitan city landscape to oriental and historical architectures. This blend of the past and future provides a slow-paced culturally immersive experience for elderly visitors.
Bus and boat rides are convenient ways to travel to the various scenic attractions. One such location would be Yuyuan Garden. This garden has a rich history dating back to the Ming Dynasty. You will get to enjoy a leisurely stroll through the garden, admiring the unique and unique landscaping designs and architecture.
If you are a night owl, you can take the Huangpu River night cruise and get to enjoy cultural acrobatic performances and opera shows.
For city dwellers, hop on the world’s fastest train, the Maglev, to experience the modernised city landscape. According to Reuters, what is usually a 5.5-hour journey via a high-speed rail is almost halved to 2.5 hours via the Maglev.
It is recommended to have a two to four day stay in Shanghai China. The cost breakdown are as follows:
Direct flight: Average S$430
Bus fares are between S$0.19 to S$0.38
- Hotel: From S$330 to S$500 for a four day stay
- Total cost: From S$760
#6 Osaka, Japan
Compared to Japan’s cosmopolitan capital Tokyo, Osaka provides a more peaceful and welcoming experience to its elderly tourists. Though Osaka is branded as the second largest city in Japan, elderly travellers will have minimal issues navigating the city with the various elderly-friendly facilities available. This includes elevators at trains stations, dedicated seats in public transport and wheelchair ramps at several establishments.
Osaka is also generally cool throughout the year which makes it a good travel destination to avoid the heatwave. If you’re a fan of visiting historical war sites, visiting Osaka castle is a must-have on your itinerary. Osaka castle is best to visit during the cherry blossom season as the landscape is one, you’ll regret missing out on. Get to try on traditional Japanese costumes during your visit as well.
Foodies, you won’t be missing out. Dotonburi and Kuromon Ichiba are two well-known markets in Osaka. These food havens allow you to try out the wide variety of fresh street food, prepared right in front of you.
Japan is popularly known for their onsens (natural hot spring bath). The Naniwa-no-Yu onsen is a must-visit if you’re looking to relax and experience a traditional Japanese onsen after a long day of activities. Be sure to read up on the Japanese bathing etiquette before you go though.
For those travelling with family, Universal Studios Japan, Hattori Ryokuchi Park and Nishiki Beach are some fun-filled attractions you can visit.
It is recommended to have a three-day stay in Osaka. The cost breakdown are as follows:
Flight: From S$435
Japan rail pass tickets (Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe and Himeji): S$53 for a 3 day stay
- Hotel accommodation: From S$150 to S$200
- Total cost: From S$900
#7 Rome, Italy
Being a city rich in culture, historical sites are the main attractions in this city. Signing up for a tour group is recommended for a slow-paced tour which covers iconic landmarks. To help you get around there are helpful facilities such as lifts, wheelchairs to loan, benches located around the city.
If you’re one to appreciate timeless architecture designs, the Colosseum, Vatican City, St Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon are worth the visit. If you’re an adventurous person when it comes to food, a food tour in Rome could be considered. Get to try out authentic Roman cuisine at locations that are not typically visited by tourists.
For an average fee from S$34 you will get to skip the line at tourist-populated attractions such as Vatican City, the Pantheon and more. These ‘Skip the Line’ tickets are available for purchase on the official attraction websites. Visitors can also purchase these tickets physically on site. Not only will you be able to escape the heat easily, but you will also be able to visit more areas quickly. making your trip a more fulfilling one.
It is recommended to have at least a four to five-day stay in Rome. The cost breakdown are as follows:
- Flight: From S$1,082
- Hotel accommodation: Average of S$650 to S$900 for a four to five-day stay
- Total cost: From $1,700
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