East/Southeast Asia travel bleg

We are ignorant of options and looking for suggestions, especially from those who have traveled with young kids.

Jeannie and I will take the kids (they will be not quite 1 and 3) to east or southeast Asia for about 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year’s. We’ll be meeting her parents somewhere in the region for at least one of those weeks (they live in Hanoi). We’re thinking of visiting a couple of different countries.

Our style (with kids):

  • Quiet and beautiful (No cities more hectic than Manhattan)
  • Ridiculously good food (sorry, Philippines!)
  • Touristy enough to have basic infrastructure, but not heavily touristed
  • Stay in the same place for several days or a week, and use it as a base for nearby trips
  • Open to a secluded beach option if there are things to do other than braise to a crisp
  • High chance the back seat turns into a vomitorium if we have to drive far

Previous winners, by these criteria: a small village south of Toulouse, lakeside cabin in the North Carolina mountains, an isolated beach near Elmira in Ghana, walks in Yunnan in Western China, and one of the more off-the-beaten path junk boat cruises in Ha Long Bay.

We’d be open to more South China Sea cruises so long as it was a small ship (<10 berths). I’m guessing that chartering private vessels is prohibitively expensive, but would be happy to be proven wrong.