By Puja Disha Bharwani & Samira Sood
Skip the clichéd US and Europe tours and give your children holidays that are meaningful and unique, right here on the continent.
Given below an excerpt from the cover story of Condé Nast Traveller India’s August-September 2016 issue, out on stands now:
Tree-HoppingWhere: Phuket, Thailand
What makes it special: Let your kids live out their Jungle Book dreams as they zip line through 8,61,110sq ft of gorgeous rainforest, with intermittent views of Phuket’s coastline. Flying Hanuman
(www.flyinghanuman.com) is one of the few flying fox companies set in a natural rainforest that children as young as six can sign up for. The platforms are supported by industrial-strength cables
and the landscape is easily navigable, so kids shouldn’t feel too scared to try it out.
Hanging with OrangutansWhere: Borneo, Malaysia & Indonesia
What makes it special: It’s important to instill in your kids a respect for nature, and one way to do that is to take them to see these fascinating creatures in Borneo’s rainforests. Native to Indonesia and Malaysia, orangutans are considered the most intelligent primates. Because of human activities such as logging, mining, and construction of palm oil plantations, their habitat is under threat and they are now classified as endangered. Take your kids to see them while you can, and use your holidays to contribute to conservation efforts. Borneo Eco Tours (www.borneoecotours.com) organises a variety of adventure experiences that are suitable for different age groups.
Ballooning over BaganWhere: Bagan, Myanmar
What makes it special: After decades of political and military turmoil, the country is finally getting back on its feet, and its tourism industry is beginning to take off. This is great news, since it is a beautiful place, with much to offer. A major tourist attraction is the temple town of Bagan, and one
of the most fun ways to see it all is in a hot-air balloon. Watch dawn break in all its pink and orange glory over the tops of temples and pagodas as you soar above it. It’s a great way to expose your children, especially teens, to a place that’s not likely to be on most tourists’ radar. Bagan Balloon
(http://baganballoon.com) offers rides that are followed by Champagne (for you) and refreshments (for the kids).
Learning kalaripayattuWhere: Kerala, India
What makes it special: A great way to bond with your kids is by taking a learning holiday together. One of the most enriching experiences for children is to learn an art form. And Kalaripayattu, one of the oldest martial arts in the world, is a fascinating way to introduce your teenagers to Kerala. Sign up for a course at one of the many schools across the state. CVN Kalari and Kalari Dharmikam offer courses for all levels, as well as ayurvedic treatments to treat those sore muscles after an arduous class. It’s a good way for you to stay fit and do something fun. Take a break from all the weapons and war cries with a chilled-out, peaceful boat ride across the backwaters. (www.keralatourism.org)
Trekking up to a monasteryWhere: Paro Valley, Bhutan
What makes it special: Disconnecting the kids from their daily grind is one of the best ways to get them to connect with their surroundings. And few places offer the kind of peace one finds in Bhutan. The trek to the Buddhist monastery of Taktsang Lhakhang, or Tiger’s Nest, is unsuitable for little ones or those who aren’t outdoorsy, but a great experience for athletic teens. Perched on a cliff about 10,240ft above sea level, it is built at the spot where the seer Padmasambhava, credited with introducing Buddhism to Bhutan, is said to have meditated in the 7th century. Whether you believe it or not, the majestic beauty all around will make you and the kids forget all about those burning calves. (www.tourism.gov.bt)
Whale WatchingWhere: Sri Lanka
What makes it special: Introduce your children to the blue whale, the largest mammal on Earth. Between December and April, they swim close to the Sri Lankan coast. Stay at the Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort (www.tangalle.anantara.com), which organises whale watching tours for its guests.
To read more, grab your copy of Condé Nast Traveller India’s August-September 2016 issue, out on stands