As parents of pre-teens and teens you’re probably very aware of time flying by and the sense of making the most of the time with your children. These years are a great time to spread your wings travel-wise; and it’s a chance to create family memories before the pressures and time constraints of the exam years are upon you.
We’ve chosen five memorable family trips to take across our destinations…
1. Stay in a treetop villa in Wayanad Region, India
Explore the Wayanad Region in Northern Kerala and stay at Tranquil Resort, a relaxing family-run homestay on a working coffee plantation. For a real take-your-breath-away-experience, stay in one of the tree houses here!
With walking trails spanning the 400-acre estate, you’re free to explore the plantation. Challenge the children to complete the Braveheart walk and if your youngsters need a bit of encouragement, borrow one of the family’s friendly pet dogs to act as a four-legged guide. Keep your eyes peeled on your walks as Crested Serpent Hawks can be spotted.
There is also Amaryllis, another fabulous homestay, in the Wayanad Region – and with treehouse accommodation too!
Visits nearby include the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary, declared a Project Elephant site, committed to protecting elephant populations in the wild and developing their habitat. There are also the Eddakal Caves which boast fabulous views over the Wayanad district and access to a series of caves with rock carvings reputed to date from the Stone Age.
Journey down from Wayanad through the scenic Western Ghats to take a daytime train to Kochi, the spice centre of India and an attractive mixture of Dutch, Portuguese and British heritage. From Kochi enjoy spending time exploring the gentle Backwaters; cruise the labyrinth of freshwater canals by kettavulom, a traditional boat – or cycle along the many paths and through friendly villages. Visit local markets and learn to cook with spices, freshly picked from the fields and garden. Or travel up to the tea gardens and learn about the tea manufacturing process.
Then finish with a few relaxing days at the beach. The south Indian state of Kerala has much to offer for a family holiday! Read more in the South India section of our website.
2.Take a walk on the wild side in Sri Lanka
With its seasonality mirroring that of the UK, Sri Lanka is a fantastic family holiday destination. For a safari experience with fewer crowds, Wilpattu National Park is an interesting alternative to the more southerly Yala National Park and with an off-the-grid feel. The large number of lakes – Wilpattu means ‘natural lakes’ in Sinhala – leads to an abundance of wildlife and children will enjoy looking out for sloth bears, crocodiles and elephants.
Just across the lagoon from Wilpattu lies the Kalpitiya peninsula, offering a glimpse of traditional Sri Lankan fishing and farming communities. This undeveloped corner of Sri Lanka boasts a fabulous ‘secret’; just off its shores scores of pods of spinner dolphins can be spotted corkscrewing and twirling through the seas. With kitesurfing a popular activity – Kalpitiya’s shallow lagoons are the ideal starting point for young enthusiasts – as well as rustic low-key beachside accommodation, this delightful corner of the country is a delightful spot for a family escape.
If you can tear yourselves away from the beachside delights of Kalpitiya, the extensive ruins of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa are a delight to explore, with hundreds of temples and statues in a compact area. Maximise the appeal by hiring bikes to reach the site along quiet dusty roads and factor in some impromptu meandering along the way. Our Sri Lanka Destinations section has more information about fabulous destinations throughout the country.
3.Traditional life in Bhutan
Bhutan offers families a truly unique glimpse into a way of life far removed from our own. Part of the magic of Bhutan lies in the rituals of daily life; from fluttering prayer flags to spinning prayer wheels at the many monasteries which dot the kingdom, where children can help monks light the traditional butter lamps. Take advantage of meeting the friendly Bhutanese people; visits to local schools can be arranged and offer a memorable opportunity for children to meet their young Bhutanese counterparts. Aspiring young chefs can join a cookery class at a local home to make the local favourite ‘chilli cheese’ – the Bhutanese are renowned for their love of chilli! – before enjoying a game of darts Bhutanese style (the game is played with much larger than normal darts).
No visit to Bhutan would be complete without visiting Paro Taktsang (also known as the Tiger’s Nest monastery), perched high on a hilltop. Hike up the hill to visit the sacred Buddhist site or take a horse ride through pine forests before visiting a local farmhouse for a hot stone bath to unwind after your exertions.
Visit the Bhutan pages on our website for more info.
4. Sail away in Myanmar
There are some incredible river expeditions along the Irrawaddy and Chindwin Rivers and these are a great multi-generational holiday, perfect if you’re holidaying with grandparents and children.
The boats – crafted according to traditional Burmese styles – allow a glimpse of the river trade of the past, with boats laden with teak logs still plying the river. Travelling through lush forests and mountain ranges, there are daily excursions and explorations ashore; delicious food, and ample time to spend together and relax.
Before and after the river expedition, families can stay and further explore the magical cities of Mandalay and Bagan, taking in some of the memorable temples and monasteries, perhaps enjoy an early morning balloon ride over the temples of Bagan. Read more about Mandalay and river trips on our website.
5. Bathe an elephant in Sri Lanka
What could be a more memorable family experience than bathing an elephant together waist deep in a Sri Lankan river? The Millennium Elephant Foundation in Sri Lanka is a family-run, NGO committed to improving the welfare of domestic elephants. Instead of riding an elephant whilst seated on the traditional ‘howdah’ (seat), the charity encourages families to follow the elephants on an ‘Elephant Walk’, allowing the unique opportunity to literally follow in the footsteps of these awesome creatures. As well as feeding the elephants, visitors are invited to assist the local guides in bathing the elephants in the river.
If the experience whets your children’s appetite for all things elephant, don’t miss the annual Gathering at Minneriya National Park where each summer as many as several hundred elephants are drawn to the reservoir in search of water and fresh grass. The sight of the sun setting behind herds of elephants bathing in the water is truly a sight to behold.
From the elephant sanctuary, it’s a short journey to Kandy and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, which houses one of Sri Lanka’s most significant Buddhist relics, the sacred tooth of the Buddha. Coincide your visit with the annual Esala Perahera festival in July/August with vibrant processions of dancers, drummers, musicians and a multitude of street vendors.
Heading further north, you will be astounded to contemplate how a fortress could ever have been built at the top of Sigiriya Rock. Adventure hunting children will love the challenge of rising early to climb the 1000+ steps to reach the summit, marvelling at the rock paintings during the ascent. Return to take a welcome dip in the charming Aliya Resort’s pool, with poolside views of the rock.
If you’d like to discuss a visit to any of our destinations in more detail, please contact us to explore and find out more. Contact us by email email@example.com
or by telephone on 01937 520677.