Some kids lack the enthusiasm to get out of the house. While game consoles and tech gadgets are the culprit in most cases, sometimes our travel destination affects their interest as well. Drop those boring itineraries of theme parks and museums. It’s time to pique their curiosity with these novel ideas!
1. Taking a scenic train ride between countries
Gone are the days when train rides were necessary evils when visiting distant relatives living in remote parts of the country. With cheap flights, long-hauls have been reduced to mere hours. Now that we have the luxury of choice, train rides are becoming a popular alternative to air travel for those who can spare a little more time. Introduce your kids to old-school train rides, and they will be pampered with the constant change in scenery—from the clear blue sky reflected in crystalline waters to lush thick forests, from rocky cliffs covered in mist to the tiny flickering lights of houses at night. You will find yourself telling them tales from the past to entertain them and satisfy their curiosity.
What worries most parents is poor train conditions, but fret not, because many trains have been upgraded to accommodate long-haul journeys, with some even boasting air conditioning and bedrooms for a more comfortable ride.
2. Camping under a sky full of stars
Your kids have probably become experts in singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars along with adorable hand moves, but have they actually seen these diamonds in the sky? For your next adventure, you may want to get your family out of the city and hit one of the hills or beaches nearby. Set up a tent and stay overnight to let your children witness the breathtaking night sky full of stars. Get yourself familiar with some of the basic constellations so that you can impress your kids with the wonders of nature.
There are plenty of camping sites in Southeast Asia that are suitable for kids, such as Jerangkang Waterfall in Kuantan with its spectacular star-filled sky. Though the drive to the entrance is rather complicated, the relatively easy trek makes it suitable for kids. Pro-tip: check out the camping guidelines
3. Getting underwater
If your kids are comfortable with swimming, let them snorkel in the turquoise blue sea. There are plenty of child-friendly snorkelling spots across the region with incredible stretches of coral reefs and colourful marine life. In fact, kids as young as 8 years old can learn scuba diving and a 10-year old can get certified as a Junior Open Water diver. The good thing is that this region is blessed with tons of diving sites, so you will never run out of places ideas. This might be an eye-opening experience for them to discover their passion for all things aquatic!
4. Local culinary tour
This may not be the best idea for fussy kids with small appetites, but if your kids love to eat as much as you do, bring them out to get a taste of local food. From Thailand‘s mango sticky rice to Taipei‘s smelly tofu, street food is the easiest and fastest way to get all of that local flavour without breaking the bank. Bonus: your kids will be entertained by stall owners preparing their food, and who knows, they might just grow up to be the next Anthony Bourdain!
5. Get in touch with the local tribes
Let your children touch you with their compassion and curiosity towards people from different cultures and ethnicity. While there are hundreds of thousands of tribes spread across the world, only a fraction of them welcome foreign visitors. Ban Lion in Thailand is one of the tribes that will open their doors for visitors to stay in their community. The live-in experience will let your kids respect their rich tribal traditions and accept their differences. It will be truly heartwarming to see how your kids learn to live side-by-side with locals.
6. Going on cave exploration
Embark on an adventurous journey in a cave with your young ones! Caves typically come with amazing rock formations as a result of erosion over centuries or even millennia. Many famous caves are not child-friendly, so be careful when planning your trip! One of the more well-known caves is the colourfully lit Reed Flute Cave in Guilin, China. The combination of neon colours and superb rock patterns will get your kids excited and fill them with awe.
7. Learning to survive in the forest
One of the complaints we often hear is how children nowadays are glued to their laptop or iPhone screens. They seem so hypnotised by the marvel of technology that they dismiss basic survival skills . To close this gap, sustainable tourist groups offer survival holiday packages for kids (and parents, too!) to disconnect themselves from the Internet and go back to more traditional ways of living. Be prepared to live in basic accommodations, learn how to set up fires, identify edible plants and fruits, and build basic infrastructure like cooking stoves and beds from scratch.
One of the famous go-to camps is Miki Survival Camp in Sabah, which can tailor the camp packages to your family needs. Gaining hard skills over holiday is not so difficult, after all!
8. Looking after the cattle
A farm or plantation may be a peculiar sight for kids who have never travelled to rural areas. This would be the perfect opportunity to introduce them to the sources of the meat and vegetables they eat. Some places even let your kids have a hands-on experience in milking cows, cleaning the animals’ shelters, feeding the cattle, etc. Let them appreciate the hard work of these farmers and the food that is served on the table!
Get ready for your next adventure with the little ones, and don’t be surprise if they get bitten by the travel bug!