With school holidays approaching fast, Indians across the country are already putting together their itinerary. Whether you want to laze around in a comfortable beach resort, or motivate kids to pick a new skill, there is no dearth of places to choose from. We have shortlisted a few here:
Thailand is a mixed bag with leisure and learning activities for the entire family. Young children can enjoy a day experiencing the wildlife of the South Asian country while making their own bamboo raft. For teenagers, Thai cooking classes can be a good fit.
Like Thailand, Soba noodles cooking is a popular activity in Japan for the entire family, but Shodo or Japanese calligraphy classes are a favourite among creative kids.
Asia is spoilt for choice when it comes to relaxing resorts. Choose between Dubai or Sri Lanka, depending on your budget and geographic preferences. Top names in Dubai include Atlantis The Palm which adjoins to Aquaventure Waterpark. Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah engages kids in more than one constructive way with treasure hunts, puppet shows, art and craft sessions and sandcastle building competitions.
A convenient one-and-a-half hour flight from Chennai takes us to Colombo in Sri Lanka. Most resorts in Sri Lanka have kids clubs. In Western Province, stay at Anantara Kalutara Resort which has kids’ adventure clubs and water sports activities, or in Shangri La Hambantota Resort Spa in Southern Province which has Cool Zone Kids Club — who organise excursions and activities.
Hiking in Hong Kong is very popular among residents and tourists alike. Pick Dragon’s Back for your family — a short hike ideal to see the sparse vegetation along streams and a big beach from Shek O. For younger kids, follow the stroller-friendly path to the peak, which gives outstanding views of the harbour.
With names like Universal Studios Singapore, Legoland Malaysia Theme Park, Adventure Cove Waterpark, Night Safari and Haw Par Villa, many Indian families do not look beyond Singapore in Asia. There is also Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea and Universal Studios Osaka, for those planning to tick off Japan with their kids.
Turkey’s most tourist-friendly city, Istanbul, has a number of activities to keep a family across ages occupied. You can choose from art workshops conducted by Istanbul Modern and Turkish Arts by Betul. From tile painting, clay modelling to Ottoman calligraphy, there are many to choose from.
There is no denying that tourists to Europe are spoilt for choice when it comes to leisurely retreats for the entire family. Whether it is Sani Beach Club, Halkidiki (ideal for families with children up to two years) and Daios Cove, Agios Nikolaos, Crete (ideal for seven to 12-year-olds) in Greece, or Club Med, Da Balaia, Algarve in Portugal, or Waldhaus Flims Mountain Resort & Spa and Grand Resort Bad Ragaz (both hotels are a perfect mix of wellness and day hikes) in Switzerland, the continent is buzzing with choices. A lot of these have kids clubs that have activities to keep children occupied. Some of these include pizza
making, pool games, craft workshops and dance classes, among others.
Northern Ireland’s family-friendly itineraries and sites can lure Indian families. Holiday parks like Causeway Coast Holiday Park in Ballycastle and Drumhoney Holiday Park in Enniskillen have accommodation, heated swimming pools and play areas for kids.
In addition, the former is close to the famous Giant’s Causeway site. Germany’s Stuttgart and Black Forest area have numerous activities like zip lining, swimming,
forest trails and farmstays for the
entire family. Going eastwards, Tatra Mountains in Poland witness large
groups of Polish families for day hikes. Start the leisurely walk from Zakopane to Morskie Oko. Once around the Emerald Lake, there is a
restaurant and scenic play areas for kids.
In Europe, Disneyland Paris and Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen tops every family’s wish list. The others that add to the thrill list are Europa Park in Germany, Liseberg in Sweden, Blackpool Pleasure Beach in United Kingdom and Toverland in the Netherlands.
Plan a trip to the incredible natural wonders of Grand Canyon National Park. Here you can either cycle along and get a lesson on the region’s geology and nature, or do a day-long mule ride into the canyon, along with older kids.
Head to the exotic coast of Belize in central America with your family. Chabil Mar in Placencia and The Lodge at Chaa Creek are perfect choices for beachfront retreats. The former organises adventure trails and has complimentary kayaking and paddle-boards, on supervision. The latter has guided walks to butterfly farm and a bird trail, a natural history centre and canoeing on the Macal river. Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Oahu, excels with its kids club. This place has numerous themed activities, art workshops, movie nights and beach excursions. While parents enjoy their
time in the resort, kids can invest theirs in many activities.
Pick up a map at park visitor centre of Zion National Park in Utah and pack up for hikes of varying grades. Key highlights are the Narrows (narrowest part of Zion Canyon), scenic and stroller-friendly Riverside Walk and Temple of Sinawava. There are canyon view trail, grotto trail and riverside walking trails to choose from. Some of these trails are flanked with emerald pools at different spots.
Chances of finding an amusement park in every corner of the American continent is very high. Disneyland Resort California, Walt Disney World Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure (including Wizarding World of Harry Potter) Florida, Legoland California and Cedar Point in Ohio are perhaps the best known ones. The options are aplenty and your kids can spend weeks in these theme parks. Choose wisely!
IN SOUTH AFRICA
Pick up the talent of horse riding in Waterberg Reserve in South Africa. This course is a perfect fit for novice as well as professional riders. The experience includes interaction with over 60 horses (and other animals) in Horizon Horseback and full-day rides in varying intensities. Many beaches like La Saline les Bains in Réunion Island conduct sailing classes for children. Groups of kids are initiated to use their paddle under attentive supervision.
A favourite destination of most Indians, Mauritius has numerous hotels and beach resorts which offer superior facilities in their kids club. These include treasure hunt, song and dance classes, painting workshops, cooking classes, fishing and short jungle walks. LUX Grand Gaube, Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa and The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa top the list.
Explore the African wildlife in a mix of jeep safaris and walking trails. Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park boasts of giraffe, elephants, impala and more animals. Do a jeep safari in the national park and head to the neighbouring Makumi for a night stay. Continue onward to Bagamayo, where a short walk in the old town reveals its colonial elements. Head towards Mount Kilimanjaro National Park to experience the coffee plantations.
Africa does not boast of amusement parks. However, Gold Reef City in Johannesburg, South Africa is an attractive option. It has over 10 thrilling rides for children. Jump City Trampoline Park and an underground mine tour.