Travel is an invaluable way to inspire a sense of adventure in children and broaden their horizons, and with a bit of planning, any trip can include some adrenalin-charged thrills without giving the grown-ups too many additional grey hairs. The tougher mountain-climbing expeditions might have to wait a few years, but we’ve picked out seven adventurous activities to give your family holiday in Asia that little something extra.
Mekong kayaking, Laos
Bold explorers setting off to discover an unfamiliar world is what adventure stories and games are all about, and getting a flavour of it in real life is guaranteed to fire up young imaginations. Once your guide has shown you the ropes on this Mekong River kayaking experience, you’ll navigate your kayaks along the picturesque river, stopping en route to investigate the sacred Buddha statues in the Pak Ou caves and the ancient temple of Wat Done Khoun. After a picnic lunch on the riverbank overlooking the dramatic limestone karsts, you'll return to the river and paddle on to Ban Pak Xeuang village. This downstream journey is a gentle introduction to kayaking for beginners, and suitable for anyone old enough to handle a paddle. Discover our family holidays to Laos.
Samurai swordfighting workshop, Tokyo
If your kids have ever been gripped by a swashbuckling adventure tale, they might find the idea of learning Samurai skills from a swordfighting master something of a dream come true. This 90 minute Samurai workshop takes place in the Tokyo dojo of renowned Hollywood fight choreographer Tetsuro Shimaguchi, whose credits include Kill Bill. It'll take you through every aspect of this ancient martial art, and you’ll get to try out some key Samurai moves before watching a mind-blowing swordplay demonstration from your sensei. Children can take part as soon as they're big enough to hold a katana, but it’s always safety first and you’ll be using practice swords, not sharp ones! Discover our family holidays to Japan.
Jungle zipline trail, Laos
An adrenalin-filled zip-line ride through the jungle might be just the trick for getting older kids to really let their hair down, and this innovative trip across the impassable craggy landscapes of southern Laos is an exhilarating introduction to the rainforest. Starting with a trek through coffee plantations and past local villages, you’ll cross a swaying wooden walkway stretched out above the treetop canopy. Having navigated this nail-biting start, a network of zip-lines flies you over the trees at thrilling heights, eventually bringing you to the Jungle Tree House forest lodge where you’ll spend the night in your own treehouse (accessed by yet another zip-line!), being lulled to sleep by the sounds of the rainforest.
Elephant Valley Project, Chiang Rai, Thailand
Thanks to their prominence in so many storybooks, elephants are well-known and loved by many children. The opportunity to spend a day around a handful of rescued elephants at Chiang Rai’s first sanctuary is the perfect activity for any budding Chris Packhams and Michaela Strachans. A world away from the controversial practices of riding the elephants or watching them perform, this conservation project is committed to caring for the animals in keeping with their instincts and natural environment. Visitors can help in the maintenance of the habitat and might even get to feed the elephants up close, which is a great way to combine a memorable interaction with a chance to learn. Elephant Valley can be added to any of our Cambodia family holidays.
Big Game Camping in Sri Lanka
If spending the daylight hours amongst some of Asia’s most diverse wildlife just isn’t enough for you, then a safari camp just outside one of Sri Lanka’s major National Parks might be the way to go. Uda Walawe is the place if you’re hoping for an elephant sighting, while Wilpattu is renowned for its watering holes (which attract the Sri Lankan leopard, amongst others) and Yala is the most popular choice, being home to a diverse range of wildlife from elephants to civets, sloth bears to water buffalo, and an array of colourful birds. There’s quite a bit of walking involved, so younger legs might need a little help, but at the end of the day you can cosy up in your tent, recount that day’s wildlife wonders together, and feel just like real explorers. Discover our family holidays to Sri Lanka.
Circus workshops, Cambodia
Alongside getting involved with all the historic sights and culture on offer, if you’re travelling with kids it can be a good idea to do something really different every now and again to reinvigorate their enthusiasm. Handily, Cambodia’s vibrant contemporary cultural scene is perfect for doing just that. A day’s workshop with the jugglers, acrobats and other performers at Phare, Cambodia’s very own mixed-arts circus, followed by a high-energy performance by the troupe is an inspiring activity for the young and young-at-heart. The workshop can be adapted to suit all levels, meaning that you can have a go at something whatever your age and fitness, and you’ll be able to boast that you ran away to join the circus (even if it was only for an afternoon!). Discover our family holidays to Cambodia.
Trekking through ancient tribal landscape, Borneo
Borneo is always a top destination for family travel, and there’s one adventure in particular which gives older children a real taste of rainforest living. This 2 to 3 day trek into the heart of Borneo’s rainforest is pretty tough, and only suitable for those with decent fitness, but it’s ideal for energetic teenagers. You’ll stay at an eco-camp and venture out with your guide to explore deep caves full of stalagmites, swim at the foot of a waterfall, travel upriver in a wooden boat and learn all about traditional Murat culture from the locals. This is an experience on the wild side which takes the traditional family camping trip to a whole new level! Discover our family holidays to Borneo.
Travelling to interesting destinations with children is not only possible but can be full of excitement and opportunity, and there are many activities on offer throughout Asia for families looking for adventures off the beaten track. Give one of our travel specialists a call and they’ll help you put together an adventure holiday that’s just right for your family, although we’ll have to leave the response to ‘are we nearly there yet?’ up to you!