Getting the chance to travel when you’re young is pretty great. You get to visit other parts of the world (or your home country) and learn about how people live. You get to meet new people and make new friends. You get to try new foods. You might get to learn a new language. And you’ve got your parents with you to help out if you get nervous or shy.
One of the best things about travelling on an Intrepid Family holiday is that, along with hanging out with other families in your group, you also get around with a local leader – an expert who knows just about everything about their country, who can help you meet the locals, buy a bus ticket, or pick the yummiest thing on the menu (that isn’t hot chips!).
You also get to do lots of cool activities that might be harder to organise if you were just travelling with your parents. Things like learning calligraphy in Japan, making dumplings in China, or sleeping in a treehouse in Thailand!
Here are ten of our favourite things to do on Intrepid Family adventure (that your parents will love too!).
1. Learn to make – and play – a traditional panpipe in Peru
Peru is full of cool stuff: ancient ruins that look like they’re straight out of Jumanji, amazing markets filled with crazy-looking fruits and yummy local snacks, the Amazon rainforest (!!), and cute llamas, alpacas and vicunas at every turn. Equally cool is the chance to meet with a local musician, who’ll show you how to make – and play – the zampona, a traditional Peruvian panpipe. Also known as sikus, zamponas are made using bamboo shoots or cane, and can be heard in traditional music all across the Andes. Best of all, you’ll get to take your zampona home with you.
2. Make dumplings at the Great Wall, China
When you think of food in China, you probably think of honey chicken, fried rice, noodles, and… dumplings! Dumplings are found all over China – lamb dumplings in soup in Xi’an, vegetable dumplings in Beijing, potstickers in Shanghai. They’re cheap, tasty and filling; but have you ever tried making them yourself? At a family-run guesthouse at the Great Wall, learn to make these delicious morsels, with the help of some experienced local dumpling makers.
3. Sip Moroccan mint tea at a women’s co-op, Morocco
Ait Benhaddou in Morocco was once an important stop for caravans carrying salt across the Sahara. These days, it’s home to the Cooperative Tawesna, an initiative that provides women in the region with much-needed income. The women here grow their own produce, prepare yummy lunches for hungry travellers, and often run cooking classes as well. The money they earn from working goes towards their day-to-day lives and their children’s school fees.
4. Write your name in Japanese with a calligraphy master, Japan
Your school friends will be pretty jealous when you come back from your holiday in Japan and can write your name in Japanese! Spend some time with a master, who’ll teach you how to write your name in calligraphy – also known as shuji – and how to say a few words in Japanese.
5. Go white-water rafting on Seti River, Nepal
You’ll need to work together with your family as you navigate water chutes and channels on Nepal’s beautiful Seti River. Along with paddling over little waterfalls, along quiet runs, and down thrilling rapids, you’ll get to see some amazing things on your journey: terraced rice fields, local villages, monkey-filled jungle, and alongside locals fishing and washing their clothes on the riverbanks.
6. Sleep in a treehouse in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
Why stay in a boring hotel when you could bunk down in a treehouse for the night? Khao Sok National Park in Thailand is home to the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, and is filled with epic limestone cliffs, winding forest trails, and calm rivers – perfect for a quick swim when you need to cool off! The park is filled with amazing wildlife too, so make sure you keep your voice down, so you don’t scare them away.
7. Learn to make pesto in Levanto, Italy
One of the best things about Italy is the food: pizza, pasta, and gelato for every meal is delicious! But food is even tastier when you make it yourself, especially when you’re in Italy! In the seaside town of Levanto, on Italy’s famous Cinque Terre, visit a local family and learn how to make authentic Italian pesto, using fresh, home-grown ingredients. Molto buona!
8. Snorkel in the Galapagos, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the most incredible wildlife on the planet: spiky black iguanas, red-chested birds, puppy-like sea lions, giant tortoises… So imagine how amazing it is swimming with some of these awesome creatures. Pop on a mask and some flippers and dive on in – the sea lions and turtles won’t be far away!
9. Take a cooking class in a local village in Kisongo, Tanzania
In Kisongo, a small community in Tanzania’s Arusha region, meet some local Mamas (female artists who specialise in making things by hand), who’ll teach you how to prepare a traditional Swahili dish for lunch; think samosas, coconut rice, and fried banana. Yum! Afterwards, you’ll get to visit the Mamas’ homes and see how a traditional boma – a small hut made of mud and cow dung – is built.
10. Come face to face with an elephant in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thailand’s Elephant Nature Park is such a special place. The park is a rescue and rehabilitation centre for elephants who have been mistreated through riding, logging and entertainment purposes. Local guides will take you through the park, where you’ll have the opportunity to see these magnificent creatures up close: bathing in the river, eating watermelon, sticky rice and bamboo, and spending time with their elephant friends. The guides can also answer questions on conservation, elephant behaviour, and how much elephants eat (spoiler: it’s a LOT!!).
Want to go on an awesome holiday with your family? Show this to your parents IMMEDIATELY and check out our range of family adventures here.
Feature photo by Pat O’Neill.