Families looking for adventure destinations need not look far as India, with its diverse topography, offers natural beauty for adventure seekers, be it popular destinations or offbeat destinations. Adventure sports are not just for thrill seekers but for those looking for unusual, exciting experiences.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, ParaBooking CEO and Co-Founder Ankush Rana shared, “One such offbeat destination that never disappoints is Dhobi village in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. Besides offering some of the most beautiful views of the Himalayas, Dhobi is ideal for adventure sports and is easily accessible from Kullu and Manali. Paragliding amidst the majestic backdrop of this little-explored place is a must. Go for an adrenaline rush with river rafting.”
He added, “For a first paragliding experience, those looking for scenic views can also opt for Kamshet in Maharashtra, which is known for its scenic beauty and pleasant weather. Apart from the paragliding paradise, families can enjoy their time with camping, rock climbing, kayaking, boating and trekking along the beautiful trails of the Western Ghats range. It is perfect for a weekend getaway for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers.”
Bringing his expertise of off-beat travel tips in India and abroad, SOTC Travel President & Country Head – Daniel D’Souza recommends:
- Double decker living root bridge in Nongbareh– Located in Meghalaya, the surviving root bridges at Nongbareh, some of which are estimated to be over 500 years old, attract tourists from all over the world. Historically, India’s monsoon season brought massive storms and floods, leading to decay and erosion of man-made bridges. To survive these conditions, the tribal Khasis of Meghalaya built bridges from a tree commonly known as the Indian rubber plant. The process of growing a living root bridge is not short or simple. It takes 10 to 30 years for the roots of a tree to form a bridge. Once a bridge is built, however, it can survive for centuries. The Nongbareh Living Root Bridge is a double-span structure that divides the road leading to the Amayli River and the Umangot River, and is known for its breathtaking beauty. Travelers can also visit the Rainbow Falls and Shmia Sintem – another fascinating unique destination for travelers.
- Home to some of India’s most beautiful and exotic islands and beaches, Lakshadweep It is known for its stunning scenery, fascinating flora, exotic fauna and incredible adventures. From scuba diving, snorkeling, kitesurfing, paragliding, canoeing – the island is a paradise for all adventure seekers. History buffs can take a day trip to the Minicoy Island Lighthouse for a peaceful respite from mundane affairs. Located amid the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea, Minicoy Island is a hidden gem of Lakshadweep known for its luxurious beach resorts, vibrant coral reefs, greenery and rich cultural heritage. Known as the ‘fishing capital of Lakshadweep’, Agatti Island is a paradise complete with beautiful geological formations and exotic marine life.
- Cruise through the Sundarbans jungle – The Sundarbans are the world’s largest protected mangrove forest, the planet’s most important wetlands that support nearly 700 species of wildlife, the Royal Bengal Tiger and home to fascinating communities. The immersive four-day cruise is curated for those interested in complex river ecosystems. Many exotic species such as Gangetic river dolphins, Asian small-clawed otters, migratory birds like turtles and ospreys, the elusive Royal Bengal tiger and Brahminy kites can be found here.
- hidden gems/unknown the locals Like Latamavsiang in Meghalaya, Chopta in Uttarakhand, Idukki in Kerala; The same refreshing and unique experiences like living root bridges or canoeing in Daki Lake – a crystal clear lake in Meghalaya, white water rafting in Subansiri in Arunachal Pradesh, rock climbing in the Satapuda mountain range, Athirapilli Falls in Sholayar Forest Range in Chalkudy. Winter sports in Kerala and Auli and Gulmarg.
- An island nation away from the crowds, yet within convenient short-haul flight time, Mauritius A kaleidoscope of culture, eclectic gastronomy, vibrant local markets, pristine beaches and a host of clear blue waters, exhilarating catamaran/speed boat/yachting and water sports, spa-wellness experiences, make it a traveler’s paradise. An abundance of unique sightseeing options include the spectacular La Vallée des Couleurs Nature Park (Valley of Colors with 23 colored soils), Black River Gorges National Park, Le Morne Brabant – UNESCO World Heritage Site, Grand Bassin, L’Aventure du Sucre. , numerous waterfalls and hikes/trekking amidst spectacular volcanic landscapes. On the shores of a lagoon just off the pristine southeast coast of Mauritius, Île aux Aigrettes offers a vision of a pristine and wild Mauritius that welcomes early explorers, the forest today sheltering all manner of endangered birds and other wildlife species.
- A tropical paradise of white sand beaches, Maldives An ideal destination for a honeymoon, adventure, or leisure vacation. Popular for its incredible diving opportunities, the azure waters of the Maldives are home to diverse marine life and corals. One can go snorkeling, kayaking, diving, catamaran sailing, underwater hiking, wakeboarding, parasailing, spotting dolphins and mantas, swimming with whale sharks and more. Also a wellness haven, Maldives offers some of the most luxurious spa/wellness therapies and its tranquil environment makes it the perfect destination for yoga and fitness sessions. Experience the famous Bodu Beru show that gives a glimpse of local Maldivian flavors and Dhivehi culture.
- Cruise on the Danube– Cruises here have something for everyone, whether they are art lovers, foodies, history buffs or energetic adventurers. Customers onboard have the option to choose experiences according to their interests and pace. Experiences include browsing through the art collection of the Habsburg Empire, sipping local vintages at an Austrian wine tasting or walking through Count Dracula’s prison tower, visiting with an expert local guide, visiting Klimt’s famous “The Kiss,” Vienna’s Belvedere Palace. Medieval Knights Tournament at Visegrad Castle, sampling cheese and beer made by Trappist monks, creative experiences in culinary or performing arts, active tours by bike, hike, canoe, and more!
Adding to the list of family holiday destinations, Rajeev Kale, President and Country Head, Holidays, MICE, Visa – Thomas Cook (India) Limited, highlighted:
- Kashmir – Kashmir offers many experiences for travelers to explore its best places. Travelers can go skiing at Gulmarg – the world’s third-highest ski resort (elevation of 3950 m); Experience a Gulmarg gondola ride, take a colorful Shikara ride on the peaceful Dal Lake, cruise the lake to see the floating market, view the city from the top of the Shankaracharya Temple, and stay in iconic houseboats or eco-friendly mud houses; Also visit Srinagar’s renowned restaurants that offer authentic Kashmiri cuisine and the glass igloo restaurants nestled amidst the snow-capped mountains of Gulmarg.
- Kerala – With its extraordinary landscape including exotic beaches, mountains, waterfalls, lagoons and rivers, Kerala makes a great travel option for travelers. Women travelers from Kerala are enrolling for a special self-defense program – Kalaripayattu (one of the oldest surviving martial arts in India). Travelers are interested in local experiences: visiting Kannan Devan Plantation Museum to process tea and taste different teas, sitting on unique houseboats, watching colorful snake boat races in Alleppey; Visiting spice gardens or orchards in Munnar, Thekkady or Wayanad. Apart from its famous backwaters, Ayurvedic treatments and delicately spiced cuisine, vibrant traditions like Kathakali plays and temple festivals create an immersive travel experience.
- Goa – Travelers can opt for scuba diving and banana boat rides at Grande Island; Exciting water sports like parasailing, bumper rides, jet skis, boat rides at Baga beach; Visit Dudhsagar Falls, Mandovi River Sunset Cruise, cycling to Diwar and Chorao Islands, hot air ballooning in addition to exploring Baga and Candolim beaches; Visiting Anjuna Flea Market, Casino Royale, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Aguada Fort, Dolphin Ride and more. Travelers can stay with local families to experience local culture; Also show interest in cooking with a local chef to teach local cuisine.
- Singapore – Travelers exploring Singapore on Vespa, Segway; Race for the high-intensity adrenaline rush in the karting arena; Experiencing free-fall with indoor skydiving. Other attractions include Marina Bay, Gardens by the Bay – Singapore’s crown jewel; SEA Aquarium, Sentosa – Southeast Asia’s largest indoor aquarium; Night Safari; Also pub crawls for an exciting nightlife experience. Additionally, the Singapore Travel Card offers a seamless travel experience.
- Koh Samui, Thailand– Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s largest islands, known for its palm-lined beaches, coconut groves and lush forests. Koh Samui also has some unexpected cultural sites and some luxurious spas and resorts. Travelers can take a leisurely sailing trip to the limestone islands of Ang Thong Marine Park, snorkel in Emerald Lake and along the coast and through tunnels to remote lagoons and kayaks.
- Jeju the island, the south Korea – Jeju Island, South Korea’s largest island has breathtaking scenery, fascinating museums, quirky theme parks and an abundance of great recreational activities for visitors to enjoy. Some popular tourist attractions include Cheonjiyeon Waterfall, Yeomiji Botanical Garden, Jeolmul Natural Recreation Forest, Jeju World Natural Heritage Center, Hallasan National Park, Jeju Stone Park and more. The best time to visit Jeju Island in South Korea is from November to May when the weather is mild. Winter is popular for outdoor activities, while spring is the best time for sightseeing, especially Manjangul Cave (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
- abu dhabi – In addition to being a major cultural and commercial hub, Abu Dhabi offers fascinating experiences for travelers. The destination offers architectural marvels such as the iconic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque; Adventure activities at Warner Bros. World, Ferrari World, Yas Marina Circuit and more; Also for shopping Persian carpets, rugs, Arabian perfumes, pashmina shawls, aromatic wood chips and oils, gold jewelry, Arabic coffee pots, spices and more.