More and more families are seeking cultural experiences in exotic locales where they can spend quality time together while expanding their horizons. Traveling to far-flung places in Asia and the Pacific with a family-oriented adventure program through a tour company like Asia Transpacific Journeys broadens everyone’s viewpoint and gives children perspective on their life by developing critical thinking skills and learning about other cultures.
Marilyn Downing Staff, Founder and President of Asia Transpacific Journeys for the Asia and Pacific region, believes that by visiting cultures so different from the American lifestyle children learn about other cultures and traditions early on, which helps them understand that the world is a much bigger place than they may have thought before.
“Our sensitive and seasoned Asia travel guides provide children with insights into the local cultures, religious traditions, exotic plants and animals,” says Downing Staff, herself a parent. “It shapes their attitude towards life.”
Here are their top picks for family trips that are both educational and fun in nature through hands-on learning:
BORNEO – A Wildlife Adventure
On a trip to Borneo, tropical forests lush with wildlife invite moderate trekking through jungle trails, while monkeys howl on the white-sand shores. A visit to Mt. Kinabalu, home to 270 species of birds and more than 70 species of frogs is a great day trip for travelers of all ages. Families can also visit an Orangutan Rehabilitation Center and observe such national treasures as Sumatran rhinoceroses and clouded leopards on night walks and passages over an aerial catwalk.
THAILAND—A Family Adventure
This Thailand vacation, originally developed as a family trip for the American Museum of Natural History, explores the family-friendly country’s cities, hill tribe areas and beaches. Families learn how to become mahouts (elephant caretakers), visit a puppet theatre, ride an elephant among hill tribe peoples and take a bamboo raft trip through the jungle. The trip is not complete without a stay at one of Southern Thailand’s famed beaches, where families can try sea kayaking and snorkel in the emerald waters.
CAMBODIA – Discovering Lost Temples
With a Cambodian vacation, kids can be an archeologist for a day when visiting the Sambor Prei Kuk area – which could pass for an Indiana Jones movie set if it weren’t so completely authentic. A visit to these lost temples will enable families to experience its serene atmosphere together with a fascinating sense of mystery and magic including wild parrots flying overhead. Afterwards, parents and kids should head to Siem Reap to explore Angkor Wat, voted the most beloved UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010 and simply a stunning sight for both old and young.
AUSTRALIA – Down-Under Wildlife Discovery Tour
On a trip to Australia, families can explore the country’s eco hotspots, kangaroo to platypus. Wildlife sightings in this naturalist’s utopia co-mingle with hiking, snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, and tramping through the World Heritage Daintree Rain Forest.
In Tasmania families can also marvel at the smallest penguin in the world – called the fairy penguin—and rufus wallabies, eastern quolls, brush-tailed possums, wombats and the famous Tasmanian devils.
Asia Transpacific Journeys specializes exclusively in custom journeys and small group trips to the Asia/Pacific region. Founded in 1987, no other company offers such expertise in the region. Its long-standing connections in Asia, outstanding personalized service, and deeply insightful cultural interpretations have made Asia Transpacific Journeys the travel company of choice for organizations such as the American Museum of Natural History, the World Wildlife Fund, the Harvard, Yale and Princeton alumni associations, as well as discerning individuals, their families and friends.
For more information, visit www.asiatranspacific.com or call (800) 642-2742.