Well, who knows? We’d like to see a few new places and, of course, we have favourite countries from our previous trips that we’d love to share with the children, to explore further, or just revisit.
This RTW, With Children, Will Be Different.
We’ll have to travel slowly, build in some quieter times to kick back and relax and not worry about booking transport and accommodation for a while, where we can all play and soak up the sights, tastes and experiences of whatever country we’re in.
I think preparing the kids for the trip will be the key factor in making it a success. Explaining some history and the importance and relevance of sites before we get there will make all the difference. Showing them the Great Wall of China without a bit of preamble will probably get us ” It’s a big wall Mum, so what?”. Actually, we’ve already learnt about that particular wall, Ancient China and the Mongol Hordes, they can’t wait to go.
We will find as many child friendly, fun attractions as we can, make special days just for them. Anything to do with wildlife is always a winner with my boys, but not monkeys, Boo doesn’t like monkeys after his bad experience in Ubud. Maybe he will learn to love them this time.
The plan at the moment is to get as cheap a flight as we can into Asia and just travel overland from there. Maybe Bali, Thailand or China. We aren’t going to plan an itinerary or a route. Plans can come terribly unstuck in the face of children, so we’ll stay flexible.
Countries And Places From The Bucket List
James and I would love to visit a few countries we’ve never been to before, Bhutan and Myanmar being top of the list. I’ve been fascinated by the Royal Yeti Keeper of Bhutan for a long time. I wonder if he’s still there as the country opens up to tourists and its gross national happiness goes into decline. I’d also like to see more of the Middle East, Jordan in particular, after reading a book by a lady who lived in the caves there, before the government moved the Bedouin out.
I’ve always wanted to see Komodo dragons on Komodo Island, orangutans in the wild and spot a wild tiger. So many things I’m yet to do, but a whole world of things that will be new to the children. I’ll have to get them to write their own lists.
Revisit Favourite Countries
Vietnam was one of our favourite countries. It’s very easy to get around by bus, lovely people, beautiful food and an amazing array of different cultural experiences.
The boys would love the Cu Chi tunnels, we won’t be letting them fire their own AK47s , in fact we’ll keep them well away from that whole area. When you travel as a young adult you don’t see danger, looking with a mother’s eyes gives you a new perspective on everything that could possibly go wrong. Entering an area where teenage backpackers can fire automatic weapons at will loses its appeal once you have your Mum Goggles on.
We both love Nepal, Kathmandu is just so old! Fun just to hang out there for a while, soak up the history, the fascinating shops and markets and see some of the most amazing temples in the world.
Maybe we’ll take them to the rat temple, that would be an eye opener for them.
Last time we were there we trekked for 3 weeks, the Annapurna Circuit, it was very cold and very high. I wouldn’t take them to those sorts of altitudes, certainly not in winter, but I’d like to take them on a small trek to see life in the mountains and the amazing villages up there. This will necessitate buying children’s hiking boots and backpacks, they’ll be so cute!
India is my all time favourite country. A big country to get around and a lot of time to spend on rickety trains. I’m not convinced that travelling 3rd class non ac with children is the best idea ever ( Dad thinks it will be fine). Maybe we’ll have to upgrade to 1st or 2nd class in the name of safety, sleeping on a bunk in a carriage with a million or so people wandering through is going to be a bit of a worry and I can’t see me getting much sleep.
Rooftop bus travel is probably a bit of a non starter, too.
So we’ll have to pick a few highlights, maybe spend some time on the beaches down in Kerala and Goa.
Goa is fantastic, it’s changed so much in the 15 or so years that I’ve been visiting, I hope it’s still recognizable this time, Rajasthan is another must do, and Varanassi. We’ve never been to the Taj Mahal, we really should this time. It’s still early days, we’ll come up with a plan.
The elephant orphanage at Pinnawala would be an amazing day out for any child. I love the way the smell of elephant just smacks you in the face as you arrive. Watching them all come trundling down the road for their daily bath in the river is incredible. This will be my 3rd visit. I’m a sucker for elephants.
There are also some amazing temples to visit and the Sigiriya fortress to climb.
I was lucky enough to see a turtle laying her eggs on the beach at Hikkaduwa, there are plenty of hatcheries up and down the coast for the children to handle newly hatched turtles.
We got married in Sri Lanka, near Galle, so there is a bit of special family history there for the children to share in.
In the name of relaxation I can see a few weeks lazing on a Thai island being absolutely essential.
We had a brilliant time on Koh Samet a few months ago, total relaxation, just playing on the beach and in the water, no dragging them around hot sticky temples. We made the choice to abandon internet connections for a few days to spend more time being a family. It was a choice that paid back 1000 times, I can’t remember the last time I was so chilled out and the children had such a great time.
Thailand is a place that we , as young backpackers, got very sick of, all roads lead to Bangkok, so it seemed. We spent a lot of time hanging around the Khao San Rd waiting for planes and trains, killing time, eating Pad Thai and drinking Chang, we were “over” Thailand. But this last trip, with the boys, made me love it all over again, seeing it through their eyes was a revelation, the look of delight and surprise on D’s face when a man cleaned his shoes on a train, the absolute joy of hand feeding a baby elephant and how awed they were by giant golden Buddhas was wonderful to see. We found a special little guest house in Bangkok, the Phranakorn Nornlen, I’d recommend it to all travelers with children, it’s just lovely, the boys would love to go back there again.
So, all of the above, plus China because it’s Boo’s favorite country, Cambodia, because Ankor Wat is amazing, Bali because we like it there, Mongolia because they’d love riding ponies and sleeping in a ger. Plus, Boo says he wants to go to Switzerland and D says he wants to go to Russia. So, a lot to fit in!
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Do any of you have any hot tips for great places to go on a RTW with children? We’d love to hear about them.
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Bethaney - Flashpacker Family
Sunday 16th of December 2012
You guys would LOVE Burma. It is amazing. Wonderful people. Different but yummy food. Great scenery and temples. It's very Indiana Jones esque so I'm sure little dudes would be into it.
Sunday 16th of December 2012
Dreaming about Burma right now Bethaney!
Travel with Bender (Erin)
Monday 12th of November 2012
Looking forward to seeing where you will end up! We did the Tiger Temple in Thailand and highly recommend it if you wanna see wild tigers... or though these ones are more monk pets :) GO GO GO!
Monday 12th of November 2012
I was watching a doco yesterday morning about a tiger temple in Thailand, they had loads, like 18 or something, they were breeding them. The abbot kept them as they wee reincarnated souls. Is that the one? I hate to see the tigers drugged up for tourist photos, I've seen that far too often, but these looked OK.
Aisha G of Hartlyn Kids
Monday 29th of October 2012
I'm reading along and taking notes. Can't wait to start taking my little one on some real adventures!