Spice it up with one of these unusual activities
For a lot of us, the primary purpose of a holiday is to relax. Some achieve that by lying on the beach, drinking cocktails at a sky bar or going shopping for hidden bargains. For others, it’s by walking the streets of a city, seeking the historical aura or by whiling away the hours engrossed in museum pieces and artistic wonders.
While these are enduring and permanently excellent holiday options, have you ever had that other kind of feeling? That “you only live once” feeling, where you feel the need to challenge yourself and step far away from the beaten path. Well, you’re in luck, as the travel experts at KAYAK.com.hk have come up with 5 alternative holiday ideas to help inspire those of us looking for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Organic Farming – India
In the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong life, it’s often hard to be as in tune with nature as we’d like. So why not try doing something totally unexpected and spend your holiday working? Travel to the heartland of India and learn the lay of the land by WWOOFING (working on an organic farm). Originally started in 1971, WOOFING allows us city dwellers to get back to nature by learning organic farming practices and putting them to use during our holiday. WWOOFING allows you to do something good for the environment, while getting out of your shell and meeting new people from all walks of life.
There’s a range of properties you can work on, from vegetable gardens, orchards, to spice or tea plantations. Once the work-day is done, you’ll spend the evenings eating the ”it-couldn’t-be-fresher” food – that you helped to grow – in the company of other interesting individuals. You’ll leave your Indian WWOOFING experience with stories you’ll tell for the rest of your life and if you still need some relaxation mixed in with your farming, there are plenty of farmhouse retreats offering eco-friendly getaways as well.
How to get there: Return flights from Hong Kong to Jaipur from $4,438*
Where to stay: Nightly rate at the Park Regis Jaipur for a double room from $505*
Jungle Adventure – Malaysia
Now, while hiking itself isn’t exactly an unusual holiday choice, hiking Taman Negara national park in Malaysia is so unique and changeable that it has to make our list of extraordinary destinations. A 130 million-year-old virgin rainforest, Taman Negara is arguably Malaysia’s best ecotourism destination, where you can hike up to the highlands, wander across footbridges spanning the forest canopy, cross rivers and get as much jungle time as you feel comfortable with. Malaysia’s tourism industry realises just how special Taman Negara is and there is a range of 40 different package deals offered to travellers. So, whether you want a one night, luxury jungle tour, a 4-day tour that involves a snorkelling trip out to the islands, or a rugged, fully immersive week-long jungle trek, they have it all. And if you’re a real Indiana Jones, make an itinerary, charter a boat and set out on your own adventure.
Temple Stay – Japan
So you’d like to do something for your soul and well-being, but don’t want to follow the hordes to a wellness spa? How about experiencing authentic Zen temple life in Japan?Whether you’re looking for an introduction or are a practising Buddhist, this stay suits all visitors. A visit to the village of Koyasan, close to Osaka, will give you 117 temples to explore, 52 of which you can stay at. These temples offer a nightly rate, which includes simple food and allows you to join morning meditations, with more activities to choose from throughout the day. If you’re after something more immersive, try staying at a rural temple, where you can practice calligraphy, study Zen and Koan, and take part in the country lifestyle.
Pottery Making – China
Since porcelain started being produced at Jingdezhen during the Tang Dynasty, the name Jingdezhen has been synonymous with pottery; and with good reason. You may already be familiar with the gorgeous crafts produced in this area and if you think you aren’t, after a quick internet search you’ll probably realise that you actually are. The city itself thrives on the pottery industry and with parts of the city boasting beautiful, traditional buildings converted into pottery centres and with the antique town of Yaoli just a short drive away, Jingdezhen has more to offer than you realise. But let’s be honest, the real reason you’re here is to work the clay. And while the shopping possibilities are never-ending; from tiles, antiques, and reproductions through to modern sculpture, we recommend that you try getting your hands dirty. With 6 courses on offer, spending your days at The Pottery Workshop learning, crafting and eventually taking home your own handmade pottery is going to be an experience like no other.
Everest Base Camp – Nepal
This adventure is never going to be easy. But without the extreme danger involved in climbing the brutal slopes of greater Everest, the climb to Base Camp is a tough but achievable goal; and a bona fide once-in-a-lifetime experience. You can expect to spend almost two weeks on this trek. You’ll spend the first half moving ever upwards through the steppes of Nepal and then the second returning to wondrous Kathmandu. You’ll find wildness in every direction, contact with Sherpas, and the shadow of Everest always looming over you. But as you face the mountain and traverse some of the most fantastic trekking terrain in the world, you will be moved in a way you’ll only ever experience on this incline. Standing at Kala Pattar after a short climb from Base Camp, and seeing the majestic peaks soaring above you, you might just be glad that this is how you chose to spend your holiday, instead of lying on yet another beach.
If you’re feeling inspired but want to find your own adventure, try KAYAK’s Activities tool.
*The flight prices given above are for one return economy seat (including taxes and fees, excluding baggage fees) and were collated on KAYAK.com.hk on 31 August 2016 for travel in the first 2 weeks of October 2016. Prices may be subject to change and offers may no longer be available.
**The hotel prices above are for double occupancy at a 4 star hotel (on a nightly basis) and were collated on KAYAK.com.hk on 31 August 2016 for travel in the first 2 weeks of October 2016. Hotel destinations are at recommended arrival or departure points associated with the above activities. Prices may be subject to change and offers may no longer be available.