Article by: Putri Anggraeni
Holiday is finally here!! It is time to devote some quality time to relax and have fun with your family. How about a family trip outdoors? Not only we can spend good quality time with our family, but reconnect ourselves with nature as well. But there are a number of things that we must do before deciding to embark on a trip, such as planning the itinerary, how to get there, whether it is appropriate for children etc. Planning is important especially for those who has a baby, you wouldn’t want to turn a supposedly fun trip into another stressful day. Planning also ensures that we do not miss the top sights during the trip such as the beautiful picturesque view or historical site.
Stamford, as a partner in your child’s education, has researched on your behalf to plan the best holiday outdoor trip for the family – the best 10 hikes you can embark on with your family. We are quite certain that you will have an enjoyable time. That being said, you will have to check if the hike is suitable for your child because you know them best. Some of the places we recommend are not suitable for children under 2 years old, but no worries we provide good alternatives for fun “hiking” suitable for a toddler. The rank that we put is in random order because everyone has their own preferences so we cannot say that one hike is better than others. Feel free to decide which place is suitable for you, based on your preferences.
Okay, let’s get started!
Hong Kong, China
Fresh air and green scenery are the fantastic things that and your toddler can enjoy at Pok Fu Lam reservoir road in Hong Kong. Pok Fu Lam family walk is lined with lush forests and you can hear the whistle of the birds and scent of flowers along the path. It is a good place to relief your stress and your children can have an enjoyable walk too. You can get there by taking a bus or taxi to the entrance of Pok Fu Lam Reservoir Road and walk for about five minutes to reach the starting point of this Family Walk. This place is comfortable for everyone starting from kids (2 years old).
Another great place in Hong Kong for travelling with the baby is The Peak Trail. You can get here by taxi, bus or tram. The Peak Trail is indeed touristy but you will be rewarded with spectacular views as well as a flat road that is comfortable for a nice long walk with strollers. Afraid of going hungry? They have a friendly family restaurant in the vicinity where you can enjoy lunch with your family.
Both of this place are suitable for toddler especially for The Peak trail since you can jog with the stroller. Just make sure that have plenty of water with you and check the weather (we couldn’t predict the weather these days, though).
A little further up from Hong Kong is Taipei city in Taiwan. Here we want to introduce to you Four Beasts Mountains and Yangmingshan. Four Beast Mountain are located in the east of Taipei city, Taiwan. The peak of mountains resembles four animals: Elephant, Tiger, Lion, and Leopard. Most of the travellers recommended that the Elephant Mountain (that is the first out of the Four Beast Mountain) is a good start for kids. The Elephant Mountain is more popular and more accessible for everyone. In fact, the Elephant Mountain is the closest hike area to the city (apart from Tiger Mountain). It all depend on how adventurous you plan to go with your kids but Four Beasts Mountains are a good starting point.
Being so close with the city means a lot, you will see the beautiful view Taipei, especially the stunning Taipei 101 from the height. Some travellers recommended starting the hike during late afternoon so you get to see the charming daytime city view during the climb and at the peak, you can enjoy the sunset as the reward.
Since it is a famous place to have a family hike, do not be surprised by the crowd especially during weekend and holiday season. It takes approximately 20 minutes to reach the peak, which includes lots of stairs climbing depending on you and your love one’s stamina. No to worry, after about 10 minutes, there is a rest area facilities.
Getting here is quite easy since it is a famous place. Basically from the base of Taipei 101, walk east on Xinyi Road for two blocks up to the MRT Xiangshan station. Many visitors said that 15 minutes’ walk from 101 is completely worth your time and energy.
Then how about Yangmingshan? Yangmingshan is located between Taipei and New Taipei city. It is known as one of Taiwan’s National Park in the city that has cherry blossoms, hot springs, sulphur deposits, fumaroles and venomous snakes (yikes!). The hiking trail goes in the area of Taiwan’s tallest dormant volcano, the Seven Star Mountain, which is really well known.
Yangmingshan National Park is clean and well maintained with well-paved roads. Most of the travellers that have been there said that it is worth to visit Yangmingshan to have a good relaxing hike with your family while releasing your stress at the same time. As we mentioned before, this park is famous because of the Seven Star Mountain but it can be quite challenging to hike with young kids. So if we are not going to hike, it is best to visit the lovely Lotus pond, a narrow path with the grass mountain on the side that looks like a forest. No worries there are plenty of benches along this road.
The USA is always a hot favourite destination for a holiday. A theme park visit is, however, too common. Not too far from the city of Seattle in the state of Washington, there is a Boardwalk trail where you can enjoy the greeneries and spotting various animals. The Nisqually boardwalk is a great place to hike especially with the family.
Some animals that you can spot are beavers, weasels, minks and much more. It is an all-year-round destination. The cool thing about this place is during high tide, you will be able to walk above the water in contrast to during low tide, you are going to see waterfowl on the mudflats. It is a huge place so to get a better view, most travellers suggest bringing a binocular. This place is also stroller friendly. Nisqually estuary is located near to Olympia and provides an outstanding view of McAllister Creek.
How about a different kind of hike? Want to have the sense of walking down in a sandbox? Colorado features a more unique hiking destination. They practically have a huge sandbox measuring 30 square miles, and 750 feet high! This makes the Great Sand Dune National Park and Preserve the tallest dune tower.
Need more excitement? Why not try sand sledding or sandboarding? Your kids will absolutely love it! Trust me, sandboarding and sand sledding is just as fun as snowboarding or snow sledding. Plus it does not make our clothes wet! This place provides you with all the facilities that you need, with strollers that are designed to travel on soft sand that you can loan from the visitor centre. So all you have to do is pack your luggage and flight to Colorado USA.
Petrified Forest sounds like something from a Harry Potter novel, but it actually is the name of a national park in the USA. If you are expecting a rich green forest, you will be sorely disappointed it is not that typical forest. Being in this place will transport you back to about 225 million years ago in its natural state. This place is known as a historical site which connects chemistry with history. Petrified Forest national park is located in the northeastern part of Arizona. It is made up of two historical sites: painted desert and Petrified Forest.
What you will experience here is literary amazing. You and your child will feel like you have been transported back in time with the possibility of discovering a real fossil in the open space. Stone logs and logs fragments are proofs that Petrified Forest was once a tropical region with towering trees and extraordinary creatures such as dinosaurs. Learning while on a holiday is a good package that Petrified Forest at Arizona National Park has to offer. Why not give it a go?
We have been talking about the life that exists million years ago, learning more about our planet and letting children learn through the experience that stimulates all the five senses is just great. It is actually a good method to nurture your child as a happy learner. History is part of our life that young generation needs to know about. Read through books or watching video on YouTube (or others) cannot beat the actual experience of being there. Italy is a country rich in history and cultures and trekking the Vallon Lagazuoi in Dolomites is one of them. With none of the strenuous uphill climbs, your eyes will be pleased seeing the beauty of lake and mountain all around you. Besides, this location is one of the World War I battle sites so you can find tunnels and bunkers carved out of the mountain. A good footwear and flashlights will be needed to explore the tunnels and bunkers fully.
History is a good way to make your child fall in love with learning by experiencing places with a historical story behind it on their own. Austria offers a lot of beautiful places from beaches to mountain, from modern environment to friendly villages. One of the historical site lies on Hochoetz Mine’s Trail. This place was a copper ore and minerals mine 350 years ago. From Hochoetz you can trek right up to Wetterkreuz. Based on travellers’ experiences, you will need about two hours to complete the trail but not to worry, it is a family-friendly place. Here you can find old mine structures and get to explore an actual mine. Depending on your luck, you may be able to see the marmots, chamois and nutcrackers and you will be surprised at how amazing this place is.
What do you know about Nepal? Most likely the Himalayan mountains come to your mind. We know that the Himalayan is not a child-friendly place but we do know that it is a great and beautiful mountain. Did you know that there is another side of Nepal that is more friendly for travelling with children? Annapurna is the place, which provides a gentle trek and fantastic view you and your children would enjoy during hiking and camping (if you are adventurous enough). This place also allows your child to mingle and befriend the local children and experience the local culture. There is also a local village nearby where you can immerse yourselves in the local culture by singing, dancing and camping together with the local villagers?
East Java & Bali, Indonesia
We have recommended so many places around the world but in the end, Indonesia is still where our home is. So it is only fitting that we feature two places for family hikes in Indonesia. We have everything here, the weather is good, and we have a lot of volcanically active mountain and beautiful beaches with many of them still yet to be explored. One of the famous places is Bromo Mountain. It is not suitable for toddlers but you a great place to explore with your teenage child.
The world knows that Indonesia is famous for its indigenous tribes and fascinating traditions along with unspoiled sceneries. Bromo Mountain as one of the iconic mountain of Indonesia standing tall at 2329 m above sea level. It is known as one of the most active volcanoes and it really is a perfect combination of beauty and danger (more to excitement). Apart from the beauty that lies in front of you, you can explore the Hindu temple and experience the kindness of the local people. This place is a hot tourist destination and is always crowded be prepared. Oh, I forgot to mention that you can ride pony or horses to trek up the mountain if you are too tired to walk.
Bali is a favourite destination for many people around the world. Some people still does not even realise that Bali is part of Indonesia (based on personal experiences). We are going to recommend you a magical trek up of Mount Batur. It is highly recommended that you embark this trek in the wee hours of the morning so that you are able to experience the magic during sunrise at the peak. Mount Batur is one of the sacred mountains in Bali. It stood 1717 m tall above sea level. The climb can be easily completed in 2 hours if you are physically fit. This hike is not recommended for toddlers as it will start around 2 or 3 am in the morning but it may be suitable for your adventurous teenage child. The view at the top at sunrise it something you will never forget for the rest of your life.
In conclusion, we have given 10 hikes recommendation based on our research but ultimately you understand your family well based on their preferences. Before going on a trek, please do a good planning to estimate the time, distance, location, gears that you need and weather. Time to start packing and enjoy your holiday!!