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Travel in the Wild

This summer walk the wild side. We put together a selection of holidays that won’t pinch your pocket yet deliver on adventure.

Print Edition: May 29, 2008

Pack off the kids

There’s not much point going for an adventure holiday if the little ones are going to whine at every step. Pack them off to summer camp. Most of these camps last a week or two, so you can be back in time to take the tykes back home and get them ready for school. 
Youreka

These camps (about nine days each) have activities like rock climbing, trekking, white-water rafting, outdoor survival, rifle shooting, theatre, aero modelling or mountain biking; two hours are spent on minor activities like astronomy, first aid, magic, painting, music or choreography.

Camp locations: Coorg,Yercaud, Sitlakhet and Tirthan; start from 4 May.
Cost:
Rs 11,350-15,300
Website: www.youreka.in 

 Wildrift

A week-long camp in the Himalayas packed with a variety of activities like kayaking, rock climbing, rappelling, river crossing, swimming, trekking and archery.There are theatre, environment and astronomy workshops and visits to neighbouring villages.

Camp locations: Camp Purple, Mukteshwar and Saat-tal Camp, through May and June.
Cost: Rs 7,500
Website: www.wildrift.com

 Kshitij

Among the leading players in the field of adventure learning programmes for children, Kshitij is conducting five-day courses in Camp Room on the Roof (5-9 June) and seven-day courses in Camp Mystic River (4-10 June and 11-17 June).The camps will include rappelling, river crossing techniques, rafting, kayaking and more.

Camp location: Chakrata and Mori
Cost: Rs 5,950-7,950
Contact: info@kshitij.in

Beaches and hills? Been there. Pilgrimages? Done that. Family package holidays? Not again. So what’s left for the jaded traveller? We suggest a holiday that will truly get the adrenaline flowing, be fun for all the family, and not really blow a hole in your wallet. Adventure holidays. Trek over a glacier, or scramble over rocks, or fight the rapids, or dive deep into the ocean.

There are several tour operators who offer “adventure holidays” but it’s good to be a little wary. Choose a reputed company—after all, your life might quite literally be at stake. Ask questions regarding the equipment used—is it new? Has it been tested? Find out about accommodation—whether it’s onsite or away from the activity area. If you have a big family, make sure there’s something for everyone. Most important, ask about fitness levels.

Of course, commonsense will tell you that you have to be reasonably in shape for a regular trek, but what about paragliding? Or scuba diving? What fitness levels do you have to achieve? Finally, when you budget for the holiday, make sure you take into account other travel costs. For instance, if you’re in Bengaluru and want to paraglide in Billing, take into account your fares to and from Bengaluru. It might add some zeroes to your holiday budget that you didn’t want—and might not have accounted for. Here is a random selection of some adrenaline-packed tours:

TREKKING

There are excellent trekking trails in almost every part of the country—in the north, the Garhwal and Kumaon regions and Ladakh, in the north-east Darjeeling and Sikkim, in the west, the Western Ghats, and extension of the same range in the south. Check the intensity of the trek and find out what is covered in the cost (porters, equipment, cold-weather protection, etc).

Adventure trekking

On offer: An eight-day Valley of Flowers trek through May, June and July.
Cost: Rs 19,600-24,500 per person; includes hotel and camp stay, food, entry to national parks and taxes.
Contact: wildindiatours@vsnl.com

Soft treks

On offer: Sangla Valley and Chanshel Valley treks in Himachal Pradesh for 5-14 days.
Cost: Rs 1,500 per person per day; includes stay in tents on twin and triple sharing, all meals, guide and equipment (higher altitude treks will cost Rs 2,800-3,750).
Contact: sandhya@adventurehills.com

 GLACIER WALKS

On offer: A 10-day trek of the 16-km long Milam Glacier in the Garhwal Himalayas.
Cost: Rs 16,500 per person; includes accommodation, meals, porters, cooks and guides.
Contact: dolmaar@gmail.com

PARAGLIDING

Take a run off a sheer cliff and just fly. Paragliding allows you to fly solo or with an expert. The best paragliding sites are in the Kangra valley and in the Western Ghats off Mumbai-Pune. The ideal season is between February and May.

Fly in Uttaranchal

On offer: Four packages depending on skill level—prelim, basic, intermediate and expert. The duration varies from three to seven days.
Cost: Rs 3,550-10,000; includes all meals, twin-sharing accommodation in their three-star base, transportation to the flying site and back, all equipment, an instructor and first-aid.
Contact: dolmaar@gmail.com

Fly in Tandem

On offer: Threeand five-day packages in Billing for tandem flights.
Cost: Rs 14,500 per couple; includes accommodation, all meals, required equipment, trainer and activities.
Website: www.sunholidays.co.in

RAFTING

The rivers in the upper Himalayas are among the best in the world for river rafting sports, with many staircase rapids that challenge even experts. The most popular rafting sites are Ladakh, the Garhwal Himalayas, the Beas river of Himachal Pradesh and Teesta river in Sikkim. Organised rafting tours are conducted on the Kali Sarda, Zanskar, Indus River and, most commonly, on the Rishikesh stretches.

Raft in Rishikesh

On offer: Two-day, one-night package with a choice of rafting trips.
Cost: Rs 2,250 per person (one rafting trip), Rs 3,700 (two rafting trips); includes twin-sharing accommodation in a tent, rafting trip with guide, all equipment, rock climbing and rappelling, kayaking, hikes, supervised body surfing and taxes.
Contact: info@caravantravel-talk.com

SCUBA DIVING

Goa, Lakshadweep, the Andaman Islands…these are the best places in the country to explore the deep. The waters off Goa are generally murky, and those off the southern islands are clear. Most of the packages offered are only dive related, so remember to include the cost of food and stay.

Crystal-clear Lakshadweep

On offer: Three-night, four-day package at Agatti Resort.
Cost: Rs 20,000 (for two adults) plus Rs 4,000 for a half-day introductory dive (Rs 1,500 for a 25-minute lagoon dive); includes accommodation, food, kayaking, dive equipment and training.
Contact: kg@kgindia.com

Muddy waters off Goa

On offer: Two-day diver course.
Cost: Rs 10,000; includes study material, one academic session, one training pool session, two sea dives, equipment, diver certification and standard log book. Accommodation is not included, but the Barracuda site (www.barracudadiving. com) has links to resorts that offer a free “Try Scuba” experience.
Contact: barracuda@vsnl.com

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