Here's the family-oriented resource you'll need to plan a marine tour on the Andaman coast of Thailand or in the waters of Viet Nam. Here's the family-oriented resource you'll need to plan a marine tour on the Andaman coast of Thailand or in the waters of Viet Nam.
Plan ahead for some incredible family adventures in two of Asia's most family-friendly countries. In the past few years, the baht-US dollar exchange rate has been particularly favorable to foreign visitors, even in this period of global economic turmoil. The high season in Southeast Asia is over the winter holidays, but note that prices should drop during the rainy, but not unpleasant, low season from May to October. So your kids' summer break may prove to be a savings opportunity in Thailand or Viet Nam.
Visit Tourism Thailand or your nearest Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) office for more information.
Thai Explorations by Canoe
In 2008, John Gray's Sea Canoe (mobile phone: 66/084-844-1807) received the "International Ecotourism Award for Transportation" at the 2008 SKAL World Congress in Taipei, Taiwan in honor of 25 years of exploration by human-powered sea kayak. John Gray, fondly known as Ling Yai (Thai for 'Big Monkey') or Caveman to his friends, pioneered the use of kayaks to explore tidal sea caves and remote tropical coastlines, promoting alternative non-polluting marine locomotion and what's now called sustainable tourism.
Gray noted at the awards that, "Our guides, many with 12 years or more seniority, are the true winners. They capture our guests' hearts and imagination day in and day out," and we wholeheartedly agree. In fact, Gray himself has long shown an environmental commitment as a professor and lecturer. After years of activism in Hawai'i, Gray moved to Asia to establish SeaCanoe in 1989. Families should note that for his 25 Year Anniversary, the lifelong waterman plans expeditions to most countries in which he pioneered commercial sea kayaking with local people. The schedule starts with a Phang Nga Bay Clean-up trip on Caveman’s 64th Birthday – January 14, 2009, with perhaps Reunion Island in the near future.
Meanwhile, at their main base on Phuket, the youngest child accommodated on the fun SeaCanoe adventures has been 11-months-old; the oldest passengers have been in their nineties! John Gray has recently expanded his tours to Vietnam, Fiji and Australia. Visit the John Gray's Sea Canoe site or request more tour information from your nearest TAT office.
A Viet Nam Aqua Adventure
While you're in the region, treat the family to a totally different aquatic adventure in nearby Viet Nam. When most people think of Vietnam, they picture the dense jungle and muddy terrain seen on the evening news during those bleak years of the Viet Nam War. But SeaCanoe International Tours offers a different view of the Southeast Asian country – a nation comprised of hundreds of offshore islands and saltwater caves.
Family travelers can choose their preferred length of trip ranging from one to six days along either the Ha Long Bay or the Ba Bay. The tours are conducted in specially designed canoes that allow access to areas not often seen by travelers. Learn about local geology and tradition by examining complicated rock gardens and cliff-lined inland lagoons. As you explore with trained guides (who take care of the paddling in tricky areas), you'll view a huge variety of wildlife, including primates, reptiles, and bat colonies. Prices range from about US$100 per day up to week-long excursions, a great deal for those who are up for an active vacation and ready to explore another country in a sustainable way.
This guided tour is another option from our friends at SeaCanoe, who also have many other specially priced boating tours. Again, call 66-76/212-252 or visit seacanoe.com for information and bookings.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.