Intrepid escapes are double the fun when enjoyed with your loved ones. With an exciting selection of heart-pumping thrills to experience—from swimming with whale sharks and husky sledding to hot-air ballooning, wildlife safaris, and more—hereʼs a special compilation of the worldʼs most exhilarating journeys to take with your family, friends, and romantic partner.
By ARZOO DINA
Hot-Air Ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey
The otherworldly landscape of this region in central Turkey boasts an extensive network of cave churches, underground cities, and desert terrain. And the best way to view its surreal sights is from high in the skies—on a hot-air balloon tour! The town of Göreme is one of the best places to experience this magical adventure, sure to make all members of the family gush with delight! As you glide over the ancient city, look out for horse ranches, cave monasteries, and the much-talked-about fairy chimneys that were formed owing to volcanic eruptions millennia ago. Wrap up your experience on another high note—with a champagne breakfast in the middle of golden-hued fi elds, once you land.
Insider Tip: Tuck into the local testi kebab, a Cappadocia specialty, slow cooked in pots at the Dibek restaurant.
Dog Sledding in Lapland, Finland
While witnessing the Northern Lights is on the bucket list for most travellers to Finland, don’t miss out on the once-in-a-lifetime experience of dashing across the wild Arctic and its spectacular landscapes, led by a team of beautiful huskies. Choose from a wide variety of dog sledding tours; you even have the option of reindeer sledges! During the warmer months, go summer mushing with huskies in Hetta, a town in the northwestern part of Finnish Lapland. The town of Korvala is another great spot for this activity. Settle in with a hot drink at the end of the ride and interact with these playful animals on a local husky farm. It doesn’t get cuter than this!
Insider Tip: Visit Rovaniemi to see the Santa Claus Village, where kids can interact with Santa and his elves.
GETTING THERE: Fly to Rovaniemi in Finland with Vistara’s interline partner Finnair.
Skydiving over Dubai, UAE
This Emirate isn’t just about glitz, glamour, and gleaming buildings—there’s something wildly thrilling for adventure lovers to enjoy, too!
For a true-blue, bucket list-worthy experience, embark on a skydiving expedition with your family or friends. Feel the wind in your hair as you surrender to the gushing embrace of the sky in this ultimate adrenaline-pumping escapade! Not to mention, the views are stunning as you take the leap and free-fall over picturesque Palm Jumeirah and see other iconic landmarks like the Burj Al Arab, Ain Dubai, and Atlantis, The Palm. Skydive Dubai is a trusted company with experienced instructors who will guide you along every step of the way. Do note that this experience is for people above the age of 18.
Insider Tip: Head to mountainous Hatta to enjoy activities like kayaking, quad biking, zorbing, and tube sliding.
GETTING THERE: Vistara offers daily direct flights between Dubai and Mumbai.
Zip-lining in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Located in the northern part of the country, this gorgeous mountain city is known for its tropical jungles. It’s also the ideal canvas for the action-packed activity that is zip-lining. Feel the buzz of excitement as you whiz past and over thick tree canopies and rainforests in a dash of green. Families with young kids can tr y out the Eagle Track Zipline, situated just outside of the city. For something more exhilarating, opt for the Jungle Flight Zipline in the northern forests of Chiang Mai. Stretching across 1,000 metres, it’s Thailand’s longest single zip line! The complex is also home to a zip-line roller coaster. You may even spot gibbons (small apes) in the wild! Whether you have an appetite for extreme thrill or softer adventures, Chiang Mai has something for you.
Insider Tip: Try white-water rafting in the Mae Taeng River or a nighttime kayaking tour on the Ping River.
Swimming with Sharks in Maldives
This tiny island-nation in the Indian Ocean is possibly one of the best places in the world to observe a diverse array of marine life. And those who love water-based activities should not miss the chance of swimming with whale sharks and manta rays in this crystal clear ocean paradise! Your best chance of spotting these gentle giants is in the Baa Atoll. This UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve boasts protected coral reefs and a large population of manta rays and whale sharks that can be found in its plankton-rich waters. Head to the Hanifaru Bay here to see and meet these marine creatures. You can explore the excursions offered by Liquid Salt Divers and Ocean Fanatics, popular tour companies known for providing diving opportunities here.
Insider Tip: May to December is the best season to spot this sea life along the western side of the island-nation.
GETTING THERE: Vistara offers daily direct flights between Maldives and Mumbai.
Biking in Ladakh, India
Lofty peaks, pristine valleys, and sparkling rivers make this gorgeous region in North India the stuff of fantasies! Its barren, cold desert terrain is perfect for activities like biking and the views of the mighty Himalayas are breathtakingly spellbinding. Those with a daring spirit can attempt riding up Khardung La Pass, one of the highest motorable roads in the world. An easier option would be to bike around the paradisiacal environs of the Pangong Tso and its stunning blue waters (you may remember this pristine lake from the superhit movie 3 Idiots). The lake is located about 225 kilometres from Leh, and since it can be a long drive, it’s a good idea to stay the night at one of the many glamping setups by its shores. Another biking spot that mustn’t be missed is Nubra Valley, where the serene ambience is complemented by native Bactrian (two-humped) camels, glacial rivers, and herds of grazing mountain goats to make you feel like you’re biking through heaven on earth!
Insider Tip: May to September is the ideal time to bike in Leh-Ladakh, as the landscape isn’t covered in snow.
GETTING THERE: Vistara offers twice weekly flights between Delhi and Leh during winters; and daily flights during summers.
Wildlife Safari in Tanzania
For an off-the-beaten-path tryst with the wonders of the animal kingdom, head to the east African nation of Tanzania, a veritable haven for unforgettable wildlife safaris. It’s home to the Serengeti National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers a high chance of spotting the continent’s ‘Big Five’—lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and African buffaloes. There are many ways to savour the treats of this region: get a bird’s-eye view from a hot-air balloon safari or opt for a classic game drive with a guide. Another great wildlife viewing spot is the Ngorongoro Crater, an extinct volcano and a must-visit area near the Serengeti National Park. It is also one of the seven natural wonders of Africa with its own unique ecosystem. A holiday in this part of Africa will surely make your kids’ Lion King dreams come true!
Insider Tip: Visit from April to July to witness the Great Migration of animals to Masai Mara in Kenya.
GETTING THERE: Fly to Kilimanjaro with Vistara’s interline partners Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, Qatar Airways, and RwandAir.
Related: 3 Outdoor Activities You Need To Experience During The Summers In Switzerland