15 Unforgettable Trips You Must Take At Least Once With Your Dad

He helped you take your first step, when you’d barely entered the world. Now is your opportunity to return the favour by taking several steps with him across the world he helped you enter! Come Father’s Day, take your ‘ol man out for a trip that you both will cherish forever. Here are some HomeAway-approved ideas.

1. Take a luxury trip to Bali

Landscape view of volcano Mount and Lake Batur located in Kintamani area in Bali, Indonesia

Nothing spells luxury quite like Bali, and this is for the times when you’re feeling indulgent. And why shouldn’t you be? Count the number of times he’s indulged your tantrums! Drinking with dad is the stuff of great memories, and sipping a cocktail 14 metres above sea level is taking it to the next level, quite literally. You can do this at Rock Bar, Jimbaran. A standout dish worth trying along with your drinks is King Prawn Saganaki. Note that this place is rather upmarket, and they’re uncompromising on the dress code. So ditch the shorts, and opt for smart attire.

Another luxury pursuit worth exploring in Bali is a private volcano helicopter ride that takes you over an active volcano, the serene Lake Batur, river valleys, endless rice fields – and provides a fabulous view of Mount Batur. Other luxurious things like shopping in Seminyak and getting spa messages are not too dad-worthy, we reckon!

Ditch the hotels, and opt for a HomeAway to get the true feel of Bali.

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2. Book a skiing holiday to Hokkaido

Cityscape of Sapporo

It isn’t just volcanoes, natural hot springs, and sakura spots that make Hokkaido one of the most beautiful and visited places in Japan. This island is also known for its abundance of ski areas. In fact, the lightness and fluffiness of the snow here has earned it the reputation of being the ‘holy grail of powder skiing.’ Its gorgeous, natural surroundings has made it popular among filmmakers from around the world too. Cool off with Pops at one of these fantastic ski resorts – Niseko, Rusutsu, Furano, and Kiroro.

Fun fact to discuss with dad: the secret of Hokkaido’s flawless snow quality is due to the cold air that blows in from Siberia. When passing over the Sea of Japan, the cold air, which combines with the seasonal winds, ends up collecting a ton of moisture and creating dense snow clouds. In a nutshell, the weather and the manner in which the snow clouds form ensure the revered texture of the snow here. How’s that for a geography lesson? Father shall be impressed. Bond over Sake, the country’s national drink made from fermented rice.

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3. Explore the Foodie trail at Hong Kong

Dim Sum steamers at a Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong

Whether it’s cheap street food or gourmet delights, Hong Kong is a true foodie’s paradise. From Japanese, Italian, and Indian to Chinese, Thai, and Middle Eastern, whatever dad fancies on his plate can be easily found here. The sheer range of options is exhaustive, so we’re going to list the best ones. For fine dining, don’t miss the following: Tin Lung Heen, Amber at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental, The Lounge and Bar at Ritz Carlton, Yan Toh Heen, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Café Gray Deluxe, The Verandah Restaurant, and Tosca.

Fantastic budget options include Dim Sim Square, Ding Dim 1968, One Dim Sum, Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop, Tim Ho Wan, and Sang Kee Congee shop. After sampling the delicacies at all these restaurants, father and his progeny will be rather fed up, we reckon – literally and figuratively.

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4. Discover history at Kyoto

Gion Matsuri, Japan’s most popular festival

Remember all those facts about Japan you read in a history book way back in school? Well, it’s mega interesting when you’re actually in the place instead of reading it through an insipid textbook. Japan’s history, despite the tragic bits, is fascinating since it depicts the sheer ingenuity and resolve that symbolises the country’s culture and its people. Kyoto in particular is famous for its imperial palaces, Shinto shrines, traditional wooden homes, and Buddhist temples.

If you happen to be here in July (celebrating Father’s Day a tad late!), take dad to the Gion Matsuri, Japan’s most popular festival celebrated annually in Kyoto that lasts an entire month. The place comes alive and looks like a magical land, studded with stalls of all kinds across the brightly lit streets, and street performances through the day, going well into the night. Apart from visiting the many castles and temples, also opt for the unique things to do, such as attending a Japanese tea ceremony with a tea master, and going on a sake brewery tour.

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5. Go thrift shopping to Bangkok

Night view of Bangkok cityscape

It is no secret that Bangkok is retail heaven. You can go around the world looking for something, only to eventually find it in this city. It’s got everything. With the range of things you can buy here, Bangkok even shatters the stereotype of men not liking shopping. After all, who doesn’t like a fake Rolex made with such imitation that it would fool even the connoisseurs? If we begin to name the malls and markets, it would be an article in itself. Instead, here are the best overall shopping experiences from luxury to budget – Bangkok Shopping Malls (Siam Paragon, Central World Plaza, MBK…), Night Markets, Floating Markets,  Pratunam, Chinatown Market, Pantip Plaza (for all things tech), and Chatuchak Market.

Although not of much interest to dads, you could also take him to the mega famous Bangkok Flower Market, to remind him of the times he forgot his anniversary and asked you to ‘run along and bring a bouquet for mom.’

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6. Trek the mountains in Kathmandu

Ancient city in Kathmandu Valley

If you’re a 70s or 80s kid, you’ve definitely heard that story from your father – the one in which he had to walk ‘miles and miles’ to reach his school and ‘didn’t have the kind of privilege that you have.’  Well, it’s time now to take him for a trek of a different kind, a much more enjoyable one! Kathmandu in Nepal serves as the ideal backdrop for such an expedition. You can opt for the many tours available. The most popular (and recommended) trekking option here is a 4-day Kathmandu Valley Trekking Tour, which takes you through the villages of Chisapani, Nagarkot, and Bhaktapur. Keep your cameras ready, because the sunrise view of the Himalayas is a remarkable sight. If time is of the essence, you can even choose from the many short, one-day tours available. If it gets too cold, warm up with some Nepali tea, which tea connoisseurs consider to be better than even the Darjeeling variety!

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7. Get up close with nature at Langkawi

Breathtaking landscape with Langkawi Sky Bridge

Langkawi is an archipelago of 104 islands, all gorgeous in their natural beauty and relatively untouched by mass tourism that is synonymous with mainstream Malaysia. Yes, it does have a number of resorts, malls, and spas, but despite that it has managed to stay in touch with nature and is engulfed in a rare vibe of serenity, which is unmatched by other places in the country. Get some fresh oxygen flowing into your grand ol’ man’s lungs!

Top attractions in Langkawi include Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, Underwater World, Telaga Tujuh, Oriental Village, Sky Bridge, and Langkawi Cable Car. Additional places worth visiting are the bay at Pantai Tok, the beaches of Teluk Datai, Dayang Bunting Island, the waterfall at Durian Perangin, Telaga Harbour Park, and Gunung Raya (Langkawi’s highest peak).

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8. Go fishing in Galle

Silhouettes of traditional stilt fishermen at sunset near Galle in Sri Lanka

“Let’s go fishing this Sunday,” – every kid has heard this at least once in their life. Bring back the nostalgia years later with another trip, and this time perhaps teach dad a trick or two. Galle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Sri Lanka boasts of waters most conducive to fishing, and you can choose from number of speciality tours – such as a half-day bottom fishing tour, private trolling fishing tour, river fishing day tour at Balapitiya River, and many more. When you’re done with the fun of angling, don’t miss the 6-hour whale watching cruise. While voyaging through the impeccably blue waters, you can catch a glimpse of whale sharks, humpback whales, killer whales, blue whales, sea dolphins, and sea turtles. Keep a day for strolling through the city’s Dutch-colonial buildings, forts, mammoth mansions, churches, forest reserves and museums.

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9. Book a diving trip to Phuket

Snorkeling at Phi-Phi Island

If you had a typical childhood, you would have – at some point of your growing up years – experienced being pushed into the swimming pool by your father. After all, fathers worldwide believe that it’s the best way to get a child to swim! Leave that somewhat frightening memory aside and go scuba diving this time in Phuket, Thailand. You’ll be spoilt for choice with the sheer number of packages on offer, each catering to a specific skill level.

There’s even one for non-swimmers, so don’t fret over not being eligible to bond with marine life. If snorkelling floats your (and dad’s) boat, opt for the many trips available at Phuket & Phang NGA, Similan Islands,  Phi-Phi Islands, and Racha Islands. Other places worth visiting in Phuket include Old Phuket town, Prompthep Cape viewpoint, Big Buddha, Wat Chalong, James Bond Island, Phuket Fantasea, Phuket Trickeye Museum, and Gibbon Rehabilitation Project.

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10. Get all techie in Tokyo

Akihabara Shopping District

If your dad is a proud flagbearer of the geek squad, then Tokyo will serve as his tech heaven. Begin by entering Akihabara that has earned itself the moniker of ‘Electric Town’, owing to the myriad electronic stores it houses. For a more educational based tech experience, head to the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation – a tech trip to Japan is incomplete without a dekko of this place. For a high tech meal, visit Sushiro, where you order through a tablet screen and your order is sent to your table on a conveyor belt! Have fond memories of your first train set that dad helped you build? Another high tech dining experience can be had at Niagara curry, railway-themed restaurant where your order is delivered via a model train.

Don’t forget to do some of the quirky tech things, like relieving yourself in a Japanese toilet. Yes, you read that correctly. The toilets come replete with a panel on the side, where you can make water pressure adjustments, play sound effects, and even spray deodoriser!

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11. Go golfing in Koh Samui

Golf course in Koh Samui

Some consider golf a snooty, pretentious sport while others consider its slow, elegant nature to be the best thing to have ever happened to the world of sport. If your father belongs to the latter, Koh Samui in Thailand is quite the golfer’s paradise. While there are plenty to choose from, the best ones include Royal Samui Golf and Country Club, Samui Golf Club and Driving Range, Bophut Hills Club, and Santiburi Country Club.

All are equipped with world-class facilities and offer an enjoyable golfing experience. When you’re done with indulging your (and Pop’s) inner golfer, there’s plenty more to explore in Koh Samui. Top attractions include Wat Plai Laem (Big Buddha Beach), Bophut’s Fisherman Village, Angthong National Marine Park, Namuang Waterfall, and the Secret Buddha Garden.

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12. Try canyoneering in Cebu

Popular canyoneering route through Kawasan Falls

If you consider yourselves among the fainthearted folks, then canyoneering might not be up your alley. But for all you daredevil father-son, father-daughter duos, nothing spells adventure quite like this sport, which involves navigating creeks and streams by walking, jumping, swimming, and climbing. Ensure that you have sufficient energy reserves since this is an activity that easily lasts 5-6 hours. There is a possibility to get hurt since this in an extreme sport of sorts, but the inclusion of a compulsory life vest and helmet minimises that risk.

There are a dime-a-dozen tours to choose from, so read up about them prior to your trip. Top picks include Happy Juanderer, Kawasan Canyoneering, Island Trek Tours, Danasan Eco Adventure Park, Cyan Adventures, and Cebu Exclusive Holiday.

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13. Explore theme parks in Singapore

Universal Studios Singapore

Singapore blends the best of both the worlds – vast open spaces and verdant gardens share space with glitzy malls and theme parks. We’re focussing on that last one since a trip to Singapore is incomplete without the amazing theme parks that the country boasts of. Sentosa Island is where the best one is at – Universal Studios. If dad is a movie buff, he’ll love how the park has 7 Hollywood-themed sections with 24 rides and myriad entertainment shows, all based on mainstream hit movies. Must visit is Sci-Fi city which features two of the world’s tallest duelling roller coasters – Human and Cylon.

Clutch on to dad’s hand if you (or him) are weak-hearted! For dark thrills and chills, hop on to the Revenge of the Mummy ride, an indoor roller coaster that takes you through a dingy tomb, and, to put it mildly, scares the living daylights out of you.  Other great recommendations for amusement parks include Adventure Cove Waterpark, G-MAX Reverse Bungy, and Wild Wild Wet.

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14. Experience a new culture at Seoul

Seoul cityscape

Korea is synonymous with culture but post the Korean War, a lot has changed. Today, there’s North Korea, whose present culture no one really understands and then there’s South Korea, a culture that no one can get enough of. We don’t recommend a trip to the North, for obvious reasons, but we do endorse that you get to Seoul – pronto! Experience Seoul’s unique history and current culture through its architectural buildings, palaces, temples, statues, museums, and street markets. The Gahoe Museum is a must visit; it exhibits 1500+ Korean art pieces, including a huge number of paintings. Additional things to do are visiting the War Memorial of Korea, Bukhansan National Park, Changdeokgung Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace, and Bukchon Hanok Village. When father and you are done being culture vultures, end the trip on a speedy high, rather literally, with a visit to Lotte World – the world’s largest indoor theme park.

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15. Get spiritual in Ubud

Saraswati Temple in Ubud

As daddy dearest gets well into his late middle years, he’s likely asked himself that deep, philosophical question we all do at some point – what is life? Contemplate this leisurely at Ubud in Bali, Indonesia that provides the ideal backdrop for such musings. Its surroundings, comprising rainforest and rice paddies, is considered as one of Bali’s most celebrated landscapes.

To get an idea of what the place looks like, just imagine the best postcard you’ve seen. Ubud makes that picture come to life. Saunter your way through the place or go on an electric bike/cycling tour – whatever the two of you fancy. Top things to do include the Campuhan Ride Walk, Ubud Kajeng Rice Fields Walk, Saraswati Temple, Tegalalang Rice Terrace, and Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. Don’t rush it. Soak in the surroundings, sit down for a while, close your eyes, and breathe out the worries of life.

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