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All my life I’ve planned my holidays, like most of us, based on a multitude of random factors. Where my co-travellers wanted to go, where my sister stays, where the weather is better, which place looks interesting, what’s safe for solo travel – I would decide on one place and then at the destination try and do the things I love. Apart from eating, I love spending time inside forests. Increasingly, I try to get a forest or wildlife park trip in wherever I go. At times it has been rather inconvenient – in Hua Hin last year, I hurtled along the highway for over two hours one way to visit the closest national park. It was an overly expensive and time-taking proposition that didn’t really satisfy my urge to explore Thailand’s forests because I got only an hour inside the park. This experience gave me a pause. What if I planned my holiday around my interests, instead of trying to find my interests at a random destination?

Hobby HolidaysHobby holidays are the combination of exploring a new destination with a view of practising your favourite pastime. Last year, I realised I love bird-watching and started planning holidays to places known for birding. On our safaris, we started telling naturalists to stop chasing the tiger and focus on birds. As you keep taking hobby holidays, you keep practising and before you know it, you’ve picked up a new skill – but that’s not the point. The idea is to relax and enjoy the holiday like any other break, and see where the new passion takes you. In December, I bought a camera and started dabbling in bird photography. Now I am learning both bird-watching and photography. It’s such a thrill to be learning something new again – and it’s all happening organically. I want to learn more as I go along without an end goal in mind. In 2019, I have already been to five forests and am getting better and better at birding. (Not so much at photography – let’s just call that a very slow WIP.)


Whatever your hobby may be, you can find a destination in India to pursue it for sure. So line up all the places you’ve wanted to visit, find out where your interests will be best served, and off you go. Here are some hobby holiday options in India and abroad to get you started.

Birding in Uttarakhand
Hobby Holidays
Rufous sibia in Uttarakhand

For amateur birders, Uttarakhand is a great place to explore repeatedly – hotspots include Sattal, Benog, Rajaji National Park, Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, Valley of Flowers, Corbett and, the most favoured destination, Pangot. Just pick a hotel that suits your budget and they will organise a guide for you.

Find out more here.

Pottery in Northern Ireland

Hobby Holidays

A great escape from the oppressive Indian summer, Northern Ireland is also a beautiful corner of the UK to holiday in. In County Armagh, the award-winning Ballydougan Pottery offers workshops and classes you can book in advance. You can stay in the quaint cottages within the premises or at Newforge House, a more luxurious option just 10 minutes away.

Find out more here.

Cooking in Thailand

Hobby Holidays

Love Thai cuisine, eating, and cooking? Combine all the three loves and take a cooking holiday in Bangkok. There are several options online. For instance, Tasting Places takes you on a tour with a chef and offers hands-on cooking experience while you enjoy a culinary break.

Find out more here.

Art in Italy

Paint the beautiful Sicilian or Tuscan landscape as you explore it on a holiday that mixes your love for a quintessential European holiday with your passion for art. Sign up for a painting holiday tour across Italy and don’t worry about packing heavy art supplies as they come with the tour.

Find out more here.

Photography in Ladakh
Hobby Holidays
Hemis monastery in Ladakh

Take the Ladakh holiday you’ve been planning forever and this time add a layer (or shall we say lens) of adventure to it – go for a photography learning holiday across the stark landscape. Summer is the best time!

Find out more here.

All images: Courtesy Shutterstock

Kalyani Prasher

Apart from travel, Kalyani Prasher writes on food and culture, edits manuscripts and helps execute large-format events.