Friday, July 1, 2011

Hip Day Tours

A street in a Malay Water Village in Brunei (photo by Ron Wilson)

Ever been tempted to kayak in the harbor of Copenhagen? Or bar hop the glam Hollywood watering holes that the stars frequent? Perhaps you'd be interested in a dawn tour of Delhi, which will allow you to witness morning pujas in the temples and the opening of markets? Or what about going to the market with a family in Brunei and then joining them for a meal in their water village (see above).

Its these types of unusual day-tours, plus a number of ones offering conventional sites with unconventional guides, that are being offered by a new company called Urban Adventures ( No worries of it going belly-up as so many travel start-ups do. Its actually an off-shoot of the well-established Intrepid Travel, a small group adventure company based in Australia.

Intrepid doesn't run the tours repped by Urban Adventures, but it does vet them to make sure they're worthy. I actually tried one of their offerings in Vancouver recently--a walking tour of one of the city's residential areas-- and was impressed and pleased by the quirky yet well-informed patter of the guide. I felt like a really smart, ultra-hip cousin was showing me the sites. In fact, I took the tour in a torrential downpour, but it was so entertaining, not one of the 10 people on the tour bailed out early.

Currently the company is offering tours in 44 countries, from Argentina to Zambia. Most seem to come in at well under $50, though the price will vary depending on what's being offered.

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