If a bunk bed or a self-inflating air mattress is the most adventurous sleeping solution your kids have ever encountered, you may want to shield their eyes now, because once they’ve seen what gravity-defying, wow-inducing options are available world-wide, catching zzz’s will never be the same again.

From the authentic and traditional in places like Mongolia and Japan or the ‘Out of Africa’ safari or ‘wild camping’ roof tents, to sleeping in capsules or treehouses, which would make even Ray Mears or Bear Grylls reach for their teddy, we’ve rounded up our absolute favourite ‘most fun’ places to sleep on the planet.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin…

Kids holidays abroad – fun places to sleep

1. Fall asleep fly-camping in the African bush

Fly camping on Kenya with children itinerary

Kids holidays abroad – fun places to sleep: in a state of the art ‘sting-ray’ tent in Kenya

Move over, Ray Mears. This sting-ray shaped fly tent is about as much fun as it’s possible to have sleeping. Strung between trees over the high plains of Laikipia, (a place increasingly recognised as one of Kenya’s best safari regions), adventurous families can sleep under the stars listening to the sound of wildlife at the waterholes or surrounding countryside. The tents are high enough to allow rhino to pass underneath during the night, although by morning they’ll be long gone. If the whole family don’t fancy a full night sleeping like this, then why not settle the kids here for a few hours, leaving you to enjoy a camp dinner (cooked for you), before taking them back to a luxury lodge.

How: You can include a night fly camping on our Highlights of Kenya itinerary.

2. Make like Tarzan in a treehouse in Laos

Tree house in Laos - fun places for the kids to sleep on holidays

Kids holidays abroad – fun places to sleep: high up in the tree tops in Laos – what a view!

Spend a night in accommodation Tarzan would have given his loincloth for in this tree top house amongst the forest canopy in Northern Laos. If you look closely to the right of the hut, you’ll notice a faint zipline, the only access to the accommodation and, after a day spent swinging through the trees on aforementioned line, you can overnight on mattresses inside for a night you’ll never forget. Families with younger children and/ or sleepwalkers may want to give this a miss for obvious reasons.

How: Laos combines well with Vietnam, Thailand or Cambodia. For further inspiration, have a look at 10 reasons to take the family to Laos.

3. Take an overnight train in Thailand

Sleeping on an overnight train in Thailand - fun places to sleep on kids holidays abroad

Kids holidays abroad – fun places to sleep: in your private carriage on an overnight train to Chiang Mai

The advent of bullet trains and the like are making the overnight sleeper carriage obsolete in China. In Thailand and similar countries (Egypt, India and Vietnam), they’re, thankfully, still very much in service. In your air-conditioned carriage, with twin bunk beds and clean bedding (usually sheet and blanket), you’ll be rocked to sleep by the train as it makes its way through the countryside, either north to Chiang Mai and the hilltribe regions or south to the beaches and wonders of Khao Sok national park, arriving for breakfast in whichever your chosen destination.

How: Spend the night on a train in either our Highlights of Thailand itinerary or Southern Thailand Adventure. Also speak to us about adding in an overnight train on a trip to Egypt, India or Vietnam.

4. Get a bird’s-eye wildlife view from a roof tent in Namibia

Child in pop-up tent on car roof on Namibia with kids holiday

Kids holidays abroad – fun places to sleep: in a tent on top of your vehicle, on a Namibian self-drive trip

In answer to your question, yes, these rooftop tents are as much fun as they look and no, any passing wildlife won’t be able to reach you as you sleep. You’ll come across this sleeping option on a self-drive holiday through Namibia, where, once you’ve chosen your pitch for the night, you can easily assemble these roof-top, pop-up tents, transferring your sleeping bags and bedding from the boot of the 4WD. Climb aboard for an elevated view to watch the sun set, then bed in for the night. Leave the ‘door’ open (but the fly screen closed) so that you can see the stars as you drift off to sleep, with a gentle breeze blowing in. Those with weak bladders may prefer to make alternative sleeping arrangements!

How: Self-driving purpose-built camping vehicle with pop-up tents on our Highlights of Namibia itinerary

5. Sleep amongst the sea-lions whilst cruising the Galapagos

Kids holodays abroad - fun places to sleep - photo of a small cruise ship in the Galapagos

Kids holidays abroad – fun places to sleep: on board a luxury cruise boat in the Galapagos Islands

You certainly won’t get cabin fever on board a Galapagos wildlife cruise! Here, floating just off the coast of the islands, you may have up-close and personal wildlife encounters as our consultant, Helene, did when a pelican decided to hop on board to check out the evening barbecue! Also, immediately dispel any images of the kind of floating behemoths which come with swimming pools, a shopping mall and their own heli-pad. Here, as should be, cruise boats come in several sizes, but none of them giant, unlike the eponymous tortoise.

The larger vessels (which have plenty of facilities and carry kayaks and stand up paddle boards to keep all members of the family happy) allow for more room-to-roam on board, whilst any boat rocking is kept to a minimum due to its size. And although the larger boats will of course take more people, the strict regulations in the Galapagos mean that you will still be split up for excursions into smaller groups of 12. No pelicans were included in the aforementioned BBQ, just in case you were wondering…

How: Spend 4 nights on a cruise on our Ecuador and the Galapagos itinerary

6. Sleep in a traditional Yurt in Mongolia

Fun places to stay on kids holidays abroad - teo girls peeping around the door of a yurt in Mongolia

Kids holidays abroad – fun places to sleep: in a cosy Mongolian Yurt

If we’re talking semantics then, actually, we’d call this a ‘ger’, as they do in Mongolia, but, yurt or ger, tomay-to or tom-arto, they’re one and the same thing and that means fun in any language!! Scattered across the Mongolian steppes, this traditional style of accommodation has been used by nomadic herders for centuries and provide a cosy, atmospheric and inspiring place to sleep. Inside, you’ll find they’re decorated with traditional fabrics, have a central wood burning stove to keep you warm and to cook on and are a fabulous place to sleep.

Families can choose from more upmarket ‘tourist’ style tents or, for a more authentic experience, a family-owned one (which the family vacates during your stay). Whichever you choose on your Mongolian adventure, a ger will be the mainstay of accommodation available, aside from the odd hotel or traditional, western-style tent.

How: Stay in a ger on either of our Mongolia family holidays.

7. Spend the night in a floating tent in Cambodia

Floating tents in the Cardamon Mountains in Cambodia - kids holidays abroad

Kids holidays abroad – fun places to sleep: in a floating tent set in Cambodia’s scenic Cardamom Mountains

From one tent to another….but this time a much more luxurious experience! Located in a luxury lodge in the Cardamom mountains, and only accessible by boat, your accommodation for the night is a floating tent, supported by stilts. This really is a splash-out experience in every sense, where, when not going to sleep to the gentle lapping of the river waters, you can swim, kayak or just soak (sorry) up the views. Given their construction, they’re restricted to two people per floating ‘pod’, but for larger families wanting to camp together, there’s an equally luxurious tent (also visible in the picture above) on shore.

How: We can include a couple of nights in a floating tent on our Highlights of Cambodia tour.

8. Overnight on a traditional junk in Halong Bay, Vietnam

Three kids on a junk boat in Halong Bay - kids holidays abroad

Kids holidays abroad – fun places to sleep: on a Vietnamese junk boat in stunning Halong Bay

The name may not sound glamorous, but a ‘junk’ is actually an ancient, Chinese-style sailing boat which has been used for centuries. You’ll sail across the waters of the jaw-dropping Halong Bay (yes, the one with the karst limestone islands peppered throughout), making the most of these phenomenal surrounds. Most people stay only one night on board these understandably popular vessels, but we recommend two nights, so you can venture into much less visited waters and enjoy kayaking, yoga, deserted bay visits for swimming and sunbathing – even taking a traditional Vietnamese cooking class.

How: A Halong Bay cruise can be included on either of our Vietnam Itineraries.

9. Step back in time with an overnight stay in a ryokan, Japan

Stubborn Mule consultant tries out a night in a Japanese ryokan

Kids holidays abroad – fun places to sleep: on a tatami mat at a traditional Japanese Inn – ‘surprisingly comfortable’ says Stubborn Mule consultant Kelly Perks

Often cited as a highlight of any trip to Japan, a night in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, will transport you to a time gone by, an escape far from the stresses of the modern world where you leave your worries alongside your footwear at the threshold. Once you’ve stepped over, you’ll be given a robe or ‘yukata’ to relax in, perfect to wrap around yourself if the ryokan has an attached onsen (or hot spring). You’ll sleep on traditional bamboo mats (tatami), which give off a lovely faint aroma and be treated to (again) a traditional meal of pickled vegetables, soups, rice and / or noodles. You’ll leave refreshed – and educated – wishing it was possible to be this relaxed all the time.

How: Check out our Japan itineraries for an idea of how to explore this unique country.

10. Snooze onboard a converted rice boat in Kerala, India

Rice boat in Kerala - kids holidays abroad - fun places to sleep

Kids holidays abroad – fun places to sleep: on board a converted rice boat in Kerala, Southern India

If there’s a more relaxing way to explore the backwaters of Kerala than on board a traditional rice-barge, converted to offer luxury floating accommodation, then we can’t think of it. Spend the afternoon watching the world go by on the riverbanks, before being treated to a 3-course Indian banquet by candlelight, then retire to your private cabins.

How: Spend the night on a rice-barge on our Kerala Family Holiday.

11. Sleep under the stars in a luxury desert camp in Morocco

Tented camp in Morocco

Kids holidays abroad – fun places to sleep: at a luxury desert camp near Marrakech

Enter a landscape where the barren, seamless desert stretches 360 degrees around you but enjoy it from the lap of total luxury. For those who have harboured ‘The English Patient’ inspired, colonial ‘G & T’, linen-suit-type fantasies (just us, then?), this is your moment! Located in the Agafy desert, ideally placed near Marrakech but also not too far from the High Atlas mountains, you’ll enjoy an evening under the starts before retiring to a luxurious tent. You’ll love it. Your kids will ask you what ‘The English Patient’ was.

How: Enjoy a night in a desert camp on our Morocco family short break.

12. Spend the night on a River Nile felucca, Egypt

Fun places to sleep - kids holidays abroad

Kids holidays abroad – fun places to sleep: on an Egyptian felucca, sailing along the River Nile

Experience a traditional style of Egyptian transport that’s been unchanged for centuries and get to sleep on board! After an afternoon spent tacking across the Nile, moving gently through the waters from side to side as you cruise from Aswan towards Luxor, your ‘captain’ will pull up by the shore for you to spend an unforgettable evening. Once the felucca has been secured for the night, you can wander around to stretch your legs before being treated to a banquet on board the motorised support vessel you’re tethered to (there’s electricity, showers and a toilets, too). Just before going to sleep, the crew surround the felucca with netting so you’re cosy and sheltered for the night, but still able to watch the stars. An unforgettable experience!

How: Sleep under the stars on board a felucca on our Highlights of Egypt and Egypt and Jordan Highlights itineraries.

13. Are you brave enough for a Skylodge sleep in Peru?

Sky Lodge in Peru's Sacred Valley - kids holidays abroad - fun places to sleep

Kids holidays abroad – fun places to sleep: in a glass pod suspended above Peru’s Sacred Valley

Let us tell you right now: this photo does not do the Skylodge experience justice. Luckily, we can, having overnighted in one of these phenomenal, see-through capsules which cling to the rockface giving you unrivalled views of the Sacred Valley and the stars once night falls. With no light pollution and phenomenal scenery, not to mention the most mind-blowing accommodation, we could forgive you for not actually sleeping to really make the most of this unique once-in-a-lifetime sleeping opportunity. Probably not for those with vertigo, we’ll be honest.

How: A night in the Skylodge can be included on any of our Peru itineraries.

14. Go wild camping on the beach in Oman

Wild camping - holidaying in Oman with kids - kids holidays abroad

Kids holidays abroad – fun places to sleep: wild camping on an Omani beach, with all mod cons provided

Banish any thought of camping on a wet-weekend-in-Wales and welcome to wild camping, Omani style! Arriving beach-side, you’ll find the tent already fully set up for you and your family, leaving you the afternoon free to spot sea turtles, go swimming and generally soak up the rays before returning for a slap-up BBQ dinner, again, cooked and served for you before you retire for the night. If you’re wanting to pull out all the stops, tented accommodation wise, we can also arrange an upgrade to an Arabian tent – just ask. (For the eagle-eyed amongst you, yes, that is a wine box on the table – our top tip to pack in your suitcase).

How: Travel on our Highlights of Oman tour and we’ll include a night wild camping on the beach for you!

More on kids holidays abroad – fun places to sleep

Fun places to sleep are all part of making holidays exciting for children of all ages. To chat about any of our kids holidays abroad, from Africa and Arabia to Asia and Latin America, simply ring us on 01728 752751 or get in touch via our website form. We’d be delighted to work with you to plan the very best holiday for you and your family.

We always love to hear from families who have travelled with us, so please do keep sending us your photos and reviews.

Liddy Pleasants, MD Stubborn Mule Travel