There’s more to Southeast Asia than heritage sites, shopping malls, and street food. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, then you’ll find no better place to get your hit, as much of the region remains wild and unspoiled.
Even if you’re not usually one for adventure, make your Southeast Asian trip one to remember. There are several exciting activities that are perfect for beginners looking to step out of their comfort zone.
With any of these activities, though, we’d recommend that you do your research and choose a reputable operator that has a good track record in safety, in addition to ensuring that you’re not doing anything that is against the law in the country.
So whether you wish to soar high up in the skies, splash through rushing rapids, or venture deep into the darkened depths of the earth, here are six activities you can do across Southeast Asia that will get your heart pumping:
Paragliding / parasailing
Strap yourself in and get ready to take flight! Both paragliding and parasailing involve gliding on the wind with a parachute, but paragliding involves launching from the ground on foot, usually with the help of a running start.
Parasailing, however, is aided by a motorized speedboat to get you up in the air and guide you through the skies. But don’t worry – you’ll have a trained pilot with you controlling the parachute, so all you need to do is hang on!
Where to go: Boracay, Philippines; Phuket, Thailand.
Not for the faint-hearted, skydiving is on every thrillseeker’s bucket list. Free falling from a height of thousands of feet above and getting an unparalleled bird’s eye view of the landscape? Yes, please!
Unless you’ve got a skydiving licence, you’ll be doing tandem skydiving with an experienced skydiver. But if you’d rather take it one step at a time, you can get a feel for skydiving without the whole “falling through the sky” business by trying out indoor skydiving first.
Where to go: Langkawi, Malaysia; Pattaya, Thailand.
You’ve heard of (and perhaps even tried) surfboarding and snowboarding. But how about sandboarding?
Yep, you jump on a board, and rather than waves or snow, you shred across sand dunes. If you don’t want to accidentally swallow fine sand, however, be sure to keep your mouth closed or covered!
Where to go: Mui Ne, Vietnam; Ilocos Norte, Philippines.
If you don’t have a strong fear of the dark or tight spaces, then you can try caving (though I prefer the far more amusing term, “spelunking”).
Clamber up along rocky trails and crawl through narrow tunnels as you marvel at ancient stalactite and stalagmite formations.
Where to go: Sarawak Chamber, Gunung Mulu National Park, Malaysia; Tham Phu Kham, Vang Vieng, Laos.
Bungee jumping / BASE jumping
Bungee jumping is a fairly popular way to test your courage, where you leap from a high point, relying on nothing more than a rope to stop your descent.
BASE jumping involves parachuting or wingsuit flying from fixed structures, such as a building, antenna, span, or Earth (cliff) – which make up the acronym. Many consider this to be a step up from bungee jumping, as it requires more skill and is not recommended for beginners.
However, BASE jumping is considered an illegal sport in some countries, so be sure to check that it’s permitted where you are.
Where to go: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Ton Sai Beach, Krabi, Thailand.
White water rafting
For the water sports enthusiasts, white water rafting is definitely a must-try activity, filled with heart-stopping drops and exciting rapids.
Across Southeast Asia, there are a range of rapids ranging from Class I, II, and III (suitable for beginners), to the more challenging Class IV and V (for the more experienced).
Where to go: Cagayan de Oro, Philippines; Ayung River, Bali, Indonesia.