Top Adventurous Activities in Asia

Nellie Huang December 30, 2012 7

We’re heading to the Far East, a region that’s special to my heart since it traces to my roots. Gear up and dive in with me: here are some of my favorite adventures from Asia.

Swimming with Whale Sharks in Cebu, Philippines

Whale shark in the Philippines

Swimming with whale sharks was an experience unlike any other: the behemoth creature glided just inches away from me, oblivious to my presence as I stared wide-eyed, indulging in this intimate encounter. It was surreal, intimate and extremely moving.  This was definitely one of the best experiences of my life, and definitely my favorite memory from the Philippines.

Kayaking on Cheow Larn Lake, Thailand

Kayaking on Cheow Larn Lake, Thailand

In the heart of Southern Thailand’s Khao Sok National Park lies the pristine Cheow Larn Lake, framed by jagged limestone cliffs and dense rainforest. We spent our days paddling in the jade green water, spotting gibbons and hornbills in their natural element. This patch of forest is one of the last remaining wilderness in Southeast Asia, and definitely my favorite part of Thailand.

Scuba-Diving in Sipadan, Borneo

Scuba diving in Sipadan, Borneo

For every diving enthusiast, Sipadan is the Mecca, providing some of the best diving in the world. What makes Sipadan a world-famous dive site is its majestic drop-off that seems to cascade down to endless depths (700 metres). We were treated to a visual feast of marine life, from intimidating white-tip sharks to an abundance of hawksbill turtles. Up to this day, our dive at its magnificent drop-off remains one of the best we’ve ever had.

White Water Rafting down the Mae Taeng River, Thailand

White Water Rafting down the Mae Taeng River, Thailand

Chiangmai in northern Thailand is a well-known adventure hub, where you can go jungle trekking, mountain biking and riding an elephant (which we do not recommend). One of the most popular daytrip is combining a jungle trek with a white water rafting experience down the Mae Taeng River. We’ve rafted in several parts of the world, and while this one was not nearly as challenging as the others, it was definitely one of the most relaxing and fun experiences.

Climbing Mount Emei, China

Climbing Mount Emei, China

After a tiring hike to the top – hurdled by what seemed like thousands of local tourists – the arrival at the peak of Mount Emei felt magical: with the sea of clouds beneath us, we felt like we were floating above the clouds. The temples and statues made the experience even more rewarding, making it one of the highlights of our trip to China.

Hiking Through the Rice Terraces of Sapa, Vietnam

Hiking Through the Rice Terraces of Sapa, Vietnam

In the northern reaches of Vietnam stand emerald green mountains with beautiful rice terraces cut into them, almost resembling the stairways to heaven. With its mountainous terrain and highland climate, Sapa makes for an excellent hiking destination. While this trail was clearly well-trodden, it didn’t fail to impress – we experienced Vietnam’s backcountry on treks that weaved through tiny villages, bamboo forests and muddy terrain. The best part about the trek was that we met plenty of Hmong people (who all offered a helping hand during the challenging trek) and stayed at a local’s home.

Cycling in Bagan, Myanmar

Cycling in Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan is the palpitating holy heart of Myanmar, with over 4,000 stupas strewn across its sandy plains. Biking around Bagan was a great way to comb its temples and explore its desert terrain inch by inch. Exploring on two wheels was fun, but after spending days under the scorching sun with 50ºC temperature, it became quite a challenge. But on our last day, we had the opportunity to watch the sun set atop the Shwesawdon Pagoda – and it made all the hard work worthwhile.


  1. Hope Loudon July 30, 2012 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Great ideas, but I wouldn’t rent a bike in Bagan. Bikes aren’t always in great shape, and it’s really hard to find one that fits you, especially of you’re short. I rented bikes for the first day, but couldn’t see much because of the heat and discomfort. I was much better off renting a horse cart. This was a unique adventure, and it enabled me to see all of the temples I wanted to see in a single day. It costs 10,000 to 15,000 kyat, and is well worth it.

  2. Seacologia October 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    I definitely would want to try kayaking at Thailand!

    There’s really a lot of places to explore in Asia. Hope I could travel soon too!

  3. robert majewski January 12, 2013 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    Great places,wish to see all of them.Have to play Lotto.Haha.

  4. SirDaav January 13, 2013 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    So a pic of Mt Emei shows no one but you say you were crushed by tourists?

    Not really encouraging to be crushed by tourists in any locale, so do very few reach the top??

    Cannot be much of a climb if the tour buses are waiting at the bottom :)

  5. Anthony February 17, 2013 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Summer months would probably see the most amount of tourists to Emei Shan. Here is a video I produced a few years back of a trip I did there. Beautiful sunrise!

  6. buy apparel online March 4, 2013 at 7:56 am - Reply

    From my point of view you have to do tracking, hiking, and swimming are best activities during trip of Asia.

  7. xylem May 14, 2014 at 2:58 am - Reply

    OH my! Must include it in my list.=D

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