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Best SE Asian destinations for an active holiday

LIAM SMITH gives us his take on some of the best places to get your adrenaline fix (and see some culture along the way)

Modern life has turned a lot of people into sedentary workers, which leaves many craving active holidays that will make their hearts beat faster. 


Rock climbing in Ao Nang


But extreme activities aren’t reserved for the super fit or experienced. Almost any adrenaline activity is also suitable for beginners. And let’s be honest, there’s no better way to get fit than in some exotic location with great views to boot. In between your adrenaline adventures, you can chill under a palm too, read your favourite book or plan your next trip.


While it’s true that most people head to Southeast Asia to soak up the sun on dreamlike beaches, or to feast on local cuisine, what is maybe less known is that this part of the world also offers an endless list of possibilities for thrill seekers. From diving in Thailand to sand-boarding in the Philippines, anyone in search of an adrenaline rush in this region will find an activity to satisfy their needs. 


Here, we’ve gathered just a few of the region’s top destinations for an active holiday:


1. Challenge yourself with rock climbing in Laos 

Whether you’re an experienced climber looking for some challenging climbing spots, or you’re a novice who wants to take lessons on rock climbing, Vang Vieng is a perfect destination for you.

About three hours from Laos’s capital, Vientiane, the town is situated on a gently flowing river and surrounded by towering limestone karst rocks. It’s also considered the undisputed Mecca of Laotian climbing and the most mature climbing scene in this region.

After you take a quick tuk-tuk ride and cross the river you finally arrive at the bottom of the cliffs. When you reach the top, you'll be able to enjoy the breathtaking views of Nam Song River and beyond.   


Mt Kintamani


2. Go downhill cycling on a volcano in Bali 

Aside from trekking and diving, downhill cycling is an adrenaline-packed activity you won’t want to miss if your journey takes you to Bali.

A rare opportunity to see the real Bali, downhill cycling here can take you through quiet village backroads to places like Kintamani volcano. And if having your morning coffee on a volcano crater rim isn’t enough, your downhill ride will take you along rice fields with stunning views of Lake Batur.

If you’re looking for accommodation that won’t take you far from the adventure, consider places like beautiful Bingin villas, which are situated in one of the best surfing enclaves in Bali.

The rainy season is from November to March, so these are the months you should avoid.


3. Experience bungee jumping in Thailand 

Imagine climbing a crane with a lagoon far below. If you’re Thailand-bound, and that’s a picture of your ideal active holiday, we’ve got some good news for you, because this country offers the best bungee-jumping in Southeast Asia.

Climbing platforms only to hurl yourself off from a great height with nothing more than an elastic cord is not an easy task. But the effort required to achieve this (and perhaps overcome your fears) will make the jump all the more adventurous.

If you’re heading to Thailand, visiting Pattaya Bungee Jump is a must. With fully trained and equipped staff, you’ll also be able to try a reverse bungee jump where a catapult sends you 60 metres into the air. Sounds awesome, right?


Cycling in Vietnam will bring you closer to the locals


4. Go cycling in Vietnam 

Vietnam is probably one of the best countries, anywhere, to go cycling, with its two main biking arteries offering two different experiences.

Cyclists usually ride between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. But whichever route you take, they’ll provide you with some of the best views in Vietnam as well as some surprising destinations.

The best time to take on the rides is from February to May. And if you decide to go on a cycling tour, aside from the breathtaking views, you’ll get to know more about the local people and experience the country in a unique way.


If you’re looking for a holiday that’s more than just lying on a beach, Southeast Asia is packed with destinations and activities that will get your heart pumping. Whether you choose water sports, climbing or just cycling, you’ll find an activity that suits your needs. Having an active holiday will, surprisingly, broaden your horizons, help you conquer your fears and leave you richer with unforgettable experiences.


Vang Vieng


Written by: Liam Smith
Published: 22 May 2019

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