Southeast Asia is a place that is so diverse and varied. Between it’s many stunning temples, uninhabited beautiful beaches, lush jungles, a visit to this region is an assault to your senses. However, amidst the usual temple sight seeing and island hopping, here is a list of extreme adventures in Southeast Asia that will be sure to get your heart pumping.
- 1 Shipwreck Diving in Palawan, Philippines
- 2 Surfing in Bali, Indonesia
- 3 Sandboarding in Mui Ne, Vietnam
- 4 Off Road Motorbike Tours in Laos
- 5 Adventure Biking in Chiang Mai, Thailand
- 6 Kitesurfing in Boracay Island, Philippines
- 7 Skydiving in Pattaya, Thailand
- 8 Canyoning in Dalat, Vietnam
- 9 Quad Biking in Ubud Bali, Indonesia
- 10 Climbing the Highest Via Ferrata in Mount Kinabalu, Borneo
Shipwreck Diving in Palawan, Philippines
Get lost in the depths of the ocean and explore a whole new world buried underwater. Southeast Asia is full of many eerie shipwrecks but Coron Bay, Palawan in the Philippines is a place that is world famed for wreck diving. Imagine yourself swimming through small nooks and caverns of large WWII shipwrecks all while giant groupers and other large fish swim around you. Armed with nothing but a torch, you swim through small holes and engine rooms as you explore these large sunken ships. I remember vividly swimming through a large engine room and as I waited for my eyes to adjust in the darkness, I saw a large fish quickly swim in between my dive instructor and I. #almostpeedmywetsuit
Where to do it: Coron, Philippines is home to over 12 different wrecks, making it a playground for wreck enthusiasts
Other places in Southeast Asia: Apart from Coron, you also have ace wrecks in Pattaya, Thailand and Tulamben, Indonesia.
Resources: Check out our Best Places to Stay in Palawan article or read about our experience Scuba Diving Through WWII Shipwrecks in Coron, Palawan
Surfing in Bali, Indonesia
Bali is home to some of the best waves in Southeast Asia which explains why millions of people flock here every year. Whether you’re a beginner or a hardcore 12ft wave rider, theres a little bit of something for everyone. Although in general Indonesia is a great place for surfing, some of the best spots can be found in the Bali. Between its warm waters, chilled out surf vibe, the shores of Bali are ideal for catching waves. Our personal favorite is surfing in Canggu and Medewi however there are tons of other spots like Uluwatu, Keramas, Impossibles, and Padang- Padang. Make sure to research the spot before hand depending on your surfing skills. Some spots are just for intermediate to expert surfers due to the mammoth like waves and sharp jagged reefs.
Where to do it: Various spots all over Bali which consistently have waves that are around 12ft high.
Other places in Southeast Asia: If you are as mad about surfing as we are, we recommend checking out the rest of Indonesia which has so many other sick spots around Java and Sumatra. The Philippines also has some epic waves, particularly is Siargao Island. Apart from that, selected places in Thailand and Vietnam also have a few surf spots depending on the season.
Sandboarding in Mui Ne, Vietnam
Dubbed as one of the one of the best places to sand board in the entire world, Mui Ne is home to some epic dunes which you can slide down on. Similar to snowboarding, sand boarding is exactly the same thing except instead of snowy peaks, you race down steep sand dunes which stretch out endlessly. Mui Ne has two places where you can get your adrenaline pumping, the White Sand Dunes or the Red one. Both places are equally as impressive and fun. Although the sand boards here are just flimsy pieces of plastic, some kiteboarding shops might have proper gear which you can rent out. Regardless, speeding down a steep hill is fun no mater what! Relish in the stunning Sahara dessert type views as you get glimpses of the nearby coastline.
Where to do it: Mui Ne, Vietnam
Other places in Southeast Asia: Apart from Vietnam, you can also try sand boarding in the La Paz Sanddunes in Ilocos, Philippines.
Off Road Motorbike Tours in Laos
Go off the beaten path and explore Laos by two wheels visiting local villages, stunning waterfalls, and countryside roads. MOTOLAO, an extreme motorbike company takes you on tours for an epic few days of adventure and exploration. They also rent out dirt bikes to go on self guided adventures if you prefer to explore on your own. Ride through rural paths around the Golden Triangle near the borders of Myanmar and Thailand. Other popular bike routes are by the Mekong River or exploring the field or jars and other points of interest.
Where to do it: Luang Prabang, Laos
Other Places in Southeast Asia: Motorbike tours or DIY Motorbike Adventures can be done ANYWHERE in Southeast Asia. They are hands down, one of the best ways to explore a country. Vietnam, Northern Philippines, Cambodia, and Thailand all have fantastic roads and driving routes to check out.
Adventure Biking in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Although you can literally go off road biking virtually anywhere in Southeast Asia, Thailand has some pretty sick trails which we’ve enjoyed a lot. Explore the countryside and rural villages as you bike through lush forests, waterfalls, and various terrains. Going on biking adventures is definitely one of the BEST ways to see a place and explore a country. Imagine yourself biking through hills and forests, far away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city. In Chiang Mai, we had an epic 8 hours of hiking and off road biking which was definitely a big trip highlight.
Where to do it: All over Thailand
Other places in Southeast Asia: EVERYWHERE! We’ve done off road biking in Ubud, Bali, a few Thai islands and even around Vietnam.
Kitesurfing in Boracay Island, Philippines
Every year, kiters from all over the globe flock to a tiny island in the Philippines to enjoy epic wind and water conditions for kitesurfing. With consistent wind and year round warm waters, Boracay Island is a great spot to learn the sport. Kitesurfing is a bit like surfing except you’re attached to a kite which you can use to do sick aerial and acrobatic tricks. Although I do admit, my career as a kiteboarder consisted of mostly epic crashes. With that being said, it really is a lot of fun and is a must try for action sport lovers.
Where to do it: Boracay Island, Philippines. Apart from Boracay, you can also do it in Vigan and other places in the North.
Other Places in Southeast Asia: Mui Ne, Vietnam and selected parts of Thailand and Sri Lanka.
Skydiving in Pattaya, Thailand
What’s an extreme adventures list if it doesn’t have skydiving? Unknown to many, skydiving is a sport that is slowly growing around Southeast Asia. In Thailand alone, there are a few drop zones spread near Bangkok and Pattaya. Looking for a quick adrenaline fix? How about you try jumping off a plane, 12ooo ft from the ground as you free fall for 45 seconds? Be warned, this nerve wrecking adventure is slightly addictive (we’ve done it in so many places like USA, Switzerland, and in the UK) The views as you jump out of some of the jump zones in Thailand is pretty stunning as well as you see the turquoise blue waters gleaming from up above.
Where to do it: Chonburi, Pattaya and a place near Udon Thani
Other Places in Southeast Asia: Apart from Thailand, there are jump zones in Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia
Canyoning in Dalat, Vietnam
Cliff jumping, abseiling, and rafting are just a few of the action filled activities you will be doing when you go canyoning. For those that have never done it, canyoning is an epic day activity which combines multiple fun things at once. Think traversing through jungles and canyons, jumping off waterfalls, and abseiling up large rocks. Although there are multiple spots around Southeast Asia to try canyoning, we’ve personally done it in Dalat, Vietnam which was rather fun. We were constantly moving through the jungle, rappelling ourselves down a 25m waterfall, jumping off cliffs down to a waterfall whirlwind, you know, basic stuff. Definitely recommended for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies.
Where to do it: Dalat, Vietnam
Other Places in Southeast Asia: Chiang Mai, Thailand, Moal Boal in Cebu, Philippines also has a pretty fun course
Resources: Crazy Canyoning in Dalat, Vietnam
Quad Biking in Ubud Bali, Indonesia
Imagine off road biking in a sexy quad bike as you zoom through the jungle, muddy roads, rice fields, plantations, and 2 traditional Balinese villages. Think Ubud is all about meditating and peaceful retreats? Well, think again. You can discover a totally different side to Ubud as you explore the rural areas in style with the guys over at Bali Quad Discovery Tours. Apart from quad biking, they also offer buggy tours and canyon tubing. The best part is that all three tours are located in the same area so you could literally have an adventure filled day having a go at all three. Two of our adventure junkies tried it out first hand and loved their experience with BQDT. Definitely a great way to explore the countryside!
Where to do it: Ubud, Bali
Other Places in Southeast Asia: Similar to off road biking, you can do this virtually ANYWHERE in Asia. Through the ancient temples of Angkor in Cambodia, in the many islands spread across Thailand, Vietnam, and even around the cityscapes in Singapore.
Climbing the Highest Via Ferrata in Mount Kinabalu, Borneo
For those of you whose stomachs get queasy with heights, you might want to rethink this adventure. As if climbing one of the highest mountains in Southeast Asia is not an adventure in itself, try doing it through the World’s highest Via Ferrata. Via Ferrata’s are climbing routes composed of steel cables, wires, ascending almost near vertical routes and pathways. The highest point on this heart pumping route starts at 3400M and takes you up to 3800M.
Where to do it: Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Other Places in Southeast Asia: As of 2016, Mount Kinabalu has the only Via Ferrata in Southeast Asia.
Resources: Climbing Mount Kinabalu Review
Looking for more adventurous things to do? Check out our other articles
- Ultimate Guide to Hitchhiking: Everything You Need to Know
- 10 Epic Treks in Asia You Have to Do in Your Lifetime
- Riding a Motorbike in Vietnam: Best Six Weeks of My Life