Southeast Asia is proudly home to 37 UNESCO World Heritage sites and is a place like no other. Filled with ancient temples, historic cities, and some of the best hikes in the world, Southeast Asia won’t disappoint.
If you’re planning your next trip and are thinking about visiting this region, there are many options to consider. From hiking or helicoptering over Everest Base Camp to ziplining with Gibbons, choosing the right adventure is the hardest decision.
In this guide, we’ll show you the six best outdoor adventures in Southeast Asia so you can decide where to travel on your next trip.
Whether you’re into hiking in caves, sleeping in a jungle treehouse, or sunbathing with Komodo Dragons, there is no end to adventures in Southeast Asia. Let’s take a look at six of the most unique adventures you can take throughout the region.
What better way to experience Southeast Asia than ziplining 100 meters above the jungle floor in the Bokeo Nature Reserve in Nam Kan National Park? The Gibbon Experience combines ecotourism with a sustainable income for local villages, giving them an incentive to protect the endangered rainforest that Gibbons and so many other species call home.
You’ll live in a secluded treehouse, waking up to the hooting of Gibbons and the gorgeous sunrise through the trees before clipping into the network of ziplines and footbridges to explore the jungle in a truly unique way.
Hundreds of forest people make a living from the Gibbon Project, so this is the perfect way to go on an adventure in Laos that benefits locals and helps conservation efforts.
Nestled in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, you’ll find Hang Son Doong, the world’s largest cave system. It was first explored in 2009 and has only been open to the public since 2013.
Inside, you’ll find other-worldly cave formations, including huge cave pearls, towering stalagmites, and underground rainforests. Hang Son Doong is also home to the “Great Wall of Vietnam,” a 90m high calcite barrier.
You can only explore Hang Son Doong on a four-day expedition with local guides, so make sure you’re prepared for a camping trip.
Komodo Island looks like something out of a fantasy world with pink sandy beaches and crystal clear blue waters. This wild paradise also happens to be home to around 2500 Komodo Dragons, which you’ll see sunbathing on the beach, swimming in the ocean, and searching the grassy hills for prey.
Komodo Island is one of the few pink beaches in the world, and the entire island is an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’re likely to spot a Komodo Dragon while sunbathing on the beaches, but make sure to keep your distance.
Although they’re used to tourists, they’re still dangerous and have a nasty bite, so be careful if you’re traveling with kids.
Nepal has some of the best treks and climbing in the entire world. From towering mountains to the Alpine forests, there is something for everyone and all abilities.
Many hikers visit Nepal for high-altitude treks to Everest Base Camp. It’s unbelievably beautiful, with some challenging passes along the high Himalayan trail.
Or you can try something totally different with a desert-like trek through the sandstone cliffs of Upper Mustang. Once forbidden to outsiders, the trek takes you along the ancient salt caravan route to the village Lo Manthang on a 17-day moderate hike.
Tucked away on Luzon Island near Banau, a transportation hub for visiting the stunning rice terraces. The rice terraces were built more than 2000 years ago by the indigenous Ifugao people. They were an ingenious solution to growing crops on such difficult terrain, and they’re still used by locals today.
One of the best ways to experience the local culture is to visit nearby Batad, where you’ll be able to taste rice wine before trekking to Combulo and Pula, then back to Banaue.
Whether you take on the trail alone or with a guide, this is the best way to see the rice terraces and take some incredible travel pics of the island region.
Halong Bay is one of the real wonders of Vietnam, just a short trip east of Hanoi. The name means “dragon descending”, and it’s apt for a place steeped in myth and legend.
The landscape is covered in limestone cliffs, arches, and coves, and the large 1,500-square-kilometer bay has over 3000 islands and islets.
The best way to explore the bay is in the Chinese-style junk boats that locals operate off the shore. You’ll get to taste the freshest seafood and sleep in cabins while taking in the spectacular scenery of the bay.
There is so much to explore and experience in Southeast Asia, and it’s clear to see why it’s such a popular destination for hikers and tourists from all over the world. Hopefully, this guide has given you some unique adventure ideas that are a little off the beaten track for your next trip.
Visiting the World Heritage Sites and taking trips with local guides is a fantastic way to see this unique part of the world while helping to preserve vital ecosystems and support local families.