Holidays are no longer just about rest and relaxation. With a private rental villa in Thailand or Bali as your holiday home base, adrenaline seekers can now choose from a range of thrills on land and sea to strike a balance between high time and down time.
Increasing numbers of travellers choose their holiday destination based on the opportunities on offer for a adventure. Extreme sports have been growing in popularity worldwide in recent years, not only for the excitement they offer spectators, but also the thrills they provide people keen to take up a new challenge.
Tropical destinations such as Thailand and Bali naturally lend themselves to these adventure activities. The concentrated range of landscapes means visitors can enjoy everything from crystalline seas to lush tropical jungles, waterfalls to mountain peaks, and all on a single trip.
Operators have been quick to introduce a range of exciting adventure options in these locations to make the most the nature's gifts.
Below are some of the top choices on offer if you want to add some thrills to your next holiday in one of Southeast Asia's favourite destinations.
Adventures on the water
Bali's Kuta Beach is now recognised globally for its consistent breaks, and is also a great place for beginners to learn the basics of surfing. Other popular surf beaches include Canguu, Nusa Dua and the island hosts several international surf contests including the Oakley Pro Bali every June. Bali is also home to numerous surf camps, which cater to all levels of expertise and its even possible for more experienced surfers to rent a speedboat to reach the best surf spots and therefore avoid too much time consuming land travel.
Kiteboarding Koh Samui
Koh Samui enjoys medium strength steady winds all year round. The island also offers a choice of beaches that boast flat, shallow waters without natural obstacles like rocks or even man-made ones like banana boats and this has made it a magnet for Kiteboarders. The winds move around the island as the year progresses, which means conditions are ideal on the southwest coast around Hua Thanon from November to March, but better further north off the coast around Nathon from May to October. Kiteboarding Asia operates in the both these locations and on a windy day they describe the conditions as being "sent from above".
Although the ocean is naturally the main focus when it comes to water sports adventures in island destinations; on Phuket, beginners and experts alike can also enjoy the thrill of wakeboarding on a large freshwater lake in Kathu. Phuket Wake Park is equipped with two Sesitec cable systems: a short one for beginners and one that goes all around the basin for more experienced wake boarders. The park also boasts floodlit facilities, making it possible to ride at night. Wakeboards, gloves, life vests, and helmets can be rented and free basic tuition is provided by professional instructors and cable speeds start at 28kph.
Adventures on land
Bali's lush interior is ideal for would-be explorers. Whether crossing the paddy fields or following jungle trails up the side of a tropical mountain, there's an abundance of natural landscapes to keep you challenged and inspired and those that prefer to move a little faster can opt for an ATV or Quad bike safari. Guided trips through operators like Paddy Adventure let you roam through the picture perfect countryside between villages; negotiating forest tracks, crossing streams and bouncing over humps and hills. The tours can last from two hours to a full day and can also be combined with other adventure sports like rafting and touring the island in a 4X4.
Rock climbing Phuket
If you are reasonably fit, not afraid of heights and looking for a physical and mental challenge, then rock climbing is a rewarding and unique experience. Southern Thailand, especially Krabi province has some of the best known climbing locations in Thailand and a number of routes start directly from the beach, with fabulous views throughout the climb. The varied landscape means routes can be found for beginners as well as more experienced climbers. Railay near Krabi Town is one of the best known climbing locations in Thailand and easily reached from Phuket. Most of the climbing is on limestone and there are multiple routes to suit different levels of skill. Companies like Renown Travel provide lessons and guided tours.
Zip Line Samui
For a jungle thrill that requires no experience or training, take a canopy ride through the tropical forest on Samui. You are suspended in a harness and shoot down a wire that takes you through lush vegetation at tree-top level. The best rides involve a fair hike up to the start platform. but you are rewarded with an adrenaline rush and a unique bird's eye perspective as you fly through the tropical scene. Kids can also enjoy the rides, which are very safe with instructors on hand to teach the basics. Instructors at the island's most popular ride, Canopy Adventures, can even strap in less confident zip liners for a guided zip through the trees.
by Wayne Hue