18 Asian Outdoor Adventures for Travelers in 2018

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2017 is almost over. It is time to begin planning your 2018 outdoor adventures. I asked my fellow travel bloggers to share their recommendations for a 2018 outdoor adventure. I had a tremendous response and had to break up the responses by region. Keep a look out of my other 2018 region adventure lists. Here are 18 travel bloggers recommendations for Asian Outdoor Adventures in 2018.

SCUBA diving in Coron, Philippines

Adam of Getting Stamped

One of the most unique adventures we have ever been on is a trip to the bottom of the ocean to swim through WWII shipwrecks in Coron, Philippines. About 100 feet/33 meters below the surface sits a fleet of Japanese warships waiting to be explored. A short ride away from the main island you be diving inside of a wreck that has been under water for more than 70 years. Many of the ships are becoming part of the environment with large reefs attaching themselves to the steel. Inside the ship’s hulls, you’ll find even more life as schools of fish now call them home. For such great diving, it’s still a hidden gem for 2018, on most days there are only a handful of small dive boats and it’s rare to see another diver outside of your group. If you’re a diver this is an adventure you need to put on your list.

Hiking on a Glacier in Kazbegi, Georgia

Bilyana of Owl Over The World

Hiking Gergeti Glacier in Kazbegi, Georgia was one of the most beautiful trails I have ever hiked.

Mount Kazbek is one of the major mountains of the Caucasus situated on the border of Georgia’s Kazbegi village and Russia, It’s the third highest peak in Georgia and the seventh highest summit in the Caucasus Mountains, rising at 5, 047 meters.

The Gergeti Glacier is at the foot of Mount Kazbek at an elevation of 3 200 meters. The hike passes through the Gergeti Trinity Church, which is one of the most recognizable Georgian landmarks.

Hiking to the Gergeti Glacier from the Kazbegi village takes around 7 – 9 hours depending on your hiking level. However, every second is absolutely worth it. The scenery on the way is incredible!

Hiking to Rara Lake, Nepal

Lisanne of Chapter Travel

Nepal is the ultimate destination for outdoor adventurers with its Himalayan peaks and countless gorgeous trekking trails. When visiting Nepal, usually people choose a popular trekking trail such as the Annapurna Base Camp Trek or the Everest Base Camp Trek. However, there are so much more options to go on an outdoor adventure in this beautiful country! For instance the trek to Rara Lake National Park, a lake on top of a 3000-meter high mountain in the west of Nepal, a very remote part of the country.

Rara Lake is actually the largest lake in Nepal and because of its clear blue water and the beautiful surroundings of pristine forest and snowcapped peaks, the Nepali refer to it as “Heaven on Earth”. Especially if you’re looking for solitude and a unique experience, this trek is highly recommended. The road to Rara Lake is very much off the beaten track and shows pieces of cultures and scenery that is very different from the rest of the country.

Hiking in Kalinga, Philippines

Katherine of Tara Lets Anywhere

The Philippines offers a lot of great outdoor experiences if one is willing to give the extra effort to research about its local highlights. One of these includes trekking in Kalinga, a land-locked province in the Cordillera Region.

Although the trek in itself is fit even for beginner mountaineers, what makes this stand out is the opportunity to see landscapes exotic to the region and visit remote ethnic villages. Specifically, you can see numerous rice paddies which are hand carved by the indigenous people a long time ago, the most famous of which is the Tinglayan rice terraces. If you have time, you can also swim in the winding green rapids of Chico River and explore waterfalls in the mountains.

Most backpackers who visit here stay over in Buscalan Village, the home of Butbut Tribe. Here you can immerse yourself in the locals’ way of life, drink Kalinga brewed coffee and meet Apo Whang-Od, a 100-year-old tattoo artist, the last of her kind, and who still practices her craft.

Kalinga is a perfect outdoor adventure for those looking for magnificent mountain scenery and a little bit of art and culture.

Trekking to the see the Elephants in Cambodia

Callan of Once in a Lifetime Journey

Trekking with the saved elephants in Mondulkiri, Cambodia is a truly unique adventure you can try in 2018. It’s unique for several reasons. First, it is in a part of Cambodia that is still unexplored by mass tourism, so you can still enjoy authentic Khmer culture out in the jungles of the “Wild East”. You can combine your trip with Ratanakiri and Kratie to complete the “Green Belt” of the east. It is also unique in its conservation efforts. Hiking to see the beautiful elephants is a responsible experience. You will not get a chance to ride them, wash them or even touch them. What you will do is follow the majestic creatures through the lush jungles of Mondulkiri in whichever path they choose to go throughout the day. Only their assigned mahouts will be allowed to interact with the ellies, where they are teaching the once captured and enslaved animals to be happy elephants again. After your hike through the jungle, you will also get to relax in the middle of the reserve that belongs to the Elephant Valley Project, which is a unique experience in itself. Full day, half day and even volunteer options are available depending on your budget and time restrictions. This excursion is something different from the usual Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh visits and is highly recommended.

Driving the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan

Joan of Against the Compass

Starting in the south of Kyrgyzstan and, unofficially, ending in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, the Pamir Highway is one of greatest road trips on Earth, as it goes over 4,500-meter-high mountain passes and through the Pamir range, the remotest and third highest mountain range in the world, after the Karakoram and the Himalayas.The Pamir Highway had been a very important Silk Road route, linking the south of Asia with the north. For centuries, endless traders, merchants, and religious figures have been wandering around these trails, seeking the exchange of goods such as silk, leather, and fur, as well as knowledge, of course.However, at the beginning of the 20th century, given its strategic location, the Soviet Union decided to build a road along this trail, originating such an architectonic masterpiece that soon became the most epic road ever and a journey that the adventurous travelers don’t want to miss.

Cycling on the Amakusa Islands, Japan

Rosalie of Rosalie Goes

The Amakusa Islands (Amakusa Shoto in Japanese) are a stunning off-the-beaten-path destination in Kyushu, the southernmost of the Japanese main islands, in Kumamoto prefecture.

It’s an Archipelago of about one hundred islands, nestled in the Gulf of Kyushu, the largest of which are Ueshima and Shimoshima. These are connected by bridges, so it’s possible to ride them from Kumamoto to Akune (Kagoshima prefecture), or the other way around, with only one ferry ride, from Nagashima to Shimoshima.

The whole Islands ride, on the route we did, is around 140km, mostly flat with just a few small hills.

The Amakusa Archipelago is a small paradise, the ride is very scenic for the whole way, with a constantly changing landscape. Hills covered in lush green forests, cliffs, white sea-stacks, beaches of all kinds, crystal clear waters, sleepy villages, small fishing ports, cute Shinto shrines, rice paddies, and cultivated fields.

Many birds of prey, buzzards, eagles, and falcons, live on these islands, you’ll see them circling above your heads while you ride.

Snow Leopard Safari in Ladakh, India

Julie of NOMAD/nester – Travel

Last year I went to Ladakh with a dream. I wanted to see a snow leopard. In the wild.

Yeah right. Even David Attenborough has difficulty with this. The Snow Leopard is one of the most elusive creatures on earth. They are rare – it is estimated that there are around only 200 in Ladakh – and they are very well camouflaged against the grey-brown hue of the Ladakhi mountains. They are solitary and reclusive. Yeah, good luck with that.

I’m not one to take a challenge lying down. This had been on my mind ever since i had trekked the high altitude deserts of Ladakh in 2013. This time i was determined. To give us the best chance we hired a local guide with expertise in tracking snow leopards and took off once more through the Markha Valley. Soon enough we reached our base camp amid the craggy peaks, rolling hillsides, rocky crevices, deep valleys and hidden gullies that make up this beautiful landscape. The area was vast and the immensity of what we are trying to achieve hit me. How could we possibly achieve our objective?

With patience. And effort.

For 5 days we searched. We scanned the mountains and its crevices. We trekked down river valleys and up many ridges. We climbed up rocky parapets and ramparts. We constantly scanned the mountains with our scopes. And just as we were about to give up one of our group spied our prey! Atop a rocky rampart about 800m away was a spectacular specimen of a snow leopard. We watched him for almost 30 minutes as he preened, yawned and stretched. Then he disappeared over a ridge, not to be seen again. But we had achieved what we had come here for. We had seen this elusive beast. In the wild. And he was magnificent.

Sailing a Dhow in Oman

Keri of Our Globetrotters

When people come to Oman they often overlook the very northern tip, separated by land by the UAE – the Musandam Peninsular.  A strategically important piece of land – but also dramatically beautiful – meeting the Strait of Hormuz with Iran. Many call it “the Norway of Arabia” for its dramatic fjords.   The Musandam Peninsular is actually easier reached from Dubai than Muscat. A dramatic coastal drive up the west coast takes you to the regional capital of Khasab, via al Darah border crossing.

Khasab isn’t much more than a small village, there is limited accommodation so our best tip is to get yourself straight out to the harbour and on to a boat where the real adventure begins.  Traditional dhows can be hired for half days/days or even better overnight! You can camp on the boat or have your captain take you to a secluded beach in among the dramatic khors to set up camp.  The waters are home to pods of dolphins, scores of fish and its a popular scuba diving spot, or simply a brilliant escapes from the hustle and bustle of the big smoke.

Snorkelling in the Similan Islands, Thailand

Laurence of Finding the Universe

One of my favourite adventures in Thailand is to go snorkelling in the Similan Islands. These are a group of eleven gorgeous granitic islands found off the coast of south-east Thailand, which offer some of the best snorkelling and diving in the world.

Access to the islands is by boat only, either a fast speedboat which takes around seventy minutes, or a slower boat which takes around three hours. Once at the islands, you can enjoy the spectacular white sand beaches and beautiful scenery, but to be honest, the highlight is without doubt the water activities.

Snorkelling and diving are the most popular activities. I chose snorkelling, and was seriously blown away by the clarity of the water, how far I could see, and the variety of marine life.

It’s possible to just visit as a day trip, but I’d highly recommend coming for longer. You can either stay in the national park lodging or camp, plus many operators offer live aboard boats that you can sleep on during your trip. Definitely, an adventure to add to the list for Thailand!

Diving in the Maldives

Claudia of My Adventures Across The World

“There’s really not much of a difference between diving and snorkeling” – that’s the typical excuse that people who have never considered diving are going to say. They add it may be dangerous; they justify themselves saying they get seasick (well, ok: that can be an issue) and just shrug it off.

Until they find themselves in the Maldives and none of those excuses can be used. Because, did you know that you can dive directly from the shore in the Maldives? And you can go on beginners’ dives where the instructor literally holds your hand and points and every single incredible creature that swims by.

Oh and by the way: there really is a huge difference between the pretty corals and fish that can be seen on the surface of the water, and the buzzing, colorful, incredible marine life that lies down below.

 

Exploring the Thar Desert, India

Natalia of  My Trip Hack

Thar Desert is a great destination for adventure seekers! You can find experience for any budget there. From luxurious camps in the sand dunes with all the commodities to offbeat desert trekking under the open sky. The second one has been one of the most memorable experiences of mine till date. There are small trekking tours (for 2-5 travelers) run by local villagers, who take you to the open desert from two days to several weeks.

During this time you discover the dunes where you are the first person to leave the footprints, get comfortable with riding a farmer’s camel, visit one or more local villages around, meditate in the exhilarating silence and know your fellow travelers better due to the absence of phone and internet connectivity.

If this is something you are looking for, you can ask more details from the guest house owners in Jaisalmer. With the traveler’s shift towards authentic experiences, there are more local people who partner with villagers and organize such tours.

Camping on Hokkaido, Japan

Lotte of Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog

During my one-month trip to Japan, the place that impressed me the most was Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. I fell in love with the Hokkaido wilderness, it’s stunning scenery, the beautiful volcanos, gorgeous lakes and of course the delicious food.

What made our Hokkaido adventure even more special was camping on the most amazing spots. Yes, it was freezing cold and I may not have closed an eye the first night. But waking up to a view like this made it all worthwhile…

Early in the season not all campsites will be opened so keep this in mind when planning your trip. We ended up sleeping in our car a couple of nights because there were no (opened) campsites around.

Most people on Hokkaido speak very limited English and while they are extremely willing to help it can be difficult to make yourself clear. Many campsites have a phone number you can call to make a reservation, but chances are the camp manager doesn’t speak English so you’ll probably have better luck just showing up.

Kayaking in Vang Vieng, Laos

Teresa of Brogan Abroad

You may know Vang Vieng as the former party capital of South East Asia. Travellers from all over the world used to flock to the town’s infamous party and tubing scene. But this has now changed and after a strict government crackdown, the town has now shed its old reputation, and has reinvented itself as a sustainable tourist destination focusing on adventure and the outdoors.

The biggest attraction here is still Nam Song River, and the best way to enjoy it is on a kayak. And as soon as you step into it and start paddling you can see what the fuss is all about. Tree-covered limestone karsts projecting into the sky and the quiet countryside make you feel like you are somewhere remote. It’s a relaxing way to get up close and personal with nature.

Tubing is a much more relaxed affair now, but if you want to enjoy your kayaking trip in the peace and quiet, start in the morning to avoid the tubing crowds.

Hiking to see the snow monkeys in Japan

Matilda of The Travels Sisters

One of my favorite outdoor adventures was hiking through a beautiful forest trail to see Japanese snow monkeys.  The snow monkeys are Japanese macaques native to northern Japan known for their pink/red faces.  A large group of Japanese snow monkeys can be found at Jigokudani Monkey Parkwhere they come down from the mountains to hang out and relax in hot springs just inches away from visitors. You can visit the park year round but winter is the best time to view and photograph these adorable monkeys as everything is covered in snow making them true “snow monkeys”.  Reaching the hot springs where the monkeys hang out involves a hike on a 1.6km trail through the forest.   Although it can be a bit slippery in the winter, the walk is pleasant and suitable for all ages.  And it is delightful viewing the snow monkey antics – some monkeys keep jumping in the springs, some cuddle, some play and chase each other, some groom each other and some just enjoy a hot spring soak.   

Trekking The Annapurna Circuit in Nepal

Tasha of Backpackers Wanderlust

The trekking the Himalayas in Nepal is a bucket list item for most people, though unfortunately, the cost to visit Everest can add up fast. The Annapurna Circuit is the perfect alternative and an excellent adventure choice for 2018. At the highest point of the trek on Throng La Pass you will be higher up than Everest Base Camp.

The 3 week trek will take you through the Annapurna Himalayas and past stunning scenery. From the rolling rivers and lush forestry to the bare snowy landscape at higher altitudes. If you are lucky you might even spot a snow leopard! Staying in teahouses along the way and eating at local restaurants the whole trek is extremely affordable, only costing approximately $20.00 per day. It is extremely easy to access from Kathmandu and you will end in the adventure capital of Nepal, Pokhara.

If you are looking for the perfect unique outdoor adventure for 2018 think about trekking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal with stunning scenery and snowy mountains you cannot go wrong!

Trekking in the Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Lina & David 0f Divergent Travelers

Located in Central Asia, the Tian Shan Mountains that run through the eastern part of Kyrgyzstan offer off the beaten track mountain adventures that will rival what you can find in the Himalayas. Ranging from day hikes to several weeks, there is an option for your tastes. Personally, we settled with a 3 day trek as an intro to the area that involved high altitude trekking, camping and summiting a 4000m pass.  The Chon Kyzyl Suu to Jeti Oguz route is the most picturesque route you can do with only 3 days. Beyond that, your options will be 7 or more days. As a hiking destination, Kyrgyzstan is completely untapped, meaning you won’t be met with crowded trails or packed campsites. We spent 3 days in the mountains and never saw another person.  The mountains in Kyrgyzstan are a special place, still incredibly wild and somewhere you can go to have a true adventure in the outdoors. You’ll not only see incredible things, test your fitness boundaries and reconnect with nature but also meet locals and get an inside look into another culture.

Torpedo Boat in the Philippines

Kevin of The Outcast Journey 

Nestled in Samar Island Natural Park, the largest protected area in the Philippines, is a beautiful, 90-kilometer hidden gem called Ulot River. A big portion of the river is part of Paranas where the main attraction in the town can be found – The Torpedo Extreme Boat Ride. The activity is named Torpedo because of two things: how its boats look like; and the way it traversed the river. What makes this thrilling activity different from the other water rafting boats is the material that they used to build one. They are bamboo-made. The whole adventure takes about 4 hours; 45 minutes traversing through the strong currents of the river for 10.5 kilometers to reach the Deni’s point, about 2 hours of sinking in the view and jumping off the mini falls, and 1 hour going back to the jump off this time against the current. Another great thing about this thrill-seeking experience is the richness of the biodiversity in the place. You may find a lot of species that you can only find in this particular region.

And because I can’t count here is an extra one for 2019

Road trip on the Leh-Manali Highway

Anjali of Travel Melodies

The idea of hitting Leh-Manali Highway seemed almost implausible with our little girl. But, oh we were off and away! The moment our car trailed away from Manali and drifted into curved roads cut through towering mountains showing off deep gorges is when I knew that this is going to be one hell of an experience, literally and metaphorically!
Leh – Manali highway has everything an outdoor adventure lover would expect: challenging and treacherous snow-carpeted high altitude passes, deep valleys, high altitude plains (Morey Plains) and unending glistening streams. It’s absolutely the stuff dreams are made of. With soul-stirring landscapes, unpaved and challenging roads, and low oxygen levels; this road trip sure is a master-stroke for a traveler.
The turnpike is highly vulnerable to avalanches or landslides and thus, is as risky as it is spectacular. It sure guarantees to give you an Adrenalin rush but never assures a secure and smooth passage.
If you count yourself as an extreme adventurer, I would suggest you hit Leh-Manali Highway on a two-wheeler. This sure would be an epic experience in all ways. The journey is a real test of skill and stamina for the vehicle and the person too.
Accommodation options are very limited once you cross Jispa. For an absolute outdoor experience, better go for camping under the starlit sky if you are an experienced camper. Be prepared for the sub-zero temperature at night and chilly strong winds.

What is going to be your list for 2018 Asian Outdoor Adventures?

12 thoughts on “18 Asian Outdoor Adventures for Travelers in 2018

  1. Siddhartha Joshi

    So many adventures and so much variety too! I live in Asia and haven’t done most of these…and that’s inspiring to take up more adventures this year (one of my resolutions for the year too). I would love to drive the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan someday, and also will try to hike to the Rara lake on my upcoming visit to Nepal…
    Siddhartha Joshi’s current road . . . Flight conversations that last forever…My Profile

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  2. Kate

    These all look so incredible and I’m jealous because I haven’t done any of them! The cycling on the Amakusa Islands and camping in Hokkaido stood out to me the most because I’m heading to Japan in March. It reminds me how much there is to see in Japan and how I will need even more repeat journeys to the country to see the different landscapes.
    Kate’s current road . . . Instagram is Terrible for Mental HealthMy Profile

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  3. Lauren

    Wow, so many amazing adventures – how do I choose a favourite one? Well, I’m hoping to go to Japan this year, so I’m looking closely at the activities in Japan. However, I love seeing animals living in the wild (affecting them as minimally as possible, of course). A great round up by some fabulous travel bloggers!
    Lauren’s current road . . . Tiffany Falls in Winter is a Magical Frozen WonderlandMy Profile

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  4. Anu

    Glad to see 3 Indian adventures on your list. I would also suggest road trip across Spiti Valley in India – it is the most beautiful part of India – the cold desert. Thinly populated unlike most of India and breathtakingly beautiful.

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