If there is a place on Earth that shows the Creator’s masterpiece of creation, islands win the competition hands down. Islands are all about the pristine beaches where coral structures and interesting marine life are found in abundance, interesting rocks formed by volcanic eruptions or limestones, intriguing jungles with exotic flora and fauna that take you straight to a scene from Moana.
But today, islands have transformed from being the go-to destinations for a laidback beach holiday to a destination for adrenaline rushing adventure. Most of the islands across the world, be it the popular ones like Bali and Lantau Island Hong Kong or the ones that are still waiting to be explored like Koh Lanta Yai island in Thailand or Con Dao in Vietnam have coastlines that are perfect for water activities in scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming, and fishing and underwater walking.
To spice up your experiences, get involved in a plethora of man-made heart-thumping sports like windsurfing, kayaking, jet-skiing, parasailing, and glass-bottomed banana boating.
Here are some of the 8 best islands in Asia for an adventure-filled vacation:
1. Bali, Indonesia
Coveted as the Island of Gods, adventure tourism in Bali has gained enormous traction in the last decade and the reason is pretty evident. The tropical island boasts of many beguiling water activities from fun-filled dolphin watching to fly fish sport that could make you skip a heartbeat and several other adventurous land-based activities like jungle and mountain trekking, ATV scooter rides, etc. that leaves one spoilt for choices. The mesmerizing volcanic mountains draped with dense forests, lush green rice paddies, sprawling beaches, and thriving coral reefs make this piece of land a perfect launchpad for adventure craving.
Activities and Prices:
– Telaga Waja River Rafting – INR 2500 per person
– Lovina Dolphin Watching – INR 500 per person
– Fly Fish Adventure, Snorkeling and Underwater Scooter Ride – INR 7000 per person
– Jungle Buggies – INR 4000 per person
– ATV Quad – INR 4300 per person
– Underwater Tandem Scooter Ride – INR 3300 per person
– Mount Batur Trekking – INR 3800 per person
– Banana Boat, Parasailing and Jet Skiing – INR 3700 per person
– Flyboarding – INR 4500 per person
2. Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Lantau Island is the largest island in Hong Kong that has a highly mountainous terrain covered with lush greenery. The island is also home to Hong Kong’s second-highest peak, Lantau Peak or Fung Wong Shan and hence the island brims with adventurous activities around this peak. The primary attraction is the 70 kilometres long, hiker-friendly Lantau Trail loop which starts and finishes in Mui Wo. This hiking trail is hiker friendly with directions, warnings and caution signboards and the sunrise and sunset views atop the peak are soul-stirring.
The amazing Ngong Ping 360 cable car ride between Tung Chung and Ngong Ping promises unadulterated adventure. Another huge attraction is the plight of 260 steps that one needs to climb to witness the mammoth 34-meter tall bronze Tian Tan Buddha,
Activities with Prices
– Ngong Ping 360 cable car ride: Starts INR 2000 per adult
– Hike The Lantau Trail
– Climb up 260 steps to reach the Big Buddha, Ngong Ping
3. Koh Samui Island, Thailand
Koh Samui is the second-largest island in the Gulf of Thailand that lures water sports lovers from far and wide. This picturesque island is popular for its palm-fringed beaches, coconut groves and thick rainforests that make this piece of land a page from the fairytale.
The island has a rich aquatic life which you can explore with a never-ending list of activities like snorkelling, scuba diving, and fishing. From Koh Samui, you can also get on an island hop tour on a luxury catamaran and visit the stunning islands around which includes Ang Thong Marine National Park, Koh Nangyuan, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan. If you would like to take a break from seafront adventure, try your hand at ziplining, go-karting or have fun at the Coco Splash Adventure park.
Activities and their Prices:
– Scuba diving: INR 1100 per person
– Fishing on a traditional Thai fishing trawler
– Island hop tour on a catamaran.
4. Cebu Island, Philippines
Cebu Island in the Philippines is a wanderlust’s mirth that fascinates one with its white sandy beaches, placid azure waters and exotic coral reefs that thrive along the shoreline. Scuba diving in Cebu Island takes you down the steep waters off the coast that drops from 3m down to 65m and is overloaded with beautiful, colourful fish, turtles, and neon coral gardens.
If you are lucky enough, you can even watch white tip sharks. The thickly wooded rainforests of the island are home to several mighty waterfalls and Kawasan waterfalls top the list and the natural pool here is perfect for waterfall jumping, rappelling, rock climbing, and canyoning. The rugged mountains of Cebu with high peaks like Osmeña Peak in Dalaguete and Mt. Babag has paved for several adventurous trekking and hiking paths through thick jungles that are recommended only for the strong-hearted ones.
Activities and their Prices:
– Scuba Diving
– Waterfall jumping
– Rock climbing
Recommended Read: 101 Best Things to Do in Philippines
Must Read: 101 Best Places to Visit in the Philippines
5. Koh Lanta Yai Island, Thailand
Koh Lanta Yai island is one of the least explored islands in the world and hence Nature is preserved in its pristine form here. The virgin beauty of this island makes it a great platform for nerve-racking adventure. The clear waters of the beach and an abundance of diverse marine life at the island makes it a great spot for scuba diving. Several scuba diving classes happen at the island where you can get certified as a scuba diver. The Khlong Chak Waterfall looks scenic and the adventurous hiking thrill to the waterfall is a thrill seeker’s delight. If that does not satisfy your adventure quest, trek through the densely wooded trails to reach the Koh Lanta Caves and witness the nocturnal animals like bats hovering above you.
Activities and Price:
– Advanced Open Water Course Price for scuba diving: INR 27,000
– Scuba Diving: One day, Two dives: INR 9,500
– Trekking to Koh Lanta Caves
– Hiking to Khlong Chak Waterfall
– Koh Lanta Cave exploration
6. Con Dao, Vietnam
Blessed with sugary-white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, beautiful coral reefs, scragged mountains, stunning bays, tropical forests and lots of shine, Con Dao islands is also one of the secluded islands in the world that are protected from the maddening tourist crowd. Scuba Diving and Snorkeling is the most popular adventure sport and you can spot several aquatic beings like two-meter cobia, stingrays, barracuda, turtles, moray eels, batfish, clownfish, and cuttlefish. The island is also popularly known for turtle breeding and has the highest hatch rate of about 87%. Trekking trails in this island attracts many adventure lovers from all parts of the world. While at the island, Climb up a flight of stairs to reach the beautiful Chua Van Son perched atop a hill.
Activities and Price:
– Diving and snorkelling
– Climb up a flight of stairs to reach Chua Van Son
– Hiking in Con Dao National Park
– Hike to Dam Tre Bay
– Hike to Bang Beach and Dat Tham Beach
– Hike to Ong Dung Beach and So Ray Plantation
The Maldives is one sort of an uber-cool destination that every traveller has to visit at least once in his lifetime. The nation of Maldives looks extremely magnificent with low-lying coral islands, crystal blue waters, islets and lagoons. The exotic coral reefs found in the Maldives and the clear warm waters of the Indian Ocean are just so perfect for diving and the island also has many certified scuba diving training centres for novice divers to hone their skills. Tourism in the Maldives is unparalleled and the numerous water activities from mind-blowing underwater walking to adventurous surfing and paragliding makes this place blissful for water babies.
Activities and Prices:
– Snorkelling 1 hour – INR 681 per person
– Snorkelling 4 hours – INR 6231 per person
– Adventure Diving Courses – INR 20413 per person
– Surfing – INR 5179 per person
– Underwater walking – INR 10500 per person
– Jet skiing – INR 5000 to INR 13000 depending on the vehicle
– Catamaran sailing
– Banana boating – INR 4200 to INR 5700 per person
– Glass-bottomed boat ride – INR 2145 per person
8. Langkawi Island, Malaysia
Officially known as ‘Langkawi Jewel of Kedah’, Langkawi Island in Malaysia fascinates adventure lovers with a plethora of hair-raising activities. The island is covered with thick jungles and the beaches look drop-dead gorgeous with pristine turquoise waters. Langkawi is one of the most popular destinations for water activities like parasailing and snorkelling. The island also boasts of several national parks with several enchanting trekking trails where you can explore the jungles and take a closer shot of the flora and fauna of Langkawi. If heights appease your thrill thirst, do not miss enjoying a trip in the glass-bottomed Langkawi Cable Car ride and walk through the towering Langkawi Sky Bridge. These activities over several metres above mean sea level stun one with breathtaking views of the island below!
– Walkthrough the Langkawi Sky Bridge
– Experience the Langkawi Cable Car ride
– Scuba diving
– Banana boating
– Mangrove Kayaking