Every year, a lot of travelers from all around the world come to Asia to explore the untouched beauty of the largest continent in the world. While some indulge in relaxing activities, others come here with a hope of indulging in life-transforming adventures. Kayaking is one such thrilling adventure that motivates travelers to make the trip to Asia.
Kayaking in Asia allows you to discover completely uninhabited islands, remote local villages, dense mangroves, and unbelievable rock formations. Interestingly, Asia has quite a handful of amazing kayaking spots, some of which are also regarded as the best in the world, including but not limited to Inle Lake, which is one of the most spectacular spots in Myanmar, Sai Kung in Hong Kong, and Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Most kayaking trips in Asia can be customized according to fitness level, duration, and expertise level of participants. It is best to check all the details before signing up.
Here are some 10 Asia’s most adventurous kayaking destinations:
1. Komodo Islands, Indonesia
Kayaking in the clear blue waters filled with exotic marine life in the Komodo Islands, Indonesia can easily be considered as one of the best kayaking experiences in Asia. Comprising about two dozen islands, Komodo National Park brings you a chance to reach those remote corners of the earth which can only be accessed by a sea kayak.
Home to the mythical Komodo Dragon, the area is dotted with intriguing corals and fascinating marine creatures including but not limited to manta rays, turtles, whale sharks, as well as dolphins. Paddle your way through uninhabited islands and stilted villages during the day and spend the night eating around a campfire while listening to local lores from your guide and sleeping under a sky full of stars.
Where to kayak: Komodo, Loh Liang, Gunung Ara, Pulau Rinca, and Pulau Padar
Price: Starting from USD $1795 | IDR 25,562,236 | INR 129,300
Duration: 10 days
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2. Sai Kung, Hong Kong
Sai Kung is one of the most happening places in Hong Kong, especially over the weekends. And, the most convenient, affordable, and healthy way of exploring the area is by kayaking through the untouched natural landscapes around the area. Traverse through fascinating caves, picturesque rock formations, scintillating corals, and explore the abandoned salt pans-turned-fish ponds in Yim Tin Tsai.
If you feel more adventurous, hop off your kayak and go snorkelling in the pristine waters of Sai Kung, Hong Kong. Venture deep into the Sai Kung Country Park and cruise over coral beds and starfish. For a truly memorable experience, rent a transparent kayak.
Where to kayak: Sha Ha Beach, Hoi Ha Beach, Chong Hing Reservoir, and Tai Mong Tsai
Price: Starting from $17 an hour | HKD 140 | INR 1,250
Duration: Day Trip
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3. Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
Located approximately 95 kilometres from Phuket, Thailand, Phang Nga Bay is surrounded by limestone cliffs and spontaneous limestone tower formations popping out of the sea. The best kayaking experience in the area includes traversing through the ‘hongs’ or little hidden cave systems that have been formed because of years of erosion and limestone accumulation. One of the most famous locations in the bay to kayak to is the James Bond Island made famous by the 1974 Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun.
If you are short on time, the best would be to take a day trip to the popular sights, however, if time is not a problem, it is most ideal to take a longer tour and explore all the uncommon hongs and inner island lagoons. Kayaking in Phang Nga Bay gives you a chance to spot white-belly sea eagles, a variety of Kingfishers, Frigate Birds, and sometimes Oriental Pied Hornbills.
Where to kayak: Koh Kudu Yai, Koh Kudu Noi, Koh Roi, and Ao Phang Nga National Park
Price: Starting from USD $150 (for a day trip) | THB 4,500 | INR 10,500
Duration: Day Trip | 2/3/4 day tour (or longer)
Suggested Read: Best Tourist Activities to Do in Thailand
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4. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Halong Bay is one of the most attractive spots in Vietnam. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994, the bay is famous for its emerald waters Kayaking through the thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests of Halong Bay is a once in a lifetime experience. Traverse through various islands which have been named after their unique shapes such as the Stone Dog and Teapot.
Check out hidden caves, uninhabited islands, and discover natural tunnels. Be mesmerized by the coral reefs and get playful with the pool of tiny fish swimming around you as you kayak through the stunning waters of Halong Bay. Most kayak tours here are self paddle but with proper instructions from a certified guide.
Where to kayak: Cat Ba Island, Vung Vieng Fishing Village, Luon Cave, Ho Dong Tien Area, Trinh Nu Cave, and Co Cave area
Price: Starting from $10 a day to rent a kayak for two people | VND 232,085 | INR 800
Duration: Day Trip or Multi-day tour
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5. Nam Khan River, Laos
The famous Nam Khan River flows through Luang Prabang and is best explored in a kayak. Making your way through the river gives you a colourful insight into the local villages and Laos countryside. A usual kayak tour down the Nam Khan River starts outside of Luang Prabang through the mountains and jungles. There are two seasons to kayak here – the high water seasons from September to February and the low water season from March to August.
For the more adventurous souls, the high water season is the best time to kayak in Nam Khan River as the flow is high. Traverse through remarkable lush jungle, rice paddies, as well as elephant camps. The kayak route is about 20 kilometres and takes 3 to 4 hours with breaks. The low water season, on the other hand, is more relaxing and takes you through white sand beaches and riverbanks perfect for photo ops. The 11-kilometre stretch takes approximately 3 hours to complete with breaks.
Where to kayak: Along the Nam Khan River
Price: Starting from USD $63 | LAK 548,714 | INR 4,500
Duration: Half a day
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6. Northern Shore, Singapore
Getaway from the hustle and bustle of Singapore’s busy streets and set out to spend some quality time amidst nature. Pulau Ubin, a quaint island off Singapore’s northern shore presents the best opportunity to enjoy kayaking the stunning blue waters and spot intriguing marine life such as dolphins, manta rays, and otters.
Kayak past Changi Beach and explore the granite caves of Pulau Ubin while keeping an eye out for spotting seagrass lagoons and coastal forests of Chek Jawa. The Ubin bisect kayak expedition is approximately 15 kilometres long and takes 6-8 hours to complete.
Where to kayak: Pulau Ubin
Price: Starting from USD $75 | SGD $104 | INR 5,500
Duration: Day Trip
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7. Inle Lake, Myanmar
Many make the mistake of skipping Inle Lake during their trip to Myanmar, but for an adventure lover, Inle Lake is a must. One of Myanmar’s most gorgeous natural regions, Inle Lake can be enjoyed as a part of a day tour with bike, boat, and sea kayak.
Cycle through quaint village trails away from the chaos of usual city life, boat through pretty canals, and kayak the waters that take you through the stilted villages. Indulge in a chat with the locals and explore the local lifestyle of Myanmar. Be awed by the roadless terrains and witness the locals going about their life in narrowboats and fisherman using their unique one-legged paddling technique.
Where to kayak: Around floating tomato gardens
Price: Starting from USD $80 | MMK 121,476 | INR 5,800
Duration: 1 day
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8. Phewa Lake, Nepal
Nepal is regarded amongst the best countries in the world for adventure sports and magical landscapes. Surrounded by the towering Annapurna Lake, Phewa Tal, also known as Phewa Lake, is the perfect way to appreciate the beauty and magnificence that Nepal has to offer. Kayaking the lakeshore of Phewa Lake helps you witness a picture-perfect Nepalese landscape that you may have only seen on postcards in souvenir shops.
To enjoy complete solitude and the best views, it is best to start early in the morning. Arrange for your kayak trip a day before because renters don’t usually show up before 6 or 7 AM. If you are planning on visiting in Spring, keep in mind that the mountain range is usually covered behind the clouds by mid-morning.
Where to kayak: Lakeshore, Phewa Lake
Price: USD $5 | NPR 480 | INR 300; USD $9 | NPR 960 | INR 600; USD $20 | NPR 2,240 | INR 1,400
Duration: 1 hour | 3 hours | 6 hours
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9. Langkawi, Malaysia
Kayaking along the beautiful Kilim River to get to the stunning mangroves of Kilim Karst Geoforest Park is a highly popular activity in Langkawi, Malaysia. During your tour, you will kayak through the mangrove forest to explore the spectacular local flora and fauna of the area and get a chance to spot fiddler crabs, herons, kingfishers, mudskippers, and much more.
Explore the breathtaking caves and limestone formations as your guide narrates the history of the area around you. Spot a colony of bats hanging above your head as you pass through the Bat cave. Learn about fish farming and the sprawling ecosystem around you.
Where to kayak: Kilim Karst Geoforest Park
Price: Starting from USD 70 | MYR 294 | INR 5,020
Duration: 3 to 8 hours
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10. Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia
Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia is known as the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. And, the best way to experience the serenity of the lake is by kayak. Hop on your kayak and start your ride traversing through the waters to reach Mechrey Floating Village. Explore the local life in the village before heading out to massive mangrove forest for half an hour more.
Hop on your kayaks and traverse through the water channels of the Mangrove forest as you allow yourself to be awed by the nature around you. Paddle your way to the open lake and hop back on the boat to get to the Prek Toal Floating Village. Enjoy an early morning kayak ride through Prek Toal, the biggest floating village in the area.
Where to kayak: Mechrey Floating Village, Prek Toal Floating Village and Kampong Phluk Mangroves
Price: Starting from USD $260 per person for two persons | KHR 1,059,877 | INR 18,700
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