Aerial view of kayakers in Botum Sakor National Park

Our favorite active vacations in Asia

Forget lying on a sunlounger — if you’re the kind of person who likes to get their blood pumping and their hands dirty, you’ve come to the right place.

There are all kinds of ways to get active on vacation in Asia, from cycling in the countryside to mountain hiking in Vietnam, and we’ve collected a few of our favorite active trips and experiences below. They include snorkeling Malaysia’s coral reefs, swimming in the cool, blue pools of Kuang Si Falls, and kayaking on Tonlé Sap Lake — but they also encompass hands-on activities that don’t require you to work up a sweat, such as trying out traditional crafts with Cambodian artisans, or playing boules with the locals in Luang Prabang.

In the end, whether you’re stand-up paddleboarding or picking vegetables on an organic farm, what our activity-focused trips are really all about is getting to grips with culture and nature by getting involved.

Our top itineraries for active travellers

A selection of itineraries packed with active tours and hands-on experiences

$2,600
Family
Activity
On the water
Scenery
Wildlife

This family trip has it all: tropical beaches, jungle adventure, hands-on culture and (best of all) elephants.

$3,900
Family
Classic
Activity
Culture
Hands on

This two-week Cambodia itinerary is jam-packed with adventure, learning and play for a vacation the whole family will treasure.

$2,800
Classic
Activity
Culture & History
Food & Drink
Hands on

This action-packed itinerary is all about full immersion: getting to grips with Malaysian culture by experiencing it first-hand.

$2,700
Classic
Activity
Adventure
Culture
Culture & History
Scenery

If you prefer country to city, we made this for you: packed with outdoors adventures in Vietnam’s most stunning scenery.

Top destinations for active travel

Our favourite places in Asia to get the blood pumping

Northern Vietnam

Combining canary-yellow French palaces with colorful and chaotic market streets dating back to the imperial dynasties, Hanoi is the place to soak up the atmosphere of old Vietnam.

Southern Vietnam

The yin to Hanoi’s yang, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon to its friends) offers a more internationally minded counterpoint to that northern bastion of tradition — not to mention an exciting base from which to explore Vietnam’s most interesting war sites.

Cambodia

The laid-back, low-rise town of Siem Reap is the gateway to one of the most spectacular man-made sights on the planet: the sprawling, root-strangled ruins of Angkor.

Laos

Luang Prabang is Laos’s Shangri-La: sweeping golden roofs and colonial shophouses against a lush backdrop of jungle-covered mountains, and a laid-back atmosphere of peace and serenity.

Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur is a true cultural melting pot, where jade-topped Chinese gates open out onto palm-lined squares, Indian restaurants serve banana leaf curries in marigold-scented alleyways, and old-fashioned Malay villages lie squeezed between the skyscrapers.

Central Vietnam

It may be best-known for its lantern festival and World Heritage architecture but, for us, Hoi An’s true appeal lies in its charming rural outskirts and mouth-watering foodie experiences.

Borneo

A wide variety of indigenous and immigrant cultures combine to form Kuching’s unmistakable cultural mélange, expressed not only in its historic architecture and ethnic diversity, but in its legendary laksa, multicolored cakes and freshly blended gourmet coffee.

Central Vietnam

As the former capital of the last royal dynasty of Vietnam, Hue is easily the best place in Vietnam to soak up a bit of imperial history – and it’s a great jumping-off point for visiting the war sites at the former border of North and South Vietnam.

Cambodia

With its crumbling colonial buildings, fertile countryside, vital contemporary arts scene and mellow, carefree ambiance, it’s very difficult not to fall in love with Battambang.

Cambodia

This former bolthole of Phnom Penh’s wealthy urbanites is now a chilled-out seaside escape, offering crab markets, crumbling villas, island day trips and unbeatable seafood.

Cambodia

World-famous for its tongue-tingling pepper, sleepy Kampot is the jumping-off point for adventures in Bokor National Park, and a wonderfully chilled-out place to relax for a few days.

Laos

Vang Vieng has shaken off its old party vibes and reinvented itself as Laos’s premier destination for outdoor adventuring – perfect for those who want to cave, climb and kayak in some of the world's most spectacular karst scenery.

Action-packed guided tours and excursions

Our favourite active tours and hands-on experiences

Battambang
Active
Culture

Soksabike is one of our absolute favorite partners in Cambodia. A local company with a wholehearted commitment to forging real connections between travelers and local people.

Hoi An
Active
Culture

Usually we don’t like telling people what to do, but we’ll make an exception here: you can’t visit Hoi An without exploring its rural outskirts – and this is one of our absolute favourite ways to do it.

Malaysia
Active
Relaxation

Malaysia has some of the whitest sands, bluest seas, and greenest jungles anywhere on the planet, and the opportunities for diving and snorkeling its teeming coral reefs are magnificent.

Kota Kinabalu
Active
Culture
Scenery

Leave the urban sprawl of Kota Kinabalu behind and journey through fruit orchards and paddy fields on a guided cycle trip into rural Sabah.

Pakse & Bolaven Plateau
Active
Culture
Scenery

Over a kilometer above sea level, the Bolaven Plateau is your chance to experience a totally different Laotian landscape – where cool temperatures, volcanic soil and plentiful rain conspire to create a wonderfully rich and fertile land perfect for growing coffee, cassava, bananas, tea and cardamom.

Hanoi
Food & Drink
Hands on
Insider

If you ask us, there’s no better way to kick off your trip to Vietnam than with this cooking class at the home of Vietnamese MasterChef finalist Chef Ai.

Nong Khiaw
Active
Adventure
Scenery

Imagine kayaking to remote villages of silk-weaving workshops, picnicking by the river on the fringes of the jungle, swimming in pools created by thundering waterfalls, and then returning to your guesthouse to watch the sun set over some of the most otherworldly scenery Asia has to offer.

Kuching
Active
On the water

On this tour, your guide will take you out of Kuching, through rice fields, rubber plantations and pepper farms, to the ancestral heartland of the Bidayuh: the second-largest minority group in Borneo.

Pu Luong
Active
Adventure
Scenery

With its picture-perfect rice terraces rippling down mountainsides and thatch-roofed stilt houses clustered in valleys, Pu Luong’s scenery is the stuff of pure romance — and there’s no better way to experience it than on a guided trek.

Popular questions

Things we're often asked...

I like the look of one of your cycling experiences, but I can’t ride a bike. Is there another way I can participate?

In most cases, yes. We often recommend sightseeing by bike because it’s a great way to explore places that are difficult to access by car, but we can often offer some form of local transport as an alternative. Tuk-tuk, remorque, or riding pillion on a scooter are all possibilities, depending on the location. It might mean slight changes to your route, but you’ll still get to see the quieter, off-the-beaten-track bits of the countryside.

Are the included activities private or shared?

We offer a mixture of private and group activities, and most group activities can also be booked privately at an extra cost. However, for many of these experiences, joining in with fellow travelers is part of the fun!

Do you include insurance to cover these activities?

No, you’ll be required to obtain the correct travel insurance before you depart.

In South Korea, where we’ve included bike or car rental, insurance to cover the bike or car will be included.

How fit do I need to be?

That depends entirely on the activity. As a rule of thumb, we recommend a moderate level of fitness for all our activity themed trips, though many of the cycling and walking tours included are very gentle and flat. If you’re not sure from the description whether an activity is for you, chat to your travel consultant and they’ll be glad to advise.

Cycling along the banks of the Thu Bon River near Hoi An

Ready to plan?

Get in touch now and we will plan your perfect active vacation