The kayaking options in Asia are often more extreme than elsewhere. They can be found at extreme altitudes, in extreme isolation, and are extremely striking. There are enormous inland seas and lakes such as Baikal in Mongolia. There are pristine tropical isles like those in Thailand and Indonesia. You’ll come across nomads, indigenous tribes, and backpacker villages. General costs are down here, although finding good equipment might be difficult unless you bring your own or go with an established tour operator.
- Komodo Islands, Indonesia
Komodo, Loh Liang, Gunung Ara, Pulau Rinca, and Pulau Padar are home to the much feared Komodo dragon, a huge, dinosaur like lizard. These volcanic islands, lined with mangrove forests and coral reefs, are also idyllic kayaking waters.
- Lake Baikal, Mongolia
There is a lack of roads surrounding Lake Baikal, the world’s largest freshwater reservoir, so kayaking makes perfect sense. Paddle along Taiga forests, explore islands and dunes, and experience the ancient ways of indigenous tribes.
- Andaman Coast, Thailand
This unspoiled stretch of coast near towards Myanmar is home to limestone islands, mangrove forests and hundreds of deserted beaches made famous in the movie The Beach.
- Gulf of Thailand, Thailand
After diving or sobering up from the Haad Rin’s Full Moon Party, take some time to explore the lush tropical isles of Koh Phagnan, Koh Tao, and Koh Samui from your kayak.
- Kuril Islands, Japan
From the north of Japan explore the islands surrounding the Kamchatka peninsula which is filled with gurgling volcanoes, bamboo and birch forests, and foggy fishing villages. Finish your days with a soak in the many hot springs.
- Lombok, Indonesia
Touring the waters forty miles east of Bali at Lombok and the nearby Gili Islands is getting less and less pristine thanks to ecological mismanagement, but these are still some of the best paddling waters around.
- Northern Shore, Singapore
Paddle the tranquil mangrove forests with crocodiles and rare birds in the midst of this glistening metropolis.
- Lake Tasek Bera, Malaysia
Peat swamps and rainforest dominate this slice of tropical heaven that’s the largest body of freshwater in mainland Malaysia.
- Hong Kong
Clean jade seas are typical at Sai Kung, the caldera of a collapsed volcano. The 90 mile coastline has dozens of beaches to rest or camp, often with hiking trails.
- Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Limestone Mountains and craggy rocks jut out of the South China Sea in this UNESCO world heritage hamlet that legends say were created by dragons. With more than 3,000 small islands spread out over 930 square miles, you have more than a lifetime’s worth of paddling to do to cover every route.