Asia and the South Pacific have long been favorites with backpackers. Maybe it’s the sunshine or the ocean, but in this part of the world, everything seems so much more wholesome or exotic. The food’s some of the most diverse on the planet and the vistas simply stunning. Just remember to pack your sunscreen, bug spray, and wellies for the wetter parts!
Of course, the region isn’t just about the shimmering landscapes. On your South Pacific trip, meet Aborigines in Australia, go line fishing with a local in Fiji, or share in a feast with the Maori in New Zealand. On your Asia adventure tour, learn the intricacies of the tea ceremony from a Japanese geisha or watch haenyo, the real life mermaids of South Korea dive for seafood.
Looking for more adventures in Asia? Grab your gear and head into the wilderness of the Borneo rainforests, full moon parties of Koh Phangan, coral reefs of Fiji, limestone towers of Halong Bay, crazy nightlife of Seoul and Tokyo, yoga retreats of Bali, and beaches of Goa. Want to go on South Pacific tours instead? Let Australia’s Uluru or New Zealand’s Remarkables entrance you! Are you psyched yet? Here are the top 10 destinations for travel adventures in Asia and the South Pacific in 2018!
Want to go on adventures in Asia? Because of its awesome climate, Thailand is overflowing with adventure destinations and activities all year long. Choose adrenaline-pumping exploits like scuba diving, skydiving, ziplining through the rainforest, mountain biking through the countryside, kayaking along the coast, and jungle trekking. Those who don't care to work up a sweat can try homestays with a local family, eat scorpions, or visit an elephant sanctuary to play with some of the world’s most gentlest creatures.
Recommended program: Explore Thailand with Stray Asia
Slather up that sunscreen for an awesome South Pacific adventure under the sun south of the equator. Camp under the stars, swim with catfish, and spot dingoes in the wild on Fraser Island. Find Nemo and friends while snorkeling and scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. Catch the waves at Bondi Beach or climb Sydney Harbour Bridge for dizzying views of the city. Take a roadtrip across the continent from coast to coast or cuddle with koalas in Brisbane.
Recommended program: Adventure travel around Australia with Frontier
Temples and the Taj Mahal aside, India is one of the best places for Asia adventure travel. Watch live cremations in Varanasi, one of the world’s oldest cities. Spot a tiger in national parks or ride a camel across the deserts of Rajasthan. Trek the harsh Himalayas to meet the Dalai Lama in Arunachal Pradesh or chillax in Ladakh. Explore the narrow lanes and wide boulevards of Mumbai and Delhi. Bargain your heart out in ancient markets and try some of the best curry in your life in each region.
Recommended program: Explore India with International Volunteer HQ
4. New Zealand
Which country is the undisputed adventure capital of the world? New Zealand, of course! There’s so much to do on the North and South Islands for your South Pacific adventure. Steam in natural hot springs and enjoy an authentic Maori hangi feast in Rotorua. Spot penguins in the wild in Dunedin or hobbits in Hobbiton (aka Matamata). Thrill seekers, jump on down to Queenstown for zorbing, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, luging, bungee jumping, and jet boating!
Recommended program: Travel New Zealand with Pure Exploration
Did you know that Indonesia is made up of almost 8,000 islands, making it the perfect destination for your South Pacific tour? Go trekking along the Kalimantan river, hike volcanoes, jump off cliffs, chill on beaches, go parasailing or cave diving, or find the peace within at yoga retreats on Bali and other islands. Foodies, go off the usual menu and chomp on fried bats or guzzle cobra blood. Animal lovers, rescue orangutans in Yogyakarta or save sea turtles on Bali.
Recommended program: Experience Indonesia with GoEco
If it’s one country in the world you’ll never get tired of visiting, it’s Japan. Something about Nihon keeps travelers wanting more, making it perfect for Asia adventure travel. Immerse yourself in Japanese, one of the most frustrating but beautiful languages on the planet, hike to the summit of the iconic Mount Fuji (Fujisan to locals), or take the bullet train across the four main islands. Learn how to make sushi in Tsukiji Market, visit the ancient temples of Kyoto, remember history at Hiroshima, or try tonkotsu ramen in Fukuoka.
Recommended program: Live and learn Japanese in Tokyo with Languages Abroad
Fiji is the best place for South Pacific travel and South Pacific adventure! Its 300+ islands are home to pool-like bays, coral reefs, white sand beaches, mountains, and villages ripe for scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, kayaking, hiking, and exploring. GoPro your adventures while ziplining above the rainforest. Be sure to try tongue numbing kava and delicious lovo food (cooked in the ground!).
Recommended program: Explore Fiji with Broadreach
8. South Korea
Still looking for Asia adventures? Like Japan, South Korea is a country steeped in the past yet also welcoming of the future. Cycle throughout Seoul or even as far as Busan, hop over to the beaches or powder-fresh ski slopes of Mount Halla on Jeju island, or hike the craggy mountains of the mainland’s national parks. Adventurous foodies, there’s enough chicken hearts and soondae (blood sausage) to keep you interested besides national favorites kimchi and bibimbap.
Recommended program: Sign up for a homestay in Seoul with LanguBridge
Sign up for Asia adventure tours in Malaysia! Climb the air bridge of the Petronas Towers, go beach hopping in Penang, hike to jungle temples, or float into rose-colored sunsets on the peninsula of gold. Malaysia also shares Borneo with Brunei and Indonesia, the final tropical frontier. While there, track orangutans in the jungles and help build rope bridges and hides for an orangutan rehabilitation project.
Recommended program: Explore Malaysia with Gapforce
Vietnam is calling your name for awesome Asia adventure tours. This Southeast Asian country is more than just the site of a famous war. There’s enough mountains, rivers, deltas, and beaches to make it a total adventurer’s paradise. City lovers, explore the noisy choked streets of Ho Chi Minh for Vietnamese coffee, banh mi, and pho. Head over to Hanoi to reach Halong Bay’s iconic karst landscape and take part in lots of scuba diving, rock climbing, and hiking.
Recommended program: Adventure travel around Vietnam with Projects Abroad
A note from GoAbroad
We’d like to thank our community for not only inspiring us daily, but for also giving us enough insight to share accurate predictions for meaningful travel in 2018.
Learn more about our research methodology, recommended programs, and links here.
Browse more of this year's report on top adventure travel destinations
- Best Adventure Travel Destinations in the World in 2018
- Best Adventure Travel Destinations in Europe for 2018
- Best Adventure Travel Destinations in the Americas for 2018
- Best Adventure Travel Destinations in Africa for 2018
- See ALL top destinations for ALL travel