For some, taking a risk and living life on the wild side means popping to the shops on their bike without knee guards, wandering outside in August without any SPF or eating a takeaway from their favourite Vietnamese restaurant in Maida Vale – after it’s been in the fridge for three days. But if you’re the type of person whose weekend isn’t complete without a random hike, a spontaneous sky-dive or a bit of base-jumping, then this blog is for you.
Travelling is quite an adventure in itself – but if you love to grab life by the horns and squeeze every drop of exhilaration from your activities, this is the only guide you need to Southeast Asia. So buckle up, thrill-seekers – you’re in for the trip of a lifetime! From the not-too-daring to the truly terrifying, we’ve collated the most amazingly adrenalized experiences of Indochina – and they’re not for the faint of heart.
Water Tubing in Vang Vieng, Laos
Adrenaline Rating: 3/10
Vang Vieng is a notorious backpackers party-town – though this may seem surprising, given the beauty of this remote, modest mountain village. The reason for this reputation is water tubing – a hedonistic backpacker activity where tourists ride the waves of the Nam Song river, bouncing from riverside bar to riverside bar for drink after drink, flying into the river on makeshift zip-wires and tenuously attached swings and slides.
Despite new regulations swinging into place in 2012, the party’s far from over – there are still bars lining the water edge, though they’re no longer the illegal unlicensed variety. They’ll happily chuck you a rope and haul you in for a beer, and tubing is still an exciting way to explore the river – but it’s not as deadly or debauched as it once was, though few would argue this change isn’t for the better!
Whale Shark Diving, Similan Islands, Thailand
Adrenaline Rating: 5/10
Sharks are among the most terrifying living monsters we have inhabiting our planet today – they’ve survived for more than 400 million years, making them living dinosaurs, they’re fish with teeth (which is just generally wrong) and movie Jaws raised them to a state of pure infamy – so what better way to get your adrenaline rush on than to go diving with the biggest sharks in existence?
Head to the Similan Islands on the Andaman coast of Thailand between January and May and you can swim with these monsters – no cage needed. The largest whale shark recorded was a whopping 12.65m long – so why isn’t our adrenaline rating higher? Well, whale sharks are filter-feeding, so their main diet is plankton and they don’t have any teeth – although we bet that won’t be all too reassuring when this giant is in touching reach. Additionally, it’s believed that it was a whale shark which swallowed Jonah in the Bible – so it’s probably still best to steer clear of those gaping jaws, nevertheless.
Off-Road Motorbiking in Luang Prabang, Laos
Adrenaline Rating: 7/10
The stunning scenery of Laos is one of its main attractions, but we know our adrenaline-junkie readers need that extra thrill – and exploring the incredible landscapes and nature of Laos, at high speed, down winding dirt tracks on a slim scooter is a pretty incredible way to get it. Whether you’re leaning into the curves of the mountainous Luang Prabang scooter loop or getting up close and personal with everyone’s favourite irascible giant, the Indochinese elephant, by the banks of the Mekong river, your knuckles are sure to be white the whole ride!
Fighting Muay Thai in Thailand
Adrenaline Rating: 9/10
It’s incredibly easy to get a professional Muay Thai fight in Thailand – all you need is cash, a desire to recklessly endanger your own safety and the contact number of pretty much any Muay Thai training gym in Thailand. Trainers here will be happy to set you up with someone of a similar skill level, and for those who are experienced in the sport, it can be the realisation of a life-long dream – but if you’re a complete amateur, you’re probably best steering clear! Try signing up for a couple of classes at one of Thailand’s many world-class Muay Thai gyms instead – you’re less likely to leave with a broken arm.
Base Jumping, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Adrenaline Rating: 10/10
The Kuala Lumpur Tower is one of Malaysia’s many architectural attractions – the 7th tallest freestanding tower in the world, it’s a whopping 1,381 feet high, and has an unusual scepter-shaped exterior which has seen it gain pride of place in many an Instagram photo. But as the adrenaline addicts out there may already know, it’s also known as the most prestigious BASE jump center in the world – and this adventure is quite seriously for those with steel stomachs only! You’ll be required to attend a compulsory BASE jumpers briefing, and can choose to jump during the day, or perhaps even more death-defyingly, at night – this is the adrenaline rush to trump every heart-in-mouth stunt you were ever previously proud of.
So forget what you thought you knew about Southeast Asia – your trip doesn’t have to be about serene retreats and spirituality. As well as bustling cities, stunning scenery and food bursting with fresh flavours, Indochina has a wealth of heart-pumping adrenalised adventures to offer you – just remember to make sure your activities are offered by accredited guides, your equipment is appropriate and up to date, and that you’re definitely cut out for the challenge! Whichever adventure you embark on, you’re sure to make lasting memories – and any time you’re keen to reminisce over a plate of authentic Indochinese cuisine, you’re always welcome at Banana Tree. Now go forth and explore!