5 Outdoor activities for the adrenaline junkie in Auckland, New Zealand

Are you a bit of an outdoor enthusiast who loves nothing more than the sheer excitement of having adrenaline rush through your veins? New Zealand would be the place for you! Here are some incredible activities that you could send your heart pumping in Middle Earth:

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Bungee Jumping

Take in all of the view from the Auckland Harbour Bridge on this 40-metre bungee jump from a suspended pod built over the Waitatama Harbour! Not for the faint of heart but definitely for the adventure seeker!

Find out more here!

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Zip lining

Take a boat over to the famous Waiheke Island and zip line past treetops, above lush vineyards, valleys and stunning forests. Consisting of three 200-metre zip lines, this activity is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Find out more here!

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Skywalking

Want a bit of that adrenaline rush without jumping off anything? Sky walking might just be the thing for you! Take a heart pumping stroll 192-metres off the ground on the Sky Tower in Auckland. Hailed as one of the best urban adventures in the area, you’ll be awestruck by the amazing 360-degree view

Find out more here!

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Sky diving

Fancy experiencing the highest tandem skydive in New Zealand’s North Island at 16,500ft? Freefall for 75 seconds at a speed of 200km/hr over Parakai, not far from Auckland city. A must do once in your life, this activity is certain to leave you wanting more!

Find out more here!

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Caving

Want more out of an adventure? This caving activity in the Waitomo Caves just might be for you! Take part in black water rafting in an underground river followed by abseiling. Also, go on a cave glow worm tour that is bound to leave you in awe.

Find out more here!


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5 reasons why you should visit Bako National Park in Sarawak, Borneo

One of the more popular national parks in Borneo, Bako is the perfect place for the traveller who wants a little bit of hiking and at the same time, see Bornean wildlife. Here are some reasons why you should check out the Bako National Park:

1. The boat ride

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One of the coolest things about going to the National Park is the 20-minute boat ride. Your journey will start at the jetty where you will take a small motor boat through amazing natural scenery. If you are lucky, you may be able to spot a crocodile or two!

2. Amazing wildlife

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The wildlife in the Bako National Park is everywhere! Be prepared to come within a few metres of the wild boars, silver leaf monkeys and macaques there. Don’t forget to look up! You may be able to spot a Proboscis Monkey (only found in Borneo) or four!

3. A LOT of hiking trails

Bako National Park Hiking Trails

There is no excuse not to hike at the Bako National Park as it caters to all levels. From the short 40-minute hikes to overnight hikes, you will be spoiled for choice with its 16 or so hiking trails.

4. Unique vegetation

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As it consists of a variety of ecosystems, you can find almost every type of plant life found in Borneo. Look around and maybe you’ll be able to find a pitcher plant or the rafflesia, the largest flower in the world!

5. The sea stacks

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Rent a boat for a nominal fee and see the very impressive sea stack rock formations made from the erosion of limestone and sandstone that surround the area by the sea. Not only are the views spectacular, the boat ride is pretty enjoyable.


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Must visit places for the mountain lover in Asia Pacific

The beach may be an all-time favourite but for some, the call of the mountains may be more appealing. It can be hard to say no once one has felt on top of the world, literally, taking in the view of majestic cliffs, gorges, and valleys. Here are some must visit places if you need to see the world from such great heights.

Huashan Mountain, China

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The Huashan Mountain, or also known as Mt Hua is one of China’s most notable and adventurous mountains with an altitude of 7,087 feet. It is famous for its challenging hiking paths dotted with religious sites and spectacular views.

 Blue Mountains, Australia

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Visiting The Blue Mountains in Australia has become a pilgrimage of sorts for the outdoor enthusiast. See the Three Sisters rock formation and take in the view while being occasionally greeted by the Australian wildlife.

Seoraksan Mountain, South Korea

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The highest mountain in the Gangwon Province, Seoraksan Mountain, meaning ‘snowy-crags’ is a thing fairytales are made of with its misty panoramic views, especially come sunrise.

Chiang Dao Mountain, Thailand

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Home to many ethnic hill tribes, Chiang Dao Mountain  is a stunning limestone mountain in the North of Thailand. A popular must-visit with adventurous tourists, this place has many hiking trails used by the locals themselves.

Mau Son Mountain, Vietnam

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4,921 feet above sea level, Mau Son Mountain in Northeast Vietnam has breathtaking views and amazing scenery from every angle. Visit the local families that live in the area and savour the crisp air.

What are your favourite mountainous areas? Do let us know in the comments below.


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5 unique experiences for the traveller in Malaysia

A hub for the Southeast Asian traveller, Malaysia is a place brimming with culture and outdoor experiences waiting to be discovered, especially when one steps away from its city life. Here are some unique experiences for the traveller when in Malaysia:

1. Kuching, Sarawak

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Greet quaint towns, villages, paddy fields, and plantations as you make your way to getting acquainted with the Sarawakian Iban tribe and their culture in a traditional longhouse and explore the jungle in the vicinity. Find out more here.

2. Langkawi, Kedah

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Come up close with the Malaysian mangrove forest in Langkawi on a kayak, observing the unique flora and fauna that call this place home such as eagles, kingfishers, and bat. This would be ideal for the nature enthusiast. Find out more here.

3. Kuala Selangor, Selangor

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If you love monkeys and fireflies, this is for you! Encounter and feed the Silver-Leaf Monkeys at Bukit Melawati Hills, followed by a boat ride through the mangrove trees at night to witness the twinkling of fireflies. Find out more here.

4. Kuala Kubu Baru, Selangor

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For the adventurous traveller, a full day of wild river tubing would be for you! Float through water rapids on 2.5 km stretch of jungle river, a completely different way to explore the greenery of Malaysian rainforests. Find out more here.

5. Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

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Get acquainted with the Orangutans and Proboscis Monkeys that are native to Borneo as you visit them in their sanctuaries and rehabilitation centres. This would be ideal for the animal-loving travelling family. Find out more here.


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6 Outdoor activities in Nepal that aren’t hiking or trekking

Whenever Nepal comes to mind, perhaps the first activity associated with it would be hiking. However, there is more to the Himalayas than just hiking or trekking in the mountains. Here are a few outdoor activities that the adventure enthusiast can look forward to:

Mountain Biking

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One of the best ways to explore Nepal’s terrain is by mountain biking. Adrenaline will be pumping through your veins as you cycle downhill mountainous landscapes.

White Water Rafting

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One of the most popular adventure sports in Nepal, white water rafting down the Trisuli River will give you spectacular views of the greenery, landscapes, and villages that are located along the river.

Paragliding

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One of the best ways to see Pokhara, the second largest city in Nepal would be by paragliding. See mountains, lakes, and temples from such great heights as you glide through the air.

Bungee jumping

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For that ultimate adrenaline rush, how about bungee jumping? Take the leap off the Bhote Koshi Bridge, 160 metres off the ground, and right into the middle of a gorge!

Ultralight aircraft

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Experience Nepal from a bird’s eye view via a microlight/ultralight aircraft fit for two as you soar around the mountains and lakes that are scattered around Nepal.

Canyoning

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For an all-in-one adventure experience, canyoning might just be the thing! Rappel, swim, scale and climb around the rocks of Nepal and untouched places of nature. Not exactly for the faint of heart but if you feel the need to push yourself a little, this might be just the thing!


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Prepare for your hike with these hacks.

There’s nothing quite like getting in touch with nature and one of the simplest ways to do that is by going on a hike.

Planning for a hiking trip, however, can be a little daunting especially for the novice or beginner hiker as one may not know what to expect but with these simple hacks thanks to GOASEAN, hiking can be a lot more enjoyable!


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Must visit places in Indonesia

Travellers, celebrate!

On the 18th of March 2016, Indonesia announced that it will be waiving visa fees for 79 new countries, bringing it to a total of 169 nationalities that can travel visa-free to the Asian archipelago.

Here are some places you must visit while travelling around this Southeast Asian country:

Komodo National Park

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huffingtonpost.com

Located in the centre of the Indonesian archipelago, the Komodo National Park is a UNESCO Heritage Site between Sumbawa and Flores consisting of three major islands; Komodo, Rinca and Padar, as well as a number of small islands. Home to the popular komodo dragon, this national park also is rich in various types of marine environments.

Yogyakarta, Java

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macaronmagazine.com

Pronounced ‘Jogjakarta’ and fondly known as Jogja, Yogyakarta is dubbed the ‘beating heart of the Javanese culture’ by Lonely Planet. A must visit in this area are Borobodur Temple and Prambanan Temple grounds, two of Indonesia’s most historic sites, the perfect destination for the culture seeker!

Mt Agung, Bali

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wisatahotelbali.com

The highest peak in Bali at 3,033 metres above sea level, Mt Agung has a spiritual significance to the locals and is home to Besakih, the ‘Mother Temple’ on the island. According to legend, Mt Agung was created by the Hindu God Pasupati split the spiritual axis of the universe, Mt Meru. The best way to enjoy Mt Agung is by taking a sunrise hike.

Tri-Coloured Lakes of Kelimutu, Flores

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Located in the same volcanic peak, the tri-coloured lakes of Kelimutu on the Flores Island are crater lakes with a unique colour variation that does not happen anywhere else on Earth. According to legend, the lakes are resting places of ancestors and its colours change according to the mood of the spirits.

Mt Bromo, East Java

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An active volcano located in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, Mt Bromo is named after the Javanese version of the name of the Hindu God, Brahma. A four-hour drive from Surabaya, Mt Bromo is an impressive collection of breathtaking views and dramatic landscapes. Visits to this volcano usually start from the Cemoro Lawang village, 2,217 metres above sea level.

Tana Toraja, Sulawesi

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pholoroid.blogspot.com

Tana Toraja, Indonesian for ‘The Land of Toraja’ is known for its painted houses with boat-shaped roof village houses. Funeral ceremonies are a highlight as it is a major event for the Torajan locals with animal sacrifices, traditional dancing and plenty of eating and drinking. Don’t forget to check out the hanging cemeteries protected by life-sized wooden effigies called ‘tau tau’.

Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan

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Initially a game reserve in the 1930’s, but designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1977 and established as a national park in 1982, Tanjung Puting National Park is one of the best places to see free-roaming orangutans. This area is a well-known ecotourism destination as it is home to a variety of flora and fauna, perfect for the outdoor adventurer.

Raja Ampat, West Papua

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indonesia.travel

Raja Ampat or ‘Four Kings’ in English, this place is named after the four major islands in this small archipelago. The perfect destination for the scuba diving explorer, Raja Ampat is not easily accessible but well worth the hassle as its located in the Coral Triangle which has the richest marine biodiversity on earth.

 


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Off the Beaten Track: Activities for the Adrenaline Junkie in Asia

Visiting a new destination is always an exciting thing as there is plenty to explore, from cultures to food to places of interest. However, there are the few who rather take it up a few notches and experience a different kind of adventure far from the city and temple hotspots.

If extreme and outdoor activities are what you crave, these are a few activities you can take part in while travelling around Asia.

White Water Rafting

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A must for the thrill seeker, white water rafting is essentially navigating an inflated raft down a river. You will have your heart pumping as you paddle down drops and sharp corners.

Varying in different degrees of difficulty, White Water Rafting levels range from Class 1 (basic) to Class 6 (dangerous).

Manoeuvre a raft through the waters of the Songprak River in Krabi (Class 2-4), sandwiched between lush jungles, explore the previously untouched waters of the Ayung River in Bali (Class 2-3), take it slow in Sabah’s Kiulu River (Class 1-2) or go all out in the Himalayan waters of the Trishuli River in Kathmandu (Class 1-4).

Rock Climbing

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Perhaps the best way to get over a fear of heights, rock climbing is for those who want to push their limits and experience what can be described as a slow adrenaline rush.

Extremely addictive, rock climbing is a sport for everyone, regardless of age or physique. All you need is guts and a sharp eye for safety.

Scale the cliffs in Krabi, Thailand, the mecca of the rock climbing world, take in the view of China’s countryside from the rocks in Yangshou, or take your climbing skills to greater heights in Northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai.

Zip-Lining

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Also known as the flying fox or aerial runway, zip-lining uses gravity to propel its user down a long steel cable, an incredible experience for those who are up for the thrill of flying through the jungle from the safety of a harness.

Initially used as a mode of transport through mountainous terrain or to cross rivers, zip-lining has become a popular outdoor activity for both adults and kids.

Zip through the jungle canopy of Chiang Mai at 21mph, race your friends to the bottom at Singapore’s Mega Zip Adventure Park, fly like the wind in Phuket or take it up a notch at the Angkor Complex Zipline Adventure in Cambodia along 10 ziplines!

Mountain Biking

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Essentially cycling off road or on dirt roads using bikes that have been built to handle rough terrains, mountain biking is a sport that has been gaining popularity over the past few years.

Also a great way to explore the jungle, mountain biking brings you right smack into nature as you navigate through trees, slopes, and natural ramps.

Go on a 4-day cycling adventure through the hills of Chiang Dao to the Maekok river valler in Chiang Mai, discover Phnom Kulen in Siem Reap and its temples, waterfalls and river beds, rough it out on the challenging Buffalo Soldier Trail in Chiang Mai or go extreme on an 18-mile trail in Khao Ito, near Bangkok.

Scuba Diving

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The earth is covered two-thirds in water and what is exploration if you do not get several metres below the water’s surface?

Perfect for the sand and sea lover, scuba diving is an extreme activity that allows one to observe marine life in the most natural way possible, or to explore wrecks and caves under the sea.

Explore the UNESCO world Biosphere Reserve of Cham Island in Vietnam, take a full day to see the diverse marine life around the famous Similan Islands in Thailand, or simply go all the way and obtain an Open Water Certification in Bali, Indonesia.

Hiking

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Challenging yet rewarding, hiking is the best fun you can have simply by putting one foot in front of the other!

Varying in different degrees of difficulty, hiking can be fun for the whole family, or the adventurous traveller wanting to get in touch with nature.

Follow a guide through the Champadevi countryside in Nepal, search for sunrise as you hike up the highest mountain in Bali, Mt Agung or embark on a hiking excursion on one of Southeast Asia’s highest mountain, Mt Kinabalu.

ATV (All Terrain Vehicle)

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Also known as the quad-bike or four-wheeler, the ATV will have you on the edge of your seat as you zip across various landscapes.

A trip that could potentially be a massively muddy one, make sure you’ve the right clothing and footwear on before embarking on what could be the ride of your life.

Drive your own bike or ride pillion through the mountain trails in Chiang Mai, explore the Balinese landscape in Ubud or navigate through mangrove forests and along the beach in Phuket.


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Hiking trails in Hong Kong to bring you closer to nature

Contrary to popular belief, Hong Kong is not all concrete jungle and there is more wildlife on the island than the party animals found staggering down the street on a Friday night in Lan Kwai Fong.

Hong Kong is not restricted to Kowloon and Hong Kong Island like most tend to believe, but stretches out for 1,104² kilometres over 235 islands! If you have only visited their developed areas, that would leave you with another 75% of the country waiting to be explored.

So, pack your hiking boots and track bottoms (or tights) the next time you pay this archipelago a visit and check out these nature trails.

Ma On Shan Hiking Trail 

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Ma On Shan, characteristically known for its saddle-like appearance, is one of the highest mountains in Hong Kong at a towering 702 metres (2,303 ft).

As Ma On Shan is full of greenery and trees on one side whilst the other is covered with shrubs and grasses, you can expect to see an array of flora in this area and if lucky, you may come across a Chinese Pangolin or Chinese Porcupine.

This strenuous 11-kilometre ridge walk over mountain slopes and through twin peaks is one for the adventure seeker looking for a bit of a challenge.

Tai Mo Shan Hiking Trail

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The big daddy of peaks in Hong Kong, Tai Mo Shan is the highest peak in Hong Kong with an elevation of 957m (3140ft), also making it the second tallest peak in China.

Composed of volcanic rocks from the Jurassic era, a small part of Tai Mo Shan vents warm air through cracks that lead all the way into the Earth’s mantle.

Also nestled in the dense jungle that surrounds Tai Mo Shan is the Ng Tung Chai Waterfalls, a series of waterfalls that cascade from a 30 metre (98ft) height.

Lantau Island Gorge Walk

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Located South-West of Hong Kong is its largest island, Lantau Island, which is covered in a mountainous terrain. Covered in greenery, the island is known as the “lungs of Hong Kong” as it does not share the same skyscraper landscape Kowloon and Hong Kong Island own.

Perfect for hikes year-round, this trail is scattered with boulders, cliffs and waterfalls, a perfect escape from the concrete jungle with the scrambling needed to cover the rocky terrain.

Taking an approximate five hours to complete, Lantau Island Gorge Walk is just what the doctor ordered if you have a few hours to kill and a sense of adventure to satiate.

Dragon’s Back Hiking Trail

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Once voted as the ‘Best Urban Hiking Trail in Asia,’ Dragon’s Back Hiking Trail is a must visit for both hiking enthusiasts and the novice looking for something other than food and shopping.

Expect to see bamboo groves and woodland, and of course, a stunning view of the South of Hong Kong Island as you scale the “dragon’s spine” before jumping into the cool waters of the Big Wave Bay located at the end of the trail.

This trail is perfect for families with kids as it is relatively easy. Who knows, they may ditch the idea of perpetually being glued to their iPads after visiting nature’s playground.


For more travel inspiration, check out some of the personalised itineraries created on Touristly here:

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25 most breath-taking rooftops with a view

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Alfresco dining is all the rage now, there’s nothing like good food and good company in the great outdoors. Restaurants and bars have taken alfresco dining one step further thus the term roof top dining. Nowadays there’s rooftop bars and eateries are popping up all over urban jungles like daisies in Spring, we say keep them coming because if they have views like this (photo above), people will keep on coming. Click here to see different rooftop bars and eateries around the world.