Top 10 Southeast Asia Kayaking Destinations

Imagine paddling between soaring, limestone cliffs to discover secret coves and mysterious caves? Or, how about floating across aqua water that’s so clear you can spot incredible marine life without ever getting wet? Southeast Asia kayaking destinations offer all this and more, with year-round warm weather to top off the experience.

Get ready to pack your Oru Kayak Beach LT Folding Portable Lightweight kayak for an unforgettable journey across exotic waters. 

Southeast Asia Kayaking Destinations

1. Raja Ampat, Indonesia

southeast asia kayaking destinations

Indonesia’s Raja Ampat is still a remote paradise on earth, with a maze of limestone islands to explore. This is calm water sea kayaking at its best, with unspoiled beaches and diverse marine life to meet along the way. To ensure you see all the highlights of this natural wonderland, it’s a good idea to join one of many liveaboard boat cruises. Therefore, you can sleep on the crystal-clear sea and kayak till your heart’s content.  

2. Nam Khan River, Laos

southeast asia kayaking destinations

The Nam Khan River winds peacefully through the UNESCO-listed town of Luang Prabang, to converge with the mighty Mekong. Kayaking here is the perfect way to see the sights, with rural life bustling on the riverbanks and local fishermen flocking to find the catch of the day. You can easily stop along the way to visit the enchanting Tad Sae Waterfall and traditional villages. Due to low water levels in the dry season, the best kayaking is from June to December.

3. Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia

southeast asia kayaking destinations

If you have children or are a beginner paddler, the Intex Challenger Inflatable Kayak is a great choice for travel. In terms of southeast Asia kayaking destinations for beginners, Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake is a calm haven filled with exotic sights. You’ll discover floating fishing villages, mangrove forests, lush rice paddies and amazing bird life. Also, you’ll bask in the warm smiles of friendly locals immersed in daily life on the water.

4. Ayung River, Indonesia

southeast asia kayaking destinations

From grade III rapids to thrilling drops and channels through lush jungles, Bali’s Ayung River is among the top southeast Asia kayaking destinations for adventure-seekers. The river rushes through the popular town of Ubud. You’ll enjoy scenic temples, rice paddies, butterflies and waterfalls as you ride the rapids. The best way to explore this river is on a guided tour if you’re a first-time visitor.

5. Langkawi, Malaysia

southeast asia kayaking destinations

Calm shorelines and sparkling clear water makes Langkawi a great spot for a traveler’s inflatable kayak, like the Innova Sunny. There’s plenty to discover, including lush mangrove forests, rock formations and sea caves. Also, you can expect to see an abundance of wildlife, with sea eagles, herons, monitor lizards and dolphins commonly spotted.

6. Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

southeast asia kayaking destinations

Phang Nga Bay is famous among southeast Asia kayaking destinations. The region is home to James Bond Island, named for its starring role in the movie, The Man with the Golden Gun. Kayaking here puts you in the heart of magnificent limestone scenery. You’ll explore caves, secret lagoons and white-sand beaches. Above all, there’s the excitement of passable, low-lying tunnels filled with bats, beneath limestone rock formations.

7. Mekong Delta, Vietnam

southeast asia kayaking destinations

The Mekong Delta, in southern Vietnam, is a place where most aspects of life revolve around the rivers, canals and streams. As you kayak through nature trails you’re treated to a glimpse of fascinating local culture. See colorful floating markets, water buffalo grazing across rice paddies and villages perched charmingly in watery surrounds.

9. Halong Bay, Vietnam

southeast asia kayaking destinations

Famed for its emerald waters and limestone islands, Vietnam’s Halong Bay is one of the world’s top kayaking destinations. Most travelers kayak as part of a tour. However, it is possible to do it independently. So, by all means, bring along your Sea Eagle 330 and hire a private boat to get you out to the heart of the UNESCO-listed natural wonderland.

9. Inle Lake, Myanmar

southeast asia kayaking destinations

If you’re traveling to Myanmar, don’t miss out on kayaking across Inle Lake. This tranquil experience takes you on a journey to see traditional stilt houses and the Intha people using their unique, one-legged paddling style to steer fishing boats. You’ll also glide down narrow waterways, on a backdrop of mountains and quaint villages.

10. El Nido, Philippines

southeast asia kayaking destinations

When you’re looking for a tropical paradise in which to try out your new Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame kayak, head to El Nido, Palawan. This is a land of turquoise lagoons, white sand beaches, dramatic rock formations and over-water beach huts to rest your paddles overnight. Make sure you pack your snorkeling gear to enjoy the magic under the water too.

From dazzling big-wall paddling to raging rapids and tranquil lakes, it’s no wonder southeast Asia kayaking destinations are celebrated by paddlers across the globe.

 

Nicole West
 

Nicole Leigh West is an internationally published travel and lifestyle writer. She's traveled to more than 60 countries and you'll most often find her kayaking, diving and swimming across the globe.

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