Great places for sea kayaking in Southeast Asia

Sea Kayaking in Raja Ampat in Indonesia
Photo: Upplevelsesbolaget.

Southeast Asia offers some of the most spectacular places for kayaking. Sea kayaking is popular worldwide because of the possibility to enjoy and exercise in a natural environment for a better quality of life.

When sea kayaking enthusiasts prefer Southeast Asia over other regions it is because of the great variety of options and different natural environments this vast region offers. Here, it is possible to experience kayaking in the open sea, in more protected bays and up the major majestic rivers in all their extension.

Although the weather is never too cold for sea kayaking, some seasons are more recommendable for some locations than others. As recommended by KayakerGuide here are the best seasons and places to enjoy kayaking in Southeast Asia.

The best season for kayaking 

In general, the best season to go and enjoy these natural environments is undoubtedly from October to February. However, Southeast Asia is crossed by the Equator. Here it is necessary to consider exactly which area you wish to visit.

Those who wish to visit the southern hemisphere within Southeast Asia can choose spring and summer to enjoy these natural environments. The natural environment is much more beautiful between October and November and water levels are higher.

Those wishing to visit the northern hemisphere within Southeast Asia should choose autumn or winter. Beyond that, there is not much difference. For cooler temperatures, choose sometime between October and February. Especially when people are close to the Equator, the climatic difference is not too great.

Those who wish to practice kayaking can find a wide variety of places along with a warm and pleasant environment almost any time of the year if they check local destination high and low season.


Some of the most popular sites

While there are a myriad of locations to choose among, KayakerGuide recommends these four locations.

1. Raja Ampat, Indonesia

In Indonesia, the Raja Ampat Islands are a unique destination to enjoying kayaking in a warm and pleasant environment. Here it is also possible to enjoy other activities such as scuba diving. Throughout this area, people encounter spectacular landscapes that include pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, and a wide diversity of marine life.

The Raja Ampat Islands are an Indonesian archipelago off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula in West Papua. Comprising hundreds of jungle-covered islands, Raja Ampat is known for its beaches and coral reefs rich with marine life. Ancient rock paintings and caves are on Misool Island, while the crimson bird of paradise lives on Waigeo Island. Batanta and Salawati are the archipelago’s other main islands.

Without a doubt, this is one of the most unforgettable places to enjoy kayaking. However, in these sites, it is necessary to have paddles and special equipment to protect the national park and the local community. It is a natural environment that is taken care of by the local authorities. It is also possible to find experienced kayakers on site who offer tours all year round.

2. Halong Bay, Vietnam

More easily accessible is Halong Bay in northeast Vietnam. This bay, is known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. The region is also popular for scuba diving, rock climbing and hiking, particularly in mountainous Cát Bà National Park.

Junk boat tours and sea kayak expeditions take visitors past islands named for their shapes, including Stone Dog and Teapot islets. However, people also can practice kayaking independently. It is also highly recommended to visit these places between October and February. Cat Ba Island has the port of Ben Beo. Here, kayaks are usually rented for two people who wish to enjoy the whole day in these waters.

Despite its popularity, the area also offers uninhabited beaches, hidden caves, all kinds of lagoons, and natural tunnels. That is why a large number of people decide to return every year to this magical place with a unique nature.

Sea Kayaking in Halong Bay, Vietnam.

3. Inle Lake, Myanmar

Another way to enjoy kayaking in Southeast Asia between October and February is Inle Lake in Myanmar. Located in western Shan State, the picturesque Inle Lake is famous for its floating villages and gardens and the unique way of life of the local Intha people, with their living communities based entirely on the water.

The lake, which measures 22 km long by 10 km wide, and sits in a valley between two mountain ranges, feels like a different world to the rest of Myanmar: in villages and towns across the lake, wooden houses are built on stilts and fishermen steer their one-man boats with a characteristic rowing style, wrapping one leg around their oar.

Kayaking on the lake is a great alternatve to the regular tourist boats and enables you to go places you choose individually. You will enjoy amazing natural environments.

Here people can enjoy restaurants on the water or stay in a bungalow on the water. This can be a good choice to enjoy several days of kayaking. It is even possible to enjoy the Jumping Cat monastery, one of the most famous monasteries in this area.

4. Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia

Another very popular place in Southeast Asia for kayaking is the Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia. Here people can enjoy the classic Asian culture with the locals. It is a lake located near Siem Reap. The special thing about this area is that there are calm waters that are combined with a pleasant natural environment. Here kayaking enthusiasts or those who are inexperienced can enjoy.

This allows the kayaker to adapt to the kayak while at the same time the person will be able to enjoy all the natural surroundings. There are even floating villages here that offer a paradisiacal environment like few other places in the world.

With some luck, people can meet some rare birds when visiting the mangrove forest. This is why it is a highly recommended place to visit between October and February.


About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

View all posts by Gregers Møller

One Comment on “Great places for sea kayaking in Southeast Asia”

  1. Interesting article. I’ve never been to Asia, but I really want to. And since I’m obsessed with kayaking, I’m very interested in where to kayak. It would also be nice to describe where you can rent a kayak.

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