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6 Best Places for Active Travel in Asia

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6 Best Places for Active Travel in Asia

Lirene CilliersBy Lirene Cilliers   Posted 7th Nov 2023

Feeling a bit like you're stuck in a fly-and-flop vacation rut? While there is a time and place for it, we get it. You're itching for more than laying by the pool, and we're here to scratch that travel itch!
With over 20 years of experience scouring Asia, we’re bringing you our six best places for biking, kayaking, and hiking adventures suitable for all generations and fitness levels. No superpowers are needed, just your passion for exploration.
Ready to dive into these extraordinary destinations and create the kind of experiences that make you pinch yourself to check if it's real? Let's begin!

Shikoku, Japan 

Welcome to Shikoku, the land of ancient castles, Shinto Shrines, and Buddhist monasteries, where the past and present engage in an elegant dance. Shikoku's unique blend of nature, culture, and history has earned it a reputation as an off-the-beaten-path destination for travelers seeking a deeper Japan experience.
This island is a cultural kaleidoscope where traditional etiquette seamlessly blends with contemporary modern design. But Shikoku isn't just a historical treasure trove; it's an island of unimaginable natural beauty. Think epic coastal rides that leave you in awe and verdant river valleys that whisk you away to another world. 

What To Do in Shikoku, Japan:

  • Pedal the world-famous Shimanami Kaido route across the Seto Sea 
  • Explore sacred temples along Shikoku’s historic 88 temple pilgrimage 
  • Create traditional washi paper in Yusuhara with world-renowned artist 
  • Your journey to Japan would not be complete without a Sake tasting 

Best Time to Visit Shikoku, Japan:

Spring and Autumn months, specifically from March to May and September to November. During these periods, you'll experience pleasant weather, blooming cherry blossoms in spring, and vibrant foliage in autumn. These seasons offer the ideal conditions for cycling, temple exploration, and outdoor activities.
However, Shikoku's beauty shines year-round, so you can plan your visit based on your preferences. 

Let us take care of the planning while you bike through Shikoku on this Stunning Shikoku Bike Tour Of Japan

Kyoto, Japan 

Nestled in the heart of Japan, Kyoto is a cultural treasure chest waiting to be unlocked. With its historic charm, this city is a living testament to Japan's rich past. Here, traditional tea houses, serene gardens, and ancient temples are your companions as you wander through the streets. 

What to do in Kyoto, Japan and Surrounding Areas: 

  • Explore the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto as you cycle through this cultural capital 
  • Stay in traditional Ryokan accommodations for a taste of Japanese culture. Sliding paper doors, tatami mats, and a peaceful ambiance create an unforgettable experience. 
  • Pedal through the ancient city of Nara before riding to Yoshino in the forested Kii Mountains 
  • Climb the sacred Mount Koya, the home of Shingon Buddhism, and stay in a traditional monk's accommodation 
  • Visit the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and explore iconic bamboo groves and gardens. 
  • Walk through the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine, arguably Kyoto’s most famous attraction. 

Best Time to Visit Kyoto, Japan: 

Spring and autumn months, from March to May and September to November. Spring gifts you with blooming cherry blossoms, turning the city into a dreamy pink paradise. Autumn, on the other hand, paints Kyoto in vibrant shades of red and gold as the foliage transforms. These seasons offer the most pleasant weather for exploring the city, its temples, and gardens.
Kyoto is not a must-see destination; it's a must-experience one. Unlock Kyoto's secrets on this self-guided bike tour, a unique experience that unveils the city's hidden gems. For an even more immersive adventure, delve into our specially crafted Kyoto Explorer guided tour extension and make the most of your visit. 


Taiwan, an island nation, is like a hidden gem in a jewelry store. Tucked away from the usual tourist spotlights, it's a tropical paradise brimming with friendly locals and indigenous communities.

You'll find yourself miles away from the ordinary, exploring a world of long beaches, abundant fruit plantations, and a lively food scene. And that's just the beginning.

Taiwan sits on the Ring of Fire and offers jaw-dropping inland mountains and an abundance of hot springs to choose from to rejuvenate.

What to do in Taiwan:

  • Cycle through the dramatic Taroko Gorge on part of the famous King of the Mountains route 
  • Ride the Rift Valley, an enchanting lost world of lush green rice paddies, tropical fruit farms, hot springs, and tribal villages 
  • Keep your eyes peeled for monkeys, deer, eagles, and Formosan bears on a hike into the Central Mountain Range on the Walami Trail
  • Glide on a stand-up paddleboard along the emerald-green waters and dramatic cliffs of Donghe River Gorge 

Best Time to Visit Taiwan: 

The ideal time to explore Taiwan is from March to June and October to December. These months offer warm weather with clear skies and low humidity, creating the perfect conditions for outdoor adventures.
Experience the best of Taiwan and its 16 indigenous cultures with a passionate local guide on this Bike Taiwan Tour.  


Vietnam is, in essence, a life-changing experience. From Saigon's bustling streets to the serene highlands, each offers a unique contrast. Ha Long Bay's emerald waters hide legendary caves, and Hoi An's lantern-lit alleys exude charm. Each bowl of pho and bun cha tells a culinary story, while historic sites, like the Imperial City of Hue and Cu Chi Tunnels, whisper tales of resilience.

Vietnam encourages you to explore, taste, and embrace its captivating tapestry of experiences. 

What to do in Vietnam: 

  • Explore small villages of the Mekong Delta along shaded pathways, sharing greetings with locals while sampling the bounty of fresh fruits 
  • Cycle over Hai Van Pass from Hue to Danang to explore Hoi An, Vietnam's most well-preserved and beautiful colonial city 
  • Savor the foods that make Vietnamese cuisine world-famous, with subtle variations in all the regions we visit, and dinners prepared in local homes 
  • Explore the colonial French architecture and the views from the Perfume River of Hue 
  • Pedal through the villages and rice paddies of rural Hoi An to the UNESCO listed ruins of My Son 
  • Cycle through traditional fishing villages, then end the day on the paradise island of Tam Hai 

Best Time to Visit Vietnam:

Vietnam's beauty shines year-round, so you can plan your visit based on your preferences and enjoy many unique experiences in this diverse country.

 Don't just visit Vietnam; uncover more during your adventure and let it change you for the better. Allow us to show you the Essentials of Vietnam on this bike tour, taking you from the Mekong

Delta to Hoi An. Or, if you crave a little more independence, this self-guided bike tour of Vietnam is calling your name.  

Chiang Mai

Nestled in the mountainous beauty of Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is a city where traditions thrive, and modernity finds a harmonious home. It's a place where ancient temples, like the renowned Doi Suthep, stand proudly alongside bustling night markets that come alive with the setting sun.

Just a short flight from Bangkok, Chiang Mai is easily accessible. In Chiang Mai, the aroma of street food fills the air, tempting your taste buds with the flavors of Northern Thailand. The lush forests surrounding the city invite you to bike through serene landscapes, and hidden waterfalls reward adventurous hikers. 

What to do in Northern Thailand: 

  • Bike tour of northern Thailand's postcard rural landscapes 
  • Explore the highlights of Chiang Rai, from white temples to active night markets 
  • Cycle through lush forests and national parks to Chiang Mai city 
  • Savor the tastes of Northern Thailand on a city food tour 
  • Hike iconic Doi Suthep in the early morning, avoiding the tourist crowds 

Best Time to Visit Chiang Mai: 

The best time to explore Chiang Mai is during the cool and dry season, from October to March. These months offer pleasant weather, making it ideal for outdoor activities, cultural exploration, and nature adventures. The calm atmosphere ensures an unforgettable experience.
Experience the heart of Northern Thailand on an unforgettable 7-day e-bike adventure where you'll pedal as hard or as lightly as you fancy through rural mountain vistas, lush forests, and national parks. 

Southern Thailand 

Thailand's famous beaches, delicious food, and friendly people make it a great place for a refreshing break. It's an ideal spot for a bike adventure that mixes modern comforts with tradition. With stunning mountains, beautiful beaches, green fields, and lively cities, Thailand's natural beauty and vibrant culture will win your heart, making it tough to say goodbye.

What to do in Southern Thailand: 

  • Pedal along the coast and then back roads through the countryside to the charming beach town of Pranburi 
  • Visit the “monkey temple” of Prachuap Khiri Khan, full of langurs and stunning views of the bay and countryside 
  • Bike to the secluded Phaya Nakon Cave and its vast illuminated chamber 
  • Eat fresh crab on the beach in Hua Hin 
  • Learn about local aquamarine life with a stop at the Waghor Aquarium 
  • Taste Thai's local wine at Monsoon Valley Vinyard 
  • Explore the secluded island of Koh Talu 
  • Explore Khao Sok National Park's towering limestone karsts by foot and kayak  

Best Time to Visit Southern Thailand: 

Our favorite times are November to February and July to August. These months offer ideal weather for outdoor activities, beach adventures, and cultural exploration. The calm and clear conditions make your journey even more memorable.
Explore Thailand's ocean roads on our guided Bangkok to Phuket Bike Tour or set out on a self-guided adventure

Adventures for Every Traveler in Asia 

As the sun sets over these incredible destinations, it's not just the landscapes that take your breath away; it's the stories you collect along the way. The people you meet, the flavors you savor, and the adventures you embrace - they all leave a mark on your heart.
So, whether you're biking through ancient temples, paddling along emerald-green waters, or savoring the tastes of exotic cuisines, one thing's for sure: the call of Asia and the South Pacific is an invitation to make memories, not just see places.
These journeys will enrich your life, one pedal stroke, one paddle, one bite at a time.
Explore more of our bike tours here.

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