For those seeking thrills beyond the ordinary or looking to add an element of competition to an already active itinerary, Asia has a variety of challenging sports – some of them quite unusual and bound to get your pulse up. While some have age or height restrictions and are not suitable for children (such as paragliding or ultra-light planes in Nepal), most of these activities can be customized so that the whole family may participate.
Japan’s reputation as a world-class winter sports destination has been growing ever since the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano catapulted it onto the international stage. Hokkaido, the country’s northernmost island, is Japan’s skiing mecca for locals and foreigners alike, boasting some of the world’s deepest snowfall accumulation. Follow a day on the slopes with the Japanese tradition of a soothing soak in an onsen, or natural hot spring bath, in your private chalet. And if superlative skiing combined with hot springs weren’t enough, Hokkaido is also one of the emerging culinary centers of Japan, home to superb seafood, succulent wagyu beef and more.
Mongolian sports embody a long and tenacious history among the arid steppes of Northern Asia; some events and contests derive from age-old hunting and survival techniques. Kazakh falconry, for example, practiced mainly in far western Mongolia, has been handed down each generation for a millennium, which travelers today can experience in Bayan Olgii each October or throughout the year under the supervision of seasoned eagle hunters. Mongolia’s main annual sporting event is Naadam, with contests in archery, wrestling and horseback riding. The main Naadam is in Ulaanbaatar, though Remote Lands recommends smaller, less touristy festivals outside the capital.
Peer out at the snow-peaked reaches of Nepal’s famed mountain ranges from the passenger’s seat of an ultra-light aircraft, soaring among the clouds at an altitude of 12,000 feet. Alternatively, feel the wind in your face as you paraglide beneath a fluttering canopy of nylon. Under the supervision of expert pilots, the intrepid will ascend to rarified heights over Pokhara Valley and be rewarded with views of Machapuchare’s sacred “fish tail” peak and other indelible vistas.
Kickboxing is practiced in various forms throughout Southeast Asia, but it’s Thailand's Muay Thai that has undoubtedly attracted the most international attention, perhaps due to the extreme dedication and formidability of its practitioners. Sometimes called “the art of the eight limbs,” Muay Thai technique uses hands, shins, elbows, in a rapid succession of coordinated strikes to defeat an opponent. Similar disciplines includepradal serey in Cambodia, lethwei in Myanmar, tomoi in Malaysia, and Lao boxing.
Cau May is the Vietnamese name for the thrilling sepak takraw. Picture volleyball – except you can’t use our hands or arms. Instead, players hurl a woven ball over the net using any other body part, often the feet. Exceptionally limber and agile players often delight audiences with acrobatic maneuvers, using multiple touches to position the takraw for soaring aerial spikes, which sometimes reach speeds of 80 miles per hour. Sepak takraw is played competitively throughout Southeast Asia under many names, including ka-taw in Laos and sipa in the Philippines. Remote Lands can arrange for private lessons and games in the sport as well.
This is just a selection of the Asia sports and adventure experiences Remote Lands can incorporate into your Asia luxury holiday. Please contact us today for more information and to begin planning your trip.