10 Of The Craziest Extreme Sports From Around The World
We’ve hunted down the biggest and the best of the most extreme sports to experience when you’re travelling, and where to try them.
Whether you’re attracted to the thrill of heights, the risk factor, or the sensation of being deep underwater, there’s a bucket list destination here waiting for you. It’s now or never...
(1) THE HIGHEST BUNGEE JUMP ON EARTH IN MACAU
Macau Tower (credit: Instagram@aj_hackett_macau_tower)
The mighty bungee jump is our number one extreme sport. The holy grail of adrenalin-seeking backpackers, the highest bungee jump on earth is at the gambling mecca of Macau, an hour from Hong Kong. At 233mm high, a bungee jump from the Macau Tower it’s not for the faint-hearted – but it will be over before you know it, and leave you with just an endorphin high and a lifelong memory to treasure (disclaimer: you may well get addicted to the adrenaline, and your first bungee jump is unlikely to be your last).
(2) WINGSUIT FLYING OVER PALM JUMEIRAH ISLAND
Jureirah Island (credit: Richard Schneider)
Wingsuit flying (aka squirrel suiting) comes a close second and involves gliding – or basically freefalling - through the air using material between the legs and under the arms to add surface area to your body. Longer-haul travellers should head to the drop over Palm Jumeirah Island in Dubai. It’s wingsuit wonderland, and has mind-blowing views. The jump altitude there can reach up to 3962m above sea level.
(3) MOUNTAIN BIKING ALONG THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS ROAD IN BOLIVIA
Yungas Road (credit: Instagram@gozzermarco)
Yungas Road in Bolivia is where mountain biking gets serious. There’s a 64km downhill dirt track, but there’s also sheer drops, hairpins, and a gnarly surface – taking globetrotting to a whole new level. There’s nothing quite like exploring unpredictable terrains like this, where there’s a surprise around every corner. Also known as the ‘Death Road’, it leads from the incredible carnival city of La Paz on to Coroico.
(4) FREE DIVING AROUND THE GILI ISLANDS IN THE INDIAN OCEAN
Gili Islands (credit: Instagram@divessi)
Free diving is a form of underwater diving that pushes your limits. It relies on your ability to hold your breath until resurfacing, instead of using breathing apparatus. People in Japan and Korea have been free diving for thousands of years for oysters and pearls, but now it’s considered a sport in its own right and is increasingly popular among travellers and adventurers. The most beautiful place in the world to dive deep is off the Gili Islands in Indonesia – a backpacker’s paradise
(5) TOW-IN SURFING IN TASMANIA
(credit: Laurent Guerin)
Like a challenge? Surfing doesn’t have to be chilled. Some of the most extreme surfing can be found travelling through the Australian island state Tasmania. At Shipstern Bluff in the Tasman National Park, you can encounter waves up to 20ft after being towed in on a jet ski and thrown directly into the path of the wave. Once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be surfing a feel-good wave for the rest of your travels.
(6) WHITEWATER RAFTING IN THE ZAMBEZI RIVER
Zambezi River (credit: Instagram@victoria_falls_)
Some of the wildest and most thrilling rapids in the world can be found under the mist of the Victoria Falls (one of the seven wonders of the world to see before you die) between Zimbabwe and Zambia. It’s a Class V on the International Scale of River Difficulty, which mean it’s pretty hardcore. You’ll get full bragging rights if you manage to take on the Stairway to Heaven, the Devil’s Toilet Bowl and Commercial Suicide, and spot the big 5 while you’re there on safari, too.
(7) DISCOVER A ROCK CLIMBER’S PARADISE IN KRABI, THAILAND
Rai Leh (credit: Brian Chiu)
If you love south east Asia and love climbing, head to Rai Leh between the cities of Krabi and Ao Nang in Thailand. It’s a backpacker’s paradise that’s only accessible by boat thanks to the dramatically beautiful craggy cliffs, with thousands of routes for both climbers and boulderers (the sparkling blue sea is an added bonus). Are you brave enough to take on the famous Thaiwand Wall?
(8) HEAD TO LES ARCS TO TEST YOURSELF WITH SLACKLINING
Les Arcs (credit: Festislack)
You can set up a slackline pretty much anywhere – there’s a rock feature near Cala Goloritze Beach in Sardinia that’s ideal – but the French Alps is a must for the views of the snow-capped mountains. Try Les Arcs, which hosts the Festislack Slacklining Festival each year facing Mont Blanc. Be careful - it will take practice, and guts.
(9) ICE CANOEING IN CANADA’S ST LAWRENCE RIVER
St Lawrence River (credit: Jamie McCaffrey)
This high-octane winter sport should be high on any adrenalin junkie’s bucket list. We recommend trying this fast-paced sport in Canada, between the cities of Levis and Quebec.
The St Lawrence river has the best conditions in the world for the sport, which is what makes Canada the ultimate destination for travellers who aren’t afraid of the cold. Expect a brutal climate and huge slabs of ice that you’ll be going over, as well as around.
(10) VOLCANO BOARDING IN NICARAGUA
Cerro Negro (credit: Instagram@lifeasiknowit)
Pulse not racing yet? Try volcano boarding – that’s the art of speeding down the face of an active volcano on a toboggan, using your heels to brake and steer at speeds of up to 90km per hour.
The León Big Foot Hostel in Nicaragua run daily trips to the nearby Cerro Negro volcano. Otherwise, volcano trekking company and charity Quetzaltrekkers offer hikes with a party vibe. Either way, be prepared for a hike up that’s worth the ride back down. The beach at Las Peñitas is only a 30 minute bus ride away, and Leon also has a buzzing nightlife - so you can go and relax afterwards. Do you dare?
By Maddi Howell