Adventure Travel in Asia:
Jungle Trekking and Summer Camps for Kids
With the Changi Airport in close reach other attractive countries are a few flight hours away and will tempt you to frequently travel the region. Singapore is literally the gate to many adventures in the region.
Travel as much as you possibly can, those memories can never be taken away from you again and you may never be so close to the world’s finest tourist attractions!
Learn how to dive, trek the jungles of Borneo or sail down the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea.
But despite all the excitement adventure travel in Asia is not like visiting Disneyland and you need to prepare your trips and excursions in the best possible way.
See also Outward Bound or follow the web links listed below
Great Expeditions Travel
Divers Alert Network Southeast Asia
Camping in Asia
Sportfishing in Asia
Biking in Asia
Kids’ Summer Camps
There are some fabulous adventurous summer camps waiting for youngster to explore the exotic nature of the region. Book early to avoid disappointment!
See also and Day Camps in the International Schools and Outward Bound in the Sport Section.
A lick and a promise..
Babi Besar Island, Malaysia
Jim and Junia Baker
Tel: 6 468 7615
A peat swamp forest close to Kota Tinggi, Johore
Tel: 6 737 6511
Summer School in Thailand/Chiang Mai
American Pacific International School
Tel: 0066 53 365303
LooLa Adventure Resort Bintan
Tel. 6764 6496
HP 9643 0478
Outward Bound Singapore
Pulau Ubin and Singapore East Coast Parkway
Tel: 6240 7117/108
Outdoor Discovery Course
Tel: 6 545 10194/109
Tel: 6546 9194
Horse Riding Summer Camps (Malaysia)
Tel: 02 – 07 652 5335
Habitat For Humanity (16+)
Tel: 6471 2311
Raleighs International (17-25 yrs)
Singapore International Foundation
Tel: 6837 8745
Tel: 6221 9600
Kota Rainforest Resort & Adventure Centre
Kota Tinggi Johor Malaysia
Tel: 0207 8820030
Website Paka River Camp
Paka Terengganu – Malaysia
Call of the Jungle
During your stay in Singapore you should not miss the opportunity to see at least one of the dozen West Malaysian National Parks or game sanctuaries. Here you see nature at its most beautiful.
You have to be a biologist, a botanist or an ornithologist in order to give nature its due, but your admiration will not be any the less for it. The variety of animated Nature is truly overwhelming.
This paradise is open to you, if you wish to get acquainted with the traces of its inhabitants.
The National Parks offer tourists a diverse programmer. Travel agencies recognize the tourist who even in the jungle does not wish to live without luxury and air conditioning, and who prefers a few short treks in the jungle, or some boating along the river.
Info: National Parks Malaysia
National Parks are ideal for the young people who just wish to have a good time in the jungle, who appreciate plants and animals in a rather indifferent way and who cannot spend much money. Or the family with children during the school holidays, wishing to know all about flora and fauna, observing all kinds of things. The bird watchers, trekkers, fishing people or cave explorers.
For all of these, the jungle is calling — and its world its fascinating.
Below we give some advise on how to cope with the jungle when on an adventure trip in this region.
This is unknown territory for most of us expats and to read this sections helps you to prepare for some very unusual holidays.
Preparation for Jungle Adventurers
There is an element of hardship in adventure travel which asks for healthy, fit participants. It’s hot, it’s humid, it’s not comparable with trekking on a latitude with continental climate. Therefore, it is better not to take along any children under 12.
With thorough preparation and reliable equipment, many problems can be coped with, though. I have seen tourists prepared for the track wearing sandals, I have seen them panic when there wasn’t a plaster for their cut, I have seen them wondering what to do about this bee-sting.
A jungle track isn’t exactly Sunday afternoon in the park next door, it has to be prepared for. You should not only have a first-aid kit in your luggage, but also a copy of your passport and vaccination certificate.
If you travel to far-away places on your adventure trips in Asia, you must realize that the nearest hospital, or even the nearest doctor, may be at several hours distance.
The only people you meet are those not having much for themselves such as the family living in the hut in the photo below.
As a consequence, your first-aid kit should be adapted. Ask your physician what to take along. Medicine must be wrapped in an air-tight container, to keep humidity out. Leave your contact lenses at home, wear glasses, and take a spare pair along.
Info: Jungle Kit
salt- and mineral tablets in case of dehydration
antihistamine in case of bites and certain allergies
lotions or ointments for bites and stings
elastic bandage material
An eye-shield -a lot of accidents are caused by swishing branches.
What to Wear
Good, practical clothes are needed. You are best protected against stings, blisters, scratches and humidity by wearing a long-sleeve cotton shirt, fitted linen- or cotton trousers (not tight jeans), woolen or calico socks (leeches!) and sensible shoes.
The local people however recommend wearing short trousers, and ankle-high booties. A pair of good canvas jungle-boots is certainly a good investment. They are better than sneakers which tend to stick and stay behind in the mud. You lace them over your trousers, and then spray them with an anti-leech product, like Baygon for instance.
Apparently, rubbing your shoes with tobacco juice keeps the leeches away as well. Jogging shoes, worn with two pair of socks, can serve as a spare pair. Leather boots are not recommended, they suck up a lot of water and become very heavy. Never ever wear new shoes — only the well-worn are good enough for trekking. When you are camping in tents, you need slippers as well.
Info: Checklist Clothes
Jungle Boots and pair of socks
sturdy hat or cap
complete change of clothes
woolen pullover and waterproof jacket on trips to the mountains
a track suit for the night
Get a pair of jungle boots and walking shoes. A sturdy hat (whatever became of the good old topi?) protecting you from whatever comes from above is not a bad idea; it keeps the sweat from running into your eyes as well. Caps should be worn backwards though, the visor limits your vision.
Despite the heat: take along a light raincoat, and for somewhat longer trips one, or better two, complete changes of clothes. Wet clothes do not dry in the jungle; next morning you have to put the same wet clothes on again. A sarong is wonderful for a quick wash in the river, for a sanitary stop, and even as a sling in case of an emergency.
If your trips take you onto the mountains, you must take along a woolen pullover and/or a waterproof jacket or light raincoat. A track-suit is best for the night. The local people drink a tea made out of the Tongkat Ali root — the quinine root, which is supposed to keep them warm and keep ailments at a distance.
Coping with the Jungle
Never get into the jungle by yourself; always inform somebody else of where you are going and when you will be back. If required, register at the nearest police station.
Follow the directions of the local guides.
Inform your leader about any allergies or illnesses you may have, and what to do if they occur. Take along a copy of a r contact address for emergencies and your vaccination certificate with blood group, take along important medication.
Stay on track and with your group. If you cannot stick to this rule, tell your guide about it.
Familiarize yourself with the map and the track for the day, make a note of how often a river is crossed, whether you pass along unusual trees, rocks and such. This is important information in case you lose the track. Each group must have a signal whistle, to be used exclusively when lost (3 x short, 3 x long, once every 3 minutes). If you do get lost, stay close to the river banks and walk downstream — that’s where settlements are in general.
The leader will usually mark the track by breaking a small branch or a leaf. He will make larger markings on the big trees (once every 100 meters, approximately). At a junction, wait for the person behind you, make sure he sees which direction you take. If necessary, block the track he should not take with a branch or a stick.
If possible, walk in line, follow the footsteps of the one in front of you. The distance between you and the one ahead should be at least 3,5 meters.
Be careful of back-swishing twigs. Avoid having too much distance between you and the one ahead/behind, though. Slow walkers must not be overtaken. The weakest group member sets the pace.
Before grabbing a bush, a tree or a creeper: first watch it! When walking under trees and bushes: make sure there are no snakes or leeches above you.
Use a stick when walking, climbing or wading, but do not whirl up any leaves with it, as stinging insects are sure to be hidden under them.
When wading through a river, loosen the hip belt of your backpack and enable yourself to get rid of it fast if needed. Walk in the direction of the stream, and watch where you are going. Never walk without any shoes on!
Before touching anything (fruit, flowers, animals): first ask the local guide whether or not, and do not touch any presumable dead animals — they might be not so dead after all!
Do not eat any unknown fruit, fungi and such. Ask the local people first.
Do not make your sanitary stop near the water. Watch the area where you’re going to relieve yourself closely! Avoid large bushes, trees and bamboo; almost all tree-snakes are poisonous. Tread firmly, the jolt scares the snakes away.
Never wash, wade or swim in stagnant water. Viruses and bacteria penetrate the skin quite easily, and you do not want any tropical disease. Pay attention to places near your campsite with usable water: potable water on a higher level than water for washing
Be quiet, listen to the voice of the jungle.
Do not disturb any plants or animals.
Do not leave any trash in the jungle, keep tracks and campsite clean.
Do not bring along any glass bottles or jars.
Do not put any clothes on the ground.
Shake clothes, shoes and sleeping-bags before putting them on or getting into them (snakes, scorpions).
Never walk in the dark without a torch.
Never grab into your backpack, sleeping case, boots and such without seeing what you’re doing.
Inspect your tent before getting into it.
Never leave anything alongside the river, do not camp alongside the river (spring tide).
When the rain sets in, watch the ants. If they climb onto a higher level, follow their example.
When in the water close to a waterfall, avoid the place where the water falls down, it is usually very deep there and a swimmer may easily be pushed into the depth by the force of the water.
Be careful of slippery rocks, it is easy to fall.
Wildlife not so Fearsome
Very rarely, will you actually meet a wild animal. Most of the time all you will find are their tracks or their droppings, left recently around your campsite. The animals observe us, but do try to avoid direct contact. Only the wounded animals approach us, and the animals with young ones, especially elephants.
Elephant babies are curious, they tend to walk up to human beings and the mother then fears her young to be in danger. Never touch a young animal, no matter how cuddly — its parents are quite close by, in general, and you’d better get out of the way immediately and quietly. Stay quiet, and do not run; running awakens the hunting instinct of all animals. Elephants always attack in a line, then retreat to their starting point before charging again. This gives you time to look for safer quarters. Even if you will never ever need these tactics in your life, it is useful to be aware of existing danger — it makes you more careful in this foreign territory.
If you think you’ll more likely to meet a snake in the jungle than in any park or garden in Singapore you’re wrong. These very sensitive animals react to the tiniest vibration of the earth as well as to our body temperature, so they are being warned about us well in advance. Most of the time they retreat and we are not aware of them being there, even when we’re standing right next to them. Their camouflage makes them almost invisible, and us almost careless.
From the large number of snakes living in region , only 36 of them are poisonous: 21 of which live in the water, and are very poisonous. Utmost care has to be taken when wading in the marshes, therefore. Do not swim in stagnant, muddy water. That’s the environment these animals like, and so do cercaria, the causative agent of bilharziosis. Most accidents with snakes happen in the rice fields and in the villages.
Snakes attack only when they feel threatened and there is no way back. If you happen to meet a snake, move backwards carefully. Do not turn around: it might provoke a sting in your heel. Long trousers, sports socks and sturdy shoes or boots are a good protection; snakes have relatively small fangs which then may not reach your skin.
Whatever you want to touch in the jungle: always look at it first, and shake out clothes, shoes, sleeping bags, backpacks before using them. This habit will protect you against all kinds of unpleasant little animals like spiders, scorpions, bees etc.