Asia’s kitesurfing game is strong
It often passes under the radar of the international kiting community, but in reality:
Asia has some of the best kitesurfing in the world.
It’s the home of big name kite brands like North, Core, Carved, and Best.
It’s the stomping ground of international kite competitions like the Kiteboard Tour Asia and the IKA’s Kitefoil Gold Cup and TT:R Slalom circuits.
It’s the winter getaway of choice for tons of European kitesurfers who come to make the most of the tropical temperatures and reliable wind.
Things are changing- fast.
The Asian kiteboarding community is growing at an insane rate, and new places are opening up all the time.
Old favourites like Mui Ne or Boracay still have a solid kite community- but after close to a decade of heavy kite tourism, a lot of kite travellers are now turning to new, less-crowded locations.
These changes call for an updated list of Asia’s best kitesurfing destinations for 2018.
Here are the spots that we think will grow in the next few years:
- Pak Nam Pran, Thailand
There’s a lot of misconception about kitesurfing in Thailand, and it’s often disregarded as an unreliable light wind spot.
In reality, there are a handful of fantastic places for kitesurfing in Thailand that, together, work across most months of the year- and Pak Nam Pran sits at the top of our list.
You’ll find the Hua Hin kitesurfing scene just 25 km away, and- in fairness- it is much better known than little old Pak Nam.
But that’s what we love about it.
Pak Nam Pran is a super chilled little fishing town surrounded by nature. It’s got a handful of great hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as its own 2.0 cable park- and then there’s the kiting:
With two distinct wind seasons, kitesurfing in Pak Nam Pran comes with a mix of conditions depending on the time of year. From February to June you can expect 10-20 knots of stable side-on thermal wind and relatively calm waters, and from October to January you’ll get the gustier monsoon winds (usually measuring in from 15-25 knots).
The main kite beach is spacious, sandy, and free from obstacles- making it one of the best places to learn kitesurfing in this neck of the woods.
Find out more in the Pak Nam Pran guide for digital nomads.
Phan Rang was so good the first time we had to come back for more. The winds were strong, tides were high, and waterfalls were flowing. We had another great group join us for the fun. A special thanks to Lukas Seufer-Wasserthal for the awesome drone footage.Video by Blake OlsenMusic by Odeza
Posted by C2Sky kite center on Saturday, 16 December 2017
Video by Blake Olsen
- Phan Rang, Vietnam
Until very recently, if you were talking about kitesurfing in Vietnam you were almost certainly talking about Mui Ne. But the times they are a’changing, dear friends! Severe beach erosion has caused a big chunk of Mui Ne’s main kitesurfing strip to shrink in size, meaning there’s less space (and more people) than ever.
Those with their ear to the ground have quietly been packing up their kite bags and slipping away in favour of Vietnam’s newly established kitesurfing spot in Phan Rang.
Situated less than 3 hours north of Mui Ne, Phan Rang’s kiteboarding season runs from November-April during which time you can expect 20+ knots almost every day. With a butter flat lagoon protected by an outer reef, the spot at the My Hoa Lagoon is ideal for freeriders, wake style kiters, and beginners.
It’s easily one of the best winter kitesurfing destinations for those back in the west who are looking to escape the cold and catch some wind.
Find out more in the digital nomad’s guide to Phan Rang.
- Mannar, Sri Lanka
When it comes to kitesurfing in Sri Lanka, Kalpitiya has long ruled the roost thanks to its super strong wind and legendary flat water lagoon. That said, Kalpitiya Lagoon is often quite gusty- not to mention crowded- which is what sparked a few adventurous kiters to hit the road and explore some of Sri Lanka’s further flung waters.
Mannar sits in the far north of Sri Lanka, just 16 km away from Indian waters. This is where you’ll find Adam’s Bridge, the stunning limestone shoal that’s thought to have once connected Sri Lanka with mainland India.
A far cry from kitesurfing in Kalpitiya, Mannar has crystal clear waters, stable wind, flat lagoons, and panoramic views of the outlying islands.
Touted by locals as the “most stable wind in Sri Lanka”, Mannar dishes out some of the best kitesurfing in Asia- hands down. As of very recently, one Kalpitiya kitesurfing school has become the first to established a space right on the island- the first of many, one can only imagine.
Find out more in the kitesurfing section of the digital nomad’s guide to Kalpitiya.
- Jeju Island, South Korea
Located off the southern coast, Jeju Island is one of South Korea’s best places to kitesurf. With its own airport conveniently located in the center of the island, it’s possible to kite on both the east and west coasts- depending on the wind direction (though if it’s wave riding you’re into, the southern beaches should definitely be on your radar).
Hyopjae and Singjang are the main kitesurfing beaches on Jeju Island, both of which are fairly spacious and safe to ride at. Wintertime gets a little bit chilly, so you’re going to need a wetsuit, but the spring season- and the summer typhoon season- is much warmer.
- Penghu Island, Taiwan
Penghu is strong wind territory- and when we say strong we mean mega strong. The high season brings in excess of 40 knots on a regular basis- sometimes even pushing the 50 knot threshold.
The island sits between mainland China and Taiwan- the sort of location that creates a permanent wind tunnel- which is what causes the wind in Penghu to be so strong. The season (which is extremely reliable, by the way) runs from September/October until May- which conveniently is the opposite of the tourist season.
All things considered, it’s no surprise the women’s WOO world record holder (Karen Hou) is from here!
- Hainan, China
When you’re dreaming of a gorgeous sandy kitesurfing beach on a tropical island, China probably doesn’t spring to mind all that easily- when in fact, that’s exactly what you’ll find on Hainan Island.
It sits just off the southern coast of the mainland, and- best of all- it’s got wind… lots of wind.
There’s a handful of kiteable spots around the island, but the best one of all is in a little fishing town called Bo’ao on the east coast. The best wind comes from February to June (it peaks between March-May) when you can expect 80% of days to have 15+ knots of perfect side-on wind, along with gentle swell from the sea.
The beach is massive, and absolutely spotless. The town is tiny, filled with amazing local restaurants, and surrounded by palm trees- quite a contrast to the mega cities and gigantic skyscrapers that China is known for. If you need some info on getting a vpn (virtual private network to access banned sites – facebook, twitter and youtube to name a few), check out this guide for some advice.
- Siargao, Philippines
Kitesurfing in the Philippines has pretty much always equalled Boracay.
That is, until the pollution problem got so bad that Boracay’s waters became toxic and the island got shut down.
Siargao is one of the Philippine’s southeastern islands, and though its kitesurfing community is far less developed than the once great Boracay kitesurfing scene, Siargao is absolutely bursting with adventure potential.
Let me start by saying:
If you’re looking for all-night island parties and pub crawls, you’re in the wrong place.
There’s not a lot more in Siargao than a handful of laid-back resorts, local restaurants, and a couple low key hang-outs. The rest is all nature, wildlife, and white sand beaches.
Sounds awful, right?
Wind in Siargao comes in between 12-20 knots cross-on during the season, which runs from November to March. Siargao is most famous for its surf, but kiters have their pick between flat water lagoons and sand-bottom wave spots (it’s often talked about as one of the best wave kitesurfing spots in SE Asia).
Surfing, longboarding, wake, SUP, and kitesurfing are all on the menu here. In fact, a brand new 2.0 cable wake park is just about to open, expectedly in July 2018.
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After fumbling my way through a year of studying abroad in China, I made the mad-hatter decision to pack up my life in Ireland and move to Asia full time. It’s been a wild ride, and I’ve even managed to pick up some cool little tricks along the way- like how to kitesurf, and speak Chinese (though not very well simultaneously). These days, you can find me beach-bumming around this part of the globe, looking for the best places to put down my bag of bikinis, my board, and my little black doggy.