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Highlights
Gear of the Year:
Gift Ideas
Photo: Swiss Army Watch

Here are all the gotta-get-it items for savvy outdoor fanatics this holiday season.

Gear gift ideas


King Kong in RwandaPhoto: King Kong

To get into character, actor Andy Serkis, a.k.a. King Kong, sought out some ideal coaches: the mountain gorillas of Rwanda.
Read the King Kong interview


This Month's Stories
Big-Cat Biologist Alan Rabinowitz
Photo Gallery: Mongolia
Road Trip: Puerto Rico
Winter Weekend Getaways
Ski Vacation Almanac


Adventure Videos
Paddling Croatia
Climbing Icebergs
Jaguars in Belize


Paddling North Vietnam
Adventure-approved excursions for right now.  By Costas Christ
Photo: Paddling North Vietnam

The Guided Tour

Why Go:
"We've been kayaking Ha Long Bay for 13 years," says John "Caveman" Gray, who pioneered commercial sea kayaking in Vietnam in 1992. "And most of the places we visit remain as untouched today as when we discovered them." Jagged and tide-sculpted, more than a thousand karst islands rise up from Ha Long Bay like bizarre guard towers. Gray's trips focus on 137-square-mile (354-square-kilometer) Cat Ba Island, exploring deep caves and hidden phongs (lagoons) by day and retreating to a Chinese junk (a three-masted sailing ship) to sleep. You'll also search for the rare Cat Ba langur in the interior of Cat Ba National Park, kayak-surf tidal white water in Needle Cave, and, after a week in the salt air, head north to the jungle of Ba Be National Park to meet the Dzao, Tay, and Hmong tribes.
 
Need to Know: Gray's Vietnam adventures begin in Hanoi, a teeming, picturesque city worth an extra day of exploring. Your best bet? Rise with the sun to join a local tai chi session on Hoan Kiem Lake, then hire a cyclo and head into the stall-packed streets of the Old Quarter, where everything from the latest Blackberry to a dan day (a handmade Vietnamese lute) is for sale.         
 
Days: 12

Outfitter:
John Gray's SeaCanoe www.johngray-seacanoe.com

Cost: $2,313

Perks: Physical challenge, cultural immersion, wild encounters

Photograph by John "Caveman" Gray

Pick up the October 2005 issue for more great adventure travel ideas!

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