Is trekking Asia placed high on your bucket list? If so, you won’t have trouble finding a perfect hiking spot because this region offers many great options. People travel thousands of miles across the planet just to feel the unique beauty of its glacial lakes, snow-covered peaks, and wildlife.
The amazing volcanic peaks, rainforests, and jungles will keep you happy even if you are among the more experienced hikers. Hiking in Southeast Asia can even lead you to stunning beaches where you can be the first one to leave your footprints on a particular day. In this article, we will offer you a list of the 10 best hiking treks in Asia to choose from.
10 Best Trekking Asia Options
1. Banaue Rice Terraces, the Philippines
The Banaue Rice Terraces were built more than 500 years ago. This trek can be perfect for you if you’d like to experience a culture that hasn’t been altered by the outside world. The Banaue Rice Terraces were carved in the mountains and have been mended for years.
You can choose from many trail options, such as the Bangaan Rice Terrace hike which is relatively easy. If you are feeling adventurous you can choose the Batad Rice Terrace trail which is tiring but will certainly amaze you with its beauty. Packing light is recommended, so make sure you choose the best lightweight backpack.
Why We Like This Hike: Most trails are easy to moderate when it comes to difficulty, with gorgeous scenery.
When to Hike: The most suitable hiking period is in December because there are no crops on the Rice Terraces.
2. Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
If you enjoy tea as well as memorable trekking experiences, the Cameron Highlands may be a great option for you. The conditions for growing tea are favorable because the climate is cool, unlike the rest of Southeastern Asia. Still, make sure you stay properly hydrated on the trek.
Bear in mind that this trek will not offer you maps and signs. The whole area is wild, meaning there are miles of trails passing through tea plantations and mountains. Since the region is located halfway between Kuala Lumpur and Penang, the usual starting place is the town of Tanah Rata.
Why We Like This Hike: There is no significant elevation gain. You will be wandering through forests and get an amazing view of tea plantations.
When to Hike: The Cameron Highlands are accessible throughout the whole year but they can get pretty crowded on public holidays and weekends.
3. MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore
Singapore’s skyline may be looking futuristic, but there are also many gorgeous natural spots you can visit. Nature lovers can go to the peripheries, which provide generous hiking space. The reservoir is very accessible, even though it is one of the oldest ones in Singapore.
The trail consists of many paths that go through the intact tropical rainforest. Also, you will get a chance to hike around the water, which can offer you some of the most amazing views. If you choose to hike the Treetop Walk, it will lead you to the reservoir’s highest points with an elevation of 800 ft.
If you enjoy hiking on your own, this trail will not give you a hard time because it is very easy to follow. Also, there is no need to worry about food and snacks because there are plenty of water sources and food kiosks.
Why We Like This Hike: This trek is easy to complete, with a length of two to seven miles and plenty of water and food.
When to Hike: You can choose any time of year for this trek, but it is important to bring a rain jacket and adequate boots because the weather can be unpredictable and humid.
4. Kalaw to Inle Lake, Myanmar
This trek is a multi-day hike, usually lasting two to five days. If you do not feel like going through mountains, you can swap them for this region’s gentle hills and still get an amazing experience. The Kalaw hill station is the starting point of this journey. It was founded by the British and it served as a place to run away from heat.
The trek is well worn and it will lead you through farmland and hamlets. You will have an option to spend your nights either at a temple or a bed-and-breakfast place. Also, you will get a chance to experience one of Myanmar’s most gorgeous cultural gems – a lake surrounded by intact villages as well as floating gardens.
Why We Like This Hike: This hike can offer a lot, even though it is not located in the mountains.
When to Hike: The period between November and February is the dry and cool season so it is recommended to go during this time.
5. Sapa, Vietnam
Hiking in Southeast Asia can offer you many gorgeous views, and Sapa in Vietnam is no exception. This area is located near the border with China and it has everything your adventurous spirit is craving. There is more than one trail, so you can go for half-day walks or perhaps a four-day trek.
The French built this place in 1922 as a way to get away from Vietnam’s oppressive heat. This mountain settlement is blessed with breathtaking views and a cool climate throughout the whole year. That is why it is a very popular destination for tourists.
You will get a chance to enjoy the amazing beauty of the intact highland forests. Also, you will be amazed by the sight of the splendid green rice terraces on your way to Ta Phin Cave and the Bamboo Forest.
Why We Like This Hike: Trekking Asia will be easy to moderate with this hike. You do not need to have any special climbing skills to finish it. Also, some porters can carry your items to the peak.
When to Hike: The best hiking weather conditions are between March and May, as well as from September to November.
6. Doi Inthanon, Thailand
If you want to get an awesome experience hiking in Southeast Asia, you could choose to do the Doi Inthanon hike. Doi Inthanon is located in Chiang Mai, and it is the highest peak in Thailand with an elevation of 8000 feet.
In case you are a nature lover, you will enjoy what this place has to offer. It’s wildlife and vegetation are truly unique, making it a perfect place for any nature lover. Birdwatchers particularly love this area because of its fascinating bird population.
Do not let the elevation scare you because Doi Inthanon is, in fact, an easy climb. Most of its trails are paved and well-worn. However, you should be accustomed to the climbing conditions because the main trail begins with a subtropical climate, changing into an alpine one near the top.
Why We Like This Hike: This area has unique wildlife and vegetation, as well as a bird population.
When to Hike: This area is accessible all year round, but the coldest period is from November to February, so make sure you prepare your gloves, down jacket, and pants.
7. Luang Prabang, Laos
Trekking Asia can be gorgeous and charming, especially in places such as Luang Prabang. Its surrounding villages are magical and are guaranteed to amaze any nature lover. This area has many trails which will lead you to the traditional countryside as well as amazingly beautiful waterfalls.
You will get a chance to meet the Hmong, Lao, and Khmu cultures in their intact form and interact with locals. Getting a hiking camera will come in handy since the scenery is beautiful but bear in mind that you should always ask for permission to take a photo of the people in this area.
Why We Like This Hike: If you decide to try this route, hiking in Southeast Asia will reward you with many waterfalls and gorgeous nature.
When to Hike: The period from November to April is when the weather is dry. But, it can get cold from December to February, so make sure your clothes keep you warm. Avoid hiking between May to October because of the rainy season.
8. Kawah Ijen, Indonesia
This unique volcano trek will begin at Paltuding, which is its starting place. From there, you will go on a challenging 2-mile hike up the mountains before arriving at a very strange looking place – the Kawah Ijen volcano crater.
It will take you around two hours to get there. If you want to experience the amazing blue flames of the crater, you will have to get up very early since this phenomenon can only be seen before dawn. On the way, you will get a chance to see sulfur miners who have no trouble performing this dangerous job.
Why We Like This Hike: The sulfur miners can also offer you a ride on their trolleys, with a $50 fee. Also, seeing a blue volcano flame is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
When to Hike: The period from April to October is when the weather is the most suitable for hiking.
9. Gunung Gede Pangrango, Indonesia
This place in Indonesia can offer you one of the greatest trekking Asia experiences. You will get a chance to explore numerous plant and animal species, as well as breathtaking views. The hike will lead you through the rainforest, offering you beautiful lakes and waterfalls.
The elevation reaches 5,300 ft above sea level, so it is recommended to have previous hiking experience in such conditions. If you want to stay longer, you could spend the night at a campsite before you come back.
Why We Like This Hike: There is something for every climber – the trail to Cibeureum Falls is easy, and you can complete it in four to five hours. On the other hand, the climb to the top may take two days.
When to Hike: Hiking in Southeast Asia offers the best experience during the dry season. It is recommended to visit this place from May to October.
10. Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia
This part of Borneo can offer you a very memorable trekking Asia experience with its elevation of 13,000 feet. Even though Mount Kinabalu is the tallest mountain in Malaysia, numerous treks can get you to the top even if you are a beginner.
You don’t need any special equipment, but good-quality hiking boots are a must. Great physical stamina and mental strength are crucial when it comes to reaching the summit. If you are feeling ready and adventurous, you can take the ‘via Ferrata’ which is a much tougher route including steel cables and metal rungs for climbing. The views from the top are breathtaking since you will be located 12,000 feet over sea level.
Why We Like This Hike: There are many hiking options since this trek can be easy to hard, depending on which route you choose. If you’re a beginner, it may take you two to three days. If you are experienced, you can even try competing in the Kinabalu Climbathon.
When to Go: You should be conscious of the Malaysian weather. It is recommended to go in the period from February to April which has the least amount of rainfall.
Globo Surf Overview
Hiking in Southeast Asia is easily one of the best ways to explore the beauty of our planet. It is very popular among hikers because of its diversity. You can choose to visit rainforests, beaches, rice terraces, or even volcanoes. There is truly something for every hiker’s taste!
There are many well-known hiking treks in this part of the world, such as the Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines, Sapa in Vietnam, Doi Inthanon is Thailand, Kawah Ijen in Indonesia, MacRitchie Reservoir in Singapore, among others. Most of these locations offer treks for both beginner and advanced hikers. But, bear in mind you need to check the weather conditions and the trek requirements so you can get the best possible experience. Enjoy your hike!
More Backpacking/Hiking Reviews:
- Hiking Sandals
- Hiking GPS
- Hiking Watch
- Tactical Watch
- Hydration Pack
- Gorilla Trekking Uganda
- Langtang Trek
- Diy Water Filter
- Backpacking Food Ideas
- Types Of Backpacks
- Best Southeast Asia Trails, scmp.com