If you are looking for some of the best treks in the world, search no further than Asia. Indeed, trekking in Asia will take through the Himalayas, deserts, jungle, traditional villages, and endangered wildlife. With so many options for trekking in Asia, here is a list of treks we put together with other fellow travel bloggers.
Table of Content:
- Cambodia Treks
- India Treks
- Indonesia Treks
- Japan Treks
- Kyrgyzstan Treks
- Malaysia Treks
- Mongolia Treks
- Myanmar Treks
- Nepal Treks
- Philippines Treks
- Vietnam Treks
Trekking in Cambodia
Chi Phat Ecotourism Project Trek
For an incredible hiking experience in Asia, you really can’t go past the Chi Phat community-based ecotourism project in Cambodia!
Nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Cardamom Mountains (also one of the last remaining wild elephant corridors in Asia), the community was once the last stronghold of the oppressive Khmer Rouge regime after soldiers hid in the mountains and wreaked havoc upon the local community for years after the war had ended. Their devastating impact left the community with little choice but to turn to illegal logging and poaching of the abundant wildlife (elephants, big cats, gibbons, and pangolin) to survive.
In 2007, the Wildlife Alliance co-launched a transformative project to assist the community in supporting themselves on ecotourism instead. Since then, Chi Phat has transformed into a thriving outdoor adventure paradise, with activities like jungle treks, waterfall, and cave exploring, kayak and bicycle tours.
We opted to do this 3-day, 2-night Cambodia trek, which took us deep into the Cardamom mountains. By day, we trekked through the thick, steamy jungle, by night we slept in hammocks under the stars. Our guides taught us how to track animals, spot local flora and fauna, drink water from vines, while our group chef cooked meals from vegetables sourced from the local forest. At around 6 hours each, the trekking days are long, and you’ll need to carry your clothes and hammock (your chefs will bring everything else).
Try to plan your visit for the cooler months as summer can be stiflingly hot. Getting to the community is a little tricky; a 4-hour bus ride from Phnom Penh, then a boat or moto-taxi ride to Chi Phat – but this trek is 110% worth it!
Trekking in India
Some of the best trekking places in India are naturally in the Himalaya foothills. From Kashmir, Ladakh, Sikkim, and other fantastic regions, India offers so many hiking and trekking opportunities in diverse landscapes: jungle, deserts, glaciers, summits, and more.
Amarnath Trek / Jammu and Kashmir
Amarnath trekking is one of the challenging and challenging trekking zones in the country as it is a test of strength and endurance. The landscape surrounding the region is incredible covering some high altitude lakes and enchanting mountains of the Northern Himalayas.
Amarnath is popular in India due to the Ice shivling and the formation of the natural cave in the region. Every year pilgrims come from different corners of the world to seek blessings and pay homage to the Hindu deity. The cave is surrounded by mountains of the Northern Himalayas, and it is a thrill to watch everything close to nature. The shivling forms in June and July and lasts for a month or two after which it melts.
The trek begins from two areas, Baltal and Pahalgam. The trek from Baltal is a shorter one, around 12 miles (19 kilometers) but a steeper one considering ridges and rocks across the way. Amarnath cave is situated at an altitude of more than 18,000 ft above sea level. The trek from Pahalgam is a longer one around 28 miles (46 kilometers) considering the path and the distance required to convoy the circuit. If one wants a smooth road, then he or she should avail the Pahalgam route as mentioned earlier to avoid the high altitude slopes and sharp ridges and steep ascents of Baltal Amarnath route. The trek takes one day to complete from Baltal and four days from Pahalgam up and down if one covers one way by the helipad.
There are helicopter services available for people of all ages to reach the destination quickly. The charges of the helicopter ride from Neelgrath to Panchtarni is around 25 US$ (1,700 IDR) per passenger for one side, 50 US$ (3,400 IDR) for both. From Pahalgam to Panchtarni, it’s 43 US$ (2,950 IDR) one way, 86 US$ (5,900 IDR) both ways.
If you are traveling in a group, then you can quickly reach the destination by halting at one or 2 stops, but it would be advisable to carry a trekking guide if one is traveling solo to get extra aid and help during the entire coverage. Tents are available for a stay near the cave or even at Panchtarni, and there is free food arrangement made by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir during the tenure.
The advantage of seeing the ice shivling remains only for a month so it is required to know the exact dates as to when you can see the shivling. The charges are just that of transportation and there are no food costs during the entire journey. A permit is also required, and mandatory health check-up to check your fitness level and overall health structure. Once approved by the medical practitioner, it is easy to get the permit from the reservation office.
Martha Valley Trek / Ladakh
From beautiful hairy yaks to peaks higher than 20,340 feet (6,200 meters) and a strong rooted Tibetan culture, the Markha Valley is the ideal Ladakh trekking option for travelers looking for real off the beaten track Himalayan landscape and interactions with Tibetan culture, as the inhabitants of Ladakh are culturally like the people in Tibet.
With an altitude of 17,060 feet (5,200 meters) and a total length of 60 miles (96 kilometers), the Markha Valley trek is the most popular trekking in Ladakh, a region located in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, northern India.
The Ladakh trek takes around eight days, but the good thing is that you can start from the middle of it, which means that, if you want to do it in only four days, you will still get to see the most impressive part of the trek, which is during the last two days.
There are plenty of homestays along the way, so you do not need any camping equipment, as well as a guide, as the trail can be easily found by following the Markha Valley and asking local people for directions.
The best time to do the Markha trek would be from late spring to early autumn, as during the rest of the year, the mountains are covered by snow.
Regarding the cost, homestays typically cost around 15 US$ a night, including three meals. One way transportation to the beginning of the trek costs around 20-25 US$, which can be shared among other travelers.
Mount Rinjani / Lombok
Mount Rinjani is a volcano situated on the Lombok island in Indonesia. The volcano is 12,226 feet (3,726 meters high and if you go with a guided group, it usually takes three days to reach the summit with the starting point from Senaru at 2,000 feet (600 meters).
Mount Rinjani is my hardest hike I have ever done so far! We had to ascent 6,560 feet (2,000 meters) on our first day, which was doable for me. But the hardest part was our third day which also was our last day, when we have to wake up at 2 am, climb the 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) up to the summit in the dark and then walk down the 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) to a small village where we took a bus back to our hotel. Walking down was so much harder on my knees!
Even it was hard, call me a sadist, I enjoyed every moment of it! The landscape was fantastic and it motivated me to go further and higher up! We were in a group of about seven people with two guides and three porters who also cooked all the delicious local meals for us. Cleary, there are no luxury chalets up there so you will have a choice of sleeping in a tent…or under the millions of stars!
I recommend a hike to the summit of the Mount Rinjani to everybody who wants to push to the limit and gain a lifetime experience!
By Dada from Family Earth Trek
Mentawai Islands Trek / Sumatra
Located off the coast of Sumatra, the Mentawai islands offer a great variety of activities for the most adventurous. This wild place, wholly covered by thick rainforests, is home to one of the most remote and untouched tribes in all of Asia, the Mentawai. If you want to meet them, there is a trail that goes deep into the jungle, letting you visit some local houses. There are several options, even though the classic route usually takes between two and four days. There are not many uphills and downhills, so technically it is not a steep path. However, the jungle is extremely humid, rains are constant throughout the day, and mud is everywhere. The driest season goes from June to September, although heavy rain is possible anytime.
You´ll need a reliable guide to get access to the jungle and introduced to the Mentawai people. Your guide will help you get permission to sleep in the Mentawai houses and eat with the families. You don’t need special permits, just a guide to accompany you. Local guides typically charge around 30-40 US$ a day, including food, transport from Siberut and accommodation (part of the money goes to the community). During the hike, you’ll be walking about six hours a day; getting wet and covered in mud; sleeping in the local huts with Mentawai families and eating rice with chicken every day. It might sound like a tough experience, but I promise you: getting to know the Mentawai people was one of the most rewarding experiences of my time in South East Asia.
How to get there: there are a few cargo boats a week traveling from Padang (Sumatra) to Siberut (Mentawai), although the schedule is pretty inconsistent.
Baliem Valley Trekking / Papua
The Baliem Valley sits deep in the mountains of Papua, on the Indonesian side of the New Guinea island, and is one of the most challenging treks we ever did. The valley is home to different Papuan tribes – the Yali, the Dani, and the Lani – still living traditional today. The Baliem Valley trek from Wanema to Angurruk and Yalimo Valley. Several trails head to Angurruk, from a 3-day trek over the Mount Elit’s infamously dangerous ladders, to an 8-day route going through Yogosem-Ballingama. This Baliem Valley trek is one of the most amazing trails we ever did, going through steep valleys, green and lush vegetations, traditional Papuan villages, and cloud-clogged peaks. This trek was also one of the most challenging ones, with slippery logs as stairs, moss-covered tree roots, knee-deep thick mud pools, crossing rivers, and going long distances without water.
We trekked this longer trail in June, which is the beginning of the trekking season (June to September). August is also a good month to go given the Baliem Valley Festival in Wamena, though it tends to be busier. The Baliem Valley is by no mean busy – we did not see any other trekker during our eight days on the trail.
Accommodation is somewhat limited in Wamena. While on the trail, you can stay in traditional men’s’ huts or allocated guesthouses if you are going through villages, However, several nights were spent in the jungle and used large tarps to built shelters for us and our guide and porter. There is limited food on the trail, so you need to bring your food. Depending on the villages, you might be able to buy some instant noodles, some vegetables, sugar, coffee, sweet potatoes, but do not count on it on the day you need them.
The route treks one way, but most people fly for the return, using one of the occasional missionary jungle planes. You might have to wait for a few days for a flight to get you back. The whole distance of this southern route is about 40 miles (64 km), going from an elevation of 6,939 feet (2,115 m) to 11,903 feet (3,628 m). You need to secure your free Travel Permit “Surat Jalan” before you leave. While you can technically trek by yourself, we highly recommend a guide or porter that knows the road as there is no direction, several trails, and it would be easy to get lost in the jungle. Given the remoteness of the place and the challenges of the trail, the trail is better reserved for experienced trekkers in good shape. Overall costs for two people on a 7-day with food, a guide/porter, and lodging: 11 Million IDR for seven days (~830 US$ as of mid-2017). Why 7-day and not 8-day as scheduled? We had to cut our trail short due to the trail conditions. Check out how full post to find out our Baliem Valley trip and how to organize your trek to the Yalimo country. So for a unique experience, Baliem Valley is one of the best trekking Indonesia offers.
Bukit Lawang Orangutan Trek / Sumatra
Bukit Lawang is a village located on the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park. It’s been a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004 as well as being home to a variety of bird, plant and mammal species as well as the iconic Sumatran orangutan.
In 1973 two Swiss zoologists set up an Orang-utan rehabilitation center to care for Orangutans that had been caught up in Indonesia’s logging industry. Jungle trekking to see the Orang-utans can be done in a single day or up to a week if you have the time to go deeper into the jungle. I did the 2-day hike with overnight camping in the jungle in a tent. You will go with at least two guides who will give the briefing the night before departure. They will organize the park permits.
The hike itself can be challenging, especially after rainfalls as the trails become muddy. Although we only walked about 10 miles (15 kilometers) over the two days, the paths undulate. Sometimes with steep inclines or through shallow rivers. If you’re after an up-close-and-personal animal experience then look out for small leeches in the rivers – I’ve done lots of jungle treks before, but this was the first time I got a few of the critters attached to me.
It’s not a high altitude area, but it is humid. Our camp was next to a river, which was perfect for washing off and relaxing a the end of the day. Aside from the Orang-utan, you will also see lots of Macaque and Thomas Leaf Monkey. Plenty of species of birds, insects, and plants. Rains fall all year round in Bukit Lawang (up to 160 inches / 4,000 mm of rain a year) October through to December are the wettest months and March through to August are generally a bit drier. Rains typically fall late afternoons and evenings.
Gunung Lawu, Trek / Java
In Java, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to hiking. One of our favorite routes was at the peak of Gunung Lawu, an incredible stratovolcano that sees few international visitors.
To get to Lawu most people travel from Solo to Tawangmanggu by bus; here you can find good budget accommodation and supplies for the hike. From Tawangmanggu public buses run to base camps and should only take 30 minutes.
Two trails to the 10,711-feet (3,265-meter) summit are less than half-a-mile (1 km) apart: Cemero Kandang (7 miles/12 km route) and Cemero Sewu (5 miles/8 km route). We went with Kandang as we were told the road was more scenic and better marked. This trail should take a reasonably fit person 5-7 hours, and you will need to be moderately fit to make the hike (or have a lot of time!). Guides are not required as the trail is relatively easy to follow but if you want company, go on a weekend, and you’ll meet local students doing the hike. You don’t need to book or permits, only sign in at the rangers office and pay a small entry fee. From here it’s also possible to camp and rent hiking/camping gear.
The landscape is beautiful, zigzagging through the clouds up the side of the volcano. The first half is through dense woodlands, and afterward, the vegetation opens up to breathtaking views. There are huts near the summits selling teas and coffees and also lots of room to camp. Many hikers will hike during the day, camp the night and watch the sunrise before returning.
It gets very cold on top so make sure you bring thermals and a good quality sleeping bag. If you’re hiking during the night then bring a good headtorch and some kind of GPS is advised (even a phone app). The weather changes quickly so make sure you check the forecast before you go. It got very foggy when we hiked, and within 5 minutes we had little to no visibility.
Kumano Kodo Trail
The Kumano Kodo is an ancient pilgrimage in the remote, mountainous Kii Peninsula south of Osaka and Nagoya, Japan. Trekkers can walk through forests of conifer and red hinoki in the footsteps of priests and emperors of the distant past, who journeyed from afar to visit the region’s Shinto-Buddhist shrines.
The Kumano Kodo has various routes, with most people spending 2-4 days. The most popular is the Nakahechi route, which starts near Tanabe on the west coast of the peninsula and finishes at the Kumano Sanzan, three famous shrines, one of which overlooks Japan’s highest waterfall. The trails are not particularly challenging but do involve some long days and lots of up and down. The Kohechi route is a more intensive, four-day trek that links the mountain-top temple town of Koyasan with the Kumano Sanzan.
Most trekkers stay in the traditional minshuku (guesthouses) along the route. 8000-10,000 yen (70-90 US$) per person will get you a room in a traditional inn, some of which include gorgeous onsens, while it is also possible to find hostels as cheap as 2,600 yen (25 US$). You can get to the starting and ending point of the Nakahechi route by train from Osaka (2.5/4 hrs), but it is also possible to shorten your trek by busing to specific locations. No permits are required, and it’s easy to find the way.
April and May are perfect weather-wise and feature cherry blossoms, but are busiest. Autumn is also famous for its gorgeous colors. Summer can be a little hot 70-80°F (25-30°C) but lush and verdant. I chose to hike in winter, enjoying the trails mostly to myself, and this is the best time for soaking in the hot springs along the route! See my full article on the Kumano Kodo walk for more information.
Mount Fuji Trekking
Climbing Mount Fuji is a challenge and is something that all Japanese do at least once in their life. The trek lasts two days and there are no straight roads, it’s all uphill, so it’s best to be prepared, but don’t require a guide.
The Yoshida Trail (which I recommend) starts at the Fuji-Subaru Line 5th Station and leads to the summit from the north side of Mt. Fuji. Have in mind that Mount Fuji is only open to hikers from 1 July to early September and the trail for ascent is different from the trail for the descent.
The best plan is starting in the morning and arriving for dinner at one of the mountain huts on the trail at the 8th Station (book in advance!). We stayed at the Goraikoukan hut (11,319 feet / 3,450 meters above sea level) and price including two meals is about USD 76.
At 2 am; you will be climbing to the summit in time for the sunrise. It is an unforgettable experience!
It’s very important that you bring enough water since from the 5th to the 7th Stations (about two and a half hours) you will not find water. I also recommend that you wear layers of clothing, since you can have heat until the 7th season, but then it’s really cold. And finally, it’s better if you carry a light on the head because when climbing to the summit at night, you can stumble along the road.
This trail linked Kyoto and Tokyo during the Edo period and was used by tax collectors to get between the “post” towns. You’ll want to check this trail out between April and November as it passes through some high country and some parts of the trail may become impassable in the deep winter months.
The full trek will take you around three weeks. It’s 330 miles (530 kilometers) long, but one of the most picturesque parts of it is the day hike from Magome to Tsumago. Here you’ll find narrow streets with no cars or visible power lines.
You do not need a guide for undertaking the Nakasendo Trail, although culturally in Japan it is much more acceptable to prebook your accommodation. You’ll find hostels and hotels along the route. However, this trail is a perfect hiking route along which to stay in a traditional ryokan and fully experience Japanese culture. There are no trail fees and few crowds. Some of the trails are at higher altitudes, but this is pleasant hiking, not highly difficult. You’ll experience rolling hills and well-made trails. As the trail crisscrosses into small towns, there are opportunities to take time off the trail, stock up on supplies, or even jump on the train or the bus to the next “post” stop.
This age-old trail is a superb way to combine the experience of hiking in the Japanese countryside with the cultural aspects of visiting Japan. Be sure to build time into your schedule to experience a public or private onsen (hot spring) so sooth any aching muscles!
Ala-Archa National Park
Ala-Archa National Park is a nature goldmine situated around 25 miles (40 kilometers) away from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The park is easily accessed by public transportation or even a taxi. While I picked the worst season to venture out to Ala-Archa (winter), I still got an excellent taste for what the park has to offer, and I am going to head back there in summer to do a multiple-day hike. The trails and hiking opportunities at Ala-Archa vary in difficulty, but there are trails for everyone.
The Park surrounds the tealish-blue Ala-Archa River which runs throughout the park. There are mountain climbing opportunities, skiing, waterfall hikes, and much more all in this area. Once you walk 8 miles (12 kilometers) to get inside the park, there are two trail options. The right one is easier and much shorter. The left one is difficult and will eventually lead you to Ak-Sai Glacier, where you will find the remains of an old Soviet base.
While you can comfortably hike these trails independently according to your skill, you can also join the Trekking Union of Kyrgyzstan and go in a group at an affordable price.
Trekking in Malaysia
Mount Kinabalu Trek
Low’s Peak, the top of Mount Kinabalu, is the highest point in Borneo, Malaysia and one of the highest peaks in Southeast Asia at 13,451 feet (4101 meters) above sea level. The spectacular landscape ranges from tropical rainforest to subalpine near the summit. You can climb Mount Kinabalu without any special gear or training. It is a steep hike that involves the use of some guide ropes scrambling up and down the steepest parts. With an elevation gain of 7,312 feet (2,229 meters) it is quite a strenuous hike, but anyone of moderate fitness and good health should be able to complete it.
There are several options for climbing Mt Kinabalu; the two day one night option, the three days two nights option and hiking Mount Kinabalu via Ferrata. The two-day one-night option is by far the most popular, I hiked Mount Kinabalu up and down in one day, but this is no longer allowed. The best months to climb Mt Kinabalu are February, March, and April the dry season. The worst time is October to January during monsoon season due to heavy rains.
The hike is very popular so to avoid disappointment book early, the two-day one night option can only be booked 30 days before the hike, the three days two nights option can be reserved further ahead. A guide is compulsory, but one guide can lead a group of up to six hikers. Accommodation is in a dormitory; bedding is provided; bring clothes for cold weather, thermals, and beanie. Sutera Sanctuary lodges are the cheapest, they own the accommodation on the mountain, and all companies will organize accommodation through them.
Altai Mountains Trek
Located closed the borders of China and Russia, the Altai Tavan Bogd National Park is located in the Altai mountains of Mongolia. Remote and pristine, the 8-day trek traversed the whole park. Going by the turquoise waters of glacier-fed rivers and lakes, snow-covered passes and high peaks, grazing grounds of Kazakh livestock in the summer, and just stunning landscape. The trail is about daily 12-mile (20-kilometer) per day, mostly flat, though the last few days go through the 10,348-feet (3,154-meter) Takalbai pass, up to the Potanin Glacier base camp at 10,000-foot (3,050-meter) elevation. The base camp is surrounded by tall peaks included Malchin Peak at 13,287 feet (4,050 meters).
You must have permits to travel – both for the park and for the border proximity, and you cannot trek alone, you must have a guide with you at all time. The cost was about 330 US$ for the two of us for eight days, including permit, guide, horse pack, and food. You can organize your Altai Tavan Bogd National Park trek by yourself, which we did with other fellow travelers, or book through a trekking agency in Olgii.
The trail is not too hard, besides the last couple of days. You can also use a horse pack to carry most of your equipment and food. The city is the central hub in the western part of Mongolia, and the place where you will buy your food for your trek. If you trek with an agency, you don’t need to worry about accommodation, which can be in a tent or a traditional Mongolian Ger. If you organize by yourself, bring your tent, or offseason like we did end of September, bring your tent.
Trekking season is June to October, though it can get very cold and even snow as you get later in the year. September is, however, the month when the Golden Eagle Festival occurs so this is also a favorite time to travel to the Altai region.
Kalaw to Inle Lake Trail
The Kalaw to Inle Lake route through Myanmar’s Shan State is one of the most rewarding treks in Southeast Asia.
It begins in the small hill town of Kalaw, where some local outfits organize group departures. It is possible to do the trek independently, but hiring a guide is highly recommended—least of all because homestays in Myanmar are tightly controlled, and villagers can get into hot water for hosting foreigners. There are at least four different routes to the Lake, depending on which company you travel with and how much time you have.
We opted for a three-day, two-night trek, which involved walking approximately 37 miles (60 kilometers) over moderate terrain. Treks are priced per group, so the more people who sign on, the lower the cost. Groups typically average between four and six people, and you can expect to pay as little as 30 US$. The company will transport your luggage from Kalaw to your hotel in Inle Lake by car so that you can do the trek carrying a light pack only.
The walk itself is not strenuous but requires a moderate level of fitness. The most challenging aspect is the heat, especially when you’re walking through unshaded fields. You’ll pass through Shan villages—with an ample number of tea stops—step aside for trains (and buffalo), and see some genuinely magnificent valley landscapes. When we did the trek in 2015, we stayed the first night in a homestay and the second night in a newly constructed bungalow.
The highlight of the trek is the final day when you finally crest a wooded hill to get your first glimpse of the silvery Inle Lake. The trek concludes at the bottom of the lake, around Nampan, where you board a sampan and cruise up to Nyaungshwe.
Trekking in Nepal
It comes to no surprise that Nepal is paradise when it comes to Himalaya trekking. So if you want to trek beautiful trails and admire massive snow-covered peaks, check these some of these best treks in Nepal for your next Himalaya adventure. Hiking in Nepal is a rewarding experience and should be on any trekking bucket list. So in your next Asia trip, make sure to trek Nepal.
Annapurna Circuit is one of the most scenic treks in the world. Due to its unique route, you will be able to experience numerous climate zones on the way. The classic Annapurna Circuit trek takes from 10 to 20 days depending on your itinerary and speed. There are also several side-treks that you can add (Tilicho lake, ice-lake, etc.).
The Annapurna Circuit trek is a beginner friendly trek. You can do it by yourself without a guide or potter. Moreover, you don’t need any special gear beyond personal clothes and belongings. The route is marked, and there are tea houses with food every 2-2.5 miles (3-4 kilometers).
To enter Annapurna Circuit, you need TIMS card and Annapurna Conservation Area Permit. They cost together 4,000 NPR (~40 US$) for pretty much everyone (SAARC countries may avail discounted prices). The overall cost of the trek itself depends on the season. While in low season you can manage on average in 10-12 US$ per day, during high-season the prices get more expensive, and it might come up to 20 US$/day on the low end.
Higher the altitude is, the more expensive are the costs and the more extra charges you get. The maximum elevation you will reach will be at Thorong La Pass at 17,769 feet (5,416 meters).
If you are thinking of doing this Annapurna trek, I recommend putting away all doubts! Annapurna trekking is one of the most life-changing experiences!
Trekking Annapurna Sanctuary is another option to the Circuit. Compared to the roughly 20-day 113-mile (180-km) Annapurna Circuit trekking, the Annapurna Sanctuary trek takes about seven days to cover the 40 miles (65 kilometers). Though the Circuit offers a more diverse landscape, one of the Sanctuary’s highlights is the 13,550-feet (4,069-meter) Annapurna Base Camp trek.
Everest Base Camp Trek
Two separate Everest Base Camps exit – the South Base Camp in Nepal at 17,598 feet (5,364 meters), and the North Base Camp in Tibet at 16,900 ft (5,150 meters). Some of the trails leading to the Mount Everest base camp on the Nepalese side got damaged by the 2015 earthquake and needed repair. The 12-day Everest base camp trekking is one of the most popular treks in Nepal. There are two seasons for Everest trekking: spring from mid-February to the end of May, and autumn from mid-September to the end of November.
Nepal is hiking paradise, and the choice of trails is incredible. One of the best multi-day hikes to do in the country is that of the Poon Hill Circuit, which can take anything between 3 and six days. The hike is incredibly scenic, and at times quite challenging. The starting point is the small city of Nayapul, and from there the trail goes through the small mountain villages of Tirkhedunga, Ghorepani, Tadapani. The last village visited on the hike is Ghandruk, home to a lovely indigenous community that still follows a traditional way of life. From there, the trail leads back to Nayapul.
Ghorepani Poon Hill trekking crosses a variety of landscapes and climates, so sights vary from rice terraces to forest and alpine regions. The views of the Annapurna South throughout the hike are stunning. The highest point on the hike is 13,780 feet (4,200 meters) above sea level. It is a challenging hike in parts, as on some days the walk is a steady uphill, ascending from 4,920 feet (1,500 meters) above sea level to 9,500 feet (2,900 meters). On other days, there are several downhills which are equally hard on the knees and back. Depending on the season, there are high chances of rain and the terrain is muddy, with leeches along the way.
The best way to hike the Poon Hill Circuit is with an excellent tour company (Royal Mountain is one of the most reputable ones), which provides guides and porters. The company takes care of meals and books all accommodation, usually in rustic tea houses. Rooms are generally twin, the toilets and showers are outside. It is better to carry a sleeping bag as the beds have no linen. The overall cost of the hike is around 600 US$. The costs include airport transfers in Kathmandu, accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara, transportation to Nayapul and back, accommodation, meals, guides and porters throughout the hike.
A permit to walk the Poon Hill Circuit can be obtained in Nayapul.
Tamang Heritage Trail
The Tamang Heritage Trail is a one week trek in the region of Langtang, in Nepal. You’ve probably heard of Langtang since it was the most devasted area during the 2015 earthquake. However, it’s a rewarding off-the-beaten-path route that will immerse you in the Tamang culture.
The number of days in which you can do the trek depends on your level of fitness and also on how many days you have. It’s usually done in seven days, but you can also extend it to 10 days, making some trekking days shorter. It is not a challenging trek, it is instead a moderate one, but it will take you through some authentic villages and green scenery. Actually, the village of Gatlang is probably one of the most picturesque villages in the area.
To wholly enjoy the trek you should try and go during spring or autumn. Spring (March to May) is when the trees are filled with flowers, but autumn (September to November) is when the sky is clearer. We did the trek in the middle of October, and we had great skies and warm temperatures during the day.
Langtang trekking is not a high-altitude trek, most of the times you will trek at an altitude under 9,842 feet (3,000 meters), with all the villages lower than this. However, you will get an excellent viewpoint of snow-capped peaks at Nagthali, which is at around 10,826 feet (3,300 meters).
For the Tamang Heritage Trail, you do not necessarily need a guide, as the trails are relatively easy to find and the locals will always be there to help you. However, we chose to take a guide for this trek just because we wanted to learn more about the local culture. And make sure you get the permit for your Langtang Valley trekking (10 US$ per week per person).
So go ahead and start planning your Tamang Heritage trek!
By Andra from Our World To Wonder
Mt. Amuyao Trekking
Mt. Amuyao in the Mountain District of the Philippines can be hiked up and down in a day with no problem for an in-shape hiker. However, making it a through-hike is much more fascinating. I stayed two nights in the village of Patyay and feasted on two kinds of frogs, the local vegetables, and packaged pasta.
Officially, a guide is required, but I declined and was made to sign a waiver. The through-hike can be done with one overnight in the tiny village of Patyay. Hiking time totals a day and a half. The hike uphill from Barlig to the top of Mt. Amuyao is challenging, due to the steepness. It takes around 4 hours for a tourist, including stops for photos. The rest of the hike is not especially steep or difficult.
There are two possible endpoints. The more popular end-point is Combolo, which is four to five hours from Patyay. However, I went to Mayoyao which is about four hours easy hiking from Patyay. You’ll spend your days hiking through the jungle with occasional views, and beautiful full views from the top of Mt. Amuyao. You’ll also enjoy the vista of rice paddies in Patyay village. The town of Mayoyao is popular thanks to its vast rice paddy system and easily accessible by public transportation.
Permits and fees 75 PHP (1.5 US$). The guide cost is 1,000 to 1,500 PHP (18-28 US$) per day. Guesthouses from Barlig to Mayoyao are less than 10 US$ per night. You can sleep on top of Mt. Amuyao, either camping or sleep in the building. Either way, bring your sleeping bag. Getting there from Bontoc, take a jeepney to Barlig. Coordinate with the Tourism Office in Barlig for your guide and permits. The office is next door to Sea World Inn, a nice little hotel.
Trekking around SaPa in Northern Vietnam has become a part of many traveler’s itineraries, and for a good reason. In this Valley, you get beautiful scenery and cultural experience, with a chance to stay with a local family. The Valley is home to five different tribes, where the central town sits at 4,920 feet (1,500) meters elevation.
It doesn’t require a guide, and the trekking is relatively moderate. Even beginners with good health could finish the trek with the help of a local guide. The price per night including food, accommodation, and a local guide is approximately 25-50 US$. The price varies depending on what standard you require, and if you book the trip via a local guide or through an agency.
If you want to trek alone, that’s fine too as you can just follow the trails. You don’t need a permit.
The best season for scenic views is in August-September, but every season has its charm, so if you’re traveling to Vietnam in other periods of the year, don’t skip SaPa, it’s still worth it. It’s one of the best hikes in Vietnam. Just remember to check the temperature and bring warm enough clothes or layers.
By Alexander from Swedish Nomad
This list of destinations for trekking in Asia is by far complete, and we will be adding more trekking and trail options. From China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Laos, Thailand, to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, stay tuned for more mountain adventures. Looking for trekking adventures in Africa? Check our top Africa trekking adventures.
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