Asia is a continent of variety. Be it in food, culture, experiences, landscapes or indeed anything at all, there is a huge choice and essentially no wrong options. Whatever decision travelers make while exploring this ever-changing part of the world, they are sure to be thankful they did.
Hikers are not immune to this spoilt-for-choice nature of Asia, in fact the list of spectacular trails here boggle the mind and intimidate even the most passionate itinerary planners amongst us. While everyone is different, it is safe to say that the following 10 hiking experiences throughout Asia will thrill and delight everyone with a love of adventure undertaken by foot.
10 Jagged Ridge Trail, South Korea
One of the greatest pleasures of a strenuous hike, outside of the physical benefits it can provide, is the moment of achievement that comes at the completion of a climb. The reward of a panoramic view usually reserved for those with wings which takes the viewer’s breath away makes all of the effort worth it.
The best thing about Jagged Ridge Trail in South Korea is that the payoff comes early and it comes often. A majority of this lengthy jaunt along the island’s ridge line takes place against the backdrop of unbeatable and unobstructed views that will burrow into travelers memories and set up home there for life.
9 Lang Biang, Vietnam
Known as the ‘Roof of Dalat’, Lang Biang provides a challenge for even the most hardy of hikers. A climb of over 2,000 meters is required to reach the peak and thankfully, the reward is more than worth it. Views of what seems like the entire country greet the intrepid traveler who reaches the summit here.
Pick your days carefully because Dalat is partial to a smothering of thick fog that obscures the entire terrain to the eager and tired eyes of those that complete the climb. Even if this happens to you, simply rest a moment and devour a fresh banh mi atop the mountain and savor the crisp air that surrounds.
8 Pha Hon Kham, Laos
Certainly not the most difficult hike on this list, Pha Hon Kham is by no means the least desirable. Able to be completed in a mere 45 minutes, the heart-stopping views are among the best value for effort anywhere in the world.
It can be particularly muddy here at certain times of the year so be prepared to sacrifice a pair of shoes to the cause; it is a small price to pay for the emotional reaction that will flow freely through the veins. There are many places in Laos worth visiting and Pha Hon Kham rises on that list just like it does into the welcoming skies.
7 Mount Batur, Indonesia
Outside of during an eruption, there really is no bad time to lace up the hiking boots and take to the exterior of an active volcano. When it comes to Mount Batur in Bali however, there is one time that soars above all others: sunrise.
Something about the way the lights weaves its way through the landscape as it explores a new day settles in the soul and awakens true joy that rested within all along. Be careful on the way down, the calm emanating from a morning spent in bliss can often cause balance errors on the extremely steep descent.
6 Zhangjiajie National Forest, China
If you watched the blockbuster movie ‘Avatar’ and thought at any point, ‘gee I would love to explore that magical terrain’ then Zhangjiajie National Forest in China is the destination that should be on your plane ticket. It won’t take long to realize how this remarkable location became the inspiration for the movie that took the world by storm.
It simply looks otherworldly. The sort of landscape that changes the understanding of what is possible in nature. There are endless options for hikers here so be sure to plan your wanderings in advance and when you take to the trails, be present within every single moment.
5 Sapa, Vietnam
Have a look at images taken by others of Vietnamese rice terraces and you will be amazed. Witness them in person, especially during harvest season, and you may just refuse to believe your eyes.
Hiking experiences here will take the walker through remote villages and begin to give a small understanding of what life in regional Vietnam is like. The reward of a vertigo-inducing view is not required in Sapa, the journey itself is the joy. Cover the terrain with a local guide to feast on the true taste of this wonderful country.
4 Mt Pulag, Philippines
Not many hikes will take their participants into the sea, but Mount Pulag in the Philippines will do exactly that. Okay, so perhaps not the sea you would assume, but a sea nonetheless. Known as the ‘Sea of Clouds’, this hike reaches almost 3,000 meters into the sky and earns its name through the unique view it provides.
This is a jaunt that most definitely requires a little preparation due to the thin air inhabiting the higher portions of the climb. Fitness is a must here, it isn’t a hike that can be done simply on a full stomach and a healthy dose of optimism.
3 Doi Inthanon Nature Trail, Thailand
Found yourself with half a day unfilled while exploring Thailand? How fortunate. That means you will be able to experience the Doi Inathanon Nature Trail and everything it has to offer.
Hire a local guide to show you the area and prepare to be astounded by a trail that winds along the mountain's seemingly treacherous ridge-line before diving deep into the surrounding jungle. Closed during rainy season, this outstanding Asian delight is well worth the wait.
2 Bardia National Park, Nepal
Placed neatly in the distant Western areas of Nepal, Bardia National Park is overflowing with vibrant flora and fauna and packed with thrilling jungle-laden terrain wanting nothing more than to be explored.
Always have a local guide by your side when adventuring through the leafy landscape because tigers and other wild animals roam their territory protectively and don’t welcome visitors with the kind of hospitality so much of Asia is known for.
1 Penang National Park, Malaysia
Some destinations promise so much that it is impossible to actually live up to the mystery and wonder that they promise when described through words scribbled upon a page. Penang National Park has the potential to be such a place given just how incredible it sounds.
Somehow though, it is even better. The white sand beaches that meld seamlessly with thick jungle that is home to abundant and unique wildlife actually exceed any expectations a traveler could possibly harbor. Get here, bring some hiking shoes and experience the best life has to offer. Oh, and bring mosquito repellent.