The Best hiking in Asia & Pacific – Off-the-beaten-track
Have you ever imagined hiking in Asian or Pacific countries? The Asia Pacific region is rich in diversity and offers some of the best hiking opportunities on the planet. And even better, you can find some incredible off-the-beaten-track travel destinations in the Asia Pacific region. You have certainly heard about hiking in Asia, the Himalayas are vast and varied. You may also be familiar with hikes in Pacific countries such as some great places to trek in Australia and stunning hikes in New Zealand. Are you interested in hiking in cold or temperate climates? Do you want to climb a mountain, or trek through a jungle, or hike along an enjoyable scenic trail? Your options for hiking in the Asia Pacific region are limitless. I have asked some top travel experts to help me put together some of the best Asia-Pacific destinations for hiking on lesser known trails to avoid the crowds while you have an experience of a lifetime. This list is a guide for some incredible hiking or trekking in places you may have never heard of. Below you will find a combination of the best hikes for all tastes and styles – from one of the toughest multi-day treks in the world, to one of the best viewpoints to watch a romantic sunset after a rewarding hike. Your next Asia-Pacific adventure await you!
Plan, Prepare & Be Safe before your hike in Asia-Pacific
Before we get started on this amazing list of the 20 best hikes in Asia & the Pacific, let’s remember to always travel safe:
- Search for travel advice from the local authorities for the location you are planning to travel. Check the weather conditions, best time to visit, safety regulations, and of course, always follow the guidelines for Responsible travel and preservation of the environment.
- Make sure you have appropriate hiking gear, especially shoes. A good pair of hiking shoes can make or break your hike.
- Always carry enough water with you and stay hydrated.
- If you are planning to go on a long hike/trek, it’s recommended to have a fitness preparation plan before your hike. Check my YouTube Channel for workout ideas, as short as 20 minutes a day. You can do it from pretty much anywhere.
- Have travel insurance. There are many options, but my personal preference is World Nomads, since their process is easy and simple, from getting a quote to making a claim.
Best Hiking in Off-the-beaten-path
1- Ak-Suu Transverse – Kyrgyztan
Hiking the 109 km (68 miles) in 7 days in Ak-Suu Transverse Hike in Kyrgyzstan remains one of my favorite multi-day treks, even in a region as spoiled for choice as Central Asia. It visits some of the best landscapes Eastern Kyrgyzstan has to offer, from still as glass alpine lakes to exposed and rugged mountain passes, and all along the views just get progressively more amazing. The seven-day length is long enough to escape the demands of everyday life, but still short enough to carry everything you and your trekking party will need without worrying about a resupply (though, of course, porters and horses are available for parts of the route if you’re looking to lighten your load). It passes through the highlight of the entire Issyk-Kol region: Ala-Kol lake, but does so while minimizing time spent on crowded trails and opts instead for out of the way routing and extra helpings of amazing mountain views. Starting in the small ecotourism hub of Jyrgalan village and ending at the Soviet-era sanatoria (spa resort) of Jeti-Oguz, both trailheads are served by infrequent public transport from the city of Karakol. The region’s real trekking hub, Karakol is interesting enough to spend a few days relaxing between treks but also small enough to start a dayhike straight out your guesthouse door.
2- Kokoda Track – Papua New Guinea
The most popular hike in Papua New Guinea is most definitely the Kokoda Track. The Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea is known as one of the toughest multi-day treks in the world. It also has an immense historical significance as it was the epicenter of the Kokoda Battle between the Japanese and the Australian Forces in WWII. The grueling battle of war along the muddy ridges of the Kokoda track was played out in harsh tropical conditions. Today, trekkers from around the world reflect on the four pillars of Kokoda, which are mate-ship, endurance, sacrifice and courage as they push themselves physically and mentally to complete the arduous journey across the Kokoda Track. The Kokoda Track is a challenging single-file trail, which runs right through the Owen Stanley Range in Papua New Guinea. The Track begins at Owers’ Corner in Central Province, which is 50-kilometers east of the capital, Port Moresby. The Kokoda Track finishes in the village of Kokoda, which is in the Oro Province. The trail is a total distance of 96-kilometers, which sounds like a long way but when you break it up over 8 days it becomes a manageable 12-kilometers a day. The important part to consider is that it is very slow going due to the muddy and uneven terrain. 12-kilometers on flat terrain walking around the local park may take you 2-3 hours but on the Kokoda Track, you can expect to go twice as slow so 5-8 hours a day of hiking is about the norm. Each night you will camp in a designated site or stay in a thatch hut at one of the local villages along the route, which is all part of the Kokoda experience.
3- Chadar Trek – India
Chadar Trek – One of India’s toughest treks and also one of the most unique treks in the Himalayas, is essentially 5 days of walking on the frozen river Zanskar. Its a 65 km long trek, in Ladakh – The Land of High Passes, in India, and is operational for a period of 45 – 50 days from Jan to mid Feb every year, and makes for an excellent addition to this 5 Day Leh – Ladakh Winter Itinerary. The Chadar Trek experience is without a doubt one of the most adventurous, and rewarding trek experience there is. It tests both your physical and mental endurance. It makes you appreciate the small joys of life and also give importance to the small things, such as to keep your feet dry at all times (to avoid hypothermia), to change into dry fresh pair of socks the moment you reach camp, to pack essentials and the importance of layering. If you are thinking of doing the Chadar Trek, its imperative that you plan your trip in such a way that allows you to acclimate for 3 days in Leh prior to the Trek, because of the high altitude and the thin air. And also its recommended that you keep some extra days in your hand, towards the end of the planned trek dates. This is because, there are chances of delay due to unforeseen circumstances, such as heavy snowfall, which restricts you to step out.
4- Phadaeng Peak – Laos
With its stunning mountain ranges, picturesque waterfalls, caves and rivers, Laos is an absolute dream for nature lovers and hikers everywhere and arguably, has some of the best hiking in South East Asia. The hike to Pha Daeng Peak (also known as Nong Khiaw viewpoint) is a great introduction to hiking in Laos. The starting point to the hike is Nong Khiaw, a cute little town surrounded by limestone mountains and on the banks of the Nam Ou River in Northern Laos. The trail head is walking distance from Nong Khiaw town – most visitors either hike Pha Daeng Peak in the early hours of the morning, before sunrise or just before sunset. If you choose to do the latter it is very important that you bring a torch with you as the path is quite steep and difficult to descend in the dark. Depending on your level of fitness, the ascent takes around 1 -1.5 hours, although if it has been raining it can take longer as the path can become extremely slippery and muddy. At the top of the peak you will be greeted by gorgeous 360-degree views of the forested mountains, the lush valleys and the meandering Nam Ou river below. If you choose to hike the trail before sunrise, you will be treated to the stunning sight of the clouds hovering just above the town and then breaking up as the sun rises. The absolutely incredible scenery at Pha Daeng viewpoint and the fact that you are likely to be able to enjoy the views all by yourself (one of the bonuses of hiking in Northern Laos) makes this an awesome hiking experience.
5- Adam’s Peak – Sri Lanka
Adam’s Peak, also known as Sri Pada (The Sacred Footprint) is located in southern Sri Lanka, around 150 km from the capital city Colombo. Adam’s peak holds a special significance to the Buddhist population who believes that the depression on the ground of the summit, is a footprint of Buddha. For this reason, Adam’s Peak is an important pilgrimage site for Sri Lankan and a great physical and spiritual experience for tourists too. While Adam’s Peak can be hiked at any time of the day, it is particularly memorable to climb it at night and to reach the summit at dawn, to see the spectacular sunrise, as well as the enigmatic shadow of the peak over the surrounding valley: a surprisingly perfect triangular shadow that doesn’t seem to match the actual shape of the mountain. Depending on each one level of fitness it takes around 3 to 4 hours to climb the 5000 steps to the summit. The numerous shacks along the hiking path, selling tea, water and snacks are great places to take a break, when the climbing becomes strenuous. Hiking Adam’s peak is an incredible experience, both from a physical point of view (these 6000 steps will take your breath away … literally), but also from a spiritual point on view. Watching thousands of pilgrims of all ages, in all kinds of physical conditions, a lot of them bare feet, is very humbling. The best time to climb Adam’s Peak is the dry season, from December to April. It is better to avoid weekends, public holidays, and full moon nights when the crowd can be so huge that it makes it impossible to reach the summit.
6- Sapa Mountain – Vietnam
- Hike Expert: Paula from Paula Pins the Planet
The highlight of my trip to Vietnam was to hike the mountains in Sapa for 3 days and do a homestay with a Black H’mong hill tribe. The best way to explore Sapa and go off-the-beaten-path is by hiring a local hill tribe guide to show the real life experience, and explore lesser-known trails. You can literally and figuratively walk miles in their shoes! Sapa is located beyond the clouds in a mountain town in Lao Cai Province which also includes Vietnam’s highest peak, Fan Si Pan. It is in a remote corner of Vietnam about 350 km northwest of Hanoi, close to the Chinese border. When you choose to hike in Sapa, you’ll enjoy amazing views of mountains, waterfalls, mountain slopes of rice paddy terraces, rivers, and cross bridges where you can see local women washing clothes. You’ll pass small villages and meet many curious children on their way to and from school. This very remote and quiet part of Vietnam is home to many different ethnic tribal people, and you’ll see the five main groups in Sapa: the largest group is the Black H’mong, followed by Dao, Tay, Giay and Xa Pho. Sapa is not only beautiful, but it is also very rich in culture and a safe place to visit while you are in contact with nature and the lovable local people. It will definitely help you to travel back in time and make you appreciate a few days of quiet and inspiring nature. The trekking can be challenging and involve strenuous hiking in the mountains, but the opportunity to be among the misty rice fields and the highland villages of the hill tribes in Sapa was just epic.
7- Sandkphu Trek -West Bengal, India
- Hike Expert: Ruma from The Holiday Story
The highest peak in West Bengal is Sandakphu which means “Height of the Poison Pants”. Poisonous trees grow near the summit of Sandakanfu and hence the name, and the sunrise and sunset over Kanchenjunga from Sandakphu will be a lifetime experience. Manevanjan can be called Sandakphu Gateway. Sandakphu peak is 3,638 meters (11,941 feet high). This peak on the West Bengal-Nepal border along the Singalila National Park in Darjeeling. It is the highest point of the Singalila Hills. Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lotse and Makalu – all four of the five highest peaks in the world can be seen from here. Sandakafu is a paradise for those who may not be a very good trekker but love mountains. This is probably why Sandakanfu is called Trekkers Paradise, because it allows you to enjoy all the beauty of the Sandakan trek. Temperatures on the Sandakanfu-Falut trek can range from 12-20 degrees Celsius during the day and minus 5 to 5 degrees Celsius at night, depending on the season. Strong winds with temperature is another challenge of this trek. So you should prepare very well in terms of clothes. On the day of arrival and departure, you can visit places like Meghma, Tonglu, Tumling, Gauribas and Kalipokhari, and in a clear sky day you can see the curve of the road and also see Kanchenjunga, consider yourself lucky if you find a red panda here. In the Sandakphu top, its a flat area and very windy all day. From here the view of snow peaks like Pandim, Elephant Hills, Kabru, Kabru Dom and Shinchala including Kanchenjunga is amazing. Everest, the highest peak in the world, can be seen from here if the sky is clear. Note that from June 15 to September 15 is restricted due to rainfall.
8- Bottle Beach Hike – Koh Phangan, Thailand
Koh Phangan is a lovely laid-back island in the South of Thailand, infamous for its monthly Full Moon Parties. However, it has amazing beaches, a big yoga community and a relaxed vibe. Nearly 70% of the island is a protected nature reserve, which makes for a number of great hiking opportunities. The most famous hike in Koh Phangan is the Bottle Beach hike. Bottle Beach belongs to one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. It can be accessed only by a boat or on a hike! To reach the start of the hiking trail, you need to go to the fishing village of Chaloklum in Koh Phangan’s North and continue towards the East all the way until you reach the end of the paved road. Not many people know there are actually two hiking routes to choose from – a Jungle route, which is slightly shorter and goes through the jungle, and a Coastal route, which copies the coast, but mostly leads through a jungle too. Both hikes are moderately strenuous. If you have good footwear and are generally fit, you won’t have any problem. The Coastal route offers more views of the turquoise ocean, but that means you often hear passing boats too. The reward for making it all the way to the Bottle Beach is sweet – refreshing waves, plenty of space on the soft sand and four small beach side restaurants to have a proper meal. If you don’t feel like hiking back, you can simply hop on one of the many boats going back to Chaloklum.
9- Tiger’s Nest – Pro, Bhutan
One of the most iconic images from Bhutan is of the Tiger’s Nest a Buddhist monastery nestled in the mountains near the city of Paro. Legend has it that the founder of the temple, Guru Rinpoche, was carried up there on the back of a disciple who had transformed into a tiger. The Tiger’s Nest (or Paro Taktsang as it is called in the Bhutanese language of Dzongkha), is one of the best hiking experiences in Asia, if not the world. As an added bonus, Bhutan is such an off the beaten path destination that although it is the number one thing to do in Bhutan, hiking the Tiger’s Nest rarely gets over-crowded. I’m not a big hiker, but was nevertheless excited about doing the Tiger’s Nest trek as I’d heard it was worth it. Although it is not an incredibly strenuous hike, the altitude can really affect people, and we definitely felt it! The total hike is around 6.5 km (4 miles) an it takes around 4-5 hours. One of the hardest parts of the hike is the last stretch before you reach the actual monastery as you first descend over 100 steps, before climbing up even more. It was hard to push myself to do it, but the views over the valley from outside the temple were incredible! Most non-Indian visitors to Bhutan need to go through a registered tour company and pay $200-250 a day. Although this is steep, it covers all accommodation, food (not alcohol), transportation and entry fees within Bhutan.
10- Kumano Kodo – Kii Peninssula, Japan
The Kumano Kodo is a pilgrimage trail that winds through the Kii Peninsula and leads to the three most sacred shrines in Shinto, an ancient religion native to Japan. Actually, in centuries past it was common for Japanese people to practice both Shintoism and Buddhism side by side, and you can still see some traces of Buddha worship along the trail today. But in the 19th century, a law was passed forcing a separation between the two, and nowadays the Kumano Kodo is primarily associated with Shintoism. Shintoism has no dogma or theology. Instead, it is about worshiping and paying homage to the many spirits (called “kami”) that inhabit all aspects of nature, including the trees, rivers and stones. And what better place to worship these spirits than in a sacred forest of towering cypress trees? For foreign visitors, a walk along the Kumano Kodo is much more than just a hike. It’s a unique opportunity to learn about and participate in Japan’s and customs, traditions and beliefs. When researching my Kumano Kodo hike, I was surprised to learn that there is no definite starting or ending point. Rather, the Kumano Kodo is a series of connected trails, and you can spending anywhere from a few hours to a week or more walking these trails. Most walkers visit at least one of the three main shrines — the Kumano Hayatama Taisha, the Kumano Hongu Taisha, and the Kumano Nachi Taisha. If you want to visit all three, you will need several days. A shorter alternative is the Nakahechi Route, which takes two full days of walking and finishes at the Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine. To reach the trailhead at Takijiri-oji, take a train from Kyoto or Osaka to Tanabe and then a bus the rest of the way.
11- Bouma National Heritage – Taveuni, Fiji
Taveuni, the third largest island in Fiji, earned its nickname of being the country’s “Garden Island” because of its dense forest landscape. While many of the other islands in Fiji are surrounded by sandy beaches, jungle vines and plants creep to the water’s edge on Taveuni. At Bouma National Heritage Park on Taveuni, you can enjoy a hike with a view on the Lavena Coastal Walk, an easy trail that wraps along the shoreline and leads to two hidden waterfalls. The hiking is around 6 km (3.7 miles) and takes around 4-5 hours. Though it is a national park, you’ll occasionally pass houses built just a few meters away from the water, hidden behind tall coconut trees, revealing a glimpse at local life. Or, for a bit of a challenge, head inland and trek to the three waterfalls that start at Tavoro Waterfall—still inside the Bouma National Heritage Park. At the first waterfall, it’s worth going for a swim for a quick cool-down and challenging yourself to see how close you can get to the waterfall itself. As you trek, keep an eye out for the bright crimson Tagimoucia flower, a flower that only grows on the island of Taveuni. The island of Taveuni is an hour flight away from Nadi International Airport, the airport nearly every tourist will arrive at. From there, visits to Bouma National Heritage Park are best arranged through your accommodation. Entrance to the park costs about $30 Fijian dollars per person. Pack a bathing suit and shoes that can get wet as there are some points on the trail that require minor river crossings.
12- Mount Halgurd – Iraq
Mount Halgurd is known to be Iraq’s highest mountain. The summit of the mountain is as high as 3,607 meters and it’s located not far from the Iraq – Iran border. One of the most fascinating things about the Halgurd Mountain is that it has absolutely no tourism infrastructure. To find out how you can make it to the country’s highest summit as a foreigner, you need to make some local friends either through social media or Couchsurfing, or pay for a tour. To climb to the top, you need to get prepared. Foreigners must have a permit from the Kurdistan Mountaineering and Climbing Federation to climb Mount Halgurd. For me, the friends of my Couchsurfing host arranged the permit. The total hiking is around 16.8 km (10 miles) and it takes approximately 7-8 hours. Moreover, you can’t just go there by yourself or only with other foreign friends. You need local friends who know the right way to the peak. Some routes are off-limit in the mountains because of the presence of foreign drones, landmines and unexploded munitions and because the correct hiking trail is not indicated. Last but not least, you need a jeep. From the city of Choman, you need to drive 95 km. You need a big beast to drive on the dirt roads of Halgurd Mountain. No normal vehicle can manage on those roads.
13- Jyrgalan – Kyrgyzstan
Jyrgalan is a small village in Kyrgyztan and a great place in to arrange hiking expeditions to the nearby Tien Shen mountains. Hiking lovers heading to Kyrgyzstan should definitely plan to visit Jyrgalan, where you can stay at Alakol Guesthouse, a wonderful community-run lodge, the perfect base for longer or shorter hikes in the surrounding mountains. There are literally hundreds of hikes possible in the surroudings of Jyrgalan, ranging from a few hours to a few days, some of which can also be done on horseback. However, it’s important to go with a local guide, as hiking in the Tien Shan mountains is completely different from hiking in the Alps or Rockies – there are no signs, so unless you know the area well, it’s very easy to get lost. Some of the best Kyrgyzstan hikes from Jyrgalan include the Keskenkija loop trek, a 4 day ring trail taking in some of the best scenery around the village, and the Boz Ushuk trail, opened only a few years ago. However, it’s important to go with a local guide, as hiking in the Tien Shan mountains is completely different from hiking in the Alps or Rockies – there are no signs, and it’s very easy to get lost. These are all multi-day outings, including unforgettable nights spent sleeping under the stars. However, if you’re after something shorter, Jyrgalan offers many opportunities for day hikes too, like the full-day hike to Emil’s Peak, named after the owner of Alakol Guesthouse. Jyrgalain is a truly wonderful place. I left my heart there and have no doubts you will too!
14- Kalaw Trek – Myanmar
The trek from Inle Lake to Kalaw, the neighbouring hill town dotted with beautiful mountains, is one of the most popular hikes in Myanmar. Most people first visit Inle Lake, one of the top destinations in Myanmar and hike all the way further to Kalaw. While Inle Lake is famous for the different settlements on wooden stilts, Kalaw is a small hill town known for its natural beauty, relatively cold climate and lots of floral and wild species. Hikers will pass through many remote settlements in the mountains, where they can experience the Burmese ways of life in the countryside. You will stay at homestays run by these locals, and will also try the delicious Burmese food. It is an experience to get to the heart of rugged Burma, away from the chaotic cities and the crowds. The total distance of the hike is over 55 km (34 miles), almost on a flat trail. It can range from easy to slightly moderate depending on your fitness level. If you book through one of the tour companies at Inle or Kalaw, you can drop the luggage and carry what’s required. They will usually drop the rest of your items in Kalaw or Inle, depending on your direction. You can book your trek after you arrive in either of the towns as the prices are lower. You can also do from Kalaw to Inle, and it takes about 3 to 4 days on an average. You can skip a few sections and make it in 2 days also. The best time to do this trek is from November to February after the monsoons when there are blooms, and the hills are green. There are plenty of buses from all major cities to Nyaungshwe, the nearest town to Inle Lake.
15- Paekakariki Escarpment Track – New Zealand
- Location: Near Wellington, New Zealand
- Distance: 20 km / 12.5 miles
- Duration: 4-6 hours
- Hike Expert: Jub Bryant from Chur New Zealand
The Paekakariki Escarpment Track, often dubbed NZ’s Stairway to Heaven is a 10 km (6.2 miles) end-to-end walk near Wellington. Between the track and the coastline is a highway and train track. That might put you off, but you really don’t notice either as you’re well above sea level the majority of the time and the noise pollution is minimal. Along the way you’ll navigate a lot of stairs, kohekohe forest, two swing bridges, and on a clear day the views are incredible. You’ll see Kapiti Island (as seen in the photo), the South Island, the coastline north and south, and on a super clear day you’ll see Mount Taranaki. Although the trail is less than a 40-minute drive from Wellington, you might want to catch the train as the trailheads begin close to Pakakariki and Pukerua Bay train stations. If you’re driving, I recommend parking and starting the walk from Paekakariki. At 10km each way, walking one way might be more than enough for you in which case you can easily train back to your car from the other end of the trailhead and enjoy some post-hike food at one of the cafes in Paekakariki before driving home. If you catch the train, get off at the Pukerua Bay station and walk the track from south to north, that way you can enjoy the cafes at the end of the walk, or you can eat and then walk the trail back to the Pukerua Bay end (20km total) before catching the train back. The walk isn’t easy with hundreds of stairs around the halfway mark, but the views just get better and better. I’ve seen people of all ages take on this walk, but if you’re worried about your fitness levels, just be prepared to turn around and go back the way you came.
16- Pinnacles in the Coromandel – near Thames, New Zealand
New Zealand isn’t short of incredible day hikes but one of our favorites has to be the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail near Thames, otherwise known as the Pinnacles Track. Easily accessible if you’re flying into Auckland, stay in Thames the night before and the hike is a 7-8 hour round trip up the Kauaeranga Valley over 16 km (9.9 miles). You’ll climb around 550 metres through classic New Zealand bush on well maintained and clearly marked track, up until you reach the 80 bed Department of Conservation hut (bookings essential a couple of months in advance). From the hut, the Pinnacles can clearly be seen a kilometre away up a scrambling, twisting track, up endless steps with rocky outcrops and fixed ladders. You’ll definitely want a rest here if not a bed for the night. It’s a steep and intense final 40 minutes but worth every second once you reach the top. There’s a viewing platform at the end of the track but most hikers continue up and make their way up another 5 metres to the very top of the outcrop. From here, the views run east over the wild peninsula to the sandy Coromandel bays as well as up and down the Coromandel Ranges. Totally doable in one day but if you can, overnight it with an early start on day two to reach top of the Pinnacles before sunrise, you’ll be rewarded with something pretty spectacular as you see the first sun rays rising over the Pacific Ocean in the distance. Unforgettable.
17- Mount Koscisuzko – Australia
At a height of 2,228 metres high, Mount Koscisuzko is Australia’s tallest mountain and is popular with hikers and mountain bikers in the warmer months, and with skiers and snowboarders in the colder months (May-Sep). The Mount Kosciuszko Summit Walk can be done in around 5 hours, a distance of approximately 13 km (8 miles). This particular walk starts from the top of the chairlift. Hiking up Mt Kosciuszko, Australia’s tallest mountain was an amazing experience I recommend any hiker, fitness adventurer or nature lover to undertake. I chose to start from the Thredbo side and decided to hike the entire way from the very bottom to the summit which took around 5 hours one way. Then on the way back, I walked down to the chair lift, about 2.5 km from the summit and caught the chair lift down. So depending on your fitness level and motivation you can choose to hike the entire way up, or use the chair lift for part of the way. You can follow the designated path or if you’re feeling adventurous, find your own path. Note that the only opportunity for hiking is from October to April when there’s no or little snow around. I hiked in early May and there were patches of snow here and there and of course the summit was covered with a thin layer of snow. To get there, make your way to Thredbo, a popular town at the base of the mountain. From there, put your hiking shoes on, pack a water bottle and snacks and just head for the peak!
18- Taung Wine Mountain – Myanmar
The Taung Wine mountain is located in a small mountain village called Hpa-An in Myanmar. The hike up to the top of this 180 meter high mountain is very steep and strenuous, but doable in about 45 minutes – an hour. The view from the summit on the surrounding area is incredible, especially during sunrise and sunset. So make sure to plan your hike either very early before sunrise, or in the afternoon so you can watch the sunset from the summit. This also avoids you from hiking during the midday heat. The Taung Wine mountain is 13 km east of Hpa An located. The easiest way to get to the base of the mountain is with a rental motorbike. But be prepared that you have to drive on some unpaved, dusty roads. You can rent a motorbike for around 10 000 Kyat a day or arrange a taxi or TukTuk for around 7000 Kyat one way. But if you want to do the sunrise hike, make sure to arrange transport the day before. The hike starts immediately from the parking lot with steep stairs leading up the mountain. It’s not even a super long hike, but pretty strenuous all the time with many steep steps. You will need to rest some times to catch your breath and re-hydrate. But keep going because the view from the summit is priceless! Especially with sunrise or sunset, when the light reflects beautifully on the mountains and creates a beautiful orange golden glow. Make sure to put on comfortable hiking shoes and bring enough water as you won’t see stalls on your way to the summit to buy drinks or snacks.
19- Cradle Mountains Summit – Tasmania
Tasmania’s most famous day walk, the hike to Cradle Mountain Summit is a challenging but incredibly rewarding experience and one of the must do activities in Tasmania. The 12.8 km (8miles) hike in the north-west of Tasmania starts from either the Ronny Creek or Dove Lake carparks in Cradle Mountain National Park and should take you around 8 hours to compete. The trail starts out on easy alpine paths and duck boards to protect the native vegetation. As you approach closer to the base of the mountain you start to work your way over a considerable area of rock hopping, then move on to easy rock scrambling which turns into some more intense rock scrambling over massive boulders some the size of large mini vans. The hike up Cradle Mountain Summit has the ability to demoralize you due to the large number of false summits. Just as you think you have finally arrived you will discover that there is another hill to climb! Even in summer, you should be prepared for a wide range of weather conditions as Tasmania often experiences extreme and dramatic changes of weather within the same day, including snowfall. At the very minimum you should wear sturdy shoes and take a weatherproof jacket and plenty of water. If you do the return trip via Ronny Creek and find yourself at the car park at dusk, then you will get to experience the amazing sight of wombats and echidna in the wild.
20- Fox Glacier Valley Walk – New Zealand
- Hike Expert: Paula Martinelli from Paula Pins the Planet
You can find so many incredible options for hikes in New Zealand, and the variety of landscapes and climates is stunning. You can even be surprised with a hidden gem that absolutely turns into the highlight of your trip, and hiking the Fox Glaciers in New Zealand was one of them. Well in advance I booked a tour to Franz Josef Glaciers, but because of harsh weather conditions the tour got canceled. Since I was in the area I checked other options for things to do, and I am so happy I did. The Westland Tai Poutini National Park in Glacier Country is home to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, located at Fox Glacier Village, a quiet village with a limited number of accommodation and few restaurants. From the village, you can drive or take a shuttle to the National Park and from the parking lot it takes about 45 minutes to reach the terminal face of the glacier. The path is well-marked, and you need to make sure to walk in the designated areas because of the risks of rockfall, icefall, and sudden glacial river surges which are common with weather conditions changing rapidly. All instructions and warning signs must be adhered to seriously. Walking up the trail, approaching the glacier, you will begin to see the crevasses where the dynamic flow of ice has literally been ripped apart. The precipitous rock walls that flank the glacier are over one kilometer high and create an optical illusion that the terminal face is not very high. Make sure to wear good waterproof hiking boots, as the terrain is rocky with occasional glacial streams to cross over the trail. The hike is not strenuous and can be done with children. The views are stunning and venturing into the valley provides an approach where we could see the snout of the glacier and the Fox River gushing beneath the ice. The view of the glacier is absolutely remarkable and one that I will never forget.