Hiking Trails in Asia is a part of a big series called “Best Hiking Trails in the World” suggested by Travel Bloggers around the world.
Read the best hiking trails from other continents below.
- Best Hiking Trails in Asia (You are Here)
- Best Hiking Trails in Africa
- Best Hiking Trails in Europe
- Best Hiking Trails in North America
- Best Hiking Trails in South America
- Best Hiking Trails in Oceania
Here is the list of Best hiking trails across Asia from top travel bloggers around the world.
Best Hiking Trails in Asia
1. Sandakphu in India
Written by Soumya from Nature Diary
Hiking through misty mountain trails makes us thrilled to enjoy the untouched beauty of nature. If you ever thought of such an adventurous trip at a little expense, Sandakphu can be a wonderful choice. It is the highest peak of West Bengal (11930 ft) and located near the border of Nepal and Sikkim.
The trail to Sandakphu mostly lies in the Singalila National Park which is known as the land of the red panda. The fascinating beauty of the forest trail and tiny waterfalls always keep the traveler energized. Also, the main attraction of Sandakphu is the view of “Sleeping Buddha”, the Himalayan mountain range that looks like a sleeping monk.
The place looks most beautiful in the early morning when the sun rises. A 6-day trip to Sandakphu can be perfect to witness such mesmerizing beauty of nature. There are some good homestays and hotels around the trail routes.
How To Reach
The closest railway station and airport to Sandakphu are New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) and Bagdogra airport. You can get a cab from any of these places to reach Manebhanjan, the starting point of the trail. It is a small village in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It is recommended to have at least 2 stands at Tumling/ Tonglu and Kalipokhri before trekking to Sandakphu. In this way, you can avoid/ minimize the effect of high-altitude sickness. In the return journey, you can follow a different trail to reach NJP or Bagdogra via Gurdum and Srikhola, two beautiful villages where you can get homely foods.
It is advised to bring proper identity proofs as the traveler needs to take a permit from the forest department at Manebhanjan to enter Singalila National Park. Also, it is better to consult a doctor prior to the trip if you have breathing-related issues.
2. Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia
Written by Martina & Jürgen from Places of Juma
One of the most stunning and the best hiking trails we had ever done was Mount Kinabalu in Borneo, Malaysia. This spectacular mountain is the landmark of Sabah and with a height of 4,095 meters, it is one of the highest mountains in all Southeast Asia! Since 2000, Mount Kinabalu is added to the UNESCO World Heritage List and visitors from all over the world come to experience these incredibly beautiful mountainous landscapes.
Hiking this unique mountain will take you 2 days’ time. It starts always in the morning and takes around 4-5 hours to reach Laban Rata, where you will have an overnight stay. The second day will start at around 1-2 am to reach the peak at sunrise. That’s a really special experience and if you are quite fit you should definitely put that activity on your Borneo itinerary. It is not very challenging nor dangerous, just long and the most who trying have a successful climb.
For go on this hike, it is compulsory to book a 2-day guided tour including a guide and with an overnight stay in a base camp. While hiking you will pass many different landscapes, starting from the deep lush jungle with carnivorous plants and ending up at the rocky top of the mountain where you can enjoy the most incredible mountain views. Due to its unique look, many think the mountain is a volcano. But in fact, it is a huge granite rock that forms a picturesque and world-unique panorama.
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3. Hallasan Mountain Hike in South Korea
Suggested by Arantza from Un mundo por volar
Hallasan, with its 1950 m altitude, is the highest mountain in South Korea. It’s located in Jeju Island and it’s actually considered an active volcano, but its last eruptions took place about 5000 years ago.
Hallasan National Park is situated in the middle of the island, so the mountain can be seen from all places in Jeju when its peak isn’t covered in clouds. If you are lucky with the weather, you will be able to enjoy some magnificent views of Jeju Island during this amazing hike.
It’s not allowed to spend the night in the mountain and it can be dangerous to hike it at night. Thus there are checkpoints on the different trails, which you have to reach on time if you want to go to the summit.
Only two of the available trails will take you to the peak:
- Seongpanak trail: 9,6 km and 4,5 hours one way. Starts at the Seongpanak visitor center. It’s the longest but also the easiest trail. There are two shelters with toilets and you can find the checkpoint at the second shelter.
The starting point can be reached by public bus transportation (bus 181 or 281) or you can also park your car for a 1800 won fee in the parking lot.
- Gwaneumsa trail: 8,7 km and 5 hours one way. Starts at the Gwaneumsa campsite. There is only one shelter on this trail, where you can find toilets and the checkpoint. This trail is shorter but steeper.
It’s not easy to reach the campsite by public transportation, so you should take this into account if you don’t have a car. This trail is often closed if the weather isn’t good.
You can choose to hike up and down the same trail or walk one up and down another. I’ve done this hike two times. The first one, I walked up the Seongpanak trail and down Gwaneumsa. It was amazingly beautiful but my knees were hurting for 3 long days after the hike down this trail. The second time we walked up and down Seongpanak and this was much easier.
Some advice: start early, wear appropriate hiking clothes and shoes, take enough water and snacks with you and bring sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun rays.
4. Mount Bromo Hiking Trail in Indonesia
Submitted by Kaylini from The Curated Travelist
The Mount Bromo hike is one of the ultimate bucket-list-worthy activities in Indonesia as staring into an active volcano is not something many travellers can say they’ve achieved. Located in the region of East Java, this adventure destination is a must for those looking for more than just the average Bali experience.
The experience is actually two parts, first is to take in a stunning sunrise at Mount Penanjakan which allows you to bask in the glory of the golden sunlight cascading through the clouds illuminating the grandeur of Mount Bromo volcano, along with Mount Batok and ominous Mount Semeru volcano in this picturesque landscape.
Once you’ve taken in sunrise, it’s a short 4×4 ride to the Mount Bromo crater hike point. Here you’ll trudge through a sea of volcanic ash surrounded by an otherworldly Mars-like landscape. The trek to the crater rim is surprisingly simple, involving only a 1-2 km walk and climbing some stone-carved stairs embedded on the slope of Mount Bromo.
Reaching the volcano crater rim and peering into the depths of smoke and sulfur is a mind-blowing experience, as is the view from the elevation of 2329 metres, but thankfully, you only have to climb a small fraction of that, since the 4×4 drive does the rest.
Mount Bromo is easily accessible from the cities of Malang or Surabaya, which are only a short flight from Bali or Jakarta. Apart from the ease of the hike, the bucket list-worthy experience, the easily accessible location, and jaw-dropping views, the price tag for this experience is exceptionally good with full tours including transport and accommodation and guides being extremely reasonable and exceptional value for money.
This is most certainly one of the most unique and beautiful hiking trails in Indonesia and a must-see destination for any outdoor enthusiast.
5. Bottle Beach, Koh Phangan in Thailand
Suggested by Veronika from Travel Geekery
The hike to Bottle Beach belongs to the most legendary trails in Koh Phangan. The island, famous for its Full Moon parties, offers a surprisingly high amount of hiking trails leading through the jungle. The Bottle Beach Hike is the Queen of them all.
The well-marked trail leads to one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. It’s not easy to get there – you can hike, take a boat, or drive on dirt roads from the less inhabited Eastern part of the island. The secluded beach is just the best destination.
There are actually two trails leading to Bottle Beach – one is shorter (2km) and goes through the jungle, while the other takes you along the coast and is thus a bit longer (2,5km). Both trails start at the end of the paved road in Haad Khom – just drive west from Chaloklum. Most people take their scooter to the end of the road and leave it there.
The elevation is probably just about 200-300 meters. The hike can get strenuous, but any fit person can accomplish it easily. On the way back, you can either choose to hike again or take a taxi boat back. You can get off at Chaloklum Bay or at Haad Khom Beach (closer if you left your scooter at the end of the paved road).
6. Phadeng peak in Laos
Suggested by Ketki from Explore with Ecokats
Phadeng peak is of the popular hiking trails near Luang Prabang in Laos. The peak is also known as Nong Khiaw viewpoint offers stunning views of Nong Khiaw village and Nam Ou river from the top. Nong Khiaw is 150 km away from Luang Prabang and one of the must-visit destinations in the country.
The trail starts from the Nong Khiaw bridge. The entry fee for the hike is 20,000 kips per person. If you decide to hire a guide, that charge will be extra. Although it is not necessary to have a guide with you, having one would be beneficial at places where there is a fork in the trail. The entry point has access to walking sticks and it is best to carry them while hiking.
Situated at an elevation of 467 meters, the distance of 3.4 km can be covered in a little short of one hour. The hike is accessible all year round but can get messy and slippery if it rains.
Best time to trek
Early morning is the best time to trek to beat the heat and humidity. Season wise it is ideal to visit in the months of October to February.
Tips to plan the trek
- The upward and downward trek will take up 3-4 hours. Although it can be done within a day by travelling to and from Luang Prabang, it is ideal to reach a day prior in Nong Khiaw.
- Wear comfortable hiking pants and sweat absorbing t-shirt.
- Wear good grip hiking shoes and carry walking sticks from the entry gate.
- Carry water and snacks as there is no source of food while going upward. Light snacks like sandwiches, fruits, chocolates, and nuts are ideal.
7. The Nakasendo Trail in Japan
Suggested by Sarah from A Social Nomad
The Nakasendo Trail in Japan is a quintessentially Japanese trail. It was the traditional route between Tokyo and Kyoto in the Edo period. Tax collectors would use it to go between the “post” towns and it passes through some of Japan’s high country, which means that it’s sometimes difficult to travel during the winter months.
Taking the full Nakasendo Trail will take you around 3 weeks as its 530 kilometres long. The best time to hike the Nakasendo Trail is from April to November, but it parts of it can be done throughout the year. The most popular part of the trail is the day hike from Magome to Tsumago. This picturesque part of the trail is about 8 kilometres long and you’ll hike well-made trails, see narrow traditional streets and villages in Magome and Tsumago and enjoy the peace and quiet of the Japanese countryside.
While the Nakasendo Trail is a long hike its not necessary to take a guide, but it is preferred to prebook your accommodation. Traditional ryokans compete with more modern hostels and hotels – and this is an incredible way to experience Japanese culture. The trail has very few crowds and the hiking is pleasant rather than challenging. There are well-made trails, rolling hills and small post towns that do date back to the Edo period. The towns are well connected by public transport, so if you want to take a break and do some sightseeing it’s very easy to do that. Be sure to book at least one ryokan with an onsen which is an awesome way to soothe your aching muscles.
8. Gokyo Ri, Nepal
Suggested by Cecily from Groovy Mashed Potatoes
One of the best ways to see an expansive view of the highest peaks in the Himalayas including Everest is by hiking to the summit of Gokyo Ri. The 10-day Gokyo Ri trek is an alternative to the Everest Basecamp hike and has a major advantage of having less hikers on the trail.
After a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla at 2,860m elevation, your hike begins to Phakding (2,610m). From Phakding you will ascend to 5,347m over the next six days. It’s very important you have an acclimatisation day in Namche Bazaar (3,440m), the gateway to Everest, to combat altitude sickness. It’s also highly recommended to take altitude pills (Acetazolamide) for your ascent and to drink 3L of water a day.
After Namche Bazaar, the scenery gets more and more breathtaking. You will walk through tiny villages, see waterfalls, glaciers and stunning turquoise lakes along the way. On the day of your ascent up Gokyo Ri, leave by 4 AM to catch the sunrise over Mount Everest and its surrounding peaks. Seeing the view from atop Gokyo Ri is an experience you will never forget.
The next three days you will hike back to Lukla, where you will catch your flight to Kathmandu the next day.
It pays to have an experienced guide look after you and book your accommodation along the way, since the best spots can book up. Himalayan Glacier is a Nepali owned company and has stellar reviews. You won’t go wrong with them.
9. Sapa in Vietnam
Suggested by Paula from Paula Pins the Planet
Vietnam is an incredible destination, and one of the highlights is to visit the mountains of Sapa. The main activities during your visit to Sapa are to go on hiking and trekking and have the fascinating experience of visiting the local hill tribes along the way, and even better, to experience a homestay with a local Black Hmong family.
During your hiking in Sapa, you will see many rice paddies, the incredible misty mountains, you will also pass some waterfalls, rivers, and across bridges where you can see local women washing clothes. This very remote and quiet part of Vietnam is home to many different ethnic tribal people, and you will see the five main groups in Sapa, with the largest one being the Black Hmong, followd by Dao, Tay, Giay and Xa Pho.
Sapa is located in the Northwest of Vietnam, beyond the clouds in a mountain town in Lao Cai Province which also includes Fan Si Pan, the highest mountain in Vietnam with a height of 3,142m above sea level. The best option to get to Sapa is to take the night train leaving Hanoi and arriving in Lao Cai the next morning.
Upon the arrival in Lao Cai train station, you can take the mini-bus up into the mountains to Sapa Town, which takes approximately an hour. You can either book a tour in advance with some of the local travel agency, or directly with a local lady from one of the hill tribes. They wait outside the final bus station, and you can meet them and decide if you want to hike for a day up to 3-day hiking. The hiking in Sapa is fascinating and unique, not just because of the incredible nature, but also, because of the close interaction with the local tribes.
10. Tiger Leaping Gorge in China
Suggested by De Wet & Jin from Museum of Wander
China’s most spectacular hike has an equally impressive name to make it even more epic: Tiger Leaping Gorge. Located in Yunnan province in southern China, the Tiger Leaping Gorge hike is a 22 km trek through one of the deepest canyons on earth.
The elevation from the riverbed to the top of the equally epic named Jade Dragon Snow Mountain next to the river is up to 3900 meters. The average altitude of the trail is 1800 meters.
Qiaotou is the starting point of the trek, and is reached by a daily bus from the city of Lijiang, 2 hours away.
There are several guesthouses and homestays along the trail, so you don’t even need to carry a tent. The stunning location, good food, hot showers and comfortable beds at Tea Horse Guesthouse make it a popular place to spend the night in the gorge.
The scenery on the second day is really out of this world, especially between Tea Horse Guesthouse and Halfway Guesthouse. This part is known as the Middle Gorge, and with lofty peaks, waterfalls and the river far, far below you’ll be surrounded by the incredible beauty of nature. You will reach Tina’s Guesthouse by the afternoon of the second day, where you can have lunch and a cold beer to celebrate before getting the bus back to Lijiang.
The best time to come to the Tiger Leaping Gorge is in spring or autumn, but it is open throughout the year. Entry to the gorge is RMB 45 (USD7) per person.
11. Lenin Peak Base Camp in Kyrgyzstan
Suggested by Pashmina, The Gone Goat
Not able to climb Lenin Peak,a 7,000 mountain did not stop me from trying to attempt climbing their Base Camp. Located at the foot of Lenin Peak in the Pamir Mountains at an elevation of 3,500 meters above sea level in Kyrgyzstan, I spent days in this region visiting a mountain and staying in yurts that not many people know of.
There is no better place to see sweeping views of the Pamir ranges and Alay mountains. We bumped into bearded amateur climbers with their premium hiking boots and trekkers who were intrigued by the silk road and the vast mountains in this region.
To reach Lenin Peak Base Camp, the closest village is Sary Mogul, a 3 hour drive from Osh. From Sary Mogol to Tulpar Lake is approximately one hour. Sary Mogol is about a 30 minute detour off the M41 at Sary Tash, if you’re coming from the Pamir Highway.
When you’re in Lenin Peak Base Camp, you’ll be amazed by the little luxuries that are available in these camps from a volleyball pitch, to proper 3G wifi, heating facilities and a full-functioning toilet. The best time to visit this place is in between June to August.
12. Everest Base Camp in Nepal
Suggested by Campbell and Alya from Stingy Nomads
The Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek in Nepal is one of the most famous trekking routes in the world. Climbing the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest is an extreme challenge only performed by the best mountaineers. The highest peak is 8848m above sea level. The climb to the top of Everest starts at Everest Base Camp at an altitude of 5600 metres. Trekking to EBC is a tough, beautiful trek, and reaching basecamp is a fantastic accomplishment.
The trail to EBC starts at a small village in the mountains called Lukla. It is a 120 km trek to Everest Base Camp and back, taking an average of 13 days. Lukla can be reached by Jeep and on foot, but the most popular way is an amazing and hair-raising flight from Kathmandu. You fly very close to the mountains and land on what is called the most dangerous runway in the world. The Everest Base Camp trek is a tea house trek, many small villages on the trail have local guest houses known as tea houses with accommodation available at very reasonable prices.
The tea houses serve meals so you do not have to carry a tent, food, or cooking gear. Many trekkers hike the route independently, the trail is clear and easy to follow, there is no technical climbing, and food and accommodation are available. If you prefer a guided hike, this is offered by many companies on this route and the trek can also, be done with a private guide and porter which can be arranged in Kathmandu or Lukla. Altitude sickness is a serious risk on this high altitude trek so good acclimatization is very important. The EBC is a fantastic trek and bucket list adventure for hiking and outdoor lovers.
12. Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal
Suggested by Erin from Travel From Australia
Take yourself on a once in a lifetime hike through the Himalayan, off the main tourist route of Everest Base Camp (EBC) and discover the Annapurna’s! While the trek to Annapurna Base Camp (4130m) is not quite the elevation of EBC, it is absolutely well worth the journey, adventure and life experience.
The best way to hike to Annapurna Base Camp is on a tour. You will be guided by locals who will be well experienced on the track, know all the ins and outs on where to stop for lunches, overnight stays and mostly importantly – how to stay on the right track.
To get to the start of the walk you will need to get to Pokhara, a beautiful town that is the home base for many hikers and travellers. To get there you’ll either fly over the great Himalayan range, or travel by bus on the precarious but adventurous local roads. Both options are recommended to get the full Nepali experience.
A good level of fitness is required and ideally training on mountains in preparation, although little can fully prepare you for what you are about to endure. Make sure you have appropriate footwear, hiking pack and clothing and be prepared for all weather conditions.
The hike and experience itself is truly magical and is enjoyed by thousands from all over the world. There is something very special about trekking in the Himalayas, it really gets under your skin.
13. Gaumukh Trek in India
Suggested by Samantha from Intentional Detours
One of the best hiking trails in the world is the Gaumukh Trek in Gangotri, India. What makes this trek so special is that it’s quite spiritual as it leads to the very beginning of the Ganges, which is India’s most sacred river. The entirety of the hike is absolutely stunning, with snow-capped vistas and drinkable, pure glacier water throughout.
The trek is located in Gangotri National Park in the mountains of Uttarakhand, and reaching Gangotri is an adventure in and of itself. Unless you’re self-driving (not recommended on these wild roads!), you’ll have to first reach the town of Uttarkashi to catch a shared jeep up to Gangotri. The jeep ride will take about 4-5 hours and cost between $3-$4 per person.
Aside from the trek, Gangotri is most famous for the Gangotri Mandir, a temple of significant importance to Hindus. Due to a mass pilgrimage that occurs here from April/May-June, the best time to head to Gangotri is September as the weather will be clear and the village notably quieter. Yet regardless of how busy the village becomes, the trek is seldom overpopulated due to its length and high-altitude.
The out-and-back trail to Gaumukh begins on the edge of the small village and covers a distance of 18 km/ 11 miles each way, making the total length 36 km/22 miles. However, you don’t need to cover that distance all in one day. The best way to complete the hike is by first making it to the “base camp” of Bhojbasa-which sits at over 12,000 feet- where you can then spend the night in an ashram or guesthouse before continuing on to the glacier in the morning. The distance from Bhojbasa to the Gaumukh glacier is approximately 5km/ 3 miles.
After you see Gaumukh in all its glory, you can opt to spend another night in either Bhojbasa or Chirbasa, which is another campsite closer to Gangotri. Keep in mind that both Gangotri Village and the trail sit at altitudes of over 11,000 feet, so it’s highly recommended to spend a few days hanging out in the village to acclimate to the conditions. Heading out with altitude sickness medication is also a very good idea as even the fittest of hikers may be taken aback by the lack of oxygen. Luckily, there are numerous pharmacies in the village that sell these tablets.
Because the trek is located within a protected natural environment, hikers must get a permit beforehand. Both Indian nationals and foreigners can acquire this permit from the Forestry Department Office near the village’s entrance. Permits should be picked up the day before you plan to trek and cost about 600 INR/$8 for 2 days. If you’d like to stay on trail longer than that, you can do so. Just prepare to pay 250 INR/ ~$3 at the park’s exit for each additional day!
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It was a pleasure to contribute to this list of Best Hiking Trails in Asia! Writing about Hallasan brought back some amazing memories from my South Korea trips. Also thanks to this article I have also discovered some amazing hikes that I would love to do in the future 🙂 I will go check out the other lists for the Best Hiking Trails in other continents as well!
Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to discover new trails and journeys!
I am so glad to be able to participate on this incredible list. It is so inspiring to see all these incredible hiking trails in Asia, and I certainly want to continue to travel and hike. Fascinating and inspiring post.
Thank you Paula for contributing to this post. Keep traveling and inspiring!