Easy, breezy hiking trails in Asia? We’re sold!
We’d all love a quick escape from the urban grind and a chance to be blown away by nature’s finest. But what happens if you aren’t exactly the fittest person in the room? Thankfully, you don’t always have to scale the highest mountains for lush vistas. Search no more for a leisurely hike, complete with a spectacular view – we’ve got some of Asia’s most scenic destinations, so start prepping your camera and walking shoes!
Doi Inthanon National Park, Thailand
For picturesque views, head to Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai, also known as the highest mountain in Thailand. There’s plenty to see and explore, including rich forests, impressive waterfalls and beautiful, native birds which draw a steady crowd of birdwatchers each year. Don’t forget to make a stop at the Royal Twin Pagodas and its surrounding gardens – you’ll also be getting a splendid view from the top that’s worth the hike.
Bukhansan National Park, South Korea
Bukhansan, or “big mountain in the north”, is Seoul’s only national park and its idyllic surrounds are perfect for escaping from the buzz of the city. Culture buffs will find themselves stopping at the many Buddhist temples scattered across the park. Visit the Bukhansanseong Fortress, once a stone fortress during the Joseon era, and snap a few pictures of the majestic architecture. If you’re feeling up to it, you can try scaling the Baegundae Peak for a sprawling view of Seoul.
Mount Takao, Japan
Just a short train ride away from central Tokyo, Mount Takao is a prime spot for sightseeing and leisurely hikes during the weekend. There are plenty of trails that cater to hikers of different capabilities, but all of them offer breathtaking views of the mountain and its surroundings. Visit during spring and autumn, and you might even catch the stunning cherry blossoms and autumn foliage! The Yakuo-in Buddhist temple is also a must-visit with all of its intricate carvings and beautiful structures. Take a rest at the teahouse and try some traditional sweets before making your way downhill… you can even hop on a cable car. We won’t tell.
Here’s a day trip suggestion if you’re heading to Kansai, Japan. Ranked among Japan’s top three destinations for scenic views, Amanohashidate is also a cultural hotspot. This three kilometre-long, pine-covered sandbar is located in the coastal region of Northern Kyoto and there are various viewpoints from which you can take in a panoramic view of this natural wonder. While you can reach Kasamatsu Park via a chairlift or cable car, there’s also the option of a short trek up the mountain for a chance to see cherry blossoms during spring.
Zhangjiajie National Park, China
You might have heard of the ‘Avatar’ mountains (from James Cameron’s epic flick), that were inspired by one of these stunning pinnacles at Zhangjiajie National Park. This nature attraction has plenty more to offer when it comes to mind-blowing scenery, from towering peaks to dense lush vistas and imposing valleys. Climb the Tianmen Mountain for fantastic views and the chance to get close to the park’s spectacular natural wonders. Feeling brave? The Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge offers stunning panoramic views of the canyon, as long as you are willing to step onto the world’s longest and highest glass-bottomed bridge.
Want to learn more about agriculture in Southeast Asia? Head to Sapa, a town in northwestern Vietnam where you can find majestic rice terraces stacked across valleys and mountains. Make your way through the lush vegetation – it’s also a great way to appreciate the hard work that goes into rice cultivation.
Mount Batulao, Philippines
At an elevation of 811 metres, Mount Batulao is great for beginners and seasoned climbers alike. It’s conveniently located in Nasugbu, Batangas, and that also makes it a relatively popular choice for a day trip out of Manila. Make your steady ascent up its gently sloping hills with a few rest stops along the way – from the top, Mount Batulao offers a breathtaking view of the Balayan Bay and the surrounding peaks.
Psst… don’t forget your travel insurance
We’re all about adventure here, but we also make sure we’re all set up for a worry-free holiday. If you love Asia hopping as much as we do, check out DirectAsia’s annual travel insurance, which offers year-long coverage that’s customisable, so you don’t have to go through the hassle of sorting through multiple plans. Even better, you enjoy 40% off by signing up for the annual plan, in addition to an extensive list of benefits and coverage – you get a personal claims specialist to follow through with your claims process, with more than 80% of travels claims settled within 24 hours, and plans that cover up to 90 days per trip. Travelling with friends? Sign up for group insurance for additional discounts when you book for three or more.
This post is sponsored by DirectAsia Insurance.