Six Great Asian Hikes

Being a cross between huge expansive continents and island nations, Asia is a dynamic geological landscapes. Add in the Pacific ring of volcanic activity and you end up with some fantastic space for walkers and hikers. The region is filled with scenic beauty, ranging from sunny beaches, tropical forest to snowy mountains. This time around however, we’re looking out for hiking trails that brings one closer to nature and far beyond. Here’s our list of six of Asia’s best hikes.

Abel Tasman Coastal Trail, New Zealand

Photo credits - patleahy

Photo credits - patleahy

New Zealand is probably the best country in the world for hiking, so I’d be remiss not to include it on this list. While it’s difficult to choose and everyone has an opinion, I remain firm in my choice of the Abel Tasman as my favourite. Winding along the northwestern coast of the south island, the route is fairly flat and gives you continuous views of the ocean while allowing time to explore the flora and fauna nearby. Crossing estuaries and streams adds to the excitement, but save time to hang out and relax is some of the pristine and nearly empty beaches along the way.

Wilson Trail, Hong Kong

Photo credits - yunmeng

Photo credits - yunmeng

Just steps away from the neon and smog of Hong Kong are some fantastic trails. (Just consider a face mask if you’re sensitive to the pollution). You can head into the New Territories for loads of long, scenic walks but you can also find great trails on Hong Kong Island itself. A popular choice is Wilson Trail, a 78km path that goes from Stanley on the island all the way to Nam Chung on the Kowloon peninsula. It’s a fairly strenuous walk but the resulting viewpoints from each the peaks along the route are well worth the effort.

Tiger Leaping Gorge, China

Photo credits - hectorgarcia

Photo credits - hectorgarcia

If you want one heck of a great Chinese adventure, then head for the Tiger Leaping Gorge, where you can hike and see some fantastic landscapes, in one of the world’s deepest river canyons. About 15km in length, the gorge is named after a legendary tiger jumped across the gorge to escape from a hunter. No small feat considering at its narrowest point, it is still 25 metres wide! The trail, called the “High Road” (pun intended, I think), is slightly narrow but well-maintained and has accommodation stops along the way. You can also walk closer to the river along the lower road, which gives you that gorge valley feel and more frequent water views, but at times the trail is unstable and far less safe. The gorge area is not safe for hiking in the summer rainy season.

Overland Track, Australia

Photo credits - rickmccharles

Photo credits - rickmccharles

Covering the most beautiful 65km of all of Australia, the Overland Track in Tazmania is a must-do if you visit this southerly island. From Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair is a natural wonder, and along the way you’ll see some of Tazmania’s tallest mountains topped off with gorgeous waterfalls. The walk also has a reputation for excellent sighting of the island’s unique ecosystems. Fairly challenging but well worthwhile – similar to other trails in the area, be sure to book ahead and be sure to respect the path, leaving everything as you found it.

Pamir Mountains, Tajikistan

Photo credits - acordova

Photo credits - acordova

Tajikistan seems to be heading away from the off-the-beaten path, but it’s still a chore to reach. Believe it or not, though, the gorgeous and unspoilt Pamir Mountains offer hiking and walks to suit all levels of fitness. You’ll need inexpensive permits to access the trails and given the remote nature of the area, you’ll want to bring all necessary equipment and be well versed in mountain safety. Gharm Chasma and Julandee are good bases to explore the region, and don’t forget your camera!

Mount Fuji, Japan

Photo credits - molas

Photo credits - molas

There’s a saying that goes something like ‘you’re wise to climb Mount Fuji once, but a fool to climb it twice.’ Within easy reach of Tokyo, Mount Fuji looks like a formidable climb but hikers of all ages and experience have climbed it without issue. The best times of year to climb are July-August, which provide the best weather and much of the snow has melted. Having said that, the route is still quite mucky, so good footwear is needed. Sunrise at the top of Mount Fuji is a surreal experience comparable with few others; to do this you’ll need to start the climb in the afternoon the day before, then spend the night in a hut along the way. This is a popular option; there are plenty of huts along the trail and the whole system is reasonably tourist-friendly. Just remember, though, when you reach the base after you’ve finished, you’ll still have a couple of hours of transport before you get back to your accommodation (if staying in Tokyo) – it makes for a long trip.

And don’t miss…

If these hikes strike your fancy, don’t miss our previous articles on hiking hotspots such as the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia, Tibet – Roof of the World, or Papua New Giunea.

Remember, you should always well-research your route, accommodation requirements, equipment needs, and fitness level required before you depart. Travel safe!

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About the Author. Andy Hayes. Andy Hayes is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. When not crossing the world to have his next Asian travel adventures, he is hitting the walking trails near home. To get in touch or see Andy’s other travelogues, visit his website, Sharing Experiences.

Comments

30 Comments on "Six Great Asian Hikes"

  1. Lauren on Sat, 5th Sep 2009 4:25 am 

    Fantastic shots. I have to agree with you about Abel Tasman. It really is quite spectacular. By the way, I am incredibly jealous that you reside in Scotland. I have been researching the castles there for archaeological purposes and enjoyment.

  2. Andy Hayes on Fri, 11th Sep 2009 3:56 pm 

    Lauren – where do you think the inspiration for this post came from? :-) Scotland of course.

    Let me know if I can help with your research!

  3. Dave and Deb on Fri, 18th Sep 2009 2:28 am 

    I have not done one of these hikes. But now I plan too! Want to go to Tiger Leaping Gorge in China and Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan. Nice!

  4. Chris H on Sat, 17th Oct 2009 5:29 am 

    In Oz, Tasmania is great but the 250 km bushwalk from Sydney to Newcastle – the Great North Walk – has much to offer too.

  5. wids on Thu, 10th Dec 2009 6:46 am 

    hiks..hiks..can’t speak anymore..must come here but i don’t know when..hiks..hikss

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  8. Nancie (Ladyexpat) on Fri, 14th May 2010 1:50 am 

    I’ll have to check out the Wilson Trail the next time I’m in HK.

    I’d like to do the Tiger Leaping Gorge in China. I’m going to China this summer, but doesn’t appear to be a good time to do it.

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