While on vacation in Southeast Asia, there are many things that appeal for your attention – gorgeous white sand beaches, epic parties, decadent local cuisine, timeless temples, and so on. For the more active among us however, we look up at the soaring peaks that can be found across Southeast Asia, thinking only of conquering the towering limestone and volcanic monoliths.
If you fall into the latter group, here are three mountain trekking experiences that you should not miss on your excursions throughout Southeast Asia.
1) Rinjani Volcano, Lombok Island, Indonesia – A popular trek in the eastern portion of Indonesia located near Bali, Rinjani Volcano contains the right balance of tourist infrastructure, with the ever-present risk of being on an active volcano. Indeed, due to variances in volcanic activity, restrictions on accessing certain areas can be in place. Regardless, Rinjani contains enough reward to justify the risk involved in getting there. Swim in the lake contained within the caldera of the volcano, or try for the summit, located at 3,726 metres above sea level before sunrise, and witness the beauty of sun rising atop one of the highest peaks in Indonesia. You are highly recommended to hire a guide and porters, who will not only make your life easier by carrying much of your gear, but cook your meals and keep you safe from risks you may not anticipate.
2) Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia – If volcanoes aren’t your thing, but you still want to experience the thrill of summiting a major mountain on a multi-day trek, then Mount Kinabalu, contained in the state of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo is for you. While it is a very high peak, novices fear not: it is one of the easiest tall peaks in the world to conquer, with reasonable grades and slopes that can be scrambled without advanced mountaineering skills. Just be sure to pace yourself, as altitude sickness can cause serious problems for some people. Take enough time at the overnight lodging to acclimatize to the thin air, and before long, you’ll be on top of the roof of Malaysia!
3) Mount Fansipan, Vietnam – Located near Sapa, Vietnam, this peak standing at 3,143 metres, is one of the tallest in all of mainland Southeast Asia. If the hill tribes of Sapa aren’t enough to hold your interest, maybe looking down upon them would be more to your liking. As with Mount Kinabalu, there is an overnight lodge to get used to the thin air. The key attraction here is the biodiversity of the plant/animal life here, as there are 2,024 plant species and 327 animal species that are native to this area. Hopefully you see a few to take pictures of and brag to your friends and family about it!
If you can’t make it to any of these three, look up to the nearest peak close to where you’re travelling and ask a local. Chances are, a guide can take you up there and you’ll have an active experience to remember your trip by, as opposed to lazing around on a beach all day!