Travelling to Southeast Asia may already seem like the trip of a lifetime but the height of the trip is found at the summit. The views found from the top of Asian peaks are unlike anywhere else in the world.
You don’t have to be a mountaineer and attempt Everest to feel accomplished and get your heads outdoors in the cloud. Most areas offer inexpensive local guides and catered treks that await the adventurous and accepting traveller. The following are the top four mountains to climb in Southeast Asia.
Sunrise over Kinabalu National Park from the summit. Photo: sunriseodyssey.com
On the small island of Borneo, a state of Malaysia, you will find Kinabalu National Park. The mountain is one of the highest peaks in Southeast Asia with its summit sitting at 13,435 feet (4,095 meters). Over 40,000 people climb the mountain every year for the terrific views it provides.
The climb takes two days to complete, spending a night under the stars near the top before summiting and returning back to the lodge. The mountain is not a difficult climb and can be achieved by any reasonably fit person. Highlight of the trip? Borneo is home to over 500 different species of orchids that speckle the entire length of the trail.
The far off view of the small but impressive Mt. Santubong. Photo: Dustin Iskandor
You won’t have to travel far to your next stop, Mount Santubong. Located 22 miles (35km) from Kuching on the island of Borneo, you will find a small but impressive mountain. The hike to the summit can be achieved in just a few hours (about six) but come prepared.
The mountain has very little flat trails but instead provides an adult playground of rope ladders, muddy streams and slippery moss covered rocks. The views from the top provide for the best sunset view in Borneo.
Mount Bromo, Java, Indonesia. Photo: Flickr Sara Marlowe
If you are more of a sunrise over sunset type of person, head over to Indonesia. Mount Bromo is located within a ferry ride and day’s motorbike ride from Bali, just follow the trail of white sulphur smoke that emits from the active volcano.
Not to be climbed without a guide, the best way to experience the climb is in the wee hours of the morning. The purpose of the guide is to avoid angering the god that resides in the volcano that causes it to erupt when upset. Make sure to get the full experience by accepting a hard boiled egg that has been cooked in one of the magma vents at the summit.
Locals travel to the peak of Mt. Fansipan to gain their entry to adulthood. Photo: treksapavietnam.com
Located in Lao Cai, this Vietnamese treasure is name the ‘roof of Indochina’. A pyramid sculpture sits at the top of the 10,311 foot peak (3,143 meters) that aims to pierce the sky with its tip. You can make this trip an overnighter but is typically done in three days and two nights.
The tallest peak of the once known French Indochina trifecta (Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia), has become a rite of passage for the younger generation of the country. To reach the summit and hug the pyramid monument concretes your place in Vietnamese society. This is a good trip to hire a guide for due to being known for its tumultuous weather conditions. This peak is one of the only places to climb in Southeast Asia where you can see snow.
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