In life, the mountains we climb are not only made of rock and ice, but of dreams and desires as well. At Amazing Trekker’s Club (ATC), we firmly believe "life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature." (Helen Keller). As such, when we go mountain trekking and mountaineering, it’s more than just about “getting to the top of that hill”. Here's our guide to the top 5 mountain treks, all of which can be found within Asia. All you need to do is get your first pair of hiking boots, head on way up and be an adventurous traveller – start exploring!
1. DRAGON’S BACK, SUNSET PEAK OR LANTAU PEAK, HONG KONG
ATC members trekked Lantau, Sunset Peaks & Dragon’s Back on a 3D2N trip
Hong Kong is one of the world's most densely populated and ultra-busy cities, yet it also offers amazing trekking opportunities – up to 40% of the territory is national park. The Dragon’s Back trail on the south-eastern part of Hong Kong Island was awarded “Best Urban Hike in Asia” by TIME Magazine; the best part is that it’s so close to the city (25 mins from Central) yet it's another world. Dragon’s Back offers glorious, meandering peaks amid Chinese fauna and foliage and spectacular views of the coastal landscape. Total hike time is less than three hours and the view of the sunrise is extraordinary, so go on a clear day!. There are options for beginner hikers through to more seasoned trekkers. Dragon’s Back is perfect for a weekend away with girlfriends, your children or to add to your schedule at the end or start of a business trip!
2. MOUNT KINABALU, SABAH MALAYSIA
Mount Kinabalu dominates the landscape in Sabah, Borneo. Rising a notch above 4,000 metres above sea level, it's Malaysia's tallest mountain and should be on every new trekker’s bucket list. Nestled by the lush greenery of UNESCO World Heritage Site Kinabalu Park, Mount Kinabalu is a natural attraction located just under a short 2-hour drive away from Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah.
From the starting point at Kinabalu National Park, there are hiking trails that allow even newbies to get most of the way to the top. Climbing Mount Kinabalu requires no special training or equipment – getting to the summit is purely a matter of physical and mental stamina. Mount Kinabalu National Park boasts over 5,000 different species of plants and animals, so prepare to marvel at the rich wildlife and stunning scenery during your hike.
However, a much tougher challenge is found in the mountain's “via ferrata” (an Italian word that translates to iron road), the world's highest. This pair of routes uses metal rungs and steel cables to help climbers along; at times you’ll find yourself inching your way precariously over a terrifying drop. At its highest point, the via ferrata rises to 3,700 metres above sea level. The views, though, are worth it. Definitely not recommended for beginners!
3. MOUNT BATUR, BALI, INDONESIA
Sunrise on Mount Batur.
Mount Batur is an active Balinese volcano, which last erupted in the year 2000 and has been deep in slumber since. Rising 1,717 metres above sea level, this scenic sacred mountain in Bali can be scaled within two hours by fit climbers, and has been conquered by our junior trekkers.
Most trekkers like to take in the unforgettable sunrise at the top of the volcano, so start the ascent of Mount Batur during the night. Spectacular scenery and a relatively easy trek make this a must-do for all beginners, families and even the keenest of trekkers want this on their list. Once you've summited Batur, get ready for the next physical challenge – Mount Agung!
4. MOUNT BROMO, EAST JAVA, INDONESIA
Yet another active volcano in East Java, Mount Bromo is 2329 metres tall. Covering a massive area of 800 square kilometres, it's hailed as the best spot to witness a sunrise – expect to see vibrant rays casting shadows over the dramatic landscapes.
To experience more than just an adventurous climb, visit in the month of Kasada (September to November) where local Tenggerese come to Mount Bromo and make offerings of vegetables, chickens and money into the crater. It takes approximately four hours to drive from Surabaya – the capital of East Java – to Mount Bromo, but the long journey has not deterred many from trekking up the prominent volcanic mountain. Needless to say, the scenery is incredibly beautiful.
5. JADE MOUNTAIN, YUSHAN NATIONAL PARK, TAIWAN
Six ATC members climbed Mount Jade in May 2017
Yushan National Park is the tallest point in Taiwan and is also the highest peak in Northeast Asia. With an altitude of 3,952 meters, the jaw-dropping scenery has everyone pinching themselves. We are not exaggerating when we say that we were on cloud nine! The feeling of walking amongst the clouds was incredible, and we were ecstatic about how surreal it felt!
These are just a handful of examples – there are so many other amazing mountains to trek and to discover in Asia. Whether you drive from Singapore into Malaysia and trek Gunung Lambak, Gunung Ledang, Gunung Berlumut, or take a short flight to Subang or Kuala Lumpur to explore Pine Tree Hill. You can also take a boat to Bintan, Indonesia and climb Mount Bentan or fly to Lombok, Indonesia for Mount Rinjani. If you go to Myanmar, trek to the summit of Mount Popa. In Tokyo? Take a two-hour drive and climb the more challenging Mount Fuji. Wherever you go in Asia you can fit in a trek, a hike, or a mountaineering expedition. I promise that despite the pain, physical exhaustion and discomfort of sleepless nights you'll be looking forward to planning your next trekking adventure as soon as the first one finishes!