So, you want to know what are the best treks in Asia?
This region of the world is home to the highest mountains in the planet. So, as you can imagine, you don’t have to look far to find excellent hiking. Snowcapped peaks, glacial lakes and unique wildlife are what inspires people to travel thousands of miles across the globe to hit the trails here.
Aside from taking in the views of the biggest and baddest mountains in the world, one of the best ways to experience the culture of Asian countries is by foot. Many treks on this list take you to villages far from the reach of modern society and give you a unique look at life of the people who live there.
So now let’s talk about Asia.
– Antonio Cala (The Adventure Junkies)
The Annapurna Circuit is considered the oldest trek in the Himalayas and one of the best hiking routes in the world. It’s a long trek of 17-21 days depending on which route you take. The highlight of the hike is crossing the Thorung La Pass which is the highest point on the trail at 17,769 ft (5,416m). This circuit isn’t only about stunning landscapes but is also a journey through Nepalese culture, you’ll trek through Buddhist villages and Hindu holy sites. Despite its popularity, the Annapurna Circuit remains at the top of the list of the best treks in Asia.
This trek takes you to the top of Indonesia’s second largest volcano, Mount Rinjani. This adventurous hike that offers a view of the impressive volcanic peak is one of the most popular treks in Indonesia. You’ll climb to the volcano’s crater rim then down into the crater to arrive at a lake. You can also get a look at the mountain’s newest cone, Gunung Baru which only emerged a few hundred years ago.
This trek will take you to the base of the highest mountain in the world. Being in the presence of this 29,016 foot (8,844 meters) giant, a mountain that is the holy grail of mountaineers and sacred among the Tibetans and Nepalese is clearly the highlight of this trek from Dingri to Everest.
Photo by Indrik myneur, licensed under CC BY
This 14 day trek circumnavigates the eighth highest peak in the world. The Manaslu Circuit offers stunning mountain landscapes and an interesting cultural experience like the Annapurna Circuit but without the crowds. This region of Nepal is in a restricted zone which requires a special permit and a guide to travel through. While this is a bit of a hassle, it’s part of the reason why the Manaslu Circuit remains off the beaten path.
Photo by Devang Vira, licensed under CC BY
This popular trek follow the Markha Valley and is one of the most diverse treks in the Western Himalayas. The route will take you past Buddhist monasteries and remote mountain villages. The highlight of this trek is seeing the peak of Kangyatse. There are homestays along route which make it possible to do this route without carrying stoves, tents and sleeping bags.
Photo by Andrew Purdam, licensed under CC BY
This 24 day trek takes you through the most remote regions of Bhutan and into the heart of the Himalaya. It’s an extension of the Laya Gasa Trek and as the length can tell you, it’s only for the most hardcore trekkers. The Snowman Trek has been named as “the most difficult trek in the world” so if you’re looking for a challenge, this hike is for you.
Photo by mendhak, licensed under CC BY
Seoraksan National Park is home to the third highest mountain in South Korea, Seoraksan. There are a series of well maintained, clearly marked (in Korean & English) hiking trails that run through the park. These trails lead you through the thick forest passed odd shaped rock formations, hot springs and ancient temples.
Photo by kuhnmi, licensed under CC BY
The Kamchatka is a peninsula in the Far East of Russia that’s larger than the state of California. This is a very geologically active region of the world where fire meets ice, with a great variety of volcanoes, geysers and hot springs to see along the trails. There’s no roads connecting the peninsula with the rest of Russia so helicopter, snowmobile and 4x4s are the only means of transportation to reach the trekking routes. Aside from its volcanic landscape, people come here to see Kamchatka brown bears.
Photo by Stefanos Nikologianis, licensed under CC BY
The Gondogoro La Trek connects the Gondogoro glacier and Baltoro glacier to the Shigar Valley. This trail crosses the Karakorum region of Pakistan and gives you views of K-2, Broad Peak and Masherbrum to name a few. You will have to conquer one of the highest mountain passes in the world, the Gondogoro Pass. It’s best to tackle this trek early in the season (late June), when it is easiest to pass.
Photo by martin mvmorris, licensed under CC BY
Tavan Bogd is a mountain massif located in Mongolia that straddles the borders of China and Russia. The Altai National Park is home to some of the most remarkable landscapes in the country with it’s towering white mountains, 34 glaciers, deep lush valleys, large lakes and waterfalls. You might even cross paths with nomadic herders who are known for their eagle hunting skills and warm hospitality.
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This large chain of mountain ranges in Central Asia spreads from China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakstan and Uzbekistan. Trekking in the Tian Shan is about as tough as it gets. Plus, there are no guest houses along the way so you’ll need to carry all of your camping gear. Unlike the Himalaya, the Tian Shan is relatively unexplored due to its inaccessibility.
Photo by llee_wu, licensed under CC BY
In the Pamir range of Tajikistan, you’ll find some of the worlds highest mountains, giving this region of world the name, “the roof of the world”. This is a remote and rugged territory filled with snow capped peaks and alpine lakes. Without a doubt, the Pamirs are the least visited mountain range on this list so those who journey here will be in for a real adventure!
If you want to enjoy the thrill of summiting a peak but have little experience, this climb to the top of Mt Kinabalu is for you. That’s because it’s one of the easiest peaks in the world to conquer and it only takes two days. Seeing the sunrise from the summit of this mountain makes the journey worthwhile.