Traveling and hiking in Asia and the East
The Himalayas, Pamir, Tien Shan – the highest mountains of our planet are located here. But this part of the world is not only famous for mountains! I remember the Kathmandu Valley with the extraordinary riot of bright colors, the smell of incense, and the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra sounding everywhere. Thailand is mega positive monks of the many monasteries there. Indonesia – is of course the tropical islands and steaming volcanoes. And, no doubt, the diamond of all my Asian travels – four days in Bhutan, this tiny kingdom, who knows how come to be in the XXI century! Having done five trips in one 2008 year, I have truly fallen in love with these places, and I look forward to my next trip!
Kariya Trail. Turkey.
October 17 – 22, 2021.
Region – Turkey | Duration – 4 days | Length – 55 km | Elevation gain +200 m | Route difficulty – medium
Mi-mi-mi five day hike with swimming in the wild bays of the Aegean and Mediterranean Sea. You can go from 30 to 800 kilometers, depending on your ambitions. A super option for fall school vacations for outdoorsy families, solo hikers, and romantic couples who find Lykik too poppy and crowded!
Kyrgyzstan. A nonclassic line through Terskey Ala-Too
July 16 – 31, 2021
Region – Tien-Shan | Duration – 16 days | Length – 90 km | Set of elevation +3800 m | Route difficulty – sport
Incredibly beautiful route for those who have already seen a lot in trekking and are ready to make the first step in the direction of mountain tourism. 11 days, 90 km, overnights at altitudes under 4,000 meters, full autonomous life and great break from civilization.
Fann mountains the classic way
August 8 – 21, 2019.
Region – Pamir-Alai | Duration – 14 days | Length – 48 km | Height gain +4300 m | Difficulty of the route – sporty!
Fans – it’s a fairy tale, guys! Big, beautiful and at the same time warm mountains. Is it really possible? It is absolutely unacceptable to go through life and not see these mountains. And in combination with a visit to the legendary Samarkand and Bukhara is also a vivid journey. No troubles with visas and passes, you just buy tickets and fly! I will definitely come back here with my son and wife!
To the Himalayas as a family!
March 26-April 1, 2019.
Region – Himalayas | Duration – 5 days | Length – 55 km | Height gain +3250 m | Difficulty of the route – medium!
To see the Himalayas is the dream of everyone who loves mountains! Fortunately, despite the greatness of the highest mountains on the planet, you can see the eternal snow of Everest even if you are not a super athlete. In the spring of 2019, with my six-year-old son and wife, we hiked a small but very beautiful section of the famous trek to Everest base camp.
Three days in Istanbul.
From many of my friends who have been to Istanbul, I have heard only good things. Here I finally made it to this extraordinary place as well. A little photo story about the three days we spent in this beautiful and colorful city.
A month in the Himalayas
October 14 – November 17, 2008
The sixth and final trip of my Big Year of Travel. I spent a month in the Himalayas, lived in Kathmandu, went on a beautiful trek with friends to Everest base camp and a short trek around Annapurna, and in between visited the mysterious kingdom of Bhutan, where I really got into the 15th century. Probably the coolest trek of my life! They even made a movie!
Islands and Volcanoes in Indonesia.
August 5 – 27, 2008
Backpacker trip through the islands of Indonesia in the style of “Wherever the eye can see, that’s where we go. During the 22 days of the trip we visited Jakarta, Djokarta, Prambanan, Borobudur, Bromo volcano, Kawa Ijen volcano, Bali, Lombok island (climbing Rinjani volcano), Gili island.
Hike along Trans-Ili Alatau
July 16-24, 2008
Trekking tour along the route Alma-Ata – Aksai r. Aksay – Lower Kargaly (1A, 3731) – Kargalinsky r. Kargalinka – Lomakina Fozhny (1A, 3827) – Alma-Ata r. Prokhodnaya – Dzhuly Kezen (1A, 3731). Dzhusaly Kezen (Kosmostantsiya) (n/k, 3332) – B. Almatinskoye lake – R. Ozernaya pit – peak of Soviets (radial, 1B, 4317) – B.Almatinskoye lake – Alma-Ata.
Journey to Jordan.
May 13-27, 2008.
Jordan is extraordinary. Never been to the Middle East before. Travel itinerary: Amman – Jerash – Aqaba – Sout Beach – Wadi Rum Desert – Petra – Madaba – Mount Nebo – Bethany – Dead Sea – Hamammat Ma’in Hot Springs.
Solo Travel in Thailand and Laos
January 31 – February 22, 2008
Well, friends, I’m starting the Big Year of Travel after all. The story about the first solo travel route Bangkok – Chang Mai – Chang Hong – Laos: rafting down the Mekong: Pakbeng – Luang Prabang – Vientiane – Bangkok – Krabi – Bangkok.
10 great places to hike in Southeast Asia
From volcanic peaks to jungles and rainforests, trekking in Southeast Asia will delight even the most seasoned adventurers. World-class hikes in Southeast Asia often lead to stunning views from volcano tops or even isolated beaches, where you leave the first and only footprints of the day.
Read these hiking safety tips and choose one of these great places to hike in Southeast Asia:
Rice Terraces of Banaue, Philippines
The rice terraces of Banaue, built more than 500 years ago by the Ifugao, represent a culture and way of life little touched by the outside world.
The highlanders of the Ifugao mountain province of the Philippines carved rice terraces out of the mountains and tended them for generations-the locals are tied to an annual planting calendar that requires regular cattle sacrifices, hard planting and harvesting, and storing rice in distinctive granaries that also serve as their homes.
Travelers can choose from a variety of rice terrace trails for hiking, from the relatively easy Banana Rice Terrace hike to the difficult but gorgeously scenic Batad Rice Terrace trail. For our personal experience with the latter, read our article on hiking the Batad Rice Terrace in the Philippines.
Difficult level: Easy trails descend to Ifugao villages at the base of the rice terraces and back; Batad is the most challenging, but still accessible to hikers with intermediate fitness levels
When to go: Go in December to see the rice terraces during their “mirror” phase, with no crops, just the sky reflecting off the water of the terraces (read about weather in the Philippines)
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia
From base camp in Paltuding, a short but challenging three-kilometer trail extends two miles up a mountain in Indonesia’s eastern island of Java to reach a place that looks (and smells) alien: the curious blue-green crater lake of Kawah Ijen.
The climb to the summit takes about two hours of hiking for a moderate landing. You’ll leave early, hoping to catch a unique “blue flame” over the crater’s sulfur deposits-it can only be seen before sunrise. (We left our hotel in Banyuwangi at midnight and left Paltuding Camp at 2 a.m., arriving at the summit just before 5 a.m.)
On the way, you’ll pass by the miners of Idjen, scantily clad guys who extract sulfur from the crater for pennies. Their work is tough and dangerous–when the volcano collapses, the gases can suffocate anyone in the area, miner and traveler alike!
Ijen is just one of the many volcano trails you can hike in the country; Read about trekking active volcanoes in Indonesia.
Difficult Level: Easy is difficult, depending on your desired pace. Miners sometimes offer to climb to the top on their carts, charging about $50 (and your self-respect) for the trip
When to go: Between April and October, the weather around Iain is dry and amenable to hiking – the rest of the year is too rainy for a good hike
Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands is famous for two things: tea and great trekking. The cool climate makes the Cameron Highlands excellent for growing tea; travelers flock to the green region for a break from the typically scorching temperatures of Southeast Asia.
Make no mistake, Cameron Highlands is not a national park with helpful signs and maps. The area is still wild, with many trails winding through mountains and sprawling tea plantations. The area even turned out to be the eventual demise of legendary millionaire Jim Thompson, who disappeared while hiking.
Cameron Highlands is about halfway between Penang and Kuala Lumpur; the usual home base in Cameron Highlands is the tiny town of Tanah Rata.
Difficult level: Easy, mostly in highland forests with great views of tea plantations in fairly cool weather
When to go: Cameron Highlands is open year-round, but very crowded on weekends and holidays
Gunung Gede Pangrango, Indonesia
Two dormant volcanoes give its name to Gunung Gede Pangrango Park, and trails crisscrossing its 22,000 hectares allow hikers to encounter a wide variety of rare plant and animal species.
The day trip begins at the Cibodas Visitor Center, the beginning of a 1.7-mile trail that winds around a surreal-looking lake of blue and Gayonggong Swamp through pristine rainforest before ending at the triple Cibeureum Waterfall at 5,300 feet above sea level. ,
Climbing to the top of Gunung Gede requires a detour from the Gayonggong Swamp and another 10- to 10-hour hike. You can spend the night at one of several campsites around the summit before returning to where you came.
For more information, visit the official website at www.gedepangrango.org.
Challenging level: It’s easy to challenge: It takes about four to five hours round trip from Siboda to Sibeum Falls, and the ascent to the summit takes two days.
When to go: Visit from May to October, when the dry season makes the trails as accessible as possible. Trails are closed from January through March and throughout August to allow the ecosystem to recover from tourist traffic at other times of the year
Makrichi Reservoir, Singapore
Don’t count the greenery behind Singapore’s futuristic skyline just yet. Despite the small size of the main island, vast stretches of reservoirs have been reserved on the periphery, providing ample space for tourists and nature lovers to stroll.
MacRitchie Reservoir Park is one of Singapore’s oldest and most accessible nature reserves. Its nature trail consists of several boardwalks that cut through pristine rainforest and at the water’s edge. The Treetop Walk takes you over a suspension bridge spanning two of McRitchie’s highest points, and grazes the forest canopy at 800 feet.
Signs scattered throughout the trail make it easy to take self-guided tours through the ancient forest cover. And there’s little chance of difficulty: a food kiosk and drinking fountains are within easy reach.
Visit the official MacRitchie Reservoir Park website for more information.
Difficulty Level: Easy, with trails ranging from two to seven miles in length. The main hike takes about four hours – more than enough time to get back to your hotel in Singapore.
When to go: Any time of year is fine, but given Singapore’s uniformly wet and sometimes rainy weather, take care to wear rain gear when you go
This mountain village near the Vietnamese border with China has everything a traveler craves. Trails range from half-day hikes to the villages of Hmong and Dao to a four-day hike to Vietnam’s highest peak, Phansipan.
Built by the French in 1922 as a mountain resort from Vietnam’s unbearable heat, Sapa’s year-round cool climate and amazing views have made it a popular tourist destination. Green rice terraces and pristine high mountain forests provide the perfect backdrop for an easy walk through the mountains on your way to popular Sapa stops such as Bamboo Forest and Ta Pin Cave.
To get here, you’ll need a train ride from Hanoi to Lao Cai and then a 1-hour bus ride to Sapa. To visit Hmong and Dao villages, you need to get permission from the Sapa Tourist Information Center.
Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate; climbing skills are not required, and porters are always available to take your luggage to the top.
When to go: Visit March through May and September through November to get the best weather conditions for the hike. Between June and August, Fansipan is too hot; December through February is the opposite
Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia
Mount Kinabalu dominates the landscape in Sabah, Borneo – rising over 13,000 feet above sea level, it is undeniably the highest mountain in Malaysia.
From its starting point in Kinabalu National Park, there are a number of hiking trails that allow even beginners to walk most of the way to the summit. Climbing Mount Kinabalu requires no special training or equipment. Getting to the top is simply a matter of physical and mental endurance.
A much greater challenge can be found in the world’s tallest mountain, the Via Ferrata. Managed by Mountain Torq, this pair of trails uses metal rungs and steel cables to help climbers who sometimes navigate their way dangerously over a terrifying drop. At its highest point, the via ferrata rises more than 12,000 feet above sea level. The views, however, are worth it.
Mount Kinabalu National Park was the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Malaysia. Travelers must obtain permission to begin their two-day adventure up the slopes.
Challenging: It’s easily difficult; beginners may need two to three days to cautiously make their way to the summit. Via ferrata is rated very easy or moderately easy. Hardcore climbers join the Kinabalu Climbathon, a race to the summit where winners take less than three hours to reach the finish line.
When to go: Remember the weather in Malaysia; plan your climb between February and April, when the least rain falls in Sabah.
Kalaw to Inle Lake, Myanmar
Trade in the gentle hills of Southeast Asia when you make the multi-day trek between Kalaw and Inle Lake in Myanmar’s Shan State.
Your starting point, the mountain station of Kalau, was established by the British as a cool retreat from the heat of the lowlands (like Sapa Vietnam was for the French). You will follow a very weary trail through sleepy villages and farmland, spending the night in bed and breakfast or in a temple after sunset.
At the end of the hike, you’ll find yourself near one of Myanmar’s cultural treasures: a lake surrounded by quaint villages and floating gardens.
Challenging Level: Easy for the Intermediate: Hikes last from two to five days, depending on the route chosen. The two-day hike is the least scenic, but the five-day tour allows you to see more of the countryside and Shan peoples at your leisure.
When to go: during the cool, dry season from November to February; avoid the hot season from February to June and the monsoon season from July to October
Doi Inthanon, Thailand
Doi Inthanon is 8,000 feet above sea level and is Thailand’s highest peak, located in Chiang Mai, near Myanmar. Its unique vegetation and wildlife make Doi Inthanon a must-see for nature lovers – in particular, bird watchers flock to Doi Inthanon because of its diverse bird population.
Despite its elevation, Doi Inthanon is easy to climb – much of the trail is worn and paved in parts. The main trail extends 30 miles from the base to the summit, encompassing the Karen and Hmong settlements and a landscape that begins subtropical, evolving into a cold alpine climate close to the summit.
Shorter trails, such as the three-hour Kiu Mei Pan hike and the short Ang Ka Luang Nature Trail, provide easier outings for the less fit.
Difficult level: Easily difficult, see above. Admission must be paid at the park entrance, about $5 for foreigners
When to go: Doi Inthanon is open year-round, but jackets and other warm clothing are required during the coldest months of November through February
Luang Prabang, Laos
While the serene city of Luangprabang has its own charm, the surrounding countryside has its own magic. Hiking trails lead from the outskirts of the city to the hilly landscape of Northern Laos, leading to waterfalls and villages where traditional ways are still practiced.
The lowlands, occupied by the Lao majority, give way to hills and highlands inhabited by the local Khmu and Hmong ethnic minorities. (Those who don’t appreciate being photographed without their consent – ask permission before parting ways.)
The official Lao Tourism website has a list of Luangprabang hikes and trail providers to get you started.
Difficult level: Easy to medium, most trekking trails require no more than a day trip from the main town
When to go: head out during the dry season from November through April, but bring an extra jacket during the colder months of December through February. Avoid the rainy season from May through October.