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3 Epic Hiking Destinations in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is filled with gorgeous landscape waiting to be explored. Countries like Indonesia and Malaysia are rich in natural beauty and destinations to choose from. Southeast Asian countries are also famous for their cultural roots, so don’t be surprised to find exciting things as you explore the region’s breathtaking terrain.

Exploring the best hiking destinations in Southeast Asia
Welcome to the mountains of Southeast Asia!

There is no shortage of hiking trails to try; in fact, Southeast Asia is one of the prime regions to visit if you are looking for an adventure you will never forget. If you are eager to sample some of the best hiking experiences this region has to offer, here are three epic hiking destinations to visit in Southeast Asia:

  Indonesia’s Lombok

Lombok is a beautiful place. The island is rich in culture and history, plus it has some of the friendliest people in the region. From Lombok, you can explore the Gilis – a group of islands kept in their natural state – and have a fantastic time there.

The real gem of Lombok, however, is Mount Rinjani. This is a hiking destination for everyone. It has everything to keep you excited about the adventure, from beautiful scenery to challenging trails that will push you to the limit.

Lombok Island Panorama
Lombok Island, Indonesia, with the top of Rinjani Mountain visible in the background

Rinjani is also one of the most versatile hiking destinations in the region. You can choose to have a complete adventure and spend the entire week exploring this mountain or go on a three-day hiking trip to reach the summit and back.

Make sure your hiking shoes are water resistant. At certain times of the year, Rinjani turns into a green swamp thanks to the frequent rain and several streams.

  Kinabalu in Malaysia

We really cannot talk about the best hiking destinations in Southeast Asia without talking about Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, East Malaysia. The mountain is part of Kinabalu Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to a stunning rainforest, ready for you to explore.

Mount Kinabalu is also the most popular hiking destination in the region. Aside from a complete set of amenities to keep you comfortable in between adventures, you can also expect a lot of hiking aids and plenty of trails to try.

Watching the sunset from Laban Rata, the halfway point when climbing Mount Kinabalu, is a view you will never forget and one of the best hiking destinations of Southeast Asia
Watching the sunset from Laban Rata, the halfway point when climbing Mount Kinabalu — the tallest point on Borneo — is a view you will never forget

As long as you are fit, you can reach the peak of Mount Kinabalu with ease. There are several challenging climbs to get through, but – as mentioned before – you will have all the help you need to conquer this majestic mountain.

  The drive from Kota Kinabalu to Mount Kinabalu is one long curving mountainous stretch of road the is famous for its Babi Hutan, a delicious traditional Dusun dish — and quite possibly the most delicious food I have ever eaten anywhere in the world! 😀

Babi Hutan near Kinabalu Park in Sabah, East Malaysia
Watch the Derek Eats That! video for more info — everyone has to drive past this place to get to Kinablu

  Oudomxay in Laos

While the two previous hiking destinations are perfect for big adventures, this next one is more for those who want to enjoy a relaxing hike while absorbing the local culture and traditions. Oudomxay, a hill range in Laos, is the perfect destination to explore if you are interested in studying local culture.

The hills and the main hiking trails in this destination are well-balanced. There are some challenging bits, but the overall experience will still be relaxing. What’s special about Oudomxay is how the path takes you to some magical places.

Kids in Oudomxay, Laos
Kids in Oudomxay, Laos

Along the hiking trail, there are local tribes and villages you will come across. They are just as fascinating to explore as the trail itself. Make sure you choose a guided tour – it takes around five hours to complete the tour – so you can really learn about the culture of Laos and these traditional villages.

Southeast Asia is heaven for hiking enthusiasts. Aside from the three hiking destinations discussed in this article, you also have the Mae Hong Son hill-tribe hike and the famous Mount Bromo to explore. Add the fact that most destinations are affordable for budget travelers, and you have the perfect destinations. Plan your next trip to any of these hiking spots and you will not be disappointed.

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What is your favorite hiking destination in Southeast Asia?

See More     IndonesiaMalaysiaAdventures Around Asia

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About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel."   Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

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