October 23, 2019

If you’re waiting for your chance to roar, “The hills are alive with the sound of music”, this is it. Recreate one of Julie Andrews’ most iconic cinematic moments at the top of a luscious mountain, singing and spinning around in pure ecstasy at the grandiosity of the sights from above. You don’t have to go to Austria or Germany to do it either. Asia is home to a profusion of stellar hiking spots, some of which are so picturesque you’d think you’re daydreaming. Here are nine of the most beautiful treks to take in Asia for a life-changing experience.

Chadar Trek, India

This winter trail boasts a frozen river, which makes for a stellar sight in a country known for its scorching climate. What’s best is that this trek is relatively simple to complete and thus suitable for beginners. Despite its sheer beauty and ease of travel, it hasn’t yet seen a massive influx of tourists. Nonetheless, it works in your favour, making way for a tranquil journey with an abundance of space and freedom to take in the magnificent panorama.

Chomolhari Trek, Bhutan

Ascend to the top of this trek in Bhutan for a taste of what happiness truly looks and feels like. Although you’ll have to get used to the high altitude of between 2,500m and 4,940m, the breath-taking payoff is worth the steep climb. Along the way, you’ll get to meet native herdsmen with their yaks ambling through pastures and farmlands, making the journey just as rewarding as the destination. Once you reach the summit of the alpine, you’re treated to surreal views of the sacred, snow-capped mountains of Jomolhari and its surrounding ancient valleys.

Rainbow Mountains Trek, China

Situated in the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park is a geological miracle that looks like a slice of heaven on Earth. Boasting a one-of-a-kind, psychedelic, rainbow-like facade, these mountains in China will stop you in your tracks and place you in a trance. Made up of cretaceous sandstones and siltstones with minerals that gave rise to the technicolour appearance, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that’s waiting to blow your mind.

Mount Fuji Trek, Japan

This epic hike is one for the bucket list. The highest peak in Japan whose magnificence is common knowledge by now, Mount Fuji is an active volcano that stands at 3,776m high, and features four trails to choose from—the Yoshida Trail, the Fujinomiya Trail, the Gotemba Trail, and the Subashiri Trail. The easiest one (and thus also the most crowded one) to tackle is the first, which may take up to six hours to ascend and three and a half hours to get down. It’s also recommended that you book a stay at a mountain hut, so you won’t have to risk overnight climbs.

Limi Valley Trek, Nepal

Here’s a little-known hiking gem that you should place on your radar. Only opened recently in 2002 to trekkers, this sojourn takes you through the district of Huma, which is situated close to the Tibetan border, and lets you walk across the ancient salt trading and pilgrimage route. The lucky few will spot some Himalayan bears, horses, mountain eagles, blue sheep and snow leopards.

Mount Rinjani Trek, Indonesia

There’s a sense of serenity that surrounds Mount Rinjani. Whether it’s the misty locale or the deep emerald of the peaks and dark purple of the valleys, it never fails to put every hiker in a meditative, self-reflective state upon reaching the top of the rim of the giant crater. Nestled within the island of Lombok, it is also the second highest active volcano in Indonesia that takes three days to ascend. Trekking down towards Lake Segara Anak, it feels like you’re in a whole new world.

Mount Seorak Trek, South Korea

Located in the Seoraksan National Park is the third tallest mountain in the country. Its hiking paths aren’t too difficult to follow either, thanks to its abundance of English markers. Make your way through the dense jungle to enjoy the golden granite cliffs, waterfalls, hot springs and ancient temples that are tucked deep within the park, a UNESCO Biosphere Protection site since 1982.

Tavan Bogd Trek, Mongolia

Untainted landscapes dominate Tavan Bogh, a massif that’s part of the Altai National Park straddling the borders of China and Russia. Beyond the striking, postcard-perfect backdrop of cascading waterfalls, expansive freshwater lakes, glaciers and snowy mountains, you might luck out with a chance encounter with a nomadic tribe demonstrating their eagle hunting ability. As a sacred site used for religious rituals, it is also home to various ancient artefacts, petroglyphs, and stone burial mounds.

Mount Everest Trek, Nepal and China

The creme de la creme of mountain ranges, Mount Everest is the pinnacle of all trekking experiences. But before you hop onto a plane to Nepal, make sure to train yourself for the arduous journey. This is no ordinary hike. It could end up fatal. Once you reach this milestone, however, you’ll feel like there’s nothing you can’t conquer. It’s pretty much the closest you’ll get to heaven, especially when you’re up in the clouds—an otherworldly experience that will leave no part of your being unchanged.