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SOUTHEAST ASIA

INDONESIA

BALI – Mt. Batur

Estimated duration: 1D
Difficulty level: 2 out of 5 stars

Start your day the best way with a sunrise trek on Bali’s resident volcano! Get pumped with your camera gear as you immerse yourself in the incredible view of sunrise from Mt. Batur! Witness the thick blanket of darkness being replaced by glistening orange and gold rays, with the first inch bursting from the silhouette of the neighbouring mountain, Mount Agung.  As each second ticks by, the light changes and illuminates more of the beautiful surroundings. While admiring the spectacular sunrise view from a whooping height of 1717 m above sea level, get rewarded with a hearty breakfast that is sprinkled with the sweet flavour of your victory and a nice warm cup of beverage served right in your chilly hands, believed to be most tasteful when shared. At the summit, while experiencing the strange adrenaline that kicks right in your body as you stand above the clouds, don’t forget turn behind to have a good view of the volcanic crater right beneath your feet! As fun as the ascent is, the decent proves no less enjoyable. You may choose to test your balancing skills as you trek down the ridges of this volcano or get it on with a little controlled sliding down the loose gravel near the top! This trek is filled with monkeys so be careful of your food and small items!

Footprints: 14 Dec 2015

 

EAST JAVA – Mt. Bromo & Ijen

Estimated duration: 2 Days
Difficulty level: 2 out of 5 stars

Mount Bromo and the Ijen Crater are two different treks, but it is common for visitors to visit both while they’re in East Java. Why? Simply because of the alluring and breathtaking adventures you’ll get to experience in the Indonesian Ring of Fires! At 2329 m above sea level, Mount Bromo stands as one of the most majestic and iconic active volcanoes of Indonesia. A sunrise trek up this beauty will amaze all with the landscape of neighbouring volcanoes emerging out of the dawn, definitely a sight not to be missed! The Ijen Crater is no less beautiful as Mount Bromo. Feast your eyes on the mystical blue flames when you hike down the crater into the Caldera, a treat only for those who are willing to start the trek in the wee hours of the morning! Special masks can be arranged by your trek guide to protect you from the sulfuric fumes emitted. Fun fact! A simple chemical reaction of the fumes with the air is actually what gives the flames its blue colour. Where else can you hike through the starry nights, witness first-hand magical blue flames and a majestic sunrise all in one place?

Footprints: 25 & 26 Dec 2015

 

LOMBOK – Mt. Rinjani

Estimated duration: 3D2N
Difficulty level: 4 out of 5 stars

Mt. Rinjani is no mean feat! With every step you take, be prepared to sink into the fine volcanic rocks and slide back a little. Still, with perseverance, this peak is definitely possible. Get rewarded with the best crater lake view and ethereal sunrise above the clouds at the summit and take photographs with the 3726m plaques! Remember, photographs or it didn’t happen! Thereafter, descend into the crater lake and soak yourself in the revitalizing hot springs. Camping in the crater lake is a good option if you do not want to climb back up to the crater rim again on the same day. For the last day, enjoy your time descending slowly and go easy on your knees. If you are looking at trail running, it’s also a pretty fun experience to run down (but be careful!). There are several options to do this trek. We recommend tackling this active volcano from Sembalun to Senaru as you get to do the summit push on the second day early morning (2am) where you have the most energy! The 3D2N (just nice) or 4D3N options would be just about right for anyone who wants to take on this challenge, but be prepared for a good one!

Footprints: 20-22 July 2017

 

YOGYAKARTA – Mt. Merbabu

Estimated duration: 2D1N
Difficulty level: 3 out of 5 stars

Located in the centre of Java Island and starting point just a 2 hour drive from Yogyakarta city, is the seven-summit Mt. Merbabu (which means “Mountain of Ashes”). With its unassuming name, you may underestimate the difficulty of the trek. However, the road ahead is one to be traversed, with rocky terrains and slippery paths, and even unidentified excreta along your way to reassure you are on the right track. After a continuously uphill climb for 5 hours, we set up tents at the campsite to rest. Be prepared to wake up at 3 a.m. to a sky full of stars – like beacons of lights signalling us to continue our climb to the summit. And just 2 hours later, you will find yourself 3145m above sea level. Whip out your camera for a few shots for one of the most beautiful sunrises but remember to put it back down, and truly allow yourself to admire the unobstructed panoramic landscape, with alluring blue skies and dashes of pink hues while the sun slowly peeks out. Try to spot its more renowned neighbour – Mt. Merapi, the most active volcano in Indonesia! Verdict? The 2D1N overnight trek provides a comfortable pace to scale Mt. Merbabu. This hidden gem is underrated. Go before it becomes increasingly crowded!

Footprints: 7-8 May 2017

 

MALAYSIA

JOHOR (Ledang) – Mt. Ophir

Estimated duration: 1D
Difficulty level: 3.5 out of 5 stars

After many years, we brought our short overseas trek back to our neighbor country, Malaysia. Boasting a height of 1276m, Mt Ophir (also known as Gunung Ledang) puts itself out as the highest mountain in Johor and one of the tougher mountains in Malaysia. Mt Ophir can be completed within a day, a good recommendation for a weekend hike for many trekking enthusiasts. However, this suggestion can be reasonably challenging due to its many high steps and steep slopes which have to be overcomed with ropes and ladders, coupled with the time limit to return to base before it gets dark. Another viable and simpler option would be tackling this mountain in a 2D1N trip, which sets a comfortable pace perfect for anyone looking for a good workout! This quick getaway fauna-filled trek will be sure to ease your tension from the hustle and bustle life of the city

Footprints: 17th June 2017

 

JOHOR (Mersing) – Gunung Arong

Estimated duration: Half Day
Difficulty level: 0.5 out of 5 stars

Located in Mersing, at only 275m high in elevation, Gunung Arong is one of the shortest and most relaxed hikes that takes you to a beautiful view. Begin the trek into the forest terrain under the canopy and emerge from it at the top to immerse in the spectacular view of the surrounding islands of Mersing! Descend on the other side and the fine sandy beach warmly welcomes you back down. Lastly, enjoy a short sunset stroll down the beach and climb over boulders as you make your way back to the main road via the shore.

Footprints: 20th Sept 2016

 

JOHOR (Kota Tinggi) – Gunung Panti

Estimated duration: 1 Day
Difficulty level: 1 out of 5 stars

Gunung Panti is one of the more popular treks in Malaysia, offering a modest hike of 531m to the summit through a jungle terrain. There are two trails available which are basically the reverse of each other. Starting the hike from the trailhead near the main road will bring you to the only toilet on the trail in just a few minutes. While the trail itself doesn’t have many signs, looking out for cloths or tape that are tied around trees would guide you in the right direction. A GPS might come in handy too! Although the views at the summit are limited, it still invites you to a gracious view of the vast land of forests across. Gunung Panti also lets you have a taste of descending a near vertical wall, but not to worry as there are ropes available to help you out. One characteristic trait about this trek is that it is FULL of leeches, yes you have been warned! Do prepare protection measures to reduce your chances of leech bites but don’t let the leeches stop you from enjoying this hike!

Footprints: 27th Sept 2017

 

PAHANG – Rainbow Falls

Hot Favourite!

Estimated duration: Half day
Difficulty level: 1 out of 5 stars

Easily another one of our favourite treks here at Rainbow Falls! An early morning jeep takes you into deep jungle towards the trailhead. It comprises a knee-high river crossing followed by a simple 30 min jungle trek. Be careful as the terrain may be wet and slippery. Although grand, the waterfall is more of a shower, and the rainbow WILL appear given enough sunlight between 9-10 am. For a popular destination like this, you can expect large crowds during the weekends but, the more the merrier right? Sandals/Water shoes will be sufficient for this trek and the guides usually provide free milo and cup noodles, perfect for a light snack by the waterfall! Rainbow Falls provides a great ambience and a pleasant escapade with friends. Get wet!

Footprints: 29th July 2017 Feb 18

THAILAND

CHIANG MAI

Estimated duration: 2D1N
Difficulty level: 2 out of 5 stars

The climate in Northern Thailand is pleasantly cooling late in the year and sunnier in midyear but both options makes the Chiang Mai forest treks an excellent choice if you want to feel the warmth of home out of your own! Through the forests, look out for various fauna and flora, and even take a splash at the waterfalls! Each day’s treks are relatively simple and only a few hours long to the next village but can be slightly difficult if it rains (which are probable all year round). Nevertheless, you’ll be warmly welcomed into the villages at the end of each day’s trek where the locals will enthusiastically share their food, shelter and rich culture with you. Disconnect from the real world here as you spend valuable quality time with your company without Wi-Fi and limited to no electricity in these village homes. This is one of the more culturally enriching treks if you would like a taste of what Chiang Mai offers on top of their dense canopies and humble villages.

Footprints: 13-14 June 2016

 

CHIANG DAO – Doi Luang Chiang Dao

Estimated duration: 2D1N
Difficulty level: 3 out of 5 stars

The trail head of Doi Luang Chiang Dao (DLCD) is not easily accessible without hired private transport (e.g. Jeeps) as it involves a drive through a few villages and up some steep winding roads. Along the start of the trek will be piles of thick fallen branches helpfully left by the trekkers before you. Pick one up to use as a walking stick for your journey up and down as parts of the terrain can get quite steep and slippery (especially when it rains and the trail gets muddy). You can pack your own food or if you’re on a tour, simple packed lunch will likely be provided to be consumed along the way. We took about 5-6 hours to reach the campsite, which is just about 30 minutes from the summit. Arrive early to pitch your tents at the campsite before it gets dark. Many locals like to camp there as well so if you can’t find a space, try continuing up further. The journey to the summit was the most precarious as the terrain was steep and rocky, you might be better off without a walking stick here to free your hands for grabbing onto the rocky outcrops. The summit is nice and open, and weather permitting, should offer unobstructed panoramic views, so feel free to try catching both the sunset and sunrise. Be warned however, that Chiang Dao is predominantly covered by fog and it really depends on your luck! This trek is definitely possible on your own, with a single well defined path; one way up and down. We ran into many trail runners and solo hikers during our trip. However, if it is your first time here, bring a guide who can explain the place well to you and assure you of your safety and comfort!

Footprints: 1-2 Jan 2017

THE PHILIPPINES

LUZON – Mt. Pulag

Hot Favourite!

Estimated duration: 1D
Difficulty level: 2.5 out of 5 stars

If you are looking for a relatively easy on the legs trek, Mount Pulag is the right choice! Geared with ample outerwear, prepare yourself for a midnight trek to the summit. Admire the night sky painted with a thousands of stars and revel in the occasional shooting stars that fly past. Over the span of 5 hours, you will witness dramatic changes in your environment, as you climb through heavy vegetation to reach open greenfields that shyly reveal their beauty as dawn nears. Halfway through the hike as you emerge from the cloudy fog, expect colder temperatures. Layer on for the final journey ahead. Before you realise it, you would have summited. Bear witness to nature’s masterpiece as mountains greet you in every direction that you see. Not long after, the mist will clear and the dark sky will morph into tinges of orange with the view of the breaking dawn. Grab a spot, assemble your camera tripods, and click away the astonishingly beautiful scenery that came in as a bargain for a relatively easy trek. (This trek can be replicated at a different timing. Sunset treks are very much common for Mount Pulag, offering similarly magnificent views.)

Footprints:13 Dec 2016 , 8-9 Dec 2015

VIETNAM

 LÀO Cai – Sapa

Estimated duration: 3D2N
Difficulty level: 1.5 out of 5 stars

One of the best traditional homestays in the region has to be in Sapa! Trudging through paddy fields, different small villages and in the valleys is truly an experience of a lifetime. Highly recommended a 3D2N/4D3N stay with the locals as you get to experience the best Sapa hospitality, the authentic Vietnamese home-cooked food and their rice wine! Trekking here is very relaxed and does not require high level of fitness. Visit during winter (Dec – Feb) if you prefer trekking in the perfect cooling weather (& occasional snow) or during fall/summer/autumn if you prefer warmer weathers and greener views in the valleys.

Footprints: 3-5 Dec 2016 , 11-13 July 2016

 

LÀO Cai – Mt. Fansipan

Estimated duration: Half day or 2D1N
Difficulty level: 0.5 out of 5 stars (Cable Car), 3 out of 5 stars (Full Trek)

Take it to the sky on the roof of Indochina –Mt Fansipan (3143m). With the construction of the cable car, you can now reach for the sky within 15-20mins! Highly recommended to take the cable car instead of trekking nowadays. What you will get to experience is the one of the most scenic rides above the Muong Hoa Valley with views of paddy fields and into the clouds. The cable car would be a pleasant and more affordable option for the masses, with just some stairs nearing the summit. While saving some time here, you’ll have opportunities to explore the vast lands of Sapa, and perhaps some homestay experience too! If you’re looking for a decent challenge then the two day one night trekking is the right choice for you. Be prepared for a steep ascent that will let you reach the summit of Mt Fansipan before sunrise and before the bulk of tourists swarm the monumental peak!

Footprints: 6th Dec 2016

ASIA

CHINA

GUANGZHOU – Baiyun Shan (White Cloud Hills)

Estimated duration: 1-2 Hours
Difficulty level: 0.5 out of 5 stars

Tired of the harsh walls of the city? Bai Yun Shan is a small hill-cum-park with views of the entire Guangzhou from its viewing point (382m). It is a fairly popular place for locals and tourists alike and is nice for a relaxing walk to unwind while enjoying the scenery. For the thrill seekers, there are side activities like carnival rides and bungee jumping!

Footprints: 24th Dec 2016

 

GUILIN – Diecai Shan (Folded Brocade Hills)

Estimated duration: 2 Hours
Difficulty level: 1 out of 5 stars

A park located in the heart of Guilin. From the top (~100m), you can enjoy panoramic views of Guilin and how the city and its surrounding limestone karsts flows around each other to form a single entity. It has several peaks which has its own unique offerings and views. An easy enough climb and don’t forget to take the good luck slide down from one of the peaks on the way down!

Footprints: 21st Dec 2016

 

GUILIN – Long Ji Rice Terraces

Estimated duration: Half day
Difficulty level: 1 out of 5 stars

Located in the outskirts of the Guilin are the Longji Rice Terraces. The entire group of rice terraces consists of the Longji Rice Terraces, Ping’an Terraced Fields and the Jinkeng Red Yao Terraced Fields. For the singular Longji Rice Terrace, do set aside at least half a day to soak up the calm atmosphere and bask in the peaceful vibes of the rice fields. If you get the chance, stop by for lunch in one of the villages run by the Yao Women and you might even get to see them let down their famously long hair.

Footprints: 23rd Dec 2016

 

GUILIN – Yao Shan

Estimated duration: 2 Hours
Difficulty level: 2 out of 5 stars

There’s a museum, nice garden with statues and food stalls at the top, and there are two known ways for you to get there! First option would be the chairlifts up the mountain which most tourists use. It peaks at 909m but the it only takes you up to a maximum of 600 to 700m. But don’t be fooled by the chairlift ticketing booth officers who will tell you to buy a chairlift ticket at the bottom, as this is definitely not the only way up Yao Shan! The hiking path is just behind some alley on the left end of the carpark, we’d suggest you ask the locals for clearer directions on the ground. You can expect a simple dirt trail terrain with some steep sections where you’ll need to use your hands. On the way halfway point back down, try taking the toboggan slide to the bottom of the mountain. Definitely an interesting and must-try experience sliding down a mountain!

Footprints: 22nd Dec 2016

 

YANGSHUO – Xiang Gong Shan (Husband Hill)

Estimated duration: 1-2 Hours
Difficulty level: 1 out of 5 stars

An easy enough hike up stairs which curves around the mountain. It peaks out at about 300m and presents you with unblocked views of Yangshuo and the meandering of the Li River. Many people have been known to come and catch the sunrise. However, the weather can be foggy causing low visibility like when we went in the morning, so you’ll need a bit of luck to catch all Xiang Gong Shan has to offer.

Footprints: 20th Dec 2016

 

Wulingyuan – Zhangjiajie National Park

Estimated duration: 3 days or more
Difficulty level: 1 out of 5 stars

Zhangjiajie National Park is home to the Hallelujah Mountains from the movie Avatar. Being an AAAAA scenic area rated by the China National Tourism Administration and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will definitely be awe-inspired by its quartz-sandstone pillars and its karst landscape.

It is also the first national forest park in China as well. You can visit Yuanjiajie – the inspiration of the Hallelujah Mountains in Avatar, Golden Whip Stream, Yellow Stone Village Mountain and the more recently opened Yangjiajie area. Navigation around the area is relatively easy because the paths have proper signages. Of course, you can always choose the easier way up using the cable cars, internal shuttle buses and the Bailong lift but what is an adventure without doing the treks yourself?

Apart from the Zhangjiajie National Park, you should also head over to Tianmen Mountain! Not only home to the world’s longest cable car ride, it is also home to the Cliff-Hanging walkway, 999 steps Stairway to Heaven which leads you to the Heaven’s Gate well as the 99 Bends which takes you up the mountain should you not want to take the cable car (but not recommended for those of you who easily gets motion-sickness)

Read more: Dec 2017

HONG KONG

LANTAU ISLAND – Lantau Peak

Estimated duration: 1D
Difficulty level: 3 out of 5 stars

Footprints: 31 Dec 2015 – 5 Jan 2016

 

SHEK O – Dragon’s Back Trail

Estimated duration: 1D
Difficulty level: 2 out of 5 stars

Footprints: 31 Dec 2015 – 5 Jan 2016

 

SAI KUNG – Maclehose Trail (Stage 1 & 2)

Estimated duration: 1D
Difficulty level: 2 out of 5 stars

Footprints: 31 Dec 2015 – 5 Jan 2016

 

The Peak – Victoria’s Peak

Estimated duration: 1D
Difficulty level: 2 out of 5 stars

Footprints: 31 Dec 2015 – 5 Jan 2016

INDIA

CHANDRASHILA

Estimated duration: 3D2N
Difficulty level: 4 out of 5 stars
Accommodation: Homestays
Terrain: Easy dirt trails but high altitude (3000m)

Chandrashila literally means moon rock in Hindi. It is the summit of Tungnath, home to the highest Shiva Temple in the world, an altitude of about 4000m above sea level. Chandrashila is located near the borders of India, China and Nepal.

The trek starts at Sari Base Camp where the trek to the Deria Tan Lake takes 2 hours. Upon reaching the campsite, we were greeted by  the ice mountains and the beautiful lake. The ability to witness the beautiful stars and milky wave certainly made the trip worthwhile. We headed off to Chopta the next day, had lunch at a meadow but unfortunately we got lost. After trekking for 14 hours, 35 km, we finally returned to Sari base camp at 2 am. We slept in and recuperated the next day, hoping to summit Chandrashila peak the following day. Perhaps we were not meant to be, the snow storm made the peak dangerous to summit…

Read more: Dec 17

 

JAMMU & KASHMIR – Ladakh: Zingchen to Chilling Trek

Hot Favourite!

Estimated duration: 3D2N
Difficulty level: 4 out of 5 stars
Trek: Total: 33km, 1600m elevation gain, 1800m elevation loss
Accommodation: Homestays
Food: Packed lunches, home-cooked Ladakhi breakfast & dinners, lots of warm chai.
Terrain: Easy dirt trails but high altitude

Down a winding road from Leh town, disembark from your scenic ride at Zingchen, and be immediately confronted by the background towering reddish-brown peaks of the Ladakhi range taking the front stage. What looked like a painting from the comfort of your seats, is catapulted into vivid splashes of all colours that besmirch your mortal senses. Alright, carry your bags and get moving. Along a trek of diverse gradients and dynamic scenery, expect to turn around to the sound of “Ju-Leh” by friendly herdsmen and passing ponies. You’ll spend the first night in Yurutse (4100m), a cosy village with a grand total of one house before departing again early next morning for the long ascent toward Ganda La Pass. At (4980m), the highest point of the trek. Don’t get too ahead of yourself, or altitude sickness gets to your head. It’s best to go slow but steady, and regulate your breathing. Past Ganda La is a beautiful descent into the valley, accompanied by eagles and marmots. Take a rest in the second homestay by hitting the green plains of Shingo village (4100m). The track from Shingo to Skiu for the last day intersects the river many times like two mating dragonflies in a downward spiral. You’ll find yourself walking along eternal glacial streams and also across rivers of the valley. Charge through Skiu (3360m) and you’re on your way to Chilling. Witness dramatic landscape changes as the valley opens up into the wide Zanskar River. The trek ends with a manual cable car ride across this vast and fast flowing river! Your vehicle will pick you up and head back to Leh through winding roads and immense rock cliffs. Leave part of your soul behind and forever yearn to return.

Footprints: 4-6 July 2017

NEPAL

Pokhara – Poon Hill

Estimated duration: 1D
Difficulty level: 2 out of 5 stars

Footprints: 16-24 May 2016

SRI LANKA

DALHOUSIE – Adam’s Peak

Estimated duration: 3-4 hours
Difficulty level: 2 out of 5 stars

Standing at 2243 m high, Adam’s Peak is a popular destination for all sunrise chasers alike! In pleasant weather, this place offers you a vast 360° view of the surrounding lands of Sri Lanka. In poor weather however, which are not foreign in this region, you’ll have to climb up in darkness. For a preview, the climb up in poor weather will greet you with fog, some rain and crazily-strong winds. The route up itself may be a little challenging, we estimate it to be about 5000 odd steps with some steep and narrow portions. Despite this, the route is generally well-defined and you’re perfectly fine to go there on your own without a guide, that is if you’re not afraid of the dark, or leeches.

Footprints: 25 June 2017

 

KNUCKLES – Knuckles Mountain Range Trek

Estimated duration: 2D1N
Difficulty level: 3 out of 5 stars

The Knuckles Mountain Range Trek will bring you through a variety of terrains, ranging from (no pun intended) forests, bushes, valleys, rice terraces and other agricultural plots. On this trek, you may choose to spend your night on of the pre-set-up camps by the locals, with raised sheltered platforms for the tents and even proper bathroom cubicles! For the record, the locals here treated us extremely hospitably with a campfire fiesta, where we enjoyed the night with some music and merry-making in the densely shrouded mist. As part of a tour, you will also get to try the scrumptious dinner and breakfast that the locals will prepare for you. Knuckles is much less touristy as compared to the other two treks, you might even feel like you’re having the entire place to yourself as you witness its untouched beauty. But, don’t get tricked by its beauty and beware of leeches! Despite extra protection measures you can take, there’s almost no way to defend yourself from the surprise leech attacks, While leeches are not really harmful, they will freak some people out.

Footprints: 26 – 27 June 2017

 

SIGIRIYA – Pidurangala Rock

Estimated duration: 1-2 hours
Difficulty level: 1 out of 5 stars

The Pidurangala Rock is no less prestigious to its neighbour, the Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress (UNESCO World Heritage Site). In fact, we would recommend that you check this one out! For one, you’ll get to save on the exorbitant tourist price of 30 USD if you were to go to the rock fortress, when you just have to give a token entrance fee of about 5 SGD for the Pidurangla Rock. You’ll even get treated to a breath-taking panoramic view that includes the Lion Rock Fortress. It is also relatively much less crowded on the Pidurangla Rock, where you would be sharing the space with just a few other tourists, unlike rock fortress which sported snaking queues to the peak. Even though this climb is easy, the Pidurangla Rock gives you a chance to get your hands down to literal rock climbing, and rewards you afterwards with cool winds to blow off all the perspiration.

Footprints: 28 June 2017

TAIWAN

NEW TAIPEI – Teapot Mountain

Estimated duration: 1D
Difficulty level: 2 out of 5 stars

Footprints: 17 – 23 July 2016

 

HUA LIAN – Zhuilu Old Trail

Estimated duration: 1D
Difficulty level: 2 out of 5 stars

Footprints: 17 – 23 July 2016