Hiking is all the rage these days, and with good reason: not only do you get a good workout, but it’s also a fantastic reason to get away from urban trappings and take in lush green forests and majestic peaks.
However, if you spend most of your days sitting down – in a car, in an office or in front of the TV – the mere thought of scaling mountains might be far-fetched and intimidating.
Me when I think about an arduous hike.
Not to worry – we’ve got you covered with this list of totally doable hikes you can challenge yourself with during your next getaway. You can do it!
Broga Hill | Selangor
Located in Semenyih, Broga Hill is the nearest on this list to Kuala Lumpur, which is perfect for a day hike if you’re staying in the city. It’s pretty popular, though, so if you’re there over the weekend, expect crowds of people to be hitting the trail alongside you.
The best time to hike is in the early morning before dawn, so you can catch the sunrise breaking over the horizon and the surrounding landscape. Another reason is to avoid being burnt to a crisp by direct sunlight, as Broga Hill doesn’t offer much shade, being devoid of trees.
Tip: Bring along a flashlight and take it slow, as the trail can get slippery.
There are actually three hills (known as First Peak, Second Peak and Third Peak) that you can conquer, depending on your energy level. It takes about 40 minutes to reach the top of First Peak, so starting your hike at 5am should give you enough time if you wish to make it up in time for sunrise.
How to Get There: Drive to the parking lot at the bottom of Broga Hill, which should take around 45 minutes from Kuala Lumpur. You’ll have to pay a RM1 fee at the start of the hike.
Mossy Forest | Pahang
Most people know of Cameron Highlands for its abundant farms and vast tea plantations. But at Mossy Forest, you get to see another, more mysterious side to this well-loved weekend destination.
Located in the Batu Gangan Forest Reserve near Brinchang, there are two trails that wind around the forest – one allows you to hike deep into the forest, while the other is an elevated boardwalk. The ground is wet and spongy, which is why it’s recommended that you stick close to the boardwalk. It usually takes around 30 to 45 minutes to explore the forest.
Wandering through the thick mist, you’ll feel as though you’ve landed in a fairytale forest. The ancient moss-covered rainforest is brimming with biodiversity, from pitcher plants to orchids. If there’s enough sunlight to cut through the mist, head to the watchtower to get a lovely view of the mountains and forest.
How to Get There: You can book a tour that will take you up and guide you through the forest. Or you can head there on your own, following the road signs. However, the narrow, winding roads should only be attempted with a 4WD. The turnoff to Mossy Forest is the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind, so your landmark should be Copthorne Hotel – the junction to the forest is just after the hotel.
Penang Hill | Penang
Why take the funicular train up to the top of Penang Hill when you can take the scenic route? There are several trails heading up Penang Hill, but two of the most popular options are the Jeep Track and the Moongate Trail.
The Jeep Track takes you along the paved road meant for jeeps heading up and down the hill – it’s easy and safe, but also fairly uninteresting in terms of sights. The Moongate Trail, however, will take you through the jungle and past old abandoned bungalows. Depending on how fast your pace is, it should take you 90 minutes to 2 hours to reach the top.
Tip: Bring some insect repellent to discourage the mozzies from making a meal out of you.
Best of all, once you reach the top, you can indulge in an icy, fruity treat – there are food stalls selling all sorts of combinations of fruits and ice cream and smoothies. You’ve definitely earned it! And if you haven’t gotten your fill of nature yet, check out The Habitat, an educational ecotourism park.
How to Get There: Head to Penang Botanic Gardens – both the Jeep Track and Moongate trail are located just outside the entrance to the gardens.
Outside of Malaysia
Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park | Indonesia
Indonesia has its fair share of staggering peaks – both in beauty and in height. In Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, you get several of them all in one place. Situated on the eastern side of Java, Mount Bromo is a volcano that is still active, constantly burping up sulphurous fumes from its crater.
What you usually see in gorgeous sunrise photos of the area is Mount Bromo and Mount Semeru (the highest peak in Java) seen from Mount Penanjakan, which is actually just outside the park’s boundaries. The hike up usually starts as early as 3am, so you’ll have to wake up early to make it to a viewpoint in time to catch the unforgettable sight!
Next, in order to reach Mount Bromo’s crater, you’ll have to cross the Sea of Sand – made of volcanic ash and dust – and climb up the stairs to the rim. This leg of the journey should take you around 90 minutes to 2 hours, though you could cut it much shorter by getting an ojek (motorcycle taxis) through the Sea of Sand.
How to Get There: Multiple day tours usually lump the hike together with other sights in the area, such as Ijen Crater. But if you only want to do the hike (and save money), you can do it on your own. The 4-hour trip from Surabaya to Cemoro Lawang, the village located at Bromo’s base, is accessible via bus and train. However, it’s recommended for inexperienced hikers to get a guide.
Doi Inthanon National Park | Thailand
Standing majestically at 2,565 meters, Doi Inthanon is Thailand’s tallest peak and is known as the “Roof of Thailand”. If you’ve only got a few hours to spare, the Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail is a great way for you to get a taste of what the park has to offer. This well-maintained track takes about 2 to 3 hours and requires a Hmong Tribe guide, which costs THB200.
The 2.5 km-long circular trail starts from the main road near the twin chedis. You’ll be taken through a cloud forest of mosses and ferns, open grassland and a mountain ridge, so be ready for spectacular vistas!
Tip: Due to the high elevation, it can get pretty chilly, so be sure to dress warmly.
While the park is open all year round, the nature trail is closed during rainy season, which runs from June to October. The trail is open to visitors from 6am to 4pm.
How to Get There: It’s a 2-hour drive from Chiang Mai, so you can either book a tour or hire a private taxi (from THB3,000 round trip for 2-3 pax) or a Songthaew (shared taxi), which is slightly cheaper.
Dragon’s Back | Hong Kong
Despite being a bustling metropolis, Hong Kong is actually not that far from nature. In fact, it’s got easily-accessible hiking trails just outside the city, the most famous one being Dragon’s Back.
You’ll forget there’s a city so nearby as you’re hiking up the rolling hills, surrounded by breathtaking coastal landscapes. Start from Shek O Road and head up to Shek O Peak, which leads you to the undulating path that gave the trail its name. On a windy day, you’ll probably spot paragliders and kite enthusiasts making the most of the high vantage point.
You can extend your hike by continuing on other paths that connect to Dragon’s Back, like the Hong Kong Trail. End your hike at Shek O Beach or Big Wave Beach (depending on how long you want to hike) and take a refreshing dip in the sea. The entire hike should take you around 3 hours or less.
How to Get There: Take the MTR to Shau Kei Wan and from Shau Kei Wan Bus Terminus (near station exit A3) take Bus 9 to Shek O.
C’mon, hop off that couch and breathe in the fresh air at these destinations – book your trip today on Traveloka!