With mountainous countries like Indonesia, China, and Malaysia, you are guaranteed a momentous hiking experience in Asia. For the trekking newcomer or even the intermediate hiker, the excitement of your next journey, coupled with extensive preparations, can be overwhelming. We are here to help.   

Preparing For Your Trekking Experience. Packing your backpack is not the only preparation to be made when journeying into nature. No matter the type of hike you are doing, being prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally can save you from possible dangers that can crop up when trekking and ensure a safe and exciting trip.

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Things You’ll Need (add or omit as dictated by the trekking location):

  • Hiking clothes
  • Hiking boots
  • Backpack
  • Sleeping system
  • Food and cooking utensils
  • Map/GPS
  • Headlamps/torches
  • Hygiene and first aid
  • Electronics and entertainment
  • Predator protection

Asia Hikes, an online site dedicated to camping, hiking and trekking trails throughout Asia, is an excellent guide to help you choose your destination and provides information on preparing the things you will need.

So, you’ve got the plan, your bags are packed, and you’re about ready to go. But you feel like you might be forgetting something. What else should you do to prepare?

Prepare Yourself Physically

  • Know the approximate time it will take you to complete the trek. 
  • Make sure you are in shape for the hike.
  • Break in your shoes before you hike.
  • Stay hydrated before and throughout your hike.
  • You will be carrying extra weight for an extended period of time, so take a hike with your pack, around your neighbourhood or a nearby park to get an idea of the physical requirements of your journey. 

Prepare Mentally

  • Be honest with yourself about the challenge you are about to undertake.
  • Talk through any fears or concerns you may have with a trusted fellow hiker/camper.
  • Prepare affirmations to chant and think, should any of those fears come up during your hike.
  • Envision yourself completing the expedition before it takes place.

Prepare Emotionally 

  • Surrendering yourself to nature during a trekking voyage affects you holistically.  Be prepared to experience different emotions.
  • Embrace these feelings and process them during the adventure.
  • Focus on your affirmations and the vision of completing the challenge. 
The MacLehose Trail, Hong Kong

Hiking on the MACLEHOSE TRAILHong Kong welcomes travellers with not only amazing food, hot trends, and deep-rooted culture, but also abundant hiking trails with dense flora and magnificent views. To top it off, it’s all free. Do not feel overwhelmed by this 100-metre trail as you can tailor your expedition to suit your level and interests. Access the trail through the quaint coastal village of Sai Kung and choose between 10 routes with the third and fourth being the most challenging. Have your camera handy as you will meet the best views in Hong Kong, complete with sparkling turquoise waters and emerald green mountains. 

For some amazing beach camping, take on section one or section two, which is a 6-kilometre paved hike. Pitch a tent in front of the beautiful beaches of Ham Tin, Tai Wan, or Tung Wan. Didn’t bring food? There are a number of restaurants, cafes, and bars available to the hungry trekker. Don’t fret if you planned to do a day trip but decided it was too beautiful to leave. The Hoi Fung Restaurant has tents and other camp items for rent, with a two-person tent costing less than €20 EUR.

Tips

  • Research all 10 routes before you get to the trail.
  • Stay close to shore at Ham Tin Beach as the currents can be quite strong.
  • Make time to hike the 5 kilometres Dragon’s Back Trail.
Canopy Walkway, Penang National Park

Jungle Trekking in Penang National Park, Malaysia. Penang has more to offer than pristine waters and mouthwatering food. Home to a national park, green sea turtles, and the popular Monkey Beach, it offers travellers memorable trekking experiences as well.

Accessed easily from Georgetown or Batu Ferringhi, two main routes – a coastal path and a jungle path – offer different hiking experiences. Beginners are urged to complete the jungle path along the coast to Monkey Beach as it is the easier route and takes 1.5 to two hours. If you find it was not as much of a challenge as you’d hoped, climb up the 227 metres to Muka Head Lighthouse. For a more challenging path at under two hours, the route leading into the jungle is usually wet and quite steep. Hikers can view an abundance of plant and animal life, remote beaches, and the Turtle Sanctuary. Feel free to stop and ask the park staff for a map to guide you on your journey.

Campsites are located at Pantai Kerachut and Teluk Kampi, but it is suggested you call in advance to ensure there is space. Camping on the beach is prohibited as it hinders the turtles from coming ashore to lay their eggs. Make sure to bring your own camping supplies and food as there are none available within the park.

Costs

Entrance: Free

Camping: Free

Tips

  • Registration at the office is required before entering the park.
  • Keep your belongings secure as the monkeys like to see what they can steal from the humans.
  • Do NOT swim Kerachut Beach as it is swarmed by jellyfish.
Mount Batur Sunrise

Volcano Batur Sunrise Trekking, Indonesia. Does the thought of hiking up an active volcano shoot your adrenaline through the roof?  If so, make your way to Indonesia, get to bed early, and catch a 3 a.m. bus to the bottom of Mount Batur. Because the volcano stands at 1,717 metres, the hike is suggested for intermediate and advanced hikers only. While it is still dark and chilly, hikers make their way up using headlamps and moonlight. After about two hours, get comfy, take in the breathtaking sunrise and views of Mount Agung, and enjoy a lava-heated breakfast before conquering the rest of the trek. If you find your muscles a bit sore after the adventure, relax in the hot springs of Lake Batur. 

A Mount Batur camping experience is also a must-do for the hiking and camping enthusiasts. Take two days and one night to enjoy some challenging hiking, awe-inspiring sunset and sunrise, as well as worthwhile mountain caving. A toast of Brem (local wine) and a warm campfire at the base of the volcano are just two of the many ways you can end your night before heading into your tent. 

Costs

It is possible to make the journey free without a guide; however, it is strongly suggested to pre-book a guided tour for convenience and safety. Guided tours can be found for under €125 EUR.

Tips

  • Inquire about the volcano activity before making your journey.
  • If you decide to make the hike alone, read some experiences of others to help you prepare beforehand.
  • Dress in layers as early mornings can be chilly with warmer weather as the sun comes out.

Organized Trek vs. Solo Journey. There are pros and cons to travelling with a group and travelling solo. Your decision for which route to take should be totally dependent on the type of adventure you wish to have. Below is a list of pros and cons for both methods. 

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Pros (Group)

  • Enjoy the convenience of a knowledgeable guide.
  • Rest assured all fees are paid.
  • Meet new people from around the world. 
  • Enjoy group activities along the way.
  • Gain a crew of like-minded motivators.
  • In the event of an emergency, someone is there to help you.
  • Everything is planned for you; you just show up.

Cons (Group)

  • The adventure may cost a bit more.
  • Usually, you are asked to stay with the group.
  • It is difficult to have a contemplative trek.
  • You may be stuck with people who make your journey stressful.
  • Going at your own pace may be hindered.
  • Every moment is planned for you so strolling off the beaten path may be challenging.
  • The adrenaline junkie may feel a tad smothered. 

Pros (Solo)

  • Enjoy the freedom of being your own guide.
  • Pay only for what you want.
  • Meet new people from around the world. 
  • Participate in activities you are interested in at your leisure.
  • Strengthen your mind and be your biggest cheerleader.
  • Become a safety “expert” as you prepare for any possible dangers.
  • Create your own route and itinerary.

Cons (Solo)

  • The trip may get lonely at times.
  • You stand the chance of getting lost.
  • There’s no one to take all your Instagram pictures.
  • You could find yourself in a stressful or dangerous situation with no help.
  • You must spend extra time researching, planning and preparing.
  • There are perks guided tours add that you might miss out on.
  • There is no one to share the experience with.

Trekkers and campers remember, in order to get the most out of your voyage, safety should be your priority and early preparations can avoid many of the issues you could face.

Whether you are a beginner hiker/camper or you came out of the womb trekking, these are activities that offer a few (or more) challenges with great rewards.