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What do you think of when you think of Thailand? Is it the incredible beaches, the lush green jungles, and fascinating culture? This is what comes to mind for most visitors. Yet, hidden beneath all that is a landscape eager for company. So, consider skipping the tourist hotspots and  hitting the trails to do one of the best hikes when you’re in Thailand next. But, finding trails while traveling can be difficult. Luckily, I’ve done all the dirty work for you already. Enjoy.

Tiger Cave Temple Trail

One of the best hikes in Thailand near the Tiger Cave Tample

One of the best hikes in Thailand near the Tiger Cave Tample

Incredible views and one of the most sacred temples in Thailand? Can I count you in?

Less of a hike and more of a climb, this is one of Thailand’s top spots to visit. To make it easier for yourself, find accommodation in Krabi Town.

At the bottom of the mountain, you can explore the Tiger Cave temple, which has an intriguing story. After that, begin climbing the 1,260 steps to the top.

But all this hard work is worth it when you arrive at the top.

The tropical forest extends in all directions. The tree-covered mountains jut up and down like they’re playing an eternal game of whack-a-mole. 

In the distance, you see the azure waters of the Andaman Sea meet the mainland, and tiny islands dot its waters.

If you’re looking for the best time to go, aim for the late afternoon. Foreigners and locals alike rave about the sunsets from the summit of Tiger Cave Temple Mountain.

There are many mesmerizing sunsets in Thailand, but this one ranks up there with its best.

Hike Details

Length: .5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Getting to the trail

From Krabi Town, you can take a bus or rent a motorbike. It’s around a 15-minute drive from the center of town to Wat Tham Seua (Tiger Cave Temple).

You can find the start on Google Maps here.

Ton Kloi Waterfall Hike

For this hike, you’ll head to Khao Sok National Park. An interesting fact about this park is the oldest evergreen forest in the world covers it.

And wildlife and plant life thrive in this environment.

This hike is an out-and-back hike that takes you along the Sok River. Along the trail, monkeys hide in trees, birds fly from branch to branch, and greenery erupts from the ground.

At the end, you can dive into the chilly waters at the base of the Ton Kloi waterfall to reward yourself for a job well done.

The trail has a few hills that are easy to handle initially. But, about halfway through the hike, the path becomes more difficult. There are guides you can book to navigate you through this section.

If you’re unsure of your navigational skills, I recommend a guide for this section.

Hike Details

Length: 8 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Getting to the trail

Accommodation is plentiful near Khao Sok National Park, and it’s easiest to book a stay at a place nearby to fully explore the park. From there, you can enter Khao Sok National Park at the main entrance ($9 entrance fee). 

From there, follow the road down to the Khao Sok Park HQ. There’s a bridge where you cross the Sok River (it has a sign that says Ton Kloi Waterfall Nature Trail) until you arrive at the trailhead.

You can find the start on Google Maps here.

Doi Suthep Monk’s Trail

Markers along the Monk's Trail

Orange flags mark the path along the Monk’s Trail

Doi Suthep is located right next to Chiang Mai. In fact, it towers over the city like a behemoth, keeping watch for any intruders. But, trails make this behemoth a trekker’s playground.

Tropical forests surround you like a wet blanket, blocking out any sunlight trying to find its way to the forest floor. 

Yet, throughout all this, you will find a well-maintained trail system.

The Monk’s Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Chiang Mai. The hike is well-marked with orange flags and takes you to Wat Pha Lat, a temple built in the 14th century.

After the temple, you’ll head to a viewpoint that provides you with a vista you won’t forget. After this, it’s back to the starting point to finish the hike.

Tip: The hike itself isn’t strenuous, but you’ll be traversing over rocks and roots. So, bring proper footwear and avoid sneakers. And get plenty of water; the Thai heat will add to the difficulty.

Hike Details

Length: 4 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Getting to the trail

To find the trail, follow Suthep Road to the end, which is near Chiang Mai University. Keep going forward and turn right at the following intersection. It will head toward the rear entry of the Chiang Mai Zoo.

From here, keep your eye out for a large tower (painted red and white). Here’s the start of The Monk’s Trail.

You can find the start on Google Maps here.

Doi Luang Chiang Dao

Incredible vistas on the Doi Chiang Dao hike in Thailand

Incredible vistas on the Doi Chiang Dao hike in Thailand

We arrive at the only hike that requires a guide — the Doi Luang Chiang Dao trail. Being the third-tallest peak in Thailand, this hike is for experienced hikers. Hence why a guide is necessary.

You can’t book a guide on the day of the hike, so you should book in advance (at least one day if it’s not high season). Also, there’s a daily visitor limit of 150 people, so it’s best to secure your spot as soon as possible.

And that spot will be worth it as you reach the summit. Mountains extend in all directions, rolling up and down like ocean waves. But they truly shine at sunset/sunrise. Colors fill the valleys, providing a borderline religious experience.

The best place to stay is in Chiang Dao itself or Chiang Mai, about an hour and a half from the mountain.

If you’re looking for one of the best hikes in Thailand, Doi Luang Chiang Dao is with the best of them.

Hike Details

Length: 7.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Getting to the trail

If you’re staying in Chiang Dao, you simply have to drive to the entrance of the Chiang Dao Wildlife Reserve. From here, meet your guide and enjoy the trek!

If you’re staying in Chiang Mai, you can rent a car/motorbike to drive to the Chiang Dao Wildlife Reserve entrance. Rental motorbikes run from $3-15 per day depending on the size. Car rentals range from $10-$30. 

Otherwise, you can get a taxi to drive you to the entrance (around $25-$35).

You can find the start on Google Maps here.

Phuket’s Manik Mining Trail

This is a hike you’re not going to find on other blogs — I can promise you that. I didn’t discover this trail, but I’ve run/hiked it so many times I could do it with my eyes closed. 

And the Manik Mining Trail is one of the best hikes in Phuket.

This hike starts near Manik Dam in Phuket — you can find the dam in the north-central part of the island. It’s an out-and-back that takes you up above the dam, where you get an incredible view over the island’s northern and southern parts.

You can even see Radar Hill and Big Buddha on a clear day!

Most people don’t think of hiking when they visit Phuket. Instead, visitors choose Phuket’s world-famous beaches and sky-blue waters. But, you miss out on the side of Thailand that most tourists don’t see.

Don’t be one of those tourists.

Hike Details

Length: 7.5 miles (a little over 3.5 miles one-way)

Difficulty: Moderate

Getting to the trail

Finding this trail will be easy. Head to Manik Dam (one of three dams on the island). Once you arrive, you can park in the dam’s parking lot. Head east on Sawatdirak Road until the road starts to go uphill. Here you will see a dirt road that veers off on the left side. 

Follow that trail until it comes to a three-way split — one going left, one going straight, and one going right. Follow the trail that goes right (and slightly uphill). This is the start of the hike.

You can find the start on Google Maps here.

Best Hikes in Thailand – Final Thoughts

While Thailand is a well-known backpacking destination, it’s less known for hiking, but that’s the beauty of it. As you hike, you’ll have the trails to yourself. So, take it slow, and enjoy the sights and sounds surrounding you. But you should get there quick. You won’t have them to yourself for much longer.

While hiking in Antalya, Turkey, you’ll experience spectacular landscape views of beaches, mountains, canyons, lakes, and national parks. The Antalya province is home to the Tarsus Mountain range and the Mediterranean coast, making it a hiking lover’s dream.

No matter which hikes you choose, you’ll have dramatic mountain views and the sparkling blue water of the Mediterranean at every turn. We created the guide to hiking in Antalya to share the best hiking locations on the Mediterranean coast in Turkey.

The best time to hike in Antalya is March to May or September to November when the weather is mild. You will find the summer months in the Mediterranean region are hot and humid with the winter months bringing the rainy season. For optimal conditions, Spring and Fall are the best times to enjoy hiking in Turkey.

Next, we’ll look at some of the most popular hikes in Antalya.

Lycian Way

Breathtaking views on the Lycian Way while hiking in Antalya

Breathtaking views on the Lycian Way

The Lycian Way is one of Turkey’s most popular long-distance hikes through the mountains in Turkey just inland of the Mediterranean coast. It’s a 540-kilometer cultural trail from Antalya to Fethiye and can take around 30 days to complete in its entirety.

Typically, hikers will start in Fethiye, but you can start the hike from whichever place you want to. The route connects Lycian ruins, coastal beach towns, nomadic footpaths, and ancient Roman roads. From Antalya, the trail starts in the mountains at Geyikbayiri.

In addition, the trail has 17 segments that you can hike individually. You’ll find some of the best partial hiking routes of the Lycian Way around the beach towns of Patara, Kalkan, or Kas. Hiking the Lycian Way promises breathtaking views and great adventures along the way.

Termessos

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One of the best hikes in Antalya is up to the ancient city of Termessos at the top of Mount Solymos. Access the trail at the Gulluk Dagi National Park, about 30km from the Antalya city center. Drive up to the trailhead to park, then you can take off up the path to the top.

The trail is steep and rocky and takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get to the 1,000-meter mountain top view. You’ll have views of the Taurus Mountain range and get to explore the archeological site with an impressive great theater that boasts views of the sea and mountains. There are trails all through the ancient site and along the mountain. Plan on 4 to 5 hours to hike and explore the site. Be sure to take water and snacks with you.

Tazi Canyon

Tazi Canyon, also called Eagle Canyon, is a hike in Antalya in Koprulugu Canyon National Park that you do not want to miss. The hiking path is difficult in some places, being rocky with some larger boulders to climb over.

Along the 11km hike, you’ll see plenty of wildlife and many different species of plants. You’ll have breathtaking views from the top of the canyon with the cliffs dropping a steep 400 meters. Be sure to bring water, snacks, and your camera.

Goynuk Canyon

Hiking in Antalya isn’t complete until you’ve visited Goynuk Canyon where you can enjoy hiking or canyoning. The trail is 3km long with the highest point being 1km into the hike. It’s a beautiful hike surrounded by pine trees and the sound of the river. There is a lake at the end of the trail where you can take a break and enjoy the ice-cold water, especially on a hot day. This is an easy hike for beginners with stunning views of the mountains, canyon, and river.

St. Paul Trail

The St. Paul Trail is thought to be one of the oldest paths for hiking in Antalya, stretching over 500 km taking approximately 27 days to hike. The trail is made up of old Roman roads and forest trails.

The hike starts in the Perge and follows the footsteps of the Apostle Paul to the ancient city of Antioch. The trail is marked along the way with options for village houses or pensions to stay in. Subsequently, on longer stretches of the hike, you will have to camp.

Kas to Limanagzi Bay

This is about a 2-hour hike of the Lycian Way that takes you to Limangazi Beach which can only be reached by hiking or a water taxi from Kas Harbor. As you’re hiking on the trail, you’ll come up to a split in the trail leading to the beach.

If you take the cliff route, it’s steep and would not be safe if you’re carrying a heavy pack or if you had rough weather. The views from the cliff path are fantastic and well worth the winding path along the cliffs. Alternately, if you take the inland path, you’ll pass by ancient ruins along the way to the beach.

Most importantly, bring your swimsuit to swim in the sea once you arrive. There are local cafes on-site where you can enjoy breakfast or lunch before heading back. If you do not want to hike back, you can catch a ride back to Kas on a shuttle boat.

Mt. Tahtahli (Olympos)

Snow-capped Mt. Tahtahli in the distance. One of the best hikes in Antalya

Snow-capped Mt. Tahtahli in the distance

Mt. Tahtalhli is the steepest trek in Antalya along the Mediterranean coast. Start the hike from Kemer and head straight up the mountain to the 2,365-meter summit. The hike is challenging and takes a little over 7 hours to complete, so start early and bring plenty of food and water.

From the top of Mt. Tahtali, enjoy awe-inspiring views of the Antalya mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. Afterward, you can hike down the mountain or take a 10-minute ride down to the mountain base in a cable car.

Saklikent Gorge

Other-worldy Saklikent Gorge

Saklikent Gorge near Antalya

Saklikent Gorge is an hour from Fehtiye in Saklikent National Park in the mountains of Turkey. The gorge is in the Tarsus Mountains and is considered the 3rd largest canyon in Europe, stretching 18km and 300m deep.

The path is narrow and follows along the river. At times there will be times that you will walk through the water on your hike, so wear footwear that can be submerged in water along the way. If you want to take the high road, there are boardwalk routes available to stay above the water.

The best views are past the first river crossing. Sometimes that path is wide, sometimes so narrow you must climb over boulders to pass through. While hiking you’ll see the natural beauty of the canyon as it climbs up to 720 meters tall, icy cold mountain water, waterfalls and pine trees that cover the mountain range above. This is a great hike during the summer when it is hot outside. You can enjoy the cooler air in the canyon and take a dip in the water.

Eternal Flame of Chimaira

In the village of Cirali, you’ll find a well-known trail for hiking in Antalya, the eternal flames of Mt. Chimaira. There are several places where flames burn straight from the rocks up on the hill.

The hike starts at the ruins of Yanartas at the bottom of the mountain. You can drive back to the entrance or walk from the beach. You will pay a minimal entrance fee to hike up to the flames. The 2 km trek has a nice dirt path but is steep in places with places to stop and rest as needed.

You’ll have great views of Cirali beach and the Mediterranean Sea as you make your way up the trail. You’ll need about 2-3 hours to hike in to explore and then back down to the entrance.

Sapadere Canyon

Sapadere Canyon Waterfall

Sapadere Canyon Waterfall

The Sapadere Canyon hiking trail is in the mountains of Turkey with rewarding mountain views, waterfalls, and natural pools at the end of the trail. It’s an easy 30-minute hike to reach the village of Sapadere, where you’ll see plenty of wildlife, local plants, mountains and the river.

When you reach the end of the trail, you can jump into the ice-cold water of the waterfall pools to cool off. There are several cafes where you can enjoy tea or have a simple lunch.

Final Thoughts on Hiking in Antalya

Ultimately, you cannot go wrong hiking in Antalya with the picturesque views of the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. Enjoy hiking through canyons, Antalya mountains and the coastal trails to experience the culture, history and beauty of Turkey.

Hiking in Antalya: Best Hikes in Turkey

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Hiking in Antalya

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Seoraksan National Park in Korea is one of the most impressive sites to visit, both for its nature and its hiking possibilities. Considered the best national park in Korea by many, there are a range of trail options from beginning to advanced. Keep reading to learn all about the best hiking trails in Seoraksan National Park.

Gwongeumseong Fortress Trail: The Easiest Hiking Trail in Seoraksan

Exploring the summit of Gwongeumseong Fortress Trail in Seoraksan National Park

Exploring the summit of Gwongeumseong Fortress Trail in Seoraksan National Park

The name of this place and trail is confusing – there is no actual fortress. The rocks along the Gwongeumseong Fortress Trail themselves are meant to create the image of a fortress. And it certainly is beautiful!

You can get a view of Ulsanbawi (the most famous ridgeline consisting of 6 peaks in the park) in the distance from this trail.

Gwongeumseong is part of a 1.5 km path (one-way) which you can take the cable car up to or down from. This makes it a very flexible option and great for families with small children which might have just begun learning to hike. It’s considered the easiest hiking trail in Seoraksan National Park and should be fairly easy for most hikers.

From the top, there are also views of Sokcho, a beachside vacation city that’s a great place to base your trip out of.

Biryong Falls Trail

Biryong Falls at the end of the hike in Seoraksan

Biryong Falls at the end of the famous hike in Seoraksan National Park

Difficulty: A Small Challenge 

So, I would not say these are the most impressive waterfalls in Korea. However, if you are used to the typical Korean hike, then these falls suddenly become very impressive indeed. When hiking in Korea, you’re not often faced with a big reward at all at the end of your giant trek (simply more trees)!

Luckily, the Seoraksan National Park hiking trails all feature great views and experiences.

Even if the falls are not necessarily Instagram-worthy, the journey to them is absolutely beautiful. Your value for views is maxed out on the Biryong Falls trail, especially if you can visit during the autumn season.

Do note, the end of the trail is technically Towangsang Falls Observatory (expect an additional 600 stairs beyond the falls to get here).

The Biryong Falls Trail is a 2.9 mile in & out path. For someone fairly new to hiking in Korea, this trail should be a small challenge, but for the experienced individual, it will be a simple walk in the park.

Ulsanbawi Trail: The Most Popular Hike in Seoraksan National Park

Exploring the 6 granite peaks of Seoraksan on the Ulsanbawi Trail

Exploring the 6 granite peaks of Seoraksan National Park on the Ulsanbawi Trail

If you want to see the iconic 6 granite peaks of Seoraksan National Park, the Ulsanbawi Trail is the path to take. Even though it is the most popular hiking trail in Seoraksan National Park, it is one of the more difficult ones. It’s essentially all stairs.

The beginning will take you through easy wooded paths and over beautiful carved bridges. You will pass some small temples and shrines along the way. Once you reach Heundeulbawi, with a view of the iconic Ulsanbawi, your real challenge begins.

Make sure you are wearing shoes that have good grip, the stairs are made of a variety of materials (uneven stone or slippery metal). However, the stunning views of the countryside once you complete the 3.8 km – one-way – will have been worth the effort!

This hiking trail in Korea is challenging, and you can expect it to take around 4+ hours to complete. There will be many others on the same path, so if you are expecting peace and quiet, then the Ulsanbawi Trail is not the trail for you.

Daeseung Waterfall Trail

Difficulty: Challenging 

If you want to hear rushing water while you hike, the Daeseung Waterfall Trail is a fantastic option. Daeseung Waterfall is the third-biggest waterfall in Korea, so it’s certainly a step up from the Biryong trail.

It is important to note that the waterfall is not always impressive due to its dependence on seasonal rainfall. Make sure you check whether the hike will be worth it before going, or make sure you’re going during or just after the rainy season.

An absolutely stunning place to hike, the Daeseung Waterfall Trail was a favorite of Korean kings throughout history. Getting there, however, is going to be a challenge. The path is very steep and can take the average hiker around 6 hours.

It’s an 11.3 km round-trip and not recommended for beginners. It’s important to note that Korea is over 85% mountainous, so if Koreans consider something to be difficult to climb – it really is! But the path will go by fascinating rock formations, burbling streams, and lingering ponds, making it well worth the effort.

Daecheongbong: The Highest Peak in Seoraksan National Park

View over the landscape from Daecheongbong

View over the landscape from Daecheongbong

Difficulty: Incredibly Challenging (Consider turning it into a multi-day hike) 

If you like heights, consider giving the tallest point in Seoraksan National Park a try. It’s also the 7th highest peak in South Korea, so if you’re planning to tackle more, then this is a good warm-up. There is a shelter to stay in overnight called the Heeungak shelter.

This is the only multi-day hike option in Seoraksan National Park, but it can be done in one day if you are highly experienced.


And those are the best hiking trails in Seoraksan National Park that you should consider on your next vacation in South Korea! Interested in living or working in South Korea? Check out my post on Why Teaching English in South Korea is a great opportunity!

The Best Hikes in Seoraksan National Park in Korea

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With 2022 full of hope, it’s time to dust off your backpack and think about where to go next. If you’re on a budget, you may be wondering about the cheapest backpacking destinations in the world. The thing is, especially if you’ve been aching to get back out there, ‘budget travel’ can be a bit of an oxymoron. People go traveling to see something new, and once it finally becomes possible to go backpacking in 2022, the last thing you want to do is restrict yourself.

The way to travel on a budget without feeling too limited is to go backpacking destinations where food, accommodation, and transport are cheap. This will allow you to stretch your budget and splurge on the occasional special activity to get the most out of your trip. The good news is, after you figure out a cheap way to get to your destination, it is possible to travel around some of the most beautiful destinations on earth for less than $20 a day. Believe it or not, it can sometimes be cheaper to be on the road than to stay at home considering your normal rent and daily expenses! 

So without further ado, here is our updated list of the cheapest backpacking destinations for 2022.

Bulgaria – The best Eastern European country for budget travel

Even though Bulgaria is the cheapest backpacking destination to visit in Eastern Europe, it has an abundance of gorgeous landscapes that rival its neighbors. During our 5 days in Bulgaria were able to see Alpine mountains, forested countryside, sandy beaches on the Black Sea, plus beautiful cities like Sofia and Veliko Tărnovo.

The Rila Monastery near Sofia in Bulgaria, one of the cheapest backpacking countries in the world

The Rila Monastery near Sofia, Bulgaria

Because we were traveling in the off season, we were able to splurge on the occasional high-end luxury accommodation for less than $100 a night. Of course, you can always find cheaper hostels in Bulgaria. Food and drink are also super affordable, with the average price of a beer being about a dollar.

Learn more: Backpacking in Bulgaria

India

India is one of those countries where budget travel is almost entirely dependent on your willingness to haggle. If you strike the right tone, India can be one of the cheapest backpacking destinations in the world.

When booking guesthouses, you’ll most certainly get a better price by booking directly with the guest house versus booking online through an agency. Transportation-wise, it is super cheap to get around in India. In the big cities, we recommend using Uber it’s actually much cheaper than the prices you’ll be quoted for a tuk-tuk ride. For intercity travel, trains cost between $8 – $30, and you can even find flights within that price range!

Learn more: Backpacking in India

Portugal – The cheapest backpacking destination in Western Europe

Portugal is a great option in Western Europe for travelers on a budget. You’ll be able to experience the vibrant European culture as well as world-famous food and wine at a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay in France or Spain. 

Learn more: Backpacking in Portugal

Cambodia

Cambodia has so much to offer, and you can travel there for about $20 a day. Private rooms in a nice guesthouse will cost you about $10, and tuk-tuk rides are a savvy way to get around. Our guest house helped us arrange a private tuk-tuk driver to help us visit the many temples of Angkor Wat for just $12!  You can even get a 30-day SIM card with 1.5 GB of data for $2.

Ta Prohm Temple in the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Cambodia, one of the cheapest backpacking countries

Ta Prohm Temple in the Angkor Wat Temple Complex

Learn more: Backpacking in Cambodia

Georgia

With medieval fortresses, majestic mountains, and friendly locals, the country of Georgia should be much higher on the list of top backpacking destinations. And with delicious meals starting at $3, and $1 local buses, it’s one of the best countries for budget travel. You don’t have to withhold on the cultural activities here, since most entrance tickets cost around $2.

The Caucasus Mountains in Georgia

The Caucasus Mountains in Georgia

Learn more: Backpacking in Georgia

The Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, the old trope ‘beer is cheaper than water’ is actually true. While the Czech Republic boasts much of the same beauty as its neighbors like Germany and Austria, it’s possible to travel here at a fraction of the cost.

Learn more: Backpacking in the Czech Republic

Bolivia – the cheapest backpacking destination in South America

Bolivia is one of the cheapest backpacking destinations in the world and is very popular with adventurers. Here, it is possible to get a 3-course meal for less than $2. Accommodation in a hostel dorm room costs between $8-$12 a night, and local and long-distance buses are a cheap way to get around. Even the most famous backpacker destination in Bolivia, the Uyuni Salt Flats, won’t break the bank, costing around $200 for 3 days, which is relatively cheap for this bucket-list destination!

Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia

Learn more: Backpacking in Bolivia

Nepal

Trekking in Nepal doesn’t have to cost as much as you might imagine. Other than the Everest Base Camp Trek (an exorbitant expense), there are plenty of beautiful Himalayan treks where it is possible to go by yourself. The Short Annapurna Circuit, for example, is well-marked with guesthouses along the path for about $5 a night, so you won’t have to carry tons of gear. (If you want to go all the way to Annapurna Base Camp, you’ll need to go with a guide). Food and drink in Nepal are also very affordable, with meals costing between $2-$3.

Learn more: Backpacking in Nepal

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is certainly one of those countries where you can travel on a budget or live in the lap of luxury for relatively affordable prices. Their infamous train system (a bucket-list item in itself) is the cheapest way to get around the country. Or, you could hire a private taxi to travel between cities with a few other people from your hostel. Keep a special travel budget set aside for entrance fees to nature reserves and UNESCO Heritage sites!

Learn more: Backpacking in Sri Lanka

Colombia

Colombia is one of our favorite backpacking destinations because of the friendly locals, diverse landscapes, and of course, affordability. You could easily backpack in Colombia for a month with just $1000 in your bank account. By taking long-distance buses, staying in hostel dorm rooms, and cooking your own food in the hostel kitchens, you can visit destinations like Medellín, Cartagena, and Salento on a budget.

The Cocora Valley near Salento, Colombia

The Cocora Valley near Salento, Colombia

Learn more: Backpacking in Colombia

Honorable Mention

Denmark

This country certainly doesn’t scream ‘budget travel’ but it’s the cheapest destination in Scandinavia. If visiting this part of the world has been a dream of yours, we can definitely recommend Denmark in comparison with its more expensive Scandinavian neighbors Norway, Sweden, or Finland.

Nyhavn Canal in Copenhagen, Denmark, one of the cheapest backpacking countries in Scandinavia

Nyhavn Canal in Copenhagen, Denmark

Learn more: Backpacking in Denmark

 

There has been a rise in demand for trying out adventure sports in recent years. Normal getaways are turning into adventure vacations, and we could not have been happier! People are pushing themselves out of their comfort zones to make memories of a different kind.

Trekking is one such adventure sport. The youth, especially, has started coming in groups of friends and family to experience life in the mountains and feel its thrill. Two of India‘s most popular trekking terrains include Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The Himalayas have changing topography. It enables adventure lovers to trek from lush green meadows to snow-capped summits. The beautiful landscape of the terrain and its distinct, rich culture and wildlife attracts trekkers worldwide. The climate, too, experiences massive changes in temperature throughout the year.

Himachal Pradesh is no less than a trekker’s paradise. You can choose from various treks, depending on your fitness level, trekking experience, and time at hand. Some treks in Himachal Pradesh include Hampta Pass Trek, Bhrigu Lake Trek, Pin Bhaba Pass Trek, and Rupin pass trek.

Uttarakhand, also known as ‘Devbhoomi,’ is equally enticing for a wandering soul. Located in the northern part of India, Uttarakhand ranges from Garhwal Himalayas to Kumaon. This vast expanse of land ensures breathtaking views, rich biodiversity, and challenging terrains.

Just like in the case of treks in Himachal Pradesh, this region also allows you to select from various treks. Some treks in Uttarakhand include Valley of Flowers National Park Trek, Har Ki Dun Valley Trek, Kedarkantha Summit trek, and Kuari Pass trek.

Four best treks in Uttarakhand

1. Valley of Flowers National Park Trek

Duration- 6 days

Explore the Valley of Flowers - one of the Best Treks in Uttarakhand

Explore the Valley of Flowers – one of the best treks in Uttarakhand

Located at an altitude of 14,100 ft, the Valley of Flowers is one of the best Himalayan treks. In 1982, the valley got declared a National Park due to its rich biodiversity. The meadow lies nestled between the rugged Himalayas and Zanskar ranges, and true to its name, is a paradise for nature lovers.

Unlike other treks in Uttarakhand, you can enjoy this 38 km trek best in the monsoon months of July and August. The rain brings in fresh blooms and increases the beauty of the verdant meadows, allowing the trekker to bask in nature’s goodness.

Major attractions include Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Hemkund Lake, Shri Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara, Joshimath, Govindghat, and Ghangria village. The difficulty level of this terrain is easy to moderate with very few steeps and lows, making it ideal for beginners with decent stamina and physical fitness. Avid trekkers also enjoy this trek in Uttarakhand.

2. Har Ki Dun Valley Trek

Duration- 7 days

Experience the dynamic landscape of the Garhwal Himalayas on the Har Ki Dun Valley Trek

Experience the dynamic landscape of the Garhwal Himalayas on the Har Ki Dun Valley Trek

Trekking in the Himalayas is always an experience to remember, cherish and savour. The Har ki Dun Valley Trek or the hanging valley is no exception. Many adrenaline enthusiasts get attracted to this 47 km long trek for its cultural history and diverse topography.

The Garhwal Himalayas offer a dynamic landscape compromising pristine rivers, rugged terrains, alpine meadows, quaint hamlets, and dense forests. The valley stands at an elevation of 11,700ft, and the journey leading to it is of spiritual importance.

Highlights of the trek include glaciers like Jaundhar and Swargarohini, Bandarpooch, Borasu Pass, Morinda Lake, Kalanag, and close interaction with locals residing in the villages of Sankri, Osla, Saud, Seema, and Taluka.

The trek is accessible all year round, but the best time to visit is April to November, especially in summers and post-monsoons. It is a moderate to difficult trek, and you will need to work on your fitness at least a few months before the trek. You will have to cover long stretches each day.

3. Kedarkantha Summit trek

Duration- 6 days

Take in panoramic Himlayan views on the Kedarkantha Summit trek

Take in panoramic Himalayan views on the Kedarkantha Summit trek

Located at an elevation of 12,500 ft., Kedarkantha Summit Trek is one of the best Himalayan treks. It exposes you to the lesser-known parts of Uttarakhand, beautiful campsites, tiny hamlets, and the rich lifestyle of the people dwelling in them.

This 20 km stretch is within the territory of Govind Pashu Vihar National Park, and so you will be able to spot quite a bit of Himalayan wildlife here. It is a moderate to difficult trek. The region receives generous snowfall from November to March, making it an absolute favourite among snow lovers.

However, one can trek this region at all seasons. One of the most striking factors of this trek is the panoramic view of the mountain peaks from the summit—Kalanag, Dhauladhar, Swargarohini, Gangotri, Bandarpooch, and Yamunotri, to name a few. The village of Sankri and the Juda ka Talab campsite also deserve mention.

4. Kuari Pass trek: Lord Curzon’s Trail

Duration- 6 days

The Kuari Pass trek also known as Lord Curzon's Trail

The Kuari Pass trek also known as Lord Curzon’s Trail

Located at an altitude of 12516 ft, the Kuari Pass Trek is among the best treks in Uttarakhand. Named after its discoverer, Lord Curzon, this trail is perfect for beginners and seasoned trekkers. This 22 km short trail introduces you to the essence of trekking and the wonderful gifts of nature.

It is suitable for beginners, too, as the grade of difficulty ranges from easy to moderate. The trail moves from vast thick forests of rhododendrons and oaks to lush meadows and beautiful campsites. Both the campsites, Khulla and Chitrakantha, have jaw-dropping backdrops.

Dronagiri, Nandagiri, Neelkanth, Changbang, Mukut Parbat will take turns to greet you on your journey. Other trek highlights include Auli, Gurson Bugyal, Dhak village, Gulling Top, Tali Forest Base camp, etc. October to December and February to April are ideal times to visit this rugged terrain.

Four best treks in Himachal Pradesh

1. Hampta Pass Trek

Duration- 5 days

Hampta Pass is one of the best treks in Himachal Pradesh and is also suitable for beginners

Hampta Pass is one of the best treks in Himachal Pradesh and is also suitable for beginners

Located at the height of 14,010 ft. on the Pir Panjal range, Hampta Pass Trek is one of the best treks in Himachal Pradesh. This 28 km crossover trek takes you through the various shades of nature and explores the unknown.

The journey starts from the lush Kullu valley, and then moves further towards Lahaul and deserted Spiti to reach the Rohtang Pass. Hampta Pass falls in the middle of this route but leaves trekkers in awe of its alluring scenery and dynamic trail.

Forests, water streams, meadows, vast expanses of pure land, wildflowers, and rugged mountains; you name it, and the Hampta Pass trek has it. Other takeaways of this trek include Chandratal Lake, Sethan village, Hampta village, and wonderful campsites at Chika, Balu ka Ghera, Shea Goru, and Chatru.

You can go on this trek in Himalayan trek anytime between Mid-June to Mid-October. The difficulty level is easy to moderate. Beginners, as well as experienced trekkers, can enjoy it.

2. Bhrigu Lake Trek

Duration- 3 days

The Bhrigu Lake trek is regarded as one of the best treks in Himachal Pradesh for beginners

The Bhrigu Lake trek is regarded as one of the best treks in Himachal Pradesh for beginners

The Bhrigu Lake falls under the easy treks in Himachal, despite being a high-altitude lake standing at 14,010 ft. It is also regarded as one of the best lake treks in Himachal Pradesh, as it offers a splendid view of Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges and peaks like Seven Sisters and Hanuman Tibba.

This 25 km trek comprises alpine meadows, thick forests, quaint hamlets, and staying nights at cozy campsites. If you visit Vashisth, you can also take a dip in its hot water spring. You cannot do this trek in the winter due to harsh weather. Stick to May to October, but try and avoid the monsoon season, as heavy landslides occur. It is an overall easy trek.

3. Pin Bhaba Pass Trek

Duration- 7 days

The Pin Bhaba Pass Trek - one of the best crossover treks in Himachal Pradesh

The Pin Bhaba Pass Trek – one of the best crossover treks in Himachal Pradesh

Located at an altitude of 16,100 ft, the Pin Bhaba Pass Trek is one of the most loved crossover treks in Himachal Pradesh. It connects the picturesque Bhaba valley with the deserted Pin valley.

The landscape in this trek changes every moment, but the Bhaba River flows throughout. It is a difficult trek as it requires trekkers to push their extremes while crossing river bridges and trek through screes, glaciers, and moraines.

Kafnu, Mulling, Kara, Pushtirang, and Mangrungse are some of the wonderful campsites that this trek offers, along with the stunning views of Hansbeshan Peak, Tari Khango, Pin Bhaba Pass, and Nimish Khango.

You witness a striking contrast of green and brown on this 112 km Himalayan trek that makes it an unforgettable experience. June to September is the best time to go on this Himalayan trek, as monsoons make this trail look like Switzerland.

4. Rupin pass trek

Duration- 8 days

The Rupin Pass Trek - a challenging Himalayan trek with mesmerizing views

The Rupin Pass Trek – a challenging Himalayan trek with mesmerizing views

The Rupin Pass has a surprising element in every nook and corner, a favorite among the crossover treks in Himachal Pradesh. The journey takes you from Dhaula in Uttarakhand to Sangla in Himachal, exposing two distinct cultures.

The variation in the landscape and the challenges that come with it make this 52 km trek difficult. Some highlights of this trek include the untamed Rupin River, Haldi Khad, Poku Devta Temple, and beautiful campsites like Suruwas Thatch and Upper Waterfall.

The summit also offers mesmerizing views of Charang Ghati and Kinnaur Kailash. The trek is open all year round but is ideal for visiting during summers (Mid-May to June) and post-monsoons (September to October).

Conclusion

This article covers India’s two most stunning trekking destinations – Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. Whether you are a beginner, a seasoned trekker, or an expert, you can choose from our list of the best Himalayan treks. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the mountains.