Off the Beaten Trek: Airbnb’s Best Hiking Destinations in Asia Pacific
It’s no secret that Asia Pacific is home to some of the world’s most scenic hiking spots and breathtaking views. Hiking has become increasingly popular as a weekend or holiday activity, especially amongst travellers keen to seek reprieve from hectic city life and keep one’s fitness goals on track, all while spending quality time with friends and loved ones.
In fact, Sports Experiences now rank as one of Airbnb’s top five Experience categories booked by travellers around the world, as bookings jumped 380% from last year.
Here are Airbnb’s favourite under-the-radar hiking destinations in Asia for everyone from the consummate hiker to the enthusiastic newbie. With these hiking Experiences bookable through Airbnb, and unique Stays in the vicinity, you’ll have the benefit of knowledgeable local hosts showing you the way around these off-the-beaten-trek destinations.
Jeju Island, South Korea
A national pastime for many locals, hiking is rapidly catching on with travellers drawn to South Korea’s unique hallyu wave of Korean pop, dramas and cuisine. On Jeju Island, the country’s favourite domestic holiday destination, the Olle Trail offers a series of walking trails around the perimeter of the island. Take an early morning trek up the Darangsi Oreum with professional photographer and Airbnb host He, and explore a volcanic formation named after the full moon-looking crater at its peak (Darangsi means moon in the local Jeju dialect). For the avid forest bather, revitalise yourself with this guided forest walk in the Healing Forest of Seogwipo. Stay a night or two in this minimalist home tucked away in a tangerine orchard, or this sundrenched, minimalist home overseeing the sea.
Home to some of the greatest culinary delicacies in Malaysia, few know Penang for one of its best kept secrets: its stunning tropical scenery. Take a break from the feasting with an easy hike in the jungle around Kerachut Beach, led by local host Roslant who has traversed many of the island’s iconic trails in the past decade. Have some hand-brewed coffee, visit a local turtle sanctuary and cap the day with a short boat ride back to where you started. At night, retire to your shophouse studio in the heart of Georgetown, and enjoy a hearty breakfast of kaya toast and eggs at nearby Campbell Street in the morning.
Embark on a hike in the mountains of Nasogi through quaint villages, local temples and beautiful orchards. Stop by host Radha’s home for a Himachali meal overseeing the mountain valley, then continue with a post-lunch hike to an ancient pine forest nearby, which hides a relic locals believe to be the protector of the forest. Host Radha worked as a television producer for 35 years in Mumbai before seeking a break from hectic city life in the quiet village of Kanyal, and now aims to provide her guests the same transformational experience. Stay the evening in her boutique cottage and enjoy mesmerising views of the valley from your private balcony.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Fancy scaling the Himalayan mountain range with a local Thai photographer and trekking expert? Why not take a hike up Chiang Mai’s highest mountain and national park, Doi Inthanon, also known as ‘The Roof of Thailand’? Enjoy scenic views of waterfalls and coffee plantations as you make your way through the forest and right into the heart of the waterfall with your local host, Bird. Have a taste of local organic rice and a quick lunch right beside the paddy fields, and drop by a community market on the way back. Located at Baankangwat Art Village close to the foot of Mt. Doi Suthep, whimsical Norn-Oon Lucklub Crafted Cottage is a great option to retire for the night. The cottage is a stone’s throw from the local Sunday morning market and Chiang Mai’s trendy Nimmanhemin district.
Hong Kong is famous for its shopping, towering skyscrapers and cha chaan teng (tea houses), and has recently been gaining popularity amongst the hiking community for its Dragon’s Back Trail. For a spot of nature away from the crowds, explore Kam Shan Country Park with host Hayley. The short and scenic hike is suitable for the entire family – strollers included. Parents and children alike will be captivated by the monkeys, squirrels and birds aplenty; crystal clear reservoirs and World War II bunker ruins. As evening falls, make your way towards your cozy, tranquil retreat in Tai Po that offers panoramic views of the beach and fishing village at sunset.
Over a 3-hour bushwalk in beautiful forest land near Perth, Airbnb host Bob shows guests the incredible flora on offer including different species of eucalyptus trees and wildflowers. An avid hiker who has taken multiple tour guiding courses and walked the 1,000km Bibbulmun Track from Perth to Albany, Bob’s passion and professionalism will ensure that you are in safe hands – no matter if you’re an experienced or beginner bushwalker. Enjoy a pub lunch with Bob in a local cafe or tavern, then head back home for a much-deserved rest. Located in one of Perth’s iconic Salvation Army buildings in the buzzing heart of the city, this heritage-style townhouse is guaranteed to add a dash of charm to your visit.