Depending on your budget and the types of sights you want to see, hiking with kids in Southeast Asia opens up a world of possibilities. Indeed, there is a wide range of options to choose from when it comes to kid-friendly trails so make sure you jump at the chance. For easy to moderate hikes in Southeast Asia, the following destinations are the best options available to you.
Banaue Rice Terraces
1. Banaue Rice Terraces in Philippines
The Banaue Rice Terraces is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Philippines. This terraced rice paddies were built by the Ifugaos around 500 years ago. The rice paddies are a representation of the way of life and culture in the region. Thus, it is not only a great hike to take your kids to, but it can also be a place of cultural immersion and historical learning for them. Hikers who embark on this trail will be able to explore numerous rice terrace trails that range from relatively easy to arduously difficult. Make sure to plan your route beforehand so you can stick to the easy routes that are accessible for your kids.
Waterfalls in Sambangan
2. Sambangan Nature Hike in Bali, Indonesia
Bali might be known for its picturesque beaches and world-class villas but this nature hike is something to add to your itinerary. This nature hike is located off-the-beaten track but it is worth discovering because your kids will surely be in awe by the sheer beauty of the Balinese forest. You will be making your way to the Sambangan rural village wherein you can enjoy an authentic and memorable trip through nature’s most pristine conditions. This trek takes anywhere from 3-4 hours to complete. Along the way, you will be able to relish the view of natural pools and panoramic vistas.
Click here for more exiting trails to explore in Indonesia.
3. Cameron Highlands in Malaysia
The Cameron Highlands region in Malaysia is known as one of the most popular hiking trails in Asia. Aside from trekking, this region is also known for its tea plantation. The cool climate of the highlands region make it possible to grow tea plants and this green region is flocked by tourists and avid hikers from all over the world. The cool temperature of the region also provides a nice break from the hot tropical climate of Malaysia, which is why you should consider adding this to your list of kid-friendly trails to conquer in Asia. Due to its popularity, the Cameron Highlands hiking routes are very crowded during holidays and on weekends. Plan your hiking trip accordingly to ensure that you can make the most of the excellent tea plantation views.
4. MacRitchie Reservoir in Singapore
Singapore’s futuristic skyline might dominate people’s perception of what this country looks like. But in reality, it is actually filled with green spaces that make for great hiking destinations for the whole family. One such example of the MacRitchie Reservoir. This reservoir is one of the oldest and most accessible nature reserves in Singapore. In this particular trail, you will find a variety of boardwalks that you can access to enjoy an unspoiled view of the tropical rainforest. The Treetop Walk is one of the highlights of this trail wherein you will be crossing a suspension bridge at an elevation of 800 feet above the ground. It is a great walk to experience as you get to marvel at the canopy view and come to a full appreciation of the beauty of the rainforest.
The trails range from 2-7 miles in length. But you can complete the entire trails for a maximum of 4 hours, which is more than enough to get back to your hotel before the day ends.
5. Sapa, Vietnam
The mountainous region of Sapa, Vietnam is home to some of the best nature hiking trails that the country has to offer. Just like the Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines, the highlight of this hiking region would be the rice fields and paddies that you can explore as you pass through the tribal villages. The year-round cool climate in Sapa is part of the reason why it gained popularity at first. Eventually, tourists have come to discover the beauty of the mountainous region of Vietnam, specifically the unspoiled highland forests. There are also plenty of easy trails that are suited for kids and even those without previous hiking experience can easily complete these trails.
6. Kalaw to Inle Lake, Myanmar
If your family is looking for a great multi-day hike in Asia, this would be it. From the mountainous region of Sapa, Kalaw to Inle Lake trail is all about gentle hills. For this reason, it is easy enough for your kids to handle. The trail will embark from the hill station of Kalaw wherein you will navigate a well-worn trail towards sleepy farmlands and hamlets. There are plenty of accommodations available, whether you want to stay at a temple or bed-and-breakfast. You will end your hike at one of Myanmar’s most popular cultural attractions: the quaint floating villages at Inle Lake.
Padar Island (Image by Indonesia-Tourism.com)
7. Padar Island, Indonesia
Your hike will embark from a pink sandy beach that will lead you a trail towards the tallest peak on the island. This hiking trail is replete with views of blue, white, and green, as the peak is surrounded by bodies of water. The entire hike to reach the summit of the tallest peak in the park will take about 2-3 hours, depending on how many stops you take along the way (or how many photos you snap!).
The bonus of this hike is the opportunity to snorkel among the island’s reefs. This reef system is known to be a home to over 1,000 fish species!
Whether you are looking for a scenic hike that is also stroller-friendly or more challenging ones to push your hiking skills, Southeast Asia has it covered for you.