Inside Asia Tours: Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos

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Thursday, 26th November 2015

Five mountains to tackle in Southeast Asia

Beautiful weather, tall peaks and wildlife spotting all make Southeast Asia the perfect place for you to go scaling mountains. Most peaks are to be found in Vietnam and Burma, but you'll also find extreme outdoor opportunities in Laos and Cambodia. 

Here are the top five suggestions we have, but this is by no means exhaustive as there's lots of mountains to choose from in the region, as well as treks through villages and rainforest areas.

Hkakabo Razi - Burma

Hkakabo Razi is Burma's highest mountain and as it stands at a height of nearly 19,300 feet, it's also the highest mountain in all of Southeast Asia. The peak of the mountain is enclosed within the Hkakabo Razi National Park, the park itself is entirely mountainous and features a broad-leafed evergreen rainforest.

The route to basecamp on the mountain is four weeks and can be arduous due to the dense rainforest and unbridged stream crossings. A difficult one, this mountain has been climbed by few people and it's likely that if you decide to tackle it that you'll become a part of history.

Fansipan - Vietnam

This mountain is the highest in Indochina, which comprises Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia - it measures 10,312 feet and is known as "the roof of Indochina". Unlike Hkakabo Razi, Fansipan sees a fair amount of footfall as tour companies in the area arrange hikes in which you can get involved. 

These hikes can take between one to three days, although it's recommended that you take at least a two-day trip as tour guides are less likely to take you on a round trip in one day. It's well worth your time to climb this mountain, not only for the expected views, but also to marvel at the monument at the mountain's summit. 

Phnom Kulen - Cambodia

Phnom Kulen literally translated means the Mountain of Lychees and is a mountain range in Siem Reap Province in Cambodia measuring 1,597 feet at its highest. This isn't the most difficult of mountains to tackle as it's mostly an uphill walk, which will make it perfect for those of you who are looking for an outdoor activity but don't want to do anything too extreme. 

Climbing to the top will reward you with a modern style pagoda with views over the Angkor area, from there you'll also see an eight-metre tall statue of a reclining Buddha.

Phnom Aural - Cambodia

Climb Cambodia's tallest peak of Phnom Aural - it stands at 5,948 feet high and is found in the eastern part of the Cardamom Mountains. This is a more difficult climb and the trek will take two days of hiking and an overnight stay in a hammock - great for those of you who have a yearning for sleeping under the stars.

You can look forward to some amazing sights as you climb this particular mountain - enjoy the sight of rare birds, views of the lowland rice fields and lots of other wildlife.

Pha Pon Golden Mountain - Laos

Although a mountainous area, many of Laos' mountains, such as Mount Phou Bia are out of bounds for climbing as they don't have trails and are considered too dangerous. Turn your sights instead to the Pha Phon Golden Mountain, which is an adventure for those who truly love the outdoors. Depending on your guide or trail service you can expect to blaze through beautiful forests, streams and ethnic minority villages.

You'll also have the opportunity to stay overnight with a family as part of your trek for a wholly authentic experience.

Related news stories:
Tips on photographing Southeast Asia (17th July 2015)
Eat your way through Luang Prabang?s night market (26th May 2016)