When travelling, I often find myself doing monstrous hikes that put my unfitness into perspective. That being said, hiking is one of my favourite things to do while travelling. No matter how strenuous the hiking is, the views are usually pretty spectacular.
From my current location in Mexico, all the way to China and the UK, here are some of my top hikes across the world.
Our most recent hike was both epic and tiring. Teotihuacan is an ancient city (about 2000 years old) found about an hour outside of Mexico City. There are two big temples to climb: the Temple of the Moon and the Temple of the Sun. The Temple of the Sun is the most strenuous of the hikes but there are easy points to stop. The view from the top are incredible, and you can easily see the outline of the old city that was once there.
Grouse Grind, Vancouver, Canada
What makes me sad about this ridiculous hike was the fact that the view from the top did not pay off. This was the view Mitch and I encountered at the top:
Yes, that is a big grey cloud which covered the whole of the top of the mountain. We were told that we’d get epic views over Vancouver. Alas, we went on a rainy day. I do highly recommending hiking Grouse mountain in Vancouver but go on a good day.
Hang Mua Peak, Ninh Binh, Vietnam
Visiting Vietnam in 2014 was my first real bit of travelling. I went on my own and experienced many things for the first time. My second stop after Hanoi was the small town of Ninh Binh. I booked a tour of the area with a French couple and it is, to this day, one of my favourite places in Vietnam. We visited the amazing Hang Mua Peak. The view from the topic was simply outstanding. However, to get to the top, you first need to climb 450 steps. The French guy practically sprinted up, and I arrived a good 15 minutes after him. You’ll need a hat and lots of water. Totally worth it, though.
Fast forward two years later and I’m back in Vietnam with Mitch. If you’re into hikes, Sa Pa is an ideal place to visit because of its location in the north of Vietnam. We stayed in the village of Ta Van for a week and spent our mornings working (with ridiculously good wifi considering we were in the middle of a village) and the afternoons hiking. One day we thought we’d go on a really long hike which was meant to be 14 kilometres (one way). We made it to about 10km and were then turned away, being told the path was closed. We were gutted but, at this point, ridiculously tired! At least the view was good.
Nong Khiaw, Laos
If I really had to choose just one hike that was the most difficult, this would be it. The thing with hiking in Laos was the pure humidity and the fact that (like the Grouse Grind) you were in the forest so couldn’t see the top. At least with the others, the end was in sight and you had incredible views along the way.
Nong Khiaw is a small village in Laos with a hike to a viewpoint. The trail is specifically laid out and, at the beginning of the hike, it tells you not to wander off course as there are still active mines in the woods. Per capita, Laos is the most bombed country in the world. The view from the top is breathtaking and worth every bit of sweat from my pores.
It’s no lie that Montenegro stole my heart. The Bay of Kotor is a spectacular place to visit and I would recommend it to anybody. I’d also recommend hiking up to the top of the old town and looking down on the stunning bay. If I recall correctly, there is a sign saying that the top part of the climb is quite dangerous and you hike at your own risk. However, if you take it slow, it’s not bad at all. I think they put that there more to warn uneasy hikers. The view from the top is totally worth it.
I’d been ill during some of our time in Slovakia which was upsetting because we were doing a Help Exchange on a small farm. The day we left our Help Exchange, the couple we were staying with took us to the nearby city of Nitra. I was feeling somewhat better but not quite 100%. Never the less, I persevered as they told us we could get a great view from the top of a hill. They were correct; the view was simply stunning. The hike was probably more difficult due to the fact that I wasn’t feeling well.
The Great Wall of China, China
We were extremely lucky when we went on our Great Wall of China tour that the section of the wall we hiked was virtually empty. It was a boiling hot day at the end of June and, my word, it was steep. The thing with hiking up The Great Wall is that you walk up so many steps, only to reach a lookout point and then go down again. It’s a lot of up and down. Still, you can’t argue that when walking/hiking along the wall, you feel nothing but pure awe and wonder.
Much like Sa Pa, another place which is perfect for hiking is the small village of Xingping. It’s quite possibly one of my favourite places in China. There are a few good hikes you can do around the small village. If you stay at This Old Place they can give you some excellent routes and recommendations, one of which involves a very dodgy looking ladder. All the hikes offer spectacular views and are priceless.
Malvern, United Kingdom
It seems fitting that I should end with a place I rarely write about on my blog: my home country of the UK. I attended the University of Worcester, a small city based in the West Midlands. Only a short train journey away is Malvern, famous for the stunning Malvern Hills. I’ve only hiked the Malvern Hills about three times, but it’s one of my favourite things to do if I’m in the area. At the top, you’ll be greeted with a view of luscious green grass and some lovely tranquillity.