Walk this way
February 8, 2008 6:13 AM   Subscribe

I want to go for a really long walk. I don't want to camp. Where should I go? Trekking in Asia.

Sometime this spring I want to go on a multi-day, possibly even multi-week walk/hike/trek. I don't really like hiking with a big backpack, tent, food, etc. So, I'm looking for a trail or route to walk that will allow me to sleep in a bed of some sort, preferably cheaply. I'm currently in Beijing, but I'm willing to go anywhere in China or SE Asia. What the hell, I'll consider the whole world, if not for this year, then sometime in the future.

I've previously looked into the Santiago pilgrimage in Spain. That looks perfect, but I'm afraid it's too expensive this year, considering airfare and the exchange rate. I've also previously done Tiger Leaping Gorge here in China, which was fantastic, but too short (25km, 2 days). I'm not looking for anything particularly challenging, I just want to get away, and enjoy the feeling of getting from point A to B.
posted by bluejayk to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
You could always go trekking in Nepal. Nepal is very cheap. Most treks have plenty of places to stay along the way. The scenery is beautiful. The people there are very kind.
posted by bindasj at 6:20 AM on February 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Could you trek between the Miao Villages in Guizhou? The villagers might rent you a bedroom in their houses (we stayed with some when we went.) You can find Miao people who will take you around if you like on boards like the Thorntree (Lonely Planet) and Rough Guides. We used Louisa and Jenny (sisters) who hooked us up in the region, helped with the translation, and we had a great time. They are usually hanging out on the Thorntree Forum.

Or around the villages near Guilin and Yangshao? It is so beautiful there. There are ways to bicycle from village to village there, so trekking should be pretty straightforward.
posted by jeanmari at 6:21 AM on February 8, 2008

Seconding Nepal.

1. It's incredibly beautiful (trivia: it's the only country in the world for which the CIA World Fact Book lists "Beauty" as a major natural resource).
2. Many of the treks can be done staying in huts/inns for hikers where the food and lodging is quite cheap (<> 3. You can go on a multi-day trek to areas inaccessible by motor car.

1. You may use up a large percentage of your budget getting there.
2. It can be quite cold, so you'll need to pack lots of warm clothes (and a sleeping bag).
posted by justkevin at 6:29 AM on February 8, 2008

Hilltribe trekking in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, using Chang Mai or Chang Rai as a home base. An example of an itinerary here. You can see some amazing stuff and people. And ride elephants too. Which is cool.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:57 AM on February 8, 2008

Although that said, I want to go to Nepal. I haven't done that yet. :)
posted by miss lynnster at 7:58 AM on February 8, 2008

The area around Sapa in the North of Vietnam is stunningly beautiful. I went on a 5 day trek a number of years ago. There was no camping involved, every night we stayed in the home of a hill tribe Chief. It was AWESOME and IMMENSE!

I organised it through these guys in Hanoi.
posted by gergtreble at 8:22 AM on February 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Nthing Nepal. Spent over three months there tripping around, although that was quite a while ago (about 10 years) - things have certainly changed a bit. The Annapurna Loop - I think the single most trekked route in the country - takes around 3-5 weeks depending on your speed and dedication but you never have to camp at all. The Langtang trek was actually much more enjoyable for me but you dont get the super-cool Himalaya views.
posted by elendil71 at 8:37 AM on February 8, 2008

Nepal. You can even walk up to Everest Base Camp!
posted by wackybrit at 1:20 PM on February 8, 2008

Thanks everyone, I'm gonna check these places out.
posted by bluejayk at 8:32 PM on February 8, 2008

"I'm not looking for anything particularly challenging, I just want to get away, and enjoy the feeling of getting from point A to B."

I did the Annapurna Loop back in March of 2001 and loved it, but it was also challenging. I experienced altitude sickness a couple of days before going over the top. If I remember correctly, he high point of the loop is just over 5400 meters. At that time of year, there was still snow on the pass and the guest houses had no heating so hiking with warm gear and a sleeping bag was a must. There are parts of the trek that are quite grueling (walking steps cut into the mountainside for hours) and are unlike any hiking I've ever done in the states. All in all, I'd say it fit my definition of particularly challenging, but it was well worth it.

Again, my experience in Nepal was amazing, but you should know what you're getting into. Have fun!
posted by funkiwan at 9:52 PM on February 8, 2008

Sorry, I was in a hurry and didn't put links in my first attempt at answering. Here are some:

The karsts around Guilin are hauntingly beautiful and the people are incredibly nice. If you are into climbing or caving, this place will provide some good times.

I spelled Yangshuo incorrectly up there. Yangshuo is outside of Guilin and is smaller and nicer (imho).

At the blog, The Worthy Quest, the blogger seems to have traveled around Guilin and the Miao Villages much more recently than I have, with some great reviews of guest houses and home stays. It might be worth sending her an email.

Here is a suggested trekking/hiking route that takes you to Kaili (Louisa's hometown), through the Miao Villages, and ends in Guilin and Yangshao. Best of all worlds.

Here is Louisa's profile at China Travel Guide if you are looking for some advice, a guide or a translator in the Miao Villages. You can send her a message through that profile. I don't know if she still uses the following email address, but it's the last one I have for her: chinese_miaogirl (at) yahoo (dot) com

Have fun. I wish I was going. (Sigh.)
posted by jeanmari at 7:42 PM on February 9, 2008

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