Hiking in Southeast Asia: 6 Lesser-Known Mountains to Catch the Sunrise

Hiking in Southeast Asia: 6 Lesser-Known Mountains to Catch the Sunrise

These peaks in Southeast Asia offer the most stunning sunrise views. Do not miss it for the world.

No pain, no gain.

This age-old adage holds true when it comes to hiking, especially when the end reward is a phenomenal sunrise! In this list, I have summarised six mountains in Southeast Asia that are sunrise-worthy and off-the-beaten-track (come on, everyone knows about Mount Rinjani and Mount Kinabalu). These mountains vary in elevation and difficulty, so there’s a mountain for everyone!

Also read: 10 Mountains in Southeast Asia with the Most Incredible Views

1. Mount Apo, Philippines

Image Credit: Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ

Where: Near the city of Davao, Mindanao
Elevation: 2,954m
Duration of hike: 3–4 days

In Tagalog, Apo means grandfather, so you can certainly think of Mount Apo as the “grandfather of all mountains”. True to its namesake, it is the highest mountain in Philippines. There are multiple routes up the mountain, but the Kidapawan Route is widely regarded as the easiest way up. Throughout the trek, you will traverse through rocky terrains, dense rainforest, hot springs and grassland. Oh, did I forget to mention, there’s a killer “87-degree” slope too?

2. Mount Fansipan, Vietnam

Where: Near the town of Sapa, Northern Vietnam
Elevation: 3,143m
Duration of hike: 2–3 days

Mount Fansipan is aptly named the “Roof of Indochina”, due to its accolade of being the highest mountain in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Construction of a cable car system connecting Sapa to the summit in a mere 20 minutes is now underway (slated for completion in September 2015, but still not operational as at the time of writing). But why take the easy way out? Beat the crowd, get your boots dirty, and work those thigh muscles by trekking the mountain today!

3. Gunung Merapi, Indonesia

Where: Near the city of Yogyakarta, Java
Elevation: 2,930m
Duration of hike: 8 hours return

Lying along the Ring of Fire, Indonesia is a hotbed for seismic activities – and one of the most active and deadliest volcanoes in the country is Gunung Merapi. The last major eruption in 2010 shortened its height by 38m, and tragically killed 353 people in the process. If you are looking to cheat death and witness one of the most spectacular sunrises in your life, then you should definitely climb the treacherous slopes of Gunung Merapi in the wee hours of the morning!

4. Bukit Tabur, Malaysia

Image Credit: Adrian Cuyugan

Where: Near the capital city of Kuala Lumpur
Elevation: <500m
Duration of hike: 4 hours return

Being a quartz ridge, Bukit Tabur is also known as the “Crystal Hill”. However, the hike is not as glamorous as the name suggests. In climbing up the near-vertical rocky slopes, fatal accidents have occurred. However, if you remain alert and exercise caution, you will reach the summit fine. Once up top, pat yourself on the back and wait for the stunning sunrise over the Klang Gates Reservoir.

Also Read: 10 Mountains to Climb in Malaysia With the Most Incredible Views

5. Phu Chi Fa, Thailand

Image Credit: On.My.BigFoot

Where: Near the town of Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand
Altitude: 1,442m
Duration of hike: 1 hour return from the base car park

Bordering Thailand and Laos, Phu Chi Fa, the “mountain that points to the sky”, is famous for its sunrise vista over a “sea of mist”. With the golden rays of the waking sun illuminating the low-hanging clouds, it is hard to fathom why this mountain isn’t as popular as it should be. Oh well, all the better! Visit it soon while it still remains a well-kept secret.

6. Mount Faber, Singapore

Image Credit: Peter Nguyen

Where: Walking distance from Harbourfront MRT
Elevation: 105m
Duration of hike: 1 hour return

The shortest mountain on the list, Mount Faber is suited for those who do not wish to go to great lengths to see a sunrise. Although short in stature, it does not lack in the aesthetics department either. After a 30 minutes leisure climb, you will be treated to a sunrise over the skyscrapers of the Central Business District, the bustling maritime port and the uniquely Singapore HDB flats.

Also Read: Top 10 Hiking Getaways From Singapore

Any mountains that I missed out? Share it with me in the comment section below!

About Author

Yidian Cheow

Yidian has an interesting name, which in Mandarin, could mean ‘one dot’ or ‘just a little bit’. He is an avid traveller, an aspiring photographer and an amateur writer. He caught the wanderlust bug while on a student exchange semester in Vienna. Ever since then, he has endlessly sought different destinations to explore, tirelessly pursued new adventures, and simply, lived the life! He writes about his adventures and thoughts at i want to be a nomad.