Nature in all its pristine glory. Rare and endangered wildlife. Majestic waterfalls and lush canopy of trees. All these and more await you if you hike the world’s rainforests. Prepare to be transported to another world where nature unveils all its hidden treasures so that you leave awestruck and planning your next adventure.
Whether you’re new to the world of hiking or you have well-worn hiking boots, the world’s oldest rainforest has something for you. Covering an area of 1,200 square kilometers and growing for over 135 million years, Daintree Rainforest is home to towering trees, majestic waterfalls, meandering creeks, as well as diverse flora and fauna not seen anywhere else in the world.
You can go the easy way at Daintree’s many boardwalks like Dubuji Boardwalk, Kulki Boardwalk, and MARRDJA Botanical Walk. Or, if your sense of adventure eggs you on and you have lots of trekking experience under your belt, you should take on Mount Sorrow Ridge.
Hiking in Monteverde Cloud Forest is like stepping into a dream world. With clouds that hang over the thick canopy of trees, everything looks hazy. Covering 26,000 acres of thick jungle, this reserve has a rich plant and animal biodiversity. You can see and experience the forest for yourself through the several trails available like the Cloud Forest Trail, Swamp Trail, Oak Trail, and River Trail. If you want to see the forest from high above, you can take the Chomogo Trail or hike the 100-meter high suspended bridge.
Believed to date back 160 million years ago, Khao Sok National Park is one of the world’s oldest rainforests and one of Thailand’s popular attractions. Luckily, this rainforest and all its gems are easily accessible. You can opt to commune with nature by yourself by going for any of the two short trails that don’t require a guide. Or you can venture deep into the jungle with an expert guide and explore unique wildlife in their natural habitat.
If caves are your thing, the Nam Thalu trek will have you following a lovely creek right to the mouth of the cave. Then, there’s also the Viewpoint adventure hike, where you’ll be steadily going up, and your endurance will be put to the test. The reward? The spectacular view of the Cheow Lan Reservoir.
Covering the majestic Virunga Mountains is a lush rainforest that’s home to rare mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, colorful birds, and other wildlife. Volcanoes National Park is named after the numerous dormant volcanoes that make up the towering Virunga Mountain Range.
You can get up close and personal with some of these volcanoes by going on one of the many hiking trails like the Mount Bisoke Crater Lake Trail, Mt. Muhavura Trail, and Mt. Karisimbi 2-Day Trail. Magnificent crater lakes will welcome you at the end of these trails. If you’re a newbie hiker, Mt. Gahinga would be the mountain to conquer.
Touted as the Green Jewel of Brunei, Ulu Temburong National Park is a gem for nature lovers and hikers. While most of the park is not available to the public, the one-kilometer trek gives you enough to make the effort worth it. There’s a trail that ends at a waterfall deep in the forest. And then there’s the canopy walkway, a 60-meter high bridge that gives you a chance to walk amongst the clouds surrounded by the canopy of trees and serenaded by numerous birds.
Home to centuries-old cedar trees, three species of bear, as well as many other land and marine animals, the Great Bear Rainforest is a chance to experience wildlife in its natural habitat. Easy and short trails include Clayton Falls, which rewards you with a view of cascading waters and swarms of salmon hurrying back to their spawning grounds. If you’re an experienced hiker, moderate trails include Medby Rock Lookout Trail and Schoolhouse Mountain Falls Trail.
Danum Valley Conservation Area is a 438-square kilometer ancient lowland rainforest in Borneo. When you go trekking deep into this jungle, you get to see how this 130 million-year-old rainforest has become home to diverse wildlife and a haven for nature enthusiasts. You can go for safe and easy trails near the Field Centre like the Orchid and Nature Trails. Or, if you’re pumped up to venture into the jungle, a guide can help you through trails that lead to exhilarating canopy walkways or invigorating waterfalls with lots of wildlife in between.
Don’t mind meeting some wild rhinos, tigers, deers, sloth bears, and crocodiles while hiking? The Chitwan National Park is definitely worth a visit. If you have a fondness for any particular animal, you can tell your guides about it, and they can tailor your walking safari tour to increase your chances of spotting your favorite wildlife. To start your trekking adventure, you need to ride a canoe for an hour to get to the park.
Nestled at the foothills of the Andes, Yasuni National Park is a sprawling 9,823 square kilometers of tropical rainforest. Because of its unique location, tucked between the Andes mountain range and the Amazon, this rainforest is considered to be one of the most biodiverse in the region. There are also lots of trails to choose from. Short and easy trails like Pericos, Amaru Nambi, and Mirador trails are best for newbies. If you don’t mind spending hours on end venturing out to see giant ceibo trees, the 10-kilometer Indillama trail is the path to take.
Tucked in the middle of the jungle, guarded by thick vegetation and various wildlife, lies the ruins of ancient Mayan civilization. With over 3,000 ancient buildings and encompassing 575 square kilometers, this UNESCO heritage site is so steeped in history, which goes way back 900 BCE. There’s no better place to hike if you’re a history buff and a nature lover than here.