Best Places to Hike Around the World

by | Jul 2, 2024 | Trainers

As summer approaches and nature bursts into bloom, there’s no better time to lace up your hiking boots and explore the great outdoors. Whether you’re looking to push your limits or simply enjoy a peaceful day away from the hustle and bustle, our LEVEL trainers have compiled a list of the best hiking locations that promise breathtaking views and a solid workout. From serene forest trails to challenging mountain climbs, these destinations cater to every fitness level and offer the perfect excuse to get active and embrace adventure.

1. Zermatt, Switzerland

Hadrian: My partner and I decided to take a trip to Zermatt, Switzerland during the autumn season. The air was crisp, and the ground was covered in leaves with shades of gold and amber – it felt like scenes from a typical fall day.

The backdrop of the Matterhorn against clear blue skies was breathtaking. What really stood out about the hike was the diverse terrain. We encountered everything from grassy plains to gravel paths, stone ledges, muddy flats, and even some patches of snow. Additionally, the views of the lake along the way added to the charm of the experience. It felt like we were experiencing a little bit of everything nature had to offer all in one hike.

Tips for Getting in Shape:

Hadrian: Finding a dedicated workout buddy who’s up for early morning runs, even on vacation, can be a game-changer. Personally, due to my busy schedule, I’ve committed to running approximately 2-4 kilometres about five times a week, maintaining a Zone 2 intensity to effectively build my aerobic base in preparation for this upcoming hike.

In addition to running, my strength training regimen has been strategically structured to target key muscle groups, particularly focusing on leg extension exercises to enhance endurance. Incorporating a variety of endurance sets has been crucial in ensuring that I’m adequately prepared for the physical demands of the hike.

And hey, if you’re on the lookout for some expert guidance in preparing for mountain adventures, you’re more than welcome to join me at LEVEL for a personalised training session or perhaps even join one of my classes! Who knows, we might just share a laugh or two while we’re at it

2. Mount Bromo & Mount Ijen, East Java Indonesia

Wing Yee: What made it memorable for me was its uniqueness; Mount Ijen showcases an extraordinary blue fire volcano and a captivating lake that are visible exclusively during sunrise. Embarking on the hike at 1am adds to the adventure, and as someone who treasures sunrise experiences, I find myself drawn to such journeys.

Tips for Getting in Shape:

Wing Yee: To prepare, focus on cardio for endurance, ensure you have proper shoes and high-quality socks that cover your ankles. Additionally, prioritise training your hamstrings and incorporate plenty of glute and hamstring exercises, such as eccentric RDLs. And for a great workout, just head over to LEVEL and find me to train!

3. Sapa, Vietnam

Valerie: My friend and I spent a half day hiking up Mount Fansipan. We had a local guide with us who led the way up the trail. Fansipan is the highest mountain in IndoChina with an elevation of 3,143m (Google says it’s now 3,147.3m but welllll). It also holds the Guinness World Record for having the longest non-stop cable car ride. Google has more interesting facts on this!

My friend and I took 7 hours to reach the peak, including a 30 min lunch break at base camp 2 (there are 2 base camps at Fansipan for hikers who might want to break up their journey, especially if they plan to descend the mountain on foot and not cable car).

While the views of the nature around us were pretty sweet, I could only appreciate it whenever we took a break. While climbing, I was just focusing on the trail in front of me and trying not to bust my ankles and knees on the uneven terrain and loose rocks. was also actively fending off the endless tiny flies buzzing around my ears. I can still hear them till this day.

Fast forward to the peak: views from the summit were awesome and I was really thankful that it was a clear day without rain or fog. but this was a tough and painful climb and once is enough for me!

Tips for Getting in Shape:

Valerie: I’d recommend strengthening your legs for climbing purposes. So aside from the usual squats and lunges, it would really help to do stair-climbing and descending with a weighted backpack to simulate what you’d be carrying on your actual hike. This should prepare you well for the hike and your challenge on the actual day is to be careful as you navigate the terrain. Different mountains have different types and difficulty levels when it comes to their terrain so just be careful not to step on loose/wet rocks and injure yourself. Also, if there’s a cable car, just take the cable car. Life is meant to be enjoyed!

4. Gunung Panti Barat, Malaysia

Phil: Gunung Panti Barat, Malaysia is at the North of Kota Tinggi, Johor, and the hike takes about half a day 8-4pm. It is a good place to train that’s not too strenuous, with exceptional views at the top, and there is a near-vertical wall or climb that takes about 5 minutes to clear – that’s the exciting thing!

Tips for Getting in Shape:

Phil: Focus on basic aerobic endurance: Incorporate intervals of jogging and walking three times a week, for durations of 30 to 45 minutes. For example, jog for 30 seconds and then walk for 1 minute.

To enhance stability in lower body and core strength, engage in exercises such as the single-leg hinge (emphasise repetition), farmer’s carry and march (emphasise repetition), side plank to develop lateral strength, and goblet squat to improve stability and strength.

5. Mount Hallasan in Jeju, South Korea

Su-Jean: While we were in Seoul for our friend’s wedding, Ethan and I thought, why not extend the adventure and check out Jeju Island? I gotta give a shout-out to Shumin, one of our long-time class members, whose story about conquering Mount Hallasan got me all inspired to give it a shot myself – with Ethan as my trusty hiking buddy, of course!

Let me tell you, taking on one of my first post-COVID hikes was something else, especially with the stunning autumn scenery surrounding us. Picture this: crisp air, icy peaks, it was like stepping into a painting. And speaking of cold, I wasn’t quite prepared for it up there, but thankfully, Ethan’s always running warm, so I snagged his jacket for an extra layer.

Now, onto the trail – Gwaneusma, they call it. Famous for its killer views, but boy, did it give my city legs a run for their money! Still, every ache was worth it for those breathtaking vistas. We kicked things off at dawn, making sure to take plenty of pit stops for some homemade onigiris and kimbaps from CU.

The hike itself? Well, let’s just say the beginning was a breeze, but those final stairs up to the summit? Killer. But hey, with a bit of pep talk to myself, I made it to the top. And coming down? A whole different story – we took our sweet time and even got to hang out with some wild deer along the way. Pretty sweet, right?

Tips for Getting in Shape:

Su-Jean: Although I must admit to my own inactivity in this regard, I would advocate incorporating light cardio or Zone 2 training into your routine, with a specific emphasis on lower body conditioning, to acclimate to the demands of hiking.

Additionally, integrating stair workouts can be particularly beneficial for enhancing lower body endurance. Given Singapore’s lack of mountainous terrain, alternative exercises such as cycling, step-ups, lunges, or a combination thereof can serve as effective substitutes to simulate similar muscular demands.

6. Doi Inthanon National Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Zheng Jie: Accompanied by a close friend, we ascended Thailand’s tallest peak, standing tall at 2,565 metres above sea level. The Kew Mae Pan trail, boasting a moderate level of challenge with its undulating terrain and occasional steep inclines, typically takes around 2.5 hours to traverse. Despite its rugged nature, the path is relatively well maintained and paved.

Tips for Getting in Shape

Zheng Jie: For optimal preparation for your hike, augment your fitness regimen with increased cardio activities and incorporate comprehensive strength training sessions, emphasising exercises like squats and lunges to target your leg muscles effectively. Additionally, pay attention to strengthening your upper and lower back, as well as your core, to ensure the necessary stability and endurance required for carrying loads during the hike.

Ready to conquer the trails on your next hiking holiday? Join us at Level for our weekly strength classes or sign up for small group personal training sessions with your travel mates to boost your endurance and strength for any adventure.

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