Exploring Upwards

Mount Victoria in Myanmar’s Nat Ma Taung National Park

Mount Victoria, also known as Khaw-nu-soum, is the highest mountain in the Chin state rising to 3,100 meters above sea level. Now protected under Nat Ma Taung National Park, Mount Victoria looms above a vast and pristine jungle and is located one of the least developed states in Myanmar. Be prepared for an adventurous journey while visiting Chin hill tribes, exploring subtropical flora and fauna and engaging in spirited trekking.

Clients can visit this park as an extension trip from Bagan. After a six hour drive from Bagan we arrive at Kanpetlet in the late afternoon to spend the night there. The following morning after breakfast we transfer to the base of Mount Victoria for a three hour trek to the peak where breathtaking views of the Chin Mountains await.

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Popa Mountain Park in Bagan

Approximately 50km from Bagan, the iconic and stunning Mt Popa is a spiritual headquarters of the pre-Buddhist spirits known as ’37 nat’ and hence an important place of worship. Mt Popa is in fact an extinct volcano within Popa Mountain Park whereas the temple is located on Popa Taung Kalat which is accessible via 777 steps leading up via a covered walkway. Plenty of mischievous monkeys and hawkers line the path. Once at the top, there is the opportunity to explore fascinating monasteries, stupas and shrine that abound plus of course enjoy the dramatic view back across the Myingyan Plain.

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Malaysia’s Original World Heritage Site

Kinabalu Park was Malaysia’s first-declared World Heritage Site. As the center of plant diversity for Southeast Asia, the park boasts more than 5,000 vascular plant species and has no shortage of fauna as well, being home to in excess of 90 lowland mammal species among others.

Plants found here include the infamous Nepenthes rajah; the world’s largest pitcher plant, Nepenthes x sukaibiensis; a natural cross-hybrid between Nepenthes lowii and Nepenthes burbidgae and the enigmatic Paphiopedilum rothschildianum (Rothschild slipper orchid), one of the rarest orchids in the world.

The main attraction at the Park is none other than the majestic Mount Kinabalu, one of the highest mountains in Southeast Asia standing at 4095 meters.

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Doi Inthanon “The Roof of Thailand”

Also known as “The Roof of Thailand”, Doi Inthanon National Park covers an area of 482 sq/km in Chiang Mai Province with elevation ranging between 800 and 2,565 meters. Doi Inthanon is the highest peak in the range and the tallest mountain in Thailand. Named in honour of the King Inthawichayanon, one of the last kings of Chiang Mai, the park has high humidity and cool weather all year round.

The main attractions of the park are the summit of Doi Inthanon and a selection of great trekking routes. Visitors can enjoy several waterfalls and the two chedi (stupas) dedicated to the king and queens 60th birthday anniversaries. Most of the waterfalls within the park have relatively good water levels all year round though the best period is during the rainy season from May to November. One of the yearly highlights is the pink blossom of Siamese sakura flowers during late January and early February.

For centuries the area has been home to various hill tribes who still reside there and maintain their ancient way of life. At the base of the peaks you will find Hmong villages, where the people continue to tend their fields as they have done for hundreds of years. Thanks to the Royal Project of Inthanon, these people have switched from cultivating opium poppies to now grow commercial crops such as vegetables and flowers. Visitors are welcome to the Royal Project, which is located right near the rangers’ station. There are several greenhouses at the garden for growing Rhododendron plants, ferns, vegetables and various other flowers.

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Nikko National Park in Japan

Nikko is a two hour journey from Tokyo and best known for its collection of UNESCO World Heritage sites. However, staying an extra night in Nikko gives visitors the chance to see more than just the usual sights as there is an opportunity to explore the beautiful Nikko National Park. Known locally as “Okunikko”, this area of outstanding beauty is crossed by picturesque hiking trails, many of which only take a few hours and are relatively flat. The beautiful Lake Chuzenji is worth taking the time to explore, especially in autumn when fiery colors light up the hills surrounding the waters. Kegon Falls, almost 100 meters in height, is by far the most photographed spot. Senjogahara Marsh, located 1400 meters above sea level, is a plateau covered in marshland grasses which turn a striking shade of red in the autumn season.

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Trekking in China’s Yading National Park

Experience Daocheng’s unbeatable natural beauty. Suitable for all manner of outdoor adventures, here it is possible to canoe, fish, or even hand-glide. For those who love camping, we take guests through the Tibetan trekking routes of Daocheng, where the night sky enchants as we lay under the stars in splendid isolation. One of the 24 holy lands in Tibetan tradition, the route is a pilgrimage for Tibetan Buddhists who dream of seeing the three snowy mountains known as Khongga Resum Gombo. Hike the mountains in Yading National Park as we pass through thick virgin forests, tranquil lakes, thunderous rivers, deep gorges and odorless hot springs.

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