Travel

Ultimate bucket list hikes for 2020

Go off the beaten path for a unique travel experience

Wellness and travel have become inextricably linked for Singaporean jetsetters looking for the ultimate bucket list hike.

The intimate nature of walking tours combined with its ability to immerse travellers in the rich culture of a destination (as well as a reason to clock your daily 10,000 steps) have caused these itineraries to become more popular over the years.

As 2020 approaches, here are some otherworldly off-the-beaten-path trails across Japan, Tajikistan and India to explore, according to Walk Japan and Scott Dunn.

WALK JAPAN

The Snow Country tour (from $4,340 a person in January, February and March) from the pioneers of walking tours in Japan is a fully guided snowshoeing tour in Japan's famed snow country, a region that each year records some of the heaviest snow falls found anywhere on Earth.

It provides an intimate experience of life in a winter wonderland that can only be accessed using snowshoes.

PHOTO: WALK JAPAN

Starting in Tokyo and finishing in Nagano, travellers will visit a spectacular Shinto shrine complex, stay in charming farming villages located in deep valleys and cross spectacular, remote winter landscapes where the only other footprints they see will almost certainly be left by the local wildlife. A highlight is a night walk through a beech forest.


WALK TAJIKISTAN

As a lesser-known tourist destination, Tajikistan in Central Asia is ripe for discovery.

Luxury tour operator Scott Dunn's 10-night Walk Tajikistan itinerary (from $4,300 a person) showcases breathtaking landscapes with an insight into the country's colourful history and culture.

Ultimate bucket list hikes for 2020
PHOTO: SCOTT DUNN

This itinerary is crafted for the discerning traveller - hiking across the remote mountain system of the Fann Mountains, renowned for its mountain panoramas and stunning azure alpine lakes.

The trek is led by an experienced team, including a guide, cook and donkey handler to transport luggage throughout the trek. This allows guests to visit two of the less famous Silk Road destinations, including one of Asia's oldest cities, Khujand.

The final stop is Iskanderkul, nicknamed the 'jewel in Tajikistan's crown', home to the Iskanderkul Lake, with eerie blue and green waters and a magnificent waterfall.


WALK INDIA

The unspoilt corners of the Indian Himalayas showcase a first-hand insight into the ancient Kumaon culture of Uttarakhand - a mountainous region that has remained mostly unchanged for centuries.

Very few people visit this area, making this journey so unique.

PHOTO: SCOTT DUNN

Starting and ending in Delhi, Scott Dunn's exclusive 10-night Walk India itinerary (from $9,700 a person) takes adventurers across the Himalayas, hiking between the different Shakti Village Houses in Deora, Alai and Jwalabanj.

Each of these remote mountain lodges gives travellers a glimpse into the rural way of life in the Himalayas in authentic and sustainable accommodation.

The treks are adapted for each guest and are accompanied by a private guide, porter and chef.

TOURISM & TRAVEL