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Monday, 18 November 2013

Asia's Tourist Friendly Mountain

Asia's mountains hold a strange power over the populations that live nearby. Some of them are active volcanoes, striking fear whenever they awaken. Some are sacred sites, inspiring devotion throughout the year and especially on high holy days. The most impressive of Asia's peaks are gathered in this list, a roundup of the continent's most tourist-friendly mountains, ready to be conquered the next time you're in the area.

Asia’s tourist-friendly mountains - Kinabalu
1. Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia
The tallest mountain in Malaysia looms over 4,000 metres over Sabah. Despite its intimidating height, over 40,000 people a year still come to scale Kinabalu. The two-day climb is a small price to pay for seeing the mountainside's dizzyingly rich biodiversity and splendid views as the trail nears the peak. Travellers cross four different climate zones as they ascend—the plateau at the peak is freezing even in the middle of summer, so pack accordingly. (Photo by Thinkstock)

Asia’s tourist-friendly mountains - Agung
2. Gunung Agung, Indonesia
The tallest peak on Bali is also its holiest. Rising 3,031 metres over the eastern half of the island, Gunung Agung stands as a sacred reference point for Bali's devout Hindu community. The holiest shrine in Bali stands there, too: Pura Besakih, the famous "mother temple" of Bali's thousands of temples, miraculously survived Gunung Agung's last eruption in 1963. Visitors can climb to the temple—or venture even further to the 2,300-foot crater, though this is not allowed during Bali's high holy days. (Photo by Thinkstock)

Asia’s tourist-friendly mountains - Fuji
3. Mount Fuji, Japan
At 3,776 metres, Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan—and possesses a number of other superlatives as well. Its near-perfect cone has inspired generations of artists and poets; it has been a sacred site for Japan's Shinto religion since the 7th century; and it continues to be one of the country's most popular tourist sites, attracting over 200,000 climbers every year during the mountain's official climbing season between July and August. (Photo by Thinkstock)

Asia’s tourist-friendly mountains - Bromo
4. Gunung Bromo, Indonesia
The 586 metre-high Gunung Bromo in Indonesia's East Java is an active volcano that nonetheless attracts thousands of tourists a year. Surrounded by a "sea of sand"—particles of volcanic rock that have settled into an eerie pool surrounding the volcano—Bromo entertains visitors who arrive via jeep or on foot from nearby Cemoro Lawang, usually before dawn so as to see the sunrise from the peak. Bromo still emits white smoke from its caldera—a reminder that this giant is not dead, only sleeping.  (Photo by Thinkstock)

Asia’s tourist-friendly mountains - Apo
5. Mount Apo, Philippines 
The Philippines' tallest mountain looms 2,954 metres over Southern Mindanao, a symbol of the island's promise and threat. Outlaw Communist bands used to infest the mountain's foothills, but improved peace prospects have improved Mount Apo's reputation. Today, Mount Apo is a prime hiking destination (it takes a two-day hike from base camp to the peak) and a geothermal power production hotspot. (Photo courtesy

Asia’s tourist-friendly mountains - Cincang
6. Gunung Mat Cincang, Malaysia
The second-highest point of the tourist island of Langkawi in northern Malaysia is Gunung Mat Cincang, looming 709 metres above the forests. But visitors flock to the mountain nonetheless to ascend to a curving pedestrian bridge at the peak. A cable car gondola takes visitors from Oriental Village at the mountain's base to the bridge. From the top, tourists can drink in breathtaking views of Langkawi's western coast, not to mention nearby Kedah and Thailand across the border. (Photo courtesy of Tourism Malaysia)

Asia’s tourist-friendly mountains - Krakatau
7. Anak Krakatau, Indonesia
In 1883, the mountain known as Krakatoa exploded, killing 20,000 people in nearby West Java. The remnants of that explosion can be seen an hour's boat ride away from Anyer in Banten, Indonesia: Anak Krakatau (child of Krakatoa) looms 813 metres over the Sunda Strait, an active volcano that first sprouted out of the sea in 1930. Visitors can climb up Anak Krakatau from the eastern side to see the other surviving islands, the remnants of a single landmass that was destroyed in that last massive eruption. (Photo by Mike Aquino)

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