The areas of Southeast Asia the border China are impressively scenic and culturally fascinating. Northern Laos in the areas around Muang Long, Ou Tai, and Phongsaly are good trekking destinations. In Vietnam the areas around Sapa and neighboring Ha Giang both have spectacular karst peak landscapes terraced rice paddies and unique tribal cultures. If you’re into volcanoes Indonesia is the country to head to. My two favorite Volcanoes treks in Indonesia are Mt. Rinjani on Lombok and Mt. Kerinci on Sumatra.
From my brief experience in Africa it seems like the bureaucratic hurdles to independent trekking are substantial in many cases. Climbing Kilimanjaro is extremely expensive and restrictive, and frankly I have zero desire to do it, considering I’ve never seen a picture from the summit I was particularly impressed with. If you’re a peak collector go for it. Many that have done the climb rave about it so if you do decide to do you’ll probably enjoy it or at least convince yourself it was worth it. I’ve heard a good alternative is Mt. Kenya which is a more interesting climb and less expensive. The Rwenzori Mountains in Uganda are another scenic area for trekking unfortunately the regulations make treks extremely overpriced. Ethiopia is one country in Africa where it’s possible to do some economical semi-independent trekking. It also has spectacular scenery particularly in the Simien Mountains in the northwest of the country.
I haven’t explored South America nearly enough and at some point I’d like to get back down there. I did do the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu in Peru back in 2002 but that has been the extent of my South American trekking. Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador all have some great areas to trek. Eventually I’d like to cover this area more thoroughly here.
The western United States has the most spectacular desert scenery anywhere in the world. Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Grand Canyon National Parks as well as several other national parks, monuments, and state parks have extensive networks of trails that pass through these incredibly colorful eroded landscapes. The Canadian Rockies may not be the highest mountains but their glaciated slopes dotted with pristine mountain lakes make them some of the more beautifully wild mountains anywhere. Both Banff and Jasper National Parks are bases for exploring these scenic mountains.
New Zealand by all accounts is a spectacular trekking destination with well maintained trails and an extensive network of trekking huts. I have not yet been but it certainly sounds like a trekker’s paradise from those that have.