Nepal is widely known as one of the top trekking destinations in the world. The natural beauty and incredible diversity of cultures in the Himalayas are what draw thousands to the region every year. Trekking in Nepal is no longer limited solely to professionals or adventure seekers. No matter your age, trekking experience or ability – there is a trek suitable for anyone who wants the opportunity to walk along the roof of the world. Traversing through jungles and high alpine forests whilst admiring breathtaking views of peaks that are over 8000 m is what makes trekking in the Himalayas an incomparable and unique experience. There are many trekking destinations, from famous treks such as Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Circuit and Ghorepani Poonhill or lesser known spots such as Langtang Valley or Upper Mustang.
Everest Base Camp Trek
The Everest Base Camp trek (EBC) is one of the most well known and arduous treks in Nepal. It is a must do for adventure lovers and anyone who wants to get up close to the world’s tallest peak. The trail is within the boundaries of Sagarmatha National Park, where the landscape is filled with gigantic mountains, glaciers and deep valleys. Whilst navigating these wild landscapes, trekkers will come into contact with the warm hospitality of the Sherpa community and their rich ancient Buddhist culture. The trek to EBC at 5,364m will take you across suspension bridges, the historic trading hub of Namche Bazaar, the sacred Tengboche Monastery and the Dudh Koshi Valley. The small village of Gorkashep is the final stop before reaching base camp, located just below the infamous Khumbu icefall. Before descending back to Lukla, trekkers ascend to Kala Patthar (5,644m) for an epic sunrise over the Himalayas and spectacular view of Mt.Everest.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek
The Annapurna Base Camp trek (ABC) is one of the most popular treks in Nepal due to its panoramic views of the Annapurna range and its moderate difficulty. Starting from Nayapul, the trail is flanked by rhododendron trees and lush alpine forests. From Ghorepani, a short hike up to Poonhill is popular with trekkers to witness the glorious Mt.Dhaulagiri (8167m), Mt. Annapurna (8091m) and Mt. Machhapuchhre (6993m) turn golden at sunrise. The trek leads to the base camp of Annapurna I (8091 m) through Gurung, Magar and Thakali villages. On reaching base camp trekkers are rewarded with a 360 degree awe-inspiring mountain view. On descent, the natural hot springs in Jhinu Danda are the ideal place to relax and unwind before heading back to Pokhara.
Upper mustang Trek
Upper Mustang, formerly known as the forbidden kingdom, is one of the most remote areas in the world. The rough terrain of Mustang has aided its isolation from outside influence which has lead to the preservation of the ancient Tibetan traditions and customs that characterise the lives of the local Thakali, Gurung and Tibetan people. Trekkers can experience truly unique landscapes and authentic Tibetan Buddhist culture. This vast and arid valley’s distinguishing features are its vividly coloured rock formations and barren high-altitude deserts – interrupted only by ancient Gumbas (monasteries), traditional villages and prayer flags. The journey begins in Jomsom and in 10 days trekkers pass through small villages such as Ghami and Tsarang before heading to the last capital of the Hidden Kingdom, Lo-Manthang. On descent to Dhakmar the trail traverses vast canyons and rock faces decorated with ancient paintings. The maximum altitude you will reach is 3850m at Lo La Pass where trekkers can enjoy impressive views of Nilgiri, Tilicho, Annapurna, Bhrikuti as well as other smaller mountain ranges.
Langtang Valley Trek
Trekking through Langtang Valley is ideal for those who are working with a tighter time schedule or they simply wish to do a shorter trek whilst still being able to experience vibrant Himalayan cultures and traditions, spectacular mountain views and lush forests. Trekkers can enjoy views of Manaslu (8156m), Annapurna (8091m) and Ganesh Himal (7422m) whilst ascending and descending through rhododendron forests. After crossing the suspension bridge at the Bhote Koshi River, the trail steadily inclines toward the Langtang Valley and onto Kyanjin Village where the view of Langtang Lirung (7227m) is nothing short of heavenly. The trek reaches its climax with a hike up to Tserko Ri for a guaranteed extraordinary sunrise before heading back to Kyanjin to sample the local yak cheese, a Tamang delicacy. The trek concludes in Sybrubensi.
Annapurna Khopra Ridge Trek
For trekkers on a budget or tight time schedule, this alternative trekking route is the solution for those who want to experience some of the magnificent landscapes of the ABC but would prefer a shorter or cheaper trekking experience. As the Khopra Ridge (3,660m) is away from the main trekking trails, very few trekkers have explored this area, making it appealing to those hoping to get off the beaten track. The trail commences from Nayapul and will follow the Annapurna trail for the first two days, stopping off at Ghandruk and Tadapani. Trekkers will explore thick forests and small Gurung villages as they make their way to Bayeli Kharka. After taking the Upper Chistibung pass, the trail will ascend to the Khopra Ridge and trekkers will reach Ghorepani the next day. The next morning trekkers can enjoy the sunrise with a panoramic view of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhre and Hiunchuli. The trek concludes with a hike back to Tikhedhung the same day.
Trekking in Nepal is about much more than simply the challenge of hiking in the Himalayas. For many, it’s a once in a lifetime experience to bare witness to myriad of ancient traditions and culture, ecological diversity and an abundance of natural beauty incomparable to anywhere else in the world. These reasons are why thousands continue to come and return to Nepal every year.