Nepal is home to 13 of 20 highest peaks in the world. Among them is the tallest, Sagarmatha aka. Mount Everest (8848m). It is trailed by Kanchenjunga (8586m), Lhotse (8414m), Makalu (8463m), and Cho Oyu (8188m) among a host of others. The least tall is Nuptse at 7861m. Most of these snowcapped marvels are to the northeast of Kathmandu while the Dhaulagiri (8167m), Manaslu (8163m), and Annapurna Massif (Annapurna I 8091m) are to the North West. The immaculate beauty and panorama of the Himalayas are worth a thousand words and a thousand more. Yet it can only be experienced once we are smack in front. Base camps and beautiful villages are parts of this parcel and combined they make up an epic trip of natural and cultural exploration ventured my mountaineering enthusiasts and globetrotters.
With such many options to travel and submerge in the majesty of the Himalayas, a question often comes when deciding the best approach to explore them. Anyone who is a mountaineering enthusiast will suggest trekking on a popular circuit. But hold your horses before you book one. No matter how experienced a fellow enthusiast, it’s always a good idea to opine with an expert. And here we are with 5 interesting and fairly adventurous ways to embark on this journey of exploration.
Arguably the best way to explore the Himalayas is to take on foot trails that lead to some of the best locales hidden from this world. Everest and Annapurna base camp trek are two of the most popular treks in Nepal. Trailing along the Himalayan landscape of Khumbu and Annapurna region, these treks have stopped at the most beautiful ethnic villages in the World and takes you to the foot of mammoth peaks. Although it asks for endurance, the reward is a great experience. Everest Base Camp Trek starts from Lukla in Khumbu region with trails running past famous Sherpa town of Namche Bazaar and on offer is great vistas of Everest (8848m), Ama Dablam (6856m), Nuptse (7861m), Lhotse (8414m) and more. The trek culminates with a visit of the Everest Base Camp (5364m) and Kalapatthar viewpoint before heading back. On the other hand, Annapurna Base Camp Trek starts from Phedi and runs past Ghandruk (a beautiful Gurung Village) with unparalleled vistas of Annapurna range and Machhapuchhre/Mt. Fishtail (6997m). This famous trek leads to the Annapurna Base Camp (4130m).
Soar above the lush green landscape with a thrilling flight on a parachute. Paragliding adventure in Pokhara is a unique experience with a host of companies offering this service. The Annapurna and Machhapuchhre Himalayan range to the North along with luscious valleys and Phewa Lake make this flight one of the best paragliding experience in the World. Observe the walls of snow appear ever so clear and grand as you take off from a hilltop and enjoy a short flight culminating by the side of Phewa Lake.
You can either go for a tandem flight or go solo (if you have a license, of course) or even better choice to take up a certified paragliding course if you think you can do it day in day out.
The mighty Everest is every traveler's dream, this just to brag to have been to the top of the world. And it's not easy to claim it for the hectic journey and perilous climb. An alternative is an Everest Mountain flight with private airlines like Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines offering this service. Enjoy an early morning flight from Tribhuvan International Airport's Domestic terminal that will fly you across exquisite landscape onto the glorious Himalayas. These snow-capped marvels will strike you for its raw beauty as Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest 8848m) forms a community of the Himalayas including Nuptse (7861m), Lhotse (8414m), Pumori (7165m), Gaurishankar (7422m), and Ganesh Himal (7124m).
Additionally, vistas of the Glaciers and lakes formed along the base of these gigantic wonders will entice you before you soar above the clouds and fly at the touching distance (almost 20 miles) of the Everest. Enjoy the window seat with guaranteed views of some of the highest peaks on Earth.
Not always do we get to ride on a helicopter let alone explore the Himalayas in one. A Heli tour from Kathmandu or Pokhara lends an opportunity to fly across some of the highest mountains in the World. With the Annapurna range to the west of Kathmandu and Everest region to the east, a two-hour trip to and from Kathmandu takes adventurers at the touching distance to Everest (8848m) and Annapurna I(8091m). Unfair to mountaineers, who prepare rigorously and devote a lot to scale these peaks, one can always brag on having been to the top without breaking a sweat.
This tour starts with a flight above scenic landscape and along the Himalayan range. The flight halts at the base camp of either of these two mountains and resumes after an excursion of the camp and surrounding attractions. The panoramic vistas include that of glaciers, glacial moraines, Himalayan lakes in addition to the ride past Mount Cho Oyu (8201m), Gaurishankar (7134m), Manaslu (8156m), Nemjung (7140m), Dhaulagiri (8167m) among others.
Upper Mustang & Annapurna Circuit Cycling
The ultimate experience for the adrenaline junkies, high altitude cycling/Mountain biking along the Annapurna Circuit and upper Mustang is not short of an extreme adventure. While the Annapurna circuit serves as the best trail in Nepal, trip on a mountain bike adds a thrill to this experience. It is a customized 20-day trip (further modifiable) with the jump point at Khudi past Besisahar and termination at Jomsom via Upper Mustang. For the most part, this trip will entail more than half the day's journey on a bike, with some days-like the start from Khudi to Bahundanda - ridden all the way.
The excursion embroils tackling a stern terrain and beautiful landscape while crossing passes of Lo-La (3950m), Ghami La (3765m) and Thorung La (5416m) as well as monasteries at Lo-Manthang. Start struck by exquisite 360° views of the Nilgiri (7061m), Annapurna I (8091m) and Machhapuchhre (6993m), mind the trail for these rides turn dangerous in no time.
Explore the Himalayas with a twist as Nepal caters to travelers with varieties of an option. While Trekking offers the best Himalayan experience, a host of other adventure activities can be ventured. Every activity guarantees a unique experience on top of the unparalleled panorama of the snow-capped wonders of the World. Good to go as long as you have sound health and vigor to take on the thrills.