Swing your backpack on and take the first step to an amazing adventure! Nepal is filled with every trekking opportunity from long rambles staying in delightful teahouses, to multi-day high elevation, hard-core alpine experiences. If you long for a big adventure in an exotic location, Nepal is your destination. Most recently Nepal was named as one of the world’s best places to visit in 2020. However, for years’, travelers around the world have known Nepal to be the best of the best offering great value. Never to worry, there is so much terrain and variety in Nepal that you can always find yourself far from the crowds.
With so many options for trekking, how can one decide?
Luckily the trekking in Nepal is distinguished by region. And with each region having unique attributes of their own, you can choose the best out of them according to your preferences.
The most recognizable is the iconic Everest region. Solukhumbu, the area where the highest peak in the world resides, funnels you right through high Sherpa villages and take you to such famous places as Everest Base Camp (EBC). Toss in remote Buddhist monasteries, and hospitable villages coupled with cozy lodges, hot showers, and excellent Wi-Fi, this region never disappoints.
Then there is the breathtaking Annapurna region in north-central Nepal. Many use the lakeside city of Pokhara as their planning and jumping off point for treks in this area. Not only will your views be dominated by the Annapurna Massif, but there are 16 peaks above 6000 meters in this region. So, needless to say, these treks are nothing but views, views, and views! It cannot be stated enough that this region will leave you spellbound with every step.
Slightly closer to the Kathmandu Valley and just to the north, is the Langtang area with the grand Mt Manaslu (8,163 m) as its neighbor to the east. The Tamang communities here do not hesitate to display their rich culture and warm hospitality either. With close proximity to the capital city of Kathmandu, this area is great for those with time constraints, or if staying at slightly lower elevations is needed.
In the east is the Kanchenjunga region. If you really want the trail all to yourself, then Kanchenjunga is your destination. No WI-FI, hot showers or Snickers bars here, but what you will find is rugged beauty and unmatched views of the world’s 3rd highest peak, Mt. Kanchenjunga (8,586 m). Ideal to aspirants seeking the most pristine of views, Kanchenjunga region caters to their needs.
Dolpo and Mustang are areas that have opened fairly recently and are distinct in their ecology which is quite unique in Nepal. These areas are restricted and require special permits to hike here. Wild, remote, and barely touched by modern life, these areas see little traffic for trekking. Those that decide to venture here will be transported in time to ancient Buddhist and Bon religious communities. Just as the culture of Dolpo and Mustang are unique, so is the ecology. It’s a great option if you can only visit Nepal 2020 during the summer season when most of the country is wet from the monsoons.
Once the area of trekking is chosen, what’s the best season?
Most choose to fall. That means the majority of trekkers will come between September and October. This season can be extended into November as the number of travelers dwindles. It is dry, clear sunny. In a word, spectacular! The shoulder season of spring is close behind when most trekkers typically arrive from March to May. Most travelers avoid the summer season since it’s also the rainy season. However, as mentioned, Mustang area is blessed with the drier weather. Winter (December-February) is very dry, except at the high passes and mountains which are covered in snow and ice. Any trek with significant elevation cannot be accessed during this time, and if you stay low, water availability can be an issue.
Teahouse Trek, or camping Trek, or a combination of both.
Generally, treks fall into two categories in Nepal. Either teahouse (small guesthouse) or camping or a combination of both. Teahouses can range from almost deluxe, such as along the EBC trek, to rugged and thinly stationed. Teahouse treks require little more than flying into Nepal and getting your visa at immigration. Whereas, in camping treks, a trekker needs to cautious and aware at all times while deciding on a camping site and other relevancies The most famous teahouse trek, and probably on everyone’s bucket list is the Everest Base Camp Trek. EBC Trek begins with a thrilling flight to Lukla airstrip where you begin your trek to the base of the world’s highest peak. If the many tourists who come to trek in Nepal aren’t going to EBC, the next most famous in Nepal is the Annapurna Circuit. This trek circles this mighty massif of Annapurna after a drive up into the hills from Pokhara. Both the EBC and the Annapurna Circuit have an impressive arrangement of teahouses complete with Wi-Fi and apple pie. The Langtang Trek is a delightful ramble through Tamang country, and slightly closer to Kathmandu and lower in elevation. This trek is high in biodiversity and rich in culture as you hike through lofty villages and rhododendron forests.
Manaslu Trek, widely regarded as the best teahouse trek in Nepal, presents off-beaten trails and incredible bio-diversity while bestowing trekkers with majestic Himalayan panoramas. If camping is more your taste, the Kanchenjunga area in the higher elevations will be the only way to access this wild and remote area. Or if you want to head west, the Dolpo region for camping is a pristine mountain environment. Dolpo is for the hardy trekkers who want high passes, wild landscapes, and trek rich in Tibetan culture and diversity of animal life.
Crisp mountain air, snowcapped peaks glittering in the high alpine sunshine, and solitary stupas guiding your way along a winding trail, trekking in Nepal is bound to be an experience of a lifetime. It might seem like the stuff of dreams. However, here in Nepal it is all real and waiting for you. Get ready to quench your thirst for adventure and love of mountains because Nepal has it all.