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Trekking in Nepal : A fabulous experience

22 May 2023
Trekking in Nepal is an adventure journey by foot in the highest mountain and deepest valley for few days, two weeks, three weeks or longer. It is more challenging than hiking since it tests one's ability, endurance and their mental as well as psychological capacity.
In Nepal, trekking is very popular among national and international tourist due to the privilege of being in the home of Himalayas. Most of the famous trekking areas make an amazing experience of the Himalaya.
Nepal is a magical land packed with the beautiful and rugged hills, grand mountains, virgin forests , isolated villages and many more. Thus, Nepal can offer some of the most rewarding and wonderful treks in the world, as there are many unexplored and off the beaten trekking trails. Trekking in Nepal, you can enjoy a scenic walk along mountain trails absorbing all the sights and sounds of a foreign land.

Trekking in Nepal: Once In a Lifetime Experience

Nepal has different trekking trail/route. In a country with so many trekking options, choosing the right area for you can be tricky. Read our guide to the trekking regions of Nepal to help you decide.

Everest Region

Mt Everest, (8848m) the highest mountain on Earth, exerts a magnetic pull on trekkers, mountaineers and armchair adventurers alike. Arguably Everest Region is the most popular trekking region in Nepal, the Everest region has a very well-developed trekking tourist infrastructure with high quality, comfortable trekking lodges (there are even a growing number of genuinely luxury places to stay); lodge restaurant menus are unusually varied and the organization and information as good as it gets in the high mountains. With no complicated permits required and no need for any form of camping equipment, this is the trekking at its best and a place that is as enticing for seasoned Himalayan walking veterans as it is for fresh-faced, wide-eyed trekking newbie.

Annapurna Region

About two third of the trekkers in Nepal visit the Annapurna region. The area is easily accessible, hotels in the hills are plentiful, and treks here offer good scenery of both high mountains and lowland villages. Most of Central Nepal is dominated by the Annapurna Himal and the village of Pokhara. There are three major trekking routes in Annapurna Region:- Annapurna Circuit Trekking, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Jomson to Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, Ghorepani Poonhill trek which is famous short and easy trekking of Annapurna trekking route.

Langtang & Helambu Region

The Langtang region north of Kathmandu offers some of the most accessible trekking in Nepal. This range is so close to the capital that if you were super dedicated you could literally set out walking from your guesthouse in Thamel (but, because of car traffic and pollution and the great sprawling suburbs of the city, we don’t seriously suggest doing this). The ease of access, easy to follow – and generally fairly short – trails, combined with outstanding and highly varied Alpine scenery, and lots of decent lodges and other tourist facilities has always meant that Langtang has been a popular place to trek.

The Langtang trek is a fantastic choice for those with limited time to trek with the shortest routes taking just a week (or even slightly less) including travel time from Kathmandu. While the Helambu trekking region, which takes walkers through an attractive tapestry of terraced hillsides, pretty villages and blowy passes is a good option with older children. There are also innumerable ways of combining treks in order to cobble together walks lasting several weeks.

Manaslu Region

Manaslu Himal is located in the Mansiri Himal, part of the Nepalese Himalayas, in the west-central part of Nepal. Its name refers to “mountain of the spirits” which is derived from Sanskrit word Manasa. Manaslu region is untouched and newly famous trekking region of Nepal. It is located in the west-central part of Nepal. Most popular trekking routes in Manaslu region are: Lower Manaslu Eco Trek, Tsum Valley Trek, Manaslu Circuit Trekking, Tsum valley combine Manaslu round trekking.

Mustang Region

North of the Annapurna range and sheltered from monsoon rains by a wall of Himalayan giants, is Upper Mustang Region. Long shrouded in mystery and closed to outsiders until 1992, the Kingdom of Mustang is a high-altitude desert of multi-hued gorges, green oases, fairy-tale gompas, prayer flags and blood red fortified monasteries. This is a land so rich in traditional Tibetan Buddhist culture that it can often feel more classically Tibetan than the modern Chinese region of Tibet itself.

Despite Upper Mustang’s image of timelessness, change is coming here. A new road runs up the western side of Upper Mustang and the region is slowly being drawn into more mainstream Nepalese life. But, walk away from the roads and you’ll fast discover a land that can feel unchanged in a hundred years.

It’s worth noting that Mustang doesn’t have the same awe-inspiring close-up views of the mountains as many of the other main Nepalese trek areas and that walking here is as much a cultural experience as a mountain one. You can only trek in Upper Mustang as part of an organized tour with pre-arranged and expensive permits. But, to the surprise of many trekkers, facilities in Upper Mustang are surprisingly good. If you stick to main routes, then a bed in home-style accommodation is always available and staying in such places is highly rewarding.

Much of Upper Mustang is a gently undulating plateau and this relative flatness makes for a reasonably easy trekking region (for Nepal anyway) that rewards beginner and experienced trekker alike.

Eastern Nepal Region

The far east of the country is home to two main peaks: Kanchenjunga, which at 8586m it’s the third highest mountain on Earth and Makalu, which at 8485m is the fifth highest peak on Earth. The exciting hikes to the base camps of either of these mountains takes walkers through remote countryside where yak herders out number other foreign trekkers and facilities are limited in the extreme.

Most of the trekking routes in eastern Nepal are long and unusually tough with a huge amount of steep ascent and descent and most routes are also straight there and back affairs which might put off those who prefer circular treks. Combine this with the areas distance from Kathmandu, which makes internal flights or very long and uncomfortable bus rides obligatory, and only the occasional very rudimentary trekking lodge (and most times even these are aimed more at local shepherds rather than international trekkers), and you’ll understand why this pristine landscape is better tackled by people with some previous Himalayan trekking experience who are happy to join a fully organised camping trek.

The reward for this who do tackle this region though is the sheer beauty and diversity of the Eastern Nepal trekking region. Over the course of a couple of weeks walkers pass through pretty farming villages where the hillsides are striped in terraces, jungly sub-tropical river valleys, misty, old-growth coniferous forests and Alpine tundra until you come face to face with the crashing glaciers and fluted peaks of the mighty mountains.

Special trekking permits and guides required.

Dolpo Region

A magical region of frozen deserts, piercing blue skies, hidden monasteries, yak caravans, half-imagined gompas, electric blue lakes, and stone walled villages. This is Dolpo in western Nepal and it’s unlike anywhere else in the country. A true slice of old Tibetan culture where time is measured by the yellowing of crops in the fields and the arrival of the first winter snows. For a trekker it is undeniably one of the most fascinating parts of Nepal to walk through. You won’t find any trekking lodges, apple pies or crowded passes out here, but you will find scenery that will make you gasp in beauty and people who will welcome you with open arms.

Before you change all your plans though and head to Dolpo there are a couple of things to remember. Access, which is almost completely by small twin-prop plane is difficult, expensive and unreliable, most of the walks here are demanding, long and high with no creature comforts to look forward to at the end of the day, permits are complicated and expensive and for most (but not all) treks in the dolpo region you must go on an organised camping group trek. But for those with the stamina, patience and finances, Dolpo will leave you enchanted.

Special trekking permits and guides required.

Far Western Nepal Region

The far western region of Nepal is as off the beaten track as it’s possible to get in Nepal and even for most Nepalese the very far west of Nepal may as well be another country altogether. For a trekker, western Nepal offers many challenges and logistical nightmares; just getting to the region can be a headache and once there you will find absolutely no facilities of any sort for trekkers. But, the payback is vast swathes of untouched mountainous country just crying out to be explored. And, you really will be something of an explorer out here. Few trekking companies know much about the trails in the far west and locals still don’t quite grasp the concept of walking merely for the pleasure of it. You need patience and to be on a fully supported camping trek to come here but if you’re looking for something truly different then the far west of Nepal will probably suit.

Special trekking permits and guides required.

Type of Trekking in Nepal

There are various types of trekking in Nepal based on accommodation and food facilities. Different regions have different types of accommodation depending upon the accessibility of transportation and popularity. Some regions have well-established routes with decent shelter facilities, while others only have the option of setting up camps. The three distinct types of trekking in Nepal as mentioned below:

Teahouse (Lodge) Trekking

Teahouse trekking is a type of trekking in which the trekking route is accompanied by small tea houses providing lodging and food services. Additionally, the trekkers walk for a certain duration and then stop to rest in the tea houses. Trekkers rejuvenate their energy by catnapping and eating snacks. Tea house trekking is the most popular and practiced trekking in Nepal. The services in these tea houses differ from one to another due to the topography distinction. For instance, the tea house service at a higher altitude might cost you more compared to others because of the transport challenges. . Teahouse trekking is particularly famous in Everest, Annapurna, Manaslu, and Langtang regions.

Camping Trek

Camping treks give you the experience of setting up and sleeping in tents/camps overnight for the duration of your walk. Camping treks offer an opportunity to get one with nature while sleeping under the starry sky at night and are also regarded as an ideal wilderness adventure.
It is usually applicable in long off beaten paths in more remote areas of Nepal where lodge facility is difficult to find. Cooking utensils, burners, and other camping gear are carried and set up every night during this trek. Camps/tents are set up in vantage points, plain terrain, possibly pasture land. To date, it is considered the best way for trekking in remote Himalayan regions.
Nepal's most popular camping treks are Makalu Base Camp Trek, Limi Valley Trek, and Upper Dolpo treks.

Homestay Trekking

Nepal is known for its nature and rich culture, traditions, and religion, aptly reflected in homestay treks. Homestay trek allows staying overnight in the traditional homes of locals living in the area that you are trekking. It offers a chance to stay in the local family home, share meals with them and experience warm hospitality. Meals are decent and made with local produce, and the rooms have some furniture with a bed or two in a single room. The highlight of this kind of trek is the warmth of the Nepali people and their hospitality.

Sharing accommodation lets you understand the families even better and thus heightens your trekking experience. It is a perfect way to first-hand experience and adopts the host's lifestyle, traditions, and culture.

Nepal's most popular homestay trekking is Ghale Gaun trek, Sirubari Village trek, Tamang heritage trek, and Tsum Valley trek.

Trekking in Nepal FAQs

What are the best trekking seasons in Nepal?

The best trekking seasons in Nepal are autumn (September to November) and spring (March to May). These months offer stable weather, clear skies, and favorable trekking conditions.

Which are the most popular trekking places in Nepal?

Nepal offers a variety of popular trekking routes, including Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Circuit, Langtang Valley, and Manaslu Circuit. Each route provides unique landscapes and cultural experiences.

How difficult are the trekking trails in Nepal?

Trekking trails in Nepal vary in difficulty. There are options for beginners, like the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek, and challenging ones like the Everest Base Camp trek. It's important to choose a trek that matches your fitness level and interest.

Is a guide necessary for trekking in Nepal?

While some trekkers with experience choose to go independently, having a local guide can greatly enhance your trekking experience. They provide insights into the culture, navigate trails, and ensure safety.

In response to updated government regulations in Nepal, which prioritize the safety of visitors, it is now a mandatory requirement to engage the services of a guide for treks in the majority of renowned trekking destinations. This measure has been implemented to enhance the security and overall experience of trekkers.

Local guides possess comprehensive knowledge of the terrain, ensuring effective navigation, emergency support, and cultural insights.

What is the required level of fitness for trekking in Nepal?

The required fitness level varies depending on the trek. Moderate fitness is generally sufficient for the most popular treks in Nepal. Regular exercise and some pre-trek training will help you enjoy the journey.

Do I need special permits for trekking?

Yes, trekkers need permits for most trekking areas in Nepal. The permits vary based on the region. Popular trekking areas like Everest and Annapurna require TIMS (Trekkers' Information Management System) permits and sometimes restricted area permits.

What about altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness is a concern, especially in higher altitude treks of Nepal. Gradual acclimatization is crucial to prevent altitude-related illnesses. Most trekking itineraries are designed with acclimatization days.

What types of accommodations are available during treks?

Accommodation options range from teahouses to lodges in popular trekking areas. These provide basic facilities like a bed and meals. In more remote areas, you might need to carry camping gear or arrange homestays.

How do I prepare for a trek in Nepal?

Preparation involves physical training, obtaining the necessary permits, and packing appropriate clothing, trekking gear, and essentials. It is highly recommended to have travel insurance that covers trekking activities.

Can we use hiking shoes for trekking?

You can use hiking shoes for trekking in many cases however, the suitability of hiking shoes for trekking depends on various conditions of the trek. If the trek involves challenging terrains, rocky paths, and snow-covered trails then you should consider more specialized trekking boots.

Can I trek solo or should I join a group?

Both options are possible depending upon the trekking place. Solo trekking requires careful planning and self-sufficiency. Joining a group or hiring a guide offers safety, companionship, and local insights.

What about communication and the internet during treks?

Most popular trekking areas in Nepal have some form of mobile network coverage and limited internet access in teahouses. However, be prepared for intermittent connectivity, especially at higher altitudes.

Are vegetarian and special dietary requirements catered to?

Yes, teahouses and lodges on popular trekking routes offer a variety of meals, including vegetarian and some special dietary options. However, the menu choices might be limited in more remote areas.

Are vegetarian and special dietary requirements catered to?

Yes, teahouses and lodges on popular trekking routes offer a variety of meals, including vegetarian and some special dietary options. However, the menu choices might be limited in more remote areas.

How can I respect the local culture while trekking?

Respect local customs by dressing modestly, asking for permission before taking photos, and following local etiquette. Learning a few basic phrases in Nepali can also go a long way in connecting with the locals.

What should I pack for a trek?

Pack essentials like sturdy trekking boots, comfortable clothing (including layers), a good quality backpack, a first aid kit, water purification tablets, a hat, sunglasses, and a good camera if you're interested in photography.

Can I combine trekking with other activities in Nepal?

Absolutely! Nepal offers a range of activities like wildlife safaris, white-water rafting, and sightseeing in cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara. You can easily extend your trip to include these experiences.

Which trail is famous in Nepal?

One of the most famous trekking trails in Nepal is the Everest Base Camp trek. It takes you through the heart of the Khumbu region, offering breathtaking views of Mount Everest and the surrounding peaks. The trek also provides insights into the Sherpa culture and a sense of accomplishment in reaching the iconic base camp.

Why is Nepal best for trekking?

Nepal is renowned for its trekking opportunities due to its unparalleled combination of stunning landscapes, rich cultural experiences, and diverse trails. The country boasts some of the world's highest peaks, providing trekkers with awe-inspiring views. The warmth of the Nepali people, unique traditions, and the chance to immerse in local life also make it a standout trekking destination.

How to choose a trek in Nepal?

You can choose a trekking route in Nepal by analyzing these few factors:

  1. Trek difficulty
  2. Trekking region
  3. Budget
  4. Required days for trekking
  5. Time for the trek
  6. Trek altitude