The Top 5 Best Treks in Nepal- the Land of the Himalayas

Blessed with diversities in land, culture and art, Nepal is a country that has countless natural and man-made attributes that contribute towards its beauty and exoticness. Albeit being a relatively small country sandwiched between two giant ones, Nepal is a country that has managed to thrive and develop its own identity and core. The country is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and a multi-lingual nation that has eight of the ten tallest mountain peaks on the planet, including Mount Everest- the tallest mountain peak on Earth. Trekking in Nepal is an adventure that thousands of trekkers and travelers from all over the world do every year. There certainly isn’t a lack in trekking destinations and journeys in the country either, and there are a wide variety of options that cater towards people of all demographics, experience and preference. From the last legacy of millennia-old Tibetan Buddhist traditions in the corroded foothills of Mustang to the snow-covered mountain peaks and glaciers of the Khumbu and the Annapurna, trekking in Nepal is a grand affair of authentic Nepali culture, ethnic traditional practices of the people, natural wonders comprising of sapphire mountain lakes, glacial moraines, deep gorges, ever-flowing rivers, verdant alpine and deciduous woodlands, biodiversity and of course- cerulean Himalayan ranges and tall mountain peaks. Visiting Nepal once is certainly not enough! Here are the top 5 Best Treks in Nepal-

The Everest Base Camp Trek

 

Location: The Khumbu region

Duration: 14 to 16 Days

Best Time to Travel: March to May and September to December

Trip Grading: Moderate

 

Among the many trekking journeys in the country, the base camp trek to the world’s tallest mountain peak is the most famous one. Every year, thousands of trekkers from all parts of the world visit Nepal to trek in the Everest region. In the tier of popular trekking journeys, this one takes the cake! The Everest Base Camp Trek takes place in the Khumbu, a region that lies in the north-east of Nepal. The journey usually starts with a flight from the capital to Lukla- with Lukla being the starting point of many other trekking journeys in the region as well besides the base camp trek. It usually lasts for two weeks, but the duration is adjustable. The trekking trail goes through villages like Phakding, Monjo, Namche Bazaar, Tengboche, Dingboche and Gorakshep before finally reaching the base camp. Being a moderate level trekking journey, trekkers of all age and experiences are seen in the trekking trail. The journey has many highlights as well, like the famous mountain villages and towns of Namche Bazaar- also called “the gateway to Everest” and Tengboche- the spiritual centre of the region, the Sagarmatha National Park- a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, the Khumbu Glacier- the Highest located glacier in the world, Kalapatthar- the famous vantage point from where the entire panoramic view of Mount Everest and its massif can be seen, opportunity to witness and experience Sherpa culture, the Everest View Hotel- the highest located hotel in the world with a record inscribed in the Guinness Book of World Records and the Mahalangur Himalayan range that consists of mountain peaks like Everest, Changtse, Lhotse, Nuptse, the Ama Dablam and the Cho Oyu among many others. The trail in the journey goes through an elevation change of a few thousand meters the further one travels into the heart of the region and this results in a change in the terrain as well, with low-lying pasturelands and forests at lower elevations and barren snow-covered cliffs and mountain faces up in the higher elevations. River valleys like Chhukung and the Imja have villages that are located on cliff sides and on the foothills drained by the Mountain Rivers of the Dudh Koshi and the Imja Khola. The Everest Base Camp Trek can be done at all times throughout the year, but the best time to do the trek is in the seasons of spring and autumn. Spring in the Khumbu is an affair of blooming rhododendrons flowers and vibrant woods and forests that are lively with exotic woodland critters and animals. Autumn makes the weather quite suitable for trekking and offers clear views of the mountains. Because of the journey’s encompassment of the region’s defining features, this trek is the most preferred and sought-after.

The Annapurna Base Camp Trek

 

Location: The Annapurna Region

Duration: 10 to 14 Days

Best Time to Travel: March to May and September to December

Trip Grading: Easy

 

When it comes to trekking destinations, the Annapurna region and the Everest region both stand on equal footing in terms of popularity and beauty. The Annapurna Base Camp Trek, as the name explains, takes place in the Annapurna region that lies in central Nepal. The region is named after its Annapurna Himalayan range, which in turn has its name derived from the Sanskrit word for “Full of Food”- an annotation that pertains to the Hindu Goddess of wealth and plenty- Goddess Lakshmi. It is also referred to as “the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek” because the trekking trail goes through the protected area of the sanctuary as well. It is a great opportunity to experience the region’s best preserved floral and faunal beauties. Usually starting from the city of Pokhara, the journey goes through colorful and ethnic villages of Dovan, Deurali, Chhomrong, Ghorepani and Tikhe Dhunga among many. Highlights of the Annapurna Base Camp Trek include the vantage point of Poon Hill which is quite famous for its panoramic views of the entire Annapurna Mountain massif, the lake-side city of Pokhara- also referred to as “the adventure capital of Nepal”, the rich ethnic concentration of Gurung and Magar people of the country, the Annapurna Conservation Area and of course- the Annapurna Himalayan range that contain mountain peaks like the entire massif of Annapurna (I to IV and the Annapurna South), Gangapurna, Machhapuchhre, Nilgiri and the Hiunchuli among others. It is also very easily accessible from the capital and is one of the more easily trekking journeys in the country. The beautiful contrasts of the landscape in the region are one of its many amazing features that draw almost half the visitors of the country. The terrain of the region is an encompassment of rice terrace farms, thick forests, open pasturelands, white rivers and gaping valleys that form a foreground to the distant Himalayan peaks. The villages are major settlements of the Gurung and the Magar ethnicities of Nepal and their traditions can be seen in plenty while trekking through the trails. The Annapurna Base Camp Trek is brimming with alpinist heaven-like landscapes with various scatterings and dotting of natural wonders that makes for a lovely trekking adventure!

The Upper Mustang Trek

 

Location: The Mustang region  

Duration: 15 to 17 Days

Best Time to Travel: March to December

Trip Grading: Moderate

 

The Upper Mustang Trek is perhaps one of the most distinct trekking journeys in the country that differs from all the rest. It takes place in Upper Mustang- a location that still has the perseverance of one of the oldest unsullied Tibetan Buddhist tradition on the planet. Upper Mustang was an independent kingdom with a ruling monarch, until it’s annexation into unified Nepal. The region is also one of the most regulated and strict trekking regions in the country- a trait that has helped the people of the region to still maintain their refined tradition that has been in practice since ancient times. Furthermore, the region is situated on the rain-shadow zone of the Dhaulagiri mountain range, making it an ideal trekking destination for summer treks. Because of this attribute, Upper mustang- also called the former Kingdom of Lo, receives extremely less rainfall and has a topography mainly consisting of as-white hills, corroded cliffs and amazing rock formations. Upper Mustang has also been archeologically fascinating in its discovery of many sky caves that possessed the remnants of old cave dwellers, ornaments and scriptures. The region is brimming with many monasteries and gumbas and the brown desert-like landscape of the region provides a very distant and contrasting picture against the cerulean Himalayas that surround the region. Upper Mustang Trek is an adventure of spiritual peace and rich Tibetan Buddhist customs and rituals. It is a great opportunity to experience the region’s Bon and Buddhist practices and to be immersed in the shamanistic religious practices of the local people. The trekking trail goes through villages like Kagbeni, Chele, Geling, Charang and Lo Manthang and is a constant company to the Dhaulagiri Mountains and white and red Gompas and Bihars decorated with prayer flags.

The Manaslu Circuit Trek

 

Location: The Gorkha District

Duration: 15 to 17 Days

Best Time to Travel: March to May and September to November

Trip Grading: Strenuous

 

The Manaslu Circuit Trek is a journey that involves circumbulating around the various villages of the Manaslu region. It takes place in a relatively isolated location that isn’t much visited by trekkers, making it an off-the-beaten-paths trek in Nepal. It is named after the Manaslu Himal- the highest Himal of the Gorkha district. Getting its name from the Sanskrit word “Manasa” which means “Soul or Spirit”, the Manaslu Himal is also referred to as “The Mountain of Spirits” and can be distinctly recognized as a pyramidal mountain rising from the ground. The journey goes through villages like Arughat, Jagat, Philim, Deng, Namrung, Samdo, Bhimphedi, Tilje, Chamje and Samagaon and is a lovely opportunity to experience unique authentic Buddhist religion. Because of the region’s relative isolation, it remains untouched by modernization and offers amazing showcase of features like the peaks of Sringi Himal, Himlung, Cheo Peak, Gyagi Kung, Kang Koru and Annapurna II among many others, the Budhi Gandaki River and the Soti Khola, the region’s pine and birch forests, the perseverance of natural beauty under the Manaslu Conservation Area and the Larkya La Mountain Pass among many more. The trekking trails are decorated at each intervals by Mani-stone walls carved with prayers, small chortens and stupas that contain artifacts and blessings believed to elevate the land and rid it from evil. The Larkya La Pass is the highest point of the trek and because the journey involves crossing a mountain pass, it requires a higher level of physical strenuousity. But regardless, the journey is an adventure that explores the region and lets travelers revel in the beauty of the serrated wall of hanging ice and snow that is the Manaslu Himal.

The Langtang Valley Trek

 

Location: The Langtang region

Duration: 8 to 10 Days

Best Time to Travel: March to May and September to December

Trip Grading: Easy

 

The Langtang Valley Trek takes place in the beautiful Langtang region of Nepal. The valley is also known as “the Valley of Glaciers” and contains one of the most diverse topographical features in the country. The Langtang Himal decorates the villages of the valley and it has a rich encompassment of emerald forests, verdant hills, rivers and pastures dotted with boulders. The region is also the home of the Langtang National Park that contains forests home to many endangered species of animals like the Red Panda, the Musk Deer, Wild Foxes and Langur Monkeys. With pasturelands that are often filled with grazing yaks and horses, the trekking journey is a feat of a relaxing hike that goes through serene villages and tranquil terrains. One of the main highlights of the journey is the famous Cheese factory of Langtang where fresh cheese is fermented with cow and yak milk and the holy Kyanjin Gompa. Langtang is also a prime settlement of the Tamang people of Nepal and the villages here are a wonderful showcase of Tamang heritage and traditions. The valley also offers some of the most spectacular views of the mountains that rise above 7000 meters like Mount Langtang Lirung, the Ganesh Himal, the Tserko RI, the Kyanjin RI, the Dorje Lakpa and many more. It is an easy trek that is filled with exotic qualities that isn’t found anywhere else in Nepal!

There are many more trekking journeys in Nepal that spans the entire country. Nepal is a rich country when it comes to multiculturalism and its features are best experienced while trekking. Trekking in Nepal is perfect for vacations and family holidays. What’s best is that it is cheap and super affordable and can be done at all times by everybody. This is what makes Nepal earn its spot on many trekkers and traveler’s bucket list! It simply demands a visit, at least once in life!  

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