A Practical Guide to Picking Treks in Nepal

Category: Nepal, Travel Tips & Guides, Adventure Travel

Dubbed as the paradise of trekking, Nepal is a magnet for hundreds of thousands of trekkers, who are, typically in the company of their first-met kindred spirits, revelling in the inspiration and purification amongst snow-capped mountains. Unlike other outdoor activities, trekking requires less professional training and is therefore more newbie-friendly, even for participants at a tender or advanced age.

 

Choice of treks

You could be easily disoriented when facing Nepal's nearly one hundred pleasant trails, but it doesn't have to be painful to make your best choice, which largely depends on your personal preferences like difficulty, duration, budget, and accessibility (some treks require restricted permits). You'd be well-advised to avoid Nepal's monsoon and go there during March-May or October-November. Now let us shed some light on some of Nepal's treks with guesthouses and lodges available:

1. Poon Hill Circuit / Tatopani hot spring Circuit

Difficulty1 out of 5 (Easy)
Days needed2~4
ElevationConstantly low
CostsCheap
Restricted PermitsNo

If you only have one day or two, these two amateur treks would fit perfectly into your schedule. The elevation throughout remains low, and you could have access to a close-up of the stunning views of mountains and valleys. Besides, these trails constitute absolutely no challenge to physical stamina, and are therefore suitable for trekkers aged from 6 to 60. An alternative to this is a sightseeing tour in Kathmandu, the religious capital where rustic people live in harmony with the local wildlife.

4-Day Kathmandu Valley Cultural Tour Kathmandu - Patan - Bhaktapur - Kathmandu
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2. Poon Hill Trek

Difficulty1~2 out of 5 (Easy to Moderate)
Days needed5~7
Max Elevation3,210 m, Poon Hill
CostsCheap
Restricted PermitsNo

For those who only have a few days in Nepal, this trail is the best choice. Within the proximity of Pohkara, this easy trek boasts convenient transport service and offers stunning and versatile views at different altitudes: you can indulge in the mountainous and idyllic scenery of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Mountain Ranges. Sunrise atop the Poon Hill is a must-see, and the spot provides perfect view of the Himalayas. A dip into the local culture will make your trip even more fun: villages like Ghandruk are time-honoured and culturally rich where you can soak up the quaint atmosphere amongst farm houses, rhododendrons, and donkeys and mules transporting goods.

3. Hot Spring Tatopani Trek

Difficulty1~2 out of 5 (Easy to Moderate)
Days needed7~8
Max Elevation3,210 m, Poon Hill
CostsCheap
Restricted PermitsNo

This trek stages gorgeous view of mountain ranges lying in Annapurna conservation area, and is therefore another wise choice for those short-distance trekkers .On the way, you'll pass enchanting ethnic villages like Gurungs, Puns, Magars cloaked in dense rhododendron forests; a hot spring bath at the bank of kaligandaki river would count as the climax of this trail — wallow in this world's deepest gorge whose water has been renowned for healing effect both physically and mentally, wash away a rough day's fatigue, and get reinvigorated! Another highlight en route is the Poon Hill, one of the best spots to observe the breathtaking snow-clad beauties like Mt. Dhaulagiri, Mt. Nigiri, fish tail, and the entire Annapurna range.

The Annapurna RangeThe Annapurna Range

4. Annapurna Base Camp

Difficulty2 out of 5 (Moderate)
Days needed9~10
Max Elevation4,320 m, Annapurna Base Camp
CostsCheap
Restricted PermitsNo

Annapurna Base Camp entitles you to up-close glimpses of the world's most challenging mountain to climb (too steep to trek); snow-crowned mountains, forests, meadows and paddy fields constitute the fantastic scenery on your nearly-vertical way up. The max elevation is only 4,320 m, so this trail is, despite a foul gradient, not so physically demanding after all. Combining scenic spots like Ghandruk and the Poon Hill on your way back would spice up the trek. Around the corner of the Pokahara city, this trail provides an authentic trekking experience and an opportunity to explore the local urban life.

5. Annapurna Dhaulagiri Trek

Difficulty3 out of 5 (Medium)
Days needed13~14
Max Elevation5,416 m, Thorong La Pass
CostsCheap
Restricted PermitsNo

This community-based teahouse trek is highly developed, boasts picturesque scenery, and offers comfortable trekking experience. Walking along this trail, you'll enjoy the tranquil and serene and most of all, diverse Himalayan subcultures. Many lodges are operated by the community, who has been financially supporting local society and schools. On the way, you'll pass tons of traditional villages, lush forests and an expanse of grassland that offers a perfect view of the undulating ranges. As the world's widest pass, the Thorong La (5,415 m) is one of the highlights of this trek, and you'd also have a snapshot of the simple lifestyle of the Nepali peasants.

6. Langtang Trek

Difficulty3 out of 5 (Medium)
Days needed7~13
Max Elevation4,984 m, Tserko Ri
CostsCheap
Restricted PermitsNo

Nepali ValleysDaisy-studded valleys

This trail ranks among Nepal's best short treks. North of Kathmandu, the capital, Langtang conservation area is a Mecca for both nature lovers and cultural travellers. During trekking, you'll have a sneak-peek at the splendid view of the Langtang valley, 'the valley of glaciers', where Langtang Lirung (7,400 m) towers amongst mountain streams and daisy-studded meadows. The trail winds up gradually through the settlement where alpine vegetation like pine, oak, and rhododendron thrives, along with the Tamang people known for their Tibetanish traditions. For those interested in soaking up the cultural atmosphere, the Gosainkunda Lake and Kyanjin Gompa constitute the highlights of the trek. Legendarily created by Lord Shiva and perched at an altitude of 4,200 metres, the Lake is a worshiping honeypot for Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims during full moons. En route, you'll also reach atop the snowy Tserko Ri Peak at an altitude of 4,984 metres. 
 
Hindu pilgrimsLocal Hindus on a pilgrimage to the Gosainkunda Lake

7. Manaslu Trek

Difficulty4 out of 5 (Hard)
Days needed15
Max Elevation5,115 m, Larke Pass
CostsMedium
Restricted PermitsYes. It requires a minimum of 2 trekkers accompanied by a Nepali guide or porter. 

Officially open to the public in 1991, this is also one of Nepal's top cultural treks. Steeped in a no-hunting Buddhist culture, friendly and hospitable locals have been living in peace with the local fauna for centuries and upholding their time-honoured traditions. Typically Tibetan and Gurung villages also await your exploration. 
In recent years this off-the-beaten-path trail has a tendency to elbow Annapurna Circuit Trek aside in terms of popularity. The awe-inspiring Mt. Manaslu (8,156 m) ranks eighth on the list of world's highest mountains.The Larke Pass makes a challenging and adventurous day, whilst the Manaslu Base Camp and Samagaun village welcome you with coziness and comfort. Throughout the trail, you'll experience a wide range of topographies, thanks to the changing altitudes (600 m to 5,135 m). The circuiting trail ensures that you'll be getting a different landscape from time to time. Please be aware that accommodation along this trek may be scarce, which is especially true during peak seasons, namely October and March-April. So, your best move is to book the lodges as far in advance as possible. 

To optimise your trekking plan, we’ll also offer some useful tips:

1. Do prioritise your health.

Consult your general practitioner months before departure for advice and up-to-date vaccine information.

2. Do equip yourself with knowledge of elevation.

Insights into the dangers and precautions of high altitude may be lifesaving during emergencies. So, you'd better google thoroughly about them.

3. The pace of Nepali life

Nepalis are typically living and working at a slower pace. Pushing people here may work against your own interest. So, try to be patient and get use to their laid-back style. 

4. Understanding of the local belief systems deepens your travel experience.

Most Nepalis are either Buddhists or Hindus, so a religious crash-course before departure may enrich your trekking experience.

5. Wear face masks to safeguard yourself from Nepal's smog.

6. About packing 

Pack light but smart by selecting clothes made of lighter materials. One change or two would be all you need. Considering the capricious weather in Nepal, do bring along clothes to cope with rainy, cold, and warm days. 

Actually, Nepal boasts many other treks, from super easy to really challenging, and our guide can hardly include each and every one of them. If you prefer trails other than those listed above, tailor-make an itinerary with us right now!

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