We often get the question of where to go trekking in Nepal Himalaya. This is our recommendation.
An old, worn out Buddhist monastery is still standing at the edge of a cliff. The first, soft morning rays of light illuminates the icy ridge, high above the valley. The only access over the raging mountain river is a fragile suspension bridge. And at night you enjoy the rare sight of a village, lit up by nothing else than candle lights, under the starry night sky.
Time for a trek deep into the Himalayas?
Have a look below for an introduction to trekking in Nepal
Which type of trek do you like?
Nepal is a poor country, exposed to the forces of nature. As recently as in 2015 the country was torn by a major earthquake. But both Nepal and the Nepalis are certainly worth a visit. For their beautiful country. And for their fine hospitality. Nepal Himalaya is home to 10 of the 14 highest peaks in the world and thousands of others less high – but still higher than the highest mountain in Europe.
The alpine high altitude trek
If you want high alpine meadows and to get right into the base of the highest mountains in the world – and if you are fine with having to acclimatize to avoid altitude sickness, go to the Mount Everest area (Khumbu) and the Annapurna.
The best known – and outstanding – trek in the Everest area , is the Everest Base Camp Trek. You fly from Kathmandu to a small airstrip called Lukla. From there you ascend into the base of the mountain chain. After reaching the monestary at Tengboche, Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyo and other 8,000 m peaks rise before your eyes. The trek takes you to the Everest Base Camp, where all expeditions approaching Everest from the south start from. And if you are well acclimatized you can also trek to the excellent view point at Kala Pattar.
Another well-known alpine trek is the trek into Annapurna Base Camp, approached from Pokkhara, a town west of Kathmandu. But there are many more alpine options to choose from indeed.
The alpine treks last from 10 days and up
The alpine treks takes place in high altitude, up to 5,600 m depending on which trek you choose. It is necessary to gradually go higher, to secure acclimatization and avoid altitude sickness.
The mid-hill cultural trek
There are also some wonderful treks to choose from even though you do not crave to get close to the highest mountains. If you want to explore the natural beauty of the lower parts of Himalaya and get in touch with life in Nepa, we recommend the Ganesh Himal area the Bhairab Kunda and Panch Pokkhari. Experience true remoteness with easy access from Kathmandu! All the mentioned treks start from the lower mid-hills, then gradually moves up into the upper mid-hills. You naturally see the highest mountains from more of a distant, than you do on an alpine trek, but what you get in return, is the chance to meet Nepali locals, see their villages up close, and camp at beautiful locations with a view.
The mid-hill cultural treks have much less visitors, and they are more remote. We call them our signature treks.
The mid-hill treks last from 5 days to 12 days.
The treks reach a maximum of around 4400 m in height, still right at the top of Europe! But with good acclimatization, altitude sickness can be avoided.
Teahouse trek or camping trek?
In Nepal the two primary ways of arranging trekking is teahouse treks and camping treks.
See below how these two trekking forms differentiate.
Teahouse treks are based on accommodation in teahouses. Teahouses were made for accommodating traders, doctors and government officials, who had to walk deep into the mountains without any roads available. In the teahouses they would sleep in simple dorm beds, and have a treat of dhal bath, the traditional Nepali house dish. Later it has become the places trekkers stay. The accommodation have been upgraded, and the food is more varied.
On a teahouse trek, you stay in houses in small mountain villages, and normally have a guide with you, or a guide and porter; a small crew. Teahouse treks are usually cheaper than camping treks due the small crew joining.
The areas where Go Beyond offer teahouse trekking are primarily Annapurna, Everest and – when the area opens – again, Langtang. In these areas, there is a well-established network of teahouses available.
Camping treks are… yes, right – camping. On a camping trek, there will be a crew of a guide, a cook and porters, who bring both tent equipment and kitchen equipment into the mountains.
Camping treks are usually a bit more expensive than teahouse treks, but they are also a totally different experience. You spend time with a Nepali crew who takes very good care of you, you stay at camp sites beautifully located outside the towns, and you get to interact with Nepali locals. Food is prepared on the spot and camping treks are all inclusive.
The areas Go Beyond Nepal recommend are Ganesh Himal, Bhairab Kund, and Panch Pokkhari. In these areas, there are no or few teahouses, and they are much less visited by travelers, more remote, though with faster access from Kathmandu.
Season matters! Spring and autumn are the preferred seasons for trekking in Nepal Himalaya
Spring, from early March to early May, is the time when the rice paddies (fields) are crispy green, and potato fields and apple trees are blooming in the valleys. Temperatures are perfect for trekking. At 1,500 – 2,000 m height it’s cold in the morning, and around 20 to 25 degrees at midday. The sky is often clear, rainy days are limited, and most days are sunny.
The higher you get up in the mountains, the lower the temperatures.
Autumn, September to November, is the clearest period with the best views of the mountains, as it is right after the monsoon which falls from May to August. Temperatures are much like in the spring with midday temperatures in the mid-hills between 20 and 25 degrees. Late in November temperatures start to drop. As it’s autumn, it’s time for autumn colors, the fields are less crisp, but colors are vividly beautiful.
Wintertime is crisp and cold, and sometimes has heavy snowfalls. If you are an experienced trekker or mountaineer, this can be an option.
Summertime is wet, tracks tend to be slippery and some areas have an abundance of leaches. This period is not recommended for trekking.
Find out what suits you the best and go trekking! Happy travels!
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