The best way to experience Nepal’s unbeatable combination of natural beauty and cultural riches is to walk through them. One can walk along the beaten trails or virgin track. Either way you are in for an experience for a life time. To trek, one does not have to be brave, a mountaineer nor an athlete. Anyone who is sound and healthy with the spirit for adventure to explore the exotic, will enjoy the thrills of trekking in the hills of Nepal. The magnificent scene of the world’s highest peaks seen during trekking are marvellous and trekkers make it a memory for life. Green valleys with turbulent rivers, rhododendron forests teeming with countless wildlife are aside. Hindu and Buddhist temples, shrines, monasteris and religious sacred places along the trekking routes enable to give more than insight into the spiritual life and history of Nepal and will remain a memorable experience in life. The attained experience is extremely rewarding and rejuvenating.
Trekking can be done from October to May, however the best months are October and November The country’s mountainous, hilly and Terai regions offer some of the most spectacular trekking in the world.
The Khumbu region of Nepal is one of the best-known treks in the world. This is the land of the Sherpa people and the world’s great 8,000 meter peaks. Many trekkers walk in from the roadhead at Jiri, through the lovely rolling hills of the Solu region. Others fly in to the village of Lukla to start their trek. A few days above Lukla is the entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park and the town of Namche Bazaar, where most trekkers take a day to acclimatize to the high altitude. From here one may branch towards the village of Thame or continue on to take on of the two main Khumbu routes, to Gokyo Lake or towards the Everest base camp. Beyond Namche Bazaar is the Sherpa village of Khumjung and further on the famous monastery of Thyangboche. Here the Mani Rimdu festival of dances is celebrated every year.
Just to the north of Kathmandu are two lovely regions where one may experience Tamang and Sherpa life, temperate forest and alpine pastures, glaciers, lakes and snowy peaks. Helambu valley noted for its scenic grandeur and pleasant climate, lie in the north of the Kathmandu Valley. One can stay in highland monastery villages and small settlements in pristine forests. Above Helambu is a mountain pass through the lakes of Gosainkunda reaching the valley of Langtang. Gosaikunda lake itself is situated at 4,380 meters. It is sacred to Lord Shiva and every summer there throng thousands of Hindu devotees to take a holy dip into the waters of the holy lake. Nearby are other lakes including Nagkunda, Bhairavkunda, Saraswatikunda and Suryakunda. The trek passes through a varied landscape ranging from evergreen forests, cascading waterfalls and turbulent streams to sub-alpine grasslands and stark, beautiful mountainsides. Langtang valley stretches north of Gosainkunda . One travels through pristine forests to the village of Ghoda Tabela, then the valley opens out into a high, Himalayan river plain full of beautiful camping sites, spectacular peaks and wide glaciers. One can hike to the back of the valley or take numerous optional trips to explore glacier-filled side canyons.
Nepal’s most popular trek begins at the lakeside town of Pokhara and leads six or seven days north-west around the Annapurna Massif, through dramatic changes in landscape, climate and culture to the high village of Jomsom, near the isolated land of Mustang. Trekkers often continue on to the sacred shrine of Muktinath, near the 5,415-meter Thorang-La pass and down into the lovely valley of Manang. The route through Manang circles the Annapurna back to the Kathmandu-Pokhara highway. The Annapurna circuit takes one through terraced hills, forests and alpine pastures and through the villages of a number of different cultures. North of Pokhara is an area protected by the Annapurna Conservation Area Project, tucked beneath the southern slopes of the Annapurna Massif. The Sanctuary is an easy trek from Pokhara and takes one through some of Nepal’s most lovely rhododendron forests to the Annapurna base camp. There are also numerous one or two day treks out of Pokhara town, where one can have views of Dhaulagiri, the Annapurna range, Manaslu and Ganesh Himal.
On the far eastern border of Nepal lies Mt. Kanchenjunga (8586m), the third highest peak in the world.The valley approaching the mountain base camp has been opened to trekking, specifically for organized treks. The long trek to the lap of Kangchenjunga takes one through some of the country’s richest and most pristine forests. The region is quite uninhabited, so the visitor must bring along all food and camping equipment. Most groups fly in and out of Taplejung, which requires a plane change from Biratnagar. You could also walk to Taplejung from Basantapur which takes about three days. Two separate routes head northeastwards from Taplejung, one to the North Base Camp, the other to the South Base Camp. These routes can be combined into a circuit.
The trek to Rara Lake begins at Jumla, a village in a trans-Himalayan valley with high rides covered with forests and alpine pastures. The town has an airstrip and tele-communication facilities. The flight from Kathmandu to Jumla passes south along the Dhaulagiri range and provides lovely views of Nepal’s western landscape. It is a three and half day’s trek from Jumla to Rara National Park. Rara Lake (2,990 m.) has an area of nearly ten square kilometers and is surrounded with hills of pines and rhododendrons . The peaceful surroundings are enhanced by the reflections of the surrounding hills in the lake’s bright blue waters . Due north, Chankheli peak (3,201 m.) looms large across the deep Mugu Karnali gorge.The usual itinerary is a loop that starts and ends at Jumla and the entire trek takes about ten days. Food has to brought from Jumla but beyond the bazaar it is often unavailable. There are lodges in Jumla and a bunk house at the lake, in between there are tea houses where you could stay, but camping is more pleasant and certainly more reliable.
One of the newest areas of Nepal open to trekkers is the southern part of Shey-Phoksundo National Park. Reached in about a week from Jumla, the centre of attraction is lovely Lake Phoksundo, famous for the ever-changing colors of its waters. Here one steps on to the edge of the trans-Himalayan plateau that extends from Tibet down into Nepal. This is the region of some of Nepal’s most remarkable wildlife, including the blue sheep, the serow and the snow leopard.Peter Matthieseu’s “The Snow Leopard” and Snellgrove’s “Himalayan Pilgrimage” have contributed in revealing the mystery and attraction of Dolpo. Dolpo lies between Dhorpatan and Rara and two of those treks could be combined into a single tour from Pokhara to Jumla. Dolpo trek on its own takes one to two weeks, assuming you fly there in and out of Dunai. Everyone heads north from there, entering the park after about a day and reaching the lake after two days. A few houses in the region offer shelter but it’s a food deficit area , so you will need to be self-sufficient.