Thousands of Himalayan peaks and as many trekking trails, Nepal is truly the biggest trekking hub in the world. Solely housing 8 out of 14 8000m+ peaks including world’s highest peak Everest, Nepal caters many world class trekking adventures to the Base Camps of these mighty Himalayan Peaks. Based on trekkers interest, the number of trekkers trekking along the particular trail and highlights of the trek, here we have 10 most popular treks in Nepal.
Round Annapurna Trek or Annapurna Circuit Trek
The most popular trek in Nepal, Round Annapurna Trek (RAT) is a stretch of 100+ kilometers circumnavigation around Annapurna Range. The trek that offers diverse beauty from mid-hill jungles to striking alpine landscapes, Round Annapurna Trek is also pleasures with cultural encounter at several ethnic villages nestling in the highlands. The trek also known as Annapurna Circuit Trek caters magnificent views of the Annapurna, Fishtail, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and Langtang Himal. Although the construction of roadways deeper into the circuit has reduced the real essence of the trek, still almost 100km of stretch of the fascinating route makes Round Annapurna Trek, Nepal’s number one trekking trail.
Everest Base Camp Trek
The classic trek that brings trekkers to the proximity of world’s highest mountain, Everest- Everest Base Camp Trek is itself an achievement. Everest Base Camp, which is higher than almost every mountain in Europe, Australia, Africa and America, is the place where every mountaineer who has conquered this beautiful white Goddess began here. The trail full of amenities in scores of teahouses is interesting for two particular reasons- the thriving Sherpa culture and the alpine beauty that even open eyes in the broad daylight cannot capture wholly.
Langtang Valley Trek
Avoiding difficulty sighting supreme beauty in diversity- Langtang Valley Trek is the best-opted trek in the category. The shortest approach from Kathmandu, Langtang Valley Trek offers 3600 view of snowcapped Himalayas dominated by Langtang Lirung. Authentic Tibetan culture in frequent Tamang villages, sacred highland monasteries like Kyangjin Gompa and sacred alpine lakes like Gosainkunda are prime highlights of Langtang Valley Trek. Langtang is so close to Tibet that from some high vantage points, the glimpses of villages in Tibet can be viewed.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek
One of the most popular easy treks in Nepal is Annapurna Base Camp Trek. The trek caters the alpine experience blended with diverse terrains. From beautiful glaciers to terraced fields, from rock-strewn trails to snowy paths- the trail of ABC Trek has it all. The Gurung culture at its best traditional form and their indelible hospitality are recreating factors during Annapurna Base Camp Trek. The view of Annapurna from the Annapurna Base Camp, the widespread Himalayan view from Poonhill and the view of Mt. Fishtail from Machhapuchhre Base Camp are striking views of the trek.
Manaslu Cicuit Trek
Ever since in 2010 Manaslu became teahouse trek, Manaslu Circuit Trek is emerging as one of the most popular trekking trails in Nepal. Few trekkers also have acknowledged this trek as replica of Round Annapurna Trek. However, Manaslu Circuit Trek is by far untouched and raw compared to Annapurna Circuit Trek. The trail during Manaslu Circuit Trek winds through the lower slope of Mt. Manaslu (eighth highest mountain in the world) through Larkya La Pass. The views of Himalayas are excellent and the cultural experience is more authentic.
North of Jomsom up on Kali Gandaki basin, the deserted kingdom of Mustang nestles where the Tibetan culture till date spills over. A restricted trekking region in Nepal demands heavy permit fee of US Dollars 500 for 10 days. The windswept landscapes, colorful barren hills and the caves carved in vertical cliffs are geographical delights whereas; the culture in Mustang is exclusive unique in whole Nepal. Preserved centuries world monasteries, the remains of historic palace in Lo-manthang and celebration of Tiji festival are major sights trekker to Upper Mustang crave to watch. In brief Upper Mustang is a true Tibet outside Tibet.
Gokyo- Everest Base Camp Trek
Getting to Everest Base Camp via more isolated and remote trails makes Gokyo Everest Base Camp Trek intriguing trek in the Everest Region. In addition to the highlights of EBC Trek, Gokyo Everest Base Camp Trek caters the beauty of five emerald lakes together with Himalayas. The trek along the challenging Cho La Pass to get into Khumbu Valley from Gokyo Valley is also the major highlight of this trek. Gokyo Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the few trekking route in Nepal, which offers remote experience, rich local culture, and the supreme beauty of Himalayas.
Upper Dolpo Trek
Crystal Mountain, snow leopards, sacred monasteries and the endless isolation- Upper Dolpo Trek is truly a lifetime experience. Every place trekkers reach and every people they meet leave an indelible impression. Upper Dolpo Trek is truly fascinating. The trek rewards in very early stage with the magnificence of Phoksundo Lake. Trekking further, trekkers cross three high passes, Nagdalo La (5350m), Shey La (5000m) and Jeng La (5110m) to Shey Gompa, which is a spiritual heart of Upper Dolpo. Hundreds of pilgrims visit Shey Gompa that lies dramatically at the base of Crystal Mountain each year to circumambulate the mountain in act of prayer. Upper Dolpo is a restricted area which demands 10-day permit for $500.
The trekking to the Himalayas in the extreme east of Nepal, Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek is probably the most popular offbeat trekking in Nepal. Trekking along the foothills of world’s third highest mountain, Kanchenjunga is a wonderful adventure. To experience the treks based on tented camps, Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek is suitable option. Snow Leopard can be sighted during the treks in the region. The Kanchenjunga Base Camps Trek is a long and challenging walk while visiting both the North and South base camps. The authentic culture of Rai and Limbu tribes can be well observed during the trek to this part of nation.
Makalu Base Camp Trek
This is an outstanding trek in the eastern region of Nepal, which offers a combination of rich cultural heritage, unsurpassed beauty and biological diversity. The trail takes you from the steamy lowlands of Tumlingtar on the Arun River, through one of the least frequented areas of Nepal, to the base camp of Makalu [8475m]. The trail follows the beautiful Barun river valley in the Makalu Barun National Park, crossing Shipton pass at 4127 meters before arriving at Makalu Base Camp [5000m]. From here, views of the south face of Makalu, as well as Everest and Lhotse are truly regal and fantastic.
Rara Lake Trek
This trek through the remote wilderness of western Nepal offers a superb experience of nature and a visit to Rara Lake, Nepal’s Largest Lake at 3062 meters. During this easy trek, the trail passes through green countryside, which provides unusual glimpses of a culture, and scenery quite different from that found elsewhere in Nepal and which eventually culminates to the Rara Lake National Park. Alpine meadows and forests of pine, juniper and spruce surround this beautiful high altitude lake, whilst in the background trekkers can view the magnificent snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. The entire route is ‘off the beaten track’, which involves the crossing of Ghurchi Lagna Pass 3450m and a few ridges at around 3000 meters.
Enthralling views of Himalayan Ranges right after Thorong La Pass
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls”:- Anais Nin
Travelling through this land is courageous. Without a doubt is certainly not for the faint hearted as it is the longest pass in the country, where we come across the deepest gorge in the whole of earth and have the world’s highest altitude lake, Tilicho Lake 4919m. Newly formed (Gangapurna) Glacier Lake is truly mesmerizing and the view of locals seeking for Yarsagumba (aphrodisiac), on the edge of ridges is nerve-racking! The sight of the biggest of vultures (Lamagaya) is exhilarating. Overall, the Round Annapurna Trek is exulting.
The colorful Chame and gushing Marsyangdi
Lush vegetation, golden wheat shades and tranquil destination- Koto Village on RAT Trial
Starting trek from Chame (2710m), colorful hills, waterfalls and River Marshaygdi gushing deep down somewhere is soothing. As we walk towards Dhukur Pokhari(3240m) for miles, rocks, stones and shrubs are your only companions. Next we follow the deserted trial till Manang (3540m) is the same experience, then coming in contact with civilization is extraordinary. And we soar up along the longest part of the trial, till reaching Thorang Phedi (4450m), where we encounter the hundreds of yellow beaked crows having amazing hovering skills. Getting to the only lodge in High Camp (4850m) is a steep climb. Next morning starting early to cross the pass and witnessing the most pleasant view of peaks including breathtakingly enticing Pisang Peak, and the combination of rocks and snow till you reach the summit of Throng La Pass 5416m is thrilling. First thing beyond Thorung La Pass that feasts your eyes is the panoramic sight of Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Nilgiri Ranges.
Black scary cliffs towering to the skies- Between Besisahar and Chame
Now, the downhill to Charabu (4230m) and then to Muktinath (3800m) is pre cautious. Reaching Muktinath is an experience of lifetime, which is one of the holiest places for Hindu devotees. Downhill trial continues till Kagbeni (2800m), a never ending walk in the most deserted area will definitely check your endurance. Looking down hill and noticing greenery at Kagbeni, after 6 or 7 hours of walking in the deserted plain is a relief. Closely connected houses, warm hospitality with a cup of coffee and chilly winds are rare combinations at Kagbeni. Staying a night at Kagbeni is highly recommended. The feel of Kagbeni will always remain. It’s time; we have to leave behind our longest friend of the journey, River Marshaygdi and offer greetings to River Kali Gandaki. Leaving early from Kagbeni will be a wise decision. Two hours of walk from Kagbeni will bring you to Jomsom (2720m) along the dusty road with jeeps and motorbikes hurtling by at high speed. Then comes Marpha (2670m), do not forget apples, apple juices and apply brandy. You’ll get to know this when you get there!
Snow, rocks, blue sky and a plateau
The next thing you might want to plan is to get to Tatopani (1200m) where dipping into natural hot water spring awaits, a heavenly touch that anyone can get after, So much of trekking. Ultimately, cross passing the final landmarks like Poonhill 2870m (a popular hilltop for extraordinary sunrise view) and typical Gurung hamlets including Ghandruk along the trial, lushly filled hills with flora and fauna accompanied by series of extravagant waterfalls the trek ends at Nayapool before driving to the beautiful tourist town, Pokhara.
This Exotic trek in this region is most likely to bring about a change in travelers and seekers.
Getting closer to civilization- Cliffs against Braga
Walk of a lifetime-towards Thorong La
Text Credits: Bishant Bista (Explore Himalaya)
Photo Credits: Karan Kunwar (Freelance Photographer)
Nepal silently booms as a prime attraction for travelers in the region. A south Asian landlocked country tucked at the base of the Himalayas, Nepal lies between two Asian giants, China and India. The nation, geographically and culturally diverse is well known for the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, and Lumbini, birth place of Buddha.
The nation also offers a bevy of religious, spiritual and cultural experiences. Nepal tops many travelers lists of must visit place on earth. Popular travel guides have ranked Nepal very highly on their lists of must visit travel destinations around the world.
Traveler’s Choice of lonely planet rated Nepal sixteenth top travel destination of the world and in the list of adventurous destinations of the site Nepal was in the third position. Similarly, USA Today ranks Everest top seven in the list of Top Tourist Destinations in Asia whereas CNN Unseen Asia ranks Garden of Dreams of Thamel fifth in its list of Most attractive overlooked sites in Asia.
Similarly, on the trekking side lonely planet and Exodus UK rank Everest Base Camp Trek 4th and 3rd respectively in their lists of most wonderful treks in the world. One of the most popular trekking trials in the world Annapurna Circuit is ranked first and third respectively by Travel Channel and BootsnAll in their lists of Best Treks in the World.