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Types of treks
Nepal has two main types of treks: short treks and long treks. Short treks usually involve walking between 2 and 7 days, whilst longer treks can cover anything from 8 to 14 days or even longer. Most travellers choose shorter treks because they are easier to organize and less expensive than longer ones. However, a longer trek might be more suitable if you prefer to travel lightly and get away from the crowds.
Nepal has some popular trekking routes- a fantastic way to explore the country and see its sights. So whether you’re looking for a relaxing holiday or something more adventurous, Nepal has something for everyone.
A history of trekking in the Himalayas
Before 1949, the Majestic beauty of Nepal was not accessible to everyone. Finally, in 1949, the then-Nepal Government opened the frontiers to the rest of the world.
Bill Tilman, a British adventurer, was a trailblazer, obtaining royal permission to explore various hiking routes in Nepal’s Himalayan regions. Inspired by Tilman, Frenchman Maurice Herzog followed suit, embarking on a trek in the Annapurna region. Herzog achieved a remarkable feat by becoming the first mountaineer to conquer Nepal’s Annapurna I, an imposing peak that stands at an impressive 8091 meters, ranking as the world’s 10th highest in 1950.
Herzog’s groundbreaking accomplishment fueled his continued exploration of Nepal, including scaling the Annapurna Himalaya. This played a pivotal role in the widespread appeal of hiking routes in Nepal. Consequently, adventurers from all corners of the globe began gravitating to Nepal, drawn by its natural wonders and the opportunity to ascend its majestic mountain peaks.
Above 8000 metres peak
The world has the 14 highest mountains above 8000 metres and 10 in the Nepalese Himalayan range. In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay scaled Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. By 1964, the climbers had climbed all these 10 Himalayan peaks above 8000 metres.
Colonel Jimmy Roberts, a former Gorkha Officer, was the first to realize that trekking activities would be attractive for tourists in Nepal. In 1964, as the first Nepalese Trekking Agency, he officially formed ‘Mountain Travel‘. Later, the Nepalese entrepreneurs started to follow his path by forming new trekking companies. That is why there are more than 1,000 trekking agencies in Nepal now.
Trekking vs climbing
Trekking is less physically demanding than climbing and offers more opportunities to explore the Himalayan Mountains’ beautiful landscapes. Because of this, you will find more trekkers than climbers travelling to Nepal. Additionally, Nepal has more than its mountains and landscapes. Moreover, Nepal is culturally rich in its history, which travellers can explore while on a trek.
You can also learn here what the differences are between hiking and trekking.
The Importance of Tourism in Nepal
Tourism has become an important backbone industry in Nepal’s economic development. It boosts the nation’s economy, generates job opportunities, and helps national GDG. Similarly, the tourism industry is essential to Nepal because it supports alleviating deprivation and poverty in the country, especially in rural villages. In addition, tourism development supports and enhances its people to obtain greater social equity and equality for those grassroots people. And it provides much-needed employment in the most popular trekking regions and trek routes with foreign travellers.
According to statistics from the Nepal Tourist Board (NTB), more than half a million tourists visit Nepal every year to experience what Nepal offers. Most of those travellers visit the country to join new trekking routes.
The Nepal Tourism Industry article might be helpful; please check it out!
Top 9 Trekking Routes in Nepal
1: Everest Base Camp Trek (EBC)
This two-week exciting trek takes you to Mount Everest’s base camp, the world’s tallest mountain. EBC trek is one of the ultimate destinations and a dream that every expert traveller worldwide wants to fulfil. Many foreign trekkers visit Nepal annually for the EBC trek because it has charms that attract many travellers worldwide. Trekking to EBC will be one of the most beautiful memories and experiences of a lifetime because this trek escorts you to a close-up view of Mt. Everest. Similarly, you will see other high peaks like Mt. Lhotse (8516m), Cho Oyu (8201m), and Makalu (8481m), which are certified as the top 10 tallest mountains in the world.
EBC is a tough and challenging trek compared to other trek routes, as it is at a high altitude. Therefore, Trekkers and travellers should be prepared and trained physically and mentally before signing up for this trip. In addition, due to lower levels of Oxygen in higher altitudes, you might face altitude sickness. So, you must go slow and ensure your body receives enough nutrients.
Trekking Season for Everest Base Camp Trek
Everest has got four seasons. However, Spring (March, April and May) and Autumn (September, October and November) are the best seasons for trekking as the sky is clear. The weather is moderate, and you will get the best shots during this period.
How your journey begins
Your adventure toward the base camp starts with an exciting flight to Lukla, the “Gateway to Everest.” As you reach your Lukla, you will trek through the famous villages of Phakding and the capital of the Everest region – Namche Bazar. Moving on, you will trek towards Tengboche Monastery, located on the top of the mountain ridge, which reflects the prominent local culture. After that, you will continue your trek, moving towards Dingboche, Lobuche, Gorak Shep and then to the Everest base camp, the final destination. Finally, after exploring 360-degree panoramic views of the Himalayas from Kala Patar, you will head back to Lukla and then to Kathmandu, concluding this Everest Base camp trek.
2: Annapurna Base Camp (ABC)
The trek leads you to perceive the beauty of the glorious Himalayas. Unlike other highland tours, it is one of Nepal’s easiest, shortest and most favourable trekking. This trekking route indulges the most splendid view of the Annapurna range, Machhapuchre(Fishtail), Hiuchuli and Dhaulagiri range, as diverse wildlife and rich culture. The trek to Annapurna Base Camp should be on the list of trekkers seeking to trek in Nepal because it would be the most fantastic trek ever.
Although trekkers go for the trek in all four seasons, Spring (March-May) is the best season to trek at the Annapurna Base Camp. Because, in spring, the weather is fairly good and clear. Trekkers can expect a clear view, and the forest is full of red Rhododendrons, the national flower of Nepal. Also, who does not want to observe waterfalls? On this trek, trekkers can enjoy beautiful waterfalls and peaceful and healthy hot springs in Jhinu.
Trekkers curious about Nepal’s culture can gain knowledge and share cultural experiences on the trek. While visiting the beautiful and popular villages of Ulleri, Ghorepani and Ghandruk, trekkers can meet local people from different ethnicities, especially the Gurungs and Magars, famous for the Gurkha regiment.
Mountain View Point
On this trek, Ghorepani Poon Hill is the best place to observe the sunrise view, Annapurna Mountain ranges, and other snowy peaks.
Selecting the Annapurna Base Camp trek is like doing two treks simultaneously since Machhapuchhre Base Camp is on the way to ABC. Moreover, the deepest gorge, Kali Gandaki, escorts this trek. This trek could be difficult for some trekkers, but it is worthwhile.
3: Kanchenjunga Base Camp
Kanchenjunga is uncovered on the far eastern side of Nepal and is preserved under the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project. And Mount Kanchenjunga is one of the world’s most beautiful peaks. Kanchenjunga is a word from the Tibetan language, which means “Five gems of The Great Snow”, which embodies the five summits as gold, silver, precious stones, Grain and the Holy Scriptures.
Flora and Fauna
Trekkers can sprinkle the different species of flora and fauna on this trek route. Nepal’s Government has protected the region under a conservation area.
Kanchenjunga Base Camp is considered one of the most famous treks in Nepal. However, due to the trekking route’s lack of infrastructure and good accommodation facilities, this trek is less popular than the classic Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp trek. Nevertheless, as of now (25 August 2022), many tea houses are available for trekkers on the trek routes. Likewise, some varieties of good foods are also available.
Importantly, it is to know that the Kanchenjunga area is a controlled zone. So, a licensed holder guide and at least 2 trekkers are required to manage important permits for the trek.
Trekking Season for Kanchenjunga Base Camp
Similar to trekking seasons on other treks, the trek in Kanchenjunga is favourable in Spring (March-May) and Autumn (September-November). The weather is reasonable, steady and warm, and the atmosphere remains clear, which helps you enjoy the magnificent landscape views. On the other hand, summer (June-August) is the monsoon season in Nepal, which may develop the risk of trekking. Likewise, trekking in winter (December-February) is also could be risky. It is because the trails are normally covered with snow and extremely cold.
4: Upper Mustang
Among many trek routes in Nepal, Upper Mustang is one of the best trekking areas in Nepal. It is a remote and isolated region of Nepal, the former kingdom of Lo. The Lo Manthang is one of the most preserved places in the world. Until 1992, it was restricted to Western and European
People call this Mustang region the mountain desert of Nepal. It is because the region offers its magnificent landscapes. Ame Pal, in 1380, built the territory, and with the help of warriors, it remained isolated from the 14th century. Such isolation from the outside world allowed this place to preserve its culture, tradition, and heritage. So, to this date, we can observe the same Buddhist monasteries and Gompas built at that time.
The Upper Mustang trek is easier compared to other treks. Any age group travellers can travel here with no difficulty. It is not so well known to tourists, so there are fewer trekkers, but the trekking to Upper Mustang is a lovely trek you will never experience. You will get to explore the hidden world of the old Buddhist kingdom of Mustang. LOBAS, the residents of Upper Mustang, have a very similar culture, language and tradition to the people of the neighbouring country, Tibet. You will be indulged in their culture and lifestyle once you reach there.
Trekking Season for Upper Mustang
Spring (March-May) and Autumn (October-November) are the best seasons to trek in Upper Mustang. Also, the climate is very moderate, and the sky is clear in these seasons. However, the weather in December and January is extremely cold here. So, it is almost impossible to trek at that time. On the other hand, you can trek in monsoon (May-July) compared to other treks, as the rainfall is not heavy here. Importantly, you will enjoy a three-day event, the Tiji festival, at that time.
5: Langtang Valley trek
It is one of the easygoing, cheaper and shorter trekking routes into the Himalayas, dominated by the Tibetan lifestyle. The valley is located north of Kathmandu, offering thrilling scenery of high Himalayan peaks, diverse landscapes, ancient monasteries and the unique culture and tradition of the locals. This trek falls under the top 10 trekking in Nepal, including classic Everest Base Camp (EBC) and Annapurna Base Camp (ABC), a few to name.
Langtang Valley is also well known as the “Valley of Glaciers” because many breathtaking glaciers are present in the valley, along with peaks such as Langtang Lirung, Ganesh Himal, Dorje Lakpa, Jugal Himal and Ganja La Pass. The Nepal government appointed Langtang Valley the Langtang National Park in 1971. The valley is home to different flora and fauna. If you are lucky enough, you may see some wild animals like Red Panda, Langur, Musk Deer, Snow Leopards, and birds such as the Himalayan Monal, White-winged Redstart and Snow Partridge. The combined trek route with Gosainkunda Lake will be the best option if you choose longer trek routes in the Langtang region.
Unlike other trekking regions, trekking to Langtang is feasible throughout the year. However, Spring (March-May) and Autumn (September-November) are the best time. The weather is moderate, warm, and clear skies in these seasons. It will help you get spectacular views of the mountains. On the other hand, Monsoon and Winter are the least favourable for trekking since this region has landslide-prone areas.
Moreover, the weather is unpredictable in the Himalayan regions. As a result, you might suffer from altitude sickness as you move to a higher altitude. So, you must be cautious about it and keep yourself hydrated.
The devastating earthquake in 2015 destroyed the livelihood of the locals. So, due to the devastation, they had to leave that place. However, due to heavy reconstruction and renovation, the Nepal government has re-opened for travellers.
6: Manaslu Circuit trek
It is one off-beaten and isolated trekking area compared to Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp. However, this trek route is equally demanding and impressive as other classic treks. The Manaslu region is rich in biodiversity, including varieties of cultural diversities. Similarly, it offers picturesque scenery of Himalayan peaks, fascinating high-altitude glacier lakes and rare flora and fauna.
The 14-day Manaslu Circuit trek rewards you with unbelievable landscapes, magical places and Tibetan Buddhists’ rich culture and tradition.
Trekking Season for Manaslu Region
Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November) are the best seasons. Because the weather in these seasons is more moderate, it remains stable and has clear skies. So, you can get perfect views of mountains and landscapes.
On the other hand, monsoon (June to August) and winter (December to February) are not advisable seasons to trek her. Because you have to walk through landslide-prone areas, it will be tricky to walk in winter.
Walking to a tremendous altitude, you should be physically and mentally prepared.
You may experience an Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) as the amount of Oxygen will get lower and lower as you ascend to higher altitude. In addition, the Manaslu Circuit trek is a trek to a restricted region. Therefore, you must book the trek through a registered trekking agency in Nepal.
And importantly, you need an MRAP (Manaslu Restricted Area Permit), MCAP (Manaslu Conservation Area Permit) and ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Permit) to trek in the region.
7: Gokyo Lake and Gokyo Ri Trek
This Gokyo Trek is an amazing adventure toward the Himalayas, a perfect alternative trek to the traditional Everest Base Camp Trek. It offers magnificent views of Himalayan peaks along with different lakes and glaciers.
Some trekkers choose the trek route to Gokyo Lakes and Gokyo Ri in addition to the Everest Base Camp Trek. This trek rewards you with awe-inspiring views of Himalayan peaks, including those above 8,000 metres- Mount Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu and Makalu. Moreover, you will enjoy the beauty of this hidden valley with the lush green forests of rhododendrons, Magnolia, Oaks, Firs, etc. Also, you will witness the largest glacier in Nepal, the Ngozumpa Glacier, with beautiful villages, locals, and rich culture and tradition.
Trekking Season for Gokyo Lake and Gokyo Ri
Like other trekking areas in Nepal, the Gokyo Lake trek is not a yearly trekking destination. So, Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November) are good trekking seasons. The weather in Spring and Autumn is the best as it is moderate, stable and warm. The skies are clear most days, offering the splendid scenery of the mountains and lakes. But, on the other hand, winter (December to February) and Monsoon (June to August) are not favourable for trekking. Because the trek routes are not only covered with snow but also frozen glaciers in the winter. And the sky will be foggy in winter, too. Similarly, the weather will be foggy in monsoon, too, and the routes will be slippery and wet. So, this makes your trekking difficult.
8: Upper Dolpo Trek
It is a wonderful trek route to off-beaten paths, unexplored trails, isolated regions and the mysterious wonderland of Nepal. It lies just behind the Mount Dhaulagiri Himalaya ranges and is linked with the Tibetan Plateau. Upper Dolpo is incredibly beautiful with a handful of natural beauties, arts and architecture, culture and tradition. It gives travellers one of the best options for their destination. Pristine Phoksundo Lake and 800-year-old Shey Monastery are natural and cultural sites that are the trek’s main attraction.
Similarly, the unique rewards for travellers here are the lush meadows, deep valleys, views of Dhaulagiri, unique Tibetan culture and magnificent and rare wildlife, including snow leopards.
This 24-day trek is long and may exhaust you, but awe-inspiring Nepalese and Tibetan Himalayas vistas win against your tiredness. Despite being bare and dry, Upper Dolpo has fast-flowing rivers, gorgeous waterfalls, high passes, deep river gorges and beautiful settlements with ancient art and architecture. Nepal’s largest national park, Shey Phoksundo National Park, is here. It protects habitats such as snow leopards, rare Himalayan Blue sheep, Himalayan Black bears, Goral, etc. On the other hand, The unique Tibetan culture flashes within every settlement of Upper Dolpo that follows Tibetan Buddhism. You can also witness the trail’s Chortens, Mani walls and prayer flags.
Trekking Season for Dolpo Region
The weather is warm, and the temperatures are pleasant. The sky is clearest, with minimal chance of snowfall in the spring (March-May) and Autumn (October-November) seasons. Therefore, this period is appropriate to trek in the Upper Dolpo Region like other treks in Nepal.
Upper Dolpo is a remote, poor, underdeveloped area with fewer tourism infrastructures. Although in the late 80s, the Nepal government opened the region to visitors, the region is still considered a restricted area. And requires a special permit, which is quite expensive. It’s US$ 500 per person for 10 days. In addition, a backpacker or individual traveller is restricted. A group of two or more are required to trek in this area.
Trekking to the Upper Dolpo Region is much more challenging than other trekking routes as the trails are mostly steep and the descents are strenuous.
Therefore, Trekkers require great physical strength, stamina, and willpower because the trail leads to three high passes. They are Nagdola La (5350m), Shey La (5000m) and Jeng La (5110m). In addition, it involves long climbs and exhausting descents. Therefore, this trek is not for beginners but a once-a-lifetime experience for the pro-trekkers.
9: Annapurna Circuit Trek
The trek is considered one of the most famous treks in Nepal, traversing through various terrains in the region with awe-inspiring scenery of the Himalayan peaks, diverse ethnic groups, beautiful lowlands villages and farms. Situated at an elevation of 5416 metres, the Thorong La Pass is one of the major highlights of this trek. Throughout your journey, you will walk in the shadows of the region’s massifs, amazed by the breathtaking scenery.
The trek route to Annapurna Circuit is an adventure that offers you captivating views of the seventh-highest Dhaulagiri (8167m). tenth highest Annapurna I (8091m), Machhapuchre, Manaslu, Gangapurna, and Tilicho peak, along with the different settlements of Tibetan, Brahmin, Chhetri, Thakali and Gurung people. Trekking to Annapurna would be mystical and mythical as you would be rewarded with an aspect of the world’s deepest gorge- Kali Gandaki Gorge.
When is the best season for the trek?
March (March, April, May) and autumn (September, October, and November) are the most recommended periods for all Nepal treks, including the Annapurna Circuit Trek. The weather is warm, with moderate temperatures and a clear sky, which helps the trekkers to trek peacefully.
Monsoon (June, July, and August) is not advisable, but there are trekkers this season too. The temperature drops due to rain at lower altitudes, and sponges are seen. Some landslide-prone areas are on the route, and most days are cloudy.
Winter (December, January, and February) is also not advisable because of heavy snowfall. But if you are experienced in winter trekking, you can go for it. However, Thorong La Pass may be closed due to heavy snowfall, making you return from the same track.
Annapurna Circuit Trek is moderately difficult and does not require experience. However, it would be best to fit mentally and physically for this trekking. In addition, you should be cautious about AMS (Altitude Mountain Sickness) as you will pass through one of the world’s highest passes at 5416m.
Overall, this 17-day long trek in the land of the Himalayas will be an amazing lifetime experience for beginners as well as professionals. So, join us and trek to create wonderful memories and experiences in the land of the Himalayas.
5 Best Short Trek Routes in Nepal that Are Perfect for Beginner Travellers
Geographically, Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia, bordered by India and Tibet. It is home to some of the world’s highest mountains, including Mount Everest, which stands 8,848 metres above sea level. The Himalayas, which stretch across the border between Nepal and India, are the source of many rivers, including the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Indus, Karnali, Kosi, Gandak, and Meghna. Nepal has so much to offer, whether you’re looking for adventure, culture, or a great place to visit. Here are some of our favourite short treks in Nepal.
Many short trek routes in Nepal are perfect for beginners. Here we have a list of 5 short best trek routes. Read about them here!
1: Ghorepani – Poon Hill – 05 – 08 days
It is one of the most popular treks in Nepal. Poon Hill is located in the Annapurna region of Nepal. This trek takes about 3 days and 2 nights. The trail starts from Pokhara and ends in Pokhara. There are many teahouse lodges where you can stay overnight comfortably. It is best to visit from March through June and October through November. The weather is pleasant during these months, and there are many tourists. However, to avoid crowds of trekkers, you may visit during the winter months of December through February.
2: Glimpse of the Everest Trek – 08 – 10 days
The Glimpse of Everest trek is one of the most interesting and popular short treks in the Everest region in Nepal.
The trek passes through several villages and offers stunning views of the Himalayas. To reach the Tengboche Monastery, you must fly to Lukla (2804m), about a 35-minute flight from Kathmandu. From here, you start walking towards Phakding village. After crossing the Dudh Kosi River, you reach Namche Bazaar. Here you stay overnight. The next morning, after breakfast, you continue your journey towards Tengboche monastery, where you can glimpse Mt. Everest.
On the trek route, you will stay at teahouse lodges. Starting and ending the trek in Kathmandu, you will complete the trek in 7 days.
When is the best time?
Spring and Autumn are the most suitable and favourable times to go hiking at the Tengboche Monastery. Going from March through June for easy hiking is better as the weather is dry and warmer. However, the autumn/winter season from October through February is the best time to travel to see the crystal snowcapped mountains.
3: Helambu Valley Trek – 05 to 08 days
Similar to other short trek routes in Nepal, this one-week Helambu Trek is also one of the most popular treks in Nepal. Also, it is the closest distance from Kathmandu. It takes 5 days to cover a distance of approximately 40 km. The trek is relatively easy to walk through the lush green forests of the Helambu region. The trail passes through beautiful local community villages and offers stunning views of Langtang, Gaurishanker, Ganesh Himal, Manaslu and other Himalayan peaks.
There are many ways to reach the Helambu Valley. However, one of the popular classic routes is to start the trek from Sundarijal, just a 30-minute drive from Kathmandu. After reaching Sundarijal, you will start your hiking!
When to visit?
The best time to do the Helambu Valley Trek is mid-September to late June. It’s because there is no chance of getting rain, and the sky is usually blue with crystal views of the landscapes and snowy peaks of mountains.
4: Tamang Heritage Trail Trek – 07 to 09 days
The Tamang Heritage Trail Trek is a great way to experience Nepal’s rich cultural heritage. It takes visitors through the country’s heartland, where they can see traditional villages, monasteries, temples, and other landmarks. It is a 9-day hike through the beautiful countryside of Nepal.
The trek begins and ends in Kathmandu. The trail passes through several countryside villages, such as Trishuli Bazar, Betrawati, Dhunche, and Syabru Bensi and offers stunning views of the Himalayas. It is also the trail route to Langtang Valley and Gosuikunda Lake Trek.
To start the trek, drive to Syabru Bensi, about 175 km north of Kathmandu. A few buses are available from Kathmandu, which take around 5 hours. In addition to public bus driving, you can hire a private local jeep, which is more comfortable and relaxing on the bumpy road. After reaching Syabru Bensi, you will start your trek journey to the Tamang Heritage Trail.
When to visit?
The Tamang Heritage Trail is open year-round. However, it is recommended to visit during the dry months of April through June, when the weather is cooler and there is not too much rain. During these months, the trails are usually clear and easy to walk. However, to see the Himalayas’ snow-covered peaks, you should plan your trip around the autumn season, from mid-September to December.
5: Khopra Dada Trek – 10 to 14 days
Geographically, this Khopra Danda Trek also lies in the Annapurna region, one of Nepal’s most popular and amazing trekking routes. But, comparatively, we prioritize this trek over other short treks in Nepal. It is because this trek is run based on community tourism. So, when tourists visit this place, the benefit directly goes to the local community, which helps to support the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) in equity and equality, and ultimately, it helps the country’s overall economic development. Similar to other treks listed above, it is also one of the easiest treks in Nepal. This trek takes you through beautiful villages, past lush green and rhododendron forests, and along river banks and suspension bridges. And during the trek, you will stay overnights at community lodges owned by local people.