Trekking : Popular treks & Peaks

To trek is to journey on foot and the imposing landscape of this mountainous country, the ethnic and cultural diversity, lush virgin forests abound with wildlife and the lofty Himalayas, make it the ideal region for such walkabouts. The majestic Himalayas, around which most trekking expeditions are engineered, stretch from end to end and provide trekkers with numerous possibilities.

From the ever popular Everest Base Camp to the less frequented Kanchenjunga Base camp, Nepal offers uniquely special trekking routes for all keen trekkers. Whether you are a complete novice or an experienced veteran, there are plenty of trekking routes to take your pick from with choices ranging from short and easy tea-house treks to immense camping style operations for longer expeditions.

Tea house treks are possible in the busier trekking routes like the Annapurna circuit and the Everest Base Camp, where you can trek without a guide and stop for meals and sleep-ins at local lodges along the way. Camping style treks are more suited for longer routes with large groups to remote areas like the Langtang region, as an even bigger entourage of porters, guides, cooks are required for such undertakings. And then there is the small matter of Trekking Peaks.

List of Popular Treks in Nepal

  • Ghorepani Trek/Poon Hill (3210 m): 
    Located in the Annapurna Circuit, Ghorepani is a Gurung and Magar village that lies at the tail end of the ideal tea house trekking route. There are plenty of comfortable lodges serving local and western food along the way, fascinating culture and warm hospitality. The highlight of the trek however is the fantastic panorama of Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Machapuchhre seen from Poon Hill. The 5 day long trek starts from Pokhara, a 35 minutes flight from Kathmandu. Cost per person starts from US$ 900 per person.
  • Annapurna Base Camp (4090 m):
    Located in the Annapurna region, Annapurna Base Camp is a scenic trail through fertile valleys, unspoilt villages, hot springs to the glacier basins of the Annapurna sanctuary. Encircled by Annapurna 1, Annapurna South, Machapuchhre, Fang and Gangapurna. The 12 days long trek starts from Naya Pul in Pokhara, either a 35 minutes flight or 7 hour bus ride from Kathmandu. Cost per person starts from US$ 1000 per person.
  • Everest Base Camp (5365 m): 
    Located in the Sagarmatha region, Everest Base Camp is the closest you can get to the roof of the world without any mountaineering gear. The trail cuts through the famous Namche Bazaar, skirts the Dudh Koshi River, touches the holy Tengboche Gumba and Pangboche with its ‘Yeti scalp’. The icing on top is the breathtaking views of Everest, Nutpse, Pumori, Cholatse and Lhotse among others from Kala Pattar (5545 m). The 14 days long trek starts from Lukla, a 30 minutes flight from Kathmandu. Cost per person starts from US$1300 per person.
  • Dhaulagiri Base Camp (5300 m): 
    Located in the Dhaulagiri region, Dhaulagiri Base Camp is one of the most remote and challenging treks in Nepal, Dhaulagiri (8167 m) being the sixth highest mountain in the world. The terrain changes dramatically throughout the trek, from world’s deepest gorge to the avalanche prone impasses, frozen glaciers in the French Pass to hot springs in Tatopani. Views of the Hidden Valley, Dhaulagiri and Annapurna range. The 20 days long trek starts from Pokhara, 200 kms from the capital and a 7 hour bus ride away. Cost per person starts from US$2800.
  • Kanchenjunga North Base Camp (5400 m):
    Located on the border between Nepal and Sikkim, Kanchenjunga Base Camp is an arduous less travelled trail to the foothills of the world’s third highest peak, Kanchenjunga (8586 m).Walk through rhododendron forests, isolated villages, and Arun valley for views of Everest, Makalu and Kanchenjunga. The northern Base Camp at Pang Pema is particularly remote and trekking through this region requires a special permit. The 22 days long trek starts from Hile and ends in Taplejung. Cost per person starts from US$ 2780 per person.

Peaks

  • Yala Peak Climbing (5520 m): 
    Located in the Langtang region, Yala Peak is close to the Tibetan Border and offers views of Shishapangma and Gangchempo from the summit. The 16 days long trek starts from Syabrubesi, a 5 hour drive from Kathmandu. Cost per person starts from US $ 1795.
  • Pokalde Peak Climbing (5806 m): 
    Located in the Khumbu region, Pokalde Peak is 12 kms southwest of Mount Everest and offers views of Makalu, Ama Dablam and Pumori. The 22 days long trek starts from Lukla, a 30 minutes flight from Kathmandu. Cost per person starts from US $1965.
  • Mera Peak Climbing (6476 m) : 
  • Located in the Sagarmatha region, Mera Peak is close to the Everest Base Camp  and offers views of five of the highest mountains in the world, Mount Everest, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Makalu and Kanchenjunga. The 23 days long trek starts from Lukla, a 30 minutes flight from Kathmandu. Cost per person starts from US $2395.

Practical Information

There are a few things to consider when trekking in Nepal to make it a stress free and comfortable experience. Also a few precautions can go a long way in ensuring you are prepared for the trek and will enjoy it. First get kitted out for the trek; you need comfortable clothes in breathable fabrics during summer months and water and wind proof jackets, warm fleeces, gloves and scarves in the winter months. You will also need walking boots and tons of high factor sun-block. All are easily available in the shopping lanes of Thamel and DurbarMarg.

Familiarise yourself with the symptoms of altitude sickness and avoid alcohol in the first 24 hours at a higher altitude. Drink plenty of water to rehydrate yourself and squeeze in lots of rest in between the walking bouts. While no previous trekking experience is required, a little preparation beforehand improves your stamina and raises your fitness level to ensure a smoother transition from a desk job to 8 hours a day of walking up and down steep terrain. Also the prices and duration of the treks listed above are estimates. Prices will differ from one tour operator to the next and group bookings will ensure a bigger discount. The duration of the trek too can be tailored to fit your itinerary and pace.

Notes

The peak seasons for trekking in Nepal are between September to November and March to May. The weather is ideal with moderate temperature and clear skies for unobstructed views of the Himalayas. March sees the onset of spring with Rhododendron blooms painting the forests red and jungles coming alive with new life. Trekking through dense forests and untamed land can especially be rewarding in this period.

A new rule change effective from 2012 requires all trekkers to register with TIMS (Trekking Information Management System), which can be done through trekking tour operators and the Nepal Tourism Board in Bhrikutimandap and Pokhara. Trekking permits are no longer required for the Everest and Annapurna region, only National Park entry tickets suffice. Whereas remote areas, designated conservation areas and trekking peaks still require a Special Trekking Permit issued by Department of Immigration.