For a relatively small country of its size, Nepal certainly has a wide variety of heterogeneity and diversity about its land structure, its people’s culture and tradition, its wildlife, climate, and of course, its Himalayan tapestry.
From the wide-open flatlands in the terai to impressive Himalayan peaks towards its north, Nepal’s geomorphic feature attributes to the country’s various factors like the people’s way of life, the region’s biodiversity, and its natural aspects. A multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-lingual nation, Nepal possesses eight of the ten tallest mountain peaks on the planet, including Mount Everest, the highest mountain peak on Earth.
Nepal’s Himalayan beauty is renowned worldwide, and for the vast majority of visitors of the country, trekking is the primary reason. With the development and commercialization of the tourism sector of Nepal, there are many reputable travel agencies that provide good travel and trekking services. Nepal also has many beautiful destinations and regions that offer mesmerizing experiences.
With varying factors like time duration, difficulty level, and the best time for visits, a journey is appealing for everybody and people of all demographics. Taking place at regions that span the entire country and offering their unique features and attributes that make them differ from one another, here are the top 5 best treks in Nepal-
1. Everest Base Camp Trek
The Everest Base Camp Trek is a journey that is one of the most famous trekking journeys in Nepal and the entire world. Every year, thousands of trekkers and travelers from everywhere visit Nepal to undergo this trip.
This trip place in the Khumbu region of Nepal and is considered one of the most sought-after trekking experiences among travel enthusiasts. Highlights of this journey include the famous mountain towns and villages of Lukla, Phakding, Namche Bazaar, “the gateway to the high Himalayas,” Tengboche- “the spiritual center of the Khumbu. The Khumbu Icefall and the Khumbu Glacier, the vantage point of Kalapatthar, views, and sights of some of the tallest mountain peaks along with Mount Everest and close encounters and experiences with the legendary Sherpa people of the Himalayas- famed as the best mountain climbers in the world. It is a relatively moderate trekking experience and can be done at all times by people of all demographics.
But the best time for this trekking journey, much like many of the trekking journeys in Nepal, would be the seasons of spring and autumn. Because the weather conditions and the temperatures remain suitable for the trek, these seasons are also called “peak trekking seasons” because many trekkers visit the country during this time.
The journey bestows the famed Khumbu’s impressive moments and wonderful natural quiddities in a beautiful manner. As the Khumbu is a prime Sherpa settlement, the region is brimming with Sherpa traditions and customs. It can be seen in the colorful chortens and small gumbas that line the trekking trail at regular intervals, and it can be seen at the sway of the colorful prayer flags that decorate the gumbas and the chaityas.
The journey to the base camp of the world’s tallest mountain peak also provides a tremendous sense of accomplishment. It is a great way to come out of one’s comfort zone and be immersed in the authentic Himalayan lifestyle of Nepal.
2. Annapurna Base Camp Trek
This trek takes place in the beautiful Annapurna region of Nepal. As far as popularity goes in trekking, the Annapurna and the Khumbu stand on equal footing. About half the visitors of the country tend to visit the Annapurna region. Due to the journey taking place in the Annapurna Sanctuary, the trek is also referred to as the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek.
The journey starts from the lake-side city of Pokhara, as with most trekking journeys taking place in the Annapurna region. Pokhara- the adventure capital of Nepal, is a city that is situated right beside Phewa Lake. Hence, it is termed “the lake-side city,” and a visit to Pokhara is often a matter of leisurely boating on the lake while looking at the great reflection of the beautiful Machhapuchhre Himal it is surface. Then the journey commences through many ethnic villages like Tikhe Dhunga, Ghorepani, Chhomrong, Dovan, and Deurali before finally reaching the base camp of the world’s tenth tallest mountain peak. The Annapurna region is a prime Magar and Gurung settlement of the country, and the villages offer a rich insight into the ethnic people’s day-to-day life in the mountains.
The region’s landscape is also of spectacular beauty, with deep valleys, white glacial rivers, pastures, woodlands, and terrace farms decorating the terrain. The trekking trail is often lined with rhododendron trees, and the verdant foliage covers much of the hills. Highlights of this trek include the famous vantage point of Poon Hill, the hot spring at Jhinu Danda, ethnic Magar and Gurung villages, unique topography, and of course, the constant company of the Annapurna Mountains like Dhaulagiri, the Fish-Tail Mountain, the Annapurna massif (I to IV), Gangapurna and Nilgiri among many others. It is an easy trek to do, and its close accessibility from the capital makes it quite suitable.
3. The Upper Mustang Trek
The region of the Upper Mustang is one of the most isolated and regulated regions in the country. Upper Mustang was a kingdom in itself and had its ruling monarch before its annexation into the country as a whole. The former Kingdom of Lo, Upper Mustang, is perfect for summer treks in Nepal. Its location at the rain-shadow zone of the Dhaulagiri Mountain range makes trekking here a matter of constant contrasting views and sights of the amethyst terrain set against the cerulean Himalayas.
Upper Mustang Trek offers a very different trekking experience than the rest of the trekking regions in the country. Its terrain, for example, isn’t green or forest-covered like the rest of the trekking destinations, but rather is a fantastic presentation of bone-white and ashy corroded hills and rock formations.
The region is like the badlands and has the semblance of an old Hollywood western movie with rolling thistles. But that is where the similarity ends as the region is one of the last unsullied vestiges of authentic Tibetan Buddhist culture on the planet. Upper Mustang is like a time-capsule where nothing has changed for centuries; people still practice the age-old tradition and practice of Tibetan Buddhism as their ancestors did thousands of years ago.
Upper Mustang Trek is a journey of visiting many Buddhist monasteries and Gompas in the desert-like terrain and experiencing the exotic culture of the people first-hand. The fantastic colossal rock formations and eroded cliffs of the region set against the glowing Himalayas provide some of the most beautiful and mesmerizing sights in the country. Upper Mustang has also been archeologically important because of the discovery of mysterious sky-caves on the corroded hills. Trekking here is full of moments filled with beautiful culture, contrasting landscapes, and opulent monasteries.
4. The Langtang Valley Trek
The Valley of Langtang is one of the most beautiful regions in the country. The Langtang valley trek is located to the north of the Kathmandu Valley and borders Tibet, known as “the Valley of Glaciers.” The Langtang Valley Trek has trails that go through the Langtang National Park, Nepal’s first Himalayan national park.
A significant Tamang community, the valley of Langtang is a beautiful forest-land habitat to many endangered animals like the Himalayan Black Bear, the Himalayan Thar, Rhesus Monkeys, and Red Pandas. Highlights of trekking in the valley include the famous Kyanjin Gompa and visiting the renowned cheese factory of the region.
The Langtang Himalayan range constantly accompanies the trekking trails and views and sights of peaks like the Langtang Lirung, the Langtang RI, the Dorje Lakpa, and the Kyunga RI, among many others, provide unique backdrops to the villages and the forests. The serene atmosphere of the valley is what makes trekking here such a heartfelt trip, and the fantastic landscape of green forests and hemlocks of pine and cedar add more natural nuance to the whole experience.
The Tamang culture is also a significant part of the trip as the villages offer a magnificent experience of ethnic Tamang practices and customs. Tamang women in their cultural attire wearing traditional ornaments like the Phuli, Mala, and Pote can be seen in the villages, especially during festivals and celebrations. The people speak the Tibeto-Burman language, a severely distinct dialect in the whole country.
5. The Manaslu Circuit Trek
The MCT takes place in the mesmerizing Manaslu region of Nepal. It includes highlights like the Manaslu Himal- the eighth highest mountain peak in the world, ethnic villages untouched by modernization, the Larkya La Mountain Pass, and many monasteries and Gompas scattered across the land.
The region is famous for the Manaslu Himal- also poetically known as “the Mountain of Spirits.” The trekking journey in the region was once a matter of secluded traveling as there was a considerable lack of tea-houses here. Camping out in the wilderness was the primary option before. But in recent years, more accommodations have been built, and the number of trekkers in the Manaslu has been on the rise.
However, trekking here is still a solitary experience, and the region’s villages have yet to embrace modernization fully. As a result, it is a great way to experience the authentic unblemished culture of the people. Trekking in the region was only permitted since 1992, and the relative seclusion of the place makes trekking here an off-the-beaten-paths experience. The peaks like the Sringi Himal, the Cheo Peak, the Gyagi Kung, the Kang Koru, the Annapurna II, and of course the Manaslu Himal make trekking quite beautiful.
The landscape is ornamented with the ebullient Budhi Gandaki River flow, and the rhododendron trees lining the trails provide a wonderful baldachin of blooming flowers. Mani-stone walls carved with prayers and woodlands home to many faunal species of the country are some of Manaslu’s many hallmarks.
Planning either trip in Nepal, contact one of the reliable tour operators like the Nepal Hiking Team for excellent guides and customized itineraries.