Nepal is popular for various kinds of adventure sports such as rafting, paragliding, bungee jumping and others. Among these trekking is the most preferred activity.
Because Nepal is 80% hills and mountains, it contains numerous hiking trails, many of which are world famous. Annapurna region has even been voted as one of the best trekking regions in the world.
Trekking in Nepal promises views of massive snow covered peaks, glaciers, pristine lakes high up in the mountains and breathtaking landscapes. The lush green valleys, variety of flora and fauna, many strange and beautiful animals, artistic monuments of religious and cultural value, traditional houses; trekking in Nepal will be a memorable experience
When to Trek Nepal?
Spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November) are considered most favorable for trekking in Nepal, but ‘When is the best season to trek in Nepal’ really depends on ‘where’ you are trekking. Because of its varying geographical features, trekking is possible throughout the year.
Where to Trek in Nepal?
Because of its beautiful mountains and diverse landscape, Nepal has several trekking regions to satisfy a variety of trekkers. Among all the trekking region, Annapurna Region, Everest region and Langtang region stand out on the popularity.
Recognized as having some of the best hiking trails in the world, the Annapurna region offers more than just challenging routes and splendor of snow clad peaks. From the world’s deepest gorge Kali Gandaki displaying its terraced farmlands, forests of oak, bamboo and rhododendron to the high alpine meadows and dry desert plateaus of Jomsom, it is a gala affair of natural and geographical diversity. It is also home to different ethnic groups with their own cultures and tradition that one can experience when trekking here. Hot spring, prayer wheels, prayer flags, Chortens, a Buddhist monastery and the famous pilgrimage site of Muktinath are few of the other highlights of trekking in Annapurna region. Annapurna Circuit Trek and Annapurna Base Camp Trek are the two famous trekking trails in the Annapurna region.
Everest region is most famous for the tallest mountain in the world- Mt. Everest. Other than the highest peak are the views of Lhotse and Cho Oyu, two other eight thousanders, and others like Amadablam, Nutse, etc. But, most of all, it is a chance to witness and experience the unique culture of the fabled Sherpas. The trails are dotted with gompas, mani walls and a number of monasteries that reflect their unique culture and Buddhist origins. Rare animal and plant sightings, gorgeous landscapes, beautiful lakes, the rocky terrain, waterfalls are just more reasons to undertake these trekking routes. Everest Base Camp Trekking is the most famous trekking trail in the region.
Langtang region may not have eight thousanders to boast of but what it lacks in grandeur, it makes up in exquisiteness. These routes promise scenic beauty of glaciers, high altitude lakes like Gosaikunda, Parvatikunda, Dudhkunda and an array of colorful flowers and other wildlife. It is an opportunity to observe the lifestyle of the Tamangs, legendary Yolmos, and Bhotiyas as well. Despite being close to the capital Kathmandu, trekking to Langtang is not as popular. This gives the hikers a chance to enjoy the trails in leisure and quiet.
Just a Minute!
Before you pack your bags though, there are a few things to consider. Nepal is a different country and therefore will have different ways of doing things.
First and foremost is health. In Nepal, tap water is for all purposes except drinking. Drinking water is separate. So don’t go filling your glass from tap even in the best of hotels. Drinking water provided in good restaurants is okay. Better to ask for mineral water though. When trekking, carry water purifying tablets or liquids.
Next is food. Restaurants in the cities may offer international cuisines, but high up en route, in depends but, expect foods like Dal Bhat, dhedo, roti, etc. Also, it is a good idea to turn vegetarian for a few days as many places like Everest region forbids slaughter. If you want meat, the porter will have to carry the meat there and it will probably turn bad. And at some other regions, you will have to depend on dry foods; meat is not a viable option.
Another thing one needs to know is that in Nepal, squat toilets are most common. So get used to squatting. Always carry a roll of toilet paper and a sanitizer.
Then there are the greetings. A Namaste from a foot’s distance is good. No hugging and kissing, more so with the opposite gender. And public display of affection like kissing and clinging to your partner can make the locals uncomfortable.
Getting a travel insurance is also suggested.
Travel Insurance for Trekking in Nepal
A travel insurance is absolutely necessary when trekking in Nepal, especially when trekking in the mountainous region. Here, your only option is evacuation by helicopter. Two things to make sure are whether the policy covers ‘hiking’ and up to what altitude. Since the most famous of the trekking destinations are over 5000m, which most of the policy do not include, be careful to take the policy for a little over the altitude you will be trekking.
Hire a Guide or Not?
A guide is mandatory for certain regions like Manaslu Circuit Trekking. For other regions, a guide is not compulsory. However, the Himalyas are highly unpredictable, for the safety of the trekkers, hiring a guide is advisable.