Trekking in Nepal – All You Need To Know
Want to go trekking in Nepal? Namaste! A world of high peaks, endless trails and plenty of trekking options is awaiting you. When you first thought of trekking in Nepal, you probably imagined yourself hiking up the steep slopes of Mount Everest, dodgy ladders over the Khumbu Icefall included. Right? Wrong. Trekking in Nepal is not about ascending the highest peaks of the Himalaya and the world.
Trekking in Nepal is also not just about trekking to Everest Base Camp. Not only the Everest Region has a lot more to offer, but also the Annapurna, the Dolpo and Manaslu have plenty of options for you to go trekking. Are you ready to go discover the natural splendor of Nepal? Put your hiking boots on and get trekking.
Why go Trekking in Nepal?
Why not? Way before trekking was called trekking and there was an industry for hiking, people were already doing it in Nepal. In the Himalayas, you simply can not get to the next village without following that awesome hiking trail. It is no wonder that Nepal is the trekking Mecca of the world. You can climb Kilimanjaro, go trek the W-Trek in Patagonia and do the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. You can do all of that and still you can not draw a comparison to trekking in Nepal.
Nepal hosts the roof of the world and there are dozens of peaks that are just as enthralling as Mount Everest. While out on the hiking trails in Nepal, you will get to see them all. Come eye in eye with Kangchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri I and II, see the Annapurnas and stare at the beauty of Manaslu.
In Nepal, you will get to reconnect to nature. Not only the mountain peaks are massive draw factor for trekking, but also the flora and fauna of Nepal is appealing. Nepal is home to almost 6500 flowering plants, 2500 species of vascular plants and 130 endemic species. The national flower is rhododendron, a flower you will get to see plenty if you will hike in the Annapurna Region. Nepal is also home to beautiful animals like musk deer, the Himalayan black bear, the one-horned rhinoceros, and the Asiatic elephant. Fair enough, you are unlikely to encounter elephants during your trek in Nepal.
How Difficult is Trekking in Nepal?
The average trek in Nepal is not difficult but hikers and trekkers should still be moderately fit. After all, you are stilling trekking through the Himalayas. It is no walk in the park, but with the right mindset, adequate physical preparation, good gear, and acclimatization, you can definitely enjoy trekking in Nepal. Let’s not forget that joy should be the point of your trek. If We believe that enjoyment is always the most important thing when going out into the mountains.
In the next chapter, we are introducing the five best treks in Nepal. If you want to experience one of the easier ones, you can consider doing the Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek. This trek, in the Annapurna Region, will give you a great introduction into the wonders of trekking in Nepal while at the same time not making it too difficult for you. A good option for the Everest Region is the Everest View Trek. This too is not one of the most difficult treks in Nepal.
Five Best Treks in Nepal
If you are looking to get started with choosing a route for your trekking adventure in Nepal, then you will have a headstart if you choose one of the following five best treks.
Everest Base Camp Trek
> Ab absolute Khumbu classic
> In the footsteps of Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary
> You can’t get much closer to Mount Everest
The trek to Everest Base Camp is an absolute trekking bestseller. Landing at Lukla airport already gets your adrenaline pumping. You don’t always get to fly to the world’s most dangerous airport. From here you trace the footsteps of the Sherpa people and, of course, of the Everest pioneers like Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary. Go in spring and meet up with climbers of Mount Everest in Namche Bazaar and at Everest Base Camp.
> The best of the Annapurnas
> Circular route
> Pure teahouse trekking
The Annapurna Circuit, usually done in about 15 days is for trekking purists. It is a fantastic journey through Gurung villages, staying at teahouses and seeing the natural splendor that you can only find on this side of the Himalayas. These days, some people prefer the Manaslu Circuit, but if you want to do an Annapurna classic, then the Annapurna Circuit will not let you down. Crossing the Thorung-La Pass is a once in a lifetime experience that will literally make you gasp for air.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek
> Cooler than the Everest Base Camp Trek
> Get eye-in-eye with Annapurna I
> Much shorter than most multi-day trekking tours in Nepal
Annapurna I is the most dangerous mountain to climb. Don’t worry, on the Annapurna Base Camp Trek you don’t need to climb anything. Having said that, you will, of course, be doing a fair amount of ascending on the trails. This trek is also known as the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek. That name explains what this trek is all about. You will be in the middle of the Annapurna Sanctuary and you will get to see all the famous bad boys like Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and Fish Tail Mountain.
Poon Hill Trek
> Short and compact
> Best introduction to trekking in Nepal
> Arguably the best sunrise in the world
The Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek, also known as the Annapurna Panorama Trek, is the ideal option for the hiker who has too little time for Annapurna Base Camp or the Annapurna Circuit. The view from Poon Hill during the sunrise is enchanting and is admired by thousands of adventurers year after year. Among them are experienced hikers but also people who get to know the Himalayas for the first time. The short itineraries and the minimal altitude differences make the risk of altitude sickness enormously small.
> Cooler than the Annapurna Circuit
> Off the beaten track
> More than two weeks of pure trekking
If you are interested in hiking the Manaslu Circuit, then you better check how many off days you still have at your disposal. Completing the circuit will take you a little bit over two weeks. The circuit passes many Nepalese cultural heritage sites, including traditional Tamang and Sherpa settlements. This is your chance to experience their unique culture. With a height of 8.156m Mount Manaslu is the highest mountain top in this area and also the eight highest in the world. Whether you want to go from one teahouse to another or prefer camping, Manaslu is for everyone.
Check out our Manaslu Circuit offers here
When to go trekking in Nepal?
Much the same as in many corners of the world, there are four particular seasons in Nepal. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn all have their own attributes and appeal. Thus, there is no conclusive answer when the question concerning the best trekking season rises. In any case, the seasons can enable you to decide your favored month to design your visit to Nepal.
March to May – Spring
A favored season for trekking holidays in Nepal is spring. Temperatures will be higher, the temperatures will be progressively steady and the blossom will start to show. As the climbing season for Mount Everest is starting, Everest Base Camp will be brimming with climbers you can talk to. Temperatures will fluctuate somewhere in the range of 16 and 23 degrees Celsius throughout the day.
The hotter evenings will be valued and there are commonly less trekkers on the trails than in for instance fall. In the event that you are thinking about the Annapurna Circuit Trek, this is your season. It is your most obvious opportunity to see rhododendron in full sprout and to recognize the most lovely feathered creatures. Another incredible region to consider for spring is the Langtang valley.
June to August – Summer
Summer in Nepal is from June to August and in spite of the fact that you probably won’t expect it when seeing snow on the mountain peaks, it gets warm. Truth be told, it will be damp. This is on the grounds that late spring in Nepal implies monsoon. This season does not pull in a lot of trekking enthusiasts to the Himalayas.
he downpours are known to wash away scaffolds, trails become extremely dangerous and the roads are struggling with traffic. Not perfect, yet there are certainly extraordinary alternatives for trekking during monsoon. In spite of the fact that it tends to be hard to get around in summer, the Upper Mustang Trek is an extraordinary alternative as the zone remains generally dry. The Dolpa district with the Upper and Lower Dolpo is additionally an extraordinary choice for this time of the year.
September to November – Fall
Fall is a perfect time for trekking in Nepal. The weather situation will be close to perfect nature is likely to give you a great show. As the temperatures are gradually dropping, there might be some snow on the higher peaks. Fall is viewed as the best season for trekking. You will not be the only one out there. Temperatures are extending from 22 to 27 degrees Celsius amid the daytime and evenings are cool. In September you can have a few reminders from Monsoon season and it could rain hectically.
The High Passes can be hard to cross however, by and large, you ought to have no issues. As October is calling, your way will be clear. A lot less rain and Nepal will begin to celebrate. Indra Jatra or Yenya, the celebration that praises the finish of the Monsoon season, is typically held from late September or early October. These unique festivals can lift your experiences in Nepal to a higher, spiritual level.
December to February – Winter
Winter comes with snow, especially in Nepal. On altitude this can make things testing, however, for the most part, winter is an incredible season for trekking. As the beauty of fall gets tucked in under cover of snow, trekking enthusiasts make their way to the Himalayas to appreciate the trails on lower levels and to encounter the mountains with all their moods.
As there are lesser groups and the view is delightful, this is an extraordinary alternative for the trekker who would like to enjoy the most special of Himalayan experiences. The Ghorepani Poonhill Trek, otherwise called the Annapurna Sunrise Trek, is one of those trekkings that are absolutely justified, despite all the trouble in winter.
In short: Which trek in which season?
- Everest Base Camp Trek: March till the end of May, September till the end of December.
- Everest View Trek: February till the end of June, September till the end of December
- Ama Dablam Base Camp Trek: March till the end of May, September till the end of December.
- Gokyo Valley Trek: February till the end of June, September till the end of December
- Everest Base Camp Three High Passes: March till the end of May, September till the end of December.
- Everest Base Camp Two High Passes: March till the end of May, September till the end of December.
- Annapurna Base Camp Trek: March till the end of June, September till the end of December.
- Annapurna Circuit Trek: March till the end of June, September till the end of December
- Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek: February, March, April, May, June, September, October, November and December
- Jomsom Muktinath Trek: February till the end of June, September till the end of December
- Mardi Himal Trek: September till the end of December, March till the end of May
Other treks in Nepal:
- Upper Dolpo Trek: March till the end of November
- Upper Mustang Trek: March till the end of November
- Langtang Valley Trek: March till the end of June, September till the end of December
- Manaslu Circuit Trek: September till the end of December, March till the end of June
The Annapurna or the Everest Region?
The first thing that comes to mind when speaking about Mount Everest is climbing. The first thing that comes to mind when speaking Annapurna is trekking. You can, however, go climbing in Annapurna and you can go trekking in the Everest, the Khumbu Region as well.. One of the main reasons for choosing the Annapurna Region over the Everest Region is access and altitude. Pokhara, the city of lakes, is the second largest city of Nepal and is a great starting point of trekking in the area. Guesthouses and hotels are well accommodated for trekkers and there is plenty to do before and after your trek. Unlike in the Mount Everest Region, your trek is not dependant on the flight schedules of the plane from Kathmandu to Lukla.
Because of Lukla already being on high altitude, you start pretty high and also you will experience a lot more ascending and descending. Trekking in the Everest Region is in that regard a bit more strenuous. The Everest Region is also a lot busier. Climbing or at least seeing Mount Everest is for many a bucket list experience and because of that, the Everest Region also attracts a lot of people who are not there for trekking, or for soaking up the local culture. They are simply there for the adrenaline and for ticking Everest off the list.
The Annapurna Region is more for purists. The trekking is relatively gentle, there is a lot of culture on and next to the trails and aesthetic beauty is out of this world. If you are looking for an absolute thrill, the Everest Region is your best choice. If you are looking to add some cultural and natural flavor to your Nepal trekking experience, you should consider the Annapurnas.
How to Train for Trekking in Nepal?
If you live anywhere else other than the Himalayas, it will be hard to get your legs ready for higher altitudes. After all, it doesn’t get much higher than Nepal. This is why we have to be clear upfront: Unless you have hiked at a higher altitude before, it will be difficult to get a 100% ready for your adventure. If that sounds bad to you, then comfort yourself with the fact that there is absolutely no need to be 100% ready.
You are not climbing K2 or Mount Everest and not running a mountain race. This is trekking. In fact, you are actually supposed to take it easy. Taking it easy is a rule of thumb when you want to prevent altitude sickness while out in Nepal. It doesn’t matter how fit you are, once you are out there on the trails, you have to stick to your own pace. But of course, the fitter you are, the more you can enjoy your days. Get fit!
Hike and Hike Even More
One solid approach to get the hang of what you do is to rehearse. The best practice for climbing is climbing. Seeing that you are keen on a multi-day trekking experience, we accept that you enjoy walking. Awesome, do it more. If you are fortunate to be encompassed by some hills or even mountains, the time has come to see them all the more frequently. When? In the event that you are new to this, we recommend beginning a half year the start of your trek, essentially going for 60 minutes (or two) climb seven days.
When you get the hang of it, after around three weeks, you will have an ideal opportunity to reinforce your power. Convey a pack of 10 to 15kg and include a more drawn out climb of three hours to your week. On the off chance that this way of life is different to you, you will before long receive the rewards of this moderate exercise.
Some of the health benefits of trekking and hiking include a lower risk of heart disease, improved blood pressure and sugar levels and of course it helps to control your weight. Once you are ready for the hills, it only gets better. According to Gregory Miller, president of the American Hiking Society, ”a 5% to 10% incline equals a 30% to 40% increase in calorie burn.” Our personal health benefits are a clearer mind and an elevated mood. Trekking keeps us sane.
After a good few months of solid hiking, it is time to put your endurance to the test. Do back to back long hikes. You can simulate a few days of constant trekking by going hiking for a few days. Easy at that. Plan a smaller trekking holiday or keep it simple by hiking your favorite route on repeat. If you are comfortable hiking for 4 hours a day, 3 days in a row while carrying a 10kg to 15kg backpack, you will be fine.
One misconception about trekking is that the ascent is the hardest on your body. Wrong. Descending is actually very demanding. When you hike downhill, your quadriceps is being put to work. If you notice any overly sore muscles and weak spots in your quads while going out on hikes, it can be wise to add some strengthening exercises to the mix. If your quads and glutes are suffering, your knees and ankles might also take too much strain.
One way to get stronger is to do some basic exercises. You don’t need a gym membership, as merely using your bodyweight can already give you the results you are looking for. Once or twice a week, depending on how you are feeling, you can do two sets of 10 lunges, 10 squats, and 10 step ups. If you want to push yourself a bit more, you can try to add some pull ups and push up to your routine. Going the extra mile in your strengthening is, however, really not necessary. You can already enjoy trekking when you just stick to the basics. This is not a fitness competition.
Simulate Altitude Training
One sure way to up your training is to mimic elevation training. As we said before, unless you live at altitude, it is extremely hard to pretend you are in Nepal. This is not about your legs but about your lungs. If you can’t find mountains to hike on, you can always find plenty of stairs. That’s not the point, the point is to create a similar oxygen situation. The reason why your body is showing symptoms of altitude sickness (AMS) is that you are short on oxygen. If you want to know what it is like to hike in thin air, you can use an elevation mask.
An elevation mask is an elevation reproduction gadget that restrains your intake of oxygen. Usually utilized by endurance athletes who contend at a higher altitude. Likewise, hikers and trekker can also benefit from it. When you are going trekking in Nepal, there is definitely no compelling reason to go this far, yet in the event that it settles your stresses, you out it an attempt.
On the off chance that you are thinking about to roll out exceptional improvements in your way of life, always make sure to consult a medical professional first. Especially if you want to mimic altitude.
Altitude Sickness While Trekking in Nepal
You don’t want this. Altitude sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or simply Mountain Sickness, is the health effect that kicks in when exposed to low amounts of oxygen at high altitude. Altitude sickness isn’t exclusive to the Himalayas, it can also occur when trekking on Mount Kenya, Kilimanjaro or when discovering the Inca Trail. At a lower altitude, up to 1,500m (5,000ft) you may experience breathlessness, but AMS usually only shows at 2,400m (8,000ft) and above. You can, therefore, imagine that altitude sickness is real in Nepal.
Left untreated, AMS can progress to more severe conditions like high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) or even high altitude cerebral edema (HACE). Although HAPE and HACE can be deadly, it happens to less than 1% of exposed unacclimatized trekkers. Although basically all itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatization, you are likely to feel some sickness and can be short of oxygen while trekking.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Symptoms of AMS start to show within a few hours after arrival at high altitude and include nausea, shortness of breath, headache and inability to exercise. An overall feeling of fatigue will take all the joy away that you were experiencing until things got bad. You may struggle to fall asleep, experience dizziness and you could be suffering from a severe headache.
You may also lose your sense of coordination, have trouble walking and have a tight chest. If things progress to HAPE or HACE, you might get confused, have a shortness of breath at rest and you will likely be unable to walk at all. The higher the altitude, the more severe your symptoms can be. If you have watched Everest the movie, you know what we are talking about. But those guys were climbing and you are, fortunately, only trekking.
There is a number of scoring systems for determining altitude sickness. Guides are trained in these systems and are experienced in immediate treatment. Although many people will experience some symptoms of altitude sickness, it doesn’t have to escalate. When aware of the symptoms, you can do a lot to make sure you stay healthy at high altitude.
Altitude Sickness Prevention
The following rules of thumbs can help you to prevent altitude sickness happening to you. They can also help to get the symptoms under control.
Have a full medical checkup and tell your practitioner what you are up to. Purchase medication recommended by your doctor. If you plan to be trekking with children, make sure you take their preparation just as carefully.
Become the Fittest Version of Yourself
Exercise about 3 to 6 hours a week with a backpack of 10kg to simulate an average day out in the Himalayas. Check out this blog post and find out how you can train for trekking in Nepal.
Listen to Your Body
Your body tells you when it needs rest. Listen to it carefully. Be aware of the symptoms of Altitude Sickness and talk about it. Let your friends, your guide, your porters know how you feel and press pause when your body wants you to. Don’t let things get worse.
Climb High, Sleep Low
An unwritten law for trekkers and climbers alike is to climb high but to sleep low. That’s why those mountaineers on Everest take a long time to get to the peak, they go up and down a few times before they push for the peak. They climb high, but they sleep low. That’s why you sometimes see a descent in the middle of your itinerary. This is being done to ensure you that you acclimatize carefully after having tackled elevation.
Eat Plenty and Hydrate More
Do you like food? Great. Eat as much as you can and eat even more. The same goes for drinking. No, you silly, not for alcohol. Hydration! Eat and drink as much as you can. Don’t skip a meal, even if you are not hungry.
Check What Comes Out
One way to gauge your fluid intake is to check your urine. Do you have to take a wee break more often than usual? Great. Keep up the hydration game. No? Then drink more.
How to Get Permits for Trekking in Nepal
If you are booking through a trekking company, either online or in Kathmandu, your trekking permits will be sorted on your behalf. This is one of the added benefits of booking through an accredited trekking company, as it will save you some bureaucracy.
One of the permits you will need for all treks in Nepal is the TIMS Card. TIMS is short for Trekkers Information Management Systems. The TIMS Card is compulsory to ensure the safety and security of trekkers in the general trekking areas. Again, it is most convenient to leave the bureaucracy up to your trekking company, but if you insist to do it yourself, you can apply at the Nepal Tourism Board office in Kathmandu.
At the Nepal Tourism Board office, you can also apply for permits for the Manaslu Circuit and for the Annapurna Sanctuary. Make sure to bring along the following to obtain either of the trekking permits:
- Copy of your passport
- 2 passport photos
- Trek itinerary
- Emergency contact information for Nepal and for home country
- Start and end dates as well as points
- Insurance details
- Name of the trek, if applicable
TIMS cards are 2000 Nepalese Rupee per person. Annapurna Conservation Permits are roughly the same price. Manaslu permits can only be obtained if you are with at least two persons.
What to Pack for Trekking in Nepal
Your gear is your best friend while being out in the mountains. It, in fact, doesn’t matter where you are going, your equipment is key. In extreme cases, gear can make the difference between life and death. In every case, the right equipment can make the difference between you having a good time and ending up miserable. You have booked your tickets, your guide in Nepal is waiting and now you rock up with a too heavy backpack, a jacket which is not thick enough and shoes that are very likely going to give you blisters. What a waste. Pack the right gear and make more of your trip to Annapurna or Everest.
Before we start, note one important thing. We are trekking, not climbing. Hence, you can leave the ropes, the chalk and the carabiners in your closet.
Packs to Carry
If you have to carry something for a prolonged time and you choose what you carry, then don’t compromise. The bags that you bring on your trekking should be of decent quality and you want to be used to them. Don’t swap a winner backpack for a new untested one a week before you head out. Assuming you will have porters to assist you on your trek, you need the following:
- Duffel Bag
- Rucksack with Rain Cove
Your Feet Need Comfort
We don’t always give our feet the attention they deserve. That may sound weird to you, but just think about what they have all done for you. You can’t go anywhere without your feet. So for your upcoming trekking in Nepal, you better make sure you look after them. Or do you want blisters en route to Poonhill?
- Hiking Boots
- Sandals or Shoes
- Hiking Socks
- Trekking Poles
- Inner Socks
Dress for the Occasion
The trail to Everest Base Camp can be a bit of a catwalk as some people like to sport the latest and most expensive outdoor fashion trends. You don’t have to go overboard. Find a healthy balance between comfortable and durable.
- Thermal Baselayer
- Fleece Pullover or Jacket
- Light Weight Thermal Tops
- Waterproof Jacket
- Sports Bra for Her
- Hiking Shorts
- Hiking Pants
- Waterproof Pants
Sleep Is Everything
A good night of sleep is the best recovery. Your wellness during trekking relies partly on the energy you are tanking in the night. Our partners in Nepal supply you with a comfortable down sleeping bag. If that saves you some crucial space when flying in to and out of Kathmandu. If you are on your own, take note of the following:
- Sleeping bag
There are multiple reasons for covering your head. Whether it’s sun, snow or rain: It is likely it strikes your head first. Protect yourself against sun rays and bring something that keeps you dry when it gets rough.
- Wool Hat
Your hands are just as important as your feet. They are likely to go cold first, so make sure you look after them. Bring something warm and durable. Your fingertips will thank you later.
- Fleece Gloves
- Heavyweight Waterproof Gloves
No one is the same and everyone has his own level of comfort. There will be things missing on this list, simply because you attach more value to them than others. Bring what you want to bring. The next things are definitely worth bringing:
- Water Bottles
- Head Lamp
- Wet Wipes
- Pain Medication
- First Aid Kit
Leave This in the Closet
There always things that you can just leave at home. Light and Fast: The lighter your backpack, the easier your life on the trails will be. Ease is a joy. Here is what you should not bring along.
- Unnecessary Electronics
- Classic Towel
- Revealing Clothing
One last thing: Whatever you pack, make sure you don’t overpack. Someone needs to carry all that stuff.
How To Find a Trekking Company in Nepal
There are several websites where you can book your trekking in Nepal. Important to consider is that the cheap providers are probably not very good for their staff. The income is relatively low in Nepal and some organizations like to make use of it.
At Bookatrekking.com we try to make a selection of providers who have everything in order, take good care of the staff and nature. However, they are obliged to indicate their lowest price on the internet. Here you will find all our offers for Nepal. If you want to narrow down your search, you can check Everest region offers here and Annapurna Region offers there. Need more inspiration first? Our Nepal travel guide can sort you out!