When you think of Nepal most people think of mountains. It contains eight of the world’s ten tallest peaks, including the highest, Mt. Everest. The scenery is stunning, the high peaks a backdrop to the valleys and foothills that make up Nepal’s most popular attraction; trekking. You can camp, stay in small lodges (or teahouses as they are known locally) or more upmarket hotels.
The most popular area for trekking is Annapurna (see map). Most people start from the town of Pokhara, on the banks of a beautiful Lake Phewa, and choose their route according to their fitness level, the amount of time they have and the season. The two classic treks in this area are the Annapurna Circuit and the Annapurna Sanctuary.
The first does a circuit of the Annapurna Himal, a beautiful section of the Himalaya that offers a great variety of scenery and cultures. For the first half of the trek you are in Buddhist areas, influenced by the Tibetan culture that exists just a few miles to the north across the border. After crossing the Thorong-la pass you arrive at Muktinath, a sacred site for Hindus and thereafter you walk through villages that follow this creed.
The second of the famous Annapurna treks is the Sanctuary, so called because it follows a small valley up into the heart of the Himal, arriving in a large hanging valley surrounded by all the high peaks. It’s a sanctuary as, according to tradition no women were allowed to enter for fear of upsetting the Hindu Goddess Annapurna. This trek is shorter and as there is only one route in and out of the Sanctuary, follows the same rail both ways.
Many people who visit the Annapurna region do not have the time or interest to do these long treks and there are plenty of easier and shorter routes to follow. The landscapes are beautiful, great mountainsides of terraced fields tumbling down to fast-flowing rivers channelling the melting snows out of the mountains. You can climb Poon Hill, a famous vantage point with great views of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Massifs. The trails, built as the local network for getting around (there are no roads in many places) are well maintained with plenty of places for the local porters, and you, to sit and enjoy the views.
We use a combination of accommodation options for our clients, from fully supported camping to small luxury lodges with private en-suite rooms.
The other popular area to trek is in the Khumbu and everyone who goes there does so for one reason - to see Mt. Everest. Most people fly into the small air strip at Lukla, an adventure in itself. This is the homeland of the famous Sherpa people, renowned for their climbing prowess and compared to the lush green of the Annapurna’s it is a harsher landscape. You get to visit the Sherpa capital at Namche Bazaar, as well as the famous Thangboche Monastery. The goal of the trek is either Everest Base camp or a small vantage point called Kala Pattar which offers great views of Everest, Lhotse and the Nuptwe Wall.
There are other places in Khumbu to trek to, such as the Gokyo Lakes, and all offer great high altitude landscapes and a real feel of being in the very heart of the mountains. There are many areas you can choose from, many of the less famous offering unspoilt landscapes and little touched villages.
Whether you are after a few day-walks from a luxury lodge or a fully supported trek to the heart of the mountains, we can tailor the perfect holiday.
Robert, our MD worked as a mountain guide in the Himalaya and is now the author of the Footprint Travel Guide to Nepal. He says, "I still remember my first glance of the Himalayas close up. We’d climbed a ridge, in the shade of a thick rhododendron forest. At its top we stopped and I glanced up at the jagged skyline cutting across the sky before me. It was breath-taking. Then my guide laughed and pointed into the sky. Above it all was the snow-topped peaks of the true Himalaya, floating in the morning air like what I’d taken them for, a band of high cloud.”
Explore Nepal's stunning Himalayan scenery and discover the wildlife of Chitwan National Park including elephants and tigers
This short tour takes in the highlights of this wonderful mountain country and is perfect for those either short on time or who also wish to visit India.