Best Trekking packages in Nepal
The Annapurna region in the area north of Pokhara has traditionally been the most popular with trekkers, sometimes seeing over 90,000 visitors a year (nearly 85,000 tourists visited the Annapurna region in 2016, whereas about 2000 visited the adjoining Manaslu region). The Annapurna Conservation Area (ACAP) is 2946 mil (7629 km2), with mountain scenery as spectacular as anywhere in Nepal. Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Ghorepani Poonhill Trek, Mardi Himal Trekking, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Tilicho Lake Trek, Annapurna Mini Trek, Dhaulagiri Circuit trek are the best trekking packages in Nepal in Annapurna Region.
The Annapurna Circuit has become threatened by the encroachment of motor roads. In 2005, the Nepalese Government decided to build roads to the district centers on the east and west sides of the Annapurna massif. Upon completion, the roads will foreshorten the world-renowned Annapurna Circuit trek by some 115 miles (185 km) from over 135 miles (215 km) to about 19 miles (30 km). In fact, a rough road to Jomsom is already in place, barring seasonal monsoon washouts, while construction work remains on the Manang side. However, ACAP officials have been hard at work and alternate paths have been developed that follow the same general circuit route, cross the Thorung La pass (17,700 feet, 5416 m) and include sensational side-excursions to Kicho (aka, Ice) Lake, Milarepa Caves and Tilicho Lake among others. The roadway is a boon for bicyclists.
Further north of the circuit at Kagbeni is Upper Mustang, a restricted area for limited agency treks and people willing to pay high fees ($500 USD for the first ten days). The region is in a rain shadow that is stark, arid, and strikingly beautiful.
The Annapurna Sanctuary lies southwest of the Annapurna Massif, and is a breathtaking amphitheatre set in a cirque of frosty Mountains that will not likely ever have the intrusion of a road. Settlements beyond the villages of Ghandruk and Chomrong were specially built for trekkers to whom a jeep or bus ride into the amphitheatre’s 4000-plus meter (over 13,000 feet) would be profane. This open-sky, inner shrine, offers nearly 360° of surrounding Himalayan goddesses. Gurung villages in the area are spectacular, too. A week to ten days is the minimum time depending on acclimatization.
Solu-Khumbu, the district south and west of Mount Everest, in north-east Nepal, includes the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, 29,029 feet (8848 m), also known as Sagarmatha (Nepali) or Chomolungma (Tibetan). Lhotse (27,890 feet, 8501 m, world’s 4th highest) and Cho-Oyu (26,906 feet, 8201 m, world’s 6th highest), is part of Sagarmatha National Park, and Makalu (27,765 feet, 8463 m, world’s highest) is in the bordering Makalu-Barun National Park. Situated in the Khumbu area of the Solu—Khumbu district, Sagarmatha National Park (445 square miles, 1148 sq kin) is a World Heritage Site (Natural).
The attractions are towering peaks, villages in majestic mountain valleys with associated monasteries, and highland culture. The area has been the second most popular trekking area in Nepal, seeing 52,000 visitors in 2016, but due to the road construction north of Pokhara (despite the development of alternate routes) it is eventually likely to replace the Annapurna region as the most popular, although when the weather deteriorates, bottlenecks at entry points are a concern.
Travel choices to and from Khumbu include walking from Jiri, Shivalaya, or possibly Bhandar depending on road conditions, or flying from Kathmandu to Lukla, a high altitude airfield (9350 feet, 2850 m) and settlement. Lukla is one to two days south of Namche Bazaar, a sprawling village at the entrance to the higher Khumbu. Another route comes in from the southeast at Tumlingtar where there is an airfield or jeep service from Hille, a town also served by buses. The trek to Solu Khumbu from Tumlingtar involves crossing three major valleys with arduous ups and downs. Everest Base Camp Trek, Gokyo Lakes Trek, Jiri to EBC Trek, Three High Passes Trek, Everest Panorama Trek are the best trekking packages in Nepal under Everest Region.
Langtang, Gosainkunda and Helambu
The popular trekking region most accessible to Kathmandu includes Helambu, Gosainkunda and Langtang, north of the capital city. This area is the third most popular magnet for trekkers of the three premier venues. Langtang National Park (660 square miles, 1710 sq km), contains a wide range of habitats, from subtropical to alpine. The Gosainkunda area is the location of several sacred, alpine lakes and a pilgrimage destination for Hindus. If conditions permit, cross the Laurebina La high pass to link up with the Helambu region.
Helambu, the region closest to Kathmandu, can be approached from the northeast rim of the Kathmandu valley. It is inhabited mostly by people called Yolmo. The hill scenery and culture make up for the lack of spectacular, up-close mountain views, and the serene trails are a refreshing change of pace, especially when combined with treks in Langtang and Gosainkunda. Langtang Valley Trek, Gosainkunda Lake Trek, Helambu Trekking are the best trekking packages in Nepal in this Langtang region.
Other Trekking Areas
Outside of the three regions outlined above are many places undiscovered by most travelers including Manaslu, an up and coining destination to rival adjacent Annapurna. In lesser known areas, especially in the mid-hills, few lodges or facilities have been set up strictly for tourists, and some trail sections might be difficult to follow. Physical comfort along alternative trails might be at a minimum. The rewards are visiting scenic, pristine areas in the heartland of Nepal and meeting hill people, the soul of Nepali culture, in traditional settings.
Areas off the beaten path will be largely unaffected by modernization and the experience will be unforgettable. Trails through these areas are not for everyone. Considerable resilience is needed, along with a spirit of adventure and an open mind. It is perhaps best to consider the first trek on a more established tourist trail. As your experience grows, take on more in-depth journeys. Manaslu Trekking, Nar Phu Valley Trek, and Tsum Valley Trekking are the best trekking packages in this area.
Best Trekking Packages in Nepal (Western)
For people interested in the undiscovered areas in the west of the country, bear in mind that there are few facilities for travelers and even food is sometimes unavailable. Intrepid folk aiming for Jumla (and on to Rara Lake), can reach the destination by a hard-going seasonal road that regularly washes out or by scheduled planes from Kathmandu, but it is easier to connect through airfields in Nepalganj or Surkhet and then fly into Jumla. Travelers might share the plane with heavy bags of rice from the Nepal Food Corporation and U.N. Food Program, as the area is regularly short on food. Upper Dolpo Trek, Lower Dolpo Trek, and Rara Lake Trek are the best trekking packages in Nepal.
Rara is a three-day trek from the Jumla. An option on the way out is to trek to KolTi airport in Bajura District in three days along a route improved by locals through the U.N.’s food-for-work program. Although flights out of KolTi might be precarious as air service in remote areas can be intermittent. Scant facilities along the way provide the bare minimum in food and place to sleep. Rather than fly out from KolTi; an option is to continue south to Khaptad National Park or to Sanphebagar in Accham District and meet another airstrip and the roadway. Only 135 trekkers visit the Rara area in 2010 and a mere 5 went to Khaptad.