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Nepal's Top 10 Treks

Nepal is known for Mount Everest, yet excellent trekking routes can be found throughout the country. Pristine landscapes wait to be discovered, and mountain villagers reward trekkers with steaming mugs of tea and heaping plates of dal bhat.

Before setting out on the trail, assess your fitness level, expectations, and the amount of time you’d like to spend in the wild. While some treks cater to travelers –coffee shops, apple pie, double espressos, and billiards tables – other routes are less developed and provide sparse accommodations at best.

 

Choose your route before arriving in Nepal so you can make the most of your holiday. Here are our top 10 suggestions for treks, from less strenuous excursions to more demanding challenges:

Annapurna sanctuary trek

 

10. Annapurna Base Camp

Estimated time: 10 days

Pros: Annapurna Base Camp is one of Nepal’s more popular trekking routes. White peaks, blue skies, terraced fields, local villages, and a glacial viewpoint are the main highlights. This short trail packs a lot in!

Cons: Recommendations are recommended, as guesthouses fill quickly during busy seasons.

Level of difficulty: Medium

Click here to learn more about our Annapurna Base camp trek.

 

9. Everest via Gokyo Lakes

Estimated time: 17 days

Pros: This is one of the ultimate treks of the Everest region taking you into the Gokyo Valley to the high altitude lakes. Not for the faint hearted or unfit, you will make several 5000m passes on Cho La and Gokyo Ri. This is a superb trek. Very few trekkers also make this wonderful.

Cons: Other than the high altitude this trek is excellent. 

Level of difficulty: Difficult

For more information about our Everest via Gokyo Lakes trek click here.

Gokyo village on the shores of Gokyo Lakes

 

8. Sikles

Estimated time: 3 to 5 days

Pros: With honey traders and a long history of Gurkha soldiers, the Sikles trail is a gem for those who want to skip some of the more popular routes in favor of an unique experience. Farmhouse-turned-guest houses welcome visitors with greens picked fresh from gardens, and the ACAP museum introduces visitors to pieces of Nepal’s history. Rishing Danda, an avalanche viewpoint, can be accessed, and a nearby hot springs rewards those who take extra time exploring this area. The return trek to Pokhara offers unparalleled views of the valley.

Cons: Buses and taxis are available to those with limited time – and for those who aren’t interested in trekking. The guesthouses in Sikles can fill quickly, especially on weekends and during festival seasons.

Level of difficulty: Easy

Manaslu trek nepal

7. Manaslu

Estimated time: 17 days

Pros: Larkya La Pass is the highlight of this trek, an inspiring and dramatic Himalayan point that will require strength and endurance to cross.

Cons: This trek is more remote than others and is often preferred by those who want to focus on scenery and solitude. The wilderness here will not disappoint.

Level of difficulty: Hard

Click here to learn more about our Manaslu trek

6. Gosaikunda

Estimated time: 14 days

Pros: Steeped with religious significance, the Gosaikunda trail carves around alpine lakes and can be modified to suit various itineraries. This area is part of Langtang National Park and is home to a variety of birds and animals.

Cons: Guesthouses are quaint, yet farming villages offer honey, cheese, juices, and jams for sale.

Level of difficulty: Medium

Click here to learn more about our Gosaikunda trek

Gorak shep near everest base camp

5. Everest Base Camp

Estimated time: 14 days (don't rush this)

Pros: Walk into the shadows of Mount Everest and summit Kala Patthar (5,554m) for an unforgettable sunrise. Namche Bazaar’s famous tiered village makes an interesting stopping point for a rest day or two, and the steep airport runaway at Lukla will leave travelers spellbound.

Cons: This trail can get crowded during peak seasons; reservations must be made to secure room bookings at the various lodges.

Level of difficulty: Medium

Click here to learn more about our Classic Everest Base Camp Trek

4. Luxury Ama Dablam Base Camp Trek

Estimated time: 11 days

Pros: This is a different take on our normal trek toward Everest however you get to stay in wonderful luxury lodges along the way; warm beds, warm showers and afternoon drinks. You also get to trek to Ama Dablam Base Camp one of Nepal's great mountains and visit the village of Thame, home to the Sherpa people. 

Finally you also stay in the world's highest resort with sweeping views of Everest and the Khumbu.

Cons: You don't get to go all the way to Everest Base Camp. But if this is not a problem then this is a great trip.

Level of difficulty: Medium

Click here for more information about our Luxury Everest Ama Dablam Base Camp trek.

Luxury lodges on everest trek

3. Mustang

Estimated time: 15 days

Pros: The Mustang District has been left relatively untouched by touristic development. Take a mountain flight to Jomsom and explore the orchards of Marpha before journeying into Mustang’s barren landscapes.

Cons: The relentless winds cutting through Jomsom and into Mustang have Nepali songs written for them; combined with dusty landscapes, you’ll want to bring a scarf or mask for your trek. This area requires both a guide and permit ($500USD) to enter.

Level of difficulty: Medium

Click here to learn more about our Lo Manthang Trek in Upper Mustang

Monks in Mustang Nepal

2. Mardi Himal

Estimated time: 5-7 days

Pros: A short drive from Pokhara, this lesser-known trail is a jewel of a trek that winds into the lap of the Annapurnas. In a few days, trekkers will be rewarded with starry evenings and up-close views of famous Himalayan peaks.

Cons: Guesthouse accommodations are basic but comfortable, and the trail requires some skill to navigate. We recommend going with a local guide.

Level of difficulty: Easy

1. Annapurna Circuit

Estimated time: 13 days

Pros: This trek is famous, and for good reason. Rolling trails and suspension bridges connect unique villages as trekkers ascend Thorong La Pass, a testing 5,416m above sea level. For the weary, Jeeps and buses can be accessed for quick returns and emergency situations. Villages along the circuit contain homestays, guesthouses, monasteries, even movie halls for rainy days. Butter tea is served milky and smoky – straight from the fires on which it is made.

Cons: This trek required dedicated effort! Though the full circuit can be completed in two weeks at a fast pace, we suggest that travelers build in a few extra days to rest and explore some of the local villages.

Level of difficulty: Hard

Click here to learn more about our Annapurna Circuit trek


Secrets of Nepal's Most Explored Towns

Though Nepal is known for her mountains, urban areas provide visitors feasts of cultural and culinary delights. Since most travelers have limited time to spend in the main cities, we set out to uncover hidden treasures demanding to be explored. Whether you find yourself with an extra day in Nepal’s developing capital Kathmandu or arrive early in Pokhara, the lakeside hotspot of hippies and fashionistas, enjoy some of our favorite – and unique – travel experiences.

 

Kathmandu

 

1. Warm up on indoor rock

Before you set out on the trails, get some climbing practice in at one of Kathmandu’s many indoor rock faces. Adventure centers have popped up around the city, appealing to residents and visitors alike. The Kathmandu Sport Climbing Center attracts professionals and novices with routes and problems of all levels and ability, and Astrek Climbing boasts Nepal’s highest artificial wall. Check out the happenings at the newly opened Outdoor Adventure Center Nepal; in addition to an indoor playground, the center organizes events and festivals celebrating outdoor sports.

Street scene Kathmandu man on a bike

 

2. Try Laping

With roots in China, this warming bowl of flavorful noodles has become synonymous with Tibetan culture. Look for Tibetan khaja ghars surrounding the most-visited temples, Boudha and Swayambhunath. You’ll see photos of thick stews advertising the special. The dish is spicy and will warm you from the inside out. Laping is unique to Nepali communities with origins in Tibet and is a “must-try” while you are in Nepal!

 

3. Find the Garden of Dreams

Folded into the outskirts of bustling Thamel, Garden of Dreams is a hidden oasis carved into the city – and easy to miss. Thick brick walls block out noise from the streets, and manicured gardens offer a quiet reprieve from an often-oppressive cityscape. With an attractive outdoor café, visitors can enjoy rich slices of chocolate cake and creamy lattes among the garden’s greenery.

 

4. Catch world-class musicians

The entryway is small and is easily passed by, but those who sleuth their way to the top of Jazz Upstairs will be richly rewarded. Diplomats and locals sit side-by-side at wooden tables for live sets, and the house is packed by 10pm. Music enthusiasts will also appreciate Jazzmandu, a music festival held annually with artists from all over the world.

 

5. Visit a farmer’s market

Farmers and art markets have become regular events around the city. Local artisans sell baked goods, French cheeses, and organic jams; the sales have become a meeting point of Kathmandu’s elite, expats, and curious travelers. If you find yourself in Kathmandu on a Saturday morning or Wednesday night, stop by the farmer’s market at Le Sherpa.

Pokhara

Only a thirty-minute flight from Kathmandu (if there are no delays!), Pokhara is a traveler’s dream: Adventure, discovery, relaxation, and a variety of restaurants to choose from. Formerly a quiet trekking town, Pokhara is now a cauldron of luxury and trends with well-preserved viewpoints on the outskirts of the city.

1. Explore Matepani Monastery

Get out of the tourist center Lakeside and make your way through city center, past Mahendrapool, and into the Matepani neighborhood. Founded by the Manangi tribe, the Matepani monastery is perched on a hilltop, and the intricate details of the temple columns delight tourists and neighborhood residents. Time your visit to join the monks for one of their prayer ceremonies or enjoy resting in the temple’s courtyard while gazing at the fishtailed peak of Machhapuchhre.

2. Have a drink at Dunga

Skip Busy Bee, the restaurant listed in all travel guides, and make your way to Dunga, the latest nightspot in Lakeside. Locals and tourists file into the nautical-themed restaurant for live music and drink specials, and a team of talented photographers captures photos to post on Facebook. With warm lighting and earthy colors, even the most haggard trekker looks like a star. By the end of the night, you’ll have made friends with a local eager to give you their own tips of things to do while visiting Pokhara.

3. Venture to Begnas

Reachable by bus or by car, Lake Begnas is the alternative to Fewa Tal. Fisheries, organic coffee shops, and high-end resorts make for a quieter day excursion or overnight trip. Perched above the shores of the lake, Begnas Lake Resort is the perfect scenic viewpoint for Mo:Mo (Nepali dumplings) and espresso. Higher up a nearby mountain, Rupakot Resort offers views of the full Annapurna range.

4. Capture sunset at Pumdi Bhumdi

Across the well-known and often-crowded Sarangkot, the white temple of the World Peace Pagoda is nestled above Pokhara. The road to reach this area is off-road and unpaved, so you’ll need to rent a motorbike or hire a Jeep, but we promise, it’s worth it. This area is a surreal viewpoint for morning sunrises and dreamy sunsets. Homestays in Kalabang and the plush Raniban Retreat offer bird’s-eye views of Lakeside, Fewa Lake, and the Himalayas. Pack a bottle of wine, head to the Pumdi Bhumdi tower, and don’t forget your camera.

5. Go flying

Local operator High Ground Adventures manages transportation to their zipline and bungee-jump platform in Hemja, a predominately Tibetan community set apart from Lakeside’s tourism center. The zipline ride lasts around two minutes, cutting through dark forests and rolling foothills. After your thrill, enjoy refreshments at their café or visit a nearby Tibetan camp or Buddhist monastery.

Pokhara is one of those places you could spend a week or more, easily, and lose track of time. With Movie Gardens and coffee shops, we’re sure you will enjoy your time by the lake.

Paragliding in the Himalaya