With eight of the top ten highest summits in the world and some of the most beautiful landscapes which are only reachable on foot, trekking in Nepal is one of the unique experiences of Asia. Trekking is the most popular activity in Nepal, and travellers will be bombarded on the streets of Kathmandu and the trekking hub, Pokhara, with guides, organised tours and gear for sale or rent. The huge variety of options allows for people of many ages and capabilities to attempt a trek in the country. While you could spend a year planning an expedition to wild and lofty places that few would dare attempt, you could also arrive in Kathmandu with no plans and be on the trail in a matter of days.
Everest Base Camp Trek
Naturally, Everest Base Camp makes the list as one of the best treks in Nepal. Due to its popularity, the trail can get a bit crowded during the peak climbing seasons, nonetheless, it is still rather magnificent to conquer as you stand face to face with the world’s tallest mountain. The Sherpa culture is one of the highlights of this trek, making the whole thing a cultural experience. Apart from the grandiose experience of seeing Mt. Everest, the other peaks along the way make the climb very scenic and unforgettable. If you want a bit more remote trekking, you might want to consider taking on other routes but if you want a bit more of a social atmosphere, the tea houses along the way are great places to meet other trekking buddies.
The option that we choose was Everest Base Camp trek going through the Gokyo region to visit Gokyo Lakes and climb Gokyo Ri (17,575 ft). We spent about three weeks exploring Kathmandu and trek from Lukla to Everest Base Camp through Gokyo.
After Everest, one of the most popular treks to take on in Nepal is the Annapurna Circuit which includes a 100-mile circumnavigation of the Annapurna mountain range. From jungles, high mountains, and ethnic villages, the Annapurna Circuit is a great trail to take on! As with Everest Base Camp, the popularity of this trail equates to crowded trails so if you want this place all to yourself, you might want to go there during shoulder season. For those who are looking to add some variety to their trail, you can also consider doing a side detour to Tilicho Lake, a pristine alpine lake which is a day-trip away around the halfway mark. This side trip is highly recommended and is worth the detour! The highlight of this circuit is crossing the world’s widest pass, the Thorong La Pass at 5,416 meters which can give some people massive bouts of altitude sickness.
Also, if you find yourself in Pokhara, go paragliding!
Tips to avoid altitude sickness:
1. Ascend slowly – Acclimatize gradually. One easy preventive solution is to ascend slowly. Stop and spend a day at 8,000 or 9,000 feet if you are heading up to 10,000 feet. The CDC advises no more than 1,000 feet of elevation gain per day at altitudes above 12,000 feet.
2. Climb high, sleep low – If possible, sleep at a lower altitude than you are at during the day.
3. Hydrate! Pack plenty of water. Hydrate yourself well before and during your time at high altitude. Drink at least two liters of water a day
4. Do not drink alcohol/caffeine before or immediately after exercising at altitude.Keep in mind that it is easier to prevent many altitude related symptoms than to treat them once they develop.
5. Sleep – Rest. Experienced climbers can choose to use oxygen above 20,000 feet. But for everyday athletes or tourists, the best option may be just to take it easy.