Off to the hills

Features Issue 116 Jul, 2011
Text by Niraj Karki / Photo: ECS Media

Mountains are the means, the man is the end. The goal is not to reach the top of the mountains, but to improve the man. – Walter Bonatti.

The journey is part of the destination – nowhere is this truer than in Nepal. It is not only that 8 of the 14 highest peaks in the world are here – not everyone climbs Everest (or can) but the beauty and the majesty that it commands can be felt at varied levels and even without making it to the destinations. Nepal is amazing because of more than just mountains – within an area so small Nepal encompasses incredible geoclimatic variations and biodiversity. With destinations such as the Everest and Annapurna Base camp voted amongst the best treks in the world, trekking in Nepal is as rewarding and beautiful as it gets.

The possibilities and variations of treks in Nepal are astounding. With views of mountains from almost every trek that run along the upper spine of Nepal, absolute destinations mean little. All that’s needed is the will to head out and no trek will end in disappointment.

Following is the list of trekking sites in Nepal with a simplified guide to difficulty level and days required to complete the trek.
With the exception of treks into very remote areas, treks in Nepal can be teahouse treks where food and accommodation are available throughout the journey in lodges or the more expensive camping treks where all equipment including tents and food are carried. While teahouse treks are easier and cheaper, camping treks provide the real experience and thrill of being in the mountains.

There is something for everyone in Nepal when it comes to trekking – whether you’re on a budget or mind the budget at all. Meals can cost you as little as $5-$10 and guides and porters can be hired for as little as $30 and $15 a day. It is however worth spending a bit more and hiring from a good company.
Rooms too can cost as little as $3-$5. For those on a budget, sharing rooms and generally sharing holidays is a great way of saving money. Trekking in Nepal consists of some very precarious sites and 2 is the minimum recommended number for travel.

Most conservation areas and national parks will require an entrance fee when trekking in Nepal. In addition, travellers need to obtain a TIMS card (Trekkers’ Management Information System).

Trekking in Nepal will involve walking across varied terrain on a daily basis. The following are recommended for a safer trek.
1. Footwear
2. Walking boots with suitable ankle support that have been worn-in prior to the trek, and which are waterproof
3. Trainer or casual shoes, for trekking and/or for travelling
4. Warm socks and thermal underwear for colder areas
5. Gaiters, in case of rain or snow
6. Windproof, waterproof outer shell garment for higher altitudes (Goretex)
7. Wool or fleece hat, or balaclava
8. Hat or cap for sun protection while trekking
9. Sunglasses or goggles
10. Sunscreen lotion (50+)and lip balm
11. Warm gloves
12. Personal first aid kit to include essential items
13. Sleeping bag, 4 season
Some good gear shops
Sherpa Gears Imports, Sherpa, Tashi Sherpa, 4443665, Near Jay Nepal
Sherpa Adventure Outlet, The North Face, Sabina, 4445101, Thamel
Himalayan Techno Gears Trading, Vaude, Prajwol, 9841 388345/ 4445447 - Lazimpat
Useful links
Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (information on parks, fees etc)
Nepal Mountaineering Association
The Last Frontiers Trekking
Himalayan Holidays
Nepal Tourism Board



Annapurna Circuit Trekking Medium-Hard 22 Days
Annapurna Panorama Trekking Easy 10 Days
Dhaulagiri Circuit Trekking Hard 21 Days
Ghalegaun Trekking Easy 9 Days
Ghorepani Poonhill Trekking Easy 7 Days
Jomsom Muktinath Trekking Medium-Hard 12 Days
Mardi Himal Trekking Medium-Hard 12 Days
Panchase Trekking Easy 6 Days
The Royal Trek Easy 6 Days
Sikles Trekking Easy 7 Days



Arun Valley Trekking (Salpa Pass) Medium-Hard 13 Days
Bhairav Kunda Trekking Easy-Moderate 10 Days
Dhud Kunda Trekking Easy-Moderate 10Days
Everest Panorama Trekking Medium-Hard 9 Days
Gokyo Valley Chola Pass Trekking Medium-Hard 20 Days
Jiri -EBC Everest classic Trekking Medium-Hard 21 Days
Lukla to Everest Base Camp Trekking Medium-Hard 14 Days
Rolwaling Valley Trekking Medium-Hard 22 Days



Across Ganja-la Pass Trekking Hard 14 Days
Dhading Ganga Jamuna Phulkharka Trekking Easy 10 Days
Ganesh Himal Trek Medium-Hard 19Days
Gosainkunda (Frozen Lake) Trekking Medium-Hard 7 Days
Helembu Classic Trekking Medium-Hard 7 Days
Langtang Classic Trekking Medium-Hard 14 Days
Langtang Valley Trekking Medium-Hard 9Days
Panch Pokhari (Five Lakes) Trekking Medium-Hard 13 Days
Tamang Heritage Trekking Medium-Hard 13 Days



Humla - Mount Kailash - Manasarovar Trekking Hard 27 Days
Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trekking Hard 24 Days
Lower Dolpo Trekking Hard 20Days
Manaslu Circuit Trekking Hard 19 Days
Narphu (Nar-Phu) Valley Trekking Medium-Hard 21 Days
Upper Dolpo Trekking Hard 22 Days
Upper Mustang Trekking Medium-Hard 15 Days
Humla and Limi Valley Trek Medium-Hard 17Days




Makalu Base Camp Trekking Medium-Hard 20 Days



Chepang Hill Trekking Easy 4 Days
Rara Lake Trekking Medium-Hard 13 Days



Tsum Valley Trekking Medium-Hard 21 Days
Ghalegaun Trek Medium-Hard 9 Days
Indigenous People Trail Medium-Hard 8 Days
Gangajamuna Ganesh Parbat Trek Medium-Hard 10 Days
Tamang Heritage Trek Medium-Hard 13 Days
Chepang Hill Trek Medium-Hard 4 Days