Ghandruk Trek (6 Days)
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This trek is one of the shorter treks which can be completed in three or four days and is done in the lower Annapurna. Filled with vibrant little tea houses nestled between the mountains, this trek lets you enjoy the beauty of the Himalayas. Since this trek does not take a lot of time, you will not have to spend all your vacation days in one spot in Nepal.
The trail to starting the hike is located less than an hour's drive from Pokhara in Phedi. Starting from Phedi, you will get to experience the lively and friendly heritage village of Ghandruk and will also get to mingle with the Gurung people who live there. Ghandruk is famously known for the views that can be seen of some of the tallest mountains in the world, including the Fishtail (Machapuchare) and Hiunchuli. The maximum elevation you will reach here is 6,365 feet above sea level, you won't be able to scale any further than that.
Langtang Valley Trek (7 Days)
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The Langtang Valley Trek is a favorite among many as it has easy access from the capital and you can see the gorgeous views of the Langtang Himalaya that lies just across Tibet. While it takes 8 days to complete this trek, it has a relatively relaxed pace. You will trek through yak pastures, deep forests and alpine meadows in this eight-day trek before heading up for views of the surrounding mountains. You will get to visit the indigenous tribe of the area and experience their rich Tamang culture. You will also be helping to rebuild the valley that the local communities have been trying to re-establish after the 2015 earthquake.
Tamang Heritage Trail (7 Days)
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This trial has been named after the ethnic group that resides in the area i.e. the Tamang ethnic group. Rather than being a challenging trail, this trek focuses more on the cultural encounters you will witness. The culture, religion, dress, and language of the Tamang people reflect their origins, as the ancestors of the Tamang people came from Tibet which is just over the mountains. The purpose of this trial was to increase the significance of tourism in this less frequented part of Nepal and to give the farmers another means of livelihood to earn an income.
The starting point for this trek and the Langtang valley trek is at the same point which is Syabrubesi. With views of Gosaikunda range, Ganesh Himal, and Langtang, this six-day trek takes you through terraced farmland and open grasslands and passes through river valleys. You will pass by Tatopani where you can enjoy a natural hot spring. Accommodations come in the form of homestays in the Tamang villages. The highest altitude you will reach is only 2,400 meters which are not very high and is perfect for beginners.
Ghorepani Poon Hill Sunrise Trek (6 Days)
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Located in the Annapurna Region in Nepal, Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek is one of the easier treks and is ideal for beginners. As the trail for the trek is quite easy, it is one of the most outstanding treks located in the western region. Another name for the Poon trekking route is the Poon Hill Sunrise trek. From the hill, you will be able to see the breathtaking crown of the Annapurna mountains.
You should start trekking up the hill so that you will reach the top at the time of sunrise but whether you can see the sunrise or not depends on what the weather is like that day. You can get to Poon Hill and back within 5 days. As the Poon Hill trail is not that hard to travel in, it is suitable for trekkers of all ages. The maximum elevation you will reach is 3,210 meters.
Khopra Danda Trek (11 Days)
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This trekking trail is a comparatively new trekking route located in the Annapurna region and is connected with the Annapurna Base Camp trail. You will also be trekking to Khayer Lake in the Khopra Danda Trek arranged by Mount Mania.
In this 11 day trek, your first destination will be to Pokhara from Kathmandu through a scenic bus ride alongside the Trishuli and Marsyangdi river. You will drive to Nayapul from Pokhara then to start your trek. You will get to Khopra ridge after trekking to numerous pleasant villages of the Annapurna regions like Tadapani, Chistibung, and Ghandruk. Along the way, you will trek through thick rhododendron forests where you might encounter many flora and fauna like Lophophorus and Himalayan Thar. To get to Khayer Lake, you will trek uphill from Khopra Hill.
Khayer Lake lies at an altitude of 4,827 meters and is regarded as a holy lake of the Hindus. There are many shrines dedicated to Hindu as well as Buddhist in the area surrounding the lake which gives you an insight into Nepal’s religious diversity and tolerance. As Khayer Lake is an off beaten path trekking destination, the trekking trails are fresh and have an authentic landscape. The people also have amazing hospitality and are very friendly. After your journey to Khayer Lake and Khopra ridge, you will trek past Swanta village and Ulleri and descend down to Nayapul.
Pikey Peak Trek (7 Days)
If you are short on time but want to see the world's tallest mountain then the Pikey Peak Trek is perfect for you. People also say that Edmund Hillary, famed mountaineer, and explorer, claimed that the view out to Everest from Pikey Peak Trek was his favorite. It will take approximately seven days to trek to Phaplu from Dhap at a leisure pace. While you do not need to be in top shape to do this trek, you should at least be in good enough shape as every day you will have to trek between nine to four hours.
Also Read: 10 Days Short Everest Base Camp Trek
Besides the gorgeous views of Everest and the eloquent Numbur Himal range, you will also visit many Buddhist fortifications (gompas), monasteries and stupas. You will hike up to Pikey Peak before dusk to get a glimpse of the sunrise and you can take in a 360-degree view from Annapurna to Kanchenjunga at the summit, amongst the labyrinth of prayer flags. An added bonus to this trek is a stop at Ringmo which is famous for its apple pies made from apples picked from its apple orchards. You can either take a thirty-minute flight or an eight-hour jeep ride to reach the starting and ending points of the trek. The jeeps are significantly cheaper than the flights.
Helambu Trek (6 Days)
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Situated North from Kathmandu, Helambu Trek is famous to see one of the endangered animals found in Nepal which is the Red Panda. The distance between Kathmandu and Helambu is only forty-two kilometers and you can get there by bus or a private vehicle. It usually takes about 6 hours to reach there by a bus while private vehicles should get you there much faster than buses.
Attentively prepared by a local expert guide, the itinerary of the Helambu trek takes you around the place in five days. For people traveling with less time on their hands, this trek is perfect for them as it can be completed in five days. Inhabited by the Tamangs and Sherpa people, Helambu is a lush region with unique traditions. There is also a bazaar named Helambu which you can visit while on your trek. During the trek, you will pass through minute villages and there is a chance you might encounter some wild animals such as the Himalayan black bear, Himalayan wild goat, Musk deer, Monkeys, and specific birds and flora. There is not a peak trekking season for visiting Helambu as it is an easy trek, so you can trek there throughout the year.
Annapurna Community Eco-Lodge Trek (5 Days)
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A hundred steps you need to take to get to Poon Hill can be exhausting, so if you want an easier option to trek for beginners then Annapurna Community Eco-Lodge Trek is the best one for you. The views this trek offers is the same as that can be seen from Poon Hill. The only differences are the crowds and the steps, in Annapurna Community Eco-Lodge Trek you do not have both.
Starting five kilometers away from the town of Beni at Galeshwor, this five-day trek passes through Nangi, Tikot, Bhanskharka and Mohare Danda. A panoramic view of peaks including the Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Machhapuchchhre can be seen from Mohare Danda which sits at 3300 meters and is the highest point. Trekkers normally do homestays or stay at community-run lodges and dine in the dining halls.
Panchase Trek (6 Days)
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Regarded as one of the best and unique short treks around Pokhara, the Panchase Trek lies in the Annapurna region and the word Panchase translates to the five seats of the divine mother. The trek starts to a boat ride across Lake Phewa from where you will be able to see the Himalayas, experience the wilderness and observe the different ethnic groups, natural heritage sites, and untouched biodiversity.
The Panchase hill’s summit at an elevation of 2,500 meters is regarded as the best viewpoint from where you can see the hulking Himalayan peaks like Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Machhapuchhare, Gangapurna, Annapurna, and Lamjung. The forests in the Panchase area contain an abundance of orchid species at over 100 and rhododendron forests and much of it is regarded as protected forest due to the diverse amount of flora. You will encounter various ethnic groups along your trek like the Magars, Gurungs, and Brahmins. There are about 70,000 people living in Panchase and its surrounding area and some of the villages are Arthare, Kalabang, Deurali, Bhadaure, Chitre, Talibarang, and Sidhane. Most of the villages have the option of the homestay.
Panchase is a religious site for Hindus and is one of the hill stations in the Annapurna region. The trek is suitable for people of all ages and you can see a brilliant sunrise over the snow-capped Himalayan peaks. The Panchase trekking route starts from Pokhara and the trail then goes to Bhumdi, Panchase Bhanjyang, and Bhadaure before you finally end up in Pokhara again through Nau Danda.
Sikles Trek (7 Days)
The Sikles Trek is a short and easy trek that introduces us to the beauty of the Annapurna range and takes us through gorgeous Gurung inhabited villages and lets us observe the Buddhist Gurung culture. One of the largest Gurung villages of Nepal is located in Sikles and this trek gives you the perfect opportunity to learn about their unique customs, traditions, cultures, and way of life. Sikles is a fundamental part of the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA) and is a model trekking village.
The trek starts when you drive to Pokhara from Kathmandu. After reaching Pokhara, you will again drive to Milan Chowk from where you will officially start your trek towards Kharpani. This trek explores the Northern side of Pokhara and provides us with marvelous views of the entire Annapurna range like the Dhaulagiri, Fish Tail and Lamjung Himal to name a few of the snow-capped peaks. This trek starts in Pokhara and ends in Pokhara too. You will not reach an elevation over 2,000 meters so it is perfect for anyone who does not want to climb much.
There is a natural hot spring in Kharpani which you can enjoy while trekking. After Kharpani, you will trek through alluring Gurung villages of Parche, Ghalegaun and then Sikles. You can get gorgeous views of Lamjung and Annapurna Himal from Sikles at an elevation of 2,000 meters. You will find the Gurung inhabitants at Sikles and you can interact with them to know more about their lifestyle, the festivals they celebrate and what kind of handicrafts they make and how they are involved in the local handicraft production. After that, you will trek to Kalikasthan through terraced farmlands and then arrive at the Begnas lake. You will drive to Pokhara from Begnas Lake and end your journey there.
Since the Sikles trek can be done in a few days and you will not go to higher elevations, there is no fear of altitude sickness or having to walk across rough terrain. The Sikles trek is a short and easy trek hence it is suggested to every adventure lover who wants to explore the nature and culture in and around Pokhara.
Mardi Himal Base Camp Trek (8 Days)
Located on the East side of the Annapurna Base Camp trek, Mardi Himal is a hidden gem. There are few trekkers who trek to Mardi Himal Base Camp located at the base of Mardi Himal and Machhapuchhre. In this trek, you will walk through enrapturing rhododendron forests along small winding paths before finally climbing out of the forest at an elevation of approximately 3,300 meters. The landscape changes suddenly into a rocky high mountain landscape which gives stunning views of the Machhapuchhre, Hiunchuli, Annapurna South and Mardi Himal. In about 3 to 4 hours you can climb up to Mardi Base Camp from high camp (3700 meters) which offers a breathtaking closeup view of the whole Annapurna range. There are plenty of homestays and guesthouses along the entire trail route.
The best time to go trekking is in Autumn and the best months are Mid-September to October. Other peak times are from March to May and December to February. From December to February, the skies are clear but there is a risk of passes being closed due to snowfall as it gets very cold. Nepal’s hot, pre-monsoon season is between May to June and it can get very warm. If you do not mind the warmth then in the trail route you will see many flowers that have started blooming and green leaves coming up.
Monsoon season is between June to Mid September and it is regarded as an offseason. During these months, the risk of downpours and leeches greatly increase and as you have to walk through forested areas, leeches are quite active at this time of the year in Mardi Himal. If you are trekking here at this time of the year then it is recommended that you wear long trekking trousers and carry mosquito repellent spray.
The starting and ending of the Mardi Himal Trek are also in Pokhara like most of the Annapurna treks. Pokhara is situated 200 km west of Kathmandu and is the second biggest city. It is also an ideal place to relax after the strenuous treks in the Annapurna. There are several flights that go to Pokhara daily from Kathmandu through domestic airlines. The flight tickets are usually USD 110 to 125 per person. You can also opt to travel through a tourist bus. Prices of tourist buses usually start at around USD 10 to 25 and take about 7 to 8 hours to get to Pokhara from Kathmandu. The price of the tourist bus varies according to the services available on the tourist bus. Tourist buses usually leave every morning at 7 am. Another option is to travel through a local bus which runs till 3 pm and leaves every one hour from Kathmandu. Local buses are the cheaper option of traveling.
The Mardi Himal Trek usually takes around 6 to 10 days to complete among which 2 days will be spent traveling to and from Kathmandu to Pokhara while the rest is spent hiking. The Mardi Himal Trek can be combined with many other treks related to Annapurna. Most of the trekkers combine this trek with the Panchase Trek, Ghandruk Trek, Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek, etc. If you are short on time then you can take a domestic flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara and start the trek on the same day which ultimately shortens the number of days spent there. This trek is suitable for people with a moderate level of fitness and you do not have to be super fit to do this as this does not have direct climbing involved.
However, near base camp and high camp, you will need to trek over some rocky sections. It is recommended that you consult a doctor before doing this if you have problems regarding altitude. The cost of the Mardi Himal Trek depends on the accommodation, mode of transportation and tour. The prices usually depend on the tour plan and if you want the budget, deluxe or standard tour plan. It also depends on the number of people who are going and the time of the trek. While there are not many risks to this trekking, trekkers should be aware that they might experience unpredictable weather, extreme conditions and last-minute changes beyond anyone's control.
Best Trekking Season in Nepal
Out of the four seasons that Nepal undergoes, Spring and Autumn are considered the peak trekking season.
Spring season starts from February and lasts till April. During Spring, the skies are bright and clear and the views of the mountains will not be veiled by the clouds. The weather is significantly warm in comparison to winter and the maximum temperature can reach up to 20 degrees while the minimum can drop up to 6 degrees in higher altitudes.
Also Read: Best To Visit Nepal
Starting from September and ending in November, Autumn brings along warm weather and clear weather with it. Another peak trekking season of Nepal, the expected temperature is a maximum of 25 degrees and a minimum of 8 degrees at 3000 meters altitude.
Things You Should Know Before Trekking in Nepal
While trekking is no easy feat in itself, planning the trip can be tiring as well. So, before you start backpacking towards the Himalayas, here are a few things that you should consider:
Number of Days
There are 8 out of 14 peaks covered here in Nepal that is above eight thousand meters in the world. After the successful Mount Everest ascent after the 1950s, mountain trekking, and mountain hiking are commercially becoming popular. While you cannot conquer the Everest if you are just a beginner, you can go on small hikes which take less time than the Everest.
There are long treks that will take you a minimum of 10 days to complete and if you are a beginner then it will take longer. So instead of planning a trip to someplace which will leave you worn out, you can go on shorter treks like Poon Hill Trek, Mardi Himal Trek, Ghandruk Trek. These treks will at most take 6 to 8 days to complete and will not leave you worn out.
You should also choose the trek that best suits your time table. If you plan to stay in Nepal for longer than twenty days then you can consider going on longer trips but if you are staying for a short time, Ghandruk, Mardi and other shorter treks are recommended.
Guides and Porters
While it is not necessary to have a guide or porter with you while hiking, especially on shorter hikes, it is recommended if you are going on longer treks that will take time to complete. The local guides and porters will have a greater awareness of the topography and will ensure your safety as well as comfort throughout the trek. A professional guide will usually charge around twenty-five to thirty US dollars per day but the charge varies with location.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
Caused due to the fact that the body can not adapt to the oxygen level surrounding the area the higher you go, AMS is very dangerous if not properly cared for in high altitudes. Drinking fluids, getting proper rest, a healthy diet, and walking at a leisure pace in some way that AMS can be avoided. It is recommended that you stay in a place for a day or two before trudging on to higher land in order to best adjust yourself with the change in altitude and oxygen level.
There are tons of trekking places in Nepal and for most of the trekking is crucial. For different trekking routes, you have to apply for different permits. Before going on a trek, you should check whether your target destination requires a permit or not. If you have hired a guide, they will acquire the necessary permits and provide them to you.
In almost every trekking route in Nepal, nowadays there are numerous tea houses scattered around so there is not much need for trekking gear if you are going on the shorter end of the trip. On higher altitudes, there might not be tea houses along the route so you will have to carry your camping gear like tents, sleeping bags, etc. You will also need trekking shoes, warmer clothes, socks, hats and gloves, and a 30L or 50L trekking bag for higher altitudes.
Every trekking route has its own unique features and there are many trekkers trekking all year round in different places of Nepal.
Also Read: Find the full list of trekking gears needed here
Some trekking trails are rich in flora and fauna while some have magnificent mountain scenery. There are many trekking packages that have been made available by different Trekking companies in Nepal but only selected packages are recommended for beginners. The cost of the package depends on the time, service, and the route you choose.
For beginners, we recommend you to not go higher than an altitude of 4,000 meters as there is a chance of Acute Mountain Sickness(AMS). Additionally, while many people have a faint idea about what Nepal is like, they do not exactly know about the mountains, so we suggest that you do your research before diving headfirst into something.
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