The Manaslu & Annapurna Circuit Trek is a fascinating trek bringing together two of the most beautiful treks in Nepal. The trekking route falls in the most popular trekking destinations in Nepal comprising the Manaslu and the Annapurna Circuit. Both the Manaslu & Annapurna Circuit trekking routes combine the lifestyle and culture along with snow-covered mountain peaks of western Nepal. This incredible trek combines the extraordinary natural beauty of the Himalayas. Also, it provides lots of chances to meet people of various cultures and different spoken languages. Crossing two high passes; Thorong La and Larkya La, both over 5000m, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. High mountain lakes surround these areas of trekking. It is also abundant in remarkable waterfalls, sacred monasteries, and cultural variance. Geographically spectacular and culturally fascinating, the Manaslu & Annapurna Circuit Trek itinerary could possibly be a dream of any trekking aficionado.
The Manaslu & Annapurna Circuit Trek passes through the most popular region of the Manaslu Conservation area and Annapurna Conservation area. Hence, it indicates that nature lovers get sufficient time to witness various species of birds and wildlife altogether. This marvelous trekking package in Nepal begins with a fantastic sightseeing tour in Kathmandu valley. Travelers get to explore some of the famous cultural and historical landmarks enlisted by UNESCO as world heritage sites.
Road trip from Kathmandu to Sotikhola, the starting point of the trek, is a gripping experience. It comprises of meandering roads to dirt tracks and countryside landscapes. In the course of trekking, outstanding views of the Himalayan peaks greet visitors in its glory. These peaks include Ganesh Himal, Himalchuli, Manaslu, Larkya, Himlung, Tilicho, Pisang, Chulu, Thorong, Gangapurna, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Nilgiri and others. The picturesque villages leave indelible impressions of the typical village life and the vivid cultural expanse of Nepal. The major villages on the Manaslu trail include Jagat, Namrung, Sho, Lo, Shyala, Samagaon, Samdo, Bimthang, Tilije, and Dharapani. While villages on the Annapurna trail include Chame, Pisang, Kagbeni, Jomsom and many other.
Another remarkable highlight of this popular trekking package in Nepal is the Ribung monastery in Lho village. In the same way, Pungyen Gompa at Samagaon is an impressive old-fashioned monastery. Larkya La Pass is the highest point in the Manaslu trail. Braga monastery and Mringchho Lake are other significant landmarks. Similarly, Thorong La Pass is the highest point on the Annapurna trekking trail. Likewise, hills of Mustang and Kali Gandaki Valley, numerous waterfalls, rivers, gorges, and forests are other attractions.
Royal Holidays have created the Manaslu & Annapurna Circuit Trekking itinerary in such a way that guarantees ample time for acclimatization. It is a major aspect to consider while traversing on the mountainous and rocky high-altitude trails. The best seasons for trekking in Nepal are during the autumn and spring. The skies, then, are clear and the views are glorious. Healthy people with average physical fitness, positive attitude, and strong determination are ready to do this marvelous trekking in Nepal. Join Royal Holidays to spend time with the local tribes. Get to learn about the exciting customs and legacy of Tibetan Buddhism and their daily life.
On arrival in Kathmandu and fulfilling immigration formalities, you will be met by one of our representatives near the exit gate of the airport with a placard for precise identification. You will then be transferred to your pre-assigned hotel room where you may stretch your legs and relax to regain your energy due to a possible jet lag. If your arrival time is early, then you may hit the streets of Thamel in the evening and saunter around, buy things that may entice your eyes or simply sit back and relax at some pub or music bar with your favorite beer and soothing melodies. Overnight in Kathmandu.
After a satisfactory breakfast in your hotel, you will embark for a guided tour to some of the most historical and spiritual attractions of the city that are listed under the UNESCO world heritage sites. A visit to the highly venerated Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, the high-flying monkey temple at Swayambhunath, Bouddhanath – a Buddhist shrine and one of the largest stupas in the world, and the charismatic Basantapur Durbar Square leaves impressive reminiscences at the back of your head for a considerable period of time. Later in the afternoon, you will visit our office where you will meet your trip manager, other trekkers, and crew members. Your trip leader will brief you shortly about your upcoming trip in the Annapurna region, check your equipment and interact for any unclear thoughts in your head before you go back to your hotel. Overnight in Kathmandu.
The drive from Kathmandu to Sotikhola is long yet quite adventurous across scenic landscapes, dirt roads and the magnificent countryside with vivid mountain views. Hence after an early breakfast, you will get on board a private vehicle which will drive you through numerous vibrant villages and terraced fields. Until you reach Dhading Besi which is around 3 hours drive from Kathmandu, the road is snaky, paved and smooth but onwards, the drive becomes entirely freaking exciting for adventure lovers. Crossing an important small town Arughat, you will reach Sotikhola that is a prime destination for those trekkers who wish to do the Manaslu or Tsum valley trek. Overnight in Sotikhola.
Beginning the day’s walk after a hefty breakfast, you will cross a bridge and hike through spectacular Sal forests, winding rocky trails and sublime waterfalls over a steep cliff. Walking past crystal clear streamlets and magnificent waterfalls across terraced paddy fields, you will arrive at a Gurung village of Labu Besi. Hiking along rocky terrain where valleys open and the rivers twist, your walk will lead towards the riverbed. Walking for some time along the bank of the river, it is then a gentle ascent over a valley ridge. You will finally make a subtle descend to the river once again to reach the Machha Khola Village. Overnight in Machha Khola Village.
After breakfast today, you will begin hiking by crossing the Thado Khola through several ups and downs and takes you to Khorla Besi. Walking through similar trails, you will arrive at a village with natural hot springs known as Tatopani (literally Hot Water in Nepali). Climbing a valley ridge and then crossing the Budi Gandaki River over a suspension bridge, it is another ascent passing a landslide zone to reach Dobhan. From here, you get another opportunity to walk over a suspension bridge to reach Duman. Traversing through undulating paths several times and crossing several tiny rivers and suspension bridges, the rugged trails will lead you to Thado Bharyang (which means steep staircase in Nepali). Crossing the Budi Gandaki River one more time at Lauri and then gently walking along the riverside, you will arrive at Jagat, a small farming village with a decent number of stores and shops. Overnight in Jagat.
Today, it is required for you to complete the formalities of the ACAP process before leaving Jagat and walking towards Deng through rocky trails over a ridge to Salleri, and then gently descending to Sirdibas. Crossing the Ghatta Khola over a suspension bridge and following a rivulet along a long hanging bridge, you will arrive at Philim, a considerably large Gurung village. Hiking past this village through amazing fields of millet at Ekle Bhatti, you will bump into another check post. Climbing the steep gorge before walking along the Budi Gandaki and descending the fertile slopes, you will reach a Y-junction, one of which leads towards the Tsum Valley and another towards Manaslu. You will take the left route as you are heading towards Manaslu. It is at this point that the trails of the valley begin to widen and leads amidst bamboo forests to Deng Khola. It is a short walk from this river after crossing a bridge towards the eastern bank that will lead you to the minuscule hamlet of Deng. Overnight in Deng.
Today, your hike requires crossing the Budi Gandaki River several times before reaching the destination at Namrung. After breakfast, you will cross the river and climb up to Rana passing the track up till Bhi. Crossing Serang Khola and walking past canyons, it is a steep ascent before heading towards the curves of Ghap. Following the route through Prok village, you will be blessed with mesmerizing views of the Sringi Himal from a viewpoint, although there is an alternate route bypassing Prok village. Several Buddhist monasteries emanate inner peace to your soul during your tiresome saunter. Beautiful fir and rhododendron forests with countless species of birds twittering soothing tunes will definitely energize your day’s walk. You will finally arrive at the historical Namrung village following the river upstream and ascending on decently constructed staircases. You should not miss an opportunity to capture the tantalizing views of the Sringi Himal, Ganesh Himal and Mt. Himal Chuli from this excellent viewpoint. Overnight in Namrung.
Climbing steadily after a scrumptious breakfast through mani walls, fields of barley and potato, and forests of fir, rhododendron, and oak, you will reach a tiny village of Lihi. The trail droops beyond Lihi and you will enter the valley shrouded by Simnang Himal and Ganesh Himal. You will then pass petite dazzling villages of Sho, Lho, and Syala before you reach Samagaon. There are some beautiful paintings at the gate arches which you will observe while crossing Sho village which includes idiosyncratic houses and atypical costumes. You will have your lunch at Lho village and enjoy awe-inspiring views of Mt. Manaslu from the mani walls of the village. Exploring the Ribung Monastery that lies on a hill towards the west is worth a walk. While in Syala you will be captivated by the splendid views of the soaring mountain peaks including Manaslu, Himal Chuli, Ngadi Chuli aka Peak 29, and Ganesh Himal. Offering great cultural spectrum to empathize the Buddhist culture, the trip concludes in Samagaon today. Overnight in Samagaon.
Today is the first acclimatization day after several days of spectacular hiking especially for getting to know higher altitudes on a closer prospect. It is also a perfect moment to get well accustomed to the prevailing Sherpa cultures in the vicinity of Samagaon. Besides opting to hike up to an old monastery, the Pungyen Gompa, lying atop a small hill, you may also hike up all the way through the base camp of Manaslu via the popular Birendra Lake. Today you will get ample opportunities to witness quite a bunch of Sherpa womenfolk in their traditional attires and iridescent ornamental make up. Overnight in Samagaon.
It is comparatively a shorter trekking day today, so after breakfast, you will kick off with a moderate climb to Budi Gandaki River traversing through yak paddocks. Continuing ahead, you will begin losing the inspiring views of Mt. Manaslu until you reach a junction, the left route leading towards Manaslu Base Camp and the right path on the Larkya La trail, the one you will be treading on surpassing numerous Mani walls. You will arrive Kermo Kharka passing juniper and birch forests after crossing a wooden bridge over the infamous Budi Gandaki River one more time. After walking uphill for a while you will reach a white kani beyond which lies a very picturesque village dedicated to yak herding, the Samdo village. The village offers exciting evening walks with eye-catching views, but since the cold winds could assault you, you may need a jacket for the purpose. Overnight in Samdo.
After breakfast, you will gear up for the second day of acclimatization exploring the highland regions in the surroundings of Samdo village. Walking uphill on the valleys behind the village of Samdo will take you up to the Tibetan border, which still remains a major trade route for the majority of traders of Manaslu region. The views from this place are tantalizing and you can savor one of the best glimpses of Mt. Manaslu and several other Himalayan peaks like Simrang, Hiunchuli, Ngadi Chuli, Larkya Peak and various other peaks. As a part of your acclimatization process, you may opt instead for a short trip to the Gya La Pass which lies to the north of Samdo village, which is also a trade route for the people living there. Overnight in Samdo.
After a second acclimatization day at Samdo, you will begin the drop down on a broader trail after your breakfast. After crossing the reduced Budi Gandaki river over a wooden bridge, you will begin walking uphill till you cross two ravines on tapered trails and two streams from where you can catch a sight of the Larkya Glacier around the valley of the Salka Khola. Several trekking maps may have it asserted, but in reality, you won’t find any Larkya Bazaar. During ancient times, it is believed that the traders from Namche Bazaar traveled through Tibet to this place for the trading purpose, hence there used to exist a marketplace then. Some scattered stone huts during those times were supposedly a part of that trading market known collectively as Dharmashala and otherwise called the Larkya Phedi or the base camp. Here, you may meet trekkers who possibly crossed the Larkya Pass from Bimthang side. Overnight in Dharmashala.
Today, you will climb consistently over a ridge behind Dharmashala towards the enormous flat glacial moraines of the Larkya Glacier. Astonishing views of Cho Danda and Larkya Peak can be perceived from this viewpoint. The climb may seem quite challenging due to the sheer rocky trails especially at the top of the moraine, though the climb is not technically difficult. Passing four frozen lakes while hiking downhill following the cairns and the metal snow poles, you will be doing a final steep climb up to Larkya La Pass which is blotched by colorful prayer flags. Outstanding views of Himlung Himal, Cheo Himal, Kanguru, and the gigantic Annapurna II will make your day a blessed one. Hiking downhill over the moraine and making a long vertical descent, you will now walk through loose gravel on a leveled path enclosed with grass. The route from here leads through a stunning valley gradually widening as you progress all the way to the picturesque Bimthang village. Overnight in Bimthang.
The walk from Bimthang towards Tilije is pleasant amidst the lateral moraine crossing the Bimthang glacier, high pastures, Sangure Kharka on the bank of Dudh Khola River and beautiful rhododendron forests. Views of Mt. Manaslu, Lamjung Himal, Himlung Himal, and Cheo Himal are exceptionally adorable. Following a path through a narrow valley till the highest cultivated land at Karche, the trails further leads to landscapes where you will observe marks of floods that damaged the tree trunks and rendered the track making it rough and uneven. After climbing precipitously over a ridge, the trail drops to the river bank from where a short walk will lead you to a Gurung settlement of Gho. Leaving behind Gho village the valley shows signs of greenery and fields and forests of oak and rhododendron become visible upon finally arriving at Tilije village. Overnight in Tilije.
After breakfast today, you will begin your hike by ascending up a tiny ridge along the path paved with stones that lead to a beautiful village. Leaving the village through a gate and crossing a suspension bridge over the Dudh Khola, you will arrive at Thonje village past an arch and several Mani walls. As you leave Thonje village, you will need to pass a security checkpoint before you can continue to hike till Dharapani that lies in the Annapurna circuit segment. Today’s walk is considerably a short hike beyond the tiny village of Tilije passing through several police checkpoints. Overnight in Dharapani.
After a hearty breakfast today, you will depart from Dharapani along few steep ridges surpassing pine and pine forests to reach Bagarchhap and Danaque villages within a couple of hours. Continuing to trek along with implausible views of Lamjung Himal, Annapurna II and Annapurna IV throughout the entire trek, you will climb up rigorously till the village of Timang. In the course of your trekking spree, you will leave behind small settlements of Lattemarang and Kotho over several ridges and small hot springs to arrive at Chame. Chame is the administrative headquarters of the Manang district. Overnight in Chame.
From Chame, you will continue walking on a tapered path passing dense pine and fir forests, several suspension bridges and apple orchards to reach Bhratang. Walking along the steepest part of the Marshyangdi valley through a very thick forest, the valley broadens towards Paungda Danda exposing the grand vistas. This ridge is an enormous oblique rock face soaring above 1500 meters above the trekking trail. You will keep moving to cross a ridge adorned with fluttering colorful prayer flags and stone cairns to enter the large Pisang village. This village is split into lower and upper Pisang. You can experience some amazing views of the snaky villages and long-winded houses of lower Pisang from the monastery at upper Pisang. Overnight at lower Pisang.
There are two routes that lead you to Manang from lower Pisang. After breakfast today, you will tread on the upper (north) trail via upper Pisang to Ghyaru instead of the southern trail via Hongde. En route you will witness the calm Mringchho Lake and also be able to observe stupendous vistas and marvelous views of beautiful landscapes and mountain peaks of Annapurna and Pisang. Before continuing to Ngawal village, you may visit the old monastery during your hike today. After lunch at Ngawal, the path descends gently until you reach Braga village from where it gets cold and the dry weather creates an inconsiderate environment. At Braga, you will get a chance to visit the largest monastery in the entire Manang district, the Braga Monastery. Finally, from Braga, it is a short walk till you arrive Manang, your destination. Overnight in Manang.
Today is the acclimatization day at Manang. However, being active is only the right way to adapt and get acquainted and adjust with the higher altitude and the thinning air rather than laying low. To help to get acclimatized, there are options for a hike to Bojho Monastery or to the ridge nearby Gangapurna glacier or walking up to the cave above Manang village. Another option would be a hike up to Chhunker viewpoint from where marvelous views of the Annapurna ranges and peaks like Tilicho, Pisang, Chulu, and Thorong can be appreciated. Remaining time can be spent wandering around the villages savoring the beauty of the village, native people, their culture and lifestyle. You can also visit the Himalayan Rescue Association and learn about the altitude sickness. Overnight in Manang.
After a scrumptious breakfast in Manang, you will begin a relaxing hike today as it is a short walk to Yak Kharka. The walk becomes gradually challenging from Tengi village as the air begin thinning so you are advised to walk at a slower pace and frequent halts. Entering the valley of Jarsang Khola, you will continue to Gunsang, a tiny hamlet with flat-roofed mud-built houses. The trail after this small village is on a leveled path and enters into pastures and small forests where you may witness barberry and juniper forests. Grazing yaks or horses in the picturesque meadows is a common sight before crossing a small streamlet on a wooden suspension bridge. Beyond the bridge, the path leads you to an ancient Mani wall in a pleasant meadow to reach Yak Kharka, a tiny settlement. Overnight in Yak Kharka.
After breakfast and a steep climb from Yak Kharka for less than an hour, you will cross a suspension bridge and reach Letdar village. This village is also used by some trekkers as a stopping point instead of Yak Kharka. You may probably encounter a herd of yaks as you tread on the narrow valley with steep slopes along with outstanding views of Annapurna III and Gangapurna. The dreamlike beauty of multi-hued hills envelope the areas from Letdar to Thorong Phedi. After a brief climb, it is a drop down till the river whereupon you will cross a wooden bridge. From here, the path ambles with a steep ascent up the other bank to a petite teahouse. After a brief halt at the teahouse, you begin hiking across a landslide-prone area which must be crossed in a jiffy and very carefully. You will now enter Thorong Phedi after a gentle downhill ramble. This place is nothing more than a beautiful rock-strewn meadow. Overnight in Thorong Phedi.
Today is perhaps the most enlivening portion of the entire trip for which you are required to wake up early to reach Thorong La Pass, the highest pass in the world at 5416 meters. The path takes a steep course on leaving Phedi but it is well defined and easy as it is regularly used by aboriginal yak herders and mule trains since ages. You will reach a teahouse at the top of the pass after almost 4 hours of the rigorous climb, all adorned by prayer flags and a small chorten. The views of the grandiose snow-clad peaks, hills of Mustang and Kali Gandaki Valley are simply awe-inspiring. You will retrace back with gentle descend after spending some finest moments at the highest pass in the world. The downhill walk to Mustang is quite tiring and seems more demanding on your knees; nonetheless, it is highly reimbursed with tantalizing views of Dhaulagiri peaks. Finally, you will arrive at Muktinath walking along the Jhong River Valley. Muktinath is a famous pilgrimage for both Hindus and Buddhist faith-worshippers. Overnight in Muktinath.
You will have ample time this morning in Muktinath to ramble around as hiking from Muktinath to Jomsom, after a grueling and a languid spell of trekking, is relatively very easy and barely a few hours walk. And yes! This is your last trekking day. There are plenty of Hindu temples as well as Buddhist monasteries which you would want to visit before leaving Muktinath. Your initial trail from Muktinath will lead to Ranipauwa village from where you will descend down the spectacular Kali Gandaki Valley passing the tiny picturesque villages of Jharkot and Khingar. These petite villages are adorned with idiosyncratic Tibetan structural drawings. There is a notable monastery and plenty of Buddhist caves in Jharkot if you wish to have a brief peek before continuing your trek. Walking past gorgeous paddocks, streams, rivulets and fruit gardens, and a breathtaking village of Kagbeni, you will reach the district headquarters of Mustang that is Jomsom, following the valley floor. Throughout the entire walk today, you can savor the incredible and astounding views of Dhaulagiri and Nilgiri peaks. Overnight in Jomsom.
After breakfast at your hotel in Jomsom, you will get on board for an early morning exquisite flight to Pokhara along the Kali Gandaki Valley with mind-blowing views of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna mountains. On arrival at Pokhara airport, you will be connected with another flight scheduled to depart to Kathmandu. However, if you have a late afternoon connecting flight to Kathmandu, you may quickly browse the hotspots of the lake city, take a stroll at the lakeside for a scrumptious lunch, take pleasure of a boat ride at Phewa Lake and then return to the airport. Picturesque views of the snow-capped mountains will accompany you as you fly to Kathmandu. On arrival at Kathmandu, you will be transferred to your hotel room. In the evening, you are free to catch up on some last minute shopping or simply stroll around the bustling streets of Thamel or sit down in an upbeat pub enjoying every sip of your favorite Nepali beer and live musical bands performing your favorite songs. Overnight in Kathmandu.
You will be dropped off at the airport well ahead of your scheduled flight time by one of our representatives. If you have an evening flight, you may wish to visit certain heritage sites of Kathmandu on your own. However, if you wish to extend your holidays in Nepal, then Royal Holidays are ever ready to create another wonderful trip in the Himalayas.
-Nepal entry visa fee (available upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu)
-International airfare and departure tax
-Extra night accommodation in Kathmandu and Pokhara due to early arrival, late departure or any other reason causing to return from the trek earlier than the scheduled time.
-Lunch and Dinner in Kathmandu and Pokhara
-Travel insurance that covers emergency high-altitude rescue and evacuation
-Personal expenses including phone calls, laundry bills, alcoholic hot and cold drinks, battery recharge, personal trekking equipment, extra porter, bottled or boiled water, hot shower (during trekking) etc
-Tips for guide/porter/driver etc.
However alike the terms hiking, trekking, and climbing may sound, there are numerous aspects to distinguish among the three. Hiking is an activity that involves half-day to one-day easy walk where technical equipment is not required at all. Trekking is a multi-day activity where trekkers walk for several hours on a particular day to make a stop at some teahouses or basic lodges. Comparatively, it is a bit more demanding than hiking and it may require gears and equipment at certain stretches of the trail, though it is very rarely used. Trekking is something in between hiking and climbing with regards to difficulty and time duration. Mountain climbing is something different and the most challenging of them all. It requires special equipment and gears and involves more risk when making ascends to the high mountain trails or trek through the rugged off-the-beaten-path. Climbing requires a high level of physical fitness, previous experience and advanced knowledge about the equipment.
For every trekker, the best possible answer as to why they should trek in Nepal is based on the fact that, out of the 14 mountains in the world that are above 8000 meters, Nepal has 8 of them in addition to 1310 peaks that are over 6000 meters. The government of Nepal has permitted outsiders to trek or climb more than 300 peaks including the world’s tallest Mt. Everest. Besides, trekking in Nepal is cheap with abundant affordable lodges and teahouses dotted all over the trails in the major areas of trekking. It is comparatively much pricier to go for trekking in other countries popular for trekking such as Japan, Peru or New Zealand. Trekking in Nepal is safe and offers an undeniable opportunity to immerse in deep cultural and religious insights. Over and above, Nepal is the land of the Himalayas – the supreme land with endless options.
No matter where you are trekking, the difficulty level depends on how healthy you are, and whether a trekker is capable to walk for a few hours on a regular basis for several days. It should not be too difficult to trek in Nepal if your fitness level has been maintained and you are doing regular exercises. Trekking in Nepal may seem challenging but definitely not grueling as the trekking itinerary in Nepal have all been crafted in such a way that trekkers need to walk a comfortable distance each day without any exertions. All that one requires is a mental stability, good health and a strong determination to finish the race.
Walking hours while trekking in Nepal depends on the trek, easy, moderate or strenuous. Some trekkers customize their trip and walk a few hours more each day to shorten the number of days. However, in general, easy treks involve 4 to 6 hours of daily walk on a good weather, well-maintained path that is easily reachable to local facilities. A moderate trek will require a walking of 6 to 7 hours daily on the steep hilly landscapes and usually jagged trails and strenuous treks may require 7 to 8 hours of walking each day on high altitudes with challenging ascends and descends. Generally speaking, on reaching higher altitudes, usually higher than 3000 meters, it is unsafe to climb more than 500 meters in one day due to the possibility of altitude sickness. So, the higher you walk, the shorter will be the walking duration as the walk will be at a slower pace.
The conditions of weather in the mountains are always unpredictable, and it is cold even during the summer season. The degree of coldness varies with the altitude and seasons of trekking. Although daytime becomes warmer during the summer season, nights and mornings are always cold. The average maximum and minimum temperatures of Kathmandu (1350 m) during summer are 29˚C and 18˚C respectively, while during winter the temperatures are 17˚C and 2˚C. While the average maximum and minimum temperatures in the mountains above 5000 meters in summer are 15˚C and 2˚C respectively, and winter temperatures are 6˚C and -18˚C. All the treks in Nepal do not necessarily require reaching at very high elevations although quite a lot of them do. However, it is always better to feel safe rather than sorry, so trekkers are expected to carry sufficient warm clothing regardless of the season they are trekking.
Although hiring a guide is not compulsory while trekking in Nepal, we would never advocate our guests to go on their own. Although trekkers may save some money while trekking on their own, hiring a guide and a porter makes it much easier and exhilarating. We do not encourage novice trekkers especially first-timers in Nepal to travel alone. Going on your own, you are accountable for managing your own logistics, higher risks of getting lost in the trails and no one taking care of you in case of emergencies. Most of all, the beauty of the trek does not remain the same as there is no one to explain about the places, local people and their culture, history and traditional beliefs of significant landmarks en route.
Yes and No. Yes, you will carry your things if you trek on your own. But if you book your trekking holiday with a reliable trekking agency, you don’t have to worry about anything else; you will be accompanied by a knowledgeable guide and a hard-working porter and make your walk a hassle-free event.
In general, trekking in Nepal is much cheaper comparing to other countries popular for trekking. However, there are several factors which make trekking cheaper or costlier. For instance, using domestic flights and luxury accommodation during the trip obviously will take the cost to a higher side. On the other hand, budget travel and basic accommodation will lower the trip cost. Also, the cost of trekking in the most remote areas of Nepal would be on a higher scale as compared to the most frequented destinations where accessibility is very easy nowadays. Customizing your trip and deciding how many hours to walk per day, where to stay and what to eat could possibly lower the trip cost by a certain bit.
Accommodation during your trek in Nepal depends on your predilection. In general, trekkers will be accommodated in preferred lodges, home-stays, teahouses or even luxury lodges. In some remote trekking areas, you will be staying in tents as there are no lodges or teahouses yet. Luxury hotels and home-stay options are not available in all the trekking trails and confined to only certain areas. Most of the basic teahouses and lodges are simple, clean and comfortable.
You will be served with authentic Nepalese food along with Tibetan, Indian and some continental dishes although these may not always be available in all the trekking routes. At lower elevations of the popular trekking routes, where logistics is easily accessible, most lodges and teahouses provide with a decent menu which engrosses a variety of dishes including pizza and spaghetti. While at much higher altitudes and in the remote areas, you will not have many options apart from the traditional Dal-Bhaat, Momo, Noodles, and Vegetables. For breakfast, the food includes pancakes, flat-bread, porridge, potatoes, eggs and so on.
The effects of high altitude are quite arbitrary and do not necessarily relate to how robust you are. Surpassing an altitude of 3000 meters, it is an increased probability for being hit by acute mountain sickness. The only trick to avoid or minimize this sickness is not to over-do anything. Acclimatization is another very important aspect of trekking in higher altitude to avoid sickness. Most of the itineraries of trekking in Nepal include one or several acclimatization days, which should not be disregarded at all. One more factor to prevent getting hit by altitude sickness is to climb not more than 600 meters per day.
Different trekking destinations in Nepal require a different number of days to accomplish. The time duration for trekking depends on your choice of the destination; some destinations have different routes too. Short trekking requires as less as 7 to 9 days and goes up to 20 days or more as per the trekkers’ preferred destination or route. For example, the Everest panorama view trek or the Annapurna sunrise view trek is complete in 7 to 9 days while the Annapurna Circuit trek or the Kanchenjunga Circuit takes 21 days to finish. Based on your choice which further depends on your own interest, physical fitness, time constraint, and financial issues, it is up to you to schedule the number of days of your trip to Nepal.
Some of the trekking routes in Nepal suffered extensive damage by the devastating calamity, although most of them remained intact. The most popular trekking destination in Nepal to suffer huge damage was the Langtang Valley Trek, which swept away the entire valley killing a large number of people. An avalanche at Everest Base Camp during the earthquake left several mountaineers dead and damaged many lodges. Few trekking routes in the central region of Nepal were badly affected. In the present day picture, all the trekking routes damaged then, have been reconstructed and fully functional now. Having said that, the government of Nepal is in the process to reinstate and build new infrastructures for the Visit Nepal 2020 scenario.
It is in fact very hard to name just a few of them as the best destinations as each one has its own uniqueness and peculiar characteristic features. So to say, the possibilities are boundless. However, on a global scale, the two most popular treks would definitely be the Everest Base Camp Trek and the Annapurna Circuit Trek. Down the list are some other renowned trails all around Nepal with endless fascinations such as the Manaslu Circuit Trek, Upper Mustang Trek, Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek, Nar Phu Valley Trek, Tsum Valley Trek, Langtang Valley Trek, Makalu Base Camp Trek, and many more.
Nepal is the second richest country in the world for water resources, but the feasibility of drinking is highly questionable. Teahouses and lodges in the major trekking trails provide filtered and boiled water, the major sources being taps, streams, and rivers from the Himalayas. Although it is possible to buy bottled water on the entire trails of the popular trekking routes, we highly discourage using them as plastic bottles are not environmental friendly. On the contrary, we suggest that you carry purifying agents like steriPen UV, chlorine, iodine tablets or other agents for environmental reasons.
If you are on a camping trek, you will be eating meals cooked by our professional cook. For teahouse trekking, you will be eating your dinner and breakfast in the same teahouse where you will be staying for the night and lunch will be served on the way to your next destination. There are several comfortable lodges and guest-houses on the famous trails which provide a moderate variety of choices for you to dine apart from the traditional Nepali Dal-Bhaat. Whereas, at higher altitude teahouses and some routes in the remote areas, you won’t have many options rather than sticking to the traditional Nepali cuisine.
Communication during trekking won’t be a problem as long as the network or mobile coverage is available. One can purchase a local SIM in Kathmandu and stay connected with their loved ones while some significant trekking routes local VHF phones. In the past, it was not possible to communicate, but in the recent years, most of the popular trekking routes have 3G connectivity throughout the entire trail, except a few places where the coverage is poor or not available at all.
We advise you to wear a comfortable shoe that is already broken, if newly purchased so as to avoid blisters while walking. Shoes preferably with Gore-Tex style lining is what we normally recommend for trekkers; they provide ultimate comfort and have thicker soles which makes your walking experience on rocky paths a pleasant one. Those who intend to climb peaks are recommended a crampon, a must-have gear.
Female tourists are prone to be esteemed, whether traveling alone, in pairs or as a couple. Nepalese men are by and large courteous and defensive of solo women travelers. There will be exemptions of course but for the most part, there is no lack of enthusiasm related to traveling on your own as a woman in Nepal. For a solo woman or even man, it is prudent to take a guide with you if it is your first trek. Over and above, Nepal is safe for solo travelers where one can enjoy the companionship of other lone trekkers along the path sharing the same enthusiasm.
The universal risk at high altitudes especially above 3000 meters is that the density of oxygen is very low and might not suffice the human body. Due to the lower oxygen content, the air begins to get thinner thereby making it difficult to breathe. The human body may experience improper functioning mainly because of the oxygen content in air and one is likely to be hit by Acute Mountain Sickness, also known as altitude sickness which begins with a normal headache followed by nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath with physical exertion. It may further enhance leaving muscles to ache, insomnia, vomiting, irritability, loss of appetite, swelling of the hands, feet, and face, and rapid heartbeat. If the sickness is not attended immediately, there would be severe attacks whose symptoms are coughing, chest congestion, pale complexion, and skin discoloration, inability to walk or lack of balance, and social withdrawal. You don’t have to worry as long as you are following proper acclimatization processes during the trek. On top of that, our itineraries have been created in such a way that it allows plenty of time for acclimatization and our guides will assist you throughout the trek to avert such problems at high elevations.
All of our trekking itineraries cover overall charges during the trek including accommodation and all meals except for food charges while in the nearest city before or after your trek. However, there may arise some personal expenses which are not included in the package cost. These may include hot water, battery charging, phone bills, laundry, any extra snacks or purchase of personal gifts. So, it is our recommendation that you carry a small amount of money in low denominations while trekking in Nepal.
Accommodation during the trek firstly depends on your trekking destination because all the trekking routes in Nepal are different in their own way. In the most popular trekking trails, your accommodation will be arranged in comfortable and standard teahouses or lodges on a twin-sharing basis. Before and after your trek, you will be accommodated in a standard deluxe hotel with breakfast in Kathmandu or Pokhara. There are certain places on the trekking route that have luxury lodges, so if you wish to relax in style, we can arrange luxury accommodation at an additional cost. Some of the trekking routes, however, do not have facilities of accommodation, especially in the far-flung remote areas – in such cases, you will be camping otherwise sleeping in home-stays.
The official statement from IPPG (International Porter Protection Group) allows a porter to carry a maximum of 30 kg. However, while trekking in Nepal, some porters oblige to exceed the maximum limit to earn some extra bucks. Also, it depends on the trekking routes – if you are on a camping trek, then the camping porter will carry up to 40 kg. You are responsible to carry your own daypacks, but in certain instances, a porter may oblige to carry it for you with or without an extra charge – it all depends on how you have been treating them.
It is always good to maintain your physical fitness whether you are trekking or not. In Nepal, there are several categories of trekking ranging from the easy trek, moderate treks, and strenuous treks. However hard the trekking maybe, it is expected that you have been doing regular exercises prior to trekking in Nepal. The minimum requirement is that you should be physically fit and in a sound health, have the zeal for exploring the wild and a strong determination to accomplish the feat. It is an added advantage for those who have had a previous hiking experience. It is also important that the trekker is free from any chronic issues with their health; it is better to discuss with your physician whether you are fit to do a trek in Nepal or not.
It is a matter of concern if you don’t have any walking experience and you wish to embark upon a moderate or a strenuous trekking in Nepal. However, a walking experience is not really necessary if you wish to do some easy treks in Nepal. Even if you have never hiked before, it is recommended that you take up regular exercises on a daily basis for a couple of months prior to your actual hike in Nepal once your trekking dates are fixed. To complete a wonderful trek in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, we suggest you do cardiovascular exercises that will certainly help you get adapted to high elevations in the mountains without any problems of mountain sickness.
Trekking below 4000 meters in Nepal won’t require much from you besides the warm clothing and good pair of shoes, but if you intend to go beyond, we recommend you to carry the following items apart from your valid passport with photocopies, several passport size photos, airline tickets, insurance documents, and cash for personal expenses and tipping:
-Water bottle & sunglasses
-Flashlight, toothbrush, paste, and multipurpose soap
-Medical first-aid kit & duffel bag
-Sun lotion & anti-altitude sickness pills – Diamox or Acetazolamide
-Sleeping bag & quick-drying towel
-Water purification tablets
-Hiking pants and shirts
-T-shirts & warm socks
-Poncho, gloves, woolen hats and gaiters
-Deodorants, small mirror, and moisturizer creams
-Wet wipes and toilet rolls
-Hand wash and sanitizers
-Voltage converter & plug adapter
Our foremost advice to our guests would be to take up some exercises prior to your trekking in Nepal so as to minimize the risks of altitude sickness during the trek. However, if it happens that you are hit by the acute sickness or face some other accidents, our knowledgeable guide will inspect the intensity of your condition before taking action. If deemed critical, you will be carried back to a lower elevation immediately and assisted with first aid treatment. One person will always be there with you to attend to your needs. But if your condition seems to worsen, you will be immediately evacuated on a rescue helicopter to either Kathmandu or Pokhara depending on the trekking destination.
Using services of a reputed trekking agency has various merits, but as a direct answer to this rational question, the answer would be No. It is not mandatory to use a trekking agency for your trekking holiday, but we recommend you to do so if you want to enjoy a hassle-free trip. Going on your own, you will be carrying a lot of burden and trekking wouldn’t be as charming as it ought to be. You will need to face the troublesome permit preparations, special trekking permits or peak and mountain-climbing permits, and filming and shooting permits. Using a trekking agency, you will get to enjoy every bit of the trip – they will manage everything for you including a knowledgeable guide who will narrate you the history and the legendary myths behind significant landmarks that you come across the trails.
As such, there are no official dress codes for trekking in Nepal – you are advised to wear that you are comfortable in. However, your dressing code can have certain impacts on the people of Nepal as they are highly concerned about western civilization. Skimpily dressed or revealing attires are a major look-upon in Nepal. We recommend you to wear something decent that covers your body as much as possible, and something thick to fight against the odds of the Himalayan temperatures.
As the old adage goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure’, it is best to avoid those things that could deteriorate your health during the trek. Avoiding alcohol and tobacco products is a wise decision to make. We suggest you not to eat meat products as far as possible in higher elevations as they may not be very fresh. Try to acclimatize as much as possible as acute mountain sickness is imminent while trekking above 4000 meters. In the similar context, we highly advise you to drink plenty of water or fluids and not to forget boiling your water before drinking or at least adding a purifying agent to it, for those who prefer their water cold.
Normally, teahouses are local lodges in which trekkers will eat their dinner and sleep in the nights during the trek. A teahouse can refer to large comfortable, well-built lodges with common areas or a small bamboo hut in the middle of nowhere that will provide a place to sleep and food to eat. So teahouse trekking means that you will be sleeping in these types of accommodations. It is the most popular style of trekking in Nepal and involves hopping from one teahouse to another each day. Normally teahouses at all places will provide trekkers with the facility of 24-hour running water, a decent bed to sleep, hot-water bathing and common areas to dine and chit-chat. Although basic, teahouses in popular trekking routes provide most of the quintessential amenities possible at such far-flung places. Teahouses along less popular trekking routes are usually more elementary and one is expected to sleep in common rooms around a comfortably warm stove.
All the guides that we use for your service are government licensed and have a good number of years’ experience in the mountains. Being locals of the mountainous regions, they have better knowledge of their areas than anyone else. Most of them have worked for more than a decade accompanying trekkers in the mountainous segments of Nepal. They are proficient in English and we make sure to motivate them at regular intervals to remind them of their responsibilities. They are friendly in nature and possess a great deal of knowledge of the trekking route and the landmarks that lie in the villages. They have been trained in various organizations including TAAN (Trekking Agents Association of Nepal) and KEEP (Kathmandu Environmental Education Project). Additionally, they possess first-hand knowledge about first aid and medical rescue, personal protection equipment, and they are constantly advised to follow the principles of ecotourism, responsible and sustainable tourism and nature conservation.