WALKING & TREKKING IN NEPAL

Trekking Holidays in Nepal

We offer small group and tailor made walking holidays in Nepal. Treks in Nepal follow the trails between villages and ancient trading routes over mountain passes. Nepal trekking routes are the best mountain walks in the world. This is the home to Mount Everest and at an altitude of 8,848m is the highest mountain in the world. The mountain views in the Everest region are incredible. The Himalayan range is in the north of the country on the border with Tibet. There is a network of trails traversing the mountains from East to West.

First timers on a trekking holiday to Nepal will enjoy walking in the Everest and Annapurna regions. More experienced trekkers often return for one of our remote camping treks. Many of these treks are along the Great Himalaya Trail known as “GHT”. Other camping treks include the classic circuits like Dhaulagiri Circuit and Kanchenjunga CircuitWe provide a comfortable experience on our treks. Our team works hard to support you so that you can relax and enjoy the journey. Read more about what to expect on a typical day under the Practical Information section in our Trip Dossiers. For inspiration take a look at our YouTube Channel for videos of our Himalayan treks.

We have enjoyed organising trekking holidays in Nepal since 2004. Our Managing Director,
Roland Hunter, has walked most of the trekking routes in Nepal. Our trek leaders have a wealth of experience and knowledge about trekking in the Nepal Himalaya. Take a look at our AITO Traveller Reviews from our previous groups travelling with us in the Himalaya. With this track record we are known as one of the best trekking companies in Nepal. We look forward to welcoming you to Kathmandu in the future.

Where are the trekking regions of Nepal?

Trekking in Nepal is a diverse experience with different landscapes, cultures, and hiking trails. Many of our trekkers return to this country many times to explore the range of trekking regions in Nepal. We have listed below starting from the East on the border with India and crossing the country towards the West on the border with Tibet.

Kanchenjunga region (Far East Nepal)

National Park/Conservation Area: Kanchenjunga Conservation Area (2,035 km2)
Highest altitude: 8,586m (Mount Kanchenjunga)
Other peaks: Kangbachen (7,903m), Kirat Chuli or Tent Peak (7,365m), Gimmigela Chuli, or The Twins (7,350m)
Lowest altitude: 1,200m
Trekking passes: Mirgin La (4,663m) and Lumba Sumba (5,100m)
Travel from Kathmandu: 299km by plane to Bhadrapur (1 ½ hours) and 100k by driving to Taplejung (9 hours)
Treks: Kanchenjunga Circuit, Kanchenjunga BC to Makalu BC GHT and Kanchenjunga to Tumlingtar GHT

Makalu region (East Nepal)

National Park/Conservation Area: Makalu Barun National Park (1,500 km2)
Highest altitude: 8,463m (Mount Makalu)
Other peaks: Chamlang (7,319m), Baruntse (7,129m) and Mera Peak (6,654m)
Lowest altitude: 350m
Trekking passes: Shipton La (4,216m) and Sherpani (6,135m)
Travel from Kathmandu: 186km by plane to Tumlingtar (1 hour)
Treks: Makalu Base Camp, Makalu to Everest GHT, Kanchenjunga BC to Makalu BC GHT and Kanchenjunga to Tumlingtar GHT

Everest region (East Nepal)

National Park/Conservation Area: Sagarmatha National Park (1,148 km2)
Highest altitude: 8,848m (Mount Everest)
Other peaks: Lhotse (8,516m), Cho Oyu (8,188m), Nuptse (7,861m), Pumori (7,161m), Amadablam (6,812m) and Thamserku (6,608m).
Lowest altitude: 2,845m
Trekking passes: Cho La (5,420m), Renjo La (5,345m), and Kongma La (5,535m)
Travel from Kathmandu: 135km by plane to Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla (40 minutes)
Treks: Everest Base Camp, Luxury Everest Base Camp, Ama Dablam Base Camp, Everest Luxury Lodge, and Everest High Passes

Relevant articles on our Blog:
How Busy is the Trek to Everest Base Camp?
Is there are a Road to Everest Base Camp?
7 Tips for a Successful Trek to Everest Base Camp
Everest Base Camp in Nepal v K2 Base Camp in Pakistan

Langtang region (Central Nepal)

National Park/Conservation Area: Langtang National Park (1,710 km2)
Highest altitude: 7,245m (Mount Langtang Lirung)
Other peaks: Dorje Lakpa (6,988m)
Lowest altitude: 1,420m
Trekking passes: Laurebina La (4,700m) and Ganja La (5,132m)
Travel from Kathmandu: 84km by vehicle to Syabru Besi (7 hours)
Treks: Langtang & Laurebina La

Manaslu region (Central Nepal)

National Park/Conservation Area: Manaslu Conservation Area (1,663 km2)
Highest altitude: 8,163m (Mount Manaslu)
Other peaks: Yangra or Ganesh 1 (7,422m), Pabil or Ganesh IV (7,104m) and Salasungo Ganesh III (7,043m)
Lowest altitude: 1,400m
Trekking passes: Larkya La (5,135m)
Travel from Kathmandu: 101km by vehicle to Soti Khola (8 hours)
Treks: Manaslu Circuit, Manaslu Circuit with Tsum and Ganesh Himal

Annapurna region (Central Nepal)

National Park/Conservation Area: Annapurna Conservation Area (7,629 km2)
Highest altitude: 8,091m (Mount Annapurna 1)
Other Peaks: Dhaulagiri (8,167m), Manaslu (8,163m), Himalchuli (7,893m), Machapuchare (6,999m) and Lamjung (6,983m)
Lowest altitude: 790m
Trekking passes: Thorung La (5,416m)
Travel from Kathmandu: 166km by vehicle to Jagat (10 hours)
Treks: Annapurna Base Camp, Annapurna Circuit, Half Annapurna Circuit, Annapurna Luxury Lodge, Kopra Ridge & Kaire Lake, Mardi Himal, Lamjung Himal, and Dhaulagiri Circuit

Relevant articles on our Blog:
7 Best Annapurna Treks in Nepal
How to Avoid Walking along the Road on Annapurna Circuit trek in Nepal

Upper Dolpo region (Mid West Nepal)

National Park/Conservation Area: Shey Phoksundo National Park 3,555 km2)
Highest altitude: Mount Kanjiroba (6,883m)
Lowest altitude: 2,130m
Trekking passes: Kang La (5,380m), Chharka La (5,015m) and Sangda La (5,515m)
Travel from Kathmandu: 366km by plane to Nepalganj (1 ½ hours) then 148km by plane to Juphal (45 minutes)
Treks: Upper Dolpo to Jomsom GHT

Relevant articles on our Blog:
Is Upper Dolpo one of the most remote treks in Nepal?

Rara Lake (West Nepal)

National Park/Conservation Area: Rara National Park (106 km2)
Highest altitude: Chuchemara Peak (4,039m)
Lowest altitude: 2,800m
Trekking passes: Danphe Lekh pass (3,720m), Gurchi Lagna pass (3,447m) and Chankheli Lagna (3,594m)
Travel from Kathmandu: 366km by plane to Nepalganj (1 ½ hours) and 140km by plane to Jumla
Treks: Nepal Far West & Limi Valley GHT

How busy are the trekking regions of Nepal with other hiking groups?

Number of trekkers visiting the different regions of Nepal

You can have a quiet experience when trekking in Nepal where you are unlikely to see other hikers along the way. Knowing how busy it will be on the trail is an important consideration when planning a trek in Nepal. The main factor determining the "busyness" of a trek is the region of Nepal where it is taking place.
Take a look at our infographic below that shows the number of trekkers visiting the different trekking regions of Nepal. As you can see very few trekkers venture away from the Annapurna, Everest, and Langtang regions ---> 95% of all trekkers only visit one of these three regions of Nepal.

In 2019 there were only 806 trekkers in Kanchenjunga and 578 trekkers in Upper Dolpo. By looking at the statistics in more detail there was only 40 trekkers in Upper Dolpo in May and June. Our Upper Dolpo to Jomsom GHT groups have trekked during these months since 2011. They have rarely seen other walkers and in practice are far more likely to see a snow leopard!
Number of trekkers in Nepal by region in 2019
Source: Nepal Tourism 2019 report published by the Government of Nepal

What are the best trekking trails in Nepal?

If this is your first time hiking in Nepal there is a large range of itineraries to choose from. Some opt for Teahouse Lodge based walks like Annapurna Base Camp (also known as Annapurna Sanctuary), Half Annapurna Circuit or Everest Base Camp. Over the last 10 years or so, Luxury Lodges have been built in the Everest and Annapurna regions. Others prefer the quieter experience of a Camping trek to hike on less busy trails in the Himalaya.

Teahouse trekking routes are in Everest, Manaslu, Annapurna, Makalu and Langtang regions. There are also short treks with lodges such as around Pokhara on our Pokhara Panorama.

For walking in Nepal where there are no lodges you will need to join a camping trek. Some of our camping treks are along The Great Himalaya Trail ("GHT"). This is a route that traverses the country from end to end. It starts near Kanchenjunga in the East and continues to Humla on the Tibetan border in the West.

To help you select the best trek in Nepal for your requirements we have set up a Trip Search page on our website. This filters our portfolio of trips based on several factors. These are Trip Type, Features, Trip Style, Grading and Leadership. The options to select trips by their main Features are High Passes, Base Camps, Great Himalaya Trail and Summit Climbs. This should assist in finding your ideal walking holiday. Please get in touch with us if you have questions or need any help to make your choice.

Lamjung Himal trek in Nepal
Photo: Lamjung Himal trek in Nepal

How difficult is it to trek in Nepal?

There are Himalayan hiking trips in Nepal suitable for any age group or experience. In the past, we have organised family treks with young children and for older trekkers too. It is key to match the right goal with your experience and fitness. 

To help you choose we have given difficulty grades for our itineraries. There are six grades from Gentle to Challenging. This should help you understand how hard trekking is in Himalayas. We have also written on our Blog about How Hard is Dhaulagiri Circuit trek in Nepal? We have first-hand experience of our hiking holidays. Please get in touch with us to discuss what to expect and any training before departure.

Dhaulagiri Circuit trek in Nepal
Photo: Walking in Chonbarden gorge on Dhaulagiri Circuit trek in Nepal

When to go walking in Nepal?

We have selected the best month for our fixed date departures. This is from our knowledge of operating these treks and expeditions over the years. We have written a blog article When is the best time to go trekking in Nepal Himalaya? and this should help you select when to travel.

Take a look at our infographic below that shows the number of trekkers by the time of year. As you can see the busiest season for trekking in Nepal is Autumn with 69,199 trekkers. This is followed by the Spring season at 60,270 trekkers. Winter is the quietest season with 20,543 trekkers during the months of December to February.

The busiest month in the Spring season is April. Yet both the months of October and November in the Autumn season have more trekkers than April.

Choosing the best time depends on location, altitude, and difficulty. Some like Upper Dolpo to Jomsom GHT are only possible to do in May/ June as winter snows block the passes until then. The best month for Makalu to Everest GHT is in the Spring season during April to May. We do not organise this trip in the Autumn season as it is too cold and there is a high risk of passes blocked by snow.

One of our top tips is to consider a trek in December during the Winter season. It is not possible to do some treks as it will be too cold however it is a good time to trek to places like Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp. In December, the weather is usually sunny with a high-pressure weather system settled over the Himalayas.

We do not recommend trekking during the monsoon season. In July and August, there is heavy rain that can cause landslides and rockfall. It is an unpleasant experience to get wet on most days and to not see Himalayan views.

Number of trekkers in Nepal by season

Number of trekkers by season (Spring, Summer, Autumn/ Fall and Winter)
Source: Nepal Tourism 2019 report published by the Government of Nepal

How to prepare for a trek in Nepal?

After choosing your Himalayan trip then we will support you as you prepare for departure. We will send our Nepal Pre Trip Information document to help you get ready. This guidance includes sections on visas, changing money, hotels, restaurants, and culture. We will also send our Fitness Plan to provide ideas of how to get fit for a long walk in Nepal. You can download the Trip Dossier from our website with trip-specific information. This includes kit list, weather, and conditions, risk assessment, typical day on trek, and suggested maps & books.

What to pack for hiking in Nepal?

We have written a detailed packing list tailored for each of our treks. The lists are included on each trek web page under the Practical Information tab. This will help your preparations for the holiday. The kit list also provides information on the range of temperatures in Celsius. This will assist you in choosing the right sleeping bag and clothes to keep you warm. The kit list will also help you in choosing the right size backpack and other gear required. It is important for your comfort and safety to know what to wear for a trek in Nepal. Following our kit list is mandatory to ensure a successful trek. For some treks, we do a kit check after arrival in Kathmandu.

Annapurna Luxury Lodge in Nepal
Photo: Annapurna Luxury Lodge in Nepal

Is it safe to go high altitude trekking?

There are risks with trekking at high altitude in the Himalaya. Yet with effective planning most trips are in practice problem free. You should be aware of the risks and understand the contingency plans we have put in place for your safety. The Mountain Company operates our trips in compliance with British Standard 8848. We follow best practice to ensure the well-being of everyone joining a trip. For each trip we have identified the key risks. These are listed in the Practical Information tab on each trek webpage. Please do not hesitate to speak to us if you have any questions about how we organise our trips.

The key risk to consider is getting altitude sickness. We have designed our itineraries for gradual adaptation to high altitude. In practice altitude sickness is less likely to happen with a slow ascent. We have contingency plans to treat you in the field and for evacuation back to Kathmandu if required. Having reliable communications is essential and we provide a satellite phone with every group. We send a first aid kit with our guides on our treks in Nepal.

Makalu Base Camp in Nepal
Photo: Makalu Base Camp in Nepal

How much does a trek in Nepal cost?

A trek in Nepal can be expensive although is comparable to other long haul holidays. The costs depend on the type of itinerary as camping treks are more costly than teahouse treks. Other factors are the number of internal flights, permits and international leadership. For some of our trips we offer an Early Bird Discount for the first five bookings received by us. These discounts are only available for our international led treks.

The cost of our treks are included in the Dates & Price tab on each trip webpage. This also shows What is Included and What is Not Included. We include the cost of the trekking permits and will arrange for you in Kathmandu. Your budget should include our land only price plus international airfare and insurance. You should bring some money for incidentals and also to tip the Nepalese trekking guide and porters. We provide guidance on suggested tipping amounts in our Pre Trip information. We also provide suggestions for how much money to take with you when on the trail.

What are the best guidebooks for Nepal?

As a part of the preparations for your walking holiday it is a good idea to buy a guidebook. The best ones are Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya by Lonely Planet and Nepal Trekking and The Great Himalaya Trail published by TrailBlazer and written by Robin Boustead. For Everest treks, we recommend TrailBlazer’s Trekking in the Everest region written by Jamie McGuinness.

What are the best maps for trekking in Nepal?

Over the years, we have built up a large collection of trekking maps of Nepal. Roland has spent a lot of time trawling the book shops of Thamel in Kathmandu. His favourites are Pilgrims Book House, Vajra Bookshop, and the Map Shop. We have a fascination with maps, we love poring over them to dream up new trek ideas.

You should be aware that the accuracy of Nepalese maps is not as high as in UK, Europe, and North America. In the field, one does not tend to navigate directly off the map. Trekking maps in Nepal should be used more for general reference and for place names. The main publisher of maps in Kathmandu is Himalayan Map House also using the brand Nepa Maps.

We provide our clients with a complementary map of the trekking region you will be visiting. For planning purposes, before departure, we suggest you look at Google Maps. We have set these up for each of our trips and are viewable on our website. These are very accurate as we have used the location (latitude and longitude) from GPS used while on the trek.

Trekking maps of Nepal
Photo: trekking maps of Nepal

How do I get a tourist visa to enter Nepal?

All foreigners need a tourist visa for entry into Nepal. It is your responsibility to get an entry visa. You can get your visa in three ways:

  1. Apply online before departure.
  2. On arrival at Kathmandu airport.
  3. From Nepalese embassy overseas.

We recommend 1) above as the easiest and fastest way of getting your Nepal visa. After booking your holiday with us we will send detailed instructions to you in our Nepal Pre Trip Information document.

TRIP STYLES FOR TREKKING IN NEPAL

Teahouse Lodge

Teahouse Lodges are located in the more popular trekking regions of Nepal such as Everest, Manaslu, Annapurna, Makalu and Langtang. The lodges will provide your meals in a communal dining room and you sleep in a private room with a common or shared bathroom.

View Teahouse lodge trips in nepal

Teahouse Plus+

We developed our own unique Teahouse Lodge Plus+ style as a halfway standard between Teahouse Lodge and Luxury Lodge treks. For this trip style we include rooms at Teahouse Lodges with an attached bathroom where available. We also include a hot shower and a hot water bottle for use at nights.

View Teahouse Plus+ trips in nepal

Luxury Lodge

Luxury Lodges have been built in the Everest and Annapurna regions that provide a more comfortable alternative to the standard Teahouse Lodges previously available. These newer lodges provide a higher level of service with landscaped gardens, good food and attached bedrooms with hot showers and western toilets.

View Luxury Lodge trips in nepal

Camping

Camping style is a fully supported trek where our cooks will cater for all of your meals. We provide group equipment including personal tents, mess tent, kitchen tent and toilet tent(s). The key advantage of a camping trek is that you can access remote areas away from the busier trails with a lodge network.

View Camping trips in nepal

Hotels

There is a wide range of hotels in Nepal from budget guesthouses to higher end hotels and resorts. Over the years of operating in Nepal we have stayed at or personally inspected a large number of hotels so we can provide suggestions and advice based on first hand experience. 

View Hotel based trips in nepal

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