The Best Treks In Nepal

Few things in life allow you to feel as genuinely free as long-distance trekking. The Nepalese Himalaya offers many options that vary in difficulty, length, and cost, but each is ultimately going to be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have. Here we’ll break down the ten best treks in Nepal along with the basic need-to-know details.

An important thing to remember is that trekking in Nepal requires permits. The basic permit, TIMS (Trekkers Information Management Systems) is generally the one to get. Permits can be arranged and obtained upon arrival in Nepal at the Nepal Tourism Board Office on Pradarshani Marg, Kathmandu, Tel: +977 1 4256909. We’ve added some links to permitting information at the bottom of this document. We’ve included some additional links to permitting resources at the bottom of the article.

Manaslu Circuit

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The Manaslu Circuit trek offers stunning views, culture, adventure and solid infrastructure without the Annapurna and Everest Base Camp crowds. Although the trail is becoming more popular it’s still a bit of an outlier, perhaps because you are required to have a guide. No flights required, the trail is a bumpy 6-8  jeep ride away from Kathmandu.


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Length: 15 days

Difficulty: Hard

Best Time to Go: March-May, October-November

Cost: ~$1000- $1500 USD including food, accommodations, private jeep transportation to and from Kathmandu, permit, Sherpa and Porter

Accommodations: Teahouse, Lodge

Permits: ACAP, MCAP, RAP

Everest Base Camp

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photo credit Andrew Eland via Flickr

Mt. Everest is the legend. We’ve been hearing about it for our entire lives. Unless you’re planning to put in years of training and devotion, reaching the summit is all but impossible. But medium-level trekkers can get to the base camp, where they can gaze up towards the sky in bewilderment and disbelief while still having a very brag-able accomplishment to tell friends back home.

Length: 12-15 days

Difficulty: Medium

Best Time to Go: Spring (March-April) or Fall (October-November)

Cost: ~$1500 USD including food, accommodations, flights from Nepal, permit, Sherpa and Porter

Accommodations: Teahouse, camping

Permit: TIMS

Upper Dolpo

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photo credit Carsten Nebel via Wikimedia Commons

Off the beaten path, Upper Dolpo is a good way to avoid much of the crowds at the more popular treks. This journey takes trekkers over three big time mountain passes- Nagdolo La (5350m), Shey La (5000m), and Jeng La (5110m). If you’ve hiked a fourteener in Colorado or summited other large mountains, this trek is a longer, more intense experience but similar in that it involves much hiking up and then down. The views are absolutely amazing. At that altitude, you feel as if you can see forever.

Length: 22-25 days

Difficulty: Hard

Best Time to Go: March-May, October-November

Cost: $2500-3000 USD per person, minimum of two people to obtain a permit. Includes food, accommodations, flights to Nepaljung, permit, Sherpa and Porter staff.

Accommodations: Camping

Permit: RAP

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Marsyangdi river valley

Marsyangdi river valley- photo credit Ace the Himalaya Travel & Adventure via Flickr

 

For trekkers with less experience, the popular Annapurna trek may be the best way to go. Easing into the high altitude is slower on this trek. You’ll walk through jungles, ascending mountain trails into the high alpine and take in some of Nepal’s best views of the Annapurnas, Macchupucchre, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and Langtang Himal.

Length: 14 days

Difficulty: Medium to Moderate

Best Time to Go: March-May, October-November

Cost: ~$1500 USD including transport from Kathmandu, Sherpa, and Porter, food, accommodation, permits

Accommodations: Teahouse

Permit: ACAP, TIMS

Langtang Valley Trek

langtang

photo credit Stha.nibesh16 via Wikimedia Commons

With views of Makalu and the Annapurnas, the Langtang Valley trek takes trekkers past some of the most diverse vegetation and terrain in Nepal. You’ll pass through amazing villages and have the opportunity to observe the local Tamang culture. It can also be done much quicker than most of the other treks without sacrificing stunning views and incredible experiences.

Length: 10 days

Difficulty: Medium to Moderate

Best Time to Go: March-May, October-November

Cost: $600-$800 including transport from Kathmandu, Sherpa, and Porter, food, accommodation, permits

Accommodations: Teahouse

Permit: TIMS

Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek

kanchajunga

photo credit Tomabarker via Wikimedia Commons

Kanchenjunga, in eastern Nepal, is significantly less well-known than Everest. Without the international fame, this trek is less crowded but absolutely stunning. The remoteness of Kanchajunga makes access difficult and skyrockets the cost of the expedition, but for those looking for the ultimate adventure the reward is more than worth it.

Length: 12-26 days, generally about 20

Difficulty: Extreme

Best Time to Go: March-May, October-November

Cost: $2700 for about 20 days, includes transport from Kathmandu, permits, accommodations, food, Sherpa and Porter

Permit: KCA, RAP

 Poonhill Trek

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photo credit Matt Zimmerman via Flickr

Poonhill is a short, highly trafficked part of the Annapurna Region. It made the list because of the stunning, diverse views, low cost, easy accessibility, and the fact that it is ideal for first-time trekkers. Trekkers can watch the sunrise over the Himalayas and pass through Ghandruk and numerous other cultural villages. Interaction with others is highly available on this trek due to its popularity and proximity to the villages.

Length: 5-7 days

Difficulty: Easy to Medium

Best Time to Go: March-May, October-November, although this trek is doable in winter.

Cost: $400-$500 including transport from Kathmandu, Sherpa, and Porter, food, accommodation, permits

Accommodations: Teahouse, lodge

Permit: TIMS

Upper Mustang

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photo credit Jean-Marie Hullot via Flickr

Upper Mustang stands out because of the barren landscape. Instead of lush forests leading into high alpine, Upper Mustang gives a completely different feel and provides a new set of views. You’ll get a flare of Tibetan culture as well, and that means local dishes that you might not find in other parts of Nepal. It does get windy, and the overall trek is a hard one. But this trek is a great way to step up your game for experienced trekkers and hikers.

Length: 14 days

Difficulty: Extreme

Best Time to Go: March-May, October-November

Cost: ~$2000 including transport from Kathmandu, Sherpa and Porter, food, accommodation, permits

Accommodations: Guesthouse, lodge

Permit: Restricted.

A quick note on trip pricing:

The time of year you decide to do your trek will affect how much money you’ll need to budget. Your negotiation skills, tour company choice, transportation, add on options, and a variety of other factors will cause final costs to fluctuate. The costs listed here are estimates for the trek, guide, and food/lodging while on the trek, and don’t include airfare or food/lodging in Kathmandu prior to beginning the trek. Prices are sourced primarily from BookMundi, a cool site that gives solid overviews of what is typically included and excluded in trekking package tours.

 

A quick note on trekking permits:

Be sure you have your permits taken care of before beginning the trek! Some require an in-person office visit in Kathmandu, others can be bought online. Here are some solid resources for permitting info:

TIMS Nepal– general TIMS permit

Visit Nepal– office locations, pricing, and general permitting information

Trekking Agencies Association– general permitting information and a great outline of specific permitting costs, also a membership-based community resource for trekkers.

Other Resources:

The Ultimate Trekking Gear Guide 

Trekking Nepal Podcast Series

Nepal Trekking Season: When To Go

Best Travel Insurance For Trekking

About the author:

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Tim Wenger is a Denver-based journalist, traveler, and snowboarder. He’s been reporting for numerous pubs and agencies across travel, music, craft culture, and more since 2010. Check out his portfolio at timwenger.net

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