You simply can’t travel to Nepal and not go trekking. The mountains are by far the biggest draw for intrepid travellers and there really is something for everyone. To help you plan your trip,I decided to talk to some fellow adventure-loving travellers and put together a list of the best treks in Nepal for fellow outdoor enthusiats.
It’s important to know from the beginning that most treks in Nepal aren’t for total beginners. The reason I state this is that most require a certain level of fitness and stamina and also the willpower to keep going when every muscle in your body aches. That said, there are some shorter 2 to 5 day treks which I talk about at the end of the article, which I beginner could complete.
I know this as I’m far from fit and had never hiked in my life before completing the 5-day Mohare Danda trek near Pokhara. Nothing is impossible and if you really set your mind to it, you could probably complete any of the treks listed below. Should I 3 or 5 day trek sound off limits to you, you can also do some mini hikes in the Kathmandu Valley, listed as some of the top things to do in Kathmandu.
Quick trekking in Nepal travel tips
- Don’t spend a fortune in your home country buying a never-ending list of trekking and camping equipment that you *think* you need. Everything can be bought in Kathmandu and I mean EVERYTHING. Thamel is the North Face capital of the world so if you’re looking for hiking jackets, shoes, torches, backpacks, poles, bags, etc, it can all be bought for much much cheaper on arrival in Nepal.
- Many trekking companies will also provide bags and even poles for hikers signed up to their treks. For example, porters often have to carry 3 peoples bags all tied together, This means backpacks and suitcases are definitely not suitable and they actually prefer to carry everything in 1 or 2 duffel bags tied together. Be sure to ask your trekking company when bag to bring before going off and buying an expensive backpack!
- Go local! If you’re not super tight on time, I recommend booking you Nepal trek in Kathmandu. This was the money gets pumped straight back into the local economy instead of the greedy hands of large, international tour companies. An Everest Base Camp trek could appear to be $3,000 online, and the exact same trek with local guides (the same guides as you would have if you booked online in your home country) might only cost $1,000. That’s a huge difference.
- Plastic and waste is a huge problem is Nepal so for crying out loud whatever you do, bring a reusable water bottle with a built-in filter so you can fill it up in taps, rivers, wherever and not have to keep buying, and throwing out plastic waste.
- One thing I wished I had brought more of was energy bars and snacks. You can NEVER have enough snacks. I often felt hungry during our trek and eating the same meals again and again at the Tea Houses can get tedious.
- Conserve your batteries! Be it your phone or your camera, be sure to bring a mighty big battery pack as there is often no electricity at the tea houses or one plug that everyone fights over. By the end we all just gave up and accepted a little digital detox was probably for the best!
Best Treks in Nepal: The Epic Adventure Treks
Annapurna Base Cape Trek
Duration: 10 days
Cost: $30 per day PLUS guide costs
Annapurna is the 10th highest mountain in the world. The Annapurna Base camp trek takes you halfway up the mountain to the climber’s base camp. You start near the city of Pokhara, then trek steadily uphill through jungle and villages. Eventually, you climb above the treeline into the Annapurna Sanctuary, a protected area on the upper slopes of the mountain. The Annapurna Base Camp trek is rated as moderate since it takes only 10 days and doesn’t spend that much time at high elevations. However, it has steep climbing and lots of stone stairs so you do need to be in good shape.
If you go without a guide, expect to pay about $30 USD per person per day for food and lodging in tea houses. However, I recommend you hire a local guide to enrich your cultural experience and help the local economy. Guides charge $25-30 USD per day and you can split this cost with a group. One of the most famous treks in Nepal and one you’ve probably heard a lot about already!
Thanks to Taryn from Happiest Outdoors for the personal recommendation.
Duration: 10 days
Langtang treks hold a special significance in my mind and heart as it is one of the easiest trekking route available in Nepal comprising a mixed culture amidst the forests in the Lap of Himalayas. Langtang trek should be done from Syaprubeshi as the trekking route is a treasure to watch amidst the hilly terrains and green meadows. The trekking trail is through the Langtang river and the views of some Himalayan ranges are amazing and hypnotizing.
September to march would be the best time for the trek and can be done with the best trekking agencies of the region. The entire trip of 10 days would be a delight and a nightmare for travel enthusiasts and mountain professionals as the entire route is through the tropical forests and through the beautiful Langtang glacier which is a treasure hunt for adventure enthusiasts across the globe.
Thanks to Somnath from Travel Crusade for this personal recommendation.
Everest Base Camp Trek
Duration: 10 – 13 days.
Budget: $20 per day
The highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest in Nepal, has captivated adventurers for years. Only elite climbers with extensive preparation and at huge cost make it to the top and many have lost their lives attempting this feat. Trekking to the base camp where the climb starts is in itself a significant accomplishment and is by far one of the best treks in Nepal.
The Everest Base Camp trek usually starts in Lukla. There is spectacular mountain scenery; mixed with fascinating Sherpa culture and warm Nepalese hospitality making this adventure unforgettable. The 130km round trek to Everest Base Camp takes on average 13 days with Kalapatthar at 5550m above sea level being the highest point.
At this altitude AMS (altitude sickness) is a very real and dangerous risk, therefore it is very important to do a slow ascent, climbing no more than 600 vertical meters per day. Doing this hike independent is not hard since the route is easy to follow with plenty of other hikers and there are many tea houses offering accommodation and food on the way. On the route, our Everest Base Camp Trek budget was only $20 each per day.
Thanks to Campbell and Alya from Stingy Nomads for the personal recommendation.
Annapurna Circuit Hike
Duration: 10 – 20 days.
Budget: $10-$12 a day.
Annapurna Circuit was ranked a few times as one of the most scenic treks in the world. It opens to you breathtaking mountain views, different climate zones and authentic villages. The classic circuit is 250 km long and takes from 10 to 20 day to complete depending on your pace. Though this trek is classified as a moderately difficult trek, you don’t require any special preparation for it.
You can do Annapurna Circuit for 10-12 USD per day on average if you carry your food. A common budget is 20 USD per day though. In addition to the trek costs, consider 40 USD expense for permits and roughly 20 USD for return transport to the starting point of the trek.
Annapurna Circuit trek will challenge you to become a better version of yourself both physically and emotionally. Nevertheless, it will be one of the most life-changing and memorable experiences!
Thanks to My Trip Hack for the personal recommendation.
Tamang Langtang Gosaikunda Trek
Duration: 16 – 20 days.
Budget: $20-$30 a day.
We all know Nepal is full of amazing treks. It’s just difficult to choose one. So I would recommend combining three small treks into one, like the Tamang Langtang Gosaikunda trek. This 16 to 20-day trek (or even longer if you add side trips) is not a difficult one, but it will give you a taste of Nepal’s highlights.
The Tamang section of the trek will guide you through authentic Nepali villages, where you can do homestays and explore the lifestyle of the Tamang community. The Langtang area will provide you stunning views over the Langtang Lirung peak (7,245m), but also the Ganesh Himal range and the Manaslu peak (8,156m). And the last section will take you to one of the holiest lakes in Nepal, the Gosaikunda lake (4,380m) and provide you a panorama view over Nepal’s impressive Himalaya ranges. With only around 20-30$ per day, this trek will spoil you with unforgettable experiences.
Thanks to Andra from Our World to Wander for the personal recommendation.
Manaslu Circuit Trek
Cost: $1,200 all in.
Possibly the best tea house trek in Nepal, the Manaslu Circuit offers incredible scenic variety and up-close Tibetan cultural encounters. It follows the Budhi Gandaki River from the jungle, through alpine forests with vibrant rhododendron blooms, to within 10 km of the Tibetan border, and over a 5,200-meter high pass.
This trek is in a restricted region and sees few tourists. You must trek in a group of at least two, plus a guide. You’ll pay ~$1,200 per person. It’s only open October-December and March-May. The trek starts in Arkhet Bazaar and takes fourteen days. It’s of moderate difficulty, although it still pays to train for any trek in Nepal.
Unfortunately, this area was severely damaged by the 2015 earthquake. The lodges have rebuilt, but they’re more basic than in the Everest and Annapurna regions.
Bonus tip: The permanent tents at Dharamsala (4,400 meters) are actually warmer and cleaner than the lodge.
Thanks to Carrie from Trains, Planes and Tuk Tuks for this great personal recommendation.
Short Treks in Nepal
Poon Hill Trek
Duration: 3 – 5 days.
Cost: $200 for full trek.
Mohare Danda Trek
Duration: 3 – 4 days
Cost: $20 per day
As someone who had never done a multi-day hike in my life, the prospect of spending 5 days in Nepal trekking close to the Annapurna mountains was both exciting and terrifying! Every day I thought I would give up, though my legs would turn to jelly. I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream and boy oh boy did I complain about all those steps! in the end though, if someone as unfit as me can make it to the peak, anyone can.
The pinnacle of my 5-day trek in the Annapurna Region, officially known as the Mohare Donda trek and a nice alternative to the very popular Poon Hill Trek above, was watching the g sunrise from the Mohare Donda peak at 3,300 meters. The weather had been clear and sunny for the entire trek but not clear enough to see any of the main mountain beauties on our way up.
When we finally reached the summit at the end of day 3, we were devastated to be up above the could and inside the cold, mountain mist. Luckily when we woke up at the crack of dawn, cold from a tough night with little sleep, we were greeted by one of the most spectacular and memorable sunrises of my life, watching the suns rays shine their light on Dhaulagiri and Annapurna South, two of the tallest mountains in the world. The view is ALWAYS worth the climb….once the clouds pass!
One of the lesser-known beginner treks in Nepal, but one i would definitely recommend – as long as you’re not scared of a few hundred steps en route!