Nepal is home to a wider variety of landscape from the plains of Terai to the hilly region and mountains with ample of biodiversity. On the parallel side, the cultures and lifestyles in these regions are equally diverse. Trekking and Hiking is one of the most popular activities in Nepal primarily due to the presence of landscapes suitable for novice backpackers and experienced adventure seeker also. Contrary to the general perception, trekking in Nepal doesn’t necessarily mean traversing alone along the rural settings; the trekkers meet the locals and fellow trekkers in the route along with good teahouses and get chance for interaction with the locals. Trekkers who don’t prefer ascend to the lofty peaks can wander along the trekking trails that fits their purpose. Hiking along the ridges of valleys such as Kathmandu and Pokhara are popular for short excursions in the hilly trails of Nepal.
The warm and dry seasons of March to June and September to November are best season for trekking in Nepal. Bearable temperature and clear skies make trekking pleasant in these seasons though rain begins in May-June. Monsoon season are least preferred by the trekkers in most of the trekking trails. However, the rain-shadow area in the north side of the Himalayas makes the region relatively viable for trekking in this season, provided the proper guidance to the trekkers.
Fitness to Trek
Nepalese trekking trails offer variety in terms of the trekking trails and so the fitness required also differs as per the trail to be followed. With an average level of fitness where a person can ascend uphill for a few hours, a trekker can find a suitable trekking option in Nepal. For longer treks with high passes, fitness requirement increases and prior experience is also preferred. Higher the altitudes and longer the trails, higher is the degree of endurance required.
Trekking permit is required for trekking in Nepal. Travel Information Management System (TIMS) Card, permit to trek in the conservation area or National park and the permit to trek in the Restricted Area are the permits the trekkers need to have while trekking. A trekker may require any two of them or all the permits mentioned above in a particular trekking trail.
Trekking in the areas of Annapurna, Langtang and Khumbu require trekkers have a permit for entering national park and a TIMS. Green TIMS card are for independent trekkers and Blue TIMS card are for the trekkers who are a part of a group with guide. Trekking in restricted areas such as Upper Mustang, Dolpo require a trekker to have a special trekking permit.
Popular Trekking Routes
The massifs of Annapurna and Everest region, Kathmandu Valley region, regions in the Far western Nepal has the majority of popular trekking and hiking trails in Nepal. Annapurna Circuit Trek, Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Ghorepani Poonhill Trek, Jomsom Muktinath Trek, Upper Mustang Trek, Manaslu Trek are some of the classical trekking trails in Annapurna region. Mardi Himal Trek and Khopre Danda trek are the relatively new trails in that region. Cultural treks in and around Kathmandu Valley, Langtang and Helambu trek, Shivapuri hiking trek are some of the popular trekking and hiking routes in Kathmandu Valley region. Everest base camp trek is the most popular route in the Everest Region. Other trails in the Arun Valley in the eastern Nepal and Great Himalayan Trekking Trail in Annapurna region are other popular trekking trails of Nepal.
Trekkers are advised to have an extensive knowledge on the Altitude Sickness prior to trekking. Conservative or relaxed trekking schedule, sufficient fluid drinking and medicines for water purification as well as other needed medicines like antibiotics and travel insurance with trekkers are advised for safer trekking experience.
Trekkers are usually advised to be on a guided trekking over an independent trekking if the trail is relatively unclear. Independent trekking in main trekking areas is quite easy.
Thus, it can be said that incredibly diverse cultures, magnificent sceneries, panoramic views of mountains and changing landscapes along the trekking trails are the highlights of trekking and hiking experience in Nepal. With proper guidance and careful planning the trekking and hiking experience in Nepal becomes a phenomenal one for the trekkers.