Where to Travel
Brief ideas on places to visit in Nepal
Where to Go
Everest Base Camp
This is the classic destination of many. There are no views from Everest Base Camp, so it is important to include at least one other vantage point. Kala Patthar is a small peak overlooking Base Camp with great views. If you are a regular tramper consider a side trip of Renjo and/or Cho La passes. These are remote mountain passes renown for great views (but you may need to camp).
The standard route for many involves flying into Lukla. There are many good Tea Houses (Hostels with twin bedded rooms, mattresses, flushing toilets and solar showers) to provide comfortable accommodation each night.
While this region has some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world it does not provide the same degree of cultural interaction that is available in other parts of Nepal. If you have extra time, walk in from Jiri rather than fly in. If time is short, consider the other regions mentioned below. They still have spectacular mountains and offer a better insight into the local culture. If Everest is a must, think about going in Winter (December - March) - it is colder but the passes are often still open and there are far fewer tourists.
This is one of my favourite places. The lodges (Tea Houses) are reasonable, the valley changes dramatically from temperate to high altitude grazing pasture and the mountains are spectacular with lots of options for extension activities.
For a family level tramping trip, just walking up the Langtang is great. For a more challenging tramp, cross Gosainkunda lakes and passes for spectacular views.
For a snow pass experience and remote camping-only trek cross the Ganja La - but do not do this unless you are comfortable and competent with ice axe and crampons. A guide for this is a good idea.
This had a deserved reputation as the best regular trek in Nepal. Road building is taking some of the gloss off (there is now a road to Jomson, although some sections are usually avalanched out). Despite this it is spectacular - stunning mountain views and a great transition from banana palms to snow covered passes to high altitude desert.
Makalu Barum National Park
I have researched a trip up the Inkhu Khola to climb Mera Peak before heading up Honghu Khola and over Amphulapcha Pass. It sounds like absolutely stunning wilderness and it is on my bucket list. If it is on your list - drop me a note.
This area has only recently become easily accessible to trekkers and travelers describe it as being like Annapurna 30 years ago. The highest pass is about 5,000m so it is a bit easier than Annapurna's Thorung La, but the tea house are basic providing close contact with the local culture and the area is very welcoming of tourists. Another trip on my bucket list.
Many regions are keen to attract trekkers and have created trekking circuits. Examples include the Numbur Cheese Circuit and the Pikey (pronounced peekay) Peak trek. These treks tend to be below about 4,300m (well above Mt Cook but only Nepal foothills). They are a great way to meet the locals and stay in simple tea houses while providing great views of the Himalayas. However they are mostly below the snowline and some distance from the big peaks and glaciers.
Other Trekking Areas
There are heaps of other less travelled places in Nepal. These are easier to get permits for than they used to be. I will add to this list as time and research permit.
Trekking peaks can be climbed with a simple permit and local guide. They vary considerably in technical difficulty with most achievable by trampers who are comfortable with ice, crampons and moderate exposure to steeper slopes. There are trekking peaks in most regions and they provide a nice additional challenge to a trek.
The peaks available include:
- Mera (6,450m) has no difficult pitches and can be climbed by anyone familiar with ice axe and crampon travel
- Naya Khang (6,100m) looks challenging but was remarkably straight forward,
- Yala Peak (5,700m) had stunning views and was a straight-forward 3.5 hour climb from base camp
- Lobuche East (6,000m) has exposed sections and steep snow pitches but in fine wheather is probably similar to Naya Khang
- Island Peak is the best known, but with over 100 climbers on it on a busy day - may be best avoided.
Chitwan is on the Indian plains or Terai, at only a few hundred metres above sea level. The park was originally a royal hunting estate and still contains tigers, elephants, crocs (gharials) and rhinos etc in its tropical forests. A trip here can be surprisingly relaxing with your own private bungalow, thick air and slow pace. An ideal way to finish the trip.
While the undoubted appeal of Nepal is the mountains and village life, the cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara are a great place to spend a few days. Kathmandu is bustling, smoggy, overcrowded and full of fascinating cultural bits. Stroll around the old towns, shop till you drop and eat yourself silly in the many great and varied restaurants. Pokhara is set beside a beautiful lake with a great snowy backdrop. It is laid back and relaxed and an even better place to chill after a hard trek.