best independent treks in Nepal

by site editor Rick McCharles

This post is for anyone considering a future hiking adventure in Nepal.

Where is the best hike?

Everest trek  - 198

If you simply want to sign on with a Trekking Company, start at Exodus U.K., one of the most respected firms.

For example, Mount Everest Base Camp is offered by Exodus starting at U.S.$1780 for 18 days. You can estimate $100 – 150 / day for an Exodus trip.

There are thousands of other Trekking Companies, hundreds of other guided itineraries to consider. Some very cool options.

… However, besthike.com is posted for the independent trekker. Those who want to organize their own hike, normally carrying their own gear.

Everest Base Camp independently will cost you about $15 / day plus transport. Perhaps 10% of what you would spend with Exodus.

Your best starting point for researching an independent hike is Lonely Planet Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya 9th edition (August 1, 2009).

Almost all independent hikers go to these destinations:

1) Annapurna
2) Everest
3) Langtang

My advice is that first time hikers to Nepal should go to Annapurna. Second best is Everest. Last choice, Langtang.

Annapurna is wonderful. Easy to organize. And is reasonably safe as there is only one high pass.

Don’t fret too much about articles like this: is the Annapurna Circuit dead?

Once you’ve decided on the destination, here’s our advice for best hike in each:

1) Annapurna – Annapurna Circuit 21 days
2) Everest – Three Passes 20 days
3) Langtang – … various options 5-8 days

If you are short on time, go to Langtang. It’s close to Kathmandu. Easy and inexpensive to organize.

I did 16 days in both Annapurna and Everest by pushing some long hiking days. That’s minimum, I’d say. I wish I’d had more days on both trips.

You really don’t need a guide in any of these 3 highly developed destinations, but you may want to hire a guide and/or porter(s) to enhance your holiday. My advice is to do that as you go in the villages of Nepal. Almost any Guest House can arrange those for you with just a few hours notice. This way all your money goes directly to the local people. (You might want to hire a porter just for a day or two, for example.)

Recall that you can carry a very light pack in Nepal. Sleeping bag, clothing and personal essentials are all you need. And a stack of Nepali Rupees, of course, to pay for your bed and meals each day.

Everest trek  - 209

I saw independent hikers at Everest Base Camp who had never before done an overnight hike. (Tolerance for smelly, freezing pit toilets is the main “talent” required. Not high altitude trekking experience.)

Leave a comment if you have any advice to add.

Or if you have any specific questions.

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14 thoughts on “best independent treks in Nepal

  1. Independent trekking in Nepal is in some ways easier than backpacking in your own state.

    1. Walk out your door, get on the next plane to Kathmandu with absolutely nothing, except a credit card.
    2. Walk into the multitude of trek shops, and rent whatever gear you need. Buy a map if you want to get serious.
    3. Ask the sales person (probably a Sherpa) which bus to get on to go where you want. Do it.
    4. Get off the bus, start walking. When you see someone who speaks your language, ask them which way to go.
    5. When you get hungry, walk into one of a thousand tea shops, plunk down some rupees, and eat way better food than that freeze dried crap you’re used to.
    6. When you get tired, spend the equivalent of $2 for a bunk bed in nearest tea shop.
    7. Don’t drink untreated water. Bring clothes for cold weather. Be nice. Don’t be an idiot.

    That’s about it. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble – this isn’t rocket science. Trekking is easier than “backpacking”, and more interesting and fun too.

  2. Trekking independently in a foreign land can be a dangerous thing to endure. The harsh weather conditions of Nepal mixed with the unknown territory can be a tricky situation. Why not just look into a trekking company that is able to guide you along without the worry of following the wrong trail?

    • I like guided treks, as well.

      But the cost is far less to hike independently. And it’s nice to have the FREEDOM to decide as-you-go what to do, without consulting the rest of your group or guide.

  3. Trekking in Nepal is as easy as Buzz wrote but I have to add a further point.

    There’s probably only one factor that will throw a wrench into your plans and that’s high altitude sickness. Know the symptoms, how to reduce the chance of coming down with it (with a good acclimatization plan for example), and what to do if you are suffering from it.

    Thanks for the great blog Rick.

  4. You need to just research different trekking companies until you find the right one with suitable prices. Ask for references. Then ask what you should expect physically during the trip ensuring you are prepared.

  5. Namaste! My name is kamal Rimal I am 25 years old and I was born in the Ganesh Himal/Langtang Himalayan Range in North Western Nepal. I am a certified guide with a government license. I obtained licence in the year of 2002. I have been working in Nepalese eco-tourism for 6 years with a specialization in tailor-made trekking and guiding experiences for a range of clients from many different countries around the world. During the last 5 years, I have become very familiar with many Trekking Destination, including The Everest, Annapurna and Langtang Regions, As well as Mustang, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal and Helambu. I am very knowledgeable about local flora and fauna, cultural history and environmental issues in the areas where I trek. For Trekkers hoping to climb high passes and peaks, I can accommodate this challenging and rewarding adventure. My experience includes mera peak, island peak, kalapathar, gokyo peak, tseryo ri and I have led expeditions across many high passes in Nepal, Larkye pass, Ampulapcha Pass, Chola pass, Renjula pass, Ganjala pass, thorong pass, Tilicho pass, There are many types of treks in Nepal, ranging from relaxed easy trekking where you can experience Nepalese Culture and Village life to tea-house trekking in popular regions, to unique treks into areas of Nepal that are off the beaten track and seldom visited by foreigners. All treks offer spectacular scenery and a viewpoint into Nepali culture. I can tailor our treks to meet your wishes. My clients have been very pleased with my professional guiding services, and you may read some of their comments. i can offer you a unique and challenging experience of a life time! Please contact me at the email address listed below if you have questions or would like discuss a possible trek! I will look forward to hearing from you. Thamel Kathmandu, Nepal

    Phone no 977-9849380281

    rimalkamal@gmail.com

    kamalrimal@hotmail.com

    http://www.vistnepal2011.webs.com

  6. Hi Thamel

    I am doing Everest Base Camp with two friends arriving in Katmandu on 25/09/11, all males. We are looking for a guide and two porters to guide and assist us, We would like to stay in tea house accomodation on route and spend about 14 days treking. What can you offer me.

    With regards
    Pat Desmond.

  7. anjib Adikhari ist recomended 2011 by trekkers Sabine. Sanjib AdhikariThe ultimate compliment for Sanjib came from fellow trekkers we met along the way who remarked how lucky we were to have a guide so personable, knowledgeable and dedicated to us and our experience. We could not have agreed with them more. *We did a 21 day Annapurna circuit, Annapurna base camp trek and Langtang Valley trek and having never trekked this length before, we were both novices. It is without a doubt, that had our guide been anyone other than Sanjib, we would not have had nearly the rich, authentic and thoroughly enjoyable experience we did. When trekking with Sanjib we enjoyed: * honest, knowledgeable and sincere discussions regarding anything from Nepal’s history and current politics, local religions and culture history, to geography natural landscape and all Mountains Name. * a sensitivity and sensibility to allow a good balance between conversation and respecting an individual or couple’s need for privacy * over 9 years of trekking guide experience. * a respect for an individual’s desired pace and physical condition. * an intimate knowledge of the best accommodations, tea stops and places of interest along the way, according to our own individual budget. We would highly recommend any potential trekker in Nepal to enlist the services of Sanjib Adhikari. It is without a doubt that you will be richly rewarded if you do so Trek in Nepal his contact address is: sanjib-adhikari@hotmail.com and his website : http://www.nepalguideinfo.com. Silvana Pagani from Spani wrote in 2011: “My friend Sanjib Adhikari, Nepalse Guide. Silvana Pagani from Italy wrote in 2011 about my experience in Nepal and recommends as guide, Sanjib Adhikari. This year at the end of february I went in Nepal for 18 days for the second time and I did a small trekking in the Annapurna region, I went to visit Pokhara, Kathmandu, Bakthapur and Nagarkot and I saw the National Park of Chitwan and in this trip I had the pleasure to meet Sanjib Adhikari. He is an independent trekking guide and tour operator in Nepal and he has already obtained trekking guide license from the ministry of tourism, government of Nepal. In his work Sanjib is a person very responsible and serious, very helpful and attentive to his customers, he knows very well the mountain because he has many years of experience and is also an excellent guide for visiting the cities. He is someone very competent in his work and always ready to find the best solution, if necessary and speaks English very well.During the trekking and the tours he will tell you many interesting things about culture, about life in the villages, mountains, history and traditions in Nepal. The best thing is that Sanjib loves his country very much and loves his work and always manages to convey all his enthusiasm with simple ways and always with the smile. He is a very nice person and is always attentive to the needs of his customers. Sanjib is also very funny and after this experience we became a very good friend. Next year at the end of January I will return for the third time in Nepal and Sanjib will be again my guide. For these reasons I am very glad to report all references of Sanjib. He Is cantact adress http://www.nepalguideinfo.com. http://www.nepaltreckingguide.jimdo.com
    email-:sanjib-adhikari@hotmail.com mobile No= +9779841613822.
    trektourguide – yooarticles.com
    http://www.yooarticles.com

  8. Independent Trekking Guide in Nepal and My name is Krishna Adhikari. I am a register trekking guide in the Nepalese Himalaya. Before guide working several years as a porter, and becoming fluent in English I became a guide in 2001. I have spent the past ten years as a professional Trekking Guide in Nepal, I have been working 6 years in several company but now I am presently working as an independent guide.

    During the last 15 years, I have become very familiar with many trekking destination, including Everest, Annapurna, Langtang Regions, As well as Mustang, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Dhaulagiri, Kanchanjunga, Dolpa regions. I have such idea about local culture, history, environmental issues in the areas where I been trekking. My experience includes Mera peak 6461m., Island peak 6189m., Kalapathar 5648m., Gokyo peak 5370m., Tseryo Ri 4620m. These are view point, I lead adventure pass many high passes in Nepal, Larkye pass 5185, Chola pass 5366, Renjola pass 5340m, Khambala pass 5390m., Ganjala pass 5100m., thorong pass 5416m., Mesekunda pass 5110m. (Annapurna region), French pass 5370m and Thapa Pass 5260m. Dhaulagiri circuit region.

    There are many types of Treks in Nepal, ranging from relaxed effortless trekking where you can experience Nepalese Culture and Village life to tea house trekking in popular regions, to unique treks into areas of Nepal that are off the beaten track and seldom visited by foreigners. All treks offer impressive scenery and a view point into Nepali culture. My clients have been very pleased with my professional guiding services and you may read some in my testimonial. I can offer you an exceptional and challenging experience of your holiday period in Nepal. Please contact me at the email address listed below if you have questions or would like discuss about trekking, rafting, jungle safari, sight seeing, mountain flight, bungee jump, paragliding, Tibet tour, Bhutan tour, . I will look forward to hearing from you.
    guidenepal@gmail.com http://www.independenttrekguideinnepal.blogspot.com

  9. The above information regarding the Trekking in Nepal is great, its all about Nepal Treks information and one can take the above information. More information also available on http:/www.asianjourneytreks.com

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