World → Asia → Nepal
One of the best hiking regions in the world is
NEPAL Top 10
Nepal has eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, Sagarmatha.
Click over to see our top 3 independent hikes as of 2019.
AT A GLANCE
- “The abode of the Gods”
- Everest, Annapurna, Kanchenjunga, Machhapuchhare, Makalu
- every serious hiker wants to travel to Nepal
- though challenging, Nepal is a wonderful tourist destination
- English is widely spoken
- the best “tea house treks” in the world
- on popular routes, no need to carry food nor tent
- challenging hiking, but treks available for all levels of ability and experience
- October to mid-December often the driest months. Cold but afternoons are often clear. Snow on the passes.
- Spring season is not as clear, but is warmer. And greener.
- on a few of the drier Tibetan treks you can hike nearly year round
- ground transportation is slow and very dangerous. It’s best to fly in Nepal, if you can.
WHY WE LIKE THIS REGION
- Nepal is fantastic. Unforgettable. There is much to see and do aside from the breathtaking landscapes.
- best months to trek are Oct-Nov (post-monsoon) & April-May (pre-monsoon). Happily this does not conflict with the busy summer months in the northern hemisphere.
- forests of rhododendrons, isolated small villages, birds, temples, monks and monasteries
- fascinating traditional life of mountain people
- new routes are still opening
- formerly restricted areas are being opened too for guided trekkers
- Hindu and Buddhist cultures, architecture and history
- the culture of the mountain people
- easy to hike independently, hire a porter, or sign on with a trekking company
- travel in Nepal is still relatively inexpensive
- hassle free visa to all citizens worldwide on entering the country
- no dangerous wildlife
- photography is fantastic in the clear Himalayan light
larger map – Wikipedia
By far the biggest downside to hiking the Himalayas is altitude sickness. Hikers die each year. Symptoms begin as low as 3000m (9800ft). Many of our recommended hikes climb over 5000m. On some it is difficult to descend quickly. Rescue often not available. Do not hike high unless willing to accept this risk.
- if you do not have enough time to acclimatize to altitude, hike at lower elevations (the view looking UP at the mountains is gorgeous too)
- hard walking, laboured breathing, intense sun at high altitude can compound the problems of a hikers suffering AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness)
- hypothermia is more frequently a problem than sun stroke. Bring gear to stay warm and dry.
- it’s essential to avoid frostbite, of course
- we’ve suffered some pretty severe gastrointestinal ailments on the southern side of the Himalaya range despite taking every precaution. (The Tibet side is drier, the risk lower.)
- Kathmandu is polluted and unsanitary. The less time spent there, the better.
- governments in Nepal are mostly disorganized and corrupt
- tourism was devastated by the 2015 earthquake of and COVID-19
- mountain tourism is a reality. We must make the best of it. The consequences, good and bad, for the local people are evident here, more than elsewhere in the world.
- obviously we cannot leave trash behind
- the burning of wood for cooking at higher elevations is a huge problem. Discourage it as much as possible.
- mid-June to September few trek because of rain, mud, leeches, travel difficulties caused by landslides and general lack of mountain views.
- trekking permits are required on many routes and can be a hassle to get. You need advance planning.
- guidebooks quickly get out-of-date
- new tea houses become popular every season. Likely you will decide where to stay each night, as you go
- unless things have changed, Dolpa, Kanchanjunga, Manaslu and Mustang do not allow independent hiking. You must sign on with a trekking company.
- no worries any longer regarding the Maoists, members of the Communist Party of Nepal. They are a legitimate political party. In the past hikers were sometimes asked for “donations”, a trail tax. That’s rare now. Even at the height of civil war, tourists were mostly protected.
BEST HIKES IN NEPAL are listed on our Asia page.