If you're planning to trek in the Himalayas, the Alps, the Andes — or anywhere above 2500m — it's important to have a good understanding of altitude sickness, which poses a danger to everyone at these altitudes and can be fatal, in severe cases. The good news is that it's easily managed with the right planning and preparation.
Nepal Travel Insights
Nepal is best-known for the Himalayas, Mount Everest and its amazing treks. Eight of the world’s 14 eight thousand meter peaks are located in Nepal, creating world-class mountaineering and trekking opportunities. But Nepal has much more to offer than just its mountains. Its capital, Kathmandu, is a bustling city with seven Unesco World Heritage sites including Boudhanath, the world largest buddhist stupa. The Nepalese lowlands in the south are subtropical and are home to tigers, elephants and rhinos. The people of Nepal are among the warmest and most welcoming in the world.
Most people visit Nepal in spring and autumn, but in recent years winter and summer have become popular seasons as well. Trekking in the Himalaya is a life-changing experience for many travelers. Longer treks include the Everest Base Camp Trek, the Annapurna Circuit, and the newly popular Manaslu Circuit, while shorter treks such as the Ghorepani Trek to Poon Hill offer experiences travelers who want to experience the mountains at lower elevations. Rafting the rivers of Nepal is also world-class, and so is mountain biking on Nepal's countless trails and paragliding above the Phewa Lake in Pokhara.
On this moderate seven-day trek just North of Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, get up close with the Tamang people while trekking amid green valleys and snow-capped mountains. The Tamang Heritage trail has the added benefit of providing sustainable economic benefit to the local community.
The Arun Valley and Everest Base Camp trek provides superb views of both Mt. Everest and Mt. Makalu. It is located between the Sagarmatha and Makalu-Barun National Parks. While it follows some of the traditional Everest Base Camp trekking route, there are also enough differences to keep return trekkers in Nepal interested.
Kimkim travel specialists are running a number of set departures for the Manaslu Circuit Trek in Autumn 2017. Dates, cost and availability are listed below, along with a day by day itinerary.
Kathmandu is a big city. There are many dining options to suit all budgets and palates. Traditional Nepali food served street-side or with silverware; backpacker hangouts for home comforts when you tire of lentils and rice; casual modern restaurants serving affordable international cuisine... You’ll never go hungry in Kathmandu!
There’s not a single Starbucks (or other Western chain) in Kathmandu, and that’s good news for finding unique, atmospheric places to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. While Nepalis still prefer sweet, milky, heavily spiced chiya (tea) or Nestle instant coffee when relaxing at home, there’s a growing cafe scene in the capital where you can get a good mug of whatever you prefer, with a tasty slice or cake or sandwich on the side. Here are some suggestions for places to seek out. Most will have Wifi.
Although Pokhara doesn't look far from Kathmandu - the cities are only 204 kilometers/ 126 miles apart - the Nepali terrain and road quality mean it can seem like a much longer distance than it is if you drive. That's why many travelers opt to fly. Here are your options for traveling between the two cities, either by air or road.
Lower Mustang is a dry, wind-swept region of Nepal that lies in the rain shadow of the Himalayas. If you want to experience some of the most incredible landscapes in Nepal and enjoy challenging, scenic hikes without the strain of a multi-day trek, then several days spent around Jomsom and Kagbeni are an ideal choice.
The Kalinchowk Temple trek is an excellent, moderate short trek within easy reach of Kathmandu. You will experience local hill culture, forest and river landscapes, panoramic views of the Himalayas and the beautiful pilgrimage spot of Kalinchowk Bhagwati Temple.
The Dhorpatan trek is a seriously off-the-beaten-path experience that isn’t too challenging. The Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve lies a day’s drive west of Pokhara in the shadow of Mt. Dhaulagiri. Trekking here will give you the chance to spot some rare wildlife as well as views of Nepal’s Western Himalaya that few travelers experience.
For travelers wanting an authentic Himalayan trekking experience with incredible views without the time (or stamina) required for a long trek, the Panchase trek is perfect. It starts close to the popular town of Pokhara, takes just four days, and can be done in autumn, winter, or spring.
This trip gives a very good feel of Kathmandu Valley and includes all the highlights during a week-long trip. Cultural highlights, local food, and hikes ensure that you will get a taste for all the great things Kathmandu has to offer. It also highlights some of the events that happen in the city, giving a feel for the modern side of the valley.
Mera Peak is the highest trekking peak in Nepal, and an ascent of the 6,476 m./21,246 ft. mountain is just one of the highlights of this amazing expedition: trek and camp through some truly wild and remote valleys and enjoy the colors of native Rhododendron forests and other spectacular mountain scenery.
The Langtang Valley has long been a favorite trek due to its expansive views, interesting Tamang culture, relatively gentle pace and accessibility from Kathmandu. The 2015 earthquake and subsequent landslide had an enormous effect on the region, but aid and reconstruction have recently reopened this valley to trekking again. Not only is it still a beautiful trek, your visit will also provide vital support for local livelihoods.
For experienced trekkers who want to try their hand at mountain climbing, or less-experienced climbers looking for a good challenge, Island Peak (6,189 m. / 20,305 ft.) is the perfect option in the Himalaya. The climb is challenging but not too technical. The spectacular trek to Island Peak follows much of the classic Everest Base Camp trek, and the panoramic views from the peak of the highest mountains in the world are unforgettable.
The Makalu Base Camp trek is a remote route that encompasses some of the best that Nepal has to offer — quiet trails, vibrant terraced farmland, rural cultures, rhododendron forests, rare wildlife and several 8000 meter-plus peaks. For experienced trekkers who relish a challenge, this is a great trek with ample rewards.
The Dhaulagiri Circuit trek is challenging, and a real adventure for experienced trekkers who are looking for an expedition-like experience. From farming villages in the Himalayan foothills to high alpine pastures, uninhabited valleys and close-up views of several peaks over 8,000 meter, this circuit trek is breathtaking and exciting at every stage.
The Nar Phu Valley trek is a real Himalayan wilderness experience that is as unforgettable as it is spectacular. Tucked between the more visited Annapurna and Manaslu regions, Nar Phu is a true hidden gem that offers trekkers a rare opportunity to explore unspoiled valleys that feature a mix of raw Himalayan nature and ancient Buddhist culture.
This three-day trek starts just a short drive from Kathmandu city, on the edge of the valley rim. It passes through small farming villages, where you can experience the lifestyle of local people, along with lush green forests, ancient temples and terraced farmland. Add to this the stunning snowy peaks visible in the distance, and this is the perfect introduction to trekking in the Himalayas!
If you’re short on time and looking for a luxury experience, here’s a unique way to see the Everest Region and all the main highlights. You’ll spend your nights in the comfort of Himalayan resorts (often with panoramic views) and your days either trekking and flying through the Everest region by helicopter.
There’s no reason to put off trekking in the Himalaya until the kids have left home. Aside from the amazing landscapes, cultural and wildlife encounters awaiting you, here are some other great reasons why visiting Nepal with your family is a good idea.
Whether you're short on time or have a couple days before or after your trek, here are a few great ways to explore the best of the Kathmandu Valley in two days. Each one of these itineraries can be customized based on your interests, whether that be culture, nature, or great day activities.
Family Adventure in Nepal: Trekking in the Annapurna Foothills and exploring Chitwan with a young child
Families with young children may wonder if Nepal is a travel destination they should even consider, since it's not your typical kid friendly "Disney Land". At kimkim we've put together several treks and mixed adventures for families with children, and by sharing their experiences we hope we can help you decide if Nepal is right for your family. First up, a family from the United States, who traveled with a 2 year old child. They did a 5 day trek and then explored Chitwan National Park for a few days.
With two weeks in Nepal, there is plenty of time to experience a wide range of cultural attractions. Culture is not just confined to what you find in a museum; it extends to the hills and into the homes of the people of Nepal.
Visiting Nepal in December, January or February? Winter is a great season for shorter treks at lower elevations. The temperatures are colder, but if you’re well prepared you can enjoy clear skies and fewer crowds.
In eleven days, learn about the rich Buddhist and Hindu cultural histories of Nepal by visiting sacred sites in Kathmandu and farther afield, in Lumbini. Balance the cultural attractions with outdoor scenic pursuits in Pokhara, such as hiking to vantage points for panoramic Himalayan views. If you’re feeling brave, you can even try paragliding above the lakes and mountains of Pokhara.
The autumn 2016 Manaslu trekking season is about halfway done, so it’s a good moment to share detailed feedback about the trail conditions from a number of groups who booked their trek with kimkim. So far, everyone successfully completed the trek, despite the fact that conditions were challenging early in the season due to the monsoon extending well into September
In nine days, you’ll delve into Kathmandu’s beautiful cultural highlights, get active in the countryside and spend plenty of time relaxing in some peaceful spots, all at a leisurely pace.
In one week, enjoy the true diversity of Nepal: Kathmandu’s ancient cultural sites, a short trek in the Annapurna Himalaya, a lakeside stroll in Pokhara, and the quaint hilltop towns of Bandipur and Rupakot.
In five days, explore the cultural highlights of the Kathmandu Valley before catching a scenic flight to the beautiful lakeside city of Pokhara. This trip combines a mixture of ancient history, great day activities for the more adventurous, and the chance to enjoy the more peaceful moments Nepal has to offer.
Whether you are in Kathmandu for a short getaway or have a few days to prepare for (or recover from!) a Himalayan adventure, there is no need to stay within the confines of your hotel. Kathmandu has many unique things to see and do. In three days, you can see many of the Kathmandu Valley’s highlights, from markets, temples and cultural sites to sunsets, mountain views and hiking.
Nepal has much more to offer than stunning scenery. The cultural highlights of Kathmandu alone warrant a visit to this Himalayan country. A melting pot of both Hindu and Buddhist traditions, you’ll witness incredible woodcarving, painting, sculptures, a unique architectural heritage, and living traditions that surround you with color and prayer.
The trek to Everest Base Camp in Nepal is among the most famous treks in the world and attracts tens of thousands of trekkers each year. While there is nothing wrong with following the classic trek route from Lukla to Everest Base Camp (it’s an amazing trek!), there are alternatives that take you off the beaten path and let you experience Mt Everest in ways that few people do. If you make it all the way to the heart of the Himalaya in Nepal, you may as well make the extra effort to do something truly unique, right?
Hit the trails made famous by the Anthill crew and Redbull Media in their two awesome mountain biking films from 2011 -12. Stark and stunning, the landscape is high altitude desert and your trails are on the ancient trading route from India to Tibet.
With snow-capped peaks and fabled Sherpa culture, the Everest region is famous for some of the best trekking in Nepal. If you don’t have the minimum 12 days it takes to do the Everest Base Camp trek, however, here are a few great shorter treks to choose from.
Experience the stark, barren landscapes of Lower Mustang dotted with Tibetan Buddhist cultural attractions on treks around Jomsom. Altitudes on this trek are not too high, and flying between Pokhara and Jomsom speeds up the journey. This is an ideal trip for trekkers who don’t have much time, or who would rather not do a very strenuous trek.
The Kalinchowk Adventure Itinerary combines a great 3-day trek in the Himalayan foothills with mountain biking and rafting. This is the perfect trip if you want to experience some of the best action sports Nepal has to offer while moving along trails with amazing views, and getting a great closeup view of the culture of the famous Sherpa people.
The Buddhist Caves in Upper Mustang offer a truly unique trekking experience in a remote area of Nepal, far away from the beaten path. The trek takes you into the hidden Buddhist kingdom of Upper Mustang and ventures deep into the world of 'sky-caves', including the famous Luri Gompa and Tashi Kabum, which are adorned with some of the most exquisite murals of the Tibetan Buddhist world and dating back to antiquity.
The Everest Epic is truly an epic ride. At the high point, you reach Pikey Peak, one of Nepal's best view points . Here you have the chance to see 8 out of the world’s 14 peaks above 8000 meters, including Mt Everest, from the seat of your bike! This journey is filled with single track of the best kind, it will suit people who like All mountain or endure style riding and you will be challenged on your physical ability as well as on your technical biking skills… and you will have a blast!
The Trisuli is Nepal’s best river for day trips. Located centrally between Kathmandu, Chitwan and Pokhara, it’s the perfect way to break up a long bus journey to your next destination. Why sit on a bus for 8 hours when you can raft half of it! It’s one of the most popular day trips in Nepal and is great for everyone, all year round.
Trekking in Nepal’s far-western Upper Dolpo region takes you into one of the most remote areas of the Himalaya. Expeditions into Dolpo can be challenging as the tourism infrastructure is almost non-existent, and organized tours are essential. But the rewards are worth it—Tibetan Buddhist culture, some of the oldest monasteries in the country, the spectacular Lake Phoksundo, rare wildlife and a real sense of being in the wilderness.
The sparkling, pristine blue and green waters of the Gokyo Lakes are one of Nepal’s most memorable sights. They comprise the highest freshwater lake system in the world, at around 5,000 meters. The Gokyo Lakes trek is ideal for people who want to trek in the Everest region, but who want more variety of views and fewer nights spent at very high altitude.
One of the most common questions we get from travelers is "When is the best time of year to visit Nepal?" The standard answer that you’ll find in most guidebooks is that spring and autumn are best for visiting Nepal, since the weather tends to be moderate and stable, with clear skies. However, due to the complex nature of Nepal’s geography and climate there is a lot more to this. An ever increasing number of travelers visit Nepal in winter and summer, and for good reason. With the right information, travel plan and preparation Nepal is a great year-round destination.
The Three Passes trek is the ultimate tour of the Everest region. This route takes in all the highlights—both in terms of mountain views and local culture—and combines them into a complete experience of the Everest region.
Nepal is home to some of the most spectacular treks in the world. While the classic Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit treks have earned their reputation for a reason, they've become quite crowded. Up and coming treks, such as the Manaslu Circuit Trek and the Three Passes Trek, are now considered better options for those hikers who seek the ultimate Himalayan experience. The list has been updated in 2017 to reflect the most recent conditions.
Twenty-five years ago, New Zealand native Jamie McGuinness followed his muse and took a break from university to travel the world. During that time, trekking became his passion, and he has been exploring the Himalaya ever since.
Looking to explore the cultural, more relaxing side of Nepal? Showcasing dazzling temples and world heritage squares, placid lakes and serene mountains, this week-long itinerary takes in the classic sights of Nepal as well as the more off-the-beaten path experiences, including Nepal’s famous lake town, Pokhara.
The classic picture of Nepal includes huge mountain landscapes featuring icy peaks against a crisp blue sky, and possibly a yak or two. We love this picture, but we like it even more when there is a mountain bike coming down the trail!
Richard has been living and working in Nepal for the last seven years, and is a major force behind the trail running scene and the opening of the Manaslu Circuit as a teahouse trek. We caught up with Richard not long ago to learn more about how these initiatives gained traction.
This has to be the ultimate adventure trip in Nepal. Combining a breathtaking Himalayan trek (with views of Everest can we add!) with some world class whitewater. 11 days off the beaten track, and very much in the wild! You’ll need a great sense of adventure for this trip as the rapids are non-stop for the first few days and pretty hardcore. If you’re looking for a trip to get your heart pounding – this is the one!