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Trekking in the Khumbu

Trekking and River Rafting

Trekking
For those visitors with enough time, leaving the urban centers and bazaars behind as you head into the mountains on an organized trek is the most exhilarating way to experience Nepal. With a week or more in Nepal, you can trek by foot through awe-inspiring vistas to back-country forests, lush river valleys, and high altitude villages tucked away in hidden mountain valleys. You need not be a world class mountaineer to experience Nepal’s trails—average physical fitness and the spirit of adventure will get you where you want to go.

Each trekking group works with an experienced head “Sirdar”, or team leader, who organizes a staff of cooks and porters to take care of all of your needs. Every morning, you will be awoken by hot tea served in your two-person tent. Our versatile cook will treat you to daily fresh, hot, breakfasts, lunches and dinners representing Western, Asian, and Nepali cuisine. Your belongings up to 15kg will be portered along to your camp every day—you need carry only a daypack with personal essentials. Nepal has no shortage of trekking areas, and we are here to tailor a trek to your specific goals, timeframe, and interests.

The Khumbu Trail
Home to three of the world’s highest mountains—Mt. Everest, Lhotse, and Cho Oyu—the Khumbu region is perhaps Nepal’s best-known trekking area. High mountain panoramas compete with the hardy, friendly Sherpas for your attention as you make your way up winding trails to the roof of the world. The specific routes in this area are numerous, but most treks now begin with a flight to Lukla at 2866 meters. After acclimatization here, trek through Sherpa villages and glacial valleys to reach Namche Bazaar and the famous monasteries of Tengboche and Syangboche. Time permitting, travel on to Everest Base Camp and/or Kalapathar and the Gokyo Lakes. These areas are famous for their high-reaching mountain beauty, and will challenge your senses in every way.

Annapurna Treks
With astounding natural and human diversity, yet easily accessible from Pokhara, the Annapurna Conservation Area is an ideal trekking destination. Here, the deepest gorge in the world is carved by the Kali Gandaki river as it rushes between the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna massifs, both towering over 8000 meters. Climb through sub-tropical jungles to alpine pastures to high altitude desert, and you will be amazed by the quick shifts in environment and ethnicity. The classic Annapurna trek is the Annapurna Circuit, which takes approximately 20 days. Beginning on the eastern side in Manang, you cross the magnificent Thorung La Pass at 5400 meters to descend into the holy area of Muktinath and the high altitude valley of Lower Mustang, and then continue on through the Thakali trading villages of Marpha and Tukuche to the lush lower altitudes of Tatopani and Ghorepani. Alternately, one may create a shorter trek either by flying in or out of Jomsom, the district headquarters of Lower Mustang. The entire area is rich in culture and invites unusual side trips to out of the way villages, caves, and natural sites.

Upper Mustang
Entering this remote and restricted area to reach the ancient walled city of Lo Monthang is the trip of a lifetime. Opened to tourists only in 1991, Mustang is one of the last vestiges of traditional Tibetan culture—even more so than Tibet itself. The high altitude desert area north of Jomsom boasts startling rock formations and deep canyons that are home to equally unique Tibetan villages built into the rock faces and caves that surround them. Huge monasteries painted in the traditional earth colors of black, red, and white welcome visitors to view their 500 year old frescoes, reminiscent of high Western religious art like the Sistine Chapel. Every day in the restricted area is chock full of unique cultural experiences and some of the most breathtaking vistas in the world. Trekking to Mustang begins with a flight into Jomsom, and then a short walk to Kagbeni, the last village before entering the restricted area. From there, it takes a minimum of ten days to reach the capital city of Lo Monthang and return. On the way, you pass through the villages of Chuksang, Tsele, and Tsarang, crossing many 3000-4000 meter passes on the way. Once in Lo Monthang, you can visit the cave-dwelling villages of Choshyar and the historic Namgyal Gompa north of the city. Upon your return, you may choose to visit Luri Gompa, a spectacular temple built inside a cave. You may return via the same route to Kagbeni or detour to Muktinath. Whatever your route, one of the special features of trekking in Mustang is the opportunity to ride horses—sturdy Tibetan mountain steeds—along much of the trail.

Langtang and Helambu
These two areas just north of Kathmandu provide easy access trekking with breathtaking mountain views and especially rich plant and animal life. The Langtang National Park, which spreads over the regions of both Langtang and Helambu, is the second largest in Nepal, and contains an unbelievable variety of plants, birds, and other animals. Its Sherpa villages are also beautifully manicured and less touristed that those of the Khumbu or Annapurna areas. A journey up the lush Langtang Valley through Syabrubesi and the glacial plain of Kyangjin Gompa can be a self-contained week-long trek, or it can be coupled with a visit to the sacred lake of Gosainkund at 4000m for a slightly longer trip. Either way this trek is ideal for nature lovers, with its wide array of flora and fauna.

Off the Beaten Trek
In addition to these popular trekking areas, there are also many less-traveled trekking areas in Nepal. Although they may require a bit more time or organization to access than the popular routes, they are worth the effort to get off the beaten track and see mountain vistas and villages that few tourists ever see. Some of these alternate routes take you to Dolpo, Manaslu, Khangchendzonga, Makalu-Barun, and Rolwaling. Lying to the west of Mustang in the rain shadow of the Himalaya, Dolpo’s rugged beauty is home to many rare animals like the snow leopard, Tibetan hare, and Himalayan blue sheep. With ancient monasteries and the Phoksumdo Lake at the center of Shey Phoksumdo National Park as major attractions, Dolpo is a true adventurer’s trail. The Manaslu circuit has only recently opened to trekkers, and its uncrowded trails and awesome views of Himalchuli, Peak 29, and Mt. Manaslu make it a unique experience. The far eastern areas of Khangchendzonga and Makalu-Barun take you into alpine areas renowned for their natural diversity, not to mention their incredible mountain views of Khangchendzonga and Makalu. Rolwaling is a small area that juts across the natural Himalayan border into geographically Tibetan terrain—full of monasteries and mountain views, it is a treat of an area that few tourists visit.

River Rafting
Nepal possesses some of the premier stretches of white water anywhere in the world. Fast flowing mountain rivers give you the high of riding rapids, as well as the calm of sitting back and enjoying the ride in calmer parts of the river. One of the most exciting sports on offer in Nepal, rafting is also one of the best ways to get off the beaten track and enjoy virgin countryside and remote riverside villages. Trips range from one to several days, and include camping-style dining and accommodations each night on the river bank.

There are many different rivers now open for rafting, each with its own level of difficulty and attractions. The Trishuli River is the ideal choice for a short trip—easily accessible from both Kathmandu and Pokhara, it offers both calm stretches and exciting rapids. The Bhote Koshi and Kali Gandaki are better for mid-length trips by more experienced rafters—both the scenery and the rapids will take your breath away! For those wanting a longer trip into remote territory, the Sun Koshi and Karnali have it all. Whatever your pleasure, we can arrange the perfect rafting trip for you.