Our guide to Nepal’s varied trekking regions
In a country with so many trekking options, choosing the right area for you can be tricky. Read our guide to the trekking regions of Nepal to help you decide.
Nepal’s most famous and most developed trekking region is dominated by the mighty Mount Everest, and travellers come year after year to see the world’s highest mountain up close.
There’s more the region than just Everest, of course, and you’ll find a variety of different trekking routes, as well as welcoming mountain communities, jaw-dropping scenery and the fascinating Sherpa capital at Namche Bazaar.
You’ll find that the trails are well maintained and the tea houses along the route are some of the best in Nepal, with comfortable beds, showers, WIFI and a varied food and drink menu.
Most adventures in this region begin with a 30-minute flight from Kathmandu to Lukla.
Nepal’s second most famous trekking destination, this spectacular part the country lies in the Central Himalayan range, not far from the lakeside city of Pokhara. You’ll find incredible mountain scenery at every turn, with some of the country’s highest and most famous peaks found here, including the imposing Annapurna Massif which gives the region its name.
There’s a wide range of adventures on offer, ranging from gentler 3-4 day treks through the foothills where you can stay with welcoming local communities, right through to serious mountaineering, extreme sports and the iconic 230km Annapurna Circuit.
With most trailheads easily reached from Pokhara and an excellent trekking infrastructure in place, Annapurna is understandably popular with outdoor-lovers of all abilities.
This isolated region nestled in the Himalayas offers something different. The mustang region is cooler and more arid, giving it the feel of a high-altitude desert. Its location also protects it from the monsoon season, making it a good option during those summer months.
The people of Mustang are semi-independent and follow traditional Tibetan Buddhism, giving the culture a different feel to the rest of Nepal.
The gateway city is the city of Jomsom – a 30-minute flight or 10-hour drive from Pokhara, and permits must be arranged in advance.
Accommodation is a mixture of camping and basic tea houses.
This region between Kathmandu and Pokhara is home to the world’s 8th highest mountain, Manaslu, and offers a quieter, more remote experience than Everest or Annapurna. The scenery is just as spectacular, however, and trekking infrastructure is constantly improving. You can enjoy a mix of camping and simple tea houses, as well as the feeling of being all alone in the mountains.
The trails can be accessed from Soti Khola, around a 7-hour drive from Kathmandu.
The Langtang National Park may lack the famous peaks of Everest or Annapurna, but exploring this region can be just as rewarding. This part of the Himalayas sits at a slightly lower altitude, making it one of Nepal’s more accessible trekking regions and allowing you to get closer to the mountains themselves.
The people of Langtang are known for their vibrant culture, so the chance to know and even stay amongst these communities is something to treasure.
If you’re short on time or aren’t keen on doing a longer trek, the Kathmandu Valley has some great little trails to explore. Sure, the mountains are more distant, but the walking is easier and you’ll gain a wonderful insight into the lives of the people in this historical part of Nepal.
Far West Nepal
Remote and barely explored by tourists, the far western part of Nepal has always had its challenges in terms of development and accessibility. Trekking groups have to be self-sufficient, since you won’t find many tea houses along these rocky trails.
Things are slowly starting to change, and through initiatives such as the Community Homestay Network, more and more intrepid tourists are beginning to explore this fascinating part of the country.
It’s well worth the effort, with incredible, untouched scenery, as well as unique tribal communities and diverse wildlife.
The gateway to this region is the city of Nepalgunj – a short flight away from Kathmandu.
Far East Nepal
The eastern Himalaya Region is often forgotten by trekkers heading to Everest and Annapurna, and it is this remoteness and tranquillity which will give you a truly unforgettable experience. Home to two of the world’s five highest mountains in Mt. Makalu (5th) and Mt. Kanchenjunga (3rd), as well as dense alpine forests and rolling foothills – it is untouched nature at its finest.
The people in eastern Nepal have a culture all of their own, formed by centuries of relative isolation, and visiting these unique communities is a real highlight of visiting this part of the country.
The infrastructure is more basic than in the more popular regions, with fewer and more basic tea houses on offer, and more challenging trails. Eastern Nepal may not be the easiest option, but it is certainly one of the most rewarding parts of Nepal for trekking.