Trekking in Nepal: The Ultimate Trekkers Guide

No matter which country I travel to, Nepal will always be a beautiful country for me. Not being biased, but I can proudly say that Nepal has the most stunning lakes, majestic towering peaks to ancient monasteries and yak hauling resources to charming villages; largely disconnected from the outside world. Being able to go trekking in Nepal is truly a backpackers paradise.

Planning a trek in Nepal isn’t complicated as you might think. Trekking is one of the main activities that help to bring the majority of the foreign money in the country. Trekking has been a popular tourist activity for decades and let me tell you that my country’s people are the best hosts. Actually Superhosts!

No matter how little backpacking experience you have, trekking in Nepal is easy, affordable and undoubtedly unforgettable.

So if you enjoy the fresh breeze of the Himalayas, stunning sunrise, vibrant culture and one hell of an adventure, then you’ll fall in love with Nepal!

Are you ready for your Nepal Trekking experience? Then let us get into the best time for a Nepal trek!

Best Time to Trek in Nepal

Unpopular opinion, you can actually trek in Nepal year around, however due to several reasons trekkers usually choose between the two peak seasons i.e. fall and spring. If you’re trekking in Nepal for the first time, I would suggest visiting during one of the peak seasons. The trails are more crowded, and you can interact with more people if you’re traveling alone. 

National flower of Nepal - Rhododendron
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Fall (October – November): This is one of the most popular and peak seasons in Nepal. During this season, you’ll have the best chance to view clear blue skies with towering white snow peaks, sunny days, and the perfect temperature. However, the downside is that you will be sharing the trail with many other tourists and the majority of the tea houses will be crowded, especially along the most popular routes.

Tip: Make sure that your travel agency has booked everything and prepared everything you need. It’s always best to be sure rather than second guess things. 

Spring (March – April): Spring is the second most loved season by trekkers. This is the time when snowpack melts on high mountain trails and giant rhododendron trees blooming across the hillsides. Mild temperatures are experienced during this time of the year. However, the main downside is that there are busy trails and the possibility of hazy skies which can block mountain views. That said, hazy sides will be less of an issue when you ascend to higher elevations.

Off Season: Having trekked around the country, I personally prefer to trek during the off season. It is more rewarding in terms of pricing, easier to find solitude and becoming friends with locals is easier. Although there are significant downsides to trekking outside peak seasons in Nepal, I would advise not to choose travel dates for off season esp, if this is your first time traveling to Nepal. 

Winter Season (December – February): If you’re an experienced trekker, the winter season will offer sunny days and the best time for amazing mountain views. However, it is worth noting that temperatures can go below zero, shorter daylight hours, and harsh winter storms can probably disrupt travel plans with no warning. Additionally, many popular trails will not be accessible due to extreme snowfall at higher altitudes.

Monsoon Season (May – September): Are you ready for some leeches? Well this season is not advised, due to monsoon season bringing floods and landslides and of course your tiny friends on the way! It is very risky to trek in a fragile environment, with no warning of a landslide falling on you or floods eroding you away and obviously unless you want leech therapy, it’s just a bit too gross! During monsoon season, the weather can also be hot and humid and clouds often barricade the mountains.

Teahouse Trekking in Nepal

Nepal has recently been popular for Teahouse trekking culture. Teahouses are small mountain lodges frequently spaced along popular trekking routes. Teahouses can be seen on the most frequented trails like the Everest base Camp trek, Annapurna Base Camp trek, Manaslu, and Langtang valley trek. They’re a great place to socialize and meet other travelers, enjoy home cooked meals, warm your feet by the fire and bed down for the night.

On a teahouse trek route, you’ll have a rest day in one of those lodges after climbing certain meters so that you can acclimatize. Accommodations are simple yet comfortable and super affordable. One of the reasons accommodations are cheap is because you’ll be eating meals wherever you stay. But you can also indulge in other stuff like candy, snacks and beer if you’re feeling a bit snacky! Also, teahouses come with hot showers and decent wifi!

Teahouse trekking in Nepal
On the way to Poon Hill Trek

Most teahouses cost between $3-$5 per night and can be booked on arrival too. However, it is always better to ensure that your guide has pre-booked the rooms for you. Teahouses provide you a small room with two twin beds and a shared bathroom down the hall. If you’re not comfortably sharing a bathroom then you can pay an additional price to get a room with an attached bathroom. Blankets are either available in the room or provided, however I would recommend packing a sleeping bag for warmth, comfort and most essentially cleanliness! 

If you’re rather interested in a remote trekking area, then camping treks can also be set up through the majority of the trekking agencies. This will cost higher than your usual treks but will lead to a unique and rewarding experience. As they say, road less traveled earns the rewards most missed! 

Popular Trekking Trails in Nepal

Where should I start from? Nepal offers the most unique trails and phenomenal views, and it’s impossible to list all these trails. Having said that, I have listed the favorite of many trekkers and popular recommendations. These trekking trails are exceptional and they’re a great place to start if you’re a new bee!

Poon Hill Trek

No. of DaysLevelBest Time to Visit
4 – 5 daysEasy to ModerateMarch-April, Oct-Nov

This is a lower altitude trek and is one of the most popular and easy trek options among trekkers. This trek is best for trekkers who are looking for a shorter taste of Nepal’s trekking culture. The trails are easy and not remote and the 360 view of the mountains from Poon Hill is phenomenal!

Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) Trek

No. of DaysLevelBest Time to Visit
7 – 10 daysModerateMarch-April, Oct-Nov

This is a stunning trek for those with limited time but still want to experience the majestic Himalayan amphitheater of mountains! This is a lower elevation trek, hence making this trek easier compared to higher elevation treks. This trek is also better for people who are concerned about altitude sickness.

The popular Annapurna Base Camp Trek starts in Pokhara, and passes by a few other well known trekking routes that you can add to your itinerary like: Mardi Himal.

Read the detailed blog on Annapurna Base Camp Trek here!

Annapurna Circuit 

No. of DaysLevelBest Time to Visit
12 – 15 daysModerate to DifficultMarch-April, Oct-Nov

Annapurna Circuit trek is one of the most favored and easy treks which offers a variety of spectacular views. The trails combine phenomenal mountain views and simple yet vibrant culture of the Sherpas, influenced by the Tibetans. The Annapurna Circuit Trek also takes you to one of the highest trekking passes in the world, the Thorong La. Compared to the ABC trek, I would recommend doing this trek as you’ve already flown a thousand miles and it’s worth adding extra time to see the world’s highest peaks in its full glory!

Manaslu Circuit Trek

No. of DaysLevelBest Time to Visit
16 – 18 daysModerate to DifficultMarch-April, Oct-Nov

Any trek destination you choose to go, one thing that is sure that you will get to see is the picturesque view of the himalayas. Additionally, you will also get to experience authentic Tibetan culture along the route. Manaslu Circuit has just started to get attention but many travelers are yet drawn to the Annapurna and Everest trek. However, Manaslu trek is a league of its own and welcomes you with culturally enriching yet scenically uplifting moments! Manaslu region is also rich in the natural beauty of flora and fauna, forests and rivers in the region. You will also visit Larkya La Pass, which is the highest point in the trek. 

Everest Base Camp

No. of DaysLevelBest Time to Visit
14 – 16 daysModerate to DifficultMarch-April, Oct-Nov

Everest Base Camp trek is the most popular trekking trail in Nepal and with many good reasons. You get to walk in the footsteps of the world’s most famous climbers, Everest Base Camp is a challenging trek and reaching the top will give you an unforgettable moment, and experience an awe-inspiring moment in the lap of the highest mountain in the world! 

Read more about Everest Base Camp Trek in detail! 

Gokyo Lakes

No. of DaysLevelBest Time to Visit
10 – 12 daysModerate to DifficultMarch-April, Oct-Nov

Everest Base Camp is a popular trekking destination for many travelers and is crowded in the majority of the seasons. However, if you’re looking for more solitude and less interactions, Gokyo trek is the one for you. You can still view Mount Everest from the region and additionally, enjoy the shimmering Gokyo lake. Adding a cherry top – the views from the top of Gokyo Ri may be the finest in all the Himalayas. 

Langtang Valley

No. of DaysLevelBest Time to Visit
9 – 11 daysModerate March-April, Oct-Nov

Trekking through the Langtang valley was a popular trekking route in Nepal, before it got hit by the 2015 earthquake. However, it is now rebounding and we are seeing the return of trekkers in the region. This is also another less crowded treks and filled with ample natural diversity, Tibetan culture and breathtaking views of the Himalayas. The trek takes you to a whimsical valley of stunning forests, high alpine meadows and yak pastures. Enjoy the panoramic views across vast open valleys at the end of your trek!

Upper Mustang Trek

Upper Mustang Trek, Trekking in Nepal
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No. of DaysLevelBest Time to Visit
12 – 15 daysModerate to DifficultMay – October

The ultimate and best trek that you should have on your Nepal trekking bucket list is the Upper Mustang Trek. It is the ultimate gateway to the mysterious ancient Buddhist Kingdom of Mustang, or known as Lo. It was a forbidden and isolated kingdom from the world and as decades passed by the area evolved within its own unique culture and rich traditions tied to Tibet. The Upper Mustang route is a moderate and also a lesser known trek that passes through one of the driest regions of the country and offers incredible views of the Himalayas.

Difficulty Rating

Though I have provided a difficulty rating for each of the trekking routes, at the end of the day it will depend on various factors including your experience, physical fitness, weather conditions and bag weight. There are several types of trekking to choose from in Nepal with varying degrees of difficulty. It is important to choose a trek that fits your fitness level and train adequately before your trek.

For instance, maybe you’re out of shape and get breathless quickly. Hey, I too rank very low on physical fitness as I work from home and barely move out of the house sometimes. Even walking up the stairs makes me breathless! So, to prepare yourself, you can start being physically active. Going for a walk or a run will significantly improve your physical as well as mental wellbeing.

Trekking in Nepal does not require much technical equipment however there are still pretty steep ups and downs. If you’re trekking for the first time, then don’t hesitate to get yourself a trekking pole. There will undoubtedly be long days accompanied by sore legs, but treks in Nepal are paced and give you a lot of time to rest and acclimatize as you ascend higher, so don’t panic! Trekking in general isn’t an easy task especially if it’s the first time, but it can also be fairly easy for people who are physically active!

Porters are also another consideration and will substantially help to reduce the difficulty of your trek. If you have a bag full of heavy gears, you can hire porters to carry them for you. This option will make your trekking fairly easier. However, my best recommendation is to get yourself physically fit before embarking on the beautiful experience of Nepal trekking.

Guided or Independent Trekking in Nepal?

This is an essential question for many trekking enthusiasts and the choice will ultimately come down to personal preference and experience. If you’re an experienced backpacker and traveling along some of the popular trekking routes like ABC or Everest Base Camp, it’s likely that you will be fine without a guide. However, guides are more than just logistics managers and can bring more to the table. A good guide can help you learn about the culture and hey, might even be your close friend.

Having trekked to various parts of the country, I personally think that you don’t need a guide for popular trekking routes. Majority of these trails are marked and you will meet travelers walking on the same route. However, if you’re concerned about altitude sickness, then it’s better to hire a guide. Additionally, for trekking trips to restricted areas, you will have to hire a guide. 

If you have planned to trek independently, ensure that you have a good map, check all permits and buy a good guidebook before you leave for Kathmandu. I would also recommend doing a quick Google search to learn about the city and your trekking destination. Also, it is essential to put in ample time for planning and preparation for your trek. 

Guided Trekking Pros

  • Permits, fees and all pre-trip requirements will be handled
  • All transportation arranged
  • Logistics prepared for the trek
  • Safety and guidance while trekking at higher elevations
  • Local information on culture, religion, food etc

Independent Trekking Pros

  • Cheaper to travel alone
  • Trek on your own schedule
  • Direct interaction with the locals
  • Freedom to stay and eat wherever
  • It’s just you, the trail and your furry yak friends!

Nepal Trekking with Guides and Porters

Guides and porters for trekking are very common and prices are quite competitive. Often guides will charge you around $30-40 (NPR 3000-4000) per day and a porter will cost around $15-20 (NPR 1500-2000) per day. A guide will be your logistics and safety manager during the trek. Whereas the porter will help to carry your bag.

Majority of the guides today can speak decent English and will easily guide you throughout your trip. They are also a good source of information on local culture, festivals, traditions and norms. Your guide will be an extremely useful resource on the trekking route. 

Porters are common along the majority of the trekking routes and basically carry your heavy gear bag. Porters are beneficial if you’re traveling with an older trekker, novice trekker or children. However, please note that even if you do decide to take porters with you, I would request every trekker to keep your gear weight to a minimum. Porters have an absolutely difficult job so please don’t make it more difficult for them. 

Additionally, make sure to tip your porters and guides well. Hand the money directly to each person to ensure that they get the payment. Porters and guides have a very tough job and they often get surprisingly little compensation for their work. 

Trekking in Nepal Safety

Safety pack for trek Trekking in Nepal
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You will be trekking in the most remote areas of the country and far away from proper hospitals. Therefore, it’s crucial to take every precaution before you head out. Below, I have led out some safety tips for trekking in Nepal.

  • It is crucial to educate yourself on altitude sickness. If you’re concerned about it, then seek a doctor, and get yourself a prescribed medicine. However, you can also stay hydrated which will significantly help to reduce altitude sickness.

Learn more about Altitude Sickness here!

  • Helicopter evacuations are available however many such situations are preventable. HVACs are also expensive so I would recommend getting travel insurance before your trip.
  • If this is your first time, don’t trek alone. And even if you’re a solo traveler consider hiring a guide or making friends on the way.
  • Don’t ignore weather signs and conditions. Storms are bound to develop quickly in higher elevations and can be fatal if you’re not prepared.
  • Always pack a first aid kit!
  • Leave a detailed itinerary with an emergency contact and note down important phone numbers on your diary or piece of paper that will be easy to find during an emergency.
  • Yaks and donkey caravans are quite clumsy and can bump into you. Therefore, do not stand close to the cliff side and just let them pass by.
  • Theft is not common during trek but it’s always good to keep an eye on your belongings.
  • Always carry enough water on the trail to stay hydrated and prevent altitude sickness. Trekkers traveling from abroad, please don’t forget to carry a water purifier to make sure that your drinking water is clean.
  • Trekking trails often make your eyes wander around but it’s also important to keep your eyes on the trail to avoid missteps that could possibly injure you.
  • Be very careful around avalanche and landslide areas. Consult a guide or local if a crossing looks difficult and don’t need to take unnecessary risks. Taking a different route can also be an option. 

More Resources

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