The 5 best places to trek in Nepal

The 5 best places to trek in Nepal
Photo by Sebastian Pena Lambarri / Unsplash

 

Trekking season is upon us! Don’t be surprised if you hear the mountains calling as they usually do this time of year. Where should you go and experience your much-needed leg cramps that are easily justified because of the view? Where can you go with zero cell reception and scenic beauty that makes you forget you have a life outside? Well, Nepal, of course. 

 

Nepal is best known for its beautiful trekking routes and mountains and attracts thousands of tourists from all walks of life every year.

 

Full of natural forests, pristine lakes, and waterfalls, Nepal is one of those raw untouched places that dig deep in your soul. However, in the spirit of making lists, here are the top 5 places to trek in Nepal.

Rara Lake: 

 

Level: Beginner 

 

Rara Lake is one of the most gorgeous lakes in Nepal that would make a poet out of everybody. Also known as Mahendra Lake, this freshwater lake is the main attraction of the Rara National Park. 

 

It stretches over 41 square meters and lies at an elevation of 2990m. You would start your 14-day trek from the beautiful city of Jumla, another must-see jewel, isolated from urban life. From there, you begin your picturesque journey through Jaljala Pass that offers a magnificent view of Kanjiroba Himal. 

 

Upon reaching the lake, the dense green forests and the changing light of its hues guarantee to take your breath away. 

You may want to stay in for a night and wake up early to take a boat ride. After that, you could walk all the way up to Murma Top to enjoy a stunning view of the entire lake. 

 

You can visit the lake in spring or winter; it looks great in both seasons. In Spring, colorful wildflowers grow around the lake, and in winter, the snow-capped mountains offer a tremendous view. 

 

You may want to dip in the water because of how clean and sparkly it looks,  word of caution though, swimming is not allowed. You must also discard all meat items before entering the Rara National Park premises. 

 

Don’t have 14 days to spare? Take a flight from Nepalgunj to Talcha, which is another adventure, trust me! From there, the lake is a short 2-hour walk. 

 

 

 

Annapurna Base Camp 

 

Level: Beginner to Intermediate 

 

The Annapurna base camp stands at 4130m above sea level and offers a spectacular view of the Annapurna mountain range.  

 

The trek begins in Pokhara, a beautiful city home to the famous Fewa Lake. You could head on to the Annapurna Base Camp right away, but people usually like to visit Ghorepani Poon Hill first. Poon Hill is another must-trek place in Nepal and helps you acclimatize. Win-win. 

 

Before reaching the Annapurna base camp, you'll pass through the Machhapucchre Base Camp, aka Fishtail Mountain, and marvel at its peak close-up. 

 

The best time to trek the ABC is September-November or March-May. You would start and finish your trek in Pokhara, where you can spend another night or two and enjoy the nightlife. 

 

 

 

 

 

Tilicho Lake: 

 

Level: Intermediate to Pro 

 

The Tilicho Lake is one of the most gorgeous lakes in Nepal. Okay, I say that about every lake, but in this case, it is truer than most. 

 

Tilicho holds the official record for being the world’s highest lake at an altitude of 4,919 meters. However, a few years ago, another lake in Nepal, Kajin Sara, was discovered at a height of 5200 meters. Currently, the government awaits official verification to name Kajin Sara as the highest lake, but until then, Tilicho still holds the record. 

 

Tilicho is located in the Manang district of Nepal and is 4km in length, and 1.2 km wide. Gorgeous peaks encompass the lake that make for Instagram-worthy pictures. While the view is spectacular, the walk up there is a true test of your endurance and willpower. This short hike starts at Chamje, a city in Manang, and takes about six days. 

 

Prepare to walk uphill for hours endlessly and make sure to stop to acclimatize, because you'd be going up too fast. You’d also be walking in a path about 2 feet wide on a landslide-prone hill that demands your utter mindfulness. 

 

I won't sugarcoat this for you: only about 50% of trekkers make it all the way up. The final climb to the lake is the hardest and takes utter stamina and willpower. If you think you have what it takes, the lake awaits! 

 

 

 

Gosaikunda Lake 

 

Level: Beginner

 

Gosaikunda Lake is part of Langtang National Park and lies at an altitude of 4,380m. 

 

The lake holds religious significance to the Nepalese people, and its waters are considered holy. It is believed that Lord Shiva formed the lake by thrusting his holy trident into the mountain to quench his thirst. 

 

Every August, on a full moon day, a festival takes place in the holy lake where thousands of pilgrims gather to dip in its waters and pay homage to the Lord Shiva. From October to February, the lake remains frozen. 

 

The lake is surrounded by mountains and is only a 5-day trek away from Rasuwa, the starting point of the trek. On the way, you’ll find other smaller lakes and gorgeous forests of oaks and rhododendrons. 

 

On your way back, make sure to stop at Chandanwari and get some Yak cheese from the local cheese factory. 

 

 

 

Everest Base Camp 

 

Level: Intermediate to Pro 

 

Everyone knows of the crowning glory of Nepal, the highest mountain in the world, the mighty Mount Everest. 

 

The Everest Base camp, from where the ascent of the world’s highest peak begins, is a high priority among trekkers. So, while this is a challenging trek, you will find many people from all over the world looking forward to conquering the Base Camp as you. 

 

The trek begins with a flight to Lukla, another daring adventure since this is one of the most dangerous airports in the world. Most times, when the flight lands, the passengers clap; I did too. It’s that complicated, the landing part, but it makes for one hell of a story. 

 

From Lukla, you begin your journey upwards through valleys, forests, and villages and immerse yourself in the Sherpa community, the locals who inhabit these lands. 

 

Namche Bazar, on the way, is home to such colorful culture. You will spend a day or two to acclimatize and enjoy this charming abode. 

 

When you witness the sun setting over Everest from Kalapatthar, all the challenges and hardships will be worth it. 

 

P.S. Heli services in Kathmandu offer 'Breakfast on Mt. Everest' tours to people who cannot spare 14 days to trek to Kalapatthar. It isn’t cheap, but you could tell people back home you saw Mt. Everest up close!