Nepal Trekking Feb 28 - May 8 2013
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Mar 1, 2013 4:28 AM Last Post By: minaleal
Feb 12, 2013 1:33 AM
Nepal Trekking Feb 28 - May 8 2013I will be in Nepal from Feb 28 to May 8 and I would like to get some advice about what to do. It is my first trip to Nepal and I have roughly 10 weeks to spend there. I want to do long treks, see beautiful sceneries and experience cultural aspects of Nepal. I am 23, from Canada, very fit, and I do trekking all the time, but never at such high altitude. Also, I want to trek without guides and porters to keep the costs minimal and for flexibility.
Here are some of the things I would like to do (I know I can't do them all):
- Trek the Langtang Valley and the Tamang Heritage Trail, connect with Gosainkund and Helambu
- Trek the Annapurna Circuit and continue to Annapurna Base Camp
- Trek to Everest Base Camp with Gokyo Lakes (or 3 passes?), maybe walk out to Shivalaya
- Visit Chitwan National Parc and maybe go see Lumbini
- Spend a week exploring the valley of Kathmandu, monasteries, villages
What do you think I should do? What and when?
Are there any better treks you would recommand (that are still budget friendly)?
Do you have any other suggestion for me?
And lastly, I would be happy if someone with similar interests wanted to join me for part of my trip! Thank you :)
Feb 12, 2013 2:47 AM
1Personally I should give first priority to the Everest trek. Start hiking in Jiri/Shivalaya. For the return, if you feel like it, you can hike to Tumlingtar to the East, it isn't touristy at all. Such a trek, if you explore all the side valleys in Khumbu, can already last more than one month, it's well worth it. The lodges on the trek sections below Lukla are much cheaper.
Feb 12, 2013 11:07 AM
I too would start with Everest; it's earlier in the season so the trails are quieter and you will have time enough to cover a lot of ground. The 3 passes trek walking in from Jiri or Shivalaya is quite a comprehensive trek (a less-trekked walk in through middle hills, the apple pie experience or the main trails, grand views from the high passes, KP and EBC and as ense of achievement). However, after this other treks might not compare too well.
Generally speaking I would not overplan the trip: you might really like trekking and want to do the rest on your list or you might not...having it all booked reduces flexibility but with a little experience in Nepal you will be able to organise furtehr treks very easily - either independently or through an agent.
To find companions for the treks consider posting on trekinfo.com and trekkingpartners.com too.
Good luck and enjoy the treks.
Feb 12, 2013 2:34 PM
3I have only trekked in the Everest region so can only comment on that, but I echo the advice to start the Everest trek from Jiri. If you're a serious trekker and you want the full experience, then you have to do it this way. This is how they did it back in the early days of Everest expeditions. It creates a great sense of anticipation of what's to come. Maybe fly out at the end, but definitely trek in!
You get the bus to Jiri, then it's about a week's walk to Namche. It's a beautiful walk in, below the snow line, not over crowded or touristy, as most people fly into Lukla. You do long days with massive ascents and descents. This is actually some of the hardest walking you do on the trek. (Once you get up past Namche, some days you can only walk 3-4 hours because to do more would be to ascend too quickly). You also spend most of this week between about 2000-3000m in altitude which creates a good baseline for the higher ascents.
Once past Namche, I did Gokyo - Cho La - Kala Pattar - then down to Dingboche, then along the valley towards Island Peak - this is a beautiful valley that was empty of other tourists and we climbed two peaks called Chukhung Ri (5550m) and Chukhung (5845m). This was a spectacular walk with unbelievable views of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse etc.
That whole trek took just over a month. I would say with 10 weeks, you have time to do 2 treks like this - so maybe choose either Annapurna or the Langtang Valley for the other one - and then you'd still have time to do Chitwan and/or Kathmandu Valley - although factor in that you might want a few days rest and travel time between each!
As for timing - I agree with Scoodly that 28 Feb is earlier in the trekking season so do the popular areas first, then if you're doing Langtang, save that for the higher season.
But finally, I'll say this - my initial plan was to spend 8 weeks in Nepal, to spend 3 weeks in the Everest region, 3 weeks in Annapurna, and then a couple of weeks at Chitwan, KMD Valley etc - similar to your plan. When I got to the Everest Region, I discovered I wanted to spend longer there to see it all. But by the time I'd been trekking for a month - and living on dahl and rice for a month - I'd had it! My desire for trekking had been fully sated, I was craving fresh food and salad and vegetables like I'd never craved anything before!! So I cut it short after the everest region. But that of course was just me - you might be different, but just keep it in mind!
Feb 12, 2013 3:43 PM
I can't resist to reply to your question since planning 10 weeks of trekking is what I enjoy most.
I would start by walking from Jiri/Shivalaya into Everest (no guides or anything required, just take a bus and start walking) and then you are fit and acclimatised.
Go up to Everest Base Camp etc, then over Cho La to Gokyo and back to Namche.
Then walk out to Tumlingtar to see a different culture and have a less crowded experience. Fly back to Kathmandu.
All that is about 35 days trekking with rest days.
Take a break in Kathmandu and then trek around Manaslu including Tsum Valley (yes, I know you'll need a guide for this and permits, but it really is the best trek left). When you reach the around-Annapurna trail, farewell your guide and turn right and go over Thorung La and down the Kali Gandaki. If you are still enjoying it, visit the Annapurna Sanctuary on the way out. That's about another 35 days.
You can see some track notes for all the above at http://fedup.com.au/information/nepal/nepal-information
We've done all these treks several times and love them every time!
Feb 12, 2013 4:41 PM
Feb 12, 2013 8:45 PM
Feb 13, 2013 12:31 AM
7Like the others, I would also recommend starting with the Everest region via Jiri, and including the full 3 high passes trek (which is quite a tough trek, but the OP seems to be young and fit). Include 3-4 days in the Chhukung valley, go to the 5th and 6th lakes above Gokyo, walk up from Thame in the direction of Tashi Labcha and so on. I have done the 3 high passes twice (in the winter), including walking in from Jiri once, and trekked 2 other times in the Everest region. I will certainly go back there, in the winter (Dec - Jan) to avoid the peak season crowds and for the very clear weather and fantastic views.
I would advise you to trek with someone else, especially if you do the 3 high passes - this is becoming increasingly popular, so you should be able to find others to trek with. Be aware that a few solo trekkers have disappeared in the Everest region over the years - if the archive was available, you would be able to read about these cases, but most of it ain't currently available... Perhaps do a general Google search (missing in Nepal) for some info - don't let it put you off, as I say just be aware.
You will almost certainly get cravings for some foods, and other "luxuries", so I also would advise allowing a few days in Kathmandu between treks. It also gives you the chance to see Ktm in small bites - the noise, pollution, traffic etc gets pretty irritating after just few days walking round the city.
For a second trek, I would recommend doing either Langtang - Gosainkunda - Helambu or Annapurna Circuit and maybe ABC.
L-G-H is a very varied trek, gives you a real taste of the mountains, and you can add on some great side trips - I spent 4 nights in Kyangin Gompa in L in Nov 2012 (my 2nd time there) - we walked up the valley to the east, went up Tsergo Ri and then walked to near the top of Ganga La, all as day walks. Latter had no one else on it at all - all the organised groups just seem to march there clients to the top of Tsergo Ri and back on the first full day in KG, or the ones that are fit and acclimatised enough to make it, and then head back down - so they miss out on some great walks.
AC: I did this for the 3rd time in Dec 2012 - we walked the whole way, took 30 days, and did some side trips. In Dec the road was not a problem, just a minor irritant at times, and I still consider AC to be a great trek, and will do it again at some point. You could visit Chitwan on the way back - I have not so far been there.
I have not done Manaslu, though it is definitely on my list, but the current costs of the passes for 2 people, put me off.
Feb 14, 2013 1:09 PM
8Thank you everyone for being so knowledgeable and helping, your answers are very insightful. I'll take the general advice that I really should trek in the Everest region. When I do, I definitely want to start walking in Jiri: I like that it is a challenging walk with lots of slope, and at the same time it is good acclimatisation for the rest. I understand I could spend most of March trekking EBC, the three passes and Gokyo lakes and perhaps end in Tumlingtar. I will also keep in mind that my plans have to adapt to what I want to do once I’m there and to an eventual trekking partner. I am still unsure how to think of the Annapurna region as most websites still list the circuit as the best trek in the world, but most comments I read point towards alternative treks like Manaslu. If I go to Langtang, I will definitely take some days to explore the area East of Kyangin Gompa.
PS. In the last two days, I was having problems accessing the forum while signed in, but I figured this glitch only happens if I sign in using my Facebook account.
Feb 14, 2013 1:43 PM
9Just a further comment re trekking partners.. I went to Nepal by myself with the intention of finding trekking partner(s) as I went. Hanging around Thamel for a few days I met plenty of people on their way to Annapurna but I had decided I wanted to go to the Everest region, and I was very keen to find trekking partner(s) before I left Kathmandu.
Eventually I found a group of 9 solo travellers who had grouped together and were all leaving on the bus for Jiri on the same day so I went with them. It was really fun moving along with a big group for a few days, but very quickly I wanted to break away and go out on my own. I became good friends with one other in the group and after Namche we went off on our own - in fact we deliberately split in the other direction to where most of that group were going.
That was in January, low season, and everywhere we went there was a small but consistent number of people.
If I were to do it again, I probably wouldn't be too worried about finding trekking partners before I left KMD. I'd just head off and do my thing and take the chance of meeting people along the way. If you're there in March-May it will be higher season so I assume there will be more people along the way so I don't think you will have any problems meeting people as you go.
I guess I'm just saying - don't be too concerned that you need to lock yourself into finding a trekking partner before you head off. And there's nothing worse when you're travelling than getting stuck with someone who you're not sharing the vibe with, and then you have to make up some excuse and split!
Feb 14, 2013 10:44 PM
Your question became useful for me as well. Thanks for all the great information. I dont have such a long time to stay in Nepal (I wish if I could have), but I will be there between you time. I am more sure about mid of April for my departure date. let me know what will be your itinerary at that time and lets see if anything to do together...
Best of luck for your trip!
Feb 15, 2013 12:01 AM
11Post 9: good info. I should just add that the 3 high passes see far fewer people than the main trail to EBC, and so anyone doing the high passes, especially Khongma La and Renjo La, may find it more difficult to meet up with others for crossing the actual passes. Much will depend on the time of year - when I went over Cho La in late Nov 2005, there were lots of people going over the pass in both directions.
When I did the 3 passes in Jan 2010 and again in Dec 2010 - Jan 2011, my guide and I did not see a single other person on or approaching any of the 3 passes either time, so if I had been trekking solo, I would have had to either wait for others (and it is very quiet in Dec - Jan re crossing the passes), or cross solo, which would be very risky if anything went wrong.
Also when my guide and I walked up to near the top of Ganga La in Nov 2012, and his brother and I walked up to the top of Kang La in Dec 2012, there was no one else around at all, once we had left the village where we were staying. This was despite Kyanjin Gompa being quite busy in Nov.
Feb 16, 2013 4:55 PM
Mar 1, 2013 4:28 AM
I'm Mina, female 36 yrs old, travelling solo from London to Nepal. I'll be there from the 6th to 20th April and looking for travel buddies and likeminded people willing to do some activities around Kathmandy Valley. I plan to visit, Chitwan National Park, Lumbini, Pohkara and Bhaktapur also.
My email is email@example.com, let me know if you are interested….looking for more people too.
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