Nepal, home to eight of the 14 highest peaks in the world, is known for intensive mountaineering adventures. For a less extreme experience – gentler trails, lower altitudes, or a combination of the two – try one of these scenic treks, ideal for those without prior training.
Planning an action-packed trip to Nepal? Book yourself onto Culture Trip’s 11-day Nepalese adventure, where you’ll encounter Bengal tigers, seven-storey palaces and natural Himalayan wonders on a trek between Sarangkot and Naudanda.
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Although most people recommend Poon Hill to beginners, the hundreds of steps at the end of the first day can be exhausting. A better option for those less experienced is the nearby Annapurna Community Ecolodge Trek. This offers some very similar views but without the crowds – or the relentless steps. The five-day journey (which can be extended) starts at Galeshwor, 5km (3mi) from the town of Beni, and passes through Bhanskharka, Nangi, Mohare Danda and Tikot. At 3,300m (10,827ft), Mohare Danda is the highest point, and a panorama of peaks is visible from here, including Machhapuchchhre, Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. Trekkers normally rest in homestays or community-run lodges along the way.
Named after the Tamang ethnic group that resides in the area, the focus of this trek is cultural encounters rather than challenging trails. The ancestors of the Tamang people came from Tibet, just over the mountains, and their language, dress and religion still reflect their origins. This trail was developed to bring more tourism to this less frequented part of the country and give subsistence farmers another means of income.
The six-day trek begins at Syabrubesi, which is also the starting point for the Langtang Valley trek. It passes through river valleys, terraced farmland and open grasslands, with views of Ganesh Himal, Langtang and the Gosaikunda range. There’s a chance to enjoy a natural hot spring at Tatopani and accommodation can be found in homestays in the Tamang villages. The highest altitude reached is only around 2,400m (7,874ft), which, by Himalayan standards, is not very high.
A three to four-day commitment, the Royal Trek is named so because it’s the route that Prince Charles trekked through when he visited Nepal in the 1980s. The trek, accessible due to its proximity to Pokhara, climbs to only 1,700m (5,577ft), making it suitable for children and the elderly. It starts north of Pokhara, passes through Gurung villages, highlights the beautiful views of the Annapurna Himalaya, and ends at the serene Begnas Lake, less than an hour’s drive from the city.
This four-day trail is a good one for beginners because each day only requires three to four hours of trekking, leaving plenty of relaxation time in the afternoons and evenings. It starts with a boat ride across Pokhara’s Fewa Lake and then snakes through forests where you’ll find a vast range of bird and plant life. Amazing mountain views open up as the trail rises, and it’s possible to see Dhaulagiri, Annapurna I, Manaslu and Machhapuchchhre from here.
Although less frequented than the other trails on this list, travellers seeking a relatively long, off-the-beaten-path experience without the difficulty of other treks will enjoy this option. The Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve lies west of Pokhara, and isn’t so hard to get to. It is Nepal’s only hunting reserve, with a restricted number of animals hunted in certain parts. Trekkers can see a variety of wildlife, such as blue sheep, Himalayan tahr and Nepal’s national bird, the colourful pheasant-like danphe.
This trek takes around 11 days and usually begins in or around Beni. Some homestays are available in Magar, but camping is also required on this trek. The highest altitude reached is around 3,800m (12,467ft), and on some days it will be necessary to trek for around seven hours. Although it’s not a difficult journey, proper preparation is required, so it may not be suitable for absolute beginners or children. However, it’s a great compromise for relatively fit travellers who want a challenge without the extreme exertion of high passes or multiple nights at high altitudes.
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