Nepal... a guide to light trekking
Do you want to discover Nepal’s glorious scenery on foot without tackling major peaks like Everest? Our guide can tell you how.
A nation that's famous for being home to one of the world's biggest peaks might seem like a place to go only for more challenging treks. However, beautiful Nepal actually offers a wide variety of routes, which include plenty of lighter treks that are perfect for those keen to discover the country at its finest, without over-taxing themselves.
Today, we will introduce you to light treks in Nepal, including an example of the finest routes, when is best to visit and how to prepare for your trip.
Truly a walkers' paradise, Nepal is home to eight of the world's tallest mountains - including the mighty Everest - and boasts a superb infrastructure for trekking. Indeed, the presence of walking lodges dotted throughout the mountains means it's possible to enjoy good food and comfort after a long day walking - something that is comparatively rare in the world of trekking.
What's more, there is a huge variety of treks available. Everest may be the most famous behemoth to tackle here, which could leave you with the impression that Nepal is a destination that's best left to the more experienced trekker. However, the truth is that the country is home to some wonderful lighter treks, offering people of all abilities the chance to discover the natural beauty and ethnic diversity of Nepal.
The Annapurnas are a great example of this. While the full Annapurna Circuit takes several weeks to complete in its entirety, there are shorter, more manageable treks to be completed in the Annapurna foothills; these are particularly perfect for travellers seeking an authentic trekking experience without wishing to tackle anything too taxing.
When to visit
Generally speaking, the best time to visit Nepal is between September and November, and from March to May. This is when the nation generally sees its best weather - dry, warm conditions and clear skies. The latter is particularly important when trekking, as you of course want to get to a good view of the scenic landscapes you're walking through.
Where to go
Beautiful Pokhara is one of the most popular bases for trekking holidays, it acting as something of a gateway to the Annapurnas. Home to tranquil lakes, lush greenery and stunning mountain scenery, this destination is also famous for its relaxation opportunities, from boat rides to activities such as mountain biking and, of course, walking.
As we mentioned briefly above, the foothills of the Annapurnas are perfect for light trekking. After enjoying a relaxing day or two in Pokhara, you can embark on a four-day (three-night) trek through this area to see the majesty of the mountains up close. Chandrakot, the Modi Valley, villages and rice fields are just some of the destinations you can look forward to passing through along the way.
What's more, at the end of each day, you can stay in a comfortable lodge, rather than camping, as is often the case with trekking.
While hiking for several days does mean you need to be reasonably fit, the good thing about this route is that it's very accessible - you by no means need to be an athlete to complete it. If you're concerned about your level of fitness, though, or simply want to be able to walk the route with a little more energy, you can always aim to improve your fitness before you travel.
Boosting your fitness to help you cope with the thinner air at altitude and days spent on your feet need not be an arduous task. Indeed, light exercise such as walking several times a week can help to improve your aerobic ability - though you can do something more strenuous such as cycling or running if you please. For the best results, try to complete an aerobic activity three to four times a week.
Improving your balance can also be a good idea - activities such as Pilates, yoga and Tai Chi are all useful in this regard, and have the added appeal of being rather relaxing too.
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