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Top 7 off the beaten treks in Nepal

The top 7 off the beaten treks encompass the less explored Himalayan regions of Nepal. Due to being geographically remote and less explored, the regions where these off the beaten treks traverse are culturally intact, naturally enchanting, and adventurously demanding. Beyond Everest and Annapurna, Nepal has tremendous secret mountains that are yet to be traveled. Since, if you are planning to trek in the less crowded and the less travelled region, then the top 7 off the beaten treks in Nepal suit best for you.  Here are presented the top 7 off the beaten treks in Nepal.

1. UPPER MUSTANG TREK

Upper Mustang Trek
Upper Mustang Trek

 

Upper Mustang Trek is a great adventure trek for those who wish to make a challenging trek along “off the beaten path” in the Trans-Himalayan Region. The Mustang region is also known as the Last Forbidden Kingdom. The high desert region of the Tibetan influence, Kaligandaki, from the Tibetan border south to Kagbeni is generally referred to as Upper Mustang. Explore the thousand years of old monastery, caves, local tribes and scenic beauties of the different landscapes. Make an adventure starting from world’s deepest gorge Kaligandaki into world’s highest regions of  Lo-Mangthang Valley that passes through an almost tree-less barren landscape, a steep rocky trail up and down hill and panoramic views of Nilgiri, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and several other peaks. The trek passes through high peaks, passes, glaciers, and alpine valleys. The thousands years of isolation has kept the culture, lifestyle and heritage of the region remain unchanged for centuries. Another attraction in the region is the Mustagi people. The Mustangis call themselves Loba. They have their own way of family life, which is quite surprising for many outsiders. All the brothers in the family are married to a single girl, what you may call a practice of polyandry.

2. AROUND DHAULAGIRI TREK

Around Dhaulagiri Trek
Around Dhaulagiri Trek

Around Dhaulagiri Trek is a challenging trek in the region of Mount Dhaulagiri (8,167m), the seventh highest Himalayan Peak lying north-west of Pokhara in the Western Nepal and south of the Tibet. The Dhaulagiri, along with other eight-thousanders, the Annapurnas, carves the world’s deepest gorge of Kaligandaki. The trek also crosses two high passes – the French pass (5,240m) and the Thapa pass (5,155m). Moreover, you will also experience snow and glacier walking, especially around Italian Base Camp and Dhaulagiri North Base Camp. Along the way, you enjoy spectacular views of Dhaulagiri, Thorong peak, Annapurna and Kali Gandaki River with the world deepest gorge. On the trail, you may also encounter semi-wild yak herds, mountain sheep in the remote valleys of this region. Besides the wild nature, you also enjoy the shops, teahouses, and lifestyle of Nepal’s ethnic people such as Gurung, Chhetri, and Magars.

3. LOWER DOLPO TREK

Lower Dolpo Trek
Lower Dolpo Trek

 

Lower Dolpo Trek is meant for real adventurers wishing for an off-the-beaten-path experience. The trek passes through Shey-Phoksundo National Park with spectacular mountain scenery, Buddhist monasteries and yak caravans. Make a rendezvous with the remote Himalaya mountains of Dolpo, the land of the Oscar nominated Caravan fame, Thinley, a culture nearby Tibet that has survived its originality for centuries. Along with one of the deepest Himalayan Lakes, the Phokhsundo with beautiful turquoise blue water, watch the yak caravans that maintain the traditional salt trade with Tibet. The region lies further north from the Dhaulagiri Range in the rain shadow of the Himalayas – reflected in the colorful barren slopes of the mountains where the play of light and shadow is a perpetual fascinating spectacle. In summer, the caravans of yaks and sheep run through this valley on a trade route through the Himalayas and allows the exchange not only goods but also of ideas between the Tibetan Plateau and the valleys of Nepal.

4. UPPER DOLPO AND SHE GOMPA TREK

Upper Dolpo and She Gompa Trek
Upper Dolpo and She Gompa Trek

 

Upper Dolpo and She Gompa Trek is one of the most beautiful treks in the remote areas of Nepal, very rarely visited by outsider. Dolpo region situated between the Tibetan plateau and the Dhaulagiri Himalayan range is the highest inhabited land of Dolpo. Since 1984, it has Nepal’s largest national park and conservation. The park sustains an abundance of wild life including Musk Deer, Himalayan Blue Sheep and the elusive Snow Leopard. The region is also home of a fascinating race of Tibetan speaking people. The hardy highlanders of Dolpo are traders, exchanging barley for Tibetan rock salt and they take their yaks onto the Tibetan plateau during the summer for grazing. The wonderful adventure begins encountering interesting places, people, villages, valleys and serene forest of pines, oaks and rhododendron. The trek passes many gigantic mountain ranges and over the Numala pass at 5,400m till you reach the Phoksundo lake at Ringmo village in the “Phoksundo National Park”. The fascinating trek furthermore gives you an opportunity to explore the surrounding snow peaks of Kanjirowa Himalayan range and the amazing country of Crystal Mountain at Shey Gomba while following the ancient Trans Himalayan Trade route.

5. KANCHENJUNGA CIRCUIT TREK

Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek
Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek

 

Kanchenjunga Circuit Trekking is getting popular these days among nature enthusiasts as it is a long adventure to the most remote and beautiful area of Himalayas in Nepal’s eastern regions. At 8,586m, Kanchenjunga is the world’s 3rd highest mountain. Located in the far north eastern corner of Nepal bordering Sikkim, it is considered as one of the most beautiful mountain massifs in the world. The name Kanchenjunga means five treasures of the great snow which is in reference to the five summits that make up Kanchenjunga. Since, this trekking is less crowded you will be rewarded with a unique insight into Nepali rural lifestyle and its rich culture. You will also experience every climate Nepal has to offer from steamy jungles to jumbled glaciers.

6. MAKALU BASE CAMP TREK

Makalu Base Camp Trek
Makalu Base Camp Trek

 

Makalu Base Camp Trek takes you to the base camp of world’s fifth highest mountain Makalu. While on the way to the Makalu Base Camp, you will enjoy the views of the highest mountains such as Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Chamlang, Mt. Baruntse and other Himalayan mountains along with Makalu (8481m) itself. Makalu is a close neighbor of Mt Everest, lying in the northeast region of Nepal. The Makalu Barun National Park, established in 1992, covers the Barun Valley which is part of a huge international protected area. The Park spreads just east to the Everest region, covering areas of the Solukhumbu and Sankhuwasabha districts of Nepal. One of the most popular trekking peaks of Nepal, the Mera Peak (6654m), also lies in the Makalu Barun region. A large variety of common as well as endangered flora and fauna are protected in the region including rhododendrons, orchids, Snow Leopard, Red Panda, Musk Deer, Wild Boar, Wild Yak, Himalayan Thar, and more than 420 varieties of bird species. Some believe the area also to be home to the elusive Himalayan giant, the Yeti.

7. TSUM VALLEY TREK

Tsum Valley Trek
Tsum Valley Trek

 

Tsum Valley Trek helps to discover the secret Tibetan Buddhist lying at the edge of one of the most secluded Himalayan valleys. The Tsum Valley lies on the northern part of Manaslu and used to be a restricted area until 2008. The region is still less exposed in comparison to other touristy areas, with relatively virgin and less beaten paths in comparison to the more popular regions. Very few adventure travelers have made it to this high and mysterious valley, which used to be an important trade link with Tibet. The trek to Tsum Valley takes you into the majestic surroundings of the Ganesh Himal, Sringi Himal, and Boudha Himal ranges. The region once being part of Tibet looks completely different from what you will find elsewhere. While on the trek, we also pass through the alpine forests, glacial rivers, and enjoy the warm hospitality of ethnic people and also visit the ancient Gombas of the region such as: Rachen Gompa,Mu Gompa,  Dephyudonma Gompa. The people of Tsum Valley or the Tsumbas belong to Tibetan origin with their own ancient form of dialect, art, culture and religion. The Tsum people have their own way of family life, which may be quite surprising for many outsiders. All the brothers in the family are married to a single girl, what you may call a practice of polyandry.

Mustang: The Forbidden Kingdom Hits Lonely Planet and CNN

Mustang is one of the few places in the Himalayan region that has been able to retain its traditional Tibetan culture unmolested… authentic Tibetan culture now survives only in exile and a few places like Mustang, which have had long historical and cultural ties with Tibet.”
(Dalai Lama)

Mustang Trek
Mustang Trek

Internationally recognized travel guidebook Lonely Planet has listed Nepal’s Mustang as one of the top three regions in ‘Best in Travel 2013’. Having listed in Top Regions and Best Valued Destinations by Lonely Planet and CNN annual series, Mustang undoubtedly hits the mostly favored destination and travel and tour investment.

Until 1992 nobody from outside was allowed into Mustang. There’s also a restricted season for visits in winter. The Forbidden Kingdom is too cold and the snow too deep, so for months each year it again becomes a ‘forbidden kingdom’.  Further, Mustang is a secluded semi-independent Tibetan Kingdom north of the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Mountains and it is also one of the last fortresses of intact Tibetan culture in the world.

Mustang has an average height of 4000 m and is located to the north of the mountain giants of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna, being north of the Himalayan range is geographically part of Tibet. It has vast high valley, arid and dry, distinguished by eroded canyons, colorful stratified rock mountains and has a barren, desert in appearance.

The Forbidden Kingdom preserves some of the last residues of traditional Tibetan Buddhist culture, stunning views of the Annapurna range, famous palaces and gompas. Further it has twin symbolic meanings in the sense that politically Mustang is part of Nepal and yet it shares language, culture, climate and geography with Tibet. While trekking through the Kaligandaki River, it offers the experiences of remote villages and its unique settings.

In short, Mustang the forbidden Kingdom has kept the secret of Himalayan which needs to be explored. Not only Annapurna range it has, it also offers the trails of Kaligandaki River and sense of mental calmness through offering the sites of virgin unique cultures at the height of Annapurna. Its calmness, its cultural purity and innocent inhabitant still entice the visitors.