Top 5 Treks in Nepal:
There are many options for the Top 5 treks in Nepal and with so many choices, it can become overwhelming. Having done many treks in Nepal, I’ll list my top 5 treks that I’ve done and give some highlights and lowlights with each.
Top 5 Treks in Nepal List
1 – Manaslu/Tsum Valley Trek
The Manaslu/Tsum Valley trek is #1 of top 5 treks in Nepal and is typically done in 18-20 days. If you take out the Tsum Valley section of this trek, you could complete it in about 14 days. It starts in Arughat Bazaar which can be reached from Kathmandu in 7-8 hours. The highlight of this trek comes with crossing the Larkya La Pass, which tops out at 5128m.
This trek requires permits and also requires you to hire a licensed guide or porter/guide. Best seasons like most treks in Nepal are Autumn or Spring, however, you can also do it in the winter season like I did. Just a word of warning though, that if there is a heavy snowfall, the chances of getting across the pass are slim unless you have time to wait. We had snow two nights before crossing the pass and weren’t able to cross, so had to turn around and go back.
*Highlights of Manaslu Trek
1. Close-up views of Manaslu
2. Great cultural experiences as the area is still very much Tibetan Buddhist and feels authentic.
3. Lodges and facilities are improving as the area gains in popularity.
4. Still not as busy as Annapurna Circuit or Everest Base Camp Trek.
*Lowlights of Manaslu Trek
1. If you are caught with snow near the pass, may not be able to cross.
2. Trails in certain areas are steep, but do-able with some experience in trekking.
3. Not a short trek, so best to have a lot of time off to complete it.
The Itinerary I Took:
Day 1 – Kathmandu to Arughat Bazaar
Day 2 – Arughat to Lapubesi
Day 3 – Lapubesi to Tatopani
Day 4 – Tatopani to Phillim
Day 5 – Phillim to Chumling
Day 6 – Chumling to Chokkangparo
Day 7 – Chokkangparo to Lungdang
Day 8 – Lungdang to Lokpa
Day 9 – Lokpa to Ghap
Day 10 – Ghap to Lho
Day 11 – Lho to Samagoan
Day 12 – Samagoan to Samdo
Day 13 – Samdo to Dharamshala
Day 14 – Dharamshala over Larkya la
Day 15 – Got stuck at the pass, couldn’t cross, so had to backtrack back to Arughat Bazaar.
2 – Everest Base Camp Trek
This variation of the Everest Base Camp Trek is my #2 of top 5 treks in Nepal and is a 21 day trek that includes both the Gokyo Lakes and also a climb of 6120m Island Peak. If you just do the Everest Base Camp trek, it can be done in 12 days or with Gokyo in about 14 to 15 days. I highly recommend the variation to Gokyo Lakes and the Cho La (5420m) pass. Typically this trek is started by flying into Lukla, however, you can take a bus from Kathmandu to Jiri and hike from there to Lukla in about 4 to 5 days.
If you really want to add some adventure and excitement to your Everest Base Camp trek, you can also add on Island Peak to this trip. It’s about a 3-4 day addition following Everest Base Camp, however, by this time you should be well acclimatized and can head right up the mountain from Island Peak Base Camp. A note on this, is that these days, the glacier at Island Peak has quite a few crevasses to cross and also ladders are now involved as well as the glacier is changing. Ten years ago, this was not the case and you could climb without much glacier experience. For the climb you will need proper permits, equipment and a climbing guide as well. The view from the top though is worth the effort as it gives you unparalleled views of Lotse South and pretty good views of Makalu.
* Highlights of Everest Base Camp Trek
1. Visiting Everest Base Camp (5380m)
2. Crossing Cho-La (5420m), Climbing Gokyo-Ri (5357m) for great views, and climbing Island Peak (6130m)
3. Hiking to the various Gokyo Lakes, with great views of Everest from the 5th lake.
4. Mountain views from all around and great, well kept lodges.
*Lowlights of Everest Base Camp Trek
1. Can get crowded in high season.
2. If visiting during winter season, Cho La can be quite icy if visiting around a recent snow storm.
3. Can get expensive with flights to Lukla and other costs compared to other treks in Nepal.
The Itinerary I Took:
Day 1 – Fly to Lukla (2860m) and trek to Phadking
Day 2 – Phadking (2650m) to Namche Bazaar (3440m)
Day 3 – Rest day in Namche Bazaar
Day 4 – Namche Bazaar (3440m) to Phortse Tenga (3500m)
Day 5 – Phortse Tenga (3500m) to Machhermo (4410m)
Day 6 – Machhermo (4410m) to Gokyo (4750m)
Day 7 – Rest day in Gokyo
Day 8 – Gokyo (4750m) to Thangna (4700m)
Day 9 – Thangna (4700m) over Cho-La Pass (5420m) to
Day 10 – Dzongla (4845m) to Lobuche (4930m)
Day 11 – Lobuche (4930m) to Gorak Shep (5170m) to Kala
Pataar (5545m) to Gorak (5170m)
Day 12 – Gorak Shep (5170m) to Everest Base Camp
(5380m) to Lobuche (4930m)
Day 13 – Lobuche (4930m) to Chukkung (4710m)
Day 14 – Chukkung (4710m) to Island Peak Base Camp (5240m)
Day 15 – Base Camp (5240 or 5500m) to Summit (6180m) to
Day 16 – Chukkung (4710m) to Tyangboche (3860m)
Day 17 – Tyangboche (3860m) to Namche Bazaar (3440m)
Day 18 – Namche Bazaar (3440m) to Lukla (2650m) (6hrs)
Day 19 – Lukla to Kathmandu
3 – Annapurna Circuit Trek
This is the classic and comes in #3 of my top 5 treks in Nepal. Many years ago, it was a 3 week trek. However, with lots of road work, the trek can now be completed in under 2 weeks. There are reasons why this trek is so popular and is often on top 5 lists for Nepal Treks. The lodges are developed and the views of the surrounding mountains that are part of the Annapurna Range are incredible.
The trek usually begins from Besisahar, however you can take a jeep further up the track these days. Many people finish now in Jomson with a flight or jeep back to Pokhara, however, if you have the time, you can continue the hike for a few more days down to Tatopani or further.
*Highlights of Annapurna Circuit Trek
1. Trek starts not too far from Pokhara and with many roads, entire trek can be shortened to satisfy your vacation time.
2. Views are superb, especially above Manang and especially before Thorong La Pass.
3. Kagbeni is a great town and stop off for a more authentic, cultural feel.
4. In good weather and enough acclimatization, Thorong La is quite accesible.
5. Thorong La (5416m) crossing.
*Lowlights of Annapurna Circuit Trek
1. Trek can get busy over peak season due to its popularity.
2. Since the trek follows roads for a bit, it can get dusty with the jeeps travelling it. However, you can avoid a lot of these roads through alternative trails.
3. As with a lot of treks with high passes, if you trek in winter, you may have to wait to cross the pass if there is a bit snow. There have been some tragic events in recent years on Thorong La.
The Itinerary I Took:
Day 1 – Pokhara to Ngadi
Day 2 – Ngadi to Jagat
Day 3 – Jagat to Dharapani
Day 4 – Dharapani to Chame
Day 5- Chame to Upper Pisang
Day 6 – Upper Pisang to Gyharu
Day 7 – Gyharu to Ngawal
Day 8- Ngawal to Manang
Day 9 – Manang to Thorong Phedi Base Camp
Day 10 – Thorong Phedi Base Camp to Thorong La to Muktinath
Day 11 – Muktinath to Kagbeni
Day 12 – Kagbeni to Jomson
Day 13 – Jomson to Pokhara Flight
4 – Langtang Trek w/Gosaikunda Lake
The langtang trek at #4 of my top 5 treks in Nepal is one of most accessible multi day treks in Nepal due to the close proximity to Kathmandu. It can also be done in a week, so if you don’t have much time and still want to get up high in the mountains, this is the best option. The trek begins after an 8 to 9 hour bus from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi. If you don’t add on to your trek by going further afield to Gosaikunda, then you have to backtrack fully and return the way you came.
This area was heavily damaged and a lot of loss of life during the April, 2015 earthquake. However, the region has started to recover and treks are possible and is a good to support the local communities.
I highly recommend extending your trek to continue on towards Gosaikunda lake and then finishing the trek in Dunche where you can then get a bus or jeep to Kathmandu. In total, the trek takes around 14 to 15 days this way.The view around Gosaikunda and especially Laurubina Yak offers amazing wide sweeping panorama views of the Himalayans
*Highlights of Langtang and Gosaikunda Trek
1. If you have the time, hike up to Tsergo-Ri (4984m) from Kyanjin Gompa for great views of the surrounding peaks (day hike).
2. Optional extension to Gosaikunda Lake is worth the extra days.
3. Easy access from Kathmandu
4. Great local culture and trail isn’t super busy.
*Lowlights of Langtang and Gosaikunda Trek
1. There have been times when the trails have become inaccessible due to landslides and snow, however, this is quite rare.
2. After the earthquake in 2015, many lodges were destroyed. However, there has been a resurgence and many new lodges are being built.
The Itinerary I Took:
Day 1: Kathmandu to Syabrubesi Bus
Day 2: Syabrubesi to Lama Hotel
Day 3: Lama Hotel to Langtang Village
Day 4: Langtang Village to Kyanjin Gompa
Day 5: Rest Day in Kyanjin Gompa
Day 6: Kyanjin Gompa to Lama Hotel
Day 7: Lama Hotel to Thulo Syabru
Day 8: Thulo Syabru to Laurebina Yak
Day 9: Laurebina Yak to Gosaikunda
Day 10: Gosaikunda to Ghopte
Day 11: Ghopte to Kutumsang
Day 12: Kutumsan to Chisopani
Day 13: Chisopani to Kathmandu
5 – Mardi Himal Trek w/Mohare Danda
This trek is probably the least known out of the treks I’ve listed and comes it at #5 of my top 5 treks in Nepal, however, it is gaining in popularity as more people are taking it. If you are just doing the Mardi Himal trek, you could finish the trek in around 6 days. However, if you add in Mohare Danda, you could extend the trek to 10-12 days.
The views on this trek of the Annapurna range are up close and spectacular. Especially if you want to see fishtail (machhapuchhare) close up, it doesn’t get much better than this trek. Then if you add Mohare Danda, you can get a great panoramic view of the Annapurnas which matches and even rivals Poon Hill.
*Highlights of Mardi Himal Trek
1. Not heavily travelled.
2. Great close up views of Machhapuchhare at Mardi Himal and great panorama view at Mohare Danda.
3. Can be trekked almost any time of the year
*Lowlights of Mardi Himal Trek
1. Not many options for lodges in certain parts of the trek. Especially Mohare Danda, there is only one to two lodges, but both are quite nice.
Itinerary That I Took:
Day 1 – Pokhara to Kande bus, trek to Pitam Deurali
Day 2 – Pitam Deurali to Low Camp
Day 3 – Low Camp to High Camp
Day 4 – High Camp to Low Camp
Day 5 – Low Camp to Landruk
Day 6 – Landruk to Ghandruk
Day 7 – Ghandruk to Ghorepani
Day 8 – Ghorepani to Mohare Danda
Day 9 – Mohare Danda to Deurali
Day 10 – Deurali to Ghandruk
Day 11 – Ghandruk trek to Nayapul to Pokhara (bus)
Have you been on any of these treks? Recommend other treks in Nepal that aren’t listed here? Have a different Top 5 Treks in Nepal List? Let us know in the comments!