Famously known as the country of the Himalayas, Nepal is a major attraction for people who seek a scenic journey with a mix of thrilling adventures. The country homes eight of the highest mountains in the world that are all over 8,000 meters. These glorious peaks are a major attraction for trekkers all over the world.
There are many factors that one must consider when planning for a trek, a very important one is the weather. In Nepal, summer starts from mid-June and lasts till mid-September. It should be noted that monsoon falls during this time as well, making the trails muddy and bringing its own set of unfavorable conditions. However, certain rain shadow areas such as the laps of the High Himalayas and regions close to the Tibetan border are largely protected from rain and enjoy a dry climate during summer.
The top 5 best summer treks in Nepal include Upper Mustang Trek, Upper Dolpo Trek, Lower Dolpo Trek, Limi Valley Trek, and the Nar Phu Valley Trek.
Upper Mustang Trek
Upper Mustang is the hidden paradise of the Mustang valley. To be able to trek in Upper Mustang is a privilege as access is highly restricted to this day. The trek itself is not that challenging, the highest point being 3,800 m. The trek takes a minimum of nine days.
Trekkers require a special trekking permit that costs USD 500 per person for the first ten days and then costs an additional USD 50 per day after that.
The easiest way is to fly from Pokhara to Jomsom from where the trek will start. Trekkers will have to follow the Kali Gandaki River upstream to Kagbeni from where they will have to move northwards to Lo Manthang, the capital of Upper Mustang. Above Kagbeni, facilities are basic. However, porters and mules are available for hire in Jomsom. The trek in total costs USD 1800-USD 2100 on average.
Upper Dolpo Trek
The Upper Dolpo region is also a restricted area located near the Tibetan border. The region has remained untouched by modern urbanization, adding to its mystic beauty. Similar to the Upper Mustang trek, trekkers require a permit that costs USD 500 per person for the first ten days and then costs an additional USD 50 per day after that. Individual trekkers are not given a permit. A group of at least two people is required.
The main attractions of this trek are the centuries-old monasteries like the famous Shey Gompa, enigmatic villages, wildlife, and landscapes, including the famous Shey Phoksundo Lake. Trails normally pass through the Shey Phoksundo National Park which is one of the most scenic mountain parks in the world.
Total cost is relatively higher as compared to other treks, totaling to USD 3500-USD 4000 on average. Trekkers have to fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj to Jhupal from where the long and strenuous trek starts. It takes about 28 days on average to complete the trek.
Lower Dolpo Trek
This eighteen-day trek has been designed for people who want to experience the beauty of Dolpo but want a shorter and less challenging version of the Upper Dolpo Trek. Just like in the Upper Dolpo Trek, trekkers need a permit and need to fly from Kathmandu to Jhupal via Nepalgunj.
The permits cost USD 20 per person for a week, beyond which, it costs USD 5 per person a week. However, what is different is that Upper Dolpo is quite desert-like, while the Lower Dolpo region has dense forests. It also has fewer restrictions than Upper Dolpo and is significantly more affordable.
The trek costs an average of about USD 2500-USD 3000. This trek, with a maximum altitude of 5,360m, is still quite demanding and not for beginners. The Dolpo region lacks infrastructures. So, trekkers should manage their resources accordingly. In this area, one can find people who still practice the Bon-Po religion, which is older than Buddhism and also look at heart-stopping views of the Dhaulagiri.
Limi Valley Trek
The Limi valley is rarely visited and untouched. It is one of the few places where one can still experience a very ancient lifestyle with traditions that are centuries old. During this trek, trekkers also have an opportunity to spot rare species of wildlife like the snow leopard, and the Himalayan blue sheep. Also, the valley holds a global significance for highland flora and fauna.
This trek only opened to foreigners in 2002, and to this day, this place has very few visitors. In an attempt to protect the ecosystem of the place, the government issues a limited number of permits per year that costs USD 50 per person a week, beyond which will cost USD 10 per person per week.
Having a maximum elevation of 4900m, it is considered to be a pretty challenging trek with trekkers having to cross passes at high altitudes. Trekkers will have to take a flight from Kathmandu to Simikot via Nepalgunj from where the trek starts. The trail passes through rivers and waterfalls, ancient settlements, and stunning views throughout the trek. It costs USD 2700-USD 3500 in total on average and takes 15-20 days to complete.
Nar Phu Valley Trek
The Nar Phu valley trek is often referred to as the “hidden valley trek”. Trekkers get to enjoy undisturbed religious sites, and traditional indigenous lifestyle. The valley is located in the north of Annapurna. Many trekkers follow the Annapurna Circuit trails up to a certain point and branch off from there. Trekkers get to experience majestic views of snow-capped mountains. High altitude ancient settlements, monasteries, forests, and rare wildlife.
This trek requires a permit which costs USD 100 for seven days per person from September to November and costs USD 75 from December to August. Beyond a week, it costs USD 15/10 per day per person. The Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP) is also required, which will cost about USD 30. If trekkers plan on combining this trek with Annapurna Circuit, which is what most do, they will also require a TIMS card which will cost USD 10 or USD 20.
The trek is 12-18 days long and costs around USD 1500-USD 1600 per person.
Nepal is a beautiful country with many hidden gems. The journey to these hidden gems can be challenging but the destination and experiences make it worth it. The spectacular views and ancient cultures of people win the hearts of many travelers. There is so much to learn and experience. Trekking in Nepal is a gateway to a lifetime of experiences and learning.