When most people go trekking in Nepal, they tend to pick between hiking in the Annapurnas and going to the Everest region. But there is a way you can get the best of both worlds, and I’ll tell you how …
The answer (as obvious as this may sound) is to choose an itinerary that offers both. Now, this does mean that you’ll need to set quite a bit of time aside for your trekking break (at least three weeks if you want to do it properly), but you will also get to see Nepal’s most spectacular landscapes in one holiday.
As the highest altitude you’ll reach will be at the Ama Dablam Base Camp (at around 4,500 m) in the Everest region, it makes sense for you to start in the Annapurnas, where you can acclimatise to the higher altitudes and warm up your legs!
Here’s a bit more about what you can expect on each section of your active holiday in Nepal.
Annapurna region: the highlights
There are several peaks that stand more than 7,000 m high in the Annapurna range of the Himalayas, so you won’t be short of spectacular scenery as you’re hiking. In fact, there are snow-capped summits in almost every direction you look!
The following are a few of my favourite moments from my time trekking in the area:
• Viewing the mountains from Ghandruk – You’ll reach Ghandruk at the end of your second day of walking and getting there means climbing a seemingly-endless flight of stone steps. Once you reach the village, however, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of Machhapuchhare and the peaks surrounding it.
• Watching the sunrise from Poon Hill – I’m not going to lie to you, it’s pretty hard going to reach the top of Poon Hill (at 3,210 m), but the trek with your torch early in the morning is definitely worth it. Seeing the peak of Annapurna South (and many other mountains) gradually light up with the rising sun is breathtaking.
Everest region: the highlights
After almost a week of walking in the spectacular scenery of the Annapurnas, you’ll hop on a flight back to Kathmandu and prepare for the next stage of your trekking holiday. It’s worth mentioning at this point that you won’t be walking to Everest Base Camp (although you’ll complete part of the trail that leads to it). Instead, you’ll hike to the Ama Dablam Base Camp.
I’ve never been to this part of Nepal, so the following are some of the sections of the trip that I think will be particularly memorable.
• Exploring Namche Bazaar – You’ll get a rest day in Namche Bazaar and this is a great opportunity to learn more about the Sherpa culture. Head to the Museum of Sherpa Life to find out about the flora and fauna in the area, as well as how Sherpas live. Another must-visit is the Namche Monastery, where the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism is practised.
• Ama Dablam Base Camp – At 4,500 m, the Ama Dablam Base Camp will be the highest point of your trekking holiday. This is a great vantage point from where to view Everest in all its glory, as well as Cho Oyo and, of course, Ama Dablam towering above. You can even see the majority of the mountaineering route that leads to the summit from the base camp.