Trekking in WEstern Nepal

If you are looking to get off the beaten track and take a trek that borders on an adventure then head to Western Nepal. The far west was historically little more than a gateway or stopping point for pilgrims heading into Tibet and onward to Mount Kailash. That has changed with the newly opened trekking region of Limi Valley which is attracting trekkers for a unique combination of isolation, rugged mountain landscapes and cultural authenticity. It's a restricted area but trekking permits cost on the order of $50 a week much cheaper than the $500 charged in neighboring Dolpo and Mustang. Trekking here can definitely be considered off the beaten track and whatever trekking infrastructure exists is primitive at best. All trekking parties should be self supported and go with a knowledgeable local guide. However, those managing the logistics will be rewarded with an incredible experience.

Western Nepal lies in the rain shadow of Dhaulagiri so the monsoon is relatively light. Snows frequently block passes in the winter so that the best time to trek is from late May to late October. Access to the region is via Nepalganj. Its the largest town in western Nepal and the first stop from Kathmandu. Flights to the more remote airstrips and trekking access points depart from Nepalganj to Simikot (for the Limi Valley Trek), Jumla and Dunai (Both Dolpo Region). Nepalganj at just 160m is relatively hot and being just 6km from the India border is strongly influenced by the cultural of Utter Pradesh. The town is rapidly developing and now hosts several decent hotels. A walk through the old bazaar should not be missed.

The most likely trekking destination here is the newly opened 20 day Limi Valley Trek. The highlight of the trek might be the ancient fortified villages of Janh, Halji but the remote wilderness feel and the mountain scenery cannot be overlooked. The trek itself passes crosses two high passes; Nara La (4580m) and Nyalu La (4990m). The trek starts in Simikot which requires a flight from Kathmandu and then onward to Nepalganj and Simikot. Another possible adventure for those who cant get enough and don't mind roughing it might be what is possibly a month long trek to the base camp of Api Himal. Api, Nampa and Saipal are a string of peaks located in the far west of Nepal and at over 7000m are the tallest peaks in this portion of the Himalaya.

Image From Flickr: Abel Pau, Great Himalaya Trail, NepalGateway Trekking, Matt Zimmerman, NepalGateway Trekking, Andy Hares, Jan Zalud, David Wilkinson

Top Treks

A 20 day trek in the far west of Nepal that combines solitude and incredible mountain scenery with ancient villages and a cultural that seems far removed from the 20th century. Highly recommended.
Api Himal Base Camp
Takes you to the tallest mountains in the far western region of Nepal. A string of three peaks which include both Api Himal (7132m) and Saipal (7031m) in a small but compact sub-range of the Himalaya. Count on a 20 to 25 day journey to explore this rarely visited region.
Bardiya National Park
Famous for elephants and rhinos Bardiya is Nepal's largest and most pristine national park. A great alternative to the more popular Chitwan if you have the extra time to explore.

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Western Nepal Facts

Cities:
Pokhara, Jomsom, Butwal
Best Time:
May to October
Must See:
Bardiya National Park
Peaks:
Dhaulagiri, Nampa, Saipal

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