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Trek Tibet Nepal: how to enjoy short treks in Tibet and Nepal for travelers with tight schedule

June,10 2023 BY Sonam Tenphel 0 COMMENTS

Traveling in Tibet and Nepal is one of the most spectacular trips you can take, and with the high Himalayas stretching along the border between China and Nepal, the mountain scenery is the best in the world. Nepal is well known for its amazing treks, and there are many treks in Tibet that will leave you astounded by their beauty and tranquility.

However, trekking in Nepal and Tibet normally requires you to have plenty of time to walk along the trails, many of which last from a week to more than 20 days. Annapurna and Everest treks in Nepal are both long treks of 12 days or more, and in Tibet, places like the Gama Valley and the Kyirong valley are week-long treks.

If you are short of time, then these treks are too long to incorporate into a tour of these two ancient Himalayan kingdoms. But there are treks that can be incorporated into a shorter tour or trip, taking around four days or less to complete, yet giving you all the stunning scenery and mountain landscapes that the much longer ones do.

Why for Himalayan View, Trek to Tibet and Nepal is a Must

The Himalayas stretches from northeastern Pakistan along the borders of India, Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan, and on into southwest China. With such a huge distance covered, you may think you can trek anywhere in this massive range. However, as with most things, there are better places to trek the Himalayas than others, and the main two areas of the Himalayas to trek in the mountains is in Tibet and Nepal.

Trekking in Nepal and Tibet Mountain RangesTrekking in Nepal and Tibet Mountain Ranges

Sharing a border across these great mountain ranges, Nepal and Tibet have a huge range of treks that are available for every grade of trekker, from the absolute novice to the very experienced trekker who has done almost every arduous trek in the world. Moreover, these areas of the Himalayas have the best views of the mountains, since they include ten of the 14 highest mountains in the world all in one place. You can view Mount Everest, Mount Cho Oyu, Mount Shishapangma, Mount Nuptse, Mount Lhotse, Mount Makalu, and many others all in one short stretch of the mountains, along the length of the Sino-Nepal border.

Nepal and Tibet are also much easier to get to and trek in than many of the other areas of the Himalayas. Part of the tourist industry in both Tibet and Nepal is already geared to trekking in the high mountains, and the ability to easily access these treks is much better in Nepal and Tibet than in India, Pakistan, and other Himalayan areas.

Top 3 Short Treks in Tibet and Nepal Respectively

Trekking in Tibet and Nepal when you are short on time can actually be done very easily, as not all of the treks are long and arduous. Some of the best treks, with the most stupendous views, are the shorter ones, that concentrate on a certain smaller area that has much more to offer in the way of scenery and adventure.

While the trek to Mount Everest in Nepal is an amazing one, for much of the route you cannot see the massive peak of the mountain, and it can even be seen to be a bit of an anticlimax, since you cannot see the mountain at all from the southern base camp. Longer treks also tend to have long stretches of the trail where the view is not as amazing as you might think it should be. Parts of some of the treks also follow roads, which can have traffic, even if only a little, which ultimately detracts from the total ambience of the idea of trekking in the mountains.

Short Treks in Tibet

Tibet has some of the world’s most amazing high-altitude treks, many of which take more than a few days. However, there are also plenty of treks in Tibet that are short enough to manage with just a limited time for trekking. These treks, while sometimes a little arduous, can be ideal for beginners and less experienced trekkers.

The trek from Shalu to Nartang is only 2-3 days long, depending on how fast you want to complete it. It can be done easily in two days, but many people like to take at least three days to get a better view of the mountains and scenery and enjoy the experience to the max. The trail follows one of the ancient Buddhist trade routes between monasteries, and passes through many small villages and settlements along its route. Easily accessed from Shigatse, this short and simple trek takes you over high passes and along low valleys, as well as heading into some spectacular dry canyons where the cliffs tower above you making you feel like an ant in a dry desert.

Mount Kailash Trekking TourIt usually takes you three days to complete the 52-kilometer-long trekking kora around Mt.Kailash

Mount Kailash kora, in Ngari Prefecture in western Tibet, has one of the world’s most spectacular treks, which is actually one of the shortest in the region. Considered to be the most sacred mountain in the world, and held in reverence by four religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism, Mount Kailash may not be in the top ten of highest mountains, but is one of the most stunning mountains in the world to look at. A huge pyramid of unusual black rock, the kora trail around the mountain is the holiest of all kora routes in Tibet and Nepal.

The trek around the kora route takes three days, and some parts can be strenuous, such as the climb up to the highest pass on the trail at Dolma La. It is a trek that has been completed by senior citizens from all around the world, and which is regularly done by Tibetan and Indian pilgrims, some on their hands and knees in constant prostration. As treks go, this is one of the most stunning you can take in Tibet, and it can even leave you with a sense of the sacredness of the mountain, and a serenity that is unmatched in high-altitude trekking.

The trek from Tingri to Everest Base Camp (EBC) is one of the most popular short treks in Tibet, taking just four days to cover the 70km route to the world’s highest mountain. Beginning at Old Tingri, on the Friendship Highway where the road forks off to head to EBC, this short trek is one of the most beautiful, and is even a better Everest trek than the longer one in Nepal. All along the route of the trek, you get the view of Mount Everest, and each time you crest a rise and the mountain comes into view, it looks closer each time, as if the mountain is coming to meet you on your trek. Passing through some lovely valleys and across open plains that are the home to yaks and nomadic herders, this trail to the most popular tourist attraction in the Himalayas is also a unique experience of the ancient Tibetan way of life and its culture.

Everest Base Camp Trekking TourTrekking from Old Tingri, our clients have made it to Everest Base Camp in Tibet

Short Treks in Nepal

Trekking in Nepal is often considered to be the peak of high-altitude trekking, and has what are undoubtedly considered to be the best treks in the world. Hundreds of trekking trails crisscross the Himalayas, from the highest points of Gokyo Ri near Mount Everest trails that wind through the Kathmandu Valley at elevations below 1,500 meters. Trekking in Nepal, however, is often a long experience, as the trails can be quite long and some are much too arduous and strenuous for novice trekkers. There are, however, several treks in Nepal that can be incorporated into a vacation that will not cover the entire time you have in Nepal.

The Ghandruk Cultural Trek, which starts an hour outside Pokhara, is a three-day trek that is ideal as a short trek at any time of the year. With maximum altitudes of around 2,000 meters, acclimatization days are not needed, giving you the full time to enjoy the trekking. The trail ascends from outside Pokhara through small hill-tribe villages after crossing the Modi Khola River on one of Nepal’s famous rope-and-wood suspension bridges. From the village of Ghandruk in the Ghrung region, the mountain views are some of the best in the area, and while the mountains may be far away, they loom high over Nepal, making them always look closer. The best viewpoints of the Himalayas on the trail are at the villages of Landruk, Pothana, and Deurali, before you drop down once more to explore the trail through the primeval forests and picturesque hill villages to the trail’s end at Phedi.

Beautiful Himalayas rangeEnjoying the best view of the Himalayas during Ghandruk Cultural trek in Nepal

Starting in the outskirts of Kathmandu, this 2 to 3-day trek has some superb mountain views and travels through some of the Langtang national Park’s most stunning forest regions. In an area where the main culture is Buddhist, you trek through several ethnic Tamang villages, where the Tibetan Buddhist culture thrives in Nepal. The trek takes you trough dense rhododendron forests in the Shivapuri National Park to the mountain viewpoint of Chisapani, where the wide and expansive view of the Himalayas stretches from Langtang to Gaurishankar.

While there are other short two and three-day treks in Nepal, if you have time, there is a way to get a great view of Everest without having to complete the 17-day trek to EBC. The Everest Mini trek, also well known as the Everest View trek, runs from Lukla, the mountain airport where the trek to EBC starts, up to Namche Bazaar and the Everest View Hotel, which has one of the best views of the mountain in Nepal.

The trek through Phakding to Namche Bazaar takes two days, and you get a third day to trek up to Syangboche, the viewpoint for Mount Everest on the sun deck of the Everest View Hotel, before heading back to Namche for the night. The final day is spent returning to Lukla, which is easier going down than up, and then the flight back to Kathmandu.

Best Time for the Trek in Tibet and Nepal

Trekking in Nepal can be done at any time of the year, with the exception of the monsoon season. The monsoon in Nepal is relatively heavy compared to Tibet, and is more of a sub-tropical style of monsoon. As the rains cover the entire country, trekking is impossible. However, the rest of the year is ideal for trekking, and when the winter snows come in the mountains, there are plenty of lower-altitude treks that you can experience.

Tibet has a more defined trekking seasons, since the winter and summer are normally not good times for trekking. While the monsoon rains are not as heavy in Tibet as in Nepal, it can still make the ground muddy and unsafe, so it is better to be safe during the rainy season. Winter is also not a good time to trek, as snow and ice in some of the areas can make trekking impossible. The main trekking seasons in Tibet are from mid-April to May and Sept. to Oct. The weather at these times is ideal for trekking, as it is neither too hot nor too cold, and the rain is almost non-existent.

How to Prepare for the Trek in Tibet and Nepal

Preparing for any high-altitude trek requires you to measure and adjust your level of fitness and physical stamina. Trekking at the high altitudes of Nepal and Tibet is arduous and strenuous, and not for the faint hearted and unfit. A good level of physical fitness and stamina is required, as the ascents into the mountains can be hard and over rough terrain, both in Tibet and Nepal.

Swimming, cycling, and running are good daily activities that can help increase your levels of fitness and stamina to get you ready for the arduous treks in the Himalayas. You should also get yourself checked by your doctor to make sure that there are no unknown conditions that may cause you problems at high altitudes, such as heart disease and asthma. Age is never really an issue in high altitude trekking, as long as you are physically fit.

How to Enjoy Travel Safety for the Trek in Tibet and Nepal

Tibet requires you to be on an organized tour, and if your tour includes trekking, then we will be providing you with a guide that has experience as a trekking guide as well. Your safety is our main concern, and we ensure that your trekking experience is safe by using experienced guides and not trekking over unstable terrain or in the rainy and snowy seasons.

Nepal, however, is very different, unless you book a trekking tour. Trekking in Nepal can be done without a tour or a guide, though it is recommended to have at least a guide if you have never trekked in the Himalayas before. The increasing altitudes can be daunting, and if you are not aware of when you should rest to acclimatize, you run a high risk of getting altitude sickness. You should always make sure that you have the right gear for trekking at high altitudes as well. Weatherproof clothing, waterproofs, strong hiking boots and thick socks, an arctic-rated sleeping bag, a decent tent, and food, as well as a way to cook it. Trekking in Nepal should not be taken lightly, and you should make sure that you know the route you are taking, or hire a guide or tour instead.

Sonam Tenphel

About the Author - Sonam Tenphel

With 20+ years of guide experience and tons of great reviews, Sonam Tenphel is one of the top-rated local Tibetan guides in our team. Polite, enthusiastic, and extremely attentive to every traveler’s needs, he is your best travel companion in Tibet and a walking dictionary of Tibetan culture and history.

Additionally, being a great photographer, Sonam helps you capture great Tibet travel moments and maximize your Tibet experiences like no other.

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