5 Best Self-guided And Independent Treks In Nepal

Nepal is a small nation with immense beauty and adventures to accomplish. It is also home to some of the world’s most popular and challenging trekking trails. However, it does not mean that every trekking tracks are to be accomplished in a group.

The Government of Nepal has provided access to some trekking regions where you can travel solo. You will gain access to travel independently on a designated track with the correct permits and identification.

Nepal is a safe country for both men and women willing to travel solo. It is also one of the friendliest environments you will encounter during your journey. However, if you are a beginner traveler, it is always first recommended to travel with at least one partner and a local guide.

Top Five Best Independent Trekking Trails To Accomplish As A Solo Trekker

Certain areas are banned from traveling solo due to the challenging tracks. To accomplish such trials, you must hire a licensed guide and a permit to enter some restricted areas.

Some examples of such tracks are Manaslu, Nar-Phu, Tsum Valley, Upper Mustang, Dolpo, Kanchenjunga, and Humla.

However, some regions are free to travel even without permits, and if you are affixed with your idea of solo travel, those regions are for you. Below are some of the best tracks to scale alone.

Jomsom Muktinath Trek

Muktinath (Source – Mountain World Trek)
  • Starting And Ending Point: Kathmandu
  • Trekking Region: Annapurna
  • Trekking Grade: Easy
  • Trekking Duration: 8 to 10 Days
  • Maximum Altitude: 3,855 meters at Muktinath
  • Best Season: February, March, April, May, June, September, October, November, and December

It is one of the popular trekking tracks in Nepal that covers a specific part of the Annapurna circuit. This particular trek will take you through the territory of the Jomsom and Muktinath. This journey starts from the lake city of Pokhara and takes you through unique terrains, cultures, religions, different ethnic groups, and remote villages.

Here, the highest elevated level is at Muktinath, a holy pilgrimage for Buddhists and Hindus. Inside this temple, you will find 108 holy taps. Moving on, you will also walk across the trails of farming fields, forests, blooming red Rhododron flowers, and Gurung and Magar villages.

Highlights Of The Trek

  • Experience the local culture of the settlement area.
  • Get close-up views of Annapurna I (8,091 meters) to the east and Dhaulagiri (8,167 meters) to the west. 
  • Walk along the world’s deepest gorge, Kali Gandaki, formed by the Kaligandaki River. 
  • Take a bath in a natural hot spring. 
  • Explore the pilgrim destination, Muktinath.

Langtang Valley Trek

  • Starting And Ending Point: Syabrubesi
  • Trekking Region: Langtang
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Trekking Duration: 8 to 10 Days
  • Maximum Altitude: 4800 meters / 15655 feet (Kyanjing Ri)
  • Best Seasons: Fall (September and December) and Spring (March, April, and May)

It is one of the closest trails to the Kathmandu valley. Langtang Valley offers over 70 glaciers and reaches a maximum altitude of 4,773 meters at Kyangjin Ri. This high altitude provides a panoramic view of the Langtang range that looks stunning with winter snow cover.

Here, the trails are rough but give you a warm experience. Likewise, it is also an opportunity to get a closer look at the ethnic culture of Tamang and Sherpa. While here, you can also visit Langtang National Park and observe wildlife like Himalayan monal, Himalayan tahrs, wild dogs, and snow leopards. 

Highlights Of The Trek

  • Visit the local Cheese Factory in Kyanjing Gompa.
  • Walk through stunning Rhododendron forests, high alpine meadows, and yak pastures.
  • Get panoramic views of the Langtang Ri, Langtang, Langsisa, and Ganjala Peaks.
  • Experience Tibetan Buddhist culture and life firsthand.
  • Climb Tserko Ri for its stunning scenic views.

Dhampus Sarangkot Trek

Dhampus (Source – Dolma Tours)
  • Starting And Ending Point: Hyangja, Pokhara
  • Trekking Region: Annapurna
  • Trekking Days: 4 to 6 Days
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Maximum Altitude: 1,550 meters
  • Best Seasons: Spring (March, April, and May) and Autumn (September, October, and November)

One of the short and trouble-free treks, Dhampus Sarangkot, lies in Pokhara with an unobstructed view of the Annapurna ranges. It is also a brief trial that is feasible for any age group.

Additionally, this trip will give you an immediate insight into the Gurung community and offer pleasant sunrise and sunset views. It is also the starting point of the Annapurna Base Camp trek and Mardi Himal Trek.  

Highlights Of The Trek

  • Get panoramic views of the Annapurna I (8,091 meters), Machhapuchre / Fishtail (6,993 meters), Annapurna II (7,930 meters), Dhaulagiri (8,167 meters), Lamjung Himal (6,983 meters), Annapurna South (7,219 meters), and many other.
  • Explore Pokhara city and Phewa Lake.
  • Witness the glorious sunrise over the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri Himalayan range.

Mardi Himal Trek

  • Starting And Ending Point: Kande
  • Trekking Region: Annapurna
  • Trekking Days: 7 to 8 Days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Maximum Altitude: 4500 meters at Mardi Himal Base Camp
  • Best Seasons: Autumn (September, October, and November)

Mardi Himal Trek is a challenging and breathtaking trek in the Annapurna region, one of the lesser-known routes among travelers. During winter, this trail is heavenly, with great views of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhare, and Manaslu.

During this journey, you will pass through forests full of oaks and rhododendrons, suspension bridges, and traditional ethnic villages. 

Highlights Of The Trek

  • Stunning view of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchre, and Manaslu ranges.
  • Heavenly views from Australian Camp, Pothana, Deurali, Badal Danda, View Point, and Mardi Himal Base Camp.
  • Witness picturesque villages, lush green hills, beautiful forests of oak and rhododendron, lovely lakes, cascading waterfalls, and fine valleys.
  • Experience a rich tradition & culture.

Ruby Valley Trek

Ruby Valley
Ruby Valley (Source – Wikimedia Commons)
  • Starting And Ending Point: Kathmandu
  • Trekking Region: Ganesh Himal
  • Trekking Days: 10 to 12 Days
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Maximum Altitude: 3,845 meters at Pang sang Pass
  • Best Seasons: March and April

It is one of the hidden trails in Nepal that gives you an insight into the Tamang and Gurung ethnic groups. This particular trail lies between the Manaslu Conservation area and Langtang National Park.

During this journey, you will pass through flatlands, terraced farms, and gradual, steep climbs with white snowclad mountains. Furthermore, you will also get to explore villages inhabited by the Tamang and the Gurungs following Buddhism. 

Highlights Of The Trek

  • Stunning views of the Ganesh Himal (7,422 meters), Langtang Lirung (7,227 meters), Boudha Himal (6,692 meters), and many more.
  • Pass through the magnificent Pangsang Pass (3,842 meters / 12,604 feet).
  • Take a bath in the natural hot spring.
  • Trek through beautiful waterfalls, gorges, stone mills, and suspension bridges.
  • Get to understand the rich cultures of the Tamang and Gurung people.

Solo Trekking In Nepal

Independent trekking is safe and legal in Nepal. You will also come across several English speakers around the city; however, it gets a bit harder as you elevate to remote areas and mountain regions.

Traveling solo has its perks but also comes with a specific responsibility. If you are traveling solo, you must create your own permit. It will require a TIMS card which helps find you if you go missing. This card will cost you around $20.

Moving further, it is crucial to have your travel insurance as the trails will take you to a remote and unique terrain. Hence, it is a must to be assured of your safety beforehand, which is helpful when you need an emergency evacuation.

Trekking in Nepal is accessible all year round. However, spring and autumn are still the best seasons to travel to due to warm temperatures and clear blue skies. Not to mention, they are also the busiest season filled with trekkers and adventure-seekers.

Pros Of Solo Travel

  • You can plan your itinerary as per your preferences.
  • Traveling alone costs you much less than traveling with a Company. You might also save fees with porter and guides.
  • You can have your own choice of the accommodation plan.
  • You will also get one-to-one interaction with the locals.

Cons of Solo Travel

  • You will not get your team’s help if you fall sick or have problems.
  • If you are traveling alone, it is pretty challenging to find yourself accommodation.
  • You will be responsible for arranging your essentials, such as trek permits, flight tickets, and insurance.
  • You will need adequate information on the place you are traveling to, the system, and the tracks.

Tips For Independent Trek

Below are some tips if you plan to travel solo.

  • Arrive at your destination early. After sunset, it gets pretty tricky to asses your trails.
  • Always keep yourself hydrated and full of energy.
  • Be aware of altitude if you are scaling high-altitude treks.
  • Keep a distance from alcohol and narcotics.
  • Always inform your people about where you are traveling to.
  • Do not avoid the symptom of altitude sickness.
  • For energy supply, always carry snacks and chocolates with you.
  • Avoid having or wearing luxurious items during travel.
  • Carry enough hand cash with you while trekking. Often rural areas need to provide you with the facilities of cards and ATM services.

Essential Items For Your Solo Travel

  • Rucksack Bag with waterproof cover
  • Lightweight thermals
  • Fleece Jacket or Pullover
  • Waterproof Jacket for Monsoon
  • Lightweight, breathable, and moisture wicking Undergarments
  • Lightweight walking pants
  • Fleece or tracksuit pants
  • Comfortable Hiking boots and socks
  • Walking poles
  • Gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • A good quality sleeping bag
  • Sunscreen and moisturizing balm for face, body, and lips
  • Refillable hot water bottles and water purifiers
  • Wipes, sanitizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, and so on
  • A lightweight towel

In A Nutshell

Solo trekking differs from what you will see on your social media sites. Be prepared to face the realities of uncertainties! If you believe in a fantasy picture of independent travel, the tracks will be hard to accomplish; yet again, if you are well-researched and flexible, it will be a fruitful experience.

One of the best parts of solo travel is to have your own choices and preferences. You can make your arrangements; however, it is best to be cautious.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is solo trekking?

There are generally two types of solo trekkers, one who travels alone but joins groups and the other who prefers traveling on their own but must trek with a local guide wherever they visit.

Is solo trekking safe?

The most important reason for never hiking solo is that it’s unsafe. You may be in excellent shape (I am pretty fit myself), you may be a survival expert, you may be strong, and all the rest, but really – it is just not a good idea.

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