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What are remote treks in Nepal?
Trekking in Nepal is a 1st choice of any nature lovers, visiting Nepal. Everest base camp trek and Annapurna circuit trek are famous treks in Nepal; however the remote parts of Nepal offers the best lifetime experience for nature lovers and trekkers. Remote treks in Nepal once used to be just the restricted trails, but now with many new local trekking company in Nepal; more remote has been explored and trails are analysed with physical presence of adventurers.
Trekking through the village with simple but beautiful life, a hard daily routine but happy environment, small reason to be happy in their small world are major attractions of trekking in remote part of Nepal. Unlike to fancy monasteries of Everest base camp trekking trail and stone paved trekking trail of Annapurna base camp, the off beaten routes of the remote treks in Nepal follows the wilderness, simplicity and amusements. Very few locals who can speak in foreign language but majority of them speaks with a big smile will surely inspire anyone to do a remote treks in Nepal.
By saying remote treks, you will have basic accommodation, local foods (even though the menu will have English name, in case if they have menu), trails will be narrow, trekking inside the jungle is normal act of locals life, food will not be outstanding but organic, nature will be wild & you might be alone with your guide.
Which are the famous remote treks in 2020?
More than 80% of Nepal is composed of village. Geography of Nepal is divided into 3 different forms as; terai the flat land, Hilly region the green hills and Mountains with snowcapped white mountains. The capital of Nepal Kathmandu is in the hills, saying that even the flat land of Terai has 70% village, and the mountains doesn’t have any cities. As a poor country and lack of basic transportation facility remoteness in Nepal is common.
Interestingly, local people of the mountains will be amazed by seeing cars and motorcycle; but they are familiar with helicopter and planes. They call helicopters as mountain taxi and plane are the local buses.
With above being said, Nepal has many remote treks options, few of them like Annapurna circuit are more commercialized and spoiled with dusty road. Everest base camp region used to be a remote treks but this trail is too much commercialized and due to the development of technology the amount of people coming to Everest has worsen the charm of Everest among nature lovers and remote treks. Till 2020 the famous trekking in the remote villages of Nepal are as listed below:
- Manaslu circuit trek
- Kanchanjunga trek
- Lower Dolpo trek
- Upper Dolpo trek
- Mardi Himal trek
- Rara Lake trek
- Tsum Valley trek
- Nar Phu trek
NOTE – All the trekking destinations listed above are tea house trek in the remote part of Nepal. There are plenty of undiscovered and less highlighted camping trekking destinations in Nepal. Those destination and trekking routes will be accounted in next blog, please feel free to write, if you are looking for a virgin route trek in Nepal with a full camping mode.
In short – Among all of the remote treks stated in the list, I suggest Manaslu circuit trekking to you. There are many reasons to support in favor of Manaslu. As a trending trekking in Nepal, as an alternative of Annapurna circuit trek, glacial walk, longest trekking pass of the world, remote villages and many more; Manaslu is a urgent trek that you need to achieve.
Most of the trekking trails in the list above are slowly being spoiled by road construction and modernization. The taste you can get in trekking to these destinations will be excellent with your nearer travel dates, as far as possible. I am a trekking guide and a Nepali, but I must say this to you that; trekking to remote destination is always a bad experience, if you try to get remote destination trekking experience from trekking trails with road and modernization in every step of the remote walk.
As a trekking guide, I have met many people in the Himalaya who have been changed in just 5 years of time. The village has been changed, the houses are in different architecture, people used to wear traditional dresses turns to wear fancy city wears, culture and tradition used to be different than how it is now and more. People not just have changed their lifestyle but also changed the surrounding. There are urban like streets in the village and the kids with your kind of toys, which you have brought along with yourself as a giveaway to kids; all these things will amaze you and our wish to see remote Nepal will not be 100%.
Yes, the roads are nice for local development but with the development of road network the people and culture of the trail will get modernized. The landscape and the mountains will not change for sure, but still the cultural and traditional aspect of the trekking will be completely different. So, if you can trek to above list trekking destination, sooner is the best.
Do not get me wrong, on how I am speaking against the development of the road network and development among the villagers. I am just writing against the change in tradition and beautiful culture of the region, and lack of preservation with easing the local life.
Nepal is a country with abundant number of peaks. Even the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu has great view of the mountain from all most all of the tall buildings. So, when you want to trek in the remote parts of Nepal, it is always about witnessing the beautiful scenery and outstanding landscape.
Trekking trails of Nepal goes along the village and living museum of culture, tradition is explored in the remote treks in Nepal. But with the positive political change in Nepal, we are in the process of rapid development. Nepal has stable government and they are functioning moderate. At the moment government is changing the system and removing all the flaws of the country so the turning of the remote villages into modernized sub urban is somehow slow, but once all the corrupt action will be eliminated the rapid development of Nepal will kicks off.
So, if you are a remote nature lover; I recommend visiting above stated place within 2025.
- Nepal has stable government; it has been 12years since the 10 year long civil war ended.
- The development rate of Nepal will be rapid as its geopolitical location in between 2 powerhouse of Asia (Nepal is landlocked in between China & India)
- Most of the people coming to Nepal do Everest base camp, however this developed technology will surely change the scenario significantly in the remote treks rather than Everest base camp trek at least in 10 years’ time from now; as Everest stood in one level of maximized modernization since 1970s’.
Accommodations in the remote trekking trails of Nepal
Nepal is a poor country with very basic accommodation, in most of the trekking destination. And when we talk about this remote treks, remote Nepal has even basic accommodation. Even, living in the local house of the cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara is also without internal heating, however. Houses of civil people in the cities do not have AC or any kind of internal heating, so you cannot imagine internal heating in the house of village.
With that being said, accommodation of remote treks is mostly in the local houses. These local houses are also called tea houses or lodge. These lodge has very basic room with a bed, blanket and bed sheet. However, some of the tea house might have a chair and table as well, these rooms are considered sophisticated rooms with indoor toilet and mirrors, while doing remote treks. But do not expect this kind of better facility every night.
If you have done any trek like Everest base camp trek, Annapurna base camp trek & Annapurna circuit trek; accommodation in these remote destinations of Nepal is not comparable to any of them.
Hard life in the remote Nepal
People in the remote destination of Nepal are still living beyond the horizon of modernization. No road, primary school’s limitation, no health facility, basic accommodations are synonym of life in the remote Nepal. As a trekker we need to walk miles in a day to get from one destination to another. And after many days of walking in the remote villages, through the jungle, along the river valley; finally we get to the village on the lap of mountains (like samagaun in Manaslu circuit, Ghunsa in Kanchenjunga, Sele Kharka in Dolpo region, sidding village in Mardi himal trek etc.). If you want to imagine the villagers life, living in these villages, visualize; how long they need to walk to the hospital?, look at those beautiful kids who needs to run downhill for hours to go to school every day. All these stories are unbelievable, sad but true stories of the mountain.
The lives of all the mountains are hard and beautiful. People have hard life but they are happy along with their joint family. Geography is tough but natural resources and fresh air is irreplaceable.
People in the virgin trekking trails
Nepal has 3 different regions, Terai region as a flat land to 40 meters above the sea level, green hills below 3000meters above the sea level and mountains above 3000 meters to 8848 meters above the sea level. According to the geological classification, people living in the land of Nepal are divided accordingly. Religion is divided accordingly as well.
The remote part of Nepal, where we go trekking is normally in between 2000 to 5500 meters above the sea level. In this altitude range, there are basically 2 types of people. People in the altitude lower than 3000meters above the sea level in remote treks of Nepal are mostly Bhramin, chhetri and few Tamang, rai, Gurung, Kami & damai. However, in altitude above 3000 meters, people are mostly from Sherpa community or Gurung and few Rai, Limbu, chhetri etc.
Lower part of the trekking trail will have modern lifestyle to some extent, with available development of a poor country. Whereas, in upper region of the trail, traditional dress, basic hygiene and red chicks of adore able kids is outstandingly charming. In addition; people in upper part of the trekking trail will be more welcoming and eager to know about trekkers.
By religion upper region of the trekking trail will be more dominated with Buddhism, whereas the lower villages of the trekking trail will be Hindu dominant; however there are few other religion like Muslim, Christian and Hindu extremist in lower altitude villages on remote treks of Nepal.
Example on Manaslu circuit trek when I visited for the first time in 2008 & now
As a trekking guide, we trek most of the remote and famous trekking routes in Nepal. With all of them, we have different (both sweet and bitter) memories with people, client and trekking trail. Among all of them an example from Manaslu worth sharing at the moment, so here it is.
In 2008, people in Manaslu were just turning into tourism business in different ways. Some strong young boys were working as trekking guide, climbing Sherpa and trekking porters. Whereas many locals from the village of the trekking route were engaged as a tea house owners.
Example is an experience, with an owner of tea house in one of the newly opened tea house in route of manaslu; we asked for a cup of ginger tea and they did not know what it is. We asked for macaroni (as this stuff is common item, in the food menu of other trails tea houses – like in Annapurna or Everest region) they did not know what it is; but interestingly they had both ginger and Macaroni. At the end we, team of trekking guide and porters ended up cooking food ourselves (for guests/client & we had traditional dalbhat).
In contrast, coming to the year 2020 there are many lodge with indoor toilets (attached inside the room in few of them), the entire hotel owner has a trained cook hired from the cities. Accommodation has been changed a lot; food has been better to high scale of indication. However, the change in quality of service has changed the life of the locals, they are no more using their traditional dresses but they are more into jeans and fancy city clothing, ironically. As a part of personnel freedom of every human, all of us are allowed to anything we want; but as a remote treks; we look forward to the simple life in the best possible natural pattern.
So, small things are changing faster than the real impact in their daily life in a long run. That is why, it is better to visit these trekking destination sooner than other famous trekking trail like Poonhil trek, EBC trek, ABC trek, APC treks etc..
Annapurna circuit trek & Everest base camp trek from 70’s to this date
Things have been changed from zero to hundred in 50 year’s duration. If you look at the history of people and the life in the mountains of Khumbu region or Annapurna Himalaya, in the starting phase of trekking activity and now, dramatic change is unbelievable with a huge fluctuation in people’s life, culture and tradition. Whereas, the landscape has not been changed nothing near to the change of cultural & tradition of locals, all of which happened in 5 decades.
Places where trekkers used to camp, are filled with pubs and bakeries. Sophisticated local tea houses and fancy shopping stores are unbelievable to first timer trekker in Nepal. Things have been easier to the extreme level where; Everest base camp has telecommunication signal, Lobuche village at 5000 meters has electric blanket, Annapurna circuit has road network all the way to manang, Muktinath is a tour destination. We have facilitated our clients to talk back home with their beloved, from the base camp of tallest mountain of the world – the Everest. It is not just annoying, but also a flushing moment to realize how things have been changed.
People’s culture and tradition in Annapurna circuit or Everest base camp are concentrated, inside the museum. Trekking trails has changed from narrow escape (or unidentified to some extent) to wide trekking highways, in this matter of time. Tea houses are abundant and facility is overwhelming, moreover numbers of trekkers are increasing every year, sometimes crazy numbers. At the altitude of 5000meters you will get electric blanket in a normal tea house is amazing & unbelievable in poor country like Nepal. With all the facility in a cheap price you can live in a luxury trekking in these routes of Everest or Annapurna.
Owners of the tea house in Annapurna or in Everest trekking trail do not stay in the mountain. Even if the still own the business, they have plenty of employed youth, in the low season of trekking the owners fly to the cities by helicopter. From 50 years of good business, people in the route of these, famous trekking trail of Nepal has enough money to spend their winter holiday in Dubai, Florida or anywhere in the expensive destinations of Singapore, Honkong or Japan. They are not millionaires but anything stated above are not a big deal for tea house owners of high Himalayan route of Everest trek or Annapurna trek.
And all these change has not changed the beauty of the mountains. Everest is still shining and Annapurna is still happening. Thorngla is still a favorite pass and Muktinath is still as holy as it used to be in the 80s’.
All the changed people with a best life, among few rich people in the poor country Nepal, they strongly deserve all of it. They have their sad stories of losing family member in the mountain; they have their suffered stories of cold childhood with survival stories, so they worth all these fancy holidays and helicopter ride. Their life has been changed and they have changed life of millions of people involving in tourism industry of Nepal. So they deserve more than what they have today.
Doing Remote treks with guide will give you the detailed insights
Trekking guides are regular visitor of the destination you will opt for, so their regular visit in the trekking region helps them to make a good relation with locals. The good relation in between the trekking guide and the locals of remote trekking destination makes sound environment, to know more about the culture and tradition. Also, the guides keep knowledge of the region into the gist by themselves. Trekking guides knows more about the overall prospect, which you might be interested as well. Apart from that, many trekking guides are from the same region or from the neighboring regions and they know more about their locality, villagers, tradition and culture of the people, most of it will be their own stories. The more you talk with your trekking guides; more interesting stories will be discovered.
Apart from culture & tradition; trekking guides keeps knowledge of the regular & alternative trekking routes, which helps to navigate the trekking trail in the unforeseen conditions. Apart from the trekking trail, trekking guide also know about the best scenic spot, good location for the perfect view of the landscape and the snowcapped mountains. Trekking guides, who lead trekkers to those remote treks destination are strong and intellectual to find a perfect accommodations with good food and friendly owners.
There is no such thing that trekking guides get cut from the owner of the tea house, so far it has been a big concern among the trekkers who care about their cent with a poor trekking guide, who expect tips from his guest. The guides use, mostly the same lodge for every time trek in the region, however. This is because of perfection, in that place from multiple prospective of hospitality which they have compared with rest of the tea houses in the village.
Do’s for remote treks in Nepal
Remote treks in Nepal means, the people from the region do not see trekkers (or at least foreigners) that often. Because of this reason there are both; welcoming people in the village as well as harassing folks, if trekkers annoy locals it might turn to a worst result after a clash en route. So it is better to keep knowledge on things to consider while trekking in the remote destination of Nepali trekking trails.
Dos’ for trekking in Remote Nepal:
- Do follow the cultural or religious believe as locals do
- Do respect the local happenings
- Follow your guides instruction
- Take guide with you, if you want to explore the village
- Reply Namaste of someone conveying you Namaste – Namsate is Nepali way of greeting to strangers or friends as well as family
- See the menu before you buy or ask the price beforehand
- Share every problem with your guide, even a small problem; guides might have easy solution of your tough problem
- Accept any souvenir or food or drink offered by locals; Nepali culture has belief as ignorance as an anger or agony; no matter if you’d not eat or drink but accept it first and keep it.
Don’t for remote treks
If you do not follow the way how existing village is, you might get into trouble. So make sure you are in the good position by avoiding following don’t:-
- Do not take picture of people without asking them, ask your guide
- Do not kiss in public
- Do not get naked (either upper or lower part, partially)
- Do not talk about sex, openly
- Do not ask Discount while you pay
- Do not hide the AMS with your team mate or guides
- Do not litter in public
- Do not sneeze, Burp in front of people
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