Snapshot: Nepal

After the earthquakes, many of Nepal’s popular attractions such as trekking areas in Annapurna and Langtang and UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Patan and Bhaktapur were damaged. Over the past few months, the local communities have worked hard in repairing the trails, bridges and road heads. The trekking areas in central Nepal – Langtang, Rolwaling and Helambu – are still risky, as they’re very close to the epicentres of the earthquakes. Manaslu’s teahouse trekking circuit is scheduled to resume in September.

However, damage assessment reports have found that trails and structures around Annapurna to be safe for hikers, and the main trail and bridges in Everest region (Lukla to Gorak Shep) were not affected (although side trails and pre-existing hazards are to be avoided).

Expeditions to Everest and other 8,000m peaks have resumed; many leading adventure travel companies are promoting their autumn itineraries.

FAR WEST

Routes:
MODERATE Rara Lake Circuit: About 13 days (camping and basic teahouse trek)
Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalganj, and onwards to Jumla (daily flights)
MODERATE-DIFFICULT Limi Valley Trek: About 17 days (camping trek)

Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalganj, and onwards to Simikot (daily flights) The largest trekking region in Nepal has remained untouched with few recognised trekking routes. Trekking is at its infancy, offering basic and limited facilities to visitors. However, the pristine mountain scenery and authentic experience will be well worth the effort to get here. Nepal’s largest lake, Rara, is contained within the country’s smallest national park and is home to rich birdlife. The Far West offers visitors the experience of how trekking was like when Nepal first open up its borders. The main season is between May and October, with August and September being when the wildflowers bloom.

Fees:
Humla and Limi areas US$90/person for the first 7 days and US$7/person per subsequent day & Rara Lake National Park entry fee Rs1,000/person

DOLPO

Routes:
MODERATE Lower Dolpo Circuit: About 12 days (camping trek)
DIFFICULT Upper Dolpo Circuit (extension of the Lower Dolpo Circuit):
About 20 days (camping trek)
Starting Point: Dunai, a 3-hour trek from Juphal.

Dolpo feels more Tibet than Nepal, having cultural and geographical links to the Tibetan plateau. Dolpo lies within the rain shadow region behind the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massifs, making the trekking season between May and October. The barren landscape is home to extraordinary biodiversity that is part of the Trans-Himalayan Ecosystem (lower-lush valleys linked with the arid plateau). The region is predominated by a combination of Bon, Tibetan Buddhism and animist beliefs. Much of this region is protected within the Shey Phoksumdo National Park, Nepal’s largest protected area.

Fees:
Lower Dolpo Area: US$10/person per week
Upper Dolpo Area: US$700/person for the first 10 days; US$10 per
subsequent day & Shey Phoksumdo National Park entry fee Rs1,000/
person

KANCHEN JUNGA

Routes:
MODERATE North Base Camp: About 20 days (teahouse trek, Oct- Nov)
DIFFICULT North and South Base Camp circuit: About 24 days (mixed
teahouse and camping trek)
Starting Point: Basantpur or Taplejung (the nearest airstrip Suketar; under
construction as of April 2015)

Bordering Sikkim and Tibet, Kanchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain, is one of the least visited trekking destinations in Nepal. This is the eastern starting point of the Great Himalaya Trail, bringing with it a challenging trek through rugged trails, scattered human habitation and monsoonal downpours. The wild east hosts snow leopards, blue sheep, and black bears, while the lush vegetation houses one of the richest rhododendron forests in Nepal. This is a restricted area, hence it is only possible to come here as part of an organised trek.

Fees:
Kanchenjunga Trekking Permit: US$10/person per week & Kanchenjunga
National Park entry fee Rs2,000/person

How can you help? 

Locals, tour operators and business owners believe that the best thing right now is to visit Nepal as a tourist. In doing so, Nepalis are hired and receive the much-needed incomes – and foreign exchange – that will directly help in their rebuilding efforts. If you’ve been to Everest and/ or Annapurna and are looking for a new destination or have reservations about visiting them this coming season, here are 3 regions that were not affected by the earthquake.

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