On foot along ancient winding paths linking isolated rural villages you’ll find jaw dropping mountain scenery and a way of life in Nepal that has changed little for centuries.
Nepal is the undisputed trekking capital of the world and the foothills of the Annapurnas make an ideal introduction. This walkers’ paradise was once the preserve of the hardy who were prepared to rough it in tents, but in the Annapurnas a handful of lodges conveniently located several hours apart offer the perfect opportunity to discover the Himalaya in comfort and relative luxury.
The landscape and scenery here is what many visualise when they imagine the Himalaya. Brilliant green terraces of rice and barley, fields ploughed by buffalo, pretty hillside villages of thatched houses and drystone walls, forests of oak and rhododendrons that burst into colour in spring, all against a backdrop of towering snow-capped mountains.
On a trek route designed to suit your ability, along the way you will share your path with local hill peoples, passing by on trails trodden for centuries by traders and pilgrims between yak pastures and villages, temples and holy lakes. Friendly cries of ‘Namaste’ greet you as pass neatly turned-out schoolchildren, mule caravans and chickens in remote Himalayan villages. On foot with your private Gurkha guide to lead the way and share his knowledge of local customs and traditions this is the way to discover the true nature of Nepal.
Locally recruited Sherpa porters take your luggage between lodges and all you need to carry with you is what you need for the day. Sustained by snacks – and plenty of welcoming smiles - to keep you going, there’s no rush to reach the next lodge and plenty of time to visit villages, photograph the scenery and soak up the spirit of the mountains. Though the highest point of the routes between overnight stops is only 2133m (7000feet) and they are generally graded as easy walking it’s all relative in the Himalaya. Some of the steep stepped paths will give your legs a thorough workout but your efforts are well rewarded.
Each night is spent in a comfortable Ker & Downey lodge surrounded by pretty gardens on the edge of a village. Hot showers, comfortable beds and great food, even a ‘Happy Hour’ of complementary drinks around the evening fire, these lodges at Birethanti, Majhgaon, Dhampus, Landruk are the best on offer whilst trekking. Ghandruk is also worth adding - even though it involves a steep climb from the other lodges but it offers the most rewarding Himalayan village experience. The views are pretty special too.