The cultural delights of Kathmandu and heady challenge of Everest pull many tourists in to Nepal. However, according to tourism board stats, over 66,000 arrive every year for the explicit purpose of trekking. In a country where extreme adventure tourism is at its peak, you might be forgiven for not thinking about the wonderful opportunities that answer the question of why you should go trekking in the Nepal Himalayas.
The challenge – even for experienced walkers
Just because Nepal is a ‘trek’ doesn’t mean it can be undertaken lightly. The extreme variance in weather and treacherous landscape means that ill prepared trekkers and climbers are at risk and even the best prepared can fall victim to the elements, as October 2018’s snowstorm showed. On that occasion, the New York Times reported that 8 trekkers tragically lost their lives. The right equipment, knowledge, and a whole lot of experience is needed. This ranges from knowing the right food supplies to take, through to the type of tent and day to day walking gear, like bags, outerwear and tools to bring. The level of preparedness required is one of the pull factors for experienced walkers – it can be the ultimate cold weather challenge.
The Himalayan trek through Nepal is not accessed from any one route, and isn’t defined by any one trail. This variety, and the culture that can be absorbed through it, is one of the best reasons to take a trek through Nepal. Instead, as the Guardian have reported, adventurers can make their way through India, Bhutan, Pakistan and China to reach the Nepalese trails, enjoying all of the food, drink and culture along the way. In Nepal itself, language website Ethnologue note there are over 121 unique languages. This is a clear indicator of the wide range of culture to be experienced while on the trek. No single trek through Nepal will ever be the same for this reason, and variety is the spice of life.
Diversity of wildlife and flora
There are few ecosystems on the planet like Nepal’s, with the chilling white tips of mountains juxtaposed against the rolling green foothills when Monsoon season comes in. This has resulted in a huge range of unique and beautiful plant life in the country that only trekking will allow you to experience. In terms of flowers alone, there are 246 flowering plants, according to wildlife guide Flora of Nepal. Those flowers are unique to Nepal, and Nepal alone. Because of this, and because of the range of flora found that can also be spotted elsewhere in the world, areas of Nepal are listed in the top 20 biodiversity hotspots of the world.
Nepal provides some of the best the world has to offer in extreme adventures, but it has a lot in terms of the relatively softer side of trekking. With massively varied culture, diverse wildlife and a real challenge for even the most experienced trekker, Nepal is a world class destination. Consider it for your next trail.