Trekking is an experience in itself: It only takes stamina, love for wilderness and a passion for travel.
Home to the Himalayan Mountain Range, South Asia offers some of the world’s best trekking routes for adventure lovers. These are top 12 treks that must feature in every adventure traveller’s itinerary while exploring South Asia:
Oldest trail on the Himalayas, Annapurna Circuit traverses through Nepal with Buddhist villages and Hindu holy sites in the background. Depending on the route taken, the trail can be completed in a span of 17 to 21 days. It’s highlight is the Thorung La Pas, highest point on the trail at 17,769 ft (5,416m).
Against the backdrop of Ladakh’s barren landscape, the trail crosses two Himalayan Pass over 15,000 ft (4575 m). Stop to absorb the Buddhist culture with colourful Tibetan prayer flags adorning the route. It takes 9 to 12 days to complete it and the best camping site is at Hemis Monastery, after crossing an altitude of Kongmaru La Pass (5150 m).
View of the Everest and a trail lit by quaint tea houses, Everest Base Camp is typically for 11 days. The end point at Base Camp looks straight up at Khumbu Glacier towards peak of the the world’s highest mountain, Mt. Everest. The camp is packed between three of the world’s 10 tallest peaks and is perfect for spending time in solitude.
Best getaway for solo trek lovers, Manaslu Circuit falls in the restricted zone of Nepal which requires a special permit and a guide to travel with. It creates a bit of a hassle at the start but the end result is a perfect moment of alone time amidst the mountains.
Physically and emotionally draining, Snowman Trek is best suited for seasoned trekkers. It is considered one of the hardest routes in the region where not many can actually finish off at the summit. Passing through the remotest parts of Bhutan, it offers a journey through the Bhutanese culture. The trek follows 6 mountains above 23,000 feet and will take 24 days to complete.
Pakistan has some of the most picturesque trekking routes in the Karakorum region. Connecting the Gondogoro glacier and Baltoro glacier to the Shigar Valley, the route gives views of K-2, Broad Peak Masherbrum and others. It also has one of the highest mountain passes in the world, the Gondogoro Pass.
Named after the second tallest mountains in the world, K2 Base Camp trek is made of every adventure traveller’s dreams. While exploring the areas, keep a lookout for the majestic Nanga Parbat and Concordia, which is called the ‘Throne Rooms of the Gods’ for it's expansiveness.
Only recommended for those who have trekked at high altitudes before, Stok Kangri is one of the most glamorous trails. At 20,500 ft, it is the highest trekkable summit in India. It changes weather within a couple of minutes turning from bright sunny to snow blizzards. Recommended to go prepared for adversity on-route!
Chadar in Hindi language means a blanket and going by it’s name, Chadar Trek literally looks like a blanket of ice that is accessible only during the coldest months of January and February. Closed for most part of the year, the trail takes 9 days to complete. Walking on the frozen Zanskar river in Ladakh is a major highlight of the trek.
Considered to be one of the most mysterious treks in Himalayas, Roopkund offers much more than just a mind blowing trail- it offers unique stories. Dense forests, perfect spots for camping and pristine snow makes the trek a must in the list. At the height of 16,500 ft, the trek also has the secluded Roopkund Lake, famous for its scurry of skeletons.
Situated at a height of 12,000 ft, this moderate level trekking takes up 6 days to complete. Going by it’s name, trekking ends at the entrance of a hidden valley of flowers in the lap of Himalayan Range in Uttarakhand, India.
The northern state of India, Kashmir offers a Great Lakes trek for 8 days. At a height of 13,750 ft, the trek starts from Sonmarg in Kashmir and passes through four of the highest altitude lakes in the country. Thick snow, alpine forests and pristine beauty- it's a must try.
Contributed by: Zeba Khan