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7 Most Incredible Things You'll See When Trekking the Himalayas

There is no feeling quite like standing at the foot of the world's tallest mountain range in complete silence – above the clouds, above most other humans, above the busyness and stress of modern life. It's one of the best travel experiences we've ever had.

But we almost didn't do it; we simply thought it would be too hard. And while it was tough, it turned out to be much less strenuous than we thought – we've done treks in New Zealand (our home country) that made our legs ache more.

So, put the excuses aside and take a trip to the Himalayas: here are 7 reasons you can't miss it.

Sunrise at Muldai viewpoint on the Khopra Ridge hike

1. Sunrise is like no other

Unless you're in a plane, not many people get to watch the sunrise above the clouds. But when trekking in the Himalayas, it's standard.

Because the peaks are so tall, you'll see them turn a fiery orange well before you get a glimpse of the sun. Then eventually, the cloud all around will also start glowing. No other sunrise is quite like it.

Night sky above Annapurna South from Dobato on the Khopra ridge trek

2. The night sky

The Himalaya range has virtually no light pollution and has been named one of the best "dark skies" on Earth.

Take a look outside in the middle of the night and you'll see more stars than you thought possible.

The above picture was from a small hut in a 'town' called Dobato. This was the view from our window - overlooking the Annapurna mountain range and the spectacular Annapurna South peak.

You'll find hundreds of different treks for all fitness levels that range from a day hike, to more than 12 days.

You'll also never be short of a spectacular peak to admire – in Nepal alone there are more than 1300 mountains higher than 6000 metres!

Sunrise at Muldai viewpoint in the Annapurna national park

3. The views are breathtaking

Quite literally though - hiking above the clouds is one of the most magical things we've ever done but getting there wasn't easy!

The treks typically begin in dense bush, and wind their way up through valleys and rhododendron forests until you reach the mountain range proper.

Some treks are very popular and busy; on others you'll see very few tourists - like this Muldai viewpoint on the Khopra Ridge trek. We were the only ones here and it was one of the most magical experiences we've ever had.

Ghandruk village view on Annapurna trek

4. You'll be taken back in time

Each trail weaves through a network of old Nepalese villages, generally perched on the side of a hill above terraced fields for growing rice and vegetables.

This was Ghandruk village - one of the largest mountain settlements in the Annapurna region, and all efforts are being made to preserve this ancient way of life whilst still learning to adapt to the hundreds of foreigners that travel through the town every day.

Each region has its own customs, dress and traditions - so every village is different. You'll get a glimpse of true mountain life, where food even arrives by donkey and warm showers are a luxury that most can't afford.

Dobato Village view overlooking the Annapurna mountain range

5. The guesthouses are spectacular

There are very few places on Earth where you can open your window to clouds floating beneath you, huge mountains looming in the distance and only be paying $4 a night.

The Nepalese have spent decades refining their offering to tourists; and despite being at 10,000 feet your guesthouse will probably offer hot showers (sometimes at an additional cost), flush toilets, comfortable beds with thick swollen blankets, a huge variety of food ranging from traditional daal and rice to mexican burritos and pizza! Then you might be treated to a warm apple pie with custard for dessert.

Now a few accomodations also offer wifi - depending on their location.

Muldai viewpoint of Dhaulagiri on the Khopra Ridge trek

6. It's easier than you think

We almost gave up on the idea of trekking in Nepal - fearing it would be too difficult, or that we might get altitude sickness.

But if you space the trek out, you'll only need to walk 3-4 hours per day, and at that pace the risk of altitude sickness is greatly reduced. Our guide told us it's those who go too high too fast that have problems. There are also dozens of teahouses on most routes, meaning a well-deserved rest is never far away. You can hire a porter to carry your bags for around $15 a day, and a guide will cost around $20 a day. Having both makes it significantly easier. And don't let age be a barrier; on our trek we met a group of fellow New Zealanders in their 60's - going higher than us!

Hot springs on the Annapurna base camp trek

7. The hot springs

There's no doubt you'll get some pretty achy muscles, and that makes the 50 hot springs dotted on the Nepalese side of the Himalayas an absolute paradise. An entry ticket only costs around 50 cents!


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