Gorkha and Manaslu
The areas to the east of the Annapurna are the peaks of Manaslu group. Few visitors trek to this area, which makes a visit here all the more unique and unspoiled. The area is bordered by River Budhi Gandaki and to the west River Marshyangdi. This area is marked by two cultural highlights: Gorkha, which is the ancestral seat of the reigning Shah dynasty and the temple of Manakamana. Since the treks in the Manaslu region originate at around 1000 meters and reach as high as 5200 meters, the trekker will see a wide range of flora typical of the middle hills and alpine regions of Nepal. Plants to be seen around here are pine, rhododendron, wildlife include barking deer, pika and Himalayan marmots. Birds to be sighted in the region are pheasant, raven and chough. People of Tibetan origin inhabit several villages. Other groups found here are Gurung and Tamangs. The best time to trek here is between September and May. A few teahouses are seen in the Manaslu Conservation Area; however, teahouse trekking is not a suggested option. Government regulations require all the group trekking to the Manaslu Circuit to be fully sufficient.
The main hub for treks in Manaslu region is the town of Gorkha, which can be reached from Kathmandu in about 4 hours by bus or car. The alternative starting point is Dhading Besi, from where it can be reached in about five hours.
The Far East
The Far East region of Nepal provides unique treks along rarely visited trails. One of the main attractions is the spectacular scenery of rhododendrons in bloom on the hills and ridges along the way. Deer and wild sheep are often spotted in the area and birds are found in abundance. The region is home to ethnic groups of Kirat, notably the Rais and Limbus. The popular trekking areas in this region are Kanchenjunga area, Milke Danda and Jaljale Himal. In general the region has not been develop to cater to independent trekkers so groups must be fully self sufficient.
The starting points for treks in the Far East are at Basantapur, Taplejung and Tumlingtar. Basantapur needs minimum of sixteen tour drive from Kathmandu. There are no tourist bus services so trekkers must either use schedule bus services or arrange private transport. Another option is flying to Tumlingtar or Taplejung from Kathmandu. The flights take approx. 45 to 50 minutes from Kathmandu, and about 20 minutes from Biratnagar to Taplejung.
Treks in the west of Nepal are quite different from treks in other parts of the country. The region is less developed and has fewer facilities available for the visitors. This makes trekking here much more of an exploration type and intending trekkers must be prepared for some delays and other hardships. It is also considerably more expensive to trek in the remote parts of the west. Ethnic group of people seen in the northern parts of the area, particularly in Dolpa are of Tibetan origin. Other groups found here are Magar, Gurung and the people of Hindu caste origin. Commonly seen animals are leopard, Himalayan Tahr and Blue Sheep.
Popular trekking areas in this region are Dolpa, Simikot and Lake Rara. The best time to visit is the traditional trekking seasons of spring and autumn. The northern parts are also suitable for summer treks. The region has not been developed to cater to independent trekkers, so all groups must be self sufficient, in all respect.
Lower Dolpa and Upper Dolpa
Located in the central west of the country the focal point of the area is the Shey Phoksundo National park. This remote and rugged protected area is both scenically and culturally attractive. The Lower Dolpa trek circuit can be completed in eight days from Juphal back to Juphal. The circuit can be completed either clockwise or anticlockwise, depending on preference but in both cases the focal points of the trek are Phoksundo Lake and the Tarap Valley.
In comparison to Lower Dolpa, less number of trekkers enters the heavily restricted upper Dolpa section of Shey Phoksundo National Park. The main attraction of the area is the wild and pristime landscape. Geographically, it is similar to Tibetan Plateau and is generally dry, cold and sparsely vegetated.
The trekking season for both Upper and Lower Dolpa is generally from June to September.
Humla and Jumla
The trek from Simikot, the administrative center of Humla District to the Tibetan border is usually used to reach western Tibet, where Mt. Kailash is the major attraction. Tourism related facilities are relatively undeveloped in this area although several organizations are working to promote community based tourism opportunities between Simikot and the border. The only way to reach Simikot is to fly from Nepalgunj or to trek from Rara Lake – the largest lake in Nepal. The area surrounding the lake is Rara National Park. Schedule flights to Simikot are generally unreliable due to weather conditions but large groups have the option of chartering flight.
The most common way to get to Rara is to take a flight from Nepalgunj to Jumla from where it is two to three days trek to the park. An alternative way is to combine a trek to Lower Dolpa and a visit to Rara Naitonal Park. By trekking west from Dolpa it is possible to reach Jumla and the park within a week. The best way to trek here is in group.