How to Plan a Dream Trip to the Himalayas
For those who are charmed by the outdoor adventures, the Himalayas is the place to be. If being close to nature is what you’re looking for, nothing can beat the unforgettable experience of seeing stunning scenery and gazing at the stars and clear skies above the Himalayas.
Irresistible is the ideal word to describe the temptation that the Himalayas are for travelers and explorers looking for more off-grid vacation spots.
If you are looking for your next adventure and feel ready to start planning, check out our guide to visiting the Himalayas including important tips, where to fly to, what to know before departing, what to pack, how to travel and some of the best locations you can visit.
Where are the Himalayas
The Himalayas, or Himalaya; Sanskrit: himá and ā-laya, is a mountain range in South and East Asia separating the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. The range has many of Earth's highest peaks, including the highest, Mount Everest, at the border between Nepal and China.
Getting to the Himalayas
There are several entry points to the Himalayas including from:
- Delhi, India
- Islamabad, Pakistan
- Lhasa, Tibet
- Paro, Bhutan
- Kathmandu, Nepal
Most international tourists fly into Tribhuvan International Airport, which is located just outside of Kathmandu, Nepal. Other popular airports to arrive in include Delhi, Dharamshala, Lakhimpur and Kullu.
If you fly into Nepal, you will likely arrive in Kathmandu and then travel to the city of Pokhara, a buzzing travellers hub and good starting point to the Himalayas.
How to Explore
Travelling independently through the Himalayas isn't recommended whether solo, with friends or in a group. This terrain can be a challenge even for the most experienced travellers. Lots of travel companies across the globe offer attractive Himalayan tour packages. However, you must double-check the trips, experience level and itineraries as all are different. You must also decide whether to book online in-advance or wait till you arrive and go with a local operator.
If you are a budget-friendly traveler, booking with a local company will save you a lot of money than going with an International operator. It is important to choose a reliable company so always check reviews before booking.
Choose your destination and itinerary carefully, each is different. Make sure you also book a trip to match your experience level for example, if you are a complete beginner you don't really want to be booking a trek to Everest Base Camp but you can find easier expeditions around the trails of the Annapurna circuit. Or if you just want to relax you could just stay in Pokhara and take the scenery, sights and day trips on offer.
Where to Go
The places we have included on our list will take you on an incredible journey seeing spectacular locations. These magical places make the Himalayas an unforgettable experience by taking you close to nature and the great outdoors.
Here are some of the most amazing destinations you need to check out:
Pangong Lake, Ladakh
Ensconced in the Himalayas, 4,300 meters above sea level, is the world’s highest saltwater lake, Pangong Lake. The reflection of the majestic hills on the crystal-clear waters of the lake makes Pangong Lake a place beyond any comparison for its mesmerizing beauty. At dusk, the beauty of the place is truly breathtaking, with the setting sun’s glow shimmering on the water to create scenery that’s sure to leave you spellbound. However, do take precautions as the weather can get harsh there.
Chail, Himachal Pradesh
You’ll be charmed by the peace and tranquility of this small hamlet with its tall Deodar trees giving it a lush green look. This place is easily reachable from Shimla. Situated at the height of 2,250 meters above sea level, Chail, with its unspoiled natural beauty, is an ideal place for camping, an abode of peace away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Nature lovers adore this place for its lush greenery, where they can explore unhindered. This place has scored a position in the record books for being home to the world’s highest cricket ground.
Valley of Flowers National Park, Uttarakhand
Stretching over 88 square kilometers across the Garhwal Himalayas, the Valley of Flowers National Park draws visitors with its alpine flowers. The national park is home to some exquisite flora and fauna, including more than 200 species of flowers, birds, and butterflies of various types and wild animals like the musk deer and the Himalayan black bear. The place with its waterfalls and meadows offers breathtaking scenery, too. Ghangaria, a beautiful village a few kilometers away, offers the nearest camping site as staying in the park itself isn’t allowed. The Valley of Flowers is a famous location, but also one deemed as ecologically fragile.
Sangla Valley, Himachal Pradesh
One of the best-kept secrets of the Himalayas is the Sangla Valley. Here’s a place where you won’t see the usual buzz of tourists. That makes the place an ideal getaway for those looking to experience nature in peace. With the Kinner Kailash peak towering over it, the valley is at the height of 2,600 meters above sea level. Taking a walk along the slopes of the valley while you hear the birds chirping is a very calming experience. The place with its lovely beauty is a photographer’s delight with the lush greenery of apple, cedar, walnut, and apricot trees welcoming them.
Dharmasala, Himachal Pradesh
Resting in the lap of nature, Dharmasala in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district is gifted with stunning natural beauty. The place has the snow-capped Dhauladhar Mountains as its backdrop, with the tall lush green conifer trees giving it a pristine look. Upper Dharmasala, also known as McLeodganj, welcomes trekkers with breathtakingly beautiful trekking routes offering stunning views of the Himalayas. The Triund Trek is the most popular route where trekkers reach the Triund peak in around 5 hours. Lie down on the soft grass and look up at the sky to take in the beauty of the stars at this amazingly peaceful place.
Other Amazing Places in the Himalayas
- Tiger’s Nest Bhutan
- Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet
- Bhraka, Manang, Nepal
- Kagbeni, Lower Mustang, Nepal
- Shangrila, Tibet
- Punakha Dzong
- Marpha, Lower Mustang, Nepal
- Samye Monastery, Tibet
- Chemrey Monastery, Ladakh
- Bumthang, Bhutan
Popular Treks in the Nepalese Himalayas
If you are keen to go trekking then these are some of the most popular tours in Nepal:
- Poon Hill. Distance: 51 km, average duration: 4-5 days
- Annapurna Base Camp. Distance: 110 km, average duration: 7-10 days
- Everest Base Camp. Distance: 130 km, average duration: 12-16 days
- Manaslu Circuit. Distance: 177 km, average duration: 13-17 days
- Makalu Base Camp. Average duration: 18-22 days
- Upper Mustang Trek. Average duration: 10-12 days
- Langtang Valley. Distance: 120 km, average duration: 7-11 days
- Three Passes Trek. Distance: 166 km, average duration: 18-20 days
Essential Things to Pack & Buy Before Departing
Most travel companies supply some equipment, but you will need to be prepared in advance. Be sure to buy:
- Hiking boots and a comfortable backpack
- Sleeping bag
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip balm
- Thermal clothing, waterproofs and gloves
- A medical first aid kit
- Altitude sickness tablets), water purification tablets and rehydration salts
- International sim or phone package allowing you to access the internet
- You might want to buy a VPN service for your phone or computer especially in areas where internet is restricted. We recommend Atlas VPN which works in different locations all over the world.
The vast majority of travellers visit the Himalayas and enjoy the trip of a lifetime. Be sure to read a lot before departing like what to know before trekking in the Himalayas and get yourself fit and prepared for the alltitude. Once you are in the mountains gazing at the stars under an open sky it will leave you in awe. An adventure in the Himalayas will leave you with memories you’ll cherish forever.
If you have ever been to the Himalayas and want to share your experience or advice leave a comment below.