There are loads of adventures in the Himalayas to be enjoyed that do not require you to be a mountain climber or a skier. The world’s highest mountain range traverses five countries – India, Pakistan, Nepal. Tibet (China) and Bhutan – and each offers their own unique characteristics into the mix. Whether you’re an explorer, adventurer, fitness fanatic or an avid sightseer, the adventures in the Himalayas won’t disappoint.
Of all the amazing adventures in the Himalayas, a visit to the magical city of Lhasa is among the most sought after. Take in the city before starting an easy 12 day trek to reach first Samye (Tibet’s oldest monastery), and finally Yarlung – known as the cradle of Tibetan culture.
Ride the Himalayan Railway – also known as the Toy Train – 86 km up to Darjeeling and view stunning tea estates. Then hike four to six easy days through forests and view spectacular wildflowers in bloom, if you go March-May or October.
Explore the west side of Nepal with a rafting trip down the Karnali. This, the longest river in Nepal, will greet you with one of the Himalayan adventures that start out gently, before descending into rapids graded IV and V, and finally floating you into Bardia National Park. The park is home to elephant, Bengal tiger and rhino. Not for absolute beginners. Allot nine days for the trip and make sure the rafting tour operator is NARA (Nepal Association of Rafting Agents) accredited. October through May are the best months to go.
Take five to seven days in May through October for this easy trail to Mt. Harimukh. After scaling alpine ridges, taking in flower displays, meadows and the Vale of Kashmir you will arrive at the peak.
Follow the route the Dalai Lama took out of Tibet in 1959 to Tawang. This remote town is dominated by a Buddhist monastery. Nearby Thembang hosts a homestay program that allows you to explore the Monpa communities surrounding it. Start the route from Guwahti, in Assam and go 350km using a 4WD.
If you have time for only one of the many amazing adventure in the Himalayas, go to Nepal. Not only can you find activities from hiking to rafting, there are also more than 20 distinct ethnic mountain groups to learn about.
In a week or less, you can mountain bike between seven Kathmandu valley world heritage sites. See the Monkey Temple (Swayambunath), Bhaktapur, Boudanath and the crematorium at Pashupatinath. The destination site is the Changu Narayan temple. Travel during the better air-quality months of October through December. Do it yourself with a map of cycle routes or hire one of several local tour operators.
Do as the locals in Lo Manthang and choose horseback to get around the Plain of Aspiration. Visit the impressive Lo Manthang monasteries, the millennia old Lo Gekar monastery and the ancient city at Drakmar. Time your trip for some time in April or May to coincide with the Teeji (Tiji) festival, which combines pantomime and tradition. To get there, fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara, layover overnight then fly out early the next day for to Jomsom.
Take a 20 day journey up the east face of Mt. Everest. This moderate to difficult trek is best undertaken in October-November or April-May. Start at the head road in Kharta and experience what will feel like a secret world.
This strongly Buddhist nation is located to the east of the Himalayas. Renown for both it’s tranquility and beauty, it has been recognized for its commitment to conservation – over 40 percent of its territory is designated as some sort of protected space. Hiking here is described as a near perfect Himalayan adventure.
If your idea of Himalayan adventures involves wildlife, a trip to Dolpo is one of the few opportunities to spot the beautiful and beguiling, but very elusive snow leopard. Many consider Phoksundo Lake to be the most gorgeous place in the Himalayas. Lying between the ancient regions of Upper and Lower Dolpo, there’s a rugged trail around the lake fringe which offers incredible reflective views – particularly of Crystal Mountain and Shey Gompa. It’s an epic trek of a minimum of 14 days but worth it.
It would be so easy to rule out the Himalayas as inaccessible and not the place for a vacation but really, there is such scope and diversity for adventures in the Himalayas and the countries that abut the great mountains. Can you ever imagine yourself on one of them?
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