7 reasons to go to Nepal now
After last year's successful launch, the Great Himalaya Trail (probably the most expensive trek in the world) returns this month. But with the introduction of new permanent campsites and shorter itineraries, World Expeditions gives you the low down of why there are so many reasons to go to Nepal this year...
1. Great Himalaya Trail - The Full Nepal Traverse: Exclusive with World Expeditions, the 152-day Nepal traverse of the Great Himalaya Trail - the so-called "trekking's holy grail" - takes five months to complete and goes on for 1,700km. Not for the fainted hearted, it features trails up to 6,190m above sea. All of Nepal's 8,000m peaks can be viewed along the way, while trekkers also have the opportunity to experience remote cultures in hidden corners of the country. For those who cannot afford the time - or the money! - the Trail can be broken into seven smaller stages, which can be joined separately.
Exclusive with World Expeditions, The Great Himalaya Trail - The Full Nepal Traverse (152 days) departs on 21 February and runs until 21 July, from £19,990 per person. The seven smaller segments are from 18 to 34 days long and prices start from £2,150 per person.
2. Shorter itineraries, more flexibility: Responding to the needs of the modern traveller who is asking for shorter itineraries and greater flexibility, World Expeditions has now adjusted accordingly some of its most popular journeys. The length on a number of its Everest trips has now been reduced, simply by redesigning slightly the itinerary and without compromising on the experience, the safety and, unlike other operators, the all-important acclimatisation phase. All programmes to the Everest Base Camp, for example, include at least two full weeks of trekking at the world's most famous mountain range.
World Expeditions' 18-day Everest Base Camp & Kala Pattar Trek is designed to fulfil the dream of many people following the historic route to the base of the world's highest mountain. Departs throughout the year, from £1,250 per person.
3. Annapurna: Threatened by road construction or new opportunities? Combining natural grandeur with cultural immersion, the Annapurna Circuit is one of the most spectacular and complete treks in the world. Circling the Annapurna massif in Nepal, you can get a good taste of the trek in 10-12 days, although the entire 250km route requires closer to three weeks. The long-planned development of a new road will reduce the first 10 days to a two-day drive, making short trips to Annapurna easier and offering a new opportunity for mountain biking.
World Expeditions offers a different take for this classic route, the 16-day Annapurna Mountain Bike. Departs on 30 March, 13 April, 5 October and 19 October, from £1,450 per person.
4. Permanent campsites NEW: World Expeditions is launching a major initiative in Everest this year to ensure that travellers enjoy greater comforts whilst supporting the most sustainable trekking programme in the market. Away from villages and on beautiful secluded plots, a series of permanent campsites have been established throughout the region: combining an atmosphere of privacy and exclusivity with stunning views of the mountains, the new campsites not only increase the comfort levels of the travellers but also cater better for the needs of an increasing market that is interested in a softer approach to trekking.
Experience the comfort of World Expeditions' new permanent campsites with the 15-day Sherpa Everest Trek, which weaves through the famous Buddhist villages and monasteries of the Sherpa people and offers unparalleled views of some of the world's highest peaks. 10 departure dates in 2012, from £1,190 per person.
5. Value for money: Nepal is more affordable than most people think, particularly if you compare the cost per day with other popular trekking locations such as Kilimanjaro, the Inca Trail or even the Alps. World Expeditions offers all-inclusive adventure holidays to all these destinations and, for the length of trip and services supplied, Nepal offers by far the best value for money - for example: Everest Circuit, 22 days: £1,495 (or £67.95 per day); Everest Base Camp, 18 days: £1,250 (or £69.44 per day); Gokyo Lakes, 17 days: £1,250 (or £73.52 per day); Best of Annapurna Dhaulagiri, 16 days: £1190 (or £74.37 per day) and Trek Annapurna & Everest, 15 days: £1,390 (or £92.66 per day).
World Expeditions' Everest High Passes (22 days) crosses high passes without the commitment of any technical climbing. From £1,590 per person (or £72.27 per day), with departures in March, April and September.
6. 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary's "coronation gift": It was on 29 May 1953 that New Zealander Edmund Hillary, accompanied by the Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, became the first people to climb to the summit of Mount Everest. However, the news did not reach the outside world until 2 June, the day of the Queen Elizabeth II's coronation, with the UK press dubbing it "a coronation gift for the new Queen". 2013 will see the 60th anniversary of that very first successful ascent to Everest, which has now become a mainstream climbing destination: on average 150 people reach its summit every year.
World Expeditions' 16-day Solu Khumbu Everest Trek passes from Sir Edmund Hillary's inspiring Schoolhouse in the Clouds at Khumjung. Seven departures in 2012, from £1,190 per person.
7. Mustang, the Forbidden Kingdom: It wasn't until recently that the 'forbidden kingdom' of Mustang opened to the outside world and tourism is still limited and heavily regulated, with foreigners having to obtain a special permit to enter. Annexed by Nepal in the 17th century though tightly sealed off to the outside world until 1992, this tiny kingdom of ruggedly carved mountains has retained its identity as an autonomous dynasty: it preserves a culture and way of life that little has changed over the centuries and is one of the last places in the world to view the ancient Bonpo Religion in action.
Explore with World Expeditions The Kingdom of Mustang (16 days), which preserves some of the last vestiges of traditional Tibetan Buddhist culture. Departs on 1 April, 17 April and 21 September, from £1,990 per person.
For more information on World Expeditions' trips, visit worldexpeditions.co.uk. World Expeditions' all-inclusive policy ensures there are no local payments. Prices do not include international flights, however these can be arranged on request.