This article aims to highlight the best alternatives to Everest Trekking. Everest Trekking is globally popular and requires no introduction. For many, Everest trekking is a dream destination. Everest Trekking mesmerizes trekkers with its serene landscapes, unconventional trekking trails, diverse flora and fauna, scenic vistas, attractive villages, and towering snow-capped peaks in the vicinity.
As I am writing this article, it’s been 5 days there are no flights from Lukla. The poor weather condition is the prime reason that has created complications for travelers. Due to poor weather conditions, all flights are canceled. The ongoing flight cancellations have resulted in travelers getting stranded in Kathmandu or Manthali (Ramechhap). Further, it impacted their travel plans, consumed their time, spoiled their vacation, and overall added up their expenses.
Current News of Lukla (Everest) flight cancellation from Kathmandu or Manthali
On the other hand, travelers who were already in Everest have no option but to extend their stays in Everest which has increased their trek cost. Travelers are also facing complications with the return schedules of their international flights as a result of this issue. When there was stable weather, 1-2 limited flights were available and some travelers chose to return via Helicopter. While some travelers chose the overland route via Jiri to return. Yet, numerous travelers are stuck on Everest and waiting for flights to be operated.
Merits of Everest trekking
Everest trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime journey for all travelers. After all, it is the most exclusive trekking destination. Some of the key merits of the Everest trekking are:
Incredible Mountain Views:
The incredible mountain views throughout Everest trekking are the prime highlights of this trek. Brace yourself and witness the panoramic vistas of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, and many others. These sights of snow-capped peaks are an absolute delight on this embarking journey.
Everest Base Camp:
The iconic Everest Base Camp itself and getting there is a noteworthy achievement. Traverse several attractive Sherpa villages, flora, and fauna in Sagarmatha National Park, and Khumbu Glaciers to get to Everest Base Camp. The journey from the start to the end of Everest Base Camp is unique and unforgettable. It is challenging yet a rewarding experience.
Sherpas are well-known for their mountaineering skills. Attractive Sherpa villages with hospitable Sherpas displaying their local culture, tradition, and lifestyle are a pleasure for travelers. Immerse in their culture and interact with them for a better and deeper understanding.
Unique Flora and Fauna:
Everest trekking commences by traversing the Sagarmatha National Park. The park listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to diverse flora and fauna. Various species of birds, plants, animals, and some rare species are found here. If lucky, travelers may spot Himalayan Thar, musk deer, pika, and various bird species. Walk through the blossoming rhododendron forest during the spring season amidst this unique flora and fauna.
Everest trekking is very far from the hustle and bustle of city areas. The trek commences from Lukla. It takes travelers through lush green forests, scenic valleys, pristine rivers, and scenic landscapes surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The natural beauty that emanates throughout the Everest trekking is a treasure and delightful. The changing landscapes, seasonal flowers, greenery, and stunning vistas are the true essence of natural beauty.
Difficulties of Everest trekking
There are some difficulties or challenges of Everest trekking despite merits which are as follows:
Unpredictable weather is the prime reason in the Everest region for flight cancellations. Especially during monsoon and winter, the chances are very high. This uncertainty interrupts the travel itinerary, and planning, and spoils the trekking experience. Thus, it requires flexibility in planning and itinerary which adds up to extra expenses.
Lukla Airport also known as Tenzing Hillary Airport is one of the busiest airports in the trekking seasons. It is also one of the most extreme airports in the world. The challenging terrain, short runway, and limited infrastructure along with poor weather conditions lead to limited flights or flight delays and cancellations.
Alternative Routes via Jiri:
Long flight cancellations or delays add up to the expenses during Everest trekking. Travelers can also trek to Everest via Jiri which is an alternative roadway route. These routes both serve as the starting and return paths for the Everest trek. The trek via the Jiri route expands the itinerary schedule adding up for extra days and extra costs. The unpaved roadways, rugged trekking trails, less availability of teahouses, limited transportation means, and inadequate amenities may exhaust trekkers. If flights are canceled and stuck in Everest, with no options left trekkers have to opt for this route.
High Traffic and Crowded Trails:
Everest trekking is generally crowded in peak seasons. Travelers can experience high-traffic and crowded trails. It also leads to limited availability of teahouses resulting in sharing accommodations. Everest trekking may not be suitable for travelers who love peaceful trekking experiences as well as adjustments with amenities.
In the mountains of Nepal, altitude sickness is common. During Everest trekking, travelers may find it difficult if they suffer from altitude sickness. To prevent altitude sickness, acclimatization rest, and following instructed strict guidelines are mandatory. Altitude sickness is preventable and curable but travelers having health issues can find it challenging. It is best to trek with proper planning and consultation. There are alternative trekking destination options for travelers as well.
Best Alternatives for Everest Trekking
There are myriad trekking destinations in Nepal beyond the Everest region trekking. It includes a variety of options to choose from such as short cultural, historical, and natural city tours, a day hike, 3-4 days short trekking, long week trekking, and adventurous activities. Travelers can choose from the options that best suit them and align with their preferences. The beneficial part is they can combine these tours and have the flexibility to customize them. Some best alternatives for Everest Trekking are as follows:
1. Trekking (3-18 days):
Annapurna Region Treks, Manaslu Region Treks, and Langtang Region Treks are some of the most popular and best alternative trekking destinations. The trek durations are from 3 to 18 days depending on the trek route and difficulty. In these regions, trekkers have abundant options to choose the trek regions. From easy treks to popular treks and remote region treks, travelers can select the destination that best fits them and fulfills their requirements.
2. City Tours including Trekking:
Travelers have another better option for Everest trekking i.e. City tours including trekking. Explore vibrant valleys (Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Lalitpur), Stupas (Swayambhunath, Boudhanath), and Pashupatinath temples. Besides Kathmandu Valley, Bandipur, Pokhara, Lumbini, and Chitwan are phenomenal destinations for city tours. Traveling to these places is not so demanding and treats with stunning scenic landscapes, mountain vistas, and rich cultural and architectural delights. Some best options for short (3-4 days) trekking are the Ghorepani trek, Ghandruk trek, Dhampus trek, Royal trek, Sarangkot-Poon Hill trek, Nagarkot-Chisapani trek, etc. City tours combined with trekking give a great opportunity to explore culture and nature at once.
3. Cultural/Historical/Nature/Adventure City Tours:
Travelers having limited time, physical difficulty, or only opting for city tours than trekking have abundant options for cultural, historical, natural, and adventure city tours. For culture and history lovers, ancient Kathmandu Valley, Panauti, Namo Buddha, Lumbini, etc. are perfect destinations. Chitwan and Pokhara are some of the top and finest destinations for nature and adventure city tours. Boating, canoeing, jungle safari, paragliding, zip-flying, etc. are adventurous activities travelers can carry out during their city tours in Chitwan or Pokhara. There are nearby hiking places like Champadevi, Nagarkot, Chisapani, Shivapuri, etc. for a day hike. Travelers can combine their city tours and include a day hike for a better tour experience. Not only this, there are other several destinations for cultural, historical, nature, and adventure city tours that travelers can combine as their preferred tours.