6 Reasons Why the Himalayas Should Be on Your Bucket List
The saw-tooth peaks and fascinating remote villages of the Himalayas stretch some 2,500 kilometres from Pakistan in the west to cut through India, Bhutan, Nepal, and finally China in the east. The Conde Nast Traveller reports that the best time to trek the Himalayan peaks is during the months of September and October, but visitors typically continue coming until early May. If you're considering travelling to one of the most uniquely beautiful places on earth, here are six reasons why the Himalayas should definitely be on your bucket list.
Nepal is most closely associated with the Himalayas, as it is home to eight out of the world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest. However, the entirety of the Himalayas is a vast, exciting landscape that The Guardian describes as a geography of superlatives: from the highest mountains, the steepest ravines, expansive areas of wild forest, rolling high plateaus, and some of the greatest and most remarkable biodiversity in the planet.
An experience for beginners and experts
Today, the mountains of the Himalayas are no longer exclusive to serious climbers and professionals, as more and more trails offer easier and more comfortable hikes to novice climbers with a reasonable level of fitness. Traveller Jim White explains that those who cannot make it to the top of Everest can still find enriching experiences in trekking one of the range's many peaks. His trip found him trekking through the Indian Himalayas to find charming hilltop villages and fascinating crumbling temples.
Literally breath-taking adventures
The altitudes of the Himalayan peaks can take your breath away. Past 3,500 meters above sea level, oxygen begins to thin and even the most experienced hikers can feel symptoms of mountain sickness. The trade-off, of course, is more than worth it.
Mount Everest is the biggest in terms of allure, with around 35,000 people in a year pounding the trail to its Base Camp. Aside from the trek being a colossal challenge, it can also be quite crowded in peak months. Thankfully for those looking for some mountain solitude, Lottoland suggests that there are still plenty of wonderful areas to explore in the shadow of the colossal mountains.
Quieter alternatives include the Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest peak, or the foothills and mountain passes of Sikkim, India for views across the Himalayas.
More than mountains
Although the Himalayan mountain range dominates the landscape, there's so much more to do in the region. Lodges and villages offer a whole range of activities, from bird watching in the foothills of the Himalayas to white water rafting in Nepal. Other travellers might enjoy paragliding over Pohara's Phewa Lake or trying to spot rare one-horned rhinos and Bengal Floricans in Assam, Darjeeling, and Bhutan.
Diverse and fascinating culture
The Himalayas, which roughly translates to "abode of snow," is home to a diverse range of stunning landscapes, and different cultures. Lakes are a deep turquoise, valleys are stunningly green, dessert plateaus fascinate travellers with their orange hues, and flowers come in vibrant hues of red. Buddhist monks are found in many of the mountain passes and are swathed in maroon. Hindu sadhus wear orange, and the trails themselves are lined with multi-coloured prayer flags. In fact, the mountains are the meeting point of three of the world's greatest religions: with Islam in the west, Hinduism in the south, and Tibetan Buddhism in the north. Meanwhile, CNN shares that yoga enthusiasts can come and visit the birthplace of yoga in Rishikesh, India.
Better than any postcard
The Himalayan region is one of the most photographed places on earth, but nothing really quite compares to seeing the mountains in all their majesty with the naked eye. Photographs simply cannot capture the magnificence of these ancient giants. The villages that line the mountain range offer a pristine rural beauty that you will find nowhere else. Sunsets and sunrises are also some of the best in the world, especially up in the mountains.
What are you waiting for? Start planning your great Himalayan trip today.