There is something incredible about finding yourself between the largest mountains in the world. A feeling of insignificance and power, achievement and defeat, all at once. At the top of the world’s largest pass, Thorong La, I reflected on all it took to get up there, and how there were still mountains towering over me, thousands of feet above. It was a humbling experience to know I had been spared to make it that far, to be able to see the world from this perspective, and hike amongst the most famous mountain range in the world.
There are several countries you can access the Himalayas from, but the most popular ones for trekking are Nepal, Pakistan, and India. Nepal being the most popular due to its location and dominant hiking culture. You can do the Annapurna Circuit or hike to Everest base camp for very little money. I was able to hike the Annapurna Circuit and other short day trips and hikes along the way for 19 days and spent around $10 or less a day. It was the most incredible trip I had done and also the least expensive. You will need to invest in a good, waterproof, warm snow jacket, some durable, waterproof, snow boots, and a good backpack to carry all your gear. The Annapurna Circuit can easily be done without a guide, but if you are feeling uncomfortable to do it alone, you can hire guides for around $10-$30 a day, which is still pretty cheap, you just might want to tailor your hike accordingly based on your budget.
There will be plenty of people hiking for you to get to know, all year round. Meeting people along the hike to group up, hike with and share stories with was a real highlight of mine. Pack light and carry your own stuff, you don’t need a porter to carry your undies. I never once regretted not hiring a guide. It was also a nice feeling of accomplishment at the end knowing that I had done it all under my own steam.
There is such amazing scenery along the way. The landscape is constantly changing each day you hike going from lush, wet jungle, to Alpine, to barren, snowy mountain tops, and to dry, windy desert, so try to have at least 2 and a half weeks to really be able to enjoy it all and complete the entire circuit. Everest base camp can be done a little quicker but I also recommend having as much time as you can so you can enjoy the scenery and stop at more spots along the way.
Something as doable, inexpensive, and life changing as hiking in the Himalayas should be on everyone’s to do list. Do not miss out on this amazing place and try to go while it is still cheap and not too touristic. The Chinese are working on building roads all through the Himalayas which will greatly affect trekking and take away the experience of being in these incredible locations that are currently, only accessible by foot.
Eric Bennett is a thisworldexists adventure ambassador.
Explore the world through his eyes via Instagram and be inspired by his incredible adventures @bennettfilm.