For anyone heading to the Himalaya, nothing beats the feeling you get when you first lay eyes on the world’s highest mountains. Most are drawn to Everest for their first base camp trek, and for good reason – it’s truly the experience of a lifetime, but where to after that?
There are so many incredible base camps that are accessible to trekkers in the Himalaya; from the sacred Kanchenjunga to the famous Annapurna, we list other impressive trails (some of which are more scenic than EBC) that’ll see you sleeping in the shadow of Nepal or Bhutan’s magnificent giants.
Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek
Kanchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world, located on the Nepalese side of the Nepal-India border. It is sacred to the people of Sikkim. In 1955, the first expedition team to climb it promised the Chogyal (king) that they would stop short of the summit. Ever since then, every climber has observed this tradition.
At 5,140 metres, Kanchenjunga Base Camp is nearly as high as Everest Base Camp, but strikingly remote in comparison.
Annapurna Base Camp Trek
The Annapurna region is the second most popular trekking area in Nepal, however, it is very different in character to Everest both culturally and ecologically. Annapurna I was the first ever peak over 8,000 metres to be climbed. The summit was reached in 1950 on a French expedition led by Maurice Herzog.
Passing through villages and terraced farmland on your way to base camp (4,131m), this trek takes in some of Nepal’s most stunning and diverse scenery.
Makalu Base Camp Trek
Makalu is notorious for its steep slopes and knife-edged ridges, forming a challenging section of the Great Himalayan Trail. The trail to base camp is renowned for its cloud forests and lush vegetation of hanging orchids and vibrant rhododendrons.
With the summit of Makalu rising 3,000 metres above base camp, this trek is a sure-fire way to feel humbled by the mountainous landscape.
Chomolhari Base Camp Trek
Also known as the ‘Bride of Kangchenjunga’, this is arguably the finest short trek in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Due to restricted access and complex routes from Tibet, there is little climbing activity in the region. Only a handful of mountaineers have climbed Chomolhari since the summit was first attained in 1937.
At 4,100 metres, this is a great base camp trek for those who are short on time and keen to pack in both remote wilderness and a unique cultural experience.
Manaslu Base Camp Trek
The ‘Mountain of the Spirit’, Manaslu is one of Nepal’s most beautiful, yet rarely visited areas – the Nepalese Government only opened the area to trekkers in 1991. It has since flourished as a sanctuary for many endangered animals, including snow leopards, grey wolves, musk deer, and blue sheep.
Trekking around Manaslu offers awesome mountain views, remote Buddhist villages close to the Tibetan border and cultural and geographic diversity that rivals any other trek in the Himalaya. A visit to base camp at 4,895 metres is definitely a standout.
Dhaulagiri Base Camp Trek
Traverse the lower ramparts of the spectacular mountain once thought to be the world’s highest – that is, until 1838. Shadowing Kali Gandaki, the world’s deepest gorge, Dhaulagiri’s sudden rise from lower terrain is astonishing. Within 30 kilometres, the peaks of Dhaulagiri rise dramatically above the landscape.
At 4,550 metres, our camp is spectacularly situated at the end of the glacier with views of Dhaulagiri I, II, III, V, Tukuche Peaks, and the imposing icefall that cascades from the north east col of Dhaulagiri I.
Ama Dablam Base Camp Trek
‘Mother’s Necklace’ is one of the most stunning mountains along the popular trekking route to Everest Base Camp. This steep pyramid of ice with vertical walls and sharp, exposed ridges is also referred to as the ‘Matterhorn of the Himalayas’. This trek takes you beyond the tourist trails, and at 4,600 metres high, base camp provides stunning 360-degree vistas across the ranges.
Damodar Saribung Traverse
Explore a region seldom visited by Westerners, trekking through Mustang and the Damodar Range and emerging into the Annapurna region. Cross several high passes with incredible vistas, including the stunning Saribung Pass (6,042m), a snowy trail exiting Damodar Kunda High Camp near the Tibetan border. An additional highlight is the close encounters with Tibetan culture, including a visit to Luri Gompa, the oldest and most famous cave monastery in the Mustang region, constructed in the 15th century.