Top 4 facts about the Himalayas that will take your breath away
When visiting the Himalayas, you'll get as much of a buzz from the vibrant Nepalese culture as you will from the grandiosity of its mountains. As we guide you through the vast mystical beauty of the Himalayas; the numerous ascents and descents, this impressive and majestic country will take your breath away - literally!
The beauty of the Himalayas is in their unique rustic, calm, tranquility; an unperturbed natural aura - it’s no wonder then, that tests show this mountain range is geographically alive, growing a quarter of an inch every year! The name Himalayas means ‘house of snow’, and according to Hindu Mythology, the God Shiva who resides in the Himalayan Mountains holds a purifying power. This power is held on a personal and universal level and Shiva has also been known to help shed old habits and attachments.
From the challenging aspects of the various trails, to sharing a cup of tea with your new found companions, whilst exploring some of the most diverse terrain in the world, words really cannot describe that moment of zen you'll feel as you immerse yourself in the Himalayas. Some say you’ll get a sense of a spiritual enlightenment as you take in the sights and sounds.
There will be many moments on your journey that will simply take your breath away, and in the 20 years that we've been running hiking adventures all over the globe, the Himalayas is still one of the most epic places that we have visited on Earth.
So what are these breathtaking facts/moments/places?
Mount Everest Base Camp
Everest holds a pretty special place in our hearts, as New Zealand’s very own Sir Ed Hillary, alongside Tenzing Norgay from Nepal, conquered Mount Everest on 29 May 1953. The Nepalese call the Everest mountain Sagarmatha, “goddess of sky”, while the Tibetans call it Chomolungma, “mother goddess of the universe”. Hey, nowadays you can even tweet from the Mountain!
On the Everest Base Camp trip (and our other Himalayas adventures) you'll get to trek with one of our awesome kiwi guides. Having an Active Adventures New Zealand guide alongside the Nepali team of porters is a huge advantage and helps to bridge the gap between cultures. You'll learn to interact with the Nepali a lot faster and we’ll ensure nothing is lost in translation!
Of course, we'll also keep a close eye on your acclimatization, so that you can fully enjoy one of the most rewarding hiking expeditions you will get to experience in your lifetime. With an impressive climb culminating at 5,364 meters (17,598 feet), you'll be absolutely thrilled and in awe once you reach Everest Base Camp. Head over to our page all about Everest Base Camp to find out more.
Annapurna Base Camp
Trekking the Annapurna Sanctuary will definitely give you that surreal breath-taking moment. You’ll get to absorb the wonderful views of this extraordinary rich countryside as you hike to the Sanctuary. A high glacial basin lying 40km directly north of Pokhara, this natural amphitheater is made up of three Annapurna mountains; South, South 1, and South 2.
A unique combination of its height, along with only receiving 7 hours of sunlight per day, the Annapurna Sanctuary has a wide variety of ecosystems, which we think is pretty cool. The first few days of your trek will follow glistening streams up plush valleys, passing through dense transcendent Rhododendron forests and the charming Gurung villages of Ulleri, Gorepani and Chhomrong. As you climb to 4,130 metres (13,549 feet), you’ll feel an intense achievement at reaching this point, a true accomplishment for any avid trekker. The scale of these incredibly challenging peaks of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Annapurna 1 and Machapuchare is truly humbling.
Tea Houses The Nepalese word for “Tea House” is Bhatti; a place to reside at the end of the day to stay overnight. The Tea House is a well-mixed combination of a guest house, restaurant and social hangout. The Tea House is also the family home therefore this welcoming dwelling is seen as a home away from home. Now it’s not just about the quality of tea, but the quality of the people running them, so be sure to say ‘namaste’ when greeting your hosts. Place the palms of your hands together in prayer position, you can do this without a word but just a slight bow to the head which will mean, ‘namaste’, ‘I bow to you’.
Tea houses give you a great opportunity to people-watch. Your first Tea House on the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek will be at Kyumi, where, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the multi-tasking Langur monkey, this funny little character lives off tree leaves. Later on the trail you’ll be at another Tea House in Deurali, your closest point to Machapuchare; the warm hot fire will be your saving grace once you reach this point.
Between Deurali and Machapuchare Base Camp you’ll be taken aback by the awe-inspiring panoramic views of the Annapurna massif peering through! There are only a few places on Earth that can match the peaks of Annapurna South, Hiunchuli, Annapurna 1 and Machapuchare – and you’ll get to witness them first-hand!
The culture of Nepal is unique, with a multi-dimensional heritage that encompasses a full range of ethnic diversities. Legend has it that ‘dance’ in the Nepalese culture originates from Lord Shiva, where he performed the Tandava. The Tandava dance is described as an energetic routine that is the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution.
The two religions in Nepal are Hinduism and Buddhism, the various festivals relating to these religious beliefs are celebrated continuously throughout the year. The music, the vibrancy, the local delicacies and the colours are something quite extraordinary. The powerful music of Nepal is an integral part of this amazing culture.
An old folk tale of Nepal, tells us that the legendary Abominable Snowman also resided here; commonly known as the Yeti, Bigfoot or Sasquatch. Sightings of this large ape-like creature have been reported over the years, however no tangible evidence has been found yet. Although Tenzing Norgay’s father did have some probing evidence that supported this claim. When you are in Nepal we want you to have a great understanding of the Nepalese way of life. By showing simple gratitude to Nepali customs, you will show value and trust, helping to create a sustainable relationship between you as the traveller and the local customs and traditions of the Nepalese people.
EBC Everest Base Camp Trek
- 19 Days
We invite you to join us for one of our most incredible journeys, and certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, to reach Everest Base Camp. Retrace the footsteps of the world’s greatest mountaineers to the starting point of climbs to the highest peak on Earth. We’ll begin our journey in Kathmandu, Nepal’s bustling and colourful capital city, before taking a short flight to Lukla, high in the Himalayas, the gateway to the Solu Khumbu region and the starting point for our trek to Everest Base Camp.
Needless to say, the scenery is mind blowing – no matter which way you look, you’ll be staring straight at another towering snow-capped peak or jagged ridgeline. On this trip, we’ll hike through deep river gorges and forests, ascend high ridges and wide open valleys and visit remote Buddhist monasteries in the most improbable locations. The rewards of this trek go beyond simply reaching Everest Base Camp or seeing Mt Everest from the summit of Kala Patthar; what makes this trip really special is the sense of achievement you’ll get from trekking to such an incredibly high and remote area and the new perspectives from the people – both locals and other travellers – you’ll meet along the way.
If you'd prefer to trek at lower altitudes and still see Mt Everest, we recommend checking out our ‘Khumbu’ trip. Please get in touch with us if you’d like to chat about the various options.
AST Annapurna Sanctuary Trek
- 14 Days
Experience one of the greatest treks on the planet on a two-week adventure to the famed Annapurna Sanctuary. This amphitheatre is made up of three Annapurna mountains (South, I and III), Gangapurna and Machapuchare (Fish Tail), with the famous Annapurna Circuit trail winding its way through the valley beneath these mountains. We’ll start our trip by exploring the temples and markets of Kathmandu, Nepal’s bustling capital city, before flying to the lakeside city of Pokhara at the foot of the Himalayas.
Our journey will take us deep into the Himalayas, hiking up the glacial Modi Khola River gorge, passing through tiny Gurung settlements and into an alpine area that will take your breath away. You’ll be accompanied by an Active trip leader who will meet you in Kathmandu and introduce you to your Nepalese team of guides and porters. In true Active style you’ll stay in local accommodation, which in Nepal means rooms in comfortable and cosy Gurung tea houses (small hotels), and enjoy hearty meals to top it all off.
Khumbu Everest Lodge to Lodge Trek
- 14 Days
The Everest Lodge to Lodge trek is our hiking journey through the dramatic mountains of the Himalayas, avoiding the higher altitudes and trekking distances of our other trips. We’ll take you deep into the Everest/Khumbu region, home to the world’s highest peaks, massive glaciers, remote mountain villages and intriguing ancient cultures. The Everest region has captured the imagination of adventurers since the first maps of the area were drawn and it’s easy to see why. Every day of this dramatic and varied multi-day hike differs from the one before. We’ll descend into long fertile valleys, wind our way around mountain passes and stand at the foot of the highest mountains in the world. We won’t have to climb to higher elevations to do it either – we’ll do it all without hiking above 3780 metres (Khumjung, 12,400 feet).
Mustang Forbidden Kingdom of Lo Trek
- 18 Days
The name Mustang is derived from the Tibetan word ‘mun tan’ which translates in Nepali to mean ‘fertile plain’. Tibetan is widely spoken and the traditional culture of Tibet largely remains throughout the region. The 18 day Upper Mustang Trek largely follows an ancient salt trading route between Tibet and India, exploiting the lowest pass through the Himalayas, west of Sikkim in India. On this expedition-style trek, you’ll learn about the Mustang’s status as a forbidden kingdom, which ended in 2008 when its ruling kingdom of Nepal became a republic. We’ll start our trip by exploring the temples and markets of Kathmandu, Nepal’s bustling capital city, before flying to the lakeside city of Pokhara at the foot of the Himalayas and onto the large village of Jomsom to start our journey. Our journey will take us behind the Annapurna ranges, hiking towards the border of Tibet and the beginning of the Tibetan Plateau, passing through the green oasis of Thakali and into a desert plain - a view that will literally stop you in your tracks!