Roads will also make it easier for tourists looking for adventure in Nepal who do not have the four months necessary to do The Great Himalayan Trail at one go, to take it in instalments. You can now drive up to four days below Kangchenjunga base camp, trek for two weeks, and ride/fly out of Tumlingtar, then return the next season to do the next segment.
Despite all the road-building, there are plenty of pristine valleys, high passes and remote villages in the Himalaya where we can still go to experience the ‘Old Nepal’: Nyingma Gyansen La between Mugu and Dolpo, or Kang La in Manang (pictured, above) where you feel like there is no further you can go on this Earth, or Tashi Labtsa Pass, from where you can peer down at the layers and layers of mountains and contemplate infinity.
The perfect guidebook for a cross-Himalayan trek is just out in its second updated edition. Robin Boustead’s The Great Himalayan Trail: A Pictorial Guide has more recent photographs, excellent new maps from Himalayan Map House (the GHT passing through Dolpo, map above) and lots of tips and information for both the first-time Great Himalayaner, or a return trekker doing it in chapters.
Trekking in Nepal has never been just about the scenery. It is also about the people and travelling along the traditional caravan routes, the rural trading trails or herders taking mountain goats to goths in the monsoon. It is along these trails that Nepalis and tourists visiting Nepal have formed a bond that goes back decades.