Biking in the Himalayas is one of the few experiences that have stayed with me throughout my peculiar ventures abroad. In fact, some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world are spread across the waist of the Himalayas.
The eminent mountain ranges offer ample refuge for those hoping to disconnect from the chaos of everyday life. Having lived in Delhi for four months, Uttarakhand became my go-to get away from the craziness of city living.
Extending over five countries- India, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Pakistan, the Himalayas’ magnificent hills and valleys can be seen from a number of locations.
Chopta, Uttarakhand, India
Chopta is a small region in the Uttarakhand state. Its scenic view is nothing like that offered by Delhi. From vast green spaces and bright blue skies, the district was absolutely breathtaking. On the fourth day of our trip into Chopta, we arrived at a village leading to the Chandrashila Peak. After dropping our bike off at a nearby shop, we took on an exhausting, yet breathtaking hike towards the peak.
4,000 meters above sea-level, the trek offered a panoramic view of the Himalaya ranges. It lasted about 3-4 hours, passing camping grounds, donkeys, paved roads, and rocky hills. This was one of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever laid my eyes on.
Chopta houses one of the highest Shiva temples in the world. After participating in a small meditation session, we went to bed. At 4 in the morning, my friend woke me up in the bone-shattering cold to hike the last mile onto the peak of the mountain.
We felt the sun before seeing its pink hues. There was an utter calmness that extended across the entire Himalayan ranges. No birds, no wind- complete silence.
Then, the sky began brightening up. With it, the snow-covered peaks became increasingly visible.
Beams of sun rays started reflecting off the summit, projecting an expanding warm orange tone an arm’s reach away.
It was utterly magnificent.
Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
At the edge overlooking Lower Base Camp provides one of the best-unobstructed views along the Annapurna Circuit of the Himalayas. Over the past eleven days from when I originally began the circuit, I have battled a twisted ankle, numerous bouts of Delhi belly and muscle pain where I did not know muscles even existed. Even though I am shivering from the temperature sitting around freezing, the peacefulness and sense of accomplishment cannot be mistaken. Apart from the jingle of horse bells in the distance and the wind howling, it is completely silent, I am on top of the world. I have hiked up to around 4900 m, trekking at an altitude higher than most other people will ever experience, and I will be climbing an extra 600 meters tomorrow. This is where the highest trekking pass in the world awaits and where the oxygen levels are half that of sea level.
From arriving at high camp this lookout point is a twenty-minute climb up a steep ridge with loose rocks. A walking stick is necessary to keep balance, otherwise, it would be a painful slide to the bottom. The area is decorated with precariously perched cairns, somehow still standing strong throughout the ever-changing weather.
Hiking the Annapurna Circuit is no doubt the hardest thing I have ever done. It tested me both physically and mentally while putting immense strain on my relationship with my trekking partner and boyfriend (though I know I would not be able to do this without him). Though, having a comfortable bed to sleep in every night thanks to the wonderful locals who run the teahouses and the great hospitality received makes you fall asleep with a smile every night.
Tasha Amy is the creator of Backpackers Wanderlust which focuses on budget travel and backpacking the world. Based in New Zealand she holds down a 9-5 job while making the most of every opportunity to get out and explore our beautiful planet on the cheap. You can follow Tasha Amy’s adventures on her Instagram or Facebook.
Trekking in Kashmir far exceeded my expectations. Following a night on a houseboat on Nigeen Lake in Srinagar we headed to the Tosa Maidan in the Budgam district of Jammu & Kashmir nestled in the Himalayas.
We ascended through the steep dense forest accompanied by local girls going to chop wood. The landscape opened out to what resembled a lush green carpet, the views through the clouds were tremendous. Watching the sun go down at our first base camp at 3200 m was magical, the sky lit up with an orange glow against the Haramukh Mountain, Kolahoi Peak and the Nun Kun Peaks as a backdrop. By now, I was far too excited to see what delightful scenes we were going to wake up to.
Moving into higher altitude to our next base camp at 4000 m, the snow-capped mountains became more visible and the serene surroundings were devoid of people apart from us and the shepherds with their flock. Low hanging clouds and rocky boulders made the spectacular views more special of GaadtarSar, BoardSar, and PamSar alpine lakes. We camped next to a river which flowed from the alpine lakes where our guides fished for trout for our dinner after a long day trekking.
One evening the sky lit up with almighty thunder which cracked behind the mountains, fortunately not by our tents, but it did make for a pretty dramatic sky. Luckily, this was the only adverse weather conditions we had over the 5 days, our trip was full of sunshine and jaw-dropping views. This piece of Himalayan heaven in Kashmir totally took my breath away.
Vanessa is a UK travel blogger and digital marketer based in Dubai and the creator of Wanders Miles. The blog is all about trekking and adventures off the beaten track. Having visited nearly 40 countries across 6 continents, the hope is to inspire travelers to discover the beautiful world we live in. Follow her travels on her Instagram or Facebook!
Everest Basecamp, Tibet
After a few days exploring the capital of Tibet, Lhasa, I was exploring my options for my onward journey. Soon I settled for a tour along the Friendship Highway, from Tibet to Nepal. We traveled by a 4×4 vehicle and I joined a tour with 3 new friends. One of the stops on our week-long journey through Tibet was a night at Everest Basecamp.
We drove for days on the Friendship Highway. Finally, it was time to enter deep into the Himalayas and we’d sleep at Everest Basecamp. After a million switchbacks, we finally pulled up to a small camp. We made it!
We would spend the night at the base of Everest Basecamp. I was super excited. Quickly, we gathered some stuff and set out to go to the actual base camp. The hike was grueling. I was absolutely not fit enough to walk like this at 4,800 meters. I struggled up a tiny hill but threw my hands in the air as if I just summited the peak of Everest. Prayer flags were flapping loudly in the never-ending wind, clouds drifted in front of the peak but quickly disappeared. It was a sight I’ll never forget!
Naomi is a train enthusiastic travel blogger from the Netherlands who went on her first cross-continental train journey to Tibet. She has a long-lost love for Roman history, orders anything on the menu as long as it has cheese in it and suffers from self-proclaimed travel planning OCD. Read more about her adventures in Tibet and follow her adventures on Facebook and Instagram.
I suffer from asthma which gives me major limitations when it comes to hiking and reaching extreme heights. I do everything I can to not let this stop me from enjoying incredible views as I absolutely love to hike and explore nature while traveling.
When I was in Nepal, seeing the Himalayas became my top priority. After arriving in Pokhara, my boyfriend immediately set off to do the 3-day Poon Hill trek which is more than 3,000 meters. I didn’t want to risk getting sick and ruin his experience so I decided to stay back in Pokhara. Luckily, the lake town offers several smaller surrounding hills that are fairly easy treks, around 1,500 meters.
The best view from my trekking experience was from the Japanese Peace Pagoda. However, the most spectacular view I have had of the Himalayas is luckily also one of the most accessible. Near Pokhara, Nepal, there is a mountain that is accessible by road, called Sarangkot. It is also possible to trek to the top of Sarangkot as there are many trails to the summit. On our last morning, once my boyfriend rejoined me after his Poon Hill adventure, we woke up at 4 AM to catch a taxi to the top of Sarangkot for sunrise. We made it to the top of the mountain just as the sun was beginning to rise behind the massive Himalayan hills. The tallest peaks were capped with snow and as the sun rose it began to reflect vibrant hues of pink on the mountains which was a mystical feat to witness. As the sun rose further light began to flood the Pokhara valley below and shine down on the morning mist that was hovering above the town. This was my favorite Himalayan view as it is such a beautiful experience that even non-trekkers, like myself, can thoroughly enjoy.
Lola Méndez is a full-time traveler sharing her adventures on Miss Filatelista as she adds to her collection of passport stamps.She travels to develop her own worldview and has explored 52 countries. Passionate about sustainable travel she seeks out ethical experiences that benefit local communities. You can follow her travels on Instagram and Twitter.
Fairy Meadows, Pakistan
The highest of the Himalayas scrape the sky and are cold, rocky, and barren. Not the most comfortable places to sit and admire the mountains.
If you want to get your fill of Himalayan mountains without trekking through extreme climates, a place called Fairy Meadows in northern Pakistan is the perfect happy medium. The idyllic, grassy meadows sit amongst a thick alpine forest close to the base of Nanga Parbat, the 9th highest mountain in the world. Reaching the meadows involves a long drive along one of the most perilous jeep tracks in the world, followed by several hours of uphill trekking to a small village clocking in at about 3,300 meters/10,800 feet above sea level. It’s a relatively short if tiring trek, but rest assured that the views from the meadows are worth it in every direction.
Whether you’re camping out or sleeping in one of the handfuls of small cabins situated in the idyllic little hamlet, you’ll be perfectly situated to admire the surrounding Himalayas at any time of day. You can catch the sun’s first golden rays as they hit the snowy peaks of Nanga Parbat from the comfort of your cabin, or trek past icy glaciers to the Nanga Parbat base camp for better views of the surrounding mountains.
Given its mountainous location, Fairy Meadows is too cold and snowy to visit for much of the year, so you’ll need to plan your trip accordingly. If admiring the Himalayas from a patch of alpine paradise sounds appealing to you, aim to visit Fairy Meadows sometime between late April and early October, and ideally outside of the high tourist season runs from June to August. Bring warm clothes, a camera, and high spirits, and your trip is guaranteed to be one you won’t soon forget.
Ali is a person afflicted with perpetually itchy feet and a need to be outside as often as possible. He grew up in the United States before returning to his motherland of Pakistan to explore more of the beautiful country. Follow him on Facebook for travel tales.
Of course, extraordinary views of the Himalayas are not limited to those mentioned above. The mountain ranges expand across multiple countries and differ with local practice. But without a doubt, my bucket list is again filled with many more Himalayan-centered journeys. Won’t you agree that the Himalayas offer some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world?
May we cross paths while happily stranded in Kashmir, India or Fairy Meadows in Pakistan. Or better yet, while we trek the Annapurna Circuit, Sarangkot, in Nepal, or the Everest Basecamp in Tibet.