The Himalayas are truly one of the most beautiful places on this planet. Breathtaking mountainous views, authentic culture, fantastic cuisine and exhilarating hikes – should you be lucky enough to be planning a visit here, prepare to be blown away. 

That said, visiting the Himalayas can be an overwhelming experience. Its unique geography and shape shifting landscape can feel impenetrable even in the planning stage, let alone when you actually arrive. But we’re here to help; we’ve teamed up the Himalayan experts at Shakti Himalaya to help you bring focus to your itinerary, with these; our 5 IDEAL things to do in the Himalayas.

FIRST, CHOOSE YOUR COUNTRY 

The Himalayas span across ten different states in countries including India, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Pakistan and Afghanistan, so simply ‘going to Himalayas’ isn’t really a thing. Such a vague approach will likely impede your planning, so it’s important to first figure out which country you want to stay in and what elements of the trip you most value. The rest writes itself (we wish it did, actually).

GO HIKING

The Himalayas are home to the infamous, immense Mount Everest, which at nearly 30,000 feet is the highest peak on Earth. The area notably offers an array of guided hikes at varying levels, so it’s a good idea to plan just how challenging you want your experience to be beforehand. Choosing the right trail beforehand is essential for setting the right pace for your Himalayan journey. Be sure to research your route, invest in the right clothing and find the right equipment to aid your hike before you set off. And most importantly, enlist the help of a guide should you be tackling anything challenging.

VISIT THE LOCAL VILLAGES

No visit to the Himalayas would be complete without taking time to visit a local, authentic village, whether on your own or as part of a guided tour. In doing so, you’ll get a much deeper glimpse into the region’s culture and heritage, as well as the chance to experience a more simple way of life. Observe local farming communities, visit sacred statues of Buddha, holy rivers and take a look at the surrounding villages and schools. To get the best overview of the community, consider investing in a holiday package that includes a local village retreat. This way you can combine your guided walk with a luxurious mountain lodge stay.

TRY HIMALAYAN CUISINE

Authentic Himalayan cuisine is full of vibrant flavors, and many dishes are rice based and infused with heavy, aromatic spices. Local favorites include momos, which are fried or steamed dumplings usually served with spicy dipping sauces, and thukpa, a hot noodle soup with meat and vegetables. The perfect fuel for that hike or that nourishing warmer you need in the colder climes. Churpa, or hard dried yak cheese, and any Himalayan teas are also a must.

VISIT THE NATIONAL PARKS

There are an abundance of beautiful national parks in the Himalayas that are open to the public, so if you don’t fancy a strenuous hike that will take a few days, you can spend time exploring one of the parks instead. A few of the local favorites include the Valley of Flowers National Park, the Great Himalayan National Park and Khangchendzonga National Park. These are defined by their gorgeous alpine meadows, diverse wildlife reserves, vast grasslands and sal forests. Bliss.

On the Himalayan’s eastern edge is one of the most fascinating, welcoming places on the planet. Check out our 5 IDEAL things to do in Bhutan next.