Forget what people say about going west. The eastern part of Nepal is an untamed frontier, rising to a sheer mountain wall that includes many of the tallest peaks on earth. In the far east of Nepal, Kanchenjunga clocks in as the world’s third – highest peak at 8586m. Further west, mighty Makalu (8463m) comes in at number five. The foothills of these Himalayan giants offer some of the most exciting trekking in Nepal, passing through remote country that provides a flashback to what the whole country must have been like when explorers such as Edmund Hillary made the first ascents in 1950s.
Trekking trails in eastern Nepal follows a series of melting rivers and streams, passing through a fascinating variety of landscape – terraced rice fields, dense rhododendron forests, rolling alpine meadows and the desolate lunar landscape of the high Himalaya. The villages along the trails are home to a diverse range of tribal people, but infrastructure is limited and many areas are only open to trekkers on organized camping.
Because of the poor state of the roads, most people fly into the tiny airstrips at Tumlingtar and Suketar. There are rustic lodges in many villages, but you’ll need a tent if you hope to reach the base camps for Makalu or Kanchenjunga. The only trek that could reasonably be describe as a ‘teahouse trek’ is the descent from Lukla to Tumlingtar, which provides a handy exit route from the more – developed trekking trails in Solu Khumbu.