• Ladakh is one of the best places to trek independently in India. There is very little regulation except near the border areas, it is easy to find places to stay in villages, the people are friendly and the scenery is spectacular.

  • Nepal is perhaps the premier trekking destination in the world and no where is the trekking industry more developed than in Nepal. While this means more trekkers it also means that Nepal is the easiest place in the Himalayas to trek independently. Anyone can do it even if you've never hiked anywhere. Good maps and trekking guidebooks are available in the many bookstores of Kathmandu and Pokhara. On the most popular routes it would be nearly impossible to get lost.

  • Home to some of the most sacred sites in the Indian Himalaya including the headwaters of the the Ganges (Ganga) River and the 7,816 m peak of Nada Devi, Uttarakhand formerly known as Uttaranchal is another place where it is fairly easy to trek on your own.

  • Himachal Pradesh is another of India's major trekking destinations however there is none of the lodge infrastructure that exists in neighboring Uttarakhand so most treks are camping only. There are a few homestay trekking options in the Spiti Valley, as well as the pilgrim trek to Manimahesh Kailash in the Chamba Valley during the pilgrim season.

  • While there is extraordinary trekking potential in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, strict government regulation and red tape makes it difficult, and illegal in some cases, to trek independently.

  • Trekking in Tibet is in its infancy and it is likely to remain that way as long as regulations are so cumbersome and unpredictable in Tibet. Unfortunately regulations have gotten considerably more strict since I was trekking in Tibet back in 2007, and it is now virtually impossible to travel in Tibet independently much less trek. A loosing of these restrictions seems unlikely in the near future.

  • Ethiopia is a fascinating county both geographically and culturally, it is also relatively easy and economical to trek in the country especially when compared to its neighbors Kenya and Tanzania to the south. The two most well known trekking destinations in Ethiopia are the Simien mountains in the north and the Bale mountains in the south.

  • Indonesia is one of the most geologically active countries in the world. If you like climbing volcanoes, and I do, head to Indonesia it has more active volcanoes than any other country. While you won't get the spectacular snowscapes of glaciers and rock you get in the Himalayas, there are few hikes which offer such a diverse array of vistas and landscapes in such a short accent as a volcano in the tropics.

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Blog Posts

  • Having spent 6 years continuously traveling I've met a number of people on around-the-world and gap year trip, and I've learned a lot from my own experiences about long term travel. But when I hear people planning the trips or meet people in the middle of their trips I find many of them missing out on what I find to be the most memorable and rewarding experiences of long term travel. I’m sure all of them enjoyed their trip, but I think often in trying “maximize” their time people miss out on the really unique experiences. Here are a couple of my observations and things to think about if you’re about to head off for a long trip. Hopefully you will avoid some of these often made mistakes on your trip.

  • I've often complained about the dearth of good maps of the Indian Himalayas. A new article in The Mint newspaper profiles Depi Chaudhry (full article from The Mint here) launch of a digital Indian Himalayas map for trekkers. The digital version appears to still be a little bit "in the works" but the plan is to incorporate GPS route data of popular treks into accessible digital maps complete with counter information.

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