Want a local, ethical, action-packed and lesser-seen view of the mountains and valleys of the Indian and Nepalese Himalayas?

In this much better 3-part feature we get under the skin of the northern Himalayas around Himachal Pradesh with Spiti Ecosphere, then trek through the North Eastern regions and the Neora Valley National Park with Help Tourism, and finally we go trekking and rafting in Nepal with Social tours.

Himalayan Adventures Part 3: Discovering Nepal

Nepal is regarded as one of the adventure capitals of the world, and Social tours are local trekking, rafting and adventure specialists who are leading by example. They can take you on the classic trips like the Annapurna Circuit and Everest treks, but also specialise in getting you way off the beaten track to discover a side of Nepal most people never will.

One of their latest itineraries, in the Langtang region, one the most famous trekking destinations in Nepal, gives you a flavour of what is on offer. Developed by the Tourism for Rural Poverty Alleviation Program, the “Tamang Heritage Trail” is a newly created route which escapes the crowds of Langtang. Centred around a 7 day trek through this stunning region, you get to stay in a variety of tea houses, homestays and community run lodges and discover the ancient lifestyle, rituals and customs of the Tamang people en-route.

One of the highlights of the trek is the view from Goljung Pass, from where views of Langtang and Kerung (Tibet) can be awe inspiring. To ease those trekking aches, you can also enjoy a hot bath in the healing hot-water spring at Tatopani before reaching Nagthali, where the accommodation is a totally unforgettable. The ancient monasteries and houses adorned with rich wood engravings at Thuman are also a site to remember. A truly unique active and cultural experience which provides maximum involvement and benefits to the local communities.

If rafting is more your thing, then the Sun Koshi (River of Gold) might get you moist round the edges. This is the longest rafting trip in Nepal – 270-km of living for no other purpose other than to see how much fun we can have. Starting with class II and small class III rapids to warm up on during the first couple of days, the rapids get bigger and better as time goes on. The trip is an incredible combination of powerful whitewater, stunning scenery, villages, and quiet evenings along one of the world’s ten classic river journeys.

If you want to mix it up a bit, try the Tamur river Social tours have a trekking and rafting expedition which combines a 3 day trek through the Himalayas followed by 120 km on one of the best white water rafting rivers in the world.

Key facts:Spring and autumn are the best times of year for both trekking and rafting. Summer is monsoon season, so not recommended.

Kathmandu is your jumping off point for these adventures.

Why ‘much better’?

Social Tours are fast gaining a reputation as an expert adventure group absolutely dedicated to their principles of respect, honesty, social inclusion and environmental protection. They also played an instrumental role in developing The Green Circuit, a responsible tourism initiative that includes Help Tourism and Ecosphere, coordinate volunteer programs in the area, and dedicate 10% of profits every year to charities like the Joy Foundation Nepal, who conduct free cataract eye camps in rural areas of Nepal and Antardristi Nepal.You can find out more about Social Tours and view a growing range of their itineraries here

Adventure on…

Part 1: Spiti Valley

Part 2: North East India