Arun Valley, Nepal
Recognised as one of the world’s deepest valleys, Arun Valley lies between Mount Everest and Mount Maluku in Nepal. To reach it, you have to fly into Kathmandu and take a 35-minute internal flight to Tumlingtar, where most treks begin.
Expeditions typically range from 15 to 21 days; you’ll also have to be physically and mentally prepared to walk between five and seven hours daily. Longer itineraries will take you through rural villages like Namche Bazaar and Lukla.
The valley is home to countless birds and butterflies, as well as the endangered red panda. Other highlights include river crossings via thrilling suspension bridges and, of course, breathtaking views of Mount Everest.
Best time to visit
September through December, and March through June.
Nepal Eco Adventure (nepalecoadventure.com), which facilitates trips around Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet, organises expeditions that preserve the environment and local culture.
Nature lovers with some serious stamina.
Mount Gongga, China
Standing at 7,556m tall, Mount Gongga (or Minya Konka) is the highest peak in Sichuan Province. To get there, fly into Chengdu before arranging for a seven-hour land transfer to Laoyulin, the most popular starting point of the trek.
Conquering the high-altitude mountain trails of Mount Gongga is no easy feat. Tourists usually go for the 11-day pilgrimage tour, with daily treks lasting between five and six hours, and passing through valleys like Moxi and Gyazela.
Highlights of a typical trek include Moxi Valley, which is cloaked in colourful flowers in spring and summer. It’s also home to religious sites like the beautiful Konka Monastery. Built in 1285, it sits at an altitude of 3,941m.
Best time to visit
Late May to early June. Or visit mid-November for the autumn foliage.
Third Pole Tour (3rdpoletour.com) specialises in making adventures accessible around the Tibetan Plateau. Trips are led by locals, and itineraries often include immersive cultural experiences.
Those in search of high-altitude spiritual rewards.
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of Silkwinds magazine.