You need not be a super athlete nor a mountaineer for your trekking trip in Nepal. All you need is a few weeks of training, prior to arriving in Nepal and that will enhance your experience. It won’t be joyful spending the trip of a lifetime struggling to walk the trails every day, when a little sensible preparation before would make the trails so much more rewarding.
Therefore it is important to be in a good physical condition before you start your trek and the best way is to do a lot of walking. Try spending an hour a day on the road walking. Walk upstairs rather than take a lift, if possible, walk or cycle when you would normally drive or ride a bus. Jogging and aerobics will also help. It doesn’t have to be too complicated. While in training you can also try in new trekking boots that may otherwise give you blisters on the first day out on the trail.
Above all, mental preparation is a must for trekking in Nepal. Please, find out as much information as possible about Nepal before leaving your country for trekking; and more particularly, about the trek you have planned. We are always happy to give you information with updated facts.
NEPAL is for All Seasons. Trekking in Nepal can be undertaken throughout the year depending on the region. The year is divided into 4 different seasons in Nepal and each season has its distinct attraction to offer for trekking.
Autumn (Sept-Nov) :this is the time when mountain ranges have better visibility. The air is fresh, and the weather is perfect for hiking – neither cold nor hot. The season’s calendar is dotted with joyous and colourful festivals such as Dashain and Tihar.
Winter (Dec-Feb) : this season is noted for occasional snowfall and the air can be quite cold at higher elevations. Hence, it is ideal for trekking in the routes at lower elevations, generally, below 3000 meters and
Spring (March-May) : Trekking in spring is particularly lovely as the mountain slopes are covered with colorful flowers and still have plenty of high snow on the Mountain Peaks to enhance your photos. The temperature is quite moderate and the mountain views are magnificent.
Summer (June-Aug) : this is the favorite season for the valley of flowers trek in the inner mountain valleys and in the border mountain regions such as Upper Mustang, Dolpo, Nar Phug, Langtang Valley, Khaptad. This season is also recommended for forest researchers and botanist. Warning: Raincoats and insect repellents are strictly necessary in this period.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
When trekking in Nepal Himalayas, “Altitude related Problems” are the important factors to be considered. There is always a real danger of mild to serious problems related to altitude. It is important that trekkers understand that they will be affected to a greater or lesser extent when they ascend to altitudes over about 3000 meters. Altitude sickness, often known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) and it means the effect of altitude on those who ascend too rapidly to elevation above 3000 meters. The victim can develop severe symptoms very rapidly if the mild effects are ignored.
I advise my clients to remember the following suggestion when you are on trekking in the high altitude areas above 3000 meters. The following are the basic symptoms of the altitude sickness and to avoid such sickness I recommend few important points.
1. Basic Symptoms :
(I) Loss of appetite
(II) Sleep disturbance
(III) Difficult to pass urine
2. Medium Symptoms :
(I) Headache which is bad
(II) Irregular breathing
(IV) Mild weakness
3. Serious Symptoms :
(I) Slight swelling of hands and face
(II) Cannot stand upright without swaying while eyes are closed.
(III) Can hear gurgling sound in the chest.
(IV) Zero energy.
I want to request my guests to feel free to discuss any kind of trouble with their field Guide whether it is simply gastro-intestinal or altitude related.
What to do about Altitude Sickness?
Altitude illness can be prevented by acclimatization; that is, by a graduate rate of ascent (not more than 400 – 500 meters), allowing sufficient rest at various intermediate altitudes. The dry air of the mountains tends to dehydrate you so an increased fluid intake is necessary. Try to drink at least three liters of water a day. On the trail you can drink hot garlic soup that will help you to some extent. When we reach to our destination it is better to make some hiking up to a bit higher point and come down to the camp or hotel. This is a really good way to get acclimatization. You may take a Diamox 250mg tablets the night before flying / going to altitude . Please do seek advice from a Doctor.
If you feel suffering from the serious symptoms of AMS then descent should not be delayed even if it means going down in dark. In such case, should an emergency situation arise, horse, or porter will be arranged; or your field guide carry you and run to lower (descend) altitudes.
There are health-post and rescue centers in different part of trekking area: Namche Bazaar Health clinic, Doctors at Khunde hospital in the Everest Area, HRA Clinics in Everest Base Camp, Rescue Centre in Annapurna Base Camp and a clinic in Manang. The hospital or the clinic will take fees or charges for such services. Your guide arranges immediate evacuation if necessary by horse or helicopter, depending on the severity of the case.
Travellers visiting Nepal for first time may have a little distracting and bitter experience while walking out of the arrival terminal of the International airport, if they are not prepared in advance. The visa can be obtained upon arrival at the airport immigration office. Make sure you have enough photographs for visa application, at least 4 copies of them for visa, permits etc. If you have booked your travel in advance, then make sure you have someone meeting you upon arrival and follow their guidance.
-Hawkers might follow you offering help to carry your luggage to the cab. Do not let them get hold of your luggage, lest the hawkers might ask you for money. Please, discourage them by brushing off their demands. The most important of all, look for your name in the placard, if you are expecting someone from your agency.
Travellers are ever-searching for the unbeaten paths for places and peoples unspoiled and an exotic. But, tourism can no longer afford to spoil new discoveries. The first impression of litters and cultural pollution resists the appearing beauty of the country as a whole.
Even more pressing are the issues of indigenous lifestyles and their dependency upon a delicate natural balance vanishing forever. The responsible tourism is a more sound investment where everybody wins. In Nepal, tourism contributes to children’s dental problems in mountain villages where sweets and cavities were once unknown. Garbage left by mountaineering expeditions teams piles up higher and higher, and international media reports of toilet paper-strewn trekking trails grossly exaggerate a real concern. Forest suffer enough from local demands. The basic needs fro Trekkers’ food and lodging further fuel the problem. Art theft not only depletes a reach cultural heritage, but is undermining the Nepalese peoples’ trust of the outsiders.
Nepal heartily welcomes you, as an esteemed guest. But, whether you are trekking in the mountains or touring the Cities, we ask that you treat the land and its peoples with care and respect. Below are some tips on how you can keep the environment clean and show appreciation for age-old culture, tradition and religious beliefs.
In Nepal, eco-tourism is more than a catch phrase to mean outdoor adventure travel. Green or eco-trekking practices are sound measures such as carrying out or disposable of garbage and burning no wood on the trail. Ask your trekking agent and lodge operator about their conservation policies. Green trekking may cost a little more but is much better for the environment.
You can also help out by following these guidelines:
- Litter Free: Carry all your trash (including toilet paper, unless you thoroughly burn it on the spot) to your campsite, lodge or hotel for proper disposal. If trekking with an agency, ask the staff to designate separate places for biodegradable and others (i.e., bottles, tins, plastics, foil, batteries etc.) which should be packed out to Kathmandu or the next refuse pit. Preferably take batteries back to your home country for safe disposal. As fires are considered sacred, don’t put trash in the flames until the cooking is done and always inquire first.
- Female Hygiene: Sanitary napkins and tampons should be wrapped well and packed out.
- Toilet Sites: Make sure your trek operator provides a toilet tent, set up at least 50 meters (150 feet) away from any water source. If you are tea-house trekking, select lodges with a well-sited latrines. Otherwise, pick a spot away from water and religious sites. Bury all excreta. In the cities and en route, public toilets are hard to find so be discreet and keep away from holy sites.
- Biodegradable Washing: When bathing or washing clothes near streams, use biodegradable soaps and a pan for rinsing. Toss soapy water away from the stream.
- Use Established Campsites: Encourage your trekking staff to camp in established campsites and to leave no trace: no trash, no tent trenches, no fire pit, and a toilet pit filled in to look as it did before digging.
- Cook with Kerosene: If you are camping, request that cooking be done on kerosene or gas, not wood. If you’re stuck using wood, reduce the amount by using iodine to treat water rather than boiling it. Choose lodges that use kerosene or fuel efficient stoves, such as the back-boiler which heats water while food cooks. You can also reduce firewood consumption by ordering the same food at the same time as others.
- Solar Heated Showers: Limit your hot showers to those heated by solar energy, by hydroelectricity or by the back-boiler method.
- Warm Clothes: Bring adequate clothes rather than relying on lodge hearths for heat and never ask your trekking staff for a bonfire. See that porters will be provided shelter, clothing and shoes for high altitude treks, saving wood otherwise burned to keep warm.
- Do Not Disturb: Avoid creating new trails across switchbacks, meadows and in high fragile areas. Make sketches or take photos rather than collect flower, plants and seeds. Do not purchase items made from wild animals skins or furs. Take care while walking through farmland and always stay to the uphill side of livestock on trails.
Dress and Attire
Baggy pants or calf-length skirts with a loose top are appropriate trekking and touring wear for women. Men should wear a shirt at all times. Men’s knee-length hiking shorts are fine for trekking but not when visiting temples, monasteries or homes.
Nudity is particularly offensive. Whether bathing in a stream or at a village tap, men should wear shorts or underwear, women can wrap in a loongi (sarong) and douse themselves as the village women do. Only sport a swimsuit if well secluded from village eyes. Public affection is likewise frowned upon.
Artifacts and Antiques
It is illegal to export anything older than 100 years. Please do not take any religious objects (prayer stones, statues, temple ritual objects, prayer flags, etc.) away from sacred sites and discourage others from doing so.
Most Nepalese don’t mind being photographed, but some do. Ask first, especially if photographing ceremonies or older people. Paying for a picture reinforces a hand-out mentality. Try instead to establish a friendly rapport with a few words or gestures.
Do not give candy, pens, trinkets or money to children but instead donate to a school, monastery or hospital. Nepalese give a few rupees to the handicapped and religious mendicants; you can do the same.
Bargain for souvenirs and trekking services but respect posted prices in restaurants and lodges. Ask around to establish a fair price: paying too much adds to inflation and paying too little denies the merchant of a fair return.
- To show appreciation and respect, use two hands rather than one when giving or receiving something, even money.
- Remember not to point with a single finger but use a flat extended hand especially to indicate a sacred object or place.
- Among Hindus, avoid touching women and holy men the traditional palms-together “Namaste” greeting is preferable.
- Try not to step over or point your feet at another person, a sacred place or a hearth.
- Remove your shoes when entering a home, temple or monastery (and leather items in Hindu temples) and avoid smoking and wearing scant dress in religious settings.
- Do not offer food from your plate, without asking first; nor eat from a common pot, and avoid touching your lips to a shared drinking vessel. But this depend upon the culture setting you are in for different ethnic groups have their own etiquette.
Tipping is a newly accepted custom in Nepal. Hotel, restaurant, touring and trekking organization staff members often make up for relatively meager wages with tips. But, it should only reward good work. Don’t tip for short taxi rides in town or any service person you’ve bargain with. Groups might give a reasonable amount per day to a tip pool to be divided among the staff, generally relative to rank, for good service.
Even if you are an experienced medical practitioner, it is not wise to give medicine to a sick Nepali on the trek unless you can watch his or her reaction. Most Nepalese have never been exposed to Western medicine and may react unpredictably. Encourage villagers to wash cuts with soap and boiled water, and to see their closest clinic for medical treatment.
- Trek with Others: Never trek alone; if you run into trouble or take a tumble no one will know. Trekking with an agency assures the greatest security.
- Security: Watch your gear carefully in lodges and on the trail. Don’t be showy with expensive items, and always lock your room or baggage.
- High Altitude Sickness: Find out more from your agent or the Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) about this sickness and helicopter rescue options. Always register your trekking plans with your embassy, consulate or HRA. Beware of other trail hazards, watch where you are going and don’t over-extend yourself.
- Eating and Drinking: Never eat unpeeled fruit or vegetables unless you know they’ve been adequately soaked in solution. Drink only after water is boiled or iodized. Always wash your hands before eating.
- Do I need to be extra careful about fitness for trekking?
A. No extra care should be taken. So any one, with a pair of strong legs and the spirit for adventure to explore the exotic will enjoy the thrills of trekking in the hills of Nepal. Normally for weary trekkers we have a list of short, easy and exotic treks and for the experience trekkers we offer a longer trek with lots of excitement and adventure. Special degree of fitness is required and age is no barrier, except in the areas above 3000m altitude.
- When is the best time to visit Nepal?
A. October and November are considered the best time of the year. The main festivals of Dashain and Tihar (greatest Hindu festivals) fall during these months. The sky will remain clear and pleasant temperature. February-May are also good time for travel, as you will see rhododendron bloom.
- Are there many trekkers in October & November?
A. Sure, it is high season for trekking in Nepal so the trails are full of tourists. If you wish to Travel less crowed time better choose the months other than October, November, March and April.
- Where I will get Nepal Visa?
A. You can obtain your entry visa upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. Besides, you can also obtain your visa at a consulate in your home country. In either case, you need to submit 2 (two) passport size photograph and the visa fee. TOURIST VISA IN NEPAL
- Where I will get Tibet permit and visa?
A. You will get Tibet permit from Tibet tourism bureau (TTB) but you have to take a tour package from us (any tour company from Nepal or Tibet) then TTB give Tibet permit. Tibet visa you can apply from your city only if you enter Tibet from mainland of china but if you wish to enter from Nepal you should request your tour operator to apply the visa. China visa fee (US$ 198 for US national and US$ 114 for others)
- Kathmandu to Lhasa or Lhasa to Kathmandu flight available?
A. Yes, there are regular flight every Tuesday and Saturday but season time more than two flights a week so please ask with your tour operator for flight cost and schedule.
- How do I transfer from the Airport to hotel?
A. Your guide will come to receive you at the airport. The guide will be holding a Samsara Trekking placard. Please, look for the person with Samsara Trekking signpost as you walk out of the arrival door of the terminal.
- What type of insurance should I have? Can I get it in Nepal?
A. It is necessary to have Travel insurance for all clients to take in any tour. It should provide adequate protection for the full duration of the tour to cover personal injury, medical expenses, repatriation expenses, helicopter evacuation, loss of luggage, etc. We recommend our guests to arrange their Travel insurance in their home country.
- How many miles and hours do we walk per day while on trekking?
A. There is no fixed rule as to how many miles you walk per day. It depends up on the physical fitness and interest of the trekker. Normally, we walk 9 km to 17 km per day, depending on an altitude and condition of the trail. All of our trekking itineraries are designed on the principle of walking 5 to 6 hours per day.
What to Bring list of things for your trekking trip in Nepal
- Lightweight walking boots.
- If new one is being bought, “walk them in” to avoid blisters. Also bring spare laces.
- Warm jacket: Fiber fill or down should be adequate. This is especially essential during winter, from December to February.
- A rainproof jacket with hood or a poncho. Get the one that is guaranteed waterproof.
- Thick Fleece shirt/ can be purchased in Kathmandu.
- A pair of lightweight trouser. Jeans are unsuitable to wear on treks. Cheap loose cotton pants are available in Kathmandu.
- Windproof/ waterproof trousers are necessary on all treks going above 10,000ft.
- Thermal underwear. Which is excellent to sleep in at night in the winter months.
- A fleece or cotton tracksuit useful for wearing in camp and in the tent.
- 2 pair of loose fitting long shorts/skirts.
- 1 lightweight long sleeved -shirt is particularly suitable for avoiding sun burn.
- A fleece hat to wear in the morning and at night. During winter it is an essential item.
- A sunhat and ensure it has a wide brim to cover the face and neck.
- A pair of windproof gloves.
- 1 pair of sandals to wear in the cities and in camp.
- 2 pairs of thin and 2 pair of thick woolen socks.
- “Underwear” normal quantity and swimming costume, hankies.
Equipment and Accessories
- Duffel bag or kit bag to carry to gear while trekking.
- Day-pack: This is a small rucksack to carry personal requirement for the day e.g. toilet items, camera, towel, soap, a book etc.
- Water bottle.
- 2-4 large plastic bags to separate clean clothes from the used ones..
- Wallet or money belt
- Toiletries with large and small towels.
- Toilet-paper can be bought in Kathmandu and some villages in the mountains.
- Small headlamp/ or torch with spare batteries and bulbs candles and lighter to burn toilet paper.
- Snow gaiters essential during winter