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"Nepal Teahouse trekking" along the main trails is the most common style, with decent lodges in every settlement (and between), it is possible to dotrekking in comfort with minimal preparation, equipment and support. There is no need to camp and a selection of western style foods are readily available from a mixed menu system. special permits are required, (Trekking Information system management) and each national park entry tickets for trekking. The main areas for these trekking are Everest/Khumbu, Annapurna and Langtang/Helambu.
Facilities available in remote areas are less extensive than in the more popular areas. Off the main trails where there are no lodges and food from menus a Nepali guide becomes essential, and it may be advisable to visit such regions with organised groups, including guide, porters and full support. Mustang, Kanchenjunga, Manaslu, Dolpo and Humla are in remote areas. Many of them require also special permits.
There are lots of agencies in Kathmandu and Pokhara who are always keen to broker the services of a guide and/or porter. During the main seasons the agencies run regular group treks, both teahouse and camping styles, and it generally possible to join a group doing a trekking of your choice. Independent trekking is quite easy with straight forward preparations.
Prepare for trekking
When to go for nepal trekking: The best seasons for nepal trekking are either side of the monsoon season, March-June and September-November. During this time the weather is generally fine and the skies clear. It is possible to trek out of season, but expect lots of rain (and leaches) during the monsoon and severe cold and closed passes during the winter months. See also the Nepal trekking climate section.
Experience & Fitness for nepal trekking- there are treks suitable for a wide range of experience and physical fitness, for age 5 to 85. An easy teahouse trek with Nepali support (guide/porter) is quite attainable for anyone who is reasonably walking fit - if you can walk for a few hours each day for a week and are not averse to the occasional (frequent!) hill climb then you can trek in Nepal. Longer treks, crossing high passes and into remote regions do tend to demand a higher degree of endurance. For Trekking Peaks it is usually desirable but not necessarily essential to have some alpine climbing experience.
Nepal trekking Equipment: the main essentials are sturdy and comfortable hiking boot, a sleeping bag and a few clothes (be prepared for a range of weather). It is best to travel light, take only what you need and leave the rest behind. If you have the services of a porter then you will need a day-pack for your essentials and the rest goes in a kit-bag or duffel to be conveyed to your next stop. It is possible to buy everything in Kathmandu and Pokhara but it is all copies.
Hiring support for nepal trekking: Whether to join a group, trek with other independent travelers or to hire your own guide and/or porter is a personal decision to be based on the difficulty of the trek and available budget. When signing up with an agency you should speak with several and make detailed enquiries about the differences in service besides just the base cost. If hiring staff independently the be mindful of your responsibilities to ensure that your man is suitably equipped for the job and stays safe.
Permits and TIMS: "nepal Trekking permits" are not required for the main teahouse treks. Recent rule brought in by the Trekking Associations in Nepal require that all trekkers register with TIMS ("Trekking Information Management System"), this can be done via official trekking agencies or the Nepal Tourism Board. Trekking to remote areas and climbing the designated "Trekking peaks" require extra permits, these are generally obtained by the agent/guide who will be arranging your trek.
Arriving mid-travel: If you arrive in Kathmandu part way tour of Asia and decide to go trekking then you can easily get equipped in Kathmandu. Plenty of shops in Thamel sell (or rent) any trekking gear that may be required. The local copies of brand name goods are not good quality, but good bargains can be had on fleeces and down jackets. Whilst walking boots are readily available it would be advisable not to be breaking on Nepali made boots along the trail, comfortable and reliable footwear is essential. Permits and (if required) guides can be arranged in a day or two.
Rescue insurance: Before the departure check that your insurance covers trekking activities and the conditions. It would be very costly to pay a helicopter rescue at 5000 meters.
More on Nepal Trekking
Main "teahouse trek" regions, in each of these areas there are a number of trail options, there is plenty of scope for short treks of less than a week to much longer if you have time and wanderlust.
Khumbu - Bus to Jiri or fly to Lukla then hike up to Namche Bazzar, capital of the Sherpa lands at the foot of Everest. The most popular trek is up to Everest Base Camp and an ascent of Kalar Patar. Visit the Buddhist Tengboche monastery for the Mani Rimdu festival in November. Explore the Gokyo valley with its sacred lakes and stupendous views of four 8000m peaks. Or a circuit of the region crossing the high passes or Cho La and Renjo La.
Annapurna - North of Pokhara, from lush middle hills into high mountains. A circuit leads up the Maryangdi river to Manang, over Thorung La (5400m) to the Hindu temples at Muktinath. Down the Kali Gandaki on the Jomsom trail enjoying Gurung and Thakali hospitality. Up through spring rhododendron blooms to Poon Hill for a dawn Himalayan vista. Trek up into the very heart of the Annapurna Sanctuary for an awesome 360' high mountain skyline.
Helambu Langtang - a short taxi ride from Thamel to the roadhead at Shivapuri leads to a trail through the middle-hills countryside of Helambu, either circuit around and return to Kathmandu or cross the pass to the sacred lake at Gosainkhund, descend and then hike up the Langtang valley beneath mountains that form the border with Tibet. Descend back to catch a bus on a rough road through Trisuli to Kathmandu.
Other more remote regions will require a bit more planning and probably local assistance, not least as the required permits are only issued via Nepali guides/agents. Camping is required on one or more nights.
Kanchenjunga - far eastern Nepal, accessible via Taplejung (from Kathmandu 40min by plane, 40hrs by bus), a strenuous trek through sparsely populated country to the third highest mountain.
Dopla - Upper Dolpa is the remote Land of the Bon, almost as Tibetan as Nepali. Lower Dolpa is more accessible and can me reached by plane
Manaslu - Unspoiled trails through remote villages and over a wild pass to circuit an 8000m mountain
Trekking Peaks require a qualified "climbing guide", permits and deposits to cover camp waste disposal
Island Peak Trek - The Island Peak trek in the Khumbu region takes in some of the most spectacular scenery in the Himalayas.
Mera Peak Climbing - Enjoy panoramic views of Mt. Everest (8,848 m; 29,030 ft), Cho-Oyu (8,201 m; 26,910 ft), Lhotse (8,516 m; 27,940 ft), Makalu (8463 m; 27,770 ft), Kangchenjunga (8,586 m; 28,170 ft), Nuptse (7,855 m; 25,770 ft), and Chamlang (7,319 m; 24,010 ft).
Stay safe during Nepal trekking
Altitude sickness - a significant risk when trekking on any trails above about 2500m. Be familiar with the symptoms and do not ignore them. If you keep to a conservative ascent schedule and drink plenty of fluids then most people can acclimatise. If you or anyone in your party begins to experience symptoms of AMS then do not ascent, and if they do not improve then descent to a lower altitude is to only option to consider.
Water - The streams should be considered polluted and whilst bottled water is often available the disposal of plastic bottles is a problem. Have some means to purify water, iodine and/or a fine ceramic filter are the best options.
Lone travelers - arriving in Kathmandu it is usually easy to find other like minded people with similar travel plans and trek together. Even if you start at the trailhead alone you are likely to meet the same people along the tail and sharing lodges at nights. It is not wise to trek alone (this is true not just in Nepal but anywhere). In the unlikely event that you should encounter troubles or become ill then it is far easier and safer to have some companion to help out.
Maoists - In recent months the political situation has changed to bring the maoists back into government. Consequently there is no "official" justification for the old practices of "taxing" trekkers. That said, it is possible that this habit may continue and if a "donation" is demanded with threats of menace then it is probably best to pay the fee in return for the "official" receipt.
Leave no trace
Please make sure you pack out all of your trash, including bottles and cans from goods consumed in restaurants. Bring the trash to the nearest truck-accessible road for the most proper disposal available.
Trekkers are also asked to refrain from relying on bottled water, since there is nowhere to dispose of the used bottles. Filtering or treating your water will reduce the amount of trash left behind in this fragile environment. Iodine pills are a cheap, lightweight solution.
Take the time to look at the pollution and lack of trash management all around you, from the trash-clogged rivers in the cities to the mounds of discarded beer bottles in the mountain villages. This is a country struggling with its rapid Westernization and hasn't yet figured out how to dispose of its waste. Don't contribute to the problem any more than necessary!
Nepal Trekkking informationsTrekking in the beautiful high mountains of the Himalayas is for many people the main reason for coming to Nepal.
Trekking in Nepal means walking on trails. The walking trails have existed for thousands of years, and have been used for trade and communication. Even now the only way to reach many villages is on food. Trekking does not mean climbing a mountain. Many of the trails used have been used by mountaineering expeditions for reaching a base camp of a mountain, but most are trails used every day by Nepali just to get around.
A trek can be short, one day, two days or three days, or can be a longer one of a week or a month. Treks can be combines and one could trek for months. Most treks last at least a week in Nepal and often they can be three weeks. You may want to go out on a day trip to see if you really want to take a longer trek. Some of the longer treks can be rather tough, so if you are having a health problem, you may want to reconsider your decision to make a long trek.
Until the 1950s when the Tribhuvan Highway to Kathmandu was constructed there were no motorable roads in Nepal. The road to Pokhara wasn’t constructed until the 1970s. Trekking first became popular in Nepal in the 1960s.
The two main areas to trek are the Annapurna and Everest areas. The Helambu region, north of Pokhara and the Langtang region, north of Kathmandu are also popular area to trek. There are several other areas for trekking in eastern and western Nepal. Several area that treks could not be performed in the past are now open for trekking such as Mustang, the Kanchejunga base camp, Manaslu, upper Dolpo and Humla.
The following chapter gives an idea of different trekking routes, but for more detail you want to get a trekking book and detailed maps of the areas.
Most treks follow a well established route, often with lodge and restaurants along the way. No major trek goes above 5500m, which is the elevation that most climb expeditions begin. Often treks can be quite strenuous, sometimes uncomfortable and there is an element of risk.
As defined by the Nepali government the trekking region is any area more than a day’s walk from a main road. To go to any of these areas you need a trekking permit.
Trekking is the Himalaya can be hard at times, so you should be prepared for some strenuous walk, especially if you are going to go to some high elevations. You should give yourself a few days for off-days. It is usually best to begin early in the morning, when the weather is the clearest.
It is best not to do trek alone, in case your get hurt or starting suffering from attitude sickness.
What You Will See during trek
Nepal has some of the spectacular and most intense scenery in the world. Eight of the ten highest mountains in the world are found in Nepal. While trekking you will see some of the most beautiful mountains to seen. You can see the mountains from many places in Nepal from a distance, but almost nothing can beat the experience of standing at the base of an 8000m mountain, close enough that you feel like you can reach out and touch it.
Beside the mountains there are also many other interesting things to see. There are beautiful valleys, attractive villages, interesting temples and houses, flowers and trees. Treks can go from subtropical forests, past deep ravines, over fast moving rivers, deep canyons, mountain meadows and then one reaches the desolate rocky areas going over a high mountain pass. Depending on the season the terrace changes. In the spring and autumn there can be a great selection of wild flowers and green scenery.
The six most popular treks are the Jomsom trek, Annapurna Circuit, Annapurna Sanctuary Trek, Everest Base Camp Trek, Helambu and Langtang. If you have limited time or budget you will most likely trek in the Annapurna region north of Pokhara or Helambu-Langtang region north of Kathmandu. If you have more time you can do a longer Annapurna trek or trek to Everest base camp.
You could also take a trek in the more remote area in western or eastern Nepal.
One of the highlights of trekking in Nepal is the chance to meet the interesting and friendly mountain people. During a trek one will meet people from many different ethnic groups. During a trek in Nepal there will be a constant flow of people along the trail, unlike the near-deserted trekking routes in other parts of the world.
Words of Advice
It is best that trekkers follow take into consideration the local customs and culture.
It is important for women to dress conservatively. Women for the most part should not wear shorts or low cut shirts. Men are expected to always wear a shirt in public.
Bargaining should not be done too aggressively during trekking. The mountain people are basically simple hard working people. Competition is tough and often the prices charged are very reasonable. Food is much more expensive in the mountains because it has to be brought in by foot. One should not get angry while bargaining. It should be a pleasant good-humored experience. To the seller Rs 5 may be the different between making a profit or not, while too many foreigners this is just 8 US cents
It is a good idea not to give to children begging along the trail. It is not good for the children self-esteem. Accept in the rare case the parents of the children do not know they are begging and would be very displeased with them (and you), if they knew they were doing it. Also, if you give to children, every trekker behind you may be subject to the begging of children.
Often trails can be steep and it is hard work to go up them. You should be prepared for some hard, strenuous walking. Treks are often well-maintained as many locals use them. On many treks the trail is easy to follow.
During many treks there are a great amount of altitude gain and loss, which can make it much more difficult going than normal. Most treks are between 1000m and 3000m, but during the Annapurna Circuit and Everest treks, passes of over 5000m are crossed. During a high-altitude trek it is important to allow adequate time for acclimatization.
A normal day’s walk is from five to seven hours, during which there are several ascents and descents, and most of the time one of them is being done. Most trekkers get up early before 6 am, and then start walking between 6 and 7 am. The schedule then continue with stopping at 10 am for lunch, start walking again at noon and then walk until 3 or 4 pm. A second meal is then taken in the evening and then go to sleep early.
It is usually clearer in the early morning and you usually can get good mountain views in the morning. It gets cloudier in the afternoon.
It is a good idea to allow a few days as rest days, weather problems or to go on an interesting side trip. You may get lost now and then on the trail, but not usually for long.
General Information of trek
You should register with your embassy in Kathmandu before going on a trek. If you have a problem while trekking it will help to speed up your rescue. Also some payment has to be made for a helicopter rescue; they can contact your parent to insure payment, as a helicopter will not come for a rescue until they are sure of payment. The Kathmandu Environment Educational Project or Himalayan Rescue Association can forward details to your embassy for you.
Some health insurance policies do not cover trekking, and sometimes you are required to pay an extra amount to cover “high-risk sport.”
The best sources of current trekking information are the Trekkers’ Information Centre (run by Kathmandu Environment Education Project – KEEP), Jyatha Road in Thamel (open daily except Saturday and holidays 10 am to 5 pm), and the Trekkers Information Centre (Himalayan Rescue Association) (262-746; email: firstname.lastname@example.org), opposite Shree Guest House, Jyatha Road in Thamel (open Sunday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm). Both have comment books that contain tips from past trekkers that give information on trekking routes, trail condition, equipment and people opinion of trekking agencies that they used. Both have a small library. They both have notice boards, which are useful for finding trekking partners and finding used equipment. KEEP refills mineral water for Rs 10 per litre. KEEP sells trekking books, iodine and other items for trekking. KEEP may also have an office in the Lakeside area in Pokhara. HRA provides information on health places, weather conditions and altitude sickness. Himalayan Explorers Club (259-275), in the same building as the Himalayan Rescue Association on Jyatha Road in Thamel, has trekking information.
There are several good notice boards in the Thamel area with information on yoga courses, trekking partners, apartments, cultural events and language courses. There are good boards at the Kathmandu Guest House, Fire & Ice Restaurant, and Pumpernickel bakery.
There are regular slide shows in the Kathmandu Guest House, often on independent trekking. The slide show by Chris Beall, who is a writer and trek leader, is an introduction on trekking in Nepal. At the end you can ask questions about the latest trekking conditions. The cost is Rs 500 which includes a snack. You should look for posters or ask at the Kathmandu Guest House when slide shows are being done.
It can be difficult to change money during a trek except for during the Annapurna and Khumbu areas. You should bring enough money in Nepali rupees for the entire trek. It may be difficult to change Rs 500 or Rs 1000 rupee notes. If you have to change money outside a bank or legal money changer, you should expect to be offer much less than the bank rate by a black market money changer.
You can either make your independent arrangement or organize things through a travel agency. The main trekking routes have accommodations and places to eat along the entire route.
Budget travelers usually arrange everything themselves, carrying their own pack and stay in teahouses. The cost to do this should be least than $30 a day, and can be as little at $25 per day. A porter costs around $20 per day and a guide 30$ to $40 per day.
The advantage of doing it yourself means you can go at your own pace, stop for a while at a place, stop where you like, take a side trip and you can choose who you go with. On the other side you have to spend more time arranging everything and you have to use a route that have teahouses and lodges on them. You have to get your own trekking permit, bus tickets, buy supplies, rent equipment, and maybe find a porter or guide.
Usually independent trekking is less comfortable then a good organized tour. Lodges usually are crowded and lack privacy, and usually the food is nothing to brag about. On the other hand teahouses usually have a good social scene and are a good place to meet people.
On the Annapurna or Everest treks a guide or porter is not necessary is one is decently fit. On the other hand a porter can really make a trek more comfortable. If you are with two or three people a porter can carry a portion of each person’s gear and make it much easier on each person. A good guide or porter can make one life much easier and more enjoyable, but a bad one can be nothing but a hassle.
Finding a Trekking Partner
In some area it is a good idea not to trek alone. If you want to find a trekking partner, you can check the notice boards in Kathmandu or Pokhara. In Kathmandu, you can check the board at the Kathmandu Guest House or at the KEEP Information Centre.
You could also hire a porter to be a trekking guide with you.
Books and Maps
There are some good maps of the trekking routes. Schneider makes the best maps of the trekking route including Annapurna, Everest, Langtang and Helambu areas. They are not cheap as each one is Rs 700. A good map of Annapurna is the ACAP map Mandal are locally made maps that cover Round Annapurna, Khumbu, and Helambu & Langtang for Rs 100 to Rs 200. Himalyan Map House and Nepal series also makes good maps.
For out of the way area you can get the HMG/FINNIDA maps which were produced by the Nepal government and a Finnish aid agency.
There are weaknesses to all the maps. On different maps the names of villages may be different or depending whom you ask they may use a different name for a village. The trails often change because of avalanches or because trails may wash away.
Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya by Stan Armington’s and Trekking in Nepal: A Traveler’s Guide by Stephen Bezruchka are good trekking guides for all of Nepal. If you want to get some real detail you should get the
In some areas it is not a good idea to walk alone. There are been some cases of thief and muggings in secluded areas. It is a good idea not to leave your door open in a lodge and not to let people to see his valuables.
The embassies highly recommended that everyone registers with them before going trekking. They have forms where you fill in your trekking route, family contacts, insurance details and name. This can real have if you need an emergency evacuation. This form can be filled in at your embassies and at the KEEP or HRA information centers.
Whenever crossing a high elevation pass, you should not underestimate the chance of the weather changing immediately for the worst. At any time of the year it can suddenly start snowing. While crossing a high pass you should go with at least four people. In this way if a couple people get injured or have altitude sickness the other people can help the injured ones. You should carry some emergency rations, a compass and a map. Also you should have gear to deal with a sudden rain or snow.
Trekking with Children
You may want to travel with a bit more comfort while traveling with children. You may want to take a taxi or a plane ride instead a long bus ride. It would be a good ideal to arrange a trek through a travel agency to hire porters so nothing will go wrong. If you have two children, say one is 3 and the 7, you will need a porter to carry one of the children and a few porters to carry your bags. It will be difficult to take care of children while carrying a bag. Porter will be around $5 per day or $15 between them.
You will usually have to walk at a slower rate than normal, so your children can keep up. In this way you will work less distance daily and have more energy to take care of the children. Also you most likely will not want to take too long of a trek, so the children do not get bored.
Environmentally it is best to use iodine in the water, but often child will not drink it and will only drink bottled or boiled water.