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Tips for Trekking in Nepal

nepal-trekking

With eight of the top ten highest summits in the world and some of the most beautiful landscapes which are only reachable on foot, trekking in Nepal is one of the unique experiences of Asia. The huge variety of options allows for people of many ages and capabilities to attempt a trek in the country. While you could spend a year planning an expedition to wild and lofty places that few would dare attempt, you could also arrive in Kathmandu with no plans and be on the trail in a matter of days.

1. The best seasons for trekking are the dry and warm seasons, March-June and September-November. During these times, the temperature is bearable and skies are usually clear, although the skies are foggier and the rain begins in May-June. It is possible to trek out of season, but expect rain and leeches during the summer monsoon season and severe cold and closed passes during the winter months.

2. There are treks suitable for a wide range of experience and physical fitness. If you can walk uphill for a few hours each day, then you can find a suitable trek in Nepal. An easy trek with Nepali support (guide/porter) and teahouse accomodation is quite attainable for anyone who is reasonably fit. Longer treks, crossing high passes and into remote regions demand a higher degree of endurance.

3. It is best to take only what you need and leave the rest behind. Your needs while trekking will be simple. The main essentials to bring are sturdy and comfortable hiking boots, a sleeping bag (depending on your accommodation), a daypack, and a few changes of clothes for the varying temperatures. For cold weather, hiking pants, thermals, gloves, neck warmer/scarf, beanie, a warm inner jacket and a windproof / waterproof outer jacket are essential. Please consider taking water purification supplies with you so that you don’t have to buy water in plastic bottles, as you don’t know what happens to the empty bottles. Other items to bring include a hiking stick or two, waterproof case, fabric bandages such as moleskin, a headlamp, altitude sickness and other medication, a camera, and binoculars. On the popular trekking routes, everyday supplies, such as toilet paper, soap, chocolate bars, and even basic hiking supplies can be purchased along the way, though prices rise dramatically as you go higher in elevation. Maps are easy to find in Nepal, although they may not be totally accurate

4. Whether to join an organized group, trek unguided 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 inquiries about the differences in service besides just the base cost. If hiring staff independently and without an agency, the be mindful of your responsibilities to ensure that your guide is suitably equipped for the job and stays safe.

Guided Treks legally must be organized through TAAN registered trekking agencies.Be aware that no one else, no hotel, no street broker, no nice person you just met, not even a trekking guide islegally authorized to organize a trek. During the main seasons the agencies run regular group treks and it is generally easy to find a group doing the trek of your choice. All the necessary trekking gear, food, fuel and other goods are carried by the porters. The cook will prepare all the meals during the camping trek. Trekkers need to carry only a small bag as required for the day. At night, tents for dining, sleeping and washing are provided and set up. Mattresses, sleeping bags, tables and seating are arranged by staff. If you are employing the services of guides and porters, it is customary to present a tip to the head guide at the end of the trip. This will be divided up between the various people employed in your group. Like most tips, the amount will vary depending on the quality of services provided, but it could be between 5% and 10% of the total cost of your trek. Independent trekking is quite easy in the main trekking areas.

5. Police check points are numerous and unavoidable and park officers can check your permits at any time, with a fine of double the normal cost if you are caught without the proper permits. Do not try to bribe officers or police personnel; it might get you in more trouble than you think. Most of the time there will be two or 3 permits, one will belong to conservation area or national park, another will be Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) Card and the last one is restricted area entry permit. You will need one or two or all of the permits mentioned above.

6. Treks in Annapurna, Khumbu and Langtang/Helambu only require national park entry tickets (NPR2000 for a single entry) and a “TIMS (Trekker Information Management System) card”, but do not require “special permits”. There are two types of TIMS cards: green (for independent trekkers, NPR2,000) and blue (for trekkers who are part of a group with a guide, NPR1,000). Individual TIMS (green cards) are obtainable only from Nepal Tourism Board offices in Kathmandu and Pokhara and from the Trekking Agents Association of Nepal office. Not even Trekking Agents are legally authorized to obtain individual TIMS (even though some small Trekking Agents may offer the individual TIMS).

7. Treks in restricted area such as Dolpo, Upper Mustang, Manaslu,Tsum Valley, Nar-Phu, and Kanchenjunga require “trekking permits” (As long as you holding a special restricted trekking permit TIMS card doesn’t required), which are obtainable only through Local trekking agencies.

Treks can be customized based on your desires. Some treks are designed to see the best mountainous views, some are designed to expose life in the villages, some are designed based around detox/healthy living programs, while others include daily yoga and meditation classes. Ask around and consult with local guides to find a trek that best suits your interests.

For more information, please contact your favourite Lloyds Travel Agent!