Trekking in Nepal is the most popularly sought activities. Thousands of Tourists from all around the world come to Nepal as an ultimate destination for trekking – an adventure holidays from easy to challenging base camp treks. In other words, Nepal is a trekking paradise as her varied terrain offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the world.
Trekking in simple word is walking. However, the word trekking has become better known for the kind of walking which takes you along trails winding up, down, over and around mountains. Trekking is not mountaineering although some of the popular trails are used by mountaineering expeditions to get to their base camps. Most of the trails you will walk on are still used predominantly by Nepali people for everyday travel and trade. Hence, it is not uncommon to meet Nepali porters carrying lengths of corrugated roofing iron slung from a jute strap (Namlo) around the head or a sick relative being carried in a basket (Doko) in the same manner to the nearest medical facility.
Nepal Trekking offers the best way of experiencing country and its people ‘warts and all’. You will walk through the streets of cities, villages and past the open front doors of houses, and see the people at their daily tasks. The clouds forming below you and the magnificent peaks of mountains towering over you gives you a feeling of wandering in a real heaven.
By trekking you will be involved in a way you could never be in a car, bus, train or aero plane; you can enjoy the friendliness of the people, feel the magnetism of the mountains, culture and nature all at one place enshrining peace within yourself. Could you ask or want for anything more?
A trekking trip can be any length you choose. There are a number of short treks around Kathmandu and Pokhara valleys which only take a day to complete. There are two or three day treks or treks from a week to a month. For those with longer period of time can combine a number of treks and spend months just walking around. Himalayan Eco Treks & Travel Pvt. Ltd, Nepal can help you to put together a trek to suit your needs at an affordable price leaving you free of any confused traveling, bureaucratic or logistic hassles.
a) A Note about Trip Grading
The grading system for all our trips is that most commonly used in the Himalaya. However, it may be very different from any system you have come across before. Also, it is virtually impossible to have a ‘foolproof” system, as everyone has different expectations and perceptions of their own fitness levels, as well as coming from different cultures and countries where words and labels may have very different meanings. While it is certain that you will return home both physically and mentally refreshed from your Nepal Mountain trekking.
Please bear all that in mind when preparing for your trip, both physically and mentally, and consider this as well:
- No trek or walk in the Himalaya is an afternoon stroll: they all involve going up and down at altitude spending extended periods of time at altitude, particularly when it’s a new * * experience, affects everyone differently.
- Even if you live in a flat place you will benefit from some preparation before you come, no matter what your age. You should at least walk up and down stairs in your trekking boots, if you’re not doing some aerobic activity, cycling, swimming or brisk walking.
- Smokers may find it harder going than expected; Alcohol and Altitude don’t mix.
- The unpredictable and changeable nature of conditions in the Himalaya can make even the easiest trek harder.
- We rank our trips in 8 grades, and the higher the grade, the more challenging the trip.
A wide range of maps are available from booksellers in Kathmandu. However all clients are supplied with trek & city maps on arrival in Kathmandu. Pilgrims Book Shop, Mandala Book stores are internationally recognized book stores in Thamel, Kathmandu.
c) Money to Bring With you
US dollars in travelers cheques, for increased security and convenience, preferably from major companies such as Visa or American Express. Local bank travelers cheques will possibly not be recognized or changed. Have more smaller denominations(less than US$ 100), so that you won’t be left excessive amounts of Rupees. It is very hard to advise on the correct amount to bring as everyone has different budget and different ideas of what souvenirs are going to be bought. However, as a general guide, we suggest.
Excellent accommodation is based on a Bed and Breakfast basis so allow for lunches and dinners, generally this is about 500 to 800 Rupees(US$ 6 TO 9) per meal in the tourist area Thamel. All the major hotels have Western style restaurants, but tend to be more expensive.
On Trek :
You will probably only spend between 300 to 600(US$ 4 to 7) rupees per day for soft drinks, chocolates, water, etc., and on some days nothing. If you drink and smoke you will have to add a little extra more.
Rafting, Chitwan Jungle Safari(If optioned):
All meals are included, and activities at Chitwan, so you only need money for drinks, souvenirs and any desired extra activities. Arrange of Jungle souvenirs is available in Chitwan. Allow up to US$ 15 for these, if you wish.
d) What you carry
Your Duffel bag or rucksack is not accessible during the day, so you should have everything you need in your daypack. Your guide will tell you need anything special the following day. You want the lightest load, but unless you have excessive camera gear, it will only be a few kilos and no burden if you have a comfortable daypack. Don’t feel guilty when you see the porter loads, as they are enormous by comparison. This is the traditional method of transportation in Nepal and provides much-needed employment, which brings wages into rural communities.
e) Consider the Culture
Nepal has only been open to Western visitors since 1951, and it is still basically a very traditional and religious society, especially in rural areas. You will be treated as special guests, but we ask that you respect the local culture. While Nepalese will never rebuke you publicly for unknowingly offending them, please keep that certain actions can do so, deeply. Nepalese are amazingly tolerant religions, races and creeds and this should be a lesson to us all.
- Wear long, loose shorts, trousers or skirts, and T-shirts, not tight or revealing shorts or tops.
- Full or partial nudity is unacceptable-wear a swimsuits or sarong when bathing outdoors.
- Overt displays of affection between men and women are discouraged
- Leave your shoes outside a home, monastery or temple.(Not always, check what the locals do;)
- Do not throw rubbish into a cooking fire or household hearth’
- Never touch a Hindu or Buddha’s head, or point the soles of your feet or a single finger at a person or shrine.
- Walk clockwise around temples and shrines.
- Please ask before entering a Hindu shrine or temple, as many are closed to non-Hindus.
- Begging is a harsh reality in developing countries, but Nepalese frown on it. It creates a society where work is not respected and gives a false impression of Westerners as all being wealthy and gullible. Do not give anything to anyone at any time, even small, cute children. Previous tourists, unaware of the damage they were doing, have created a situation that will take many years to defeat. Please do not add to the problem.
- Some Nepalese like having their photo taken and others don’t. They are usually obliging, but always ask first. Think, before you snap, how you feel about your privacy.
- Punctuality has little meaning in Nepal, so patience and a sense of humor are great assets.
f) Speaking Nepali
The national language is Nepali, written in Devanagari script, but many Nepalese speak English as second language. Your Guide, Sardar and some other staff speak English. Nepali is relatively simple, so it worth buying a small phrase book for reference. Most Nepalese, certainly Adventure Access staff, will only be too happy to help you and it makes an excellent ice breaker with the non-English speaking members of your crew.
g) Tipping /Gratuities
Tipping is very common in Asia but Adventure Access stresses that it is completely personal, anonymous and entirely voluntary. It is a rare person, who doesn’t appreciate effort made on their behalf, and most people have a problem with the amount being so small, but it is your choice. However, we discourage both over tipping, which creates a false impression of westerners, and individual tips, which favor the more visible staff and ignores the equally hard-working, background people. Ask your guide for advice, but we suggest; Town 25 rupees for the bellboys and waiter/ress. In line with local wages.
h) After Trek :
Early expeditions were staggered by the work the Nepali staff did and their willingness to provide everything possible under the worst conditions. This hasn’t changed, and tipping field staff has become an enjoyable ritual for clients and staff at the end of the trek.
- We suggest US $ 8 a day to be shared among the whole crew, except the Guide, whom you may wish to tip at the end of the entire trip. These guidelines are based on the size of the group and the length of the trek, which determine the number of staff.
- Rafting and Jungle Safari: It’s entirely upon your choice upon the services.
- Drivers : If you have the same driver throughout, you may want to give Rs.500 (US $ 7)
i) Changing your travel arrangement / Cover Yourself
Should you voluntary change your plans after the trip begins, Adventure Access is not responsible for any additional charges. You will not be refunded and unused part of the Adventure Access package. Our staff will assist you if possible but you must make these arrangements yourself. On trek, if the guide decides you must go to a lower altitude, or if you do not want to continue, we will arrange evacuation. If you walk out, we will provide and for staff to accompany you, but you must pay for your own accommodation and food, once you have left the group. In serious cases, we will send or call a helicopter, for which you will have to pay in Kathmandu. We will give you a certificate which should be accepted by your insurance company, for any claims for extra expenses incurred in this way.
j) Keeping Things Safe
While you are trekking, we keep your passport and air ticket in our safe or you keep them with your close friends safe. Please also deposit valuables you don’t want to take in trekking, with Adventure Access’ office or in the Hotels locker room keep the key with you. A money belt is the best way to keep your cash with you all the time, especially at night. Don’t leave anything unattended, anytime, anywhere. Generally, theft is not a problem in Nepal but in a country where wages are low, your possessions have incredible value. A Duty free camera could represent three years local salary, so leaving it unattended is a strong temptation.
k) Taking Images Home
Nepal is a photographer’s paradise, so your gear will plenty of use. What you bring depends on interest, budget and how much you want to carry, but our suggestions are;* a 28-90 mm zoom lens as a minimum;* a 100-200/300 mm zoom telephoto lens ,* a 19/20mm ultra-wide angles lens, for sweeping mountain panoramas * a Mirror 500mm lens for ultra-close-ups. *Circular polarizing filters to cut mountain glare and bring out the deep blue of the sky.* A flash unit.* A camera cleaning kit(essential)* A small tripod* Enough film, more is better than less!*Spare batteries; they ‘die’ in the cold *64 or 100 ASA film is ideal for inside and the subdued lighting and the jungle in Chitwan. Kathmandu has numerous photographic shops, and your Guide will show you the good ones in Thamel where the stock turnover reliable and much cheaper than home, but photos weigh a lot more than film, if you are worried about excess baggage! Bus drivers and in the rafting the captains will be happy to stop for photographs, if asked.
l) Leaving Something Behind
These are some suggestions, apart from tips, if you wish. Your guide will give unwanted clothes to our porters and unused medicines to a free Clinic for the poor. Pens, pencils and toys are best given to a school on trek, or to the Bal Mandir Orphanage in Kathmandu. Tilganga Eye Centre welcomes visitors to see its ‘miracle’ cataract operations. The pioneer of the technique, Dr Ruit runs a free eye clinic for the poor as well, and is always glad of donations of old spectacles. The sale of handicrafts in Dhukuti and Mahaguthi shops in Kathmandu directly benefits the village women who make them in Women’s Skills Development Projects, and ensures that the ancient arts not only survive, but flourish. Khukuri House(Thamel and Patan) sell Khukuris (Gurkha Knives) to benefit the Retired Gurkhas Welfare Fund. If you wish to make a direct donation,the Guide can direct you to; Tilganga Eye Centre; an operation costs Rs.8,000. The Ganesh Foundation; a cleft/palate operation costs Rs 8,000 Bal Mandir Orphanage; A child’s education for a year costs US $ 150.
m) Stay Healthy and Happy
Kathmandu has the World class medical services, your hotel will have a doctor on 24 hour call, Adventure Access’s Guides are trained in mountain First-aid and carry a comprehensive First-Aid kit on every trek. But you will be in areas with free health services and Guides are not doctors or mind readers! Please inform your Guide of any existing medical condition and/or prescription drugs you’re taking before the Trek and don’t take so much as an aspirin at altitude without informing/consulting him/her. Stomach problems are the biggest concern for visitors, and rightly so. Our hygiene standards are very high, so all food and drink supplied by Adventure Access is safe. Still, make sure your water bottle is properly sealed and that the lip is clean. Use your own mug in tea houses. Alcohol and altitude don’t mix, so please exercise moderation. Keeping warm is one of the keys to staying healthy at altitude. So, change into warmer, dry clothes as soon as you stop for the day. Wear layers to bed and to start in the morning, so that you can “peel off’ as you warm up. Wear a ‘beanie’ and scarf at night as most body heat is lost through the head and neck. Wear bed socks. Take two pairs of gloves/mittens on high altitude treks, to always have a dry pair. If it looks like rain, put on your rain gear in advance, rather than get wet and cold. Thermarests are heaven on high altitude and winter treks.
Please bring a personal First Aid Kit containing:
- Full Block Out Sunscreen.
- Lip salve
- Band aids
- Antiseptic cream
- Insect repellent
- Cold/flu suppressant
- Throat Lozenges
- Aspirin or Equivalent
- Muscle rub * Nail scissors
- 100 mm(4 inch) elastic bandages
- Elastic knee/ankle supports, if needed
- Wet Wipes.
Your doctor will probably advise more, you won’t need it.
n) The Final word and Sorry, I don’t own a Watch
Thousands of Trekkers come to the Himalaya annually, many on very limited budgets, so the horror stories of bad treks, stomach problems and A.M.S. are mostly true. In the past, tea-house trekking could be hazardous, only undertaken by the brave or the foolhardy! However the facilities are now greatly improved and to a large degree, standardized. It need not be a uncomfortable alternative anymore, if you follow the guidelines we have given you about personal hygiene, rubbish disposal and environmental protection. It’s the little things that make the difference; before you clean your teeth on the trek, think about where the water has come from! It will not be 5star, but, you would not have come to Nepal to trek if you were expecting that! But you have chosen, very sensibly, to travel with a company with many years service experience of taking the fears out of trekking. We can’t control the weather, but we do work constantly to give you the holiday of a lifetime, by controlling the food you eat and your rate of ascent and monitoring your safety and well-being at all times.
A little bit of common sense, patience and tolerance goes a long way. So, while we are always ready to assist you in having the holiday of your life-time, the old adage about ‘Getting back what you put in’ is especially true here. A trekking holiday doesn’t appeal to everyone and honestly, half way up the first hill you may wonder why you’re not on a beach somewhere. However, at the first sight of the mighty Mountains and the environment you will know why you chose Nepal and why trekking is the ultimate holiday. It is a time to reflect, take photographs make new friends among vastly different people, to sit in the sun and gaze up at soaring peaks of ice and rock, to relax and have fun in the company of great people.
Nepal is a developing country and sometimes things happen on time but mostly they don’t. Himalayan Eco Treks and Expedition- Nepal appreciates that this is your Holiday and that you want things to happen when they are supposed to, but we can’t control the weather! While we will do our best to rectify the situation, please understand that delays are commonplace in this part of the World. We are sure you will appreciate this and accept this and it as part of the whole Nepal experience. Leave your watch at home and take things as they come. You will quickly become accustomed to the relaxed pace and are likely to reassess your usual frantic schedule! Enjoy your trek.