Planning ahead is very important. Especially, when it comes to trekking, there are a lot of things to think through. And when trekking in a foreign country, where the culture and customs are different from you own, you have to be near 100% prepared. One can never be 100% prepared. So, here are some tips on how to plan trekking in Nepal. Deal with all the bothersome things beforehand so you can enjoy the actual trip.
Choosing the right package
Nepal is a trekkers’ heaven. There are numerous easy to difficult, short to long and cheap to expensive treks to choose from. Which would be perfect for you? Things to take care of when choosing the right trail are the fitness level demanded and your capability, budget, time, facilities (remote or tea house), things you want to see, trekking only or include sightseeing in the cities etc. There are other activities you can combine with trekking like bird watching, rafting, and others. Maybe this is more to your liking? Choose wisely for the most satisfying experience. Some of the famous trekking destinations in Nepal includes, Everest Base camp trek, Annapurna circuit trekking, Manaslu Cicruit trek, Ghorepani Poon hill trek etc.
Permits and Earlier Booking
Some of the most amazing trek routes are restricted areas that require special permits. Check how early you need to apply in order to make it in time for the trekking. For such places, it is best to go through an agency. First, that might be required by law, it will be easier to get a permit, they can rent out camping gears which will be cheaper (in case camping is required), you know you will be safer this way etc. For other routes, you can first arrive in Nepal and easily arrange everything. Although, earlier booking means more preparedness and you can learn a lot about what to bring and such from the agencies.
Shoes and Socks
Shoes are the most important. There is a saying in Nepal that ‘up, up and down, down are the flats of Nepal’. Therefore, a pair of comfortable shoes is a must. If you only have a brand new pair, then break it in first. Else, you will suffer from blisters few hours into the trek. Most treks here do not require technical shoes so any old pair of light, easy shoes that you know you can rely on would be nice. A pair of thin socks would provide additional protection. If you are trekking to the Himalayas, socks or any other cloth item should not be cotton. For any trekking really, avoid cotton socks.
Physical and Mental Preparedness
Most of the trek routes in Nepal, even those that wind up to the mountains, are non-technical. Any reasonably fit person can undertake it. But, stamina is important. You will be walking for a long time. Some trails like Everest Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Circuit Trek, etc. require 5-7hr of walking every day. The best thing to do to build stamina is to start walking for 1-2 hours. Put in some ups and downs. However, do not overdo it. You wouldn’t want to tire yourself or have aching muscles for the actual trek.
Mental Preparedness is also necessary, especially for the long treks. Tell yourself you can do it. There is no need to hurry the journey. When you are tired look at your feet and take one step at a time. Also, know that you will be spending a lot of time away from your usual well facilitated life. Bring some source of entertainment like a reader, notebook, cards etc. Bring a few favorite snacks as well. Food are always the best for turning around your mood.
Pack light. Depending on where and when you are trekking, pack only the essentials. If you are trekking to higher altitude, know that things become heavier in thinner air. And, source of entertainment are essentials too. Check what you need to bring from home (like shoes) and what you can get in Nepal. If you are going through an agency, check what gears they will be providing. Check what you can and cannot buy en route. Most importantly, carry a trekking bag. Nothing else would do. Even then, if the load becomes too much for you, you can hire a porter.
Research a little about the place you will be trekking to. Read others’ experience and learn from their mistakes. Nepal is culturally diverse. Learn a little about the local people to avoid offending them. Like, public display of affection, revealing clothes, taking their pictures and such can be offensive. Research about what things you should not miss seeing or doing or trying to make this trip more fun, research about what would be the best time to visit their (maybe during some local festival?) etc.
These are some things you could do but, as mentioned before, one can never be 100% prepared. May it be a pleasant surprise? Happy journey!