Trekking is the most popular activity in Nepal, and travelers will be bombarded on the streets of Kathmandu and the trekking hub, Pokhara, with guides, organized tours, and gear for sale or rent. The huge variety of options allows for people of many ages and capabilities to attempt a trek in the country. Planning years ahead an expedition or arriving in Kathmandu without any plan is both acceptable as Nepal offers it all in terms of treks, just plan extra days for weather delays!
Nepal the gateway to the Himalayas is trekker’s paradise. Being home to 8 of the world’s highest summits it is considered the roof of the world. Having remote areas with amazing landscapes that are only reachable by trek Nepal is the ultimate goal of any trekker.
When to go
March to June and September until early December are the best trekking seasons as the trails become more trek friendly. The temperature is bearable and skies are usually clear in these seasons, although the skies are foggier and the rain begins in May-June. It is possible to trek out of season, but you have to be ready for the occasional rain and leeches along the way. During the monsoon season and winters, the treks are virtually emptier.
There are 33 mountain peaks in Nepal of 5,650-6,500m height classified as trekking peaks. For trekking you require a certified trekking guide, TIMS and Permits and extra cash for emergencies.
Few of the common accommodation options while trekking in Nepal are Tea Houses (Lodges) which can be found at various points on the trek. They offer dorm room accommodation and simple basic meals reflective of what the local people in the area eat. Although many tea houses and hotels in the hills and mountains are reasonably comfortable, some may not be comfortable, so it makes sense to bring a sleeping bag even for teahouse treks.
Camping is another option for trekkers and it can be conducted almost anywhere in the country. To organize this you will need the help of a licensed guide who will hold the permits, a group of Sherpas, porters and a good cook.
Homestays in local villages can also be organized in some of the treks.
Experience & Fitness
The treks in Nepal are suitable for a wide spectrum 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. Easy treks are surly doable with some Nepali support (guide/porter and a reasonable fitness level. A longer trek, crossing high passes and into remote regions demands a higher degree of endurance. For Trekking Peaks, i.e. summiting a mountain of 5650-6500m, it is desirable to have some alpine climbing experience.
Please read up extensively on Altitude sickness. Be familiar with the symptoms and do not ignore them. Be sure to keep to a conservative ascent schedule and drink plenty of fluids. From the first realization of headaches or stomach cramps notify your guide directly and return to a lower altitude. Carry some Diamox (acetazolamide) pills, easily found in pharmacies in Nepal. But note that Diamox is not an immediate fix for acute mountain sickness; it speeds up part of the acclimatization process which in turn helps to relieve symptoms. It may take a day or two. Don’t take acute mountain sickness lightly and even on mild experiences descend to a lower altitude. Encountering serious sickness, high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) symptoms or high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE) you MUST descent with at least one other trekker (or your guide). Consulting the pharmacist where you purchase Diamox is strongly advised. One major thing to remember is that body requires large amounts of water at altitude to counteract sickness so be sure to drink more than you are used to!
Always carry a head torch/lamp, water, some food, and a mobile phone with helicopter evacuation number, local police station and the nearby health post in case of emergencies.
Before the departures check that your travel insurance covers trekking activities and the conditions. Be aware that some insurance companies view even walking in the mountains as "mountaineering" and will not provide coverage. It would be very costly to pay for a helicopter rescue at 5000 meters. Some insurance policies, in fact, most, will not cover you over 4000m.
- Trek legally. Independent trekkers are by law not allowed to take any staff, for this you need a licensed Trekking Agency which is solely authorized to employ staff for foreign trekkers. Do not hire staff or "independent guides" through hotels, unless they have a Trekking Agent license or offer this service through an affiliated Trekking Agent.
- Please make sure you take all of your trash, including bottles and cans from goods consumed in restaurants, to the nearest dustbins. Pollution and lack of trash management in the villages on the treks - including trash-clogged rivers and mounds of discarded beer bottles.
The main essentials to bring are:
- Sturdy and comfortable hiking boots, flip-flops
- Sleeping bag (depending on your accommodation) and -20 degree Celsius for colder regions
- Daypack, trekking bag pack, dry sack and camera bag
- 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 and down jacket are essential.
- Water purification supplies, a reusable water bottle and a camelback water bladder
- Sunscreen, Hat, sunglasses, moisturizing skin cream and lip balm
- Few snacks, granola bars
- Hiking stick or two
- Waterproof case, fabric bandages such as moleskin, a headlamp, altitude sickness and other medication
- Camera and binoculars.
- Hand sanitizers, toilet paper, band-aids, wet wipes
- Extra batteries (solar chargers recommended)
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. Try to stock up lower down and buy locally-produced products such as fruit, biscuits etc. Maps are easy to find in Nepal. For the more difficult treks involving mountaineering, crampons and ice axes may be required. Simpler types of crampons, which attach to the shoe using a rubber ring, are easily obtainable in the Thamel neighborhood. These are variously known as spikes, micro spikes and chains.