Trekking in Nepal. I know there are plenty of travelers day dreaming of going to Nepal for their 1st Himalayan adventure. Here are 5 heads up for your journey from SummitMadness travel experts. Make sure you are well aware of these when you landing on this sacred land.
1). The Altitude
Most of the novice travelers visit Nepal to get their very first high altitude experience in the Himalayas by roaming through the breath taking views of world’s highest peaks, glaciers and far away Sharpa villages (i’m not going to turn your attention into the cultural diversity of the country in this post ). But when trekking in Nepal, you hear those horror stories about hikers having to leave the mountains because they get severe altitude sickness. Sometimes the adventure ends with a lose of you best friend or even yourselves. Specially if you are living in a sea-level country like Sri Lanka, Norway, Russia. etc. (find your country’s elevation ) then it is vital to know about the ill conditions which can be caused by the altitude (AMS). Here is a good link to educate yourself about Altitude sickness, symptoms and treatments
2). Hygiene and saving water
The worst thing in a multi day trek is not getting a chance to clean your hair (this becomes worst if you are a female). Sometimes there might be a chance to enjoy the luxury of a hot shower during the trek as well. Specially in Everest and Annapurna regions. I remember i used to wore the same underwear 3-4 days just by changing the front-side back. But that’s the normal and you have to used to it. So read well and be prepare.
Water is an expensive item in the treks like Everest region. This may vary depending on the duration of the year. When season comes, normally you will have to spend 50-150 Nepal rupees for an bottle of hot water. I’m personally using Iodine tablets to purify the water in the trek, Almost all the pharmacies in Thamel have these and its cheap and works great. Even if you ask water from village house, iodize it, keep some time to purify the water and use it.
Finally, if you are smart enough to win the hearts of local people, you might get some hot water free of charge i must say.
3). No Internet
Remember that you are going to spend probably a 2-3 weeks in the mountains and there won’t be much internet rich places along the way. If you are in the Everest trek, there are few places where you will get a chance to submit your adventures into Facebook (Namche Bazar, Gorakh-Shep). Other regions except Annapurna is rarely have internet rich lodges. They will charge you different different rates depending on the altitude and the services they are providing for the trekkers.
4). The Food
For me, i love Nepali foods. From Tibetan bread to mo mo to Dhal Bath to Pasta. I love them all. But some are hate it. The fact is that you are going to spend 2-3 weeks in the tea houses and the most economical and the ideal is to go with Dhal Bhat i must say. Of course you may ask for some extra if you still feel hungry after finishing that huge rice plate. They are not charging for it.
If you are not a big fan of rice you may ask for noodles or pasta, where you will get some protein in it (eggs or few chicken pieces) but it is bit expensive that a typical Dhal Bath meal.
There is a pretty good drink called lemon tea. This is a plain tea where Nepalis add some lemon to it. An i know you will fell in love with it. Drinking lemon tea will reduce the chances of getting into AMS and less stomach issues and the lemon will keep your day refreshed for the last bit.
5). The difficulty of the trek
When trekking in Nepal, the trek you have checked in the internet might not be the same in the reality. Last time when i was in Everest trek even the route marked in the Shangri-La map was not used to cross the Cho-La Pass. If you are a novice trekker/climber make sure the altitude you are choosing suits to your health conditions. Avoid travel solo for the very first time. Read much about the trek and spend some quality time interacting with other veteran climbers. You can start your stamina and endurance training maybe 2 months before the journey.
Novice trekkers should choose easy to moderate treks like, Annapurna, Lang tang for their 1st experience. This will leave much time for them to learn the basics and expose to the extreme conditions in Himalayas. If possible hire a guide or a porter at least. This will provide you and your team an extra safety.
Sometimes you will have to walk 8-11 Km per day with a 300 ft altitude difference where the next day you will have to walk 3 Km with 900 ft alti. difference.
Always remember what counts in the mountains is your starting altitude and the ending altitude. There is a maximum altitude difference a human body can bare for a day or two. Use necessary techniques to acclimatize your body against the altitude.
Congratulations !!! You are in the end of the post. Now you should be worried whether you are going to do this or not. But trust me, now you are few steps ahead in the path of awareness. Plan your journey well and spend some quality time with local Nepalis. They need you are they are waiting for you. Trekking in Nepal is always full of adventures and happy moments.