What You Need to Know


Preparations
You don’t need to be a mountaineer or in olympic-type condition. If you are reasonably fit, have a spirit of adventure and are not afraid of walking, you qualify. Himalayan Mountain Treks offers many treks and will take care of all the details like government permits, air/bus tickets, guides, cooks, porters, food, tents, and equipment. All you have to do on the trail is concentrate on putting one foot before the other.

A day on the trail usually consists of four to five hours of walking with lunch breaks. These treks are designed to enjoy the scenery on the trail, not to get to a destination in a hurry. The main precaution to be taken while trekking is not to go up too high too fast. The body should be given plenty of time to acclimatize.

General Information
• Preparations
• Full-Service (Camping) Treks
• Equipment & What to Bring
• Flights to Remote Areas
• Medical Matters and Advice
• Physical Fitness
• Altitude Sickness
• Rescue Service
• Money Matters
• Mountaineering Adventure for Non-Climbers
• Tips and Suggestions

Our Trek Gear page should give you a jumpstart on all the information you’ll need to know about trekking in Nepal. If we’ve missed anything, just send us an email.

The best way to experience Nepal’s spectacular combination of natural beauty and cultural riches is to hike through them. The immense contrasts in climate and altitude found here support an equally rich mixture of lifestyles, vegetation types and wildlife.

Trekking in the mountains of Nepal is not only a wilderness experience by a cultural experience as well. While surrounded by the breathtaking Himalayas, you will be passing through picturesque villages inhabited by diverse people. You will see Chhetri farmers working in their fields and Tamang herders grazing their animals on the steep slopes. You will meet Gurkha soldiers and come across monks in the high mountain passes. However, what you won’t see is the mythological Yeti.

Full service (camping) treks
Breaking out of the norm, traveling with a group, traveling to remote or restricted areas, enjoying camp-side banter and serene surroundings are just a few of the reasons to opt for a Full-Service Camping Trek. You will have more control over where you go, how long you stay and even food choices if an agency puts you on one of these expeditions. A buckert of hot washing-water will await at your tent door each morning before you head off for a hot cup of chia and a trip to the toilet-tent.

TeaHouse
Tea-House trekking is an easy way to go. These are treks along the most popular treking routes and seldom will you be away from a bottle of Coca-Cola or cozy lodge. You can almost do it without an agent, but you will want a recommended porter even if you do not have need for a guide. Any agency can refer one. Stays at Tea-Houses are even cheaper than staying in a Kathmandu based guest house.

You will find Nepali-ized western food and solar powered hot-water showers in many places. Although broken-English is a norm along these trails, you’ll definitely enhance you experience by merging with the culture by carrying a Nepali Phrase book.

Off the Record: Consider bringing a recommended cook along to break up the monotony of set Tea-House menus. This could also guarantee a healthy journey for your stomach as they’ll be able to provide hygiene control in Tea-House kitchens.

Flights to remote areas
Flights into and out of the remote areas and airports are prone to cancellations and delays due to inclement weather. It is recommended to allow some layover days while planning a flight out of airports other than Kathmandu and Pokhara. When these flights are considered in the itinerary, it is also recommended to carry extra money to buy food and accommodations in case of delays. Agencies will not be responsible for these additional expenses or costs incurred from lost connections, so plan accordingly.

Medical matters and advice
Trekking in Nepal does not need to be considered a health risk. However a thorough medical check-up and inoculations are a good idea before you start trekking. Since the Nepal treks can be fairly remote and are not supplied with modern medical facilities, and the rescue and evacuation procedures are measured in days, it is imperative to bring a comprehensive first aid kit consisting of basic drugs and accessories as part of the gear for trekking. You should also purchase travel insurance before you go to ensure that you will receive proper care and transport to a medical facility

Various trekking guide books and the pamphlet published by the Himalayan Rescue Association give you detailed information on a complete list of medical supplies. These guide books are easily available in the bookshops of Kathmandu. In case of serious illness or injury, prompt evacuation to Kathmandu is the best remedy.

Dentistry is not available in the hills of Nepal, so it is recommended that you have a checkup before departing for Nepal. Tooth fillings can sometimes loosen in cold temperatures and at high altitudes.

Physical fitness
All trekking demands a level of fitness that requires hiking up and down hills. Most treks should not gain more than 500 meters in one day above 3,000 meters. Plenty of time to complete the distances has been factored in so the physical exertion – though quite strenuous at times – is not sustained. The best preparation for trekking is cycling, swimming, jogging and long walks/hikes involving up and down hills. Good physical conditioning will certainly help maximize your enjoyment of your treks.

Altitude sickness
Altitude Sickness, often known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is a particularly important medical consideration while trekking in Nepal. Altitude Sickness means the effect of altitude on those who ascend too rapidly to elevations above 3,000 meters. Anyone may be effected by AMS reguardless of strength or physical fitness. The initial symptoms of AMS are as following:
• Nausea/Vomiting
• Loss of appetite
• Insomnia/Sleeplessness
• Persistent headache
• Dizziness, light heaviness, confusion, disorientation, drunken gait
• Weakness, fatigue, lassitude, heavy legs
• Slight swelling of hands and face
• Breathlessness and breathing irregularity
• Reduced urine output
These symptoms need to be taken very seriously. If you feel that you have any of the above symptoms any further ascent should be reconsidered. More serious problems can occur if you do not descend from the current altitude. These problems can even cause death sometimes within a few hours. The main cure for the Altitude Sickness is to descend to a lower elevations immediately. Acclimatization by ascending to no more than 300 to 500 meters per day above 3,000 meters and the proper amount of rest are the best methods for the prevention of AMS.

Literature and pamphlet published by Himalayan Rescue Association (click here for more info) consists of detailed information on AMS. The Central Immigration Office and all trekking agencies in Kathmandu distribute this pamphlet free of charge. Since these documents also give information on the list of suggested medical supplies for trekkers, it is a recommended item for every trekkers’ first aid  kit.

RESCUE SERVICES

1. Himalayan Rescue Association
HRA is a voluntary Nepalese organization registered with His Majesty’s Government to run a mountain rescue service in the mountain tourist areas. The Association’s major role is the prevention and treatment of mountain sickness. The association’s medical research work is undertaken by a team of foreign doctors at present.

The Kathmandu office and Information Center of the HRA is located in Thamel. The HRA Information Center has expert and up to date information on all aspects of altitude sickness. All those intending to trek above 3,000m (10,000ft) are advised to visit the Information Center. Two Trekker’s Aid Posts are listed.

2. Everest Area
An Aid Station is available at Pheriche on the main trail to Everest Base Camp, one day north of Thyanboche. This Aid Station is well equipped and staffed by two Western doctors during the main trekking season. Trekkers intending to go to Kala Patthar and Everest Base Camp are advised to contact the Pheriche Aid Post.

3. Manang Area
An Aid Station is available at Manang village in Manang. The Aid Station is well noticeable and has a sign posted. Regular talks on dangers of altitude sickness are given here every alternate day during trekking season. The Aid Station is staffed by a Western doctor. Trekkers intending to cross Thorong La Pass and visiting the surrounding areas are advised to contact the HRA aid post either at Chindi or at Manang.

MEDICAL RESCUE AND TRANSPORTATION/COMMUNICATION FACILITIES

1. Everest and Kanchenjunga Treks
There is a small hospital and airstrip at Jiri, Phaplu and Khunde (Syangboche). Also, there is a medical facility operated by HRA at Pheriche. There are also radio station at Chainpur, Khandhari, Taplejung, Phidim, Bhojpur, Terhathum, Dhankuta, Dharan, Illam, Chandra-gadhi, Jiri, Namche Bazaar, Thayangboche, Pheriche, Lobuche and Salleri.

2. Helambu, Gosaikunda, and Langtang Treks
Modern medical facilities are not available in the Helambu area. For Gosaikunda and Langtang, there is a government hospital at Trishuli Bazaar and a dispensary at Dhunche. There are also radio and telephone communications to Kathmandu at Trishuli Bazaar. An airstrip is located near Kyangjin in Langtang Valley. The other two radio stations are on the Bhote Koshi at Rasuwa Gadhi on the Tibetan Border and in Dhunche.

3. Around Pokhara, Lamjung, Jompsom, Muktinath and Nanang
Pokhara has an all weather airport, telecommunication network and a modern hospital. District hospitals are located in Baglung, Bensishar, and Jomosom. There is a Trek Aid Station run by the Himalayan Rescue Association in Manang. There is also a small government dispensary at Hongde and Chame, the headquarter of Manang district they serve both foreigners & locals. Airstrips are located at Jomosom, Hongde and Balewa of Baglung. There are radio stations at Chame, Kusma, Baglung, Beni and Jomosom.
There are also radio stations at Gorkha and Besisahar. A government hospital is located in Gorkha. The united Mission to Nepal runs a hospital at Ampipal of Gorkha.

4. Jumla and Rara
Airstrips are located in Dhorpatan, Jumla and Simikot. There is a government hospital and a radio station Jumla. A dispensary is run at Gumgadi.

Money matters
It is usually difficult to exchange foreign currency/travelers checks except in larger cities such as Kathmandu, Pokhara, Namche Bazaar, Jompsom, Salleri, and Okhaldunga. When you are in the mountains, cash is king. Exchange money in the city before your trek begins. Make sure to ask for small denominations (ones, twos, fives, twenties, fifties and hundreds – a 500 or 1,000 note will be useless).

Warning
Torn banknotes seem to be a superstitious item. Village people, and even people from the village that have moved into the city, refuse them. Use them for tips or donations to holy-pilgrims.

Tips and suggestions
During your trek into the hills and the mountains of Nepal remember that you are traveling back in time and into the wilderness not usually frequented by many foreigners. Although the people of the hills of Nepal are exceptionally hospitable, honest and friendly by any standards, the possibilities of some trekkers encountering bad elements who take advantage of foreigners cannot be eliminated. It is recommended that you follow these basic rules regarding security and safety:
• All foreign nationals are required by law to pay their hotel, travel, and trekking agents bill in foreign currency. Exchange your money through authorized banks/money changers only. Insist on a receipt when exchanging your money and retain all exchange receipts with you.
• Littering mars the purity of environment. Avoid the use of non-biodegradable items as mush as possible. Your attempts to burn oddments and carry out the unburnable ones will be a great help in the efforts to conserve the environment.
• Avoid dispute with local people, most particularly when you are alone. Avoid drunkards and lunatics.
• Do not encourage beggars by giving them money or other articles.
• Be most economical with all fuel. Avoid hot showers which use firewood and discourage campfires. Avoid lodges using firewood and insist on use of kerosene for cooking to Trekking Agents.
• We strongly recommend that you take out a personal travel insurance to cover against illness, accidents, loss and theft of items and materials, travel alterations and deviations, rescues and evacuations.
• It is recommended not to travel alone in the remote areas while traveling in Nepal particularly in the case of females. If you do not have a fellow trekker as companion, you should not engage a guide/porter except through a third party who has responsibility for the person engaged.
• All the information mentioned here is subject to change, so do not forget to do your own homework.

Click here for more information