You don’t need to be a
mountaineer with rippling muscles to enjoy trekking.
If you are reasonably fit, have a spirit of adventure and are not afraid of
walking, you qualify. There are excellent
Full-Service (Camping) 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. On many popular trekking trails, you can also go on what is
known as Tea-House Treks - eating and staying in the many lodges on the way.
A day on the trail usually consists of four to five hours of walking broken
by a lunch stop. You trek 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.
See Altitude Mountain Sickness below for more information.
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 bucket of hot washing-water will wait
at your tent door each morning before you head off for a hot cup of Tea and a
trip to the toilet-tent.
Tea House Treks
Tea-House trekking is an easy way to go. These are treks along the most
popular trekking 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
based guest house. You will find Nepali-sized 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.
What to Bring?
Your trekking agency will provide equipment like sleeping bags, foam
mattresses and tents. All you need to bring is your personal gear. We've seen
porters make in through mountain passes in flip-flop sandals while carrying
loads for two travelers. Nevertheless, we want you to enjoy your journey so use
the lists (and your porters' muscles) below as guides.
- Lightweight walking boots. Walk them in prior to arrival in Nepal to avoid
- Pair of lightweight/heavyweight trousers are useful higher up in the mountains
in the morning and at night.
- 1-2 pair of loose fitting long shorts/skirts. 2-4 cotton T-shirts.
- 1 lightweight long sleeved-shirt is particularly suitable for avoiding sun burn.
- A sunhat and ensure it has wide brim to cover the face and neck.
- 2 pairs of thin and 2 pairs of thick woolen socks.
- Underwear: normal quantity
- Swimming suit
- Water Bottle
- Sunglasses and strap
- Toiletries with large and small towels. Toilet paper can be bought in Kathmandu
and some village in the mountains.
- Small headlamp and/or flashlight/torch with spare batteries
- Personal medical supplies - don't forget band-aids and tweezers Army-knife and
- Sun-screen, sun block, sun-tan lotion, zinc-oxide... gets the picture? This is
essential in the Winter when sky is clearest.
Warm jacket, fiberfill or down should be adequate. This is especially necessary
during winter from December to February. Sleeping bag to -15
°C or sleep sheet
(if renting or agency supplied) Woolen shirts and thick sweaters. During winter
months, December through February, These items are essential. Thick sweaters can
be purchased in Kathmandu. Windproof/Waterproof trousers are compulsory on all
treks going above 3,000 meters.
- Thermal underwear. These are excellent to sleep in at night. In the winter
months thermal underwear are quite invaluable.
- A woolen hat to wear in the morning and at night. During winter it is an
- A pair of gloves. Leather with lining and woolen are best.
- Snow Glasses and strap
- Snow gaiters can be essential
Some nice add-ons
- Camera Film
- A pair of slip-on shoes or sandals. To wear in the camp, in bathroom and toilet
tent or when the boots are wet.
- A rain-proof jacket with hood or a poncho. Get the one that is guaranteed
- A sweat-suit. Useful for wearing in camp and in the tent.
- Duffel bag or kit bag to carry gear while
- Daypack. This is a small backpack to carry personal requirement for the day
e.g., to toilet items, camera, film, towel, soap, a book etc. Spare boot laces.
- 2-4 large plastic bags to separate clean clothes
from dirty ones. 6-10 smaller plastic bags to dispose garbage.
- Wallet and/or money belt with compartment for coins.
- Spare flashlight bulbs, candles and lighter to burn toilet paper.
- An umbrella is quite useful as a walking stick, a sunshade and for rain.
- Reading materials, game items, music, note book, rubber band, pen and pencil
envelopes, a diary, a calendar, a pocket knife, binoculars (optional), A small
pillow or headrest (optional) Thermarest (optional) - an inflatable sleeping
mat, trekking map, adequate quantities of passport photographs.
- Duct-tape, superglue and small mirror can be handy
- Travel locks and chain to secure luggage and lodge door
- Hot-water bottle - unless your mate's coming' along
Unnecessary Items - reminder...
- Cell-phone, Pager, Lap-top computer, PDA, etc
- Radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, etc
Please Note: North Face and Patagonia type companies own the market in the
USA, but many of the above mentioned items can be purchased/rented in Kathmandu
and Pokhara. These high-tech companies and there products can make for a dreamy
trekking experience when you learn what all thoughts pockets and fancy fabrics
are really designed for.
Beware: Virtually all the brand name items in Nepal are Korean knock-offs.
Shoes and sock are the essential items to bring from outside the country, if you're
in the Bigfoot category.
Flights to Remote Areas
Flights by plane and helicopter into and out of the remote areas and
airports are prone to cancellations and delays due to inclement weather. It is
advisable 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
Medical Matters and Advices
Trekking in Nepal need not be considered a risky affair as far as your
health is concerned. Nevertheless, preventive measures such as a thorough
medical check-ups and inoculations before you start trekking can save you from
unexpected hazards. Since the remote places of Nepal are not supplied with
necessities that are essential for modern medical facilities, and as the rescue
and evacuation are measured in days, it is imperative to make a comprehensive
First Aid kit consisting of basic drugs and accessories as part of the
paraphernalia for trekking. 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. Modern dentistry is unknown in the hills of
Nepal, so it is advised to have a checkup before departure from home. Tooth
fillings sometimes loosen in cold temperatures and at high altitudes, so it is
recommended to have them checked.
All trekking demands a level of fitness that will enable one to put in a
good day's walking, up hill and down. Most treks should not be taken to gain
more than 500 meters in one day above 3,000 meters. There should be plenty of
time during the day to cover this distance, so the physical exertion though
quite strenuous at times, is not sustained. The best preparation for trekking is
cycling, swimming, jogging, squash, tennis and long walks involving up and down
hills. Good physical conditioning will certainly help maximize your enjoyment of
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 affected by AMS regardless of
strength or physical fitness. The initial symptoms of AMS are as following:
Loss of appetite
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 are to be taken very seriously. In case of appearance of any
of the above symptoms any further ascent should be reconsidered. More serious
problems can occur which can even cause death sometimes within a few hours. The
main cure for the Altitude Sickness is to descend to a lower elevation
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
prevention of AMS.
Literature and pamphlet published by Himalayan Rescue Association (see Rescue
Service below) consists of detailed information on AMS. The Central Immigration
Office and all trekking agencies in Kathmandu distribute this pamphlet free of
cost. Since these documents also give information on the list of suggested
medical supplies for trekkers, it is a compulsory item for every trekker's
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.
At Pheriche on the main trail to Everest Base Camp, one day north of Thyanboche.
This Aid Post 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.
At Manang village in Manang. The Aid Post 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 Post 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 Transport Communication Facilities
1. Everest and Kanchenjunga Treks
A small hospital and airstrip at Jiri, Phaplu and Khunde (Syangboche). Similarly
a medical facility operated by HRA is situated at Pheriche. There are also radio
station at Chainpur, Khandhari, Taplejung, Phidim, Bhojpur, Terhathum,
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 is also radio and telephone link 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
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 Jomsom.
There is a Trekker's Aid post run by the Himalayan Rescue Association in Manang.
Additionally a small government dispensary at Hongde and Chame, the headquarter
of Manang district, also serve both foreigners & locals. Airstrips are located
at Jomsom, Hongde and Balewa of Baglung. There are radio stations at Chame,
Kusma, Baglung, Beni and Jomsom. 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.
There are different approaches to trekking in Nepal and the choice depends
on time, budget, experience and personal preference.
Agencies provide essential logistical arrangement including porters, guide,
cook, food tents, sleeping bags, mattresses, transport to and from trekking
starting points, flight arrangement, permits, staff insurance and so on. These
agents also provide a choice of itineraries and necessary information on
trekking health care etc.
The cost of an all inclusive trek ranges from about US$ 25.00 to US$ 150.00
per person per day depending upon the quality of service, number of days and
number of persons in the package. This style of trekking is relatively expensive
compared to that of backpacking but a few extra dollars guarantees comfort and
security eliminates time consuming ordeal of organization and ensures a trouble
free holiday. There are limited areas where a backpacking type of trek can be
undertaken by an individual.
A companion/guide is helpful in the remote wilderness and is enjoyable to
talk to on the trail. It is strongly advised to be overly cautious of free-lance
guides or the services of any agency not recognized by government.
It is generally not possible to change foreign currency/travelers checks
except in bigger cities like Kathmandu, Pokhara, Namche Bazaar, Jomsom, Salleri,
and Okhaldunga. Consequently, when you're in the mountains, cash is king. Change
money in the city before your trek starts. Make sure to ask for small
denominations (ones, twos, fives, twenties, fifties and hundreds - a 500 or
1,000 note will be useless).
Careful: 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 trekking sojourn in the hills and the mountains of Nepal you
should be aware and remember that you are traveling back in time and into the
wilderness not usually frequented by many foreigners and away from normal
policing. 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 would be wise to exercise the following basic rules as regards.
Security and safety during your trekking:
- Trekking organized through recognized Trekking Agent ensures comfort and
convenience, safety and security and greatly affords the unique experience.
This approach to trekking not only prevents you from any unforeseen hazards
and accidents but also provide educational information and rewarding
experiences on the mountains, people and in rural Nepal.
- All foreign nationals are required by law to pay their hotel, travel, and
trekking agent's 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
- 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
- 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.