Equipments and Clothings:
Equipment needed depends largely upon where, when and how one is trekking. The main emphasis while trekking is on keeping warm and dry while still being lightweight. For lower altitude, fleece jackets are adequate, while at higher altitudes down jackets are advisable. Waterproof, wind-proof jackets and plants pants, well broken-in footwear, head covering are also recommended. Good sleeping bags sunglasses, drinking water bottle, torch light, sun block cream, toiletries, first aid kit and very good route map are other items necessary. Cameras, on the other hand, are handy for taking home memories.
Trekking equipments are available in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Namche Bazaar.
Medication shops are few are ion trekking route. Therefore, it is best to carry first aid kit and read about the possible problems before hand. On the Everest Base Camp route at Pheriche and on the Annapurna circuit route at Manang, there are clinics operated by the Himalayan rescue Association that specializes in treating trekker’s health problems. These clinics are open only during the main trekking seasons. While on teaks, the following problems could occur:
- Upset stomach, often caused by change in diet or contaminated food and water is a common ailment. To avoid it one should pay particular attention to hygiene and quality of food and drinks.
- Cough, cold, sore throats, common in the dry mountain air can lead to chest infection. Sore throats can best be avoided by attempting not to breathe cold air directly through mouth. Smoking should also be avoided.
- Joint muscle strains, foot problems, and blisters are other hindrances for trekkers. Wearing good footwear will go long way in avoiding these problems. For sprains and strains, apply cold water to reduce swelling and support the joint with crepe bandage.
- Acute Mountain sickness (AMS) is a fatal sickness caused by random altitude ascension. Therefore climbers ascending 3,000 meters or above should acquire sound knowledge of proper acclimatization processes. Symptoms of AMS include headache, loss of appetite, swelling of limbs, dizziness, difficulty, etc. in sleeping, irregular breathing, nausea, and unusual weariness. Maintaining good fluid intake helps combat altitude sickness and hurried descent or evacuation to lower altitude is the only best cure.
Safety and Security:
Nepal is a safe country to trek provided the basic rules are observed. When with trekking agency most contingencies are handled by agency staff. However, one could get lost or hurt and have no one to ask for help when trekking alone. Therefore, trekkers should either trek with agencies or hire reliable guides if trekking in smaller groups. Women guides are available for women trekkers. The best way to avoid risk while trekking is thorough planning, playing by the rules and realizing human limitations. In case of misfortune, detailed message should be dispatched to a reliable organization or individual immediately for rescue operation. If communication facilities are unavailable, normal first aid principle should be followed till help arrives. Some of the safety rules to abide by are:
- Do not trek alone because the Nepal government has banned solo trekking.
- Do not make the display of wealth.
- Keep belongings secure and within sight.
- Make arrangements for handling emergency situation before hand.
- Register personal information and trekking path details with respective embassies.
- Bye travel insurance policy that covers helicopter rescue cost. Leave a copy of details with an agency in Kathmandu.
- Choose only authorized government registered trekking agencies, guides, and porters.
A general advice to trekkers is to leave only footprints and take only photographs. However, the recent developments along trekking trails have been of concern to environmentalist and locals alike. The sprouting of teahouse along trekking trails demand wood for construction and fuel, which has led to deforestation. In addition, the amount of waste has increased without proper mechanism for disposal, making some of the popular trails both unsightly and unhealthy. With increased awareness on the part of trekkers and local people, this trend is changing. However, message still needs to be passed across for a more environmentally sound trekking. For vigilant trekking the following rules to be followed:
- Ensure that your trekking company supplies sufficient kerosene or gas for cooking.
- Dispose biodegradable waste properly and carry non-biodegradable waste out or dump them in properly constructed waste pit.
- Ensure that campsites are left clean and that toilet pits are properly filled in after use.
The Everest region is located in the northeast of Nepal. The most visited part of this region is Solukhumbu district, Home of the legendry Sherpas and the highest peak of the world, The Mt. Everest at 8,848 meters. To the north of Solukhumbu is Everest National Park; while to the east is the Makulu Barun National Park. The major ethnic groups that live in the Everest region are Sherpas, Rais, Tamangs, Brahmins and Chhettris. Diverse range of wildlife and vegetation are seen in the region. Animals to be sighted are mountain goat, musk deer and barking deer in the forests. Birds include Danfe, Ravens, Crows, Choughs and Snow Pigeons. The best time to visit in spring and autumn.
Popular trekking areas of Everest region are Everest Base Camp, Gokyo Valley, Lukla, Pike Danda, Dudh Kunda, Salleri, Chiwong Circuit, Hinkhu, Hongu Valleys, and Everest to Arun Valley. Interesting landmarks near Syangboche are khumjung school built by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1961 and Khunde Hospital north of Namche Bazaar established in 1968. How to treak in the Everest region depends on the route chosen. Teahouse trekking is possible on the main trail to Everest Base Camp or the route up the Gokyo Valley. The trail from Jiri to Lukla also has teahouse on the way.
Everest region can be reached by air or on foot. Buses ti Jiri leave fron thr Old Bus Park near Ratna Park in Kathmandu. Jiri is ten-hour from KAthmandu. By air, there are three options. the most convenient for Everest trek is lukla,which is served by many airlines with daily flight from Kathmandu. Another option is the airstrip at Phaplu near the district headquarter which is served by the daily flights from the capital city. The last choice is the small airstrip at Syangboche, world’s highest airport, which is located above Namche Bazaar. Despite being an option, altitude makes it an impractical and unwise choice as an arrival destination for acclimatization reasons.
The World’s Best Trekking Trail: Annapurna Region
The Annapurna region lies towards the north of central Nepal. The region has been recognized as one of the world’s best trekking trails according to a survey by Modern Maturity (USA). The highlights of this part of Nepal are Annapurna Peaks, Mt.Dhaulagiri, river Kali Gandaki and several other peaks. Gate way to this region is the famous city of Pokhara. The most prominent ethnic groups of Annapurna trekking region are Gurungs and Thakalis. Animals found here are Pika, Blue Sheep, and Himalayan Tahr and vegetation ranges from tropical species to temperate forests of Oak, Beech and Rhododendron.
The popular trekking routes of this region are Jomsong, Annapurna Circuit and Annapurna Base Camp, Annapurna foothills, Sikles, Lamjung, Dhaulagiri, Upper mustang and around Pokhara. The best time to visit is during spring and autumn. Unlike other parts of Nepal, even the monsoon months are ideal to visit upper Mustang that falls in the rain shadow area. Most trekking routes in the Annapurna region are well serviced by teahouses. Trekkers should, however, be careful while trekking to the more remote parts of the region.
Getting There: -
Regardless of the trek chosen, it is most likely that Pokhara would be either the starting or ending point of your trek in the Annapurna region. Pokhara is located 200 kilometers west of Kathmandu and can be reached by road in about 6 hours or by air in 30 minutes from the capital. For road travel there are a number of tourists buses available daily both from Kathmandu and from Chitwan. Food, accommodation and other tourist facilities of all ranges are available in and around Pokhara.
Langtang Area –
Langtang area is toward the north of Kathmandu Valley. The scenery here is spectacular, and the trek more adventurous as the area is visited by fewer tourists. To the west of Langtang is Ganesh Himal with a range of 6,000 to 7,000 meters. The main ethnic groups living here are Sherpas and Tamangs. The forests in the region have temperate and sub-alpine vegetation. Wildlife includes migratory birds, deer, monkeys, thar and pika. The best time for trekking in the Langtang area is spring and autumn. Most of the trekking routes in Helambu and Lnagtang are well served with teahouses making independent trekking quite possible. But, there are no such facilities in the Ganesh Himal area or Ganja La area.
Access to Helambu is particularly easy and quick. Sundarijal, which is one of the most convenient starting points, is an hour’s drive from Kathmandu. Other possible road heads are at Budhanilkantha, Kakani and four hour drive away at Melamchi Pul. For Langtang and Ganesh Himal the choice is limited – drive to Dhunche in Rasuwa district. The road then continues to Syabrubesi from where Ganesh Himal and Langtang treks can start. Hindu pilgrimage site and popular tourist place Gosaikunda can be reached from either of the two routes. However, the way via Rasuwa is easier. Buses leave regularly from the Balaju bypass close to the main bus park at Gongabu.
Trekking Permits & Fees:-
The Department of Immigration located at IMPACT Building, Maitighar, Kathmandu (Tel 4223590) issues permit for tourists who intend to trek on any part of the country. Entry fee is necessary for entering all the National Parks, Wild Life Reserves and other protected areas and could be paid at an entrance of respective areas. The permit must be purchased before starting the trek and can be obtained in Tourist Centers in Trekking Association of Nepal (TAAN), Nepal Tourism Board, Thamel, Kathmandu, or other tourist areas. The government is also issuing an online trekking permits. Trekkers are advised to arrange their trek through a government recognized trekking agency.
Trekking permits are as follows.
A trekking permit is a must to visit restricted areas mentioned below. To visit normal trekking areas, no permission is required.
Restricted areas which have been opened for Group Trekking
The following restricted areas are open only for group trekkers. And a trekking permit will not be issued to individual trekkers for such areas. The areas and required fees are as follows:
|S.No.||Trekking||Trekking Permit Fee|
|1||i) Dolpa district||Per week per person US$ 10 Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
For the first 10 days per person US $500 and After 10 days per day per person Us$50
|a) Areas of lower Dolpa|
|b) Areas of Upper Dolpa|
|ii) Taplejung District|
|2||Kanchanjanga Region||Per week per person US$ 10 Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.|
|(Areas of Olangchunggola, Lelep, Papung and Yamphudin Village Development Committee)|
|3||Mustang district. (Upper Mustang)||For the first 10 days per person US $500 and After 10 days per day per person Us$50.|
|4||Gorkha District||From September to November per week per person US$ 70 and After 7 days per day per person US$ 10.and From December to August per week per person US$ 50 and After 7 days per day per person US$ 7 /Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.|
|Chhekampar & Chumchet VDC(Sirdibas-Lokpa-Cumling-Chhekampar-Nile-Chhule Area)||From September to November per person US$35 for first 8 days and from December to August per person US$25 for first 8 days or equivalent convertible foreign currency.|
|5||Dolakha District (Gauri Shankar & Lamabagar)||Per week per person US$ 10 Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.|
|Humla District (Simikot and Yari)||For the first 7 days per person US$ 50 and After 7 days per day per person US$ 7 Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.|
|Areas of Limi and Muchu village Development Committee, and area way to Tibet via Tangekhola of Darma Village Development committee.|
|6||Rasuwa District :- Thuman and Timure||Per week per person US$ 10, Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.|
|7||Sankhuwasabha District||For the first 4 weeks per week per person US$ 10 and After 4 weeks per week per person US$ 20, Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.|
|(Makalu Region):-Areas of Kimathanka, Chepuwa,Hatiya and Pawakhola Village Development Committee.|
|8||Solukhumbu District||For the first 4 weeks per week per person US$ 10 and After 4 weeks per week per person US$ 20, Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.|
|Makalu Region):-Areas of Kimathanka, Chepuwa,Hatiya and Pawakhola Village Development Committee.|
|9||Manang District:- Areas of Nar, Phu, and Northern area of Tilche Village of Thochhe Village Development Committee||From September to November per week per person US$ 90 and December to August per week per person US$ 75 Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.|
|10||Mugu District:- Areas of Mugu, Dolpu, Pulu and Bhangri.||For the first 7 days per person US $90 and After 7 days per day per person Us$15 Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.|
|11||Baihang District:-Areas of Kanda, Saipal, Dhuli.||For the first 7 days per person US $90 and After 7 days per day per person Us$15 Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.|
|12||Darchula District:- Areas of Byas Village Development Committee.||For the first 7 days per person US $90 and After 7 days per day per person Us$15 Or equivalent convertible foreign currency.|
a. To get a group trekking permit an application form with other relevant documents should be submitted through any registered trekking agency of Nepal.
b. Trekking fee can be paid in Nepalese currency: Notwithstanding anything written in above, the Indian citizen can pay in Nepalese currency equivalent to US Dollars.
c. Fees are subject to change.