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Trekking

 

Introduction
The Nepal Himalaya has always been known as "the abode of the Gods". Many of the primordial history, religion, culture and tradition as well as legends and myths emanate from the awesome Himalaya. The Nepal Himalaya harbors many holy temple and shrines, monasteries and sacred lakes in the wilderness and remote parts of the region. These sites are frequently visited by pilgrims. It is a land of piety and stillness.

The Himalayas is the youngest and highest mountain chain on earth. A full third of its stretches - the formidable Great Himalayan Range of 800 km. Lies within the Nepal Himalaya. It has convergence of 1310 magnificent peaks of 6000 meters, including 8 of the world's highest 14 peaks of 8000 meters. Nestling in the rain shadows of these unique vistas of soaring summits unravel a profusion of lofty foothills, the home of the many Nepalese who delight in warm hospitality and friendship. These verdant terraced hill meander down to lush green valleys with turbulent rivers and to the tropical lowland and jungles teeming with countless wildlife.

In this immensely diverse and undulating topography, varied climate and mix of people Nepal combines to produce a magical attraction for outsiders. Many foreign visitors come to trek one or more beautiful trekking regions. To trek, one does not have to be bizarre, neither a mountaineer nor a athlete. Anyone with a pair of strong legs and the spirit for adventure to explore the exotic, will enjoy the thrills of trekking in the hills of Nepal. Walking in the interior of the country follows ancient foot trails which meander through the scenic river banks, intricately terraced fields and the forested ridges connecting picturesque hamlets and mountain villages. These highly developed and well defined trails have been used for centuries and are the hive of activities to come in contact with the locals.

For visitors on extended holidays and with less restraints, there is an even more varied spectrum of adventure - be it rafting on the sparkling rivers, safaris in the jungles, trekking to explore deeper into the alpine valley with perpetual snow and glistering glaciers. The more intrepid traveler may venture further up to scale any of the 18 minor trekking peaks.

Region
Nepal offers an astonishing topographical variation with the altitude ranging from 70 meters to 8848 meters amidst a width of 193 kilometers. Similarly, within its limited area and bounds, Nepal enjoys al the climates with alpine, temperate and the tropical jungle regions determined by its incredible altitude variation.

Visa & Trekking Permit
Unlike some countries with strict visa regulations, Nepal extends trouble- free issuance of visa to al the citizens worldwide. Indian nationals do not require visa to enter Nepal. The Royal Nepalese Embassies or Consulates abroad and at entry pint's Immigration Offices provide a visa upon the presentation of a valid passport, two passport size photos and payment of Visa fees. Visa can be extended at the Immigration Office, Pokhara.

A trekking permit is required to trek in any part of Nepal. If trekking is planned in two different areas, two trekking permits are needed. Each trekking permit details and outlines the trekking route and region and t is necessary that trekkers do not deviate from the prescribed route and region boundaries.

The Department of Immigration located at Tridevi Marg, Thamel (Tel. 4112337) issues trekking permit for the tourists who intend to trek any part of the country. Trekking permit fee for different trekking areas are fixed as follows:

T R E K K I N G   A R E A S    F E E S
Trekking Areas Trekking permit fee
Annapurna, Everest, Langtang, Rara etc. Equivalent to US $ 5 per person per week for the first four weeks and US $ 10 per week thereafter
Dolpa and Kanchanjunga Equivalent to US $ 10 per week per person for the first week and US $ 20 per week thereafter
Manaslu US $ 75 per person per week
Mustang and Upper Dolpa US $ 700 per person for the first 10 days and US $ 70 per person per day thereafter.

Note: Trekking to Dolpa, Kanchanjunga, Manaslu and Mustang can be undertaken through registered trekking agencies only.

Related Topics:
Types of Trek and Routes
Himalayas

Fourteen areas of Nepal have been designated National Parks; Wildlife Reserved & Conservation areas. They are Langtang, Rara, Chitwan, Sagarmatha, Shey Phoksondo, Khaptad, Bardia, Barun, Shivapuri, Makalu-Barun and Annapurna. To trek in any of these area a permit is necessary which can be obtained at the park entrance on payment of Rs.650/- each. There are several government registered trekking agencies in Nepal to conduct such trekking programs. In order to have assumed quality and safe treks it is advisable to use them.

Working Hours
The Immigration Office is open from 10:00 to 17:00 hours from February 13th to November 16th and from 10:00 to 16:00 hours from November 17th to February 12th Sunday through Thursday. On Friday it is closed at 15:00 hours. Visa extension and trekking permit applications are accepted from 10:00 to 13:00 p.m. on Friday. The Immigration Offices remain closed on Saturdays and on other government holidays. It is recommended to allocate one day to get the trekking permit.

Flights to Remote Areas
Royal Nepal Airlines, the national flag carrier, offers extensive domestic air services to almost all the parts of the country, Taplejung, Bhojpur, Meghauli, Pokhara, Jomsom, Manang, Jumla, Dolpa, Sanphenagar are the remote destinations where one can take a flight from Kathmandu. The other domestic airlines such as Nepal Airways, Everest Air, Necon Air, Gorkha Airlines, Dynasty Helicopter, Himalayan Helicopter also provide regular and charter services to different popular domestic destinations. Please contact your trekking or travel agencies from more detail.

Flight into and out of the remote areas and airports are sometimes prone to cancellations and delays due to inclement weather. It is advisable to allow some layovers a day while planning a flight out of airports like Lukla, Jumla, Taplejung and Jomsom. When these flights are considered in the itinerary, it is also recommended to carry extra money to buy food accommodation in case of delays.

Trekking Season
Trekking in Nepal can be undertaken through the year. There are four seasons in Nepal. Each season has its distinct attraction to offer. The seasons are classified as follows  

Autumn (Sept- Nov.) This season offers excellent weather and tantalizing mountain views.
Winter (Dec- Feb) This season is noted for occasional snowfall only at higher elevations. Hence it is ideal for trekking at lower elevations, generally below 3000 meters.
Spring (Mar-May) Different varieties of wild flowers, specially the rhododendrons make the hillside above 5000 meters a haunting paradise during this season. It is mildly warm at lower elevations and higher elevations over 4000 meters the mountain views are excellent and temperature is quite moderate.
Summer (Jun-Aug) Summer months, continues up to mid September making travel wet and warm. These times are blessed for the keen botanist as the higher valleys and meadows blossom with flowers and lush vegetation.

It is recommended to carry insect repellent when trekking during summer months.

Related Topics:
Types of Trek and Routes
Himalayas

Medical Matters & Advice
Trekking in Nepal need not be considered risky affair as far as your health is concerned. Nevertheless, preventive measures such as a thorough medical check up 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 Box 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 gives you detailed information on a complete list of medical supplies. These guide books are easily available in the book shops 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 check-up before departure from home. Tooth fillings sometimes loosen in cold temperatures and at high altitudes, so it is recommended to have them checked.

Fitness
All trekking demands a level of fitness that will enable one to put a good day's walking, up hill and down. Most trek should not be taken to gain more than 500 meters in one day above 3000 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 hill. Good physical conditioning will probably help for the maximum enjoyment of the treks.

Altitude sickness
Altitude sickness, often known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is particularly a important medical consideration while trekking in Nepal. Altitude sickness means the effect of altitude on those who ascend too rapidly to elevations above 3000 meters. The initial symptoms of AMS are as following:

  1. Nausea Vomiting
  2. Loss of appetite
  3. Insomnia/sleeplessness
  4. Persistent headache
  5. Dizziness, light heatedness, confusion
  6. Disorientation, drunken gait
  7. Weakness, fatigue, lassitude, heavy legs
  8. Slight swelling of hands and face
  9. 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; otherwise more serious problems can occur which can even cause death sometimes within a few hours, the only 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 3000 meters and the proper amount of rest are the best methods for prevention of AMS.

Literature and pamphlet published by Himalayan Rescue Association consists of detailed information on AMS. The Central Immigration Office and all trekking agencies in Kathmandu distribute this pamphlet free of cost. Since these medical also give information on the list of suggested documents supplies for trekking it is a compulsory item for every trekkers medical kit.

Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA)
HRA is a Nepalese voluntary 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 centre of the HRA is located at Thamel. The HRA information centre has expert and up to date information on all aspects of altitude sickness. All those intending to trek above 10000 ft. are advised to visit the information centre.

Trekking Arrangements
There are different approaches to trekking in Nepal and the choice depends on time available, budget, experience and personal preference.

Some of the travel agencies abroad in collaboration with the Nepalese trekking agencies book trekking packages for Nepal in advance. Trekkers who are alone or who do not have much time can book with these overseas agencies. One can also contact trekking agencies by mail, internet or contact them personally on arrival in Nepal. There are quite a few government recognized trekking agencies which have professional staff to handle trekking activities. A fully equipped trek primarily consists of essential logistical arrangements 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 agent also provide a choice of itineraries and necessary information on trekking health care etc. The cost of an all inclusive trek ranges from US $ 25:00 to US $ 100:00 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 route. It is strongly advised not to employ free-lance guides or the services of any agency not recognized by the government.

Related Topics:
Types of Trek and Routes
Himalayas

List of Clothing Equipment & Personal Effects

  • Lightweight walking boots. Also bring spare laces.
  • A pair of track-shoes. To wear in the camp at night or when boot is wet.
  • Warm Jacket. Fiber fill or down should be adequate (necessary during winter).
  • Woolen shirt or thick sweater. A rain proof jacket with hood or a poncho.
  • A pair of lightweight/heavyweight trousers. Jeans are unsuitable to wear on treks.
  • Thermal underwear (excellent to sleep at night). A track -suit.
  • 1-2 pair of loose fitting shorts/skirts.
  • 2-4 cotton shirts.
  • A woolen hat to wear in the morning and at night.
  • A pair of gloves, leather with lining and woolen are best.
  • 2 pairs of thick woolen socks.

Equipment

  • Duffle bag or kit bag to carry gear while trekking.
  • Day pack, this is a small rucksack to carry personal requirement for the day e.g. toilet items, camera, film, towel , soap etc.
  • Water bottle.
  • Snow glasses and sunglasses.
  • Small head lamp or torch.
  • Snow gaiter essential during winter.
  • An umbrella, can be used as a walking stick.
  • Reading materials, camera & film, note books, diary, pen/pencil, small air pillow for head rest.
  • Thermal rest (optional) an inflatable sleeping mat, trekking map, adequate quantities of passport photograph.
  • Personal medical supplies.

Money Matter
Nepal has modern banking facilities and some of the International Banks have their own offices in Kathmandu. Almost all foreign currencies along with credit cards are accepted in Nepal. All visitors are required to exchange their money through the bank or authorized agents. In Kathmandu banks with money exchange counter are found everywhere and most hotels also have exchange counter. These facilities to change money are quicker and more convenient. It is generally not possible to change foreign currency/travelers cheques (except in Namche Bazaar, Jomsom, Salleri, Okhaldhunga,Pokhara etc.) in the mountains. One must therefore change required money for the trek always ask for small denominations and be careful of torn banknotes. The people in the village may not accept them.

Appeal to Trekkers and Nature Lovers

  • In your trek, you will come in contact with many village schools. Please communicate your conservation ideas, knowledge and experience with the local school teachers so that a multiplier effect of conservation messages could be radiated to all the children. If possible, please also try to make the children know how to respect nature and natural resources.
  • Never encourage children to beg. It might give you momentary satisfaction but the begging child could also turn a professional beggar tomorrow.
  • Try to be friendly with your porters & guides. You will enjoy your trip more.
  • While taking photographs be sure that you are not intruding onto public privacy.
  • Respect the villagers and their traditions. In return they will give you warm hospitality.
  • When you trek, ultimately you enter wilderness. There you are alone with your porters and the fragile nature. The slightest negligence and misunderstanding on your part can directly have a jarring cumulative impact on the delicate balance of nature. Please do not spoil this natural heritage by thoughtless negligence.
  • Carry enough kerosene or fuel for your cooking. Never buy fuel wood from the villagers, it will encourage to cut down more trees and stock them unnecessarily.
  • We discourage the use of camp - fires, if you really need one, you can ask your porters to collect dead branches and twigs from the ground. Be sure the fire is out and the refuse is buried before leaving the camp-site.
  • Never buy any wildlife trophies animal products from the local poachers.
  • DO not collect any wild flowers, plants, fossils, orchids, rocks, etc. unless you have the permission from the concerned office for scientific research.
  • Cutting trees, shooting wildlife and fishing without licenses is strictly prohibited.
  • Always camp at the prescribed sites. If there is not arrangement as such, then camp on open ground or on the bank of a river. Do not camp inside a bush cutting away branches of trees.
  • Never pollute the clear mountain water or litter the path with cigarette butts, tin cans, toilet papers etc. Please bury them.
  • Do not mark initials on trees and rocks. Nature is more beautiful when left under filed by human hands.
  • In some areas, local communities have established their own conservation practices. Please make an effort to understand them and to observe them.

Finally, we sincerely request you to enlighten your porters, sherpas, guides, villagers to respect nature and how to conserve it. With your help, our natural beauty will be alive for generations. In turn, Nepal's gift to you will be vibrant living memories.

Related Topics:
Types of Trek and Routes
Himalayas

Listed below are trekking agencies in Nepal (listed in alphabetical order for your convenience). 

T R E K K I N G    A G E N C I E S
Trekking Agency Phone
Above the Cloud Trekking 412-921
Adventure Nepal Trekking 412-508
All Nepal Trekking  
Alpine Trekking and Expedition Service 220-506
Ama Dablem Trekking 410-219
Annapurna Mountaineering Trekking 212-736
Arun River Adventure  
Asian Encounters  
Asian Trekking 417-181
Blue Mountain Treks  
Chombala Trekking  
Chomolhari Trekking 222-422
Club Himalayan Trekking  
Cosmos Treks 412-595
Cross Point Eco-Tourist Service Int'l  
Culture Trekking 226-603
Dhaulagiri Trek House 470-495
Discover Nepal Trekking 227-421
Equator Expedition 425-800, 424-944
Everest Adventure  
Everest Expedition Inc 419-022
Everest Express Trekking  
Everest Trekking 226-358
Exotic Mount Treks  
Getaway! Himalayan Eco-Trekking (P) Ltd. 411790,424921
Glacier Safari Treks 212-116
Gorkha Adventure Treks 221-523
Great Himalayan Adventure 416-144
Green Peace Trekking  
High Adventure Service  
High Lander Trekking & Expedition  
Highland Sherpa trekking & Mountaineering 228-696
Himalaya Sherpa Treks  
Himalayan Adventures 410-948
Himalayan Encounters  
Himalayan Expeditions, Inc.  
Himsila Trekking 223-162
Horizon Venture  215-568
In Wilderness Trekking 470-760
International Trekking 220-594
Intreks Nepal  
Joven Adventure  
Junkiri Treks & Expeditions  
Karyang Kururng Treks & Expeditions Inc.  
Kathmandu Treks 250-442
Khumbi-lla Mountaineering & Trekking 227-421
Lama Adventure Treks & Expedition  
Lama Excursions  410-786
Langtang Ri Trekking 412-335
Last Frontiers Trekking 414-512
Lukla Treks & Expeditions 415-892
Malla Treks  418-389
Manakamana Treks & Expedition 250-913
Mandala Trekking 220-534
Mansarober Trekking 224-516
Munal Trekking  
Mount Kailash Adventure Trekking  
Natraj Adventure Raft  
President Treks & Expeditions  220-245
Quest horizon Treks  
Rolwaling Treks & Expedition 412-667
Sakura Treks 420-032
Shiva Treks  
Summit Nepal Trekking 522-308
Sundar Himali Treks & Expeditions 240 650
Topke Treks 434-817, 434-575
Trekking Team, Pvt. Ltd 227-506/252-327

 

Related Topics:
Types of Trek and Routes
Himalayas
 
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