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Trekking in Nepal

Posted on Nov 29, 2017 by NepalTravel under Trekking

Tags: Trekking In Nepal, Trekking Permits, Everest Trekking, Annapurna Trekking

Nepal has some of the best trekking in the world, most of the worlds highest mountains, including the highest mountains in the world, Mount Everest. Many people visit the country just to trek and the tourism industry is well prepared to facilitate all manner of trekking styles and destinations. On the one hand you could spend a year planning an expedition to wild and lofty places; on the other you could land in Kathmandu with no plans and be on the trail to Everest Base Camp (EBC) in a matter of days.

Facilities available in remote areas are less extensive than in the more popular areas. Off the main trails where there are no lodges and food from menus a Nepali guide becomes essential, and it may be advisable or necessary to visit such regions with organized groups, including guide, porters and full support.

Types of Trekking in Nepal

Tea House (Lodge Trek):

Also known as lodge trekking is a relatively cheap way of trekking in where meals and accommodation are provided in a teahouse. In Nepal, it is quite popular to trekking along the many trails, stopping each night to eat and sleep at a local Tea House. Meals depend on the menu at the tea house, usually the simple basic meals of the local people.

It is a great way to connect with some of the local culture and definitely suits trekkers not wanting to carry back-crushing rucksacks. It is possible to trek in comfort with minimal preparation, equipment and support. No special permits are required, just national park entry tickets and the TIMS permit.
The main areas for these treks are Everest/Khumbu Langtang and Annapurna. Since 2010, the Manaslu Circuit Trek has become possible without camping in tea-houses, though it requires a US$ 50 per week permit and must be trekked with a guide. The trek to Lo Manthang in Upper Mustang is similar: no camping is required as many comfortable lodges are available, but a permit is required which keeps many budget travellers away.

Camping (Organized Trek)

This is the classic style of trekking in Nepal and can be conducted almost anywhere in the country. Camping trekking is fully organized and supported with a team of guides, cooks, sherpas and porters to accompany you.

All the necessary trekking gears; food, fuel and other goods are carried by the porters. The cook will prepare all the meals during the camping trek. Trekkers need to carry only a small bag as required for the day. At night, tents for dining, sleeping and ablution are provided and set up. Mattresses, sleeping bags, tables and seating are arranged by staff. A Sridhar (chief guide) is employed to pre-arrange and then to oversee the entire program. All land transportation, local permits, taxes, porter insurance, port dues and entrance fees to National Parks or sites constituting an integral part of the trip are arranged.

When to go:

The best seasons for trekking are either side of the monsoon season, March-June and September-November. During this time the weather is generally fine and the skies clear. It is possible to trek through outa of season, but expect lots of rain (and leeches) during the monsoon and severe cold and closed passes during the winter months.

Experience & Fitness:

There are treks suitable for a wide range of experience and physical fitness, for age 5 to 85. An easy teahouse trek with Nepali support (guide/porter) is quite attainable for anyone who is reasonably walking fit - if you can walk for a few hours each day for a week and are not averse to the occasional (frequent!) hill climb then you can trek in Nepal. Longer treks, crossing high passes and into remote regions do tend to demand a higher degree of endurance. For Trekking Peaks it is usually desirable but not necessarily essential to have some alpine climbing experience.

Equipment:

the main essentials are sturdy and comfortable hiking boot, a sleeping bag and a few clothes (be prepared for a range of weather). It is best to travel light, take only what you need and leave the rest behind. If you have the services of a porter then you will need a day-pack for your essentials and the rest goes in a kit-bag or duffel to be conveyed to your next stop. It is possible to buy everything in Kathmandu and Pokhara but it is all copies.

Hiring support:

Whether to join a group, trek with other independent travelers or to hire your own guide and/or porter is a personal decision to be based on the difficulty of the trek and available budget. When signing up with an agency you should speak with several and make detailed enquiries about the differences in service besides just the base cost. If hiring staff independently then be mindful of your responsibilities to ensure that your man is suitably equipped for the job and stays safe.

Permits and TIMS:

"Trekking permits" are not required for the main teahouse treks. Recent rule brought in by the Trekking Associations in Nepal require that all trekkers register with TIMS ("Trekking Information Management System"), this can be done via official trekking agencies or the Nepal Tourism Board. Trekking to remote areas and climbing the designated "Trekking peaks" require extra permits; these are generally obtained by the agent/guide who will be arranging your trek.

Arriving mid-travel:

If you arrive in Kathmandu part way tour of Asia and decide to go trekking then you can easily get equipped in Kathmandu. Plenty of shops in Thamel sell (or rent) any trekking gear that may be required.
Rescue insurance: Before the departure check that your insurance covers trekking activities and the conditions. It would be very costly to pay a helicopter rescue at 5000 meters.

Trekking Season

Autumn: September to November
Excellent season for trekking in all areas, clear mountain views.

Winter: December to February
Ideal for trekking in regions below 2500 meters altitude.

Spring: March to May
Nepals national flower Gurans (Rhododendron in English) colors the mountains, moderate temperature makes a perfect choice for trekking in hilly regions but trekking in terai can be a little burdensome due to high temperature in the region.

Summer: June to August
Monsoon is in the period. Expect wet, warm and wild trekking during the season. This is the season to see lush green valleys with rice crops and greenest thick jungles.

Premits

One should be aware that no one else, no hotel, no street broker, no nice person you just met, not even a trekking guide is legally authorized to organize a trek. During the main seasons the agencies run regular group treks, both tea-house and camping styles.

Only TAAN registered trekking agencies in Kathmandu and Pokhara can legally organize treks and provide the services of a guide and/or porter with insurance.
A trekking permit issued by the Department of Immigration is required to trek in any part of Nepal, except the most popular areas of Annapurna, Khumbu and Langtang/Helambu. Those areas were declared permit-free in 1999. The joy was short-lived, though, as a new system called TIMS (Trekker Information Management System) was recently created for those three areas. Be sure you have a TIMS card with you when trekking independently or organized. Individual TIMS is obtainable only from Nepal Tourism Board offices and the Trekking Agents Association of Nepal office. Not even Trekking Agents are legally authorized to obtain individual TIMS (even do many small Trekking Agents will offer the individual TIMS). Police check points and Park officers can at any time check your permits.
Several National Parks and Conservation areas like ACAP (Annapurna Conservation Area Project) and Sagarmatha National Park (Everest area) require trekkers to pay an entrance fee.

Restricted areas require the old trekking permit (but not the TIMS card), which are obtainable only through the organizing trekking agent for areas like Dolpo, Mustang, Manaslu, Kanchenjunga and other similar areas.

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