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Trekking and hiking in Nepal

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What to expect and where to go for trekking and hiking in Nepal

With the world’s most famous mountain range on our doorstep, it’s no wonder that so many adventurous travellers make their way to Nepal each year, ready to strap on their trekking boots and go exploring. But what kind of experience should you expect? When should you go? Should you hire a guide? Where will you sleep?!?

In this guide, we’ll try to answer some of the big questions, and you can also get in touch with our team to go through your trekking options in more detail.

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Your trekking and hiking experience in Nepal

You may have visions of ancient explorers scaling mountains and battling through blizzards, but nowadays trekking in Nepal is a much more inclusive experience. There is a huge range of treks and short hikes, suitable for most abilities, and for the most part you’ll find good facilities and well-marked trails.

There are still opportunities for more extreme adventures and mountaineering, of course, but most people come to enjoy the epic mountain scenery, the feeling of relative isolation from the modern world, and to take on a physical challenge that is within their abilities.

Along the way, you’ll witness a way of life that has barely changed in centuries. The communities who live in this part of the world have embraced trekking as a way of supporting their livelihoods, and the encounters you have with the local people can be just as memorable as the Himalayas themselves.

Do I need to be fit?

It helps, of course, but you don’t necessarily need to be a superhero to come trekking in Nepal.  You can choose anything from tough 3-week expeditions to gentle hikes through the Himalayan foothills, many of which can be completed by families, older people or even those with some mobility issues.

If you’re not sure which trail is right for you, you can speak to our team for some advice on which to choose.

Accommodation

Camping is still common, particularly in more remote trekking regions, but nowadays many people choose to spend their evenings in the tea houses found along most of the popular routes. You’ll often have a private room and meals can be purchased too, and in some places you’ll even have WIFI, hot showers and western toilets. Although these tea houses vary in terms of comfort and facilities, the warm welcomes and the chance to meet other trekkers from around the world make them a popular option.

Thanks to the pioneering work of the Community Homestay Network, you can also choose to stay with a host family in one of the villages along your route. You’ll have plenty of privacy and your own room, and the chance to meet and learn about these people and how they live is a priceless experience.

Food and Drink

Predictably, you’ll find Dal Bhat is the first (and sometimes only) thing on the menu in most tea houses. This is not a bad thing – it’s super-filling, cheap and the cook will usually put their own little twist on it.

Many teahouses along the popular trekking routes have started to cater more for western travellers, and you might find that you can enjoy a burger or something else familiar after a long day on your feet. You’ll often be able to purchase beers, chocolate bars and other snacks from small tea or coffee stands along the way too.

If you’d prefer to camp than stay in a tea house, then we’d recommend packing a good stove and stocking up on food supplies in Pokhara or Kathmandu. Alternatively, if you join a guided trek, this will usually be taken care of for you.

Guides and Porters

Many young Nepalis choose to make use of their mountain experience by working as guides or porters, and their services can be invaluable in keeping you safe and giving you the best trekking experience possible.

Guides and porters can usually be hired locally before you set off, but you may want to consider arranging this in advance through a reputable company such as Royal Mountain Travel – they ensure that their employees are fairly-paid, fairly-treated and have all the knowledge and experience needed.

Porters have a history of being exploited, underpaid and made to carry huge weights which can do permanent damage to their health. Please make sure that the bag you give your porter weighs under 15kg, or hire a second porter. If you see an overloaded porter, you should report it to the trekking company.

What to pack

Being well-prepared for your trek is vital, and will allow you to enjoy your trekking experience to the maximum. We’ve put together a comprehensive Nepal Packing List, including what you’ll need for trekking, to help you make sure you put the right things in your rucksack before you set off.

Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness can affect even the fittest people, and at it can be fatal in extreme cases or if it isn’t managed correctly. Take it seriously, be prepared and always take the time to acclimatise.

You can read our Medical advice and altitude sickness page for advice on how to prevent altitude sickness, and how to react if it happens to you.

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