I didn’t actually go trekking in Nepal when I visited the country last year. So, I’ve asked Nepal trekking expert, Martha Thomson from Kandoo Adventures, to give us the lowdown on everything you need to know before you plan a trip trekking in Nepal, as it will complement the other guides to Nepal I’ve put together.
Trekking in Nepal is one of the most popular things you can do there, and I didn’t want to miss it out.
So, here’s everything you need to know to plan your Nepal trekking trip.
How to go trekking in Nepal
There are few better ways to connect with nature and your inner self than trekking. Walking through swaths of beautiful, natural landscapes with hundreds of species of unique animals just roaming around can be a life-changing experience.
Of course, there are trails and trekking areas that aren’t as desirable as others. Most of the time, people recount stories from the most popular national parks in certain countries as particularly dreadful, because of the large number of tourists that come in and disturb the wildlife as well as the natural surroundings.
When planning your next adventure, make sure that you pick a spot that is relatively untouched by the destructive effects of the irresponsible tourism industry. Furthermore, you should plan accordingly with your experience and willingness to push yourself. Some of the trails out there are really challenging and physically demanding. If you’re not careful enough or unprepared, things can go sideways really quickly.
Remember – treks take days, sometimes even weeks to complete and underestimating them can have grave consequences.
Regardless of whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned veteran, you can’t really go wrong with deciding to go trekking in Nepal. The breathtaking mountainous landscapes of the Himalayas combined with beautiful vistas, with lush greenery and unique wildlife are the perfect scenery for your next summer adventure.
Keep reading to learn more about the best treks in Nepal and how to prepare yourself to ensure that you have a great time and stay safe during your travels.
Before you go: how to get ready
Preparation is a key aspect of any major undertaking in life, travelling in particular. Nepal is a far away, remote place, where not many people speak English and might be unable to help you out in some cases. Without taking appropriate precautions before your departure, it might be too late to patch that up after you arrive in the Himalayas.
– Get in shape!
One of the most common misconceptions about trekking, whether in Nepal or anywhere else, is that it is mostly just walking. That is as far away from the truth as possible. A trek is nothing like a pleasant stroll in the park. While it is not exactly an extreme sport, your body still needs to be prepared for a good amount of exercise, sometimes in very dire weather conditions.
Before traveling to go trekking in Nepal, you should consider going on a short trek or two, somewhere in your area. Naturally, you will not be able to get close to Himalayan heights and conditions, but you will get a basic understanding of what it takes to walk uphill for hours at a time. Thanks to taking a mini-trek prior to the trip, you will learn more about your body and how much more work you need to do in order to be fully prepared for trekking in Nepal.
Besides trial treks, it might be a good idea to hit your local gym a few times before the trip – you don’t need to get ripped like a bodybuilder, but working out the muscles in your body will certainly be very beneficial when you’re ascending some of the most difficult hills in the world.
– Do your research
Read other people’s accounts of similar trips. Learn about different treks to see which one is going to suit your expectations and fitness level best. Find out what equipment resonated best with other travellers and which type of inventory will provide you with the best quality at a reasonable price.
Finally, pack accordingly and bring along all of the necessities that might be hard to come by in a place like Nepal. Don’t count on the local stores and merchants to be as well-stocked as the establishments you frequent at home. Pharmacies are scarce and the people that work there might not speak English well enough to advise you. It’s probably a good idea to stock up on basic painkillers and anti-fever drugs back home. You might end up needing them in the middle of your trek in Nepal, hundreds of miles away from civilisation.
There are loads of shops selling imitation mountain gear in Kathmandu, but it’s not of authentic quality. And you don’t want to be finding that out when you’re halfway up a mountain trekking in Nepal.
– Be wary of your diet
The modern lifestyle is unforgivingly fast and doesn’t leave us with a lot of time to cook meals at home or give second thoughts as to what we’re actually putting into our bodies. It might be enough to sustain you with basic nutrition to stay healthy and productive in a hermetic, city environment.
Once you get on the trail trekking in Nepal and you haven’t conditioned yourself properly with an appropriate diet and lifestyle, all of the supersized meals and double cheeseburgers will come back to bite you when you are trying to climb a particularly steep hill.
In the weeks leading up to your flight to Nepal, try to make some changes in your daily routine. If you feel like you won’t have time to do shopping and cook during the workweek, try to do as much meal-prep over the weekend. You would be surprised at how many people have taken to this practice and are showing tremendous results!
Look at taking supplements if you’re worried about your nutrition on a trek.
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Best treks in Nepal
There is no shortage of trekking regions and wonderful trails in Nepal, regardless of your previous experience or the degree of willingness to push yourself. There are a variety of factors that determine a trek’s difficulty, such as altitude, length of the entire journey and the terrain.
Whether you’re simply trying to see beautiful landscapes and experience Nepali culture, or are a serious trekking maniac who seeks out nothing less than pushing the limits of human ability, check out some of these best treks in Nepal listed below to find something for yourself.
Trekking in Nepal for beginners: Solu Trek
This one will take you approximately six days to complete (although it can easily be extended to as long as 14 days) and it is an absolute must for all of the history and culture buffs out there. It takes you along some of the lower-elevated trails, which means that you do not need to be at your best in terms of the fitness level to rise to the Solu Trek’s challenge.
All throughout the hike, you will encounter multiple peculiar, yet awe-inspiring monasteries, most of which are still up and running, populated by monks who are always more than willing to share knowledge about the region and its people. The Nepali Sherpa culture is a fascinating subject and no one better to learn about it from than the locals who’ve dedicated their entire lives to preserving it.
Since the Solu Trek takes you on a journey through the Lower Everest region, it provides you with the unique opportunity to see the tallest mountain on Earth from up close, without tiring yourself out too much. Looking at Mount Everest from the bottom truly is a sight to behold and one of the most ego-shattering experiences trekking in Nepal possible.
Nepal trekking for the adventurous: Pikey Peak Trek
The Pikey Peak first gained traction within the mountaineering and climbing culture in the days of Edmund Hillary, the famed explorer, who proclaimed it as his favourite spot to view Mount Everest from. All the way throughout the Pikey Peak Trek the altitudes will be high enough to stay challenging, but low enough to still be manageable even for inexperienced climbers.
Keep in mind that you’ll still need to be in shape in order to maintain pace and complete the trek without much difficulty. It’s a seven-day long journey at 4-9 hours of hiking a day. Follow the preparation tips and bring your fitness levels up – the view from Pikey Peak is definitely worth it, and firmly earns its place as one of the best treks in Nepal!
Trekking in Nepal for the fearless: Dhaulagiri Trek
The Dhaulagiri Circuit is difficult to the point of becoming infamous in some of the trekking circles. Hailed by many as ‘the most rugged trek in Nepal’, it’ll take you to insanely high altitudes and keep you there for days at a time! One of the toughest parts of the trail will have you spend three days in a row making your way through slippery, snowy terrain at 5,000 meters above sea level.
Contrary to many other treks in Nepal, this one does not have any basic lodging along the whole circuit. This means that you will depend solely on your tent and the camping equipment you and your companions bring along, all the way throughout the entirety of this nearly three week long expedition. Not to mention the profound effects of such altitudes on your body – you might have difficulty falling asleep and get lightheaded often.
If you’re in great shape and have already completed some of the more difficult treks before arriving in Nepal, then the Dhaulagiri Circuit might just happen to be a feasible challenge for you.
Trekking in Nepal
As long as you’re ready for all the inconvenience and difficulties that come with it, you’ll be rewarded with an unforgettable experience of seeing the highest peaks on Earth from up close. Not to mention the feeling of accomplishment that comes along with having survived some of the harshest conditions known to mankind!
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