Published On:13 May,2016
Home to part of the Himalayas, Nepal is a mecca for trekkers and adventure travelers who flock to this Asian nation for its natural beauty, historic wonders and the chance to see tigers, crocodiles and other exotic creatures in the wild.
Officially the highest country on earth, Nepal nestles between India to the south and China to the northeast. It’s home to Mount Everest, a destination for mountain climbers around the world. Although the country was hit by devastating earthquakes in the spring of 2015, the government of Nepal say the country is safe for trekkers again.
Here are top tips for an adventure-of a lifetime trek in Nepal.
Don’t trek solo
Travel with other people. Let relatives know your itinerary and check in with them daily, whenever possible, and especially if your schedule or travel plans have changed. Several solo trekkers have disappeared in Nepal over the last few years.
Hire a local guide
A guide, should have mountain experience, first-aid training, and some sort of guide’s certification. Guides offer a significant safety net to your trek, if they meet these standards. Part of the appeal of trekking in Nepal is that you can actually wander the various trails there completely independently if you choose. The sense of freedom that comes with hiking in the Himalaya is glorious, and it is a big part of the draw for many adventurous travelers. But there are a number of reasons why hiring a local guide might be a good idea, and improved safety is just one of them. Not only are these guides completely familiar with the trails you’ll be walking, they’re also familiar with the region as a whole. They recognize when the weather is taking a turn for the worse, and they generally know when its time to get off the trail, and huddle up in one of the traditional teahouses found along the routes. They also tend to have relationships with various teahouse proprietors, making it easier to find a place to stay when you’re forced to get off the trail quickly. As with just about any region of the world, a well trained, certified, and knowledgeable guide can be a valuable resource to have at your disposal.
Additionally, there have been instances where solo trekkers have gone missing in the Himalaya in recent years. Having a guide, should help alleviate those fears as well.
Pack for unpredictable weather
Nepalese guides say autumn is the best time of year to go trekking in the Himalayas. However, as Sherpa says, weather conditions in the mountains change rapidly. Pack clothing that can be worn in removable layers, as well as gloves and a hat. Guides also recommend sunscreen and sunglasses.
Bring along a GPS tracker
Even if you’re traveling with a guide, carrying a GPS tracker can bring peace of mind. If you become stuck or stranded in a snowslide, GPS can help rescue teams locate your party much faster.
Carry a cell phone
Cell service has become more consistent across Nepal in recent years, Sherpa says, even in the mountainous regions. You can buy a cheap cell phone and prepaid cards in Kathmandu. This is a cost-effective alternative to carrying that pricey smartphone. Just be sure to share the number with relatives before heading out on your trek.
Virtually every trail in Nepal will test a hiker’s endurance. Know your abilities — and your limits. The air is thinner at high altitudes, forcing your body to work harder. Altitude sickness, while not often fatal, can cause headaches, dizziness and nausea.
Protect your goods
Bandits, while rare, are not unheard of. Stash money in a travel pouch worn under your clothing. Keep cameras and other pricey items stowed out of sight when not in use. If you are the victim of a crime, contact the Kathmandu Tourist Police at 01 4700750 or 01 4247041.
Be careful about street food
Carry water purification pills and drink only bottled water or water that has been boiled. Steer clear of raw vegetables and cut fruit, which may have been rinsed with local water.
Know the local currency rules
Exchange Nepalese currency before your departure. Nepalese money is not accepted or exchanged anywhere outside the country. It’s also illegal to take currency out of the country.
Be prepared for blackouts
Nepal is subject to daily scheduled power outages. Carry a flashlight and solar lantern and charge any electronics in advance of blackouts. Pack a universal voltage adapter as well: Nepal operates on 220V.
Get travel insurance
Travel agents recommend you purchase travel insurance before visiting Nepal. Make sure the insurance also covers mountain rescues and helicopter evacuation.
Follow the customs
Avoid touching anyone’s head or sitting in a way that shows the soles of your feet to someone (this is considered insulting). Greet people you meet by touching both hands together at the palms. This means “namaste,” or “the divine in me salutes the divine in you.” Namaste, and safe travels!
References: TripAdvisor, SafeBee, worldtravelguide.net