Trekking in Heaven
With its high peaks and hilly terrain, Nepal offers some of the best trekking locations in the world.
As the world’s top ten highest mountains are located in Nepal, it is only natural that adventurers from around the world seek to travel to the region to trek – a unique experiences for those who like adventurous sports. Trekking is also among the most popular activities in Nepal and is enjoyed by a vast variety of people – both professional mountain climbers and people vacationing with families or friends.
In fact, Nepal is often termed the trekking capital of the world. In some seasons it transforms into a trekking hub when its streets are full of travelers from around the world. When the weather is pleasant, sites are set up and tour guides are in demand to organize trekking tours. A large number of options are available for trekkers based on their age, capabilities, trekking gear and the areas they want to visit. Travelers have been known to spend years planning their expeditions to go to faraway locations. This requires long-term training and a lot of courage and stamina. Even those who have not done any prior planning can enjoy the experience by becoming a part of an organized group if they arrive in Kathmandu or Pokhara in the right season.
While some people believe that Nepalese treks are uncharted and lofty plains, this is not entirely true. There are several well-marked trek sites and paths. Passersby like to ensure that they have plenty of food, water and other necessary supplies that they can easily pick up as they pass different villages. Trek groups usually consist of at least 15 people and standard trekking gear is necessary for all of them.
There are several villages and teahouses along the path to ensure that trekkers can rest, regain their energy and replenish their supplies. These teahouses reflect Nepal’s culture and offer a great opportunity to trekkers to meet the village people and also keep abreast of the movement of fellow travelers. Many trekkers claim that there is an unreserved friendliness and hospitality in the natives which works wonders for the exhausted trekkers who stop by a teahouse after a long walk.
The best trekking season is one when the weather is dry and warm. Travelers and adventurers are under more risk if they go for mountain climbing and trekking through difficult terrain in the monsoon or in winter. Since there is usually a considerable distance between two villages or shelters, traveling during the wrong season can have dire consequences.
The periods of March to June and September to November are usually the best time for trekkers to go about their mission. The weather in these months is dry and crisp with bearable temperatures and clear blue skies. Sometimes, it rains during May and June and travelers are asked to stay put as rain brings with it leeches and severe cold while the trekking path also becomes muddy and uneven.
There is much to explore in Nepal in terms of new sites and there is a variety of treks to choose from. But crossing higher passes or going into remote regions requires a certain level of physical fitness and an adventurous spirit. There are several trekking peaks as well which cross the 5600-6500m mark. For these experiences, one must have previous climbing experience and plenty of training. Moreover, one must be super fit and have the best trekking gear to go travelling in unexplored locations.
To fully enjoy the wide range of experiences that trekking offers, one must be able to walk uphill and be in a condition to go a while without stopping at shelters. Although there are several trek paths which are easier to handle, and often there are guides to support travelers, it is still important to collect all the relevant information about the trekking mission before embarking on it. However, if needed, teahouses and emergency supplies are never too far.
One can easily purchase everything needed for trekking from the markets in the Thamel neighborhood of Kathmandu and Pokhara. The markets in Thamel offer the best bargains in fleece and buttondown jackets, which are essentials for long treks. Other essential trekgear such as comfortable yet sturdy hiking boots that can handle uneven terrain for prolonged periods, sleeping bags, daypacks, comfortable trekking clothes, gloves, thermals, hiking pants and waterproof jackets can also be bought from these markets. If the trek is to be held away from inhabited areas, it is important to carry everyday items such as matches, toilet paper, bandages, flashlights, communication devices, water purifiers, cameras or binoculars, maps and so on. These supplies can easily be purchased from local markets before a hike begins.
Trekking in Nepal requires a Trekker Information Management Systems (TIMS) card along with the entry tickets of national parks. There are different categories for different kinds of trekking and the cards are issued accordingly. For example, there are different cards for independent treks as opposed to organized ones. These cards are issued by the Trekking Agents Association.
Some regions such as Dolpo, Manaslu and Mustang require special trekking permits that are only available with trekking agents. There are 33 peaks in Nepal which have heights of 7000m and climbing them is an arduous task. Special climbing permits along with qualified and registered climbing guides are required to go trekking on these peaks. This kind of trekking is considered extremely difficult because the higher one goes the lesser the chances are of finding support and supplies through other guides or shelters.
Just like commercial mountain climbing, trekking is also becoming a commercial venture. Once the trekker decides the kind of adventure he wants to undertake, he is offered a proper package in line with his requirements. The treks could just be for the mountainous view or can be designed to show the villages and the picturesque locations across the country. Some treks are also designed around a detox/healthy-living program which includes yoga and meditation classes in-between trekking.
Nepal attracts close to 150,000 trekkers from around the world every year. It is home to some of the best and highly qualified tour and climbing guides. The country offers countless trekking destinations with scenic views. If you’re an adventurer, you are likely to find some of the best peaks to conquer and personal challenges to beat every time you visit the country.