Trekking in Nepal
Nepal has only been opened to the West since 1951, and despite the veneer of westernization in certain areas it remains a very traditional and religious society. As guests, you must respect this and respond sensitively. Whilst the Nepalese will never rebuke you for unknowingly offending them, it is always desirable to respect as many of their customs and beliefs as you can.
A trek is walking at your own pace through well established village trails whereby you will enjoy a close contact with people in remote mountain villages whose life style has not changed for generations. Perhaps the most enjoyable part of a trek is the clean mountain air and magnificent views of the mighty Himalayan peaks. You will feel at peace with nature and with yourself. Whichever of the treks you choose, it is essential to remember that a trek is not a climbing experience. Most of the trails are well maintained; many trails up steep slopes are often paved with stones by villagers. Trekking in Nepal entails walking up and down countless times. You walk each day at your own pace and your Sherpa guide (Sirdar) is always around to guide and assist you. Porters will carry your belongings however, you need to carry your rucksack/day-pack containing camera equipment, water bottle and toilet kit etc;. In case you find it difficult to even cope with it, your Sherpa guide will be more than happy to assist you. Even on an easy trek you will be required to walk about 4 to 6 hours daily on uneven terrain and therefore, you must be used to regular exercises. Those with any cardiac or pulmonary history are required to obtain a physician’s clearance before participating on any form of trek and they are definitely not advised to participate in high altitude or strenuous treks.
Mental preparedness for trek is equally important and a subject very few give thought to. It is important to remember our people especially in the mountains have different values and attitudes than those of the western world. One should, therefore accept this as a part of a trekking holiday. Approaching the mountains with preconceived ideas or values and attitudes is not advisable and could lead to disappointments during the trek.
CODE OF CONDUCT
- Never enter anyone’s house or a temple without permission. Many Hindu temples may be closed to non-Hindus. If permitted, always remove your shoes before entering.
- Shoes must be removed when entering all monasteries and temples. (This can be modified on occasions, but see what others are doing).
- In tea-shops or in local houses, please stay away from the kitchen.
- Keep away from dogs or animals no matter how friendly they may be as they are often not inoculated against rabies.
- Village children and street beggars are never to be pampered with candies or money no matter how pathetic they look. It should always be avoided as it will only encourage them to commence begging. Handing out pens, balloons & sweets to children in the villages only decreases their respect for us. Tourists, albeit with the best of intentions, have created this situation.
- Always use the right hand while giving or accepting anything.
- While circling Hindu temples or Buddhist Stupas, always go about it in a clock-wise direction.
- Never press anyone to pose for photographs. Using an appropriate zoom lens would be a better idea.
- Never leave belongings unattended. The general tendency of villagers is, if things are just lying, they are not needed.The villagers may take these things away without permission.
- Women & men should both avoid wearing high-cut shorts. Long baggy shorts are more acceptable to local people. Women are advised to wear lightweight skirts or trousers. Tops, which expose the shoulders, are similarly unacceptable. Nudity is totally unacceptable. So please wear a swimsuit or sarong when bathing. Similarly public displays of affection are discouraged.
- Most Hindus do not eat food that has been touched by a foreigner. Similarly avoid throwing rubbish into cooking fires.
- For religious reasons, Nepalese people are offended by being touched on the head. Similarly, foreigners should never sit so that the sole of the feet is pointed at a person or a religious shrine.
- Last but not the least, everyone should remember that in Nepal punctuality has little meaning. Patience & a sense of humor are great assets.
Your team for a lodge trek will consist of a Sherpa guide (Sirdar) and porter/s. If the group size is large, we provide additional Sherpas to assist you and the Sirdar. Sirdar is the leader and is responsible for the smooth running of your trek and your well-being. They are usually of Sherpa stock who are born mountaineers. Due to limited education, they will be able to communicate in basic English only, so please do not expect them to conduct any intellectual discourse or discuss on any issue in depth. You will then have number of porters as per the requirement who will generally be hired locally. You are required to carry your ruck-sack/day-pack only containing your camera equipment, toilet kit, face towel, bathing suit and a pullover. As the Sirdar is overall in-charge, please respect him and heed his warnings and advices during any difficult situation that may arise during your trek. Our staff will always do their best to help you.
The Sirdar will arrange the lodge/tea house at all the places. They are basic in standard (especially at higher altitude) and attached toilet facilities are not always available. During the trek, you may have to share dormitories mainly in higher elevations in high seasons when all lodges are completely sold-out due to limited number of lodges. These lodges cannot be booked in advance due to communication deficiencies. The blankets/quilts are not always available and may not be clean so we highly recommend bringing your own sleeping bag. Hot showers are available at most of the lodges by paying extra directly.
All meals will be provided in the same lodges prepared in the lodge/restaurant. The food will be simple, with less variety but enough. You will be offered fixed meal planned by the Sirdar. The breakfast will comprise of cereal, egg & bread/toast. Lunch will include the main course (fried rice/dal bhat/noodles/macaroni/potatoes). Dinner will comprise of soup, one main course and dessert. All hot/cold beverages consumed will have to be settled directly. Further any additional consumption of food over the regular menu will have to be paid directly by you. Concerning water, we suggest you to drink boiled or bottled water and settle the cost directly.
For proper acclimatization, it is recommended not to climb over 1000m in a single day. If the problem arises, your Sirdar will help you in which case you will have to walk down to lose height immediately and seek help from local health post.
While 3 fixed meals (except beverages) and support staff are included in your arrangement, you are required to pay for any additional consumptions. The emergency evacuation costs, video fees in National Parks are not included in your trek cost. Insurance of any nature is not covered in the price. Similarly the charges for hot shower, pony ride (if required) and any other local taxes/entrance fees (including the same at monasteries & museums) and donations etc; are to be paid by you directly. Further, the flights to Jomsom or Lukla are weather dependable and if the flight gets cancelled, you will have to pay directly for any extra nights’ accommodation and food which are not planned in the original itinerary.
The Sirdars/porters do expect some tips (US$6-8 per day) but it is never demanded and left entirely on your wish to reward individuals personally or collectively after receiving services that you consider were good or excellent. It is difficult for us to give a firm breakdown on tips. After all services have been provided to your entire satisfaction, you can decide how much to give each one on the basis of the quality/quantity of the service that you get.
LUGGAGE & PERSONAL ITEMS:
We recommend when trekking clients bring a rucksack or soft back pack. (please, no back packs with wheels). Your porter can only carry 20-25 kgs. If a couple are undertaking a private trek with guide and a porter, taking 1 larger bag with all needed personal items is is ideal.
It is recommended to bring the following personal items, such as: Trek boots/sport shoes with ankle support, down Jacket, warm trousers/jeans, thick jogging suit, full sleeve shirts, wind cheater, light Underwear, thick cotton socks, light gloves, toilet kit, small rucksack/day-pack, underwear & bathing suit etc;
Toilet Kit must contain the followings: Toothbrush and toothpaste, soap and shampoo, a sewing kits and spare buttons, spare set of prescribed glasses, hand/face towel, swiss army knife and safety pins etc;
Optional: Sleeping bag, rainwear (poncho style), sun hat, sun glasses, water bottle, sun cream, lip salve, cotton scarf/mask, flash light & batteries, hot water bag, insect repellent, personal medicines, first aid kit, camera & films & duffel bag etc;
TREK PERMITS, NATIONAL PARK AND CONSERVATION FEES:
National Park and Conservation Fees are included in your trek cost. As per the government regulation, trek permits are not required to trek through Langtang, Everest and Annapurna regions. Restricted area trek permits (e.g.: Upper Dolpo & Upper Mustang Permit), are always quoted separately and must be paid in Kathmandu in cash. There is a video camera fee in all National Parks which has to be settled directly.