Intent on enjoying your next vacation in Nepal? Well, it is undeniably one of the best-planned vacations indeed. Nepal is sandwiched between India and China and houses almost the entirety of the Himalayan mountain range. Hence, it is a favored destination for adventure enthusiasts.
Nepal is not just a place for the pros, but even the beginners and the uninitiated. Whether it be the classics like the Everest Base Camp Trek or the Annapurna Circuit Trek, or the more unconventional ones like the Mardi Himal Trek, Nepal has it all for you!
If you want to deal with dangers, then high-altitude climbing like Mera Peak climbing could be the one for you. Nepal even houses some of the world’s most challenging treks, like the Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek. But this is not all.
But there are many things people tend to overlook before embarking on one of these cherished adventures. Let’s try to shed light on some of those.
The ideal time to trek in Nepal- Peak season:
The primary motivation of embarking on the fabled adventures like the Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Lakes Trek for many is the spectacular beauty of the Himalayas. Enjoying this beauty is done best when the skies are clear, and the weather is pleasant. Therefore, spring and autumn are the best seasons to get the best views.
September to November is unarguably the best time for hiking in Nepal, get all your gear from the Altitude store and head there now. Though unpredictable weather is a unique feature of Nepal, you can think of venturing on challenging adventures like the Manaslu Circuit Trek and Island Peak Climbing during this period.
The monsoon rains clear the sky, and the views are breathtaking. But since this is the peak season, almost every trail is crowded. You can try the more unconventional ones like the Ghorepani Poonhill Trek to escape the global rabble.
Late February to the end of May is the second-best period for hiking in Nepal. Though the weather is pleasant and the temperatures are mild, the skies can turn cloudy in the blink of an eye!
Saving trekking expenses- Trek during Offseason:
July to September is an off-season for trekkers because the monsoon sets in. The monsoon rains cause landslides and avalanches and can get the trekkers stranded and lost in the trails. It is one of the most dangerous times for hiking in Nepal. The probability of good mountain views is exceptionally slim. The services are comparatively low during this season, but the off-season has the lowest prices for the visitors. If you want to trade in dangers, embark on the more challenging ones like the Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek during this period.
December to February is the coldest time in Nepal. The days are short, and the nights are incredibly chilly. High-altitude trails are primarily inaccessible due to heavy snowfall. However, if you are not daunted by the cold, you can embark on various treks during this season on a low budget.
Altitude sickness and its symptoms:
You will encounter several stumbling blocks while embarking on spectacular treks like the Everest Three Passes Trek and the Langtang Trek. One of these blocks is the Acute Mountain Sickness or AMS. The Himalayan region in Nepal boasts of staggering heights. High altitude is characterized by low Oxygen, less pressure, and cold temperatures. These act in synergy and give rise to the AMS.
Not only will it mar your trekking joy and excitement, but it might also compel you to quit the trek altogether. At times, AMS proves to be fatal. But with an ideal acclimatization period and appropriate precaution, you can handle it.
Solid know-how about high-altitude sickness symptoms might help you take the ideal steps after an early diagnosis. Let’s take a look at some of them.
- Nausea, accompanied by frequent vomiting. Loss of appetite is also a very typical symptom.
- You’ll suffer from bouts of sleeplessness and insomnia. A constant headache and dizziness are also common.
- Weakness is another common symptom. You might also encounter a slight swelling of your limbs.
AMS prevention tips:
You don’t have to be disappointed about your upcoming Langtang Trek for an AMS scare. Instead, the following AMS prevention tips could help prevent the high-altitude sickness from happening altogether.
- When you are climbing above 3000m, you should have sufficient time for acclimatization in your trekking itinerary. If you’re doing the Annapurna Base Camp Trek or any other high-altitude trek, leave enough gaps for acclimatization. You or your teammates will be highly prone to AMS if they are not trained like a pro. Even if you are a pro, your body rejects specific climatic differences. So the best tip to stop AMS is to prevent it from occurring altogether.
- Even if you are high on adrenaline, don’t ascend rapidly. Try to keep your pace steady while ascending because you will encounter sudden loss in air pressure and oxygen levels.
- Drinking, smoking, or taking illicit drugs is simply prohibited. It will increase the chances of AMS.
- You should concentrate on staying hydrated. Maintaining the fluid levels in your body while hiking in Nepal will prevent AMS from setting in. You should drink plenty of water while you are on the trail. Also, try local invigorating beverages like tea.
- Wearing warm clothes, socks, gloves, etc., is critical. It helps maintain the body temperature and prevents sudden heat loss. It is also an essential AMS prevention tip.
You’ve embarked on the Makalu Base Camp Trek, and suddenly one of your team members is hit by AMS. Fret not; you don’t have to abandon him. Do the following things to avoid any mishap.
- Trek down as soon as you spot any symptoms of AMS. Descending rapidly helps.
- Try seeking help from the locals if you find any village or a tea-house or any human settlement nearby. You might also prefer to make the rest of the journey with a personal guide who will take care of your health.
Trekking Permits are some of the most vital documents:
Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and the Trekking Agencies’ Association Nepal (TAAN) issue trekking cards for the trekkers’ safety. These cards are known as TIMS or Trekker’s Information Management System cards. Every trekker must mandatorily obtain this from any of the above bodies. The TIMS card costs anywhere between NPR 300 to NPR 2000. That is roughly 2.6 USD to 17.5 USD. The costs vary depending on your place of origin and whether you are trekking solo or in a group.
Trekking permits and National Park permits:
Apart from the TIMS card, trekking permits have to be obtained en-route or beforehand. Trekking permits are basically tickets that the trekker needs to carry for that part of the journey. If the trail takes you across a Conservation Project or a National Park, then the trekkers need to pay their entrance fees in addition to the above charges. For example, the Everest Base Camp Trek takes you through the Sagarmatha National Park. These entrance permits range between 9.5 to 17.5 USD.
Special permit for restricted areas:
It is required for those who want to brave the less-beaten and more challenging trails. A registered trekking agency will only issue this special permit, and a guide will always accompany you. As of 2017, if you are embarking on the Manaslu Circuit Trek or the Upper Mustang Trek, you will have to obtain this special permit for restricted regions. Other restricted areas include the Kanchenjunga, Nar-Phu Valley, Tsum Valley, Dolpa, and Humla.
Accommodation during your treks:
Most of the hiking trail across Nepal is dotted with humble yet cozy tea-houses. They provide enough warmth after a day of grueling trek and space for you to rest. The Nepalese locals are known for their hospitality, and you will experience it first-hand at a tea-house during your trek. Most tea-houses provide only the basic amenities that you need during a trek, but that is enough!
Food during your treks:
When you are braving high-altitudes in a group where tea-houses are absent, you can take some dry food or ration with yourselves. But most of the hiking trails across Nepal are packed with tea-houses. Even at high altitudes, you will find them, though they become very sparse. You will get a rejuvenating meal in the tea-houses. The local dal-bhaat, vegetable, and meat curry will be served fresh and hot for you to enjoy. Momos and noodles form wholesome meals as well. And apart from these, your senses will be rejuvenated by sipping the tea. Food expenses vary from 25 to 30 USD per head per day.
Now that you know the seven most important things about hiking in Nepal plan wisely and embark on the adventure of a lifetime!