Celebrated as one of the best trekking spots in the world, the Himalayas stand tall stretching from Pakistan, all the way to the Autonomous Region of China, touching India, Bhutan, Nepal, and Tibet in between. With breathtaking vistas, the grandeur of tall peaks, and novel ethnic groups, trekking in the Himalayas is any nature lover’s dream. A country laden with countless Himalayan ranges, Nepal has been at the forefront of the trekking industry for the last 50 years. Though challenging and daring, Nepal’s picturesque trekking regions will reward you memories for a lifetime.
Trekking in the Himalayas: A Step-by-Step Guide
Here is a step-by-step guide for trekking the Himalayas in Nepal:
Do Your Research
It is important to get your hands on as much information as you can before you set out for the trek. This will help you choose the kind of trek you want, the package you have to choose, and even a suitable trek operator.
For instance, there are two types of treks: tea house treks and camping treks.
- Tea house treks - The trekkers are provided food and accommodation by tea houses where they stop for rest or sleep.
- Camping treks - The trekkers set up tents at points of their preference and safety. Your guide, porters and a cook will accompany you to take care of your needs.
Whatever be your choice amongst these two, it wouldn’t be a great idea to let the terrain, the altitude or the weather surprise you as you go on your Himalayan treks. When you go for trekking in the Himalayas, the idea is to brace yourself equally for the matchless scenic beauty and the physical challenges that you will most certainly encounter. From discomforts like fatigue, blisters, and sore feet to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMU), a trekker will never run out of challenges. In case of serious injuries and other medical emergencies, trekkers are evacuated using helicopters. But take heart! Choosing the right Himalayan trekking package and having a competent guide will ease things for you up there.
Here are some tips that could help you have a convenient journey:
- March to May and September to November are considered the ideal times to go on the trek.
- Research on the topography, climate, and the effect of higher altitudes on your body.
- Get water purifier tablets as clean water could sometimes be a luxury.
- Refrain from having alcohol and smoke.
- Stay properly hydrated.
- Stick to a gradual pace instead of rushing up; give your body some time to acclimatize.
- Take a basic medical kit with you as medical facilities are very scarce in most of the popular trekking areas in Nepal.
How to Prepare
Train your Body
While it is an undisputed fact that trekking in the Himalayas is not for the weak, proper physical training can build the endurance you require for this journey. Hiking is a powerful cardio workout; the same reason for which you should build up your cardiovascular endurance before embarking on this adventure. Going for brisk walks, jogging, easy walking, and a combination of all three aside from running for 3, 4, kilometers every week can make you fit.
Sparing some time for basic exercises like lunges, squats, walking, climbing, etc, 10 to 15 days before your journey will also boost your stamina considerably. Whether you hit a gym or hire a trainer before trekking in the Himalayas, make sure your training includes exercises that help your hips, shoulders, abdominals, upper back, and lower back. Despite all of your efforts at getting fit, altitude sickness is something that will certainly hit you as you hike. Keep a couple of ibuprofen and paracetamol handy in case of headaches related to altitude sickness.
Pick Your Hiking Shoes
Though largely despised for its weight, rigidity and hard soles, hiking shoes are your best chance to have a firm grip on the land beneath your feet. As tantalizing it may be to pick your comfy running shoes over hiking shoes for trekking in the Himalayas, the former is not designed to absorb the shock induced by the weight of your backpack. By picking a pair of good hiking shoes, half of your challenges as a hiker can be resolved beforehand.
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Pack Light and Smart
Be cognizant of the fact that while trekking in the Himalayas, your backpack, or rucksack, is going to be a constant companion on your back. The trick is to pack light and ease your movement. Make sure you get a rucksack with a waterproof cover so your valuables won’t get drenched. Pack clothes that will cover you up in layers; the greater the altitude, the colder it will be. Go get some of those lightweight thermal t-shirts and vests that will keep you warm and wick away perspiration at the same time. Apart from sleeping bags, sunscreen, shades, lip balm, moisturiser, first aid kit, and toiletries also top the list.
Choosing the package
In Nepal, there are plenty of Himalayan Treks for beginners as well as ace trekkers. To go on a hassle-free Himalayan trekking tour, choose an experienced trekking agency that offers best packages. Here are some of the popular trekking regions.
Everest Trekking Region
The trek takes you through Khumbu valley and Sagarmatha National Park while you marvel at the Sherpa communities and their traditions. It is one of the most popular Himalayan trekking regions that allows you the view of the world’s tallest mountain as well as the 6 neighbouring peaks.
Annapurna Trekking Region
A diverse trekking region with options that suit even beginners, Annapurna region is laden with farmlands, natural forests and mountain ranges. With up-close views of some of the tallest peaks in the world, this is the second most popular trekking region in Nepal after Everest.
Langtang Trekking Region
The closest trekking region in Nepal with several high peaks, Langtang trekking region is a very accessible trekking spot in Nepal with Lauribinayak Pass as its destination. With Makalu and Annapurna on east and west and the beauty of Tibetan and Nepali ethnic groups, Langtang is definitely a sought after destination now.
Manaslu Trekking Region
A wild trek that rose to popularity recently, Manaslu trekking will offer you serene vistas, interaction with the locals, and a pass crossing at 17,000 feet. Often regarded as an affordable, accessible trek compared to others, it has everything you need in a classic Nepal trek.
Be it the sights, the duration of the trek or the ideal season to visit, each package is unique. Decide on what variety you are comfortable with and choose your package wisely.
Choosing Your Tour Operator
Once you pick your trekking region, the next big step is to choose your tour operator who will ensure a safe trip. There are two types of trekking operators: trekking portals and trekking organizers. While the former outsources bookings to organizers, the latter is more flexible on dates, batches and refunds, making it the most voted for.
It is extremely important to go for an agency that has Govt. license and registration and at the same time will not rob you of your money with hidden charges. With unpredictable weather and terrain, getting a guide who is experienced enough to guarantee safety throughout the journey is crucial. With an experienced trekking agency and safety standards in place, Himalayan adventure is certainly the most remarkable journey you will ever go on.
If a Himalayan adventure has always been in your bucket list, it is time to fix your package and set out hiking. Make sure you first get an experienced agency and your safety standards in place before you buckle up for one of the best experiences of your life.