For a large amount of information and the answer to these questions, please scroll further down this page....
- Do I need a Guide, Can't I do it myself?
- Bel, I've heard I can become sick if I drink the local water. How do you survive a trek without water ? Do you carry it with you ?
- Bel, What's the food like on the trekking routes ?
- Bel, I would love to come to Nepal and go trekking but I should also like to spend some time in Kathmandu.
- It is my first time to Nepal. How long should I plan on spending in Kathmandu and other cities and how much time trekking.
- Bel, There are many trekking companies based in the Europe or America who can organize the whole trekking experience. What advantage is there to using a trekking service based in Nepal.
- Bel, I have heard some people talk about camping treks and others speak of guest house or tea house treks. What does all that mean ?
- Bel, what's a typical day like on a trek ?
- Bel, we plan to trek in early February in the Annapurna Sanctuary. How cold will it get ? What kind of clothes do we need.
- Bel, Is there any mountaineering skills required in a typical trek ?
- Bel, I have heard that some people do not acclimatize to altitude. How can I guarantee that this will not be a problem for me ?
- Bel, I would also like to do some white water rafting and mountain biking while in Nepal. Can I do that ?
- Bel, what kind of clothes should I bring for trekking in the mountains ?
- Bel, As a woman travelling alone I would prefer a woman guide/porter. Can this be arranged ?
- Bel, What language is spoken in Nepal ? Do many guides speak English ?
- Bel, Do I need protection against Malaria or other diseases in Nepal ? Should I get medication or inoculations before I go ?
- Bel, What happens if I get sick on a trek ? Are there medical facilities nearby ?
- Bel, I have two young children age 5 and 7. Is it a problem to take them along on a short trek ?
Do I need a Guide, Can't I do it myself?
Hiring a guide and/or porter is an option, not a necessity. Many young budget travelers feel the expense is beyond them and decide to go unguided. This can work but there are many advantages to hiring a guide and/or porter. Chief among these is the opportunity to learn about the Nepali
Professional guides all speak English and are a source for the many questions trekkers have about the Nepali way of life, customs etc. A guide can add to the enjoyment of the trek by explaining many of the unfamiliar cultural and religious practices to the visitor.
Guidebooks are useful but guides offer a richer source of information for the interested observer. Guides also have pre-arranged connections for the best places to sleep, eat or stop for tea.
Guides can structure a trek to your pace. They can provide advice on what to eat when you are not feeling well. They also provide a comfortable feeling to the trekker who doesn’t want the risk of getting lost, underestimating trekking times between locations or the worry about
where to sleep each night.
Of course you are also helping my country by employing Nepalis.
Bel, I've heard I can become sick if I drink the local water. How do you survive a trek without water ? Do you carry it with you ?
Clean bottled water is available along the major trekking routes. Although this is convenient it does pose a problem for disposal of the empty plastic bottles and trekkers are encouraged to treat the local water.
The most common technique involves adding drops of iodine to the untreated water. Kits are available commercially in Kathmandu and Pokhara for this and at certain locations along the main trekking routes.
Some kits have neutralizing tablets to eliminate the taste of the iodine. Alternatively more trekkers are now using a pump action micro filter to purify the water.
Bel, What's the food like on the trekking routes ?
The Nepali people eat a meal of rice, lentils and vegetables twice per day. We call this dal bhat and it is available everywhere in Nepal. It is the preferred food for all Nepalis. Trekkers who prefer something else have a wide variety of meals to choose from including western favorites.
Bel, I would love to come to Nepal and go trekking but I should also like to spend some time in Kathmandu. It is my first time to Nepal. How long should I plan on spending in Kathmandu and other cities and how much time trekking.
If you have never been to Nepal before you will want to spend several days in Kathmandu visiting the city. There are many interesting sites to see including Hindu temples, Buddhist stuppas and the Kings Palace. Most first time tourists spend a few days in the Thamel district of Kathmandu which is an experience.
The City of Bhaktapur lies about 15 kilometres outside Kathmandu and is a beautiful place to visit. Most visitors who have come to Nepal primarily to trek spend no more than one week in the Kathmandu valley before heading off for Pokhara.
There are many buses going to Pokhara
each day but most depart early in the morning. The trip takes about 6 hours with a few rest stops along the way.
Bel, There are many trekking companies based in the Europe or America who can organize the whole trekking experience. What advantage is there to using a trekking service based in Nepal.
The companies organizing treks in Nepal from abroad have to meet certain minimum standards so there is no risk in using a trekking firm based in the West. Some advantages to using a Nepali based trekking firm would be:
- treks can be customized to the individual; if you are alone or in a small group of 2 to 5 people a trek can be quickly organized to suit your temperament and time schedule;
- costs are substantially cheaper since there is no expensive overhead in the West;
- you can pick the guide and porter of your choice;
- treks can be organized to fit any time table;
- the money you spend on the trek stays in Nepal
Bel, I have heard some people talk about camping treks and others speak of guest house or tea house treks. What does all that mean ?
A camping trek, as the name implies, is organized as an expedition with many porters carrying tenting, food and cooking materials. A camping trek usually is organized to travel into territory where there are few or no local guest houses to sleep in.
A guest house or tea house trek is the most common method for trekking in the Annapurna. Each night you stay in a commercial guest house and the trek is arranged to go from one guest house to the next each day. There are many places to stay on the Annapurna trekking routes so camping along the main route is rare.
Bel, what's a typical day like on a trek ?
Usually we start with breakfast at about 7 or 8 AM depending upon the trek for the day. We are ready to take to the trail at about 9 AM.
Sometimes we start earlier if the day will be particularly long or if the wind picks up as the day goes on. It also depends on how people feel. There are rest days at certain intervals. We stop about 1030 or 1100 for tea and about 1 PM for lunch.
Lunch takes about 1 hour as the lunch meal is only prepared when it is ordered. In the afternoon we trek until 3 or 4 PM. The pace can be adjusted to suit the client.
Bel, we plan to trek in early February in the Annapurna Sanctuary. How cold will it get ? What kind of clothes do we need.
The temperature in early February is cool when in the mountains and you can expect to have snow on the trek to the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC).
It will be below freezing at ABC in the early morning but rise during the day. You need some kind of cold weather clothing for at least 4 or 5 days while on this trek.
This kind of clothing is available for rent or purchase in Pokhara at shops like mine. Down sleeping bags are also nice to have and these are also available for rent or purchase.
Bel, Is there any mountaineering skills required in a typical trek ?
There is no need for any mountaineering skills whatsoever. However there are certain so-called trekkable peaks in the Annapurna Region.
Should you wish to do some minor climbing it can be arranged. In this case a clinic would be held to develop certain minimum mountaineering skills before attempting such a peak.
Bel, I have heard that some people do not acclimatize to altitude. How can I guarantee that this will not be a problem for me ?
There is no guarantee that you will not suffer some form of altitude (or mountain) sickness. It can affect anyone regardless of age, sex or physical fitness. The good news is that, although half of all trekkers will suffer some degree of effects when trekking above 2500 metres, most only suffer a minor headache. Almost everyone can acclimatize if sufficient time is taken along the route.
Trekkers who wish to do the full Annapurna Circuit must trek through the Thorong Pass which is above 5400 metres. To do this successfully requires many days set aside for acclimatization.
Trekkers who push an overly ambitious pace can have serious problems. A guide will ensure you are properly prepared.
Bel, I would also like to do some white water rafting and mountain biking while in Nepal. Can I do that ?
White water rafting is a very popular activity in Nepal. A rafting trip can be organized when you are in Nepal. Mountain bikes are available for rent in Pokhara.
Bel, what kind of clothes should I bring for trekking in the mountains ?
No special clothing is required beyond the usual clothes you would wear on a hike. Rain gear is important and some cold weather protection if trekking between December and February or going above 3000 metres.
All trekking clothing is available at my shop including some high quality pants and shirts that have the added advantage of drying overnight so that clean clothes are only a wash away.
The only clothing you need to bring are your
hiking boots. Breaking in a new pair of boots on a trek is not advisable.
Bel, As a woman travelling alone I would prefer a woman guide/porter. Can this be arranged ?
Yes, a few women guides and porters are available but are in high demand. I advise you to try and arrange for such a guide before the peak trekking seasons in November and April. I can arrange this for you.
Bel, What language is spoken in Nepal ? Do many guides speak English ?
The native language is Nepali. Most Nepali guides speak English and many can speak German and French.
Bel, Do I need protection against Malaria or other diseases in Nepal ? Should I get medication or inoculations before I go ?
The threat of Malaria is mostly in the south of Nepal and is seasonal. You should check at a local clinic before coming to Nepal. The medical staff there will want to know where you plan to go and at what time of the year.
Bel, What happens if I get sick on a trek ? Are there medical facilities nearby ?
In the Annapurna region there are several medical clinics. However it is possible to be a few days trek to the nearest one.
Bel, I have two young children age 5 and 7. Is it a problem to take them along on a short trek ?
I have seen young children on some trekking parties. The trekking pace has to be quite slow however and it is wise to have an extra porter or two to help carry the child when they are tired.
Nepal! The land of glacial moraine, Annapurna South Glacier and a spectacular views of Macchapucchare. Experience the challenge of an overnight stay at an elevation of 4150m (13,600') and view the crystal clear view of the mountains at sunrise. Trek through the Rhododendron jungle on the way down with amazing and spectacular views of the mountains continuously along the way. What about a trek up the Ghorapani with its famous hike up Pun Hill to view? Why not a guided tour with licensed and highly experineced tour guides.