of a thousand
miles begins with one
~ Lao Tzu
~ Chinese Philosopher
Trekking Reference Guide
Reference page should get you jump started on all the information
you'll need to know about trekking in Nepal. If we've missed anything,
just send an inquiry to our Trekking
best way to experience Nepal’s unbeatable combination of natural
beauty and cultural riches is to walk through them. The immense
contrasts in altitudes and climates found here support an equally
spectacular mix of lifestyles, vegetation types and wildlife.
Trekking in the mountains of Nepal is more a cultural
experience than a wilderness expedition. You will be passing through
picturesque villages inhabited by diverse ethnic groups. You will
see Chhetri farmers working in their fields and Tamang herders grazing
their animals on the steep slopes. You will meet Gurkha soldiers
home on leave and come across Sherpa yak drivers transporting goods
over the high mountain passes. And always in the background, the
icy pinnacles of the Himalaya loom over the scenery.
You don’t need to be a mountaineer with
rippling muscles to enjoy trekking. If you are reasonably fit, have
a spirit of adventure and are not afraid of walking, you qualify.
There are excellent trekking agencies who offer Full-Service
(Camping) Treks and will take care of all the details
like government permits, air/bus tickets, guides, cooks, porters,
food, tents, and equipment. All you have to do on the trail is concentrate
on putting one foot before the other. On many popular trekking trails,
you can also go on what is known as Tea-House
Treks - eating and staying in the many lodges on the
A day on the trail usually consists of four to
five hours of walking broken by a lunch stop. You trek to enjoy
the scenery on the trail, not to get to a destination in a hurry.
The main precaution to be taken while trekking is not to go up too
high too fast. The body should be given plenty of time to acclimatize.
See Altitude Mountain
Sickness below for more information.
Breaking out of the norm, traveling with a group,
traveling to remote or restricted areas, enjoying camp-side banter
and serene surroundings are just a few of the reasons to opt for
a Full-Service Camping Trek. You will have more control over where
you go, how long you stay and even food choices if an agency puts
you on one of these expeditions. A buckert of hot washing-water
will await at your tent door each morning before you head off for
a hot cup of chia and a trip to the toilet-tent.
Tea-House trekking is an easy way to go. These
are treks along the most popular treking routes and seldom will
you be away from a bottle of Coca-Cola or cozy lodge. You can almost
do it without an agent, but you will want a recommended porter even
if you do not have need for a guide. Any agency can refer one. Stays
at Tea-Houses are even cheaper than staying in a Kathmandu based
You will find Nepali-ized western food and solar
powered hot-water showers in many places. Although broken-English
is a norm along these trails, you'll definitely enhance you experience
by merging with the culture by carrying a Nepali Phrase book.
Off the Record: Consider bringing a recommended
cook along to break up the monotony of set Tea-House menus. This
could also guarantee a healthy journey for your stomach as they'll
be able to provide hygiene control in Tea-House kitchens.
Your trekking agency will provide equipment like
sleeping bags, foam mattresses and tents. All you need to bring
is your personal gear. We've seen porters make in through mountain
passes in flip-flop sandals while carrying loads for two travelers.
Nevertheless, we want you to enjoy your journey so use the lists
(and your porters' muscles) below as guides.
- Lightweight walking boots. "Walk them
in" prior to arrival in Nepal to avoid blisters.
- A pair of lightweight/heavyweight trousers
are useful higher up in the mountains in the morning and at night.
- 1-2 pair of loose fitting long shorts/skirts.
- 2-4 cotton T-shirts.
- 1 lightweight long sleeved-shirt is particularly
suitable for avoiding sun burn.
- A sunhat and ensure it has wide brim to cover
the face and neck.
- 2 pairs of thin and 2 pairs of thick woolen
- Underwear: normal quantity
- Swimming suit
- Water Bottle
- Sunglasses and strap
- Toiletries with large and small towels. Toilet
paper can be bought in Kathmandu and some village in the mountains.
- Small headlamp and/or flashlight/torch with
- Personal medical supplies - don't forget band-aids
- Army-knife and sewing kit
- Sun-screen, sunblock, sun-tan lotion, zinc-oxide...
get the picture? This is essential in the Winter when skys are
- Warm jacket. Fiberfill or down should be adequate.
This is especially necessary during winter from December to February.
- Sleeping bag to -15 C or sleep sheet (if renting
or agency supplied)
- Woolen shirts and thick sweaters. During winter
months, December through February, These items are essential.
Thick sweaters can be purchased in Kathmandu.
- Windproof/Waterproof trousers. Necessity on
all treks going above 3,000 meters.
- Thermal underwear. These are excellent to
sleep in at night. In the winter months thermal underwear are
- A woolen hat to wear in the morning and at
night. During winter it is an essential item.
- A pair of gloves. Leather with lining and
woolen are best.
- Snow Glasses and strap
- Snow gaiters can be essential
Some nice add-ons
- Camera & Film
- A pair of slip-on shoes or sandals. To wear
in the camp, in bathroom and toilet tent or when the boots are
- A rain-proof jacket with hood or a poncho.
Get the one that is guaranteed waterproof.
- A sweat-suit. Useful for wearing in camp and
in the tent.
- Duffel bag or kit bag to carry gear while
- Daypack. This is a small backpack to carry
personal requirement for the day e.g., to toilet items, camera,
film, towel, soap, a book etc.
Spare boot laces.
- 2-4 large plastic bags to separate clean clothes
from dirty ones. 6-10 smaller plastic bags to dispose garbage.
- Wallet and/or money belt with compartment for
- Spare flashlight bulbs, candles and lighter
to burn toilet paper.
- An umbrella is quite useful as a walking stick,
a sunshade and for rain.
- Reading materials, game items, music, note
book, rubber band, pen and pencil envelopes, a diary, a calendar,
a pocket knife, binoculars (optional), A small pillow or headrest
(optional) Thermarest (optional) - an inflatable sleeping mat,
trekking map, adequate quantities of passport photographs.
- Duct-tape, superglue and small mirror can be
- Travel locks and chain to secure luggage and
- Hot-water bottle - unless your mate's comin'
Unnecessary Items - reminder...
- Cell-phone, Pager, Lap-top computer, PDA, etc
- Radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, etc
Please Note: North Face and Pategonia
type companies own the market in the USA, but many of the above
mentioned items can be purchased/rented in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
These high-tech companies and there products can make for a dreamy
trekking experience when you learn what all thoughs pockets and
fancy fabrics are really designed for.
Beware: Virtually all the brand name items in
Nepal are Korean knock-offs. Shoes and sox are the essential items
to bring from outside the country, if your in the Bigfoot category.
Flights by plane and helicopter into and out
of the remote areas and airports are prone to cancellations and
delays due to inclement weather. It is advisable to allow some layover
days while planning a flight out of airports other than Kathmandu
and Pokhara. When these flights are considered in the itinerary,
it is also recommended to carry extra money to buy food and accommodations
in case of delays. Agencies will not be responsible for these additional
expenses or costs incurred from lost connections, so plan accordingly.
Trekking in Nepal need not be considered a risky
affair as far as your health is concerned. Nevertheless, preventive
measures such as a thorough medical check-ups and inoculations before
you start trekking can save you from unexpected hazards. Since the
remote places of Nepal are not supplied with necessities that are
essential for modern medical facilities, and as the rescue and evacuation
are measured in days, it is imperative to make a comprehensive First
Aid kit consisting of basic drugs and accessories as part of the
paraphernalia for trekking.
Various trekking guide books and the pamphlet
published by the Himalayan Rescue Association give you detailed
information on a complete list of medical supplies. These guide
books are easily available in the bookshops of Kathmandu. In case
of serious illness or injury, prompt evacuation to Kathmandu is
the best remedy.
Modern dentistry is unknown in the hills of Nepal,
so it is advised to have a checkup before departure from home. Tooth
fillings sometimes loosen in cold temperatures and at high altitudes,
so it is recommended to have them checked.
All trekking demands a level of fitness that
will enable one to put in a good day's walking, up hill and down.
Most treks should not be taken to gain more than 500 meters in one
day above 3,000 meters. There should be plenty of time during the
day to cover this distance, so the physical exertion though quite
strenuous at times, is not sustained. The best preparation for trekking
is cycling, swimming, jogging, squash, tennis and long walks involving
up and down hills. Good physical conditioning will certainly help
maximize your enjoyment of your treks.
Altitude Sickness, often known as Acute Mountain
Sickness (AMS), is a particularly important medical consideration
while trekking in Nepal. Altitude Sickness means the effect of altitude
on those who ascend too rapidly to elevations above 3,000 meters.
Anyone may be effected by AMS reguardless of strength or physical
fitness. The initial symptoms of AMS are as following:
- Loss of appetite
- Persistent headache
- Dizziness, light heaviness, confusion, disorientation,
- Weakness, fatigue, lassitude, heavy legs
- Slight swelling of hands and face
- Breathlessness and breathing irregularity
- Reduced urine output
These symptoms are to be taken very seriously.
In case of appearance of any of the above symptoms any further ascent
should be reconsidered. More serious problems can occur which can
even cause death sometimes within a few hours. The main cure for
the Altitude Sickness is to descend to a lower elevations immediately.
Acclimatization by ascending to no more than 300 to 500 meters per
day above 3,000 meters and the proper amount of rest are the best
methods for prevention of AMS.
Literature and pamphlet published by Himalayan
Rescue Association (see Rescue Service below) consists of detailed
information on AMS. The Central Immigration Office and all trekking
agencies in Kathmandu distribute this pamphlet free of cost. Since
these documents also give information on the list of suggested medical
supplies for trekkers, it is a compulsory item for every trekkers'
Himalayan Rescue Association
HRA is a voluntary Nepalese organization registered
with His Majesty's Government to run a mountain rescue service
in the mountain tourist areas. The Association's major role is
the prevention and treatment of mountain sickness. The association's
medical research work is undertaken by a team of foreign doctors
The Kathmandu office and Information Center
of the HRA is located in Thamel. The HRA Information Center has
expert and up to date information on all aspects of altitude sickness.
All those intending to trek above 3,000m (10,000ft) are advised
to visit the Information Center. Two Trekker's Aid Posts are listed.
At Pheriche on the main trail to Everest Base
Camp, one day north of Thyanboche. This Aid Post is well equipped
and staffed by two Western doctors during the main trekking
season. Trekkers intending to go to Kala Patthar and Everest
Base Camp are advised to contact the Pheriche Aid Post.
At Manang village in Manang. The Aid Post
is well noticeable and has a sign posted. Regular talks on dangers
of altitude sickness are given here every alternate day during
trekking season. The Aid Post is staffed by a Western doctor.
Trekkers intending to cross Thorong La Pass and visiting the
surrounding areas are advised to contact the HRA aid post either
at Chindi or at Manang.
Medical Rescue and Transport Communication
1. Everest and Kanchenjunga Treks
A small hospital and airstrip at Jiri, Phaplu
and Khunde (Syangboche). Similarly a medical facility operated
by HRA is situated at Pheriche. There are also radio station
at Chainpur, Khandhari, Taplejung, Phidim, Bhojpur, Terhathum,
Dhankuta, Dharan, Illam, Chandra-gadhi, Jiri, Namche Bazaar,
Thayangboche, Pheriche, Lobuche and Salleri,
2. Helambu, Gosaikunda, and Langtang Treks
Modern medical facilities are not available
in the Helambu area. For Gosaikunda and Langtang, there is a
government hospital at Trishuli Bazaar and a dispensary at Dhunche.
There is also radio and telephone link to Kathmandu at Trishuli
Bazaar. An airstrip is located near Kyangjin in Langtang Valley.
The other two radio stations are on the Bhote Koshi at Rasuwa
Gadhi on the Tibetan Border and in Dhunche.
3. Around Pokhara, Lamjung, Jompsom, Muktinath
Pokhara has an all weather airport, telecommunication
network and a modern hospital. District hospitals are located
in Baglung, Bensishar, and Jomosom. There is a Trekker's Aid
post run by the Himalayan Rescue Association in Manang. Additionally
a small government dispensary at Hongde and Chame, the headquarter
of Manang district, also serve both foreigners & locals.
Airstrips are located at Jomosom, Hongde and Balewa of Baglung.
There are radio stations at Chame, Kusma, Baglung, Beni and
There are also radio stations at Gorkha and
Besisahar. A government hospital is located in Gorkha. The united
Mission to Nepal runs a hospital at Ampipal of Gorkha.
4. Jumla and Rara
Airstrips are located in Dhorpatan, Jumla
and Simikot. There is a government hospital and a radio station
Jumla. A dispensary is run at Gumgadi.
There are different approaches to trekking in
Nepal and the choice depends on time, budget, experience and personal
Agencies provide essential logistical arrangement
including porters, guide, cook, food tents, sleeping bags, mattresses,
transport to and from trekking starting points, flight arrangement,
permits, staff insurance and so on. These agents also provide a
choice of itineraries and necessary information on trekking health
The cost of an all inclusive trek ranges from
about US$ 25.00 to US$ 150.00 per person per day depending upon
the quality of service, number of days and number of persons in
the package. This style of trekking is relatively expensive compared
to that of backpacking but a few extra dollars guarantees comfort
and security, eliminates time consuming ordeal of organization and
ensures a trouble free holiday. There are limited areas where a
backpacking type of trek can be undertaken by an individual.
A companion/guide is helpful in the remote wilderness
and is enjoyable to talk to on the trail. It is strongly advised
to be overly cautious of free-lance guides or the services of any
agency not recognized by government.
It is generally not possible to change foreign
currency/travelers checks except in bigger cities like Kathmandu,
Pokhara, Namche Bazaar, Jompsom, Salleri, and Okhaldunga. Consequently,
when your in the mountains, cash is king. Change money in the city
before your trek starts. Make sure to ask for small denominations
(ones, twos, fives, twenties, fifties and hundreds - a 500 or 1,000
note will be useless).
Careful: Torn banknotes seem
to be a superstitious item. Village people, and even people from
the village that have moved into the city, refuse them. Use them
for tips or donations to holy-pilgrims.
For the more adventurous traveler, there are many
minor peaks open for Alpine climbing under the Nepal Mountaineering
Association. The climbing of these peaks is controlled under the
rules and regulations formulated by this Association.
Most of these peaks require snow and ice climbing
experience. Trekking Agents provide qualified and trained climbing
guides to take non-climbers for convenience, safety and expected
successes. By Himalayan standards, these are considered minor peaks,
but in fact some of them provide relatively challenging snow and
ice climbing of high standard, and more so in Winter.
The royalty for these peaks ranges from US $150
to US $300 depending on the particular peak for up to a 9 member
See VisitNepal.com's Trekking: Areas: Trekking
Peaks for a list of those currently open. For complete
details about Peak Trekking, Mountaineering and Expeditions, visit
our sponsor Adventure
Thirdpole Treks and Expeditions.
During your trekking sojourn in the hills and
the mountains of Nepal you should be aware and remember that you
are traveling back in time and into the wilderness not usually frequented
by many foreigners and away from normal policing. Although the people
of the hills of Nepal are exceptionally hospitable, honest and friendly
by any standards, the possibilities of some trekkers encountering
bad elements who take advantage of foreigners cannot be eliminated.
It would be wise to exercise the following basic rules as regards.
Security and safety during your trekking:
- Trekking organized through recognized Trekking
Agent ensures comfort and convenience, safety and security
and greatly affords the unique experience. This approach to trekking
not only prevents you from any unforeseen hazards and accidents
but also provide educational information and rewarding experiences
on the mountains, people and in rural Nepal.
- All foreign nationals are required by law
to pay their hotel, travel, and trekking agents bill in foreign
currency. Exchange your money through authorized banks/money changers
only. Insist on a receipt when exchanging your money and retain
all exchange receipts with you.
- Littering mars the purity of environment.
Avoid the use of non-biodegradable items as mush as possible.
Your attempts to burn oddments and carry out the unburnable ones
will be a great help in the efforts to conserve the environment.
- Avoid dispute with local people, most particularly
when you are alone. Avoid drunkards and lunatics.
- Do not encourage beggars by giving them money
or other articles.
- Be most economical with all fuel. Avoid hot
showers which use firewood and discourage campfires. Avoid lodges
using firewood and insist on use of kerosene for cooking to Trekking
- We strongly recommend that you take out a
personal travel insurance to cover against illness, accidents,
loss and theft of items and materials, travel alterations and
deviations, rescues and evacuations.
- It is recommended not to travel alone in the
remote areas while traveling in Nepal particularly in the case
of females. If you do not have a fellow trekker as companion,
you should not engage a guide/porter except through a third party
who has responsibility for the person engaged.
- All the information mentioned here is subject
to change, so do not forget to do your own homework.
- Department of Tourism, Tripureswor (near
the national stadium), Kathmandu
- Nepal Tourism Board - NTB is a national
organization established in 1998 and promote and market Nepal
as an attractive tourist destination. NTB's office is located
at Bhrikuti Mandap, Kathmandu, Ph: 4256909 or 4256229.
- Kathmandu Environmental Education Project
Trekker's Information Center, P.O.Box 495, Tridevi Marg , Kathmandu
Association of Travels Agents
- NATA, Lal Durbar, Yak & Yeti Plaza, Kathmandu, Ph: 4228787.
Agents Association of Nepal - TAAN, Ganeshthan, Maligaun,
Kathmandu, Ph: 4440920 or 4440921.
- Kathmandu Environmental Education Project
- KEEP provides trekkers with information about responsible trekking
and also has a travelers' information center in Thamel. Through
slide shows, lectures, videos, and other activities staff and
volunteers provide trekkers with information about promoting positive
environmental and cultural interactions when trekking.KEEP is
located at the Potala Tourist Home, off Tridevi Marg, and is open
from 10 am to 5 PM daily expect Saturdays and major holidays Ph:
topics viewed by visitors