Basics of trekking in Nepal
Welcome to Nepal on behalf of Trekadviser! Our team is here to make sure that you have a great stay in Nepal. We will be there for you throughout your stay in Nepal. After your arrival at Tribhuvan International airport Kathmandu, please look for our representative who will take you to your hotel. At the hotel, you will rest for a while. Your guide will meet you there in the evening and brief you about your upcoming trekking and also answer your questions.
Do you need any help with trekking in Nepal? Your guide should be able to help you with almost anything. However, if you have concerns or need help, do not hesitate to call us anytime under +977-9841784192. We will respond to your call immediately and try to solve the problem as soon as possible.
We have developed this brochure in order to give you some initial information about various aspects of your upcoming trekking in Nepal. Please go through this brochure thoroughly.
- Packing List and Gear rentals:
- Lukla Flights and Helicopter Options:
- Teahouse Basics:
- Etiquette on the Trail:
- Stay Hydrated:
- Watch What You Eat:
- Weight Limits for Gear:
- What to Carry in Your Day pack?
- Weather during trekking in Nepal
- Dress in Layers:
- Avoid the Sun:
- Take Care of Your Feet:
- Overall Health and Wellness:
- Additional costs during the trekking in Nepal:
- What about Tips?
- Mobile and Wifi Access:
- Acclimatization & Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS):
- How to avoid altitude sickness:
- Insurance & Evacuations (Very important):
Packing List and Gear rentals:
We have developed a packing list with all the necessary gears and stuff you might need for your upcoming trekking in Nepal. We will send you this list after you confirm your booking with us. We advise you to view this list as a reference and make the changes as per your requirements and convenience. There is a possibility of renting many of those hiking gears in Kathmandu or Pokhara.
We have cooperated with some rental services and can provide you those gears at a fair price. Please have a look at the list and let us know if you need to rent anything for your trekking in Nepal.
Note: During winter (Nov 15 th to Feb 15 th ) we recommend to have a “- 20 °C (- 5 F) sleeping bag”. Other times of the year a “- 10 °C (10 F) sleeping bag” will be sufficient. Long undergarments and extra layering are needed during the winter months.
Lukla Flights and Helicopter Options:
As of April 2019, almost all flights to Lukla were diverted to a small city named Manthli in Ramechhap district. Manthali has a small runway and is about 4 to 5 hours’ drive from Kathmandu, depending on the traffic. Guests must leave the hotel in Kathmandu in the early morning (approximately 2 to 3 am) to reach Manthali in time for the flight. We will provide the exact timing at your briefing. Transport to Manthali is free of charge.
For flights between Lukla and Kathmandu / Manthali the weather must be good at both airports. Flights are often delayed or canceled altogether if the weather is bad. Please be patient at the airport. Conditions often change quickly, so you need to stay at the airport and prepare for the flight. Usually we give up flights for the day around 2 pm. If all flights are canceled, we will take you back to the hotel in Kathmandu or a guesthouse in Manthali and try our luck next day again. Please note that there are only simple lodges and guesthouses available there. One of our team member will stay with you at all time until everyone gets on the flight.
Sometimes there is an option to get a helicopter, although in bad weather even the helicopters cannot fly. If you want us to try to arrange a helicopter, the extra cost is usually $500 and sometimes more in times of high demand. Helicopter flights from Everest Base Camp to Lukla cost around $1700 and $1000 from Namche to Lukla.
Note: Please note that these prices are subjected to change every year and according to demand. Unfortunately we do not have any influence on these prices. We will be able to give you the exact prices shortly before your trip after confirming the prices with the helicopter service providing companies .
Most rooms in a teahouse lodge have two small baby cots with mattress, pillows and sheets. Blankets are usually available on request but may not meet your cleanliness standards. The walls are thin and noise can be easily transmitted. If you are a light sleeper, bring earplugs. If you are hiking in high season, you must share a room. In low season, we can arrange private rooms on some evenings of the trek at no extra charge. Single women always get their own room or share a room with another female travelers.
Etiquette on the Trail:
In the high trekking season the trail can be quite crowded. This is a reminder to always yield to porters. When it comes to yaks or mules, it is best to stay on the side of the path and wait for them to pass by. Be careful with your walking poles. Downhill hikers should yield to the uphill.
Water is your best friend during your trekking in Nepal. Be sure to drink plenty of water while on the trail. We recommend a minimum of 3 liters per day, if not more. Along the trail, you can buy bottled mineral water in small shops and tea houses. A better option to save money and keep the mountain clean is the treatment of drinking water. Tea houses give you free water, but you need to treat it before consumption. You can also get water (local public taps, natural spring water, small rivers etc.) along the trail. Ask your guide before drinking it.
If you use water purification tablets, wait at least 20 minutes before drinking and always keep at least one water bottle full and ready to drink. When hiking to Annapurna Base Camp, they have banned the sale of mineral water above Chhomrong to keep the mountain free of plastic. Instead, you will find safe drinking water stations for trekkers where you can refill your water bottle for a small fee.
Watch What You Eat:
You can easily get sick if you’re not careful with what you eat. This applies to the food in Kathmandu/Pokhara as well as the food during the trekking in Nepal. We recommend a vegetarian diet on the trek, as the meat on the mountain isn’t refrigerated. Make sure all food is cooked properly before consumption. Your guide has the knowledge of local food and their impact on your body. We advise you to follow the dietary plan recommended by your guide. Trekking in Nepal is fun and the foods are delicious, but you must know what you are putting in your mouth.
Weight Limits for Gear:
On the flight to Lukla the travel bag is your luggage and is limited to 10 kg per person. You can also take another carry-on bag weighing up to 5 kg, so you can take a total of 15 kg of luggage. If you have booked a porter, he will carry your luggage on the trek. Porters usually carry 15 -20 kg load and may get ahead of you on the trail. So you’ll need to carry a small daypack with everything you need for the day.
What to Carry in Your Day pack?
Keeping your day pack light makes walking easier. We recommend the following: water, snacks, rainwear, jacket, hat, gloves, sunscreen, Medical Tape or Extra Socks in case of Blisters. Your guide will assist you while making a daypack.
Weather during trekking in Nepal
The coldest months of the year are from November to February and the warmest months are from March to May and September / October. Temperatures gradually decreases as you ascent uphill. During the first days of trekking in Nepal in warm months you can wear shorts and T-shirts. However, you will need a down jacket, hat, gloves and thermals until by the time you reach the Base camp (or higher altitude destinations).
The weather can often change from warm and sunny to cold and windy during your trekking in Nepal. Therefore, wear additional layers during the day and be prepared for rain or snow at higher altitudes.
Here’s an overview:
March to May and Sept/Oct (Start of the trek):
Lukla (Start of the trek): Highs: 15°C – 20°C and lows: around 5°C.
Everest Base Camp (Coldest Point): Highs 5 °C and Lows 0°C to – 10°C.
November to February:
Lukla (Start of trek): Highs 15°C and Lows 0°C
Everest Base Camp (Coldest Point): Highs 0°C and Lows -10°C to -30°C
Dress in Layers:
By layering you can easily regulate your body temperature and feel comfortable while trekking in Nepal. If you’re sweating, you are probably wearing too many clothes. We recommend layers with zippers so you can better control your body temperature. Always wear warm and comfortable clothes best suitable for the trekking in Nepal.
Avoid the Sun:
At high altitude it is much easier to get sunburned. When it snows, the reflection may damage your eyes. It is important that you protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen or clothing that covers your entire body. Bring a hat for the sunscreen and another one for the warmth. Bring good sunglasses for your upcoming trekking in Nepal.
Take Care of Your Feet:
It is easy to get blisters, especially at the beginning of the trek. A bad blister can be extremely painful and make walking difficult. If you get blisters or your feet rub don’t ignore the treatment of the problem. Additional pairs of socks and the correct lacing of your shoes are a first step. If this doesn’t work, cover the affected area with a stable medical tape.
Overall Health and Wellness:
It’s a good idea to take care and prepare for common diseases like the common cold, headache and light fever. You will be in close quarters with other trekkers, and the dry mountain air makes it very easy to develop cough, sore throat and colds. Keeping your face covered with a buff during trekking in Nepal can allow moisture to enter your lungs and the vapor of hot drinks can also help prevent symptoms. It is always a good call to have medicines for common cold and cough. Keep in mind that your favorite home remedies are unlikely to be available. So don’t forget to bring them with you.
Additional costs during the trekking in Nepal:
We recommend that each trekker bring at least $350 on the trek for additional expenses. This includes a tip for your guide and porter. Here are some items that costs you extra:
☛ Bottled Water: $1 to $4 per liter
☛ Wi-Fi: $3 to $5 per day
☛ Snacks and Soda or Beer: varies with altitude
☛ Hot Showers: $3 to $6
☛ Charging Electronic Devices: $2 to $5
What about Tips?
We recommend a tip of about 10% – 15% of the trekking price to be divided between the head guide and the porters. Tips are part of the culture in Nepal and are greatly appreciated. Some members of a group may decide to pool their tips together or guests may choose to manage it individually. Tips are usually given at the end of the trek. We usually have a small farewell dinner on the mountain, where guests often buy their porters a meal or a drink. This is a great opportunity to know your porter with whom you may not have interacted much during the trek. This dinner is voluntary but appreciated by the team.
When you get back to Kathmandu or Pokhara, we will invite you for a farewell dinner from our side.
Mobile and Wifi Access:
The good news is that most days on the trek, at least in some places, you can get a cell phone coverage. If you want to make multiple calls, we can help you organize your own SIM card in Nepal. Wi-Fi is available in some tea houses for an extra charge. Wi-Fi is often slow, but it is usually good to check your emails or write a WhatsApp message. If you buy a SIM card in Kathmandu, you generally have 3G in the same teahouses that have the Internet, and it’s often faster and cheaper.
You can purchase a 2 GB SIM card in Kathmandu for about $15. You need your passport and a passport photo to apply for the SIM card. Ask one of our staff for assistance. Some places in Thamel will try to overcharge you, so be careful.
Outside of Kathmandu and Pokhara, the ‘squat toilet’ is the norm, except in hotels and guesthouses geared towards tourists. Next to a squat toilet (Charpi in Nepali) is a bucket and/or tap, which has a twofold function: flushing the toilet and cleaning the nether regions (with the left hand only) while still squatting over the toilet.
In tourist areas you’ll find Western toilets and probably toilet paper (depending on how classy the place is). In general, put used toilet paper in the separate bin; don’t flush it down the toilet. Most rural places don’t supply toilet paper, so always carry an emergency stash. More rustic toilets in rural areas may consist of a few planks precariously positioned over a pit in the ground.
Acclimatization & Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS):
To ensure a safe hike, it is important that you are aware of this potentially life-threatening condition and its symptoms. It is quite normal for symptoms to appear due to altitude. The question is, at what point do you need to stop, or at least stop hiking higher?
Common symptoms (Can continue trek)
☛ Hyperventilation (extra breathing)
☛ Increased urination
☛ Restless sleep and Periodic breathing at night
☛ High Altitude Headache
☛ Loss of appetite
If you have these common symptoms then you have to stop gaining altitude and stay there or descend downhill until you feel better again. After that, you can continue your trekking.
More Serious Symptoms (Stop trek)
☛ Nausea, vomiting
☛ Abnormal fatigue/weakness, dizziness and severe insomnia.
☛ Drunken like walk.
☛ Coughing pink or frothy sputum
☛ Shortness of breath at rest
☛ Abnormally fast resting heart rate of over 100 HBM.
If you start to experience these symptoms please make your guide aware of your condition and follow his instructions. Our guides are all trained and well experienced with symptoms related to altitude sickness.
The most common medication used to prevent High Altitude Sickness is Diamox (Acetazolamide). This can be easily purchased in Kathmandu. This drug works to speed the natural acclimatization process by acidifying the blood and there by stimulating the depth and frequency of your breathing.
The Everest Base Camp Medical Center suggests a dose of 125 mg twice daily starting 1 day before ascent. If you already have High Altitude Sickness the dose can be increased to 250 mg twice daily. Common side effects are increased urination and tingling of the fingers. Less common side effects are nausea and diarrhea.
Note: Do not take Diamox if you’re allergic to Sulfa drugs. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for side effects of the medicine before use.
All of our trekking guides carry hand-held pulse oximeters which measure blood oxygen saturation. Low oxygen saturation readings below 75% may be useful in diagnosing AMS. The common consensus is that their best use may be as a confirmation tool for someone who already has definitive symptoms of elevation sickness.
How to avoid altitude sickness:
Certain medical conditions (respiratory disease) or medications (sleeping pills) increase the risk of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). It is important that you inform your guide of any medications or conditions before ascending.
☛ Ascend slowly (Acclimatization): Where possible, do not sleep more than 300 m higher than the elevation where you spent the previous night. If you are gaining high altitude very quickly, then it is important to take at least a day to acclimatize in the new environment before you start the ascent. If you or anyone else in your group seems to be struggling, take another rest day as a precaution.
☛ Climb high, sleep low: It is always wise to sleep at a lower altitude than the higher ground reached during the day. If you need to cross a high pass, take an extra acclimatization day before you cross. Be aware that descending to the altitude where you slept the previous night may not be enough to compensate for a very large increase in altitude during the day.
☛ Trek healthy: You are more likely to develop AMS if you are tired, dehydrated or malnourished. Drink extra fluids while trekking. Avoid sedatives or sleeping pills and don’t smoke – Smoking will further reduce the amount of oxygen reaching your lungs.
☛ Drink plenty of water: We recommend that you drink at least 3 liters of water daily and other liquids such as tea or soup. Avoid alcohol, tobacco and other substances that dry out and affect the distribution of oxygen. Eating small, frequent meals rich in carbohydrates also helps in avoiding High Altitude Sickness.
☛ If you feel unwell, stop: If you start to display mild symptoms of AMS like mentioned above, stop climbing.Take an acclimatization day and see if things improve. If your symptoms stay the same or get worse, descend immediately. Make sure that your tour leader is aware of your conditions. Don’t feel pressured to continue ascending just to keep up with your group.
☛ If you show serious symptoms, descend: If you show any serious symptoms of AMS like mentioned above, descend immediately to a lower altitude. Ideally this should be below the altitude where you slept the night before you first developed symptoms. Your leader can arrange an emergency porter to help you descend quickly to a safe altitude.
Insurance & Evacuations (Very important):
You are responsible for ensuring that your insurance fully covers trekking as activity and evacuations up to 6000 m. We recommend that you call your insurance company before purchasing and check the insurance coverage and how the insurance works. Some companies will ask you to pay for helicopter evacuation, which costs about $4500, and you will be refunded only after your return. While others may impose a stated “excess fee” for evacuation. So these are things you should ask when you call.
If you need to be evacuated, your trekking guide will coordinate the evacuation of the helicopter with our office in Kathmandu. Almost every insurance company requires a prior approval. Altitude problems account for almost all of our evacuations and generally as soon as the trekker reaches Kathmandu they feel better. Even if you feel better after arriving in Kathmandu you will need to go to the CIWEC hospital and pay $100 for a medical report. You will not be approved for insurance without the proper medical report.
We will help you with any documents that you require to make your insurance claims.