What is Trekking ?
Trekking is another word for walking. However, the word trekking has become better known for the kind of walking, which takes you along trails winding up, down, over and around mountains.
Trekking is not mountaineering although some of the popular trails are used by mountaineering expeditions to get to their base camps. Most of the trails you walk on are still used predominantly by Nepali people for everyday travel and trade. It is not uncommon to be passed along the way by a Nepali porter carrying lengths of corrugated roofing iron slung.
Trekking is a way of seeing a mountain, its History, People and nature. You will walk through the streets of cities and villages and past the open front doors of houses; you will see the people at their daily tasks, the clouds forming below you and the magnificent mountains towering over you. By trekking you will be involved in a way you could never be in a car, bus, train or airplane; you can enjoy the friendliness of the people, feel the magnetism of the mountains, be at one with the country and at peace with yourself.
Could you ask or want for anything more?
A trekking trip can be any length you choose. There are a number of short treks around the Kathmandu and Pokhara valleys which only take a day to complete. There are two or three day treks or treks from a week to a month. For those with the time you can combine a number of treks and spend months just walking around. Beside The Himalayan Treks & Expedition can help you to put together a trek to suit your needs at an affordable price leaving you free of any bureaucratic or logistic hassles.
Why to Trek ?
The Himalaya, the "abode of snows", extends from Assam in eastern India west to Afghanistan. It is a chain of the highest and youngest mountains on earth and it encompasses a region of deep religious and cultural traditions and an amazing diversity of people. A trek in Nepal is a special and rewarding mountain holiday. Just as New York is not representative of the USA, so Kathmandu is not representative of Nepal. If you have the time and energy to trek, don't miss the opportunity to leave Kathmandu and see the spectacular beauty and the unique culture of Nepal. Fortunately for the visitor, there are still only a few roads extending deeply into the hills, so the only way to truly visit the remote regions of the kingdom is in the slowest and most intimate manner - walking. It requires more time and effort, but the rewards are also greater.
Instead of zipping down a freeway, racing to the next "point of interest," each step provides new and intriguing viewpoints. You will perceive your day as an entity rather than a few highlights strung together by a ribbon of concrete. For the romanticist, each step follows the footsteps of Hillary, Tenzing, Herzog and other Himalayan explorers. If you have neither the patience nor the physical stamina to visit the hills of Nepal on foot, a helicopter flight provides an expensive and unsatisfactory substitute.
Trekking in Nepal will take you through a country that has captured the imagination of mountaineers and explorers for more than 100 years. You will meet people in remote mountain villages whose lifestyle has not changed in generations. Most people trust foreigners. Nepal is one of only a handful of countries that has never been ruled by a foreign power.
Many of the values associated with a hiking trip at home do not have the same importance during a trek in Nepal. Isolation is traditionally a crucial element of any wilderness experience but in Nepal it is impossible to get completely away from people, except for short times or at extremely high elevations. Environmental concerns must include the effects of conservation measures on rural people and the economic effects of tourism on indigenous populations. Even traditional national park management must be adapted because there are significant population centres within Sagarmatha (Mt Everest) and Langtang national parks.
Trekking does not mean mountain climbing. While the ascent of a Himalayan peak may be an attraction for some, you need not have such a goal to enjoy a trek. As far as most people are concerned, trekking always refers to walking on trails. While trekking you will see the great diversity of Nepal. Villages embrace many ethnic groups and cultures. The terrain changes from tropical jungle to high glaciated peaks in only 150 km. From the start, the towering peaks of the Himalaya provide one of the highlights of a trek. As your plane approaches Kathmandu these peaks appear to be small clouds on the horizon. The mountains become more definable and seem to reach impossible heights as you get closer and finally land at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport. During a trek, the Himalaya disappears behind Nepal's continual hills, but dominates the northern skyline at each pass. Annapurna, Manaslu, Langtang, Gauri Shankar and Everest will become familiar names. Finally, after weeks of walking, you will arrive at the foot of the mountains themselves - astonishing heights from which gigantic avalanches tumble earthwards in apparent slow motion, dwarfed by their surroundings. Your conception of the Himalaya alters as you turn from peaks famed only for their height to gaze on far more picturesque summits that you may never have heard of - Kantega, Ama Dablam, Machhapuchhare and Kumbhakarna.
When to Trek ?
There are two major factors to weigh as you decide when to go to Nepal: crowds and weather. Generally, the better the weather, the more people come to Nepal to go trekking. During the high tourist season in October and November, flights and hotels are fully booked and hotels and trails in the hills can be horrendously busy.
During autumn the nights are cold in the mountains, but the bright sun makes for pleasant day temperatures - in the high 20s° C, falling to 5° C at night, between 1000 metres and 3500 metres. At higher altitudes temperatures range from about 20° C down to - 10° C. Mornings are usually clear with clouds building up during the afternoon, disappearing at night to reveal spectacular starry skies. During winter, it is about 10 degrees colder.
The monsoon is a good time to visit Kathmandu, but there are few trekkers among those who come. A monsoon trek is possible if you are willing to put up with the rain, leeches, slippery trails and lousy mountain views. Flights operate throughout the monsoon to Lukla, Jumla and Jomsom, so it is possible to fly in and trek above the leech line.
Many of the new treks to recently opened restricted areas are good summer treks. Mustang and Simikot are partially in the Himalayan rain shadow, so trekking conditions are good throughout the monsoon season. Most of the restricted area treks are impossible during the winter season.
Nepal has four distinct seasons. Spring (March - May) is warm and dusty with rain showers. Summer (June - August) is the monsoon season when the hills turn lush and green. Autumn (September – November) is cool with clear skies, and is the most popular trekking season. In winter (December – February) is cold at night and can be foggy in the early morning, but afternoons are usually clear and pleasant, though there is occasional snow in the mountains. Because Nepal is quite far south, (at the same latitude as Miami and Cairo) the weather is warmer and winter is much milder at lower elevations, including Kathmandu at 1360 meters. It rarely snows below 2000 meters.
The monsoon in the Bay of Bengal governs the weather pattern. The monsoon creates a rainy season from the middle of June to the middle of September. It is hot during the monsoon and it rains almost every day, but it is a considerate rain, limiting itself mostly to the night. During this season, trekking in most of Nepal is difficult and uncomfortable. Clouds usually hide the mountains and the trails are muddy and infested with leeches.
It usually does not rain for more than one or two days during the entire autumn season from mid-October to mid-December. During winter and spring there may be a week or so of rainy evenings and occasional thunderstorms blanket the hills with snow. The Himalaya makes its own localized weather, which varies significantly over a distance of a few km. Despite the sanguine assurances of Radio’s that the weather will be "...mainly fair throughout the kingdom", always expect clouds in the afternoon and be prepared for occasional rain.
Most of the precipitation in the Himalaya occurs during the summer monsoon. There is less snow on the mountains and on many of the high trails during winter. Everest itself is black rock during the trekking season, becoming snow-covered only during summer. There are always exceptions to this weather pattern, so be prepared for extremes. Winter snowstorms in December and January may make an early spring pass crossing difficult and can present an avalanche danger, especially on the approach to the High Mountains. Please feel free to inquiry us regarding to Nepal trekking information, we are ready to write you back any time.
Camping Trekking Information
Another style of trekking is to gather Sherpa’s, porters, food and equipment and take off on a trek with all the comforts and facilities of an organized trek. On such a trek you camp in tents, porters carry your gear, Sherpas set up camp and cook and serve meals. You carry a backpack with only a water bottle, camera and jacket. Trekkers, who opt for this approach, particularly with a small group of friends, often have a rewarding, enriching and enjoyable trip. You can use a trekking company in Nepal to make some or all of the arrangements, though you may have to shop for an agency that suits you. Some Nepalese trekking companies offer equipment for hire, some will arrange a single Sherpa or porter and some will undertake only the entire arrangements for a trek.
If you want to have everything organized in advance, you can contact a Nepalese trekking company by mail or fax and ask them to arrange your trek. There are more than 300 trekking companies in Kathmandu that will organize treks for a fee and provide all Sherpas, porters and, if necessary, equipment. Unless you have a good idea of what you want, it will require a huge volume of correspondence to provide you with the information you require, to determine your specific needs, to define your precise route and itinerary and to negotiate a price that both parties understand. Mail takes up to three weeks each way to and from Australia, the Americas or Europe, so it's better to use fax or e-mail. Be specific in your communications and be sure that the trekking company understands exactly who will provide what equipment. It is most embarrassing to discover on the first night that someone forgot the sleeping bags.
One solution is to go to Nepal and simply sort out the details in an hour or two of face-to-face negotiations with a trekking company. You should be prepared to spend a week or so (less, if you are lucky) in Kathmandu settling these details. An alternative to endless correspondence with Nepal is to use a trek operator in your own country.
Teahouse Treks Information
It is a bit pretentious to call some of these village establishments a hotel, but the Nepalese use of English translates restaurant or eating-place as "hotel". Since the word hotel has been pre-empted, Nepalese use the word "lodge" for sleeping place or hotel. Thus, in the hills of Nepal a "hotel" has food, but may not provide a place to sleep, while a "lodge" always offers accommodation. Many innkeepers specify the services they provide by calling their establishments "Hotel & Lodge". To avoid all this semantic confusion, most people use hotel, lodge and teahouse interchangeably. In reality, you can usually find both accommodation and food at any trailside establishment. The most popular way to trek in Nepal for both Locals and Westerners is to travel from teahouse to teahouse. Hotel accommodation is most readily available in the Khumbu (Everest) region, the Langtang area and the entire Annapurna region. In these areas, you can operate with a bare minimum of equipment and rely on teahouses for food and shelter.
By arranging your food and accommodation locally, you can move at your own pace and set your own schedule. You can move faster or slower than others move and make side trips not possible with a large group. You can spend a day photographing mountains, flowers or people - or you can simply lie around for a day. Hotels provide a special meeting place for trekkers from throughout the world. You are free (within the limits imposed by your trekking permit) to alter your route and change your plans to visit other out-of the- way places as you learn about them. You will have a good opportunity to see how the people in the hills of Nepal live, work and eat and will probably develop at least a rudimentary knowledge of the Nepali language.
You are, however, dependent on facilities in villages or in heavily trekked regions. Therefore, you must trek in inhabited areas and on the better-known routes. You may need to alter your schedule to reach a certain hotel for lunch or dinner. You can miss a meal if there is no hotel when you need one or if the hotel you are counting on is closed. A few packets of biscuits in your backpack are good insurance against these rough spots. Most of the major routes are well documented, but they are also well travelled. A hotel can be out of food if there are many other trekkers or if you arrive late. You may have to change your planned destination for the day when you discover that the lunch you ordered at an inn will take a very long time to prepare. You will usually make this discovery only after you have already waited an hour or so. It is wise to be aware of these kinds of problems and to prepare yourself to deal with them.
If you deviate from popular routes, be prepared to fend for yourself at times. If, however, you carry food, cooking pots and a tent to use even one night, you have already escalated beyond the teahouse approach into a more complex form of trekking with different problems.
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