First-timer Tips When Trekking the Rugged Trails of Nepal
The rugged trails of Nepal is probably the most popular reason for travellers to explore this majestic, awe-inspiring country where legends and dreams are made. Despite its recent earthquake, it’s still a great destination to enjoy life-changing treks. Nirajan Chaulagain, Operations Director and Co-owner of one of Nepal’s top adventure trekking and tour companies, Rugged Trails Nepal gives first-time adventurers essential tips to make your next trek an amazing one.
If Nepal has never been on your bucket list of destinations to visit, you need to include it now and put your hiking boots on.
Despite its recent earthquake, recurring political and economic problems, its people and its landscapes are what makes Nepal one of the most tourist-friendly nations in the world.
Nirajan Chaulagain, is just one of those friendly characters. He is the Co-owner and Operations Director of Rugged Trails Nepal, one of the country’s top trekking and tour companies located in Kathmandu.
Nirajan is a Kathmandu native, who, like most Nepalese has a passion for mountain life. He grew up around the valley with extensive personal knowledge of his country and the trails running through its many mountain ranges.
According to Nirajan, when it comes to trekking, Nepal is probably the most popular reason why travellers come to the country. The country has a wonderful way of attracting mountaineers and adventurers to its fold.
The country’s peace-loving people and their spiritual beliefs places it in good stead for those seeking some kind of internal enlightenment thus making Nepal a great destination for those looking to get away from the noise of the city life.
The Rugged Trails of Nepal
Trekkers place Nepal as one of their top destinations where one can enjoy amazing views of Everest while making your way along the Annapurna Panoramic Trek.
tip#1: select a trek that you’re comfortable with
When it comes to trekking in Nepal, the choices are endless. Whether you’re a beginner with no experience or a hardcore trekker/climber who has been doing this their whole lives, the first thing you need to do is to select a trek you’re comfortable doing and one that would reward you with great views and insights into local cultures and peoples.
tip #2: observe safety rules when trekking
Nirajan emphasis that when trekking, safety is important, especially for first-timers to the country.
“You need to be smart and be prepared before your trek. Know where you’re going, how many days you’ll be spending there and then collecting the necessary information about that place. If you’re heading to Nepal for the first time, this research you do prior to arriving in Katmandu is crucial. Be prepared for anything,” he advises.
tip #3: select a reputable government registered travel agency
Once you’ve done the above, it’s also important to select a reputable government registered travel agency because like any under-developed country, there are touts and scammers out there, so play it safe and sign up with an agency that really knows their trails inside and out and is licensed.
Even with these permits in hand, there are restrictions and other requirements for many of the country’s famous (and difficult) trekking routes which include treks to Everest Base Camp and Lo Manthang.
To find out more, head to Nepal’s Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS).
tip #4: always trek with a guide. never go it alone even on easy treks
Some trekking routes like the Upper Mustang, Manaslu and Dolpo requires hikers to get special permits from the Department of Immigration that specifically stipulates that trekkers must join an authorised trekking agency that provides experienced guides for the journey.
Trekking with guides is safer in Nepal than going it alone in high mountains given the temperamental weather conditions and how unpredictable the trails are in these areas. There have been several cases of solo trekkers going MIA in Nepal before so be sensible.
tip #5: keep an open mind on your trek
Another tip that Nirajan dispenses is to keep an open mind. “When trekking in Nepal you have to be able to adjust to the local people and their culture, food and language. It’s not a first-world country so don’t expect first-world amenities,” he warns.
tip #6: get your body physically fit for your trek
Going on a trek in Nepal also requires a certain level of fitness. Your legs have to be as strong so they can go the distance. After all, these hikes can last hours or several days. You’ll be pounding your feet for hours at a time and roughing it out in cozy, no-frills tea-houses along the way. Eventually you’re going to experience some serious aches and pains that will set in as your journey progresses.
To minimise such strain, begin your training regimen at least 2-3 months in advance of your trip by walking on stairs, cycling and doing treks in your home country. Train with a 10-pound backpack as well because you want your body to get used to carrying some weight over these long distances.
tip #7: acclimatise. acclimatise. acclimitase.
To add to that, take time to acclimatise because many trekkers are bound to experience some degree of altitude sickness especially when hiking above an altitude of 3,000m. The trick is to walk slowly, drink lots of water and stay alert. If something is wrong or you’re not feeling good, it’s best to consult with guides. They will have a first aid kit handy if you’re suddenly taken ill during your trek.
tip #8: get travel insurance with appropriate coverage.
You also have to make sure you have your travel insurance ready to cover any medical evacuations that will be required in the event of an emergency before you head up into the mountains. This is compulsory in case of serious injury or illness on your journey.
Only when all the above nitty gritty is taken care of, can you safely stuff your backpacks and jaunt off to Nepal to enjoy your trek.
It’s the best way to explore some of the world’s most incredible sights here on the planet and experience Nepali hospitality; one that has incredible life-changing effects on those who undertake these journeys. Friendships are made, mental and physical strength is challenged and of course, spirits lifted along the way while enjoying it rugged and amazing natural beauty…