Nepal is a paradise for every trekking lover around the world. With innumerable trekking trails across the Himalayas, Nepal has a package for beginner to professional travellers. Every year, thousands of tourists embark on a trekking journey in Nepal to experience the thrill.
However, the best of the best experiences can only be felt if you come prepared. The trekking trails in Nepal are categorised into four: Easy, Moderate, Difficult, and Strenuous. Each of these levels requires 4 to 5 hours of hiking daily hence, basic fitness is a must!
But what exactly does basic fitness refer to? And how can you prepare yourself? Well, it all starts with the basic stamina test at home and exercise accordingly. You can start with jogging, swimming, and hiking up a hill.
Ideally, exercising 8 to 12 weeks prior to your actual trek in Nepal is perfect. Furthermore, to make your preparation on time and successful, we have created a step-by-step preparation idea to accomplish your trek in Nepal.
Choose Your Targeted Trail & Test Your Stamina
Humans, by nature, put things aside until the last minute hence, until and unless we see the clock ticking, we do not get active in the things we do.
That is the exact reason why you must book your trek first or set a targeted trail so you can prepare yourself for it. It works as a motivational kick-start for you.
One thing to keep in mind while booking a trek is not to be overly ambitious or underestimate yourself. There are multiple levels of trekking routes in Nepal that resonated with your fitness.
For instance, Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek, Ghandruk Trek, Mardi Himal Trek, and so on are the right fit for beginner trekkers as they are simple and easy to scale.
Likewise, if you wish to raise the stakes and go for a moderately difficult route then, trails like Manaslu Trek, Everest Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, etc are more suitable.
However, if you are looking for a tough level and adventure all the way, go for Upper Dolpo Trek, Everest Three Passes Trek or Dhaulagiri Circuit Trek.
Most of the rewarding and popular trekking trails are located in high altitudes which take you above 4000 meters. But the higher you climb, there is lesser air pressure and oxygen with more harsh tracks.
Therefore, you must start building your stamina level slowly and steadily to accomplish the trail. The best way to do so is by starting to go on a short hike around your hometown. However, if it is not possible, you can also opt for jogging, walking, swimming, or even going to the gym because walking 5 to 6 hours every day is not easy.
When we say working out, it is not only walking around or climbing the stairs up and down. Because in reality, you will be carrying a heavy backpack with all your essentials along the way. In addition, you will need to train yourself to get accustomed to less oxygen so that you will not run out of breath quickly.
Therefore, some of the best training you can indulge yourself is to improve your core strength, endurance, and heart health. Here, the most important part of training is your legs so you can scale any rough terrain without getting cramps. Some of the beneficial exercises will be squats, lunges, mountain climbing, jogging, leg curls, etc.
Moving on, you will be carrying a heavy backpack hence, your upper body strength is also a must. You can train yourself with shoulder presses and planks. Similarly, aerobic and cardio training is quite useful to prepare you for the Nepal trek as it will assist you to avoid breathless problems.
There are tons of travelers that do embark on the trekking journey however, only a few made it through to the end. Some end up giving up due to physical injury while most get mentally drained.
This is simply because the Himalayas are unpredictable and so is the weather. One moment, it may be clear blue skies and sunny while the next moment it is dark and gloomy with the upcoming storms. Hence, it is crucial to stay highly positive and mentally strong.
In a situation of crisis, often yoga and meditation will help you relax, so you can also try those.
If you are a beginner trekker, you should initially start with a day excursion instead of jumping on the longer trails at first. Well, you can hike the hills around your home or you can book yourself a short and easy trek in Nepal such as Phulchowki Day Trek, Chandragiri Day Trek, Nagarkot Changunarayan Trek, and many more to choose from.
Pack Your Gear
It is important to pack essential and right gear while in the meantime, you should not overpack as well. These essential gears will ensure both safety and comfort during your journey.
Below are the tips to pack your must-have gear.
- While trekking in Nepal, layering your clothes is quite important. Make sure your clothes are quick-drying and comfortable. You must pack a woollen base layer, down vests or fleece jackets, waterproof jackets and pants, gloves, sun hat, and sunglasses.
- Likewise, your trekking shoes must be comfortable and of quality so that you will not suffer from blisters or sore feet. It is recommended that you have waterproof and well-fitting shoes. Additionally, you should also pack yourself a lightweight sandal and quick-drying socks.
- As for the ultimate backpack, look for sturdy ones with multiple compartments, a harness system, and padded hip belts. Also, do not forget to choose the ones with rain cover.
- Furthermore, choose a comfortable, lightweight sleeping bag.
- Well, if you are looking for trekking poles, choose the adjustable ones and shock absorbent with a firm grip. Similarly, those who have knee problems should also pack knee caps and supporters.
- Lastly, you should carry other small items such as protein bars, snacks, first-aid kits, power adapters, torchlight, and sunscreen.
Understanding Altitude Sickness
No matter how physically fit you are or how many times have you made it to a high altitude, Acute Motion Sickness (AMS) can happen to anyone. It is an uneasy condition that you go through due to a decreased level of oxygen at high altitudes.
Usually, the symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, headache, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. Often these symptoms get worse with time which later can be life-threatening, hence, you must react quickly.
So what should you do when you suffer from AMS?
- Do not ascend any further and take rest and give yourself time to breathe.
- You can also take Diamox, a medication that will ease your symptoms. Also, drink water!
- If you still feel uneasy, slowly descend with a partner.
And how can you prevent it overall?
- Stay hydrated! Drinking tons of water is the key. You should drink at least 3 to 4 litres of water throughout the day. Likewise, reduce your intake of caffeine and alcohol.
- Enjoy a balanced diet that is easily digestible and is of high energy. You should avoid fatty, oily, and overly spicy meals.
- When you are trekking, stop to rest and relax. You should know when your body is tired and hence, communicate so with your group.
Pre-Book Your Journey & Be Flexible
Researching your trekking route in Nepal, creating a detailed itinerary, and pre-booking your transportation and accommodation is a smart move. It will help you get familiar with the places and know what to expect.
Also, advance booking of your accommodation, flights, and local transport will not keep you waiting, especially during the peak seasons. Hare, it is advisable that you consult with your head guide or trekking agency to create a realistic itinerary so that your journey is memorable and safe.
Additionally, while you are creating a schedule, it is important that you keep buffer days. This helps you get flexible with the plan when an unforeseen or potential circumstance occurs.
Another thing to keep in mind is to prepare yourself for emergencies. And here’s how!
- After you have planned your itinerary, always share it with your friends to let them know where you are going.
- Carry a phone, map, or GPS with you to know where you are exactly.
- Always carry a first-aid kit and all your medication if you require it. It should have your regular medication, medication for AMS, pain relief, and wound care.
- Be mentally and physically prepared to withstand changing weather as the Himalayas are unpredictable.
- Stay with your group and do not embark on a solo journey.
- Before starting your journey, sign up for travel insurance. In case of emergency rescue, it will cover all your medical costs.
Take Enough Cash & Your Necessary Documents
Although you will find multiple ATMs and money exchange corners in the capital city, Kathmandu, you will not find a single one along the trails of the Himalayas. Hence, you should carry enough cash.
The teahouses you stay in will charge for the wifi, hot showers, and even charging alongside your food and stay there. The higher you travel, the more expensive the prices get. Likewise, you will also be required to tip your porters and guides accordingly.
Now, that you have enough cash, you should not forget to bring your important documents with you. Always keep your papers in a clear bag so you do not damage or lose them.
Apart from your personal papers, you should not forget to get the permits before you leave for the journey. Each of the tracks has its own permits and fees you need to pay for. Also, remember, that you will require your valid passport and multiple passport-size pictures to get the permit.
Moving on, you can get these permits from the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu or Pokhara.
- TIMS card (Trekkers Information Management System): Almost every trekking trail requires this permit.
- National Park or Conservation Area Entry Permits: You will require this to enter the protected areas.
- Khumbu Municipality Permit: It is required during the Everest region trek.
- Restricted Area Permits: You will need this to enter any remote areas and is often obtained from authorized trekking agencies.
Be A Responsible Trekker
Nepal is naturally and culturally rich with several untouched areas. Hence, you should be responsible for your journey and ensure you do not mess with the culture, people, or place of a certain region.
Respect The Culture And People
“When in Rome, do as Romans do!” Every community and region has their own set of beliefs and culture that they abide by. But as a traveller, trying to make the locals uneasy or mocking them is a huge disrespect. Hence, you should be able to adapt and comply with the local favours.
Nepal is a preservative country, especially in the remote and upper regions. There with PDA (Public Display of Affection) is a big NO! You should respect the local customs and traditions. For that, do not dress inappropriately, cover your legs, shoulders, etc.
Additionally, always seek permission before you take any picture either of the people or the cultural sites. Most importantly, remove your shoes before entering whether be it in someone’s house or temple.
Support Local Businesses
For souvenirs, nothing will ever beat locally hand-made items. Busying those will not only give you a unique present but will also support the locals’ business.
Likewise, staying in homestays with the locals will not only provide you with a chance to interact with the locals and understand their culture up close. But it also helps the locals to earn money.
Lastly, be kind and respectful towards your porters and guides too. Simply because you are not carrying much doesn’t mean you will ask your porter to lift overly heavy backpacks. After all, they are human beings too! Do not forget to tip them extra for their hard work.
Do Not Litter!
The only best thing you can leave behind from your trip is your footprints! Always keep your items and litter to yourself unless you find a designated spot for disposal. You can reduce your trash by using biodegradable items.
In similar manner, avoid setting up a camp fire every single time. If you do make a camp fire, make sure you have put it out properly.
The trekking journey in Nepal is magical and will be one of the best adventures if prepared both mentally and physically. Hence, choose your trekking routes based on your ability and do not forget to prepare beforehand.