HOW FIT SHOULD I BE TO GO ON A TREK?
You do not have to be an athlete to be able to trek.
If you are in reasonable shape, enjoy walking, can walk uphill and downhill, you will likely do fine. If you have been hiking in the past and do bicycling or participate in walking exercises, you may find trekking easier. Nepal’s trails go through many different terrains and sizes (flat, on the slope, uphill and downhill, wide and narrow trails). We highly recommend that you participate in routine hikes, bicycling, elliptical exercises, tread mills or running to prepare yourself for any trekking in the Himalaya. The better shape you are in the more you will enjoy your hiking in the Himalaya.
SELECTING A TRIP FOR YOU:
Trekking in the Himalaya is fun, but it is adventurous, strenuous and physically challenging. If you sign up for a trek that you cannot handle physically, you will have very hard time completing it. Therefore, you should carefully select a trek that you are capable of completing. We offer trekking in the Himalayas in three different grades (Easy, Moderate and Strenuous). Trekking and adventurous outdoor activities require your attention to hazards no matter where it is, whether in the Himalayas or in the rainforests.
We want you to enjoy your tour, so please help us select a trip suited for you. Tell us about your outdoor experience and the type of tour you are interested in so we can help you to select the best trip for you in Asia. Please feel free to ask for any question or help.
TRAVEL GEAR FOR TREKKING IN THE HIMALAYA:
An equipment list for trekking in the Himalaya, mountain climbing, river rafting, and Jungle Safari are available and will be sent to you after you have signed up for a trip with us. The equipment list and recommendations will help you in selecting the right gear to make your trip more fun and comfortable. The following description gives you some ideas on how we operate our trips in the Himalaya and what type of gear to prepare for your trip. Sleeping bags, boots and daypack detail are given below.
On all organized camping treks, we provide you with a two person tent for two people and a foam mattress for each person. All cooking equipment including cooking pots, stove, utensils, cutleries, kitchen tent, dining tent with tables and folding stools, candles, kerosene lanterns, shower tent, and a toilet tent are provided. We carry all the food supplies for the trek. Our cooking crew prepares delicious fresh meals three times a day throughout the trek. Meals we serve on the trek are delicious Nepalese, Western and Chinese varieties. Therefore, all you need to bring is a good sleeping bag, and a daypack with your personal gear along with a good attitude for the trip. A fully organized camping trek has the freedom to trek on the main trekking route, as well as off the main trails within scenic wilderness areas. When you are on our fully organized camping trek or walking trip, your luggage is carried by a porter. All you need to carry is your day pack with the essentials you need during the day. This is how majority of the trekking in the Himalaya is done and is one of the fantastic trips of a lifetime to experience.
Lodge treks involve staying in the lodges for the night and trekking on the main trail from one lodge to another. Breakfast and dinners are served at the lodges where you spend the night. Lunch is served at local inns and restaurants while en-route. Lodges in remote Nepal do not provide blankets. So, you need to bring a sleeping bag. A lodge not providing you with a blanket does not reflect a bad service, because nobody wants to sleep under a blanket where many trekkers have slept. If a blanket is to be provided, please know that lodges in remote area do not have the facility to wash blankets daily because of weather and the availability of modern amenities. You will be much happier in your sleeping bag.
VERY ESSENTIAL TREKKING GEAR:
A down-filled sleeping bag, designed to keep you warm at minus ten to twenty degrees Celsius (-10 to -20 Celsius or 15F to -4F), is the best for all lowland and high altitude treks in the Himalayas. Trekking Peak climbers and extreme high pass travelers should consider down filled sleeping bags designed to keep you warm at minus forty degrees Celsius (-40C to -40F). Also, travelers worried about getting cold should consider the above sleeping bag.
Sleeping bag liner
We highly recommend that you bring a sleeping bag inner liner made of cotton or fleece that can be easily washed and dried while on trek. The liner adds warmth, keeps your sleeping bag clean and saves you from washing.
You know how your feet smell after hours of walking each day. So, bring along an inner sleeping bag liner that you can easily wash and dry during the trek. Be it on lodge to lodge trekking program or fully organized trekking with overnight in the tents, the sleeping inner liners will keep you comfortable. Please bring this from home so that you do not have to spend time to buy one in Kathmandu.
On all camping treks, we provide foam mattresses about 3-4 inches thick. No need to bring your own.
Boots that are well broken-in and comfortable are best for trekking. A good pair of trekking boots should have good angle support, plenty of toe room, stiff sole to prevent twisting. Hard rubber soles are best for good gripping, as soft soles into which you can easily sink your nail are likely to slip. Additionally, your boots should be light as you will be lifting your feet up with every step you take.
Boots that are new, too loose or tight are very uncomfortable and may compromise your ability to hike. So, make sure you break-in your boots before your trek. Bring a well broken-in pair of boots that can fit your feet with thick pair of cotton socks at low elevations and thick pair of wool socks at high altitudes. When selecting your boots, ask for a pair of boots that have Cambrelle lining or similar material that keeps your feet cool, dry, and comfortable. Gore-Tex waterproof boots are best for high altitude trekking, and pre or post monsoon hikes.
Your day pack should be comfortable with well-padded back support and a shoulder strap to waistband that equally transfers weight between your shoulder and hip. Day packs that have a wide bottom which transfers all the weight onto your hips are uncomfortable during hikes. Your day pack should be big enough to pack a fleece, jacket, rain gear, water bottle, snacks, sunscreen, camera, a roll of toilet paper and any necessary items for the day. The rest of your gear and clothing should go into your Duffel bag that will be carried by a porter. Porters usually walk ahead of you on the trek as they have to cook their own meals plus they have to reach the campsite before you so that the camp will be set up by the time you arrive. So, you will see your luggage only in the evening.
We hope that the above trekking (walking trip) essential equipment list helps you in preparing for a trekking trip in the Himalaya. A more detailed gear list will be sent to you after you have signed up for a trip with Sherpa Travel. Also, upon request, we will provide you with suggestions on gear for lowland trips in Nepal, India and Southeast Asia. Please feel free to tell us should you have any question.
Clothing for Kathmandu and the lowlands of Nepal
Kathmandu is warm from April to October. November to March day time temperatures warm and mornings and evenings are cool to cold.
Summer type clothing for day time use and a light jacket or sweater for the evening are suggested. December to February is the winter season. Thus, you should bring your winter clothes such as warm jackets, sweaters, shirts, trousers and thermal under wear. These clothing are recommended for travel in the Kathmandu Valley, middle hills around 9,000ft and the Terai lowlands. For trekking clothing in the highlands, please see the Trekking Gear List.
WATER- IS TAP WATER SAFE TO DRINK IN NEPAL?
No. Please do not drink tap water and stream water.
Hotels and lodges serve boiled and filtered water which is safe to drink. The hotel tap water is good for brushing your teeth and washing. You can use the boiled and filtered water to brush your teeth to be safer. Bottled water is widely available in Nepal. However, to reduce the amount of plastic in the environment, please limit the purchase of bottled water as much as possible. While you are on our camping trek program, your trekking crew will provide you boiled water three times a day to fill in your water bottles.
WHAT TYPES OF FOOD ARE SERVED DURING THE TREK?
You will be served three hot meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). You will awake with hot tea, coffee and a bowl of warm water for washing. Then breakfast is served. Around mid-day, you will be served hot tea, coffee, juice and water when you arrive at the lunch spot. Then lunch is served. Evening, as you reach the campsite, you will be served hot coffee, tea, chocolate, biscuits and warm or cold water for basic washing. Dinner is served after you are well settled into the camp. The above routine continues until the last day of your trek. Meals we serve on the trek are Nepali, Chinese, Continental and western varieties that are fresh, delicious and nutritious dishes.
Sherpa Travel guides, cooks and kitchen staff are provided in-house training on food safety by Wangdowa Sherpa, a Certified Professional Food Manager recognized by American National Standards Institute and the Conference for Food Protection. Our cooks and kitchen crew are trained to prepare hygienically clean and safe food during the camping trek.
VACCINATIONS AND HEALTH:
Certificates of vaccination against Cholera and Yellow fever are not required to visit South, Southeast and Northeast Asia unless you are coming from an area of identified concern. However, Malaria is not a problem in most of the above regions, so it is important for you to know the current requirements for your travel destinations. If you are planning to visit southern lowlands of Chitwan Jungle National Park in Nepal, and the remote jungles of Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, then you should take precautions, and use mosquito or insect repellents. Wear long sleeved shirts and pants, and use mosquito nets at night. The highlands often do not have mosquitoes so there is a reduced concern. We recommend to always carry insect repellant, as conditions vary, with the location, humidity, climate, and daily variations of conditions. The most intense insect populations are when traveling during, before, and after the monsoon weather.
Vaccination against Meningitis and Hepatitis 'A' and 'B' may be necessary to take, and always recommended. You should consult with your doctor what vaccinations and medications to travel with in your medical kit. It is important, that all vaccinations that your doctor recommends are taken in your home country prior to your trip departure. Also, consult your physician for flu shots, as you may be travelling in a season where your exposure risk is increased.
GROUP TRIP MEDICAL KIT:
Treks involving group travel and a tour leader, the tour leader usually brings a medical kit with basic medical supplies for the group. However, each trip member is advised to bring medical supplies to meet his or her needs for the entire trip.
PRIVATE TRIP MEDICAL KIT:
If you are on a private trip, traveling alone or traveling with your family and friends, bring your own medical kit with sufficient supplies to last for the entire trip. Quality medical supplies are difficult to find in Nepal. However, local brands of similar effect are available at local pharmacies in limited places.
We carry a small medical kit with basic supplies for extended duration treks involving high altitude and passes. However, we find that the best remedy is that the trip participants bring their own medical supplies.
We pray and wish that our clients and crew do not have to face any accidents or medical emergencies. However, it is your responsibility to be prepared. Sherpa Travel strongly advises that you obtain insurance coverage prior to departure that covers emergency medical treatment and evacuation.
You will need to provide a copy of your current insurance coverage for the trip that shows that your insurance policy covers emergency medical evacuation and treatment while traveling. Additionally, as most insurance is reimbursable after payment, you must be prepared to pay for any medical treatment in all countries and for a helicopter rescue for an emergency situation (available only in Nepal).
Trip Cancellation Insurance
After you have signed up for a trip with us and made payment for the planned trip, please purchase a Trip Cancellation Insurance to protect against loss of deposit and cost of the trip. Trips can be cancelled for the following reasons that include a natural disaster in the area a trip is planned, political or civil unrest in the proposed destination, war, terrorism, disease outbreak and any another unforeseen situations beyond our control.
Your trip cancellation insurance also should cover flight cancellation should you be forced to cancel your trip for the above reasons.
Mountaineers have to bring insurance policies for themselves and must follow the Nepal Government policy for the insurance of all the staff accompanying the expedition. The Nepalese staff insurance policies must be purchased in Nepal. Insurance is also required for Trekking Peak climbing trips for trip members and the crew. Major expeditions are accompanied by a government liaison officer, and the expedition team is required to pay for the liaison officer’s accident and life insurance.
SAFETY DURING THE TREK:
Nepal is a safe country to travel. We highly care for your security while you are trekking with us as your safety is the utmost importance to us.
Our trekking crew (guides, cooks and porters) are carefully selected for your trip.
We employ guides who are licensed by Nepal Government Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation. Sherpa Travel guides are reliable and honest. Your trekking crew will provide security and will remain attentive throughout the trip.
It is also your responsibility to take care of yourself and your belongings while traveling. Never leave your baggage unattended at the hotel lobby, airport, and crowded campsites.
While in Katmandu, keep your passport, money and credit cards in secure place such as money pouch where pick pockets do not have easy access.
While on the trek, carry money and credits card in your money pouch which should be with you at all times. Never leave your money and credit cards in the luggage.
Most trekking destinations are safe. Popular tourism destinations where many people travel through have greater chances of things getting lost. So being extra careful helps.
The above questions and answers are also relevant for Nepal, Bhutan, India and Tibet, as all trips. Sherpa Travel also has web pages with regionally specific information along with the tour information. If you have additional questions, please feel free to inquire, and we will be pleased to answer all your questions and help you the best we can to make your trip pleasant and comfortable.
To avoid delay and inconvenience, Sherpa Travel strongly advises visitors to obtain Nepal visa from their home country or nearby Nepalese Embassy, Consulate or Honorary Nepalese Consulate General.
Tourist visas to visit Nepal can be obtained from Nepalese Embassies and Consulates overseas. Your passport should be valid for six months from the date of entry into Nepal.
Nepal Visa is also issued on arrival. However, to avoid the long line at the airport and any inconvenience on arrival, obtain your visa in advance from Nepalese Embassies and Consulate overseas if at all possible. If you must get your visa on arrival, make sure that the document you need is complete and accurate.
US$25 or equivalent convertible currency
US$40 or equivalent convertible currency
US$100 or equivalent convertible currency
Gratis (Free) Visa:
Gratis visa for 30 days is available only for nationals of SAARC countries. However, for extension of visa for SAARC nationals, the rule is same as that of other nationals.
Indian nationals do not require visa to enter into Nepal.
Tourists can stay for a maximum of 150 days in a visa year (Jan 1 to Dec 31) extending the visa at the rate of US$2 per day. However, a minimum amount of US$30 has to be paid for a period of 15 days or less.
For obtaining visa or for renewing visa 1 passport size photo is necessary.
Transit visa is provided for 1 day for US$5 or Equivalent convertible currency. Return ticket is necessary.
Visa on Arrival:
Nepal provides visa-on-arrival to all the nationals of different countries except the countries mentioned below.
The nationals of the following countries are not provided visa-on-arrival and may obtain their visa from Nepalese diplomatic missions located in or near their respective countries prior to arrival in Nepal.
The countries are: Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Palestine, Liberia, Swaziland, Ethiopia and Cameroon.
CURRENCY AND CREDIT CARDS:
Payment in hotels, travel agencies, and airlines are made in foreign exchange. Credit cards like American Express, Master and Visa are widely accepted at major hotels, shops, and restaurants. Remember to keep your Foreign Exchange Encashment Receipt while making foreign exchange payments or transferring foreign currency into Nepalese rupees. The receipts may be needed to change left-over Nepalese Rupees into hard currency before leaving the country. However, only 10 percent of the total amount may be converted by the bank. ATM is widely in use in Kathmandu.
Major banks, hotels, and the exchange counters at Tribhuvan Airport provide services for exchanging foreign currency.
Exchange rates are published in English dailies such as The Rising Nepal, The Kathmandu Post and The Himalayan Times. Nepalese Rupees are in denominations of 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are in denominations of 10, 25 and 50 paisa. One rupee equals 100 paisa.
Major towns in Nepal have electricity and the voltage available is 220-volts and 50 cycles. Load shedding is sometimes experienced. However, most major hotels have installed their own generators.
Visitors should bring electric adapter to charge batteries for their electric appliance.
Postal Services: The Central Post Office located near Dharahara Tower, is open from 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday. The counters are open from 7 am to 4 pm and provide stamps, postcards and aerogram. Post Restante is available Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5pm. Express Mail Service (EMS) is available at GPO and at Thamel, Basantapur and airport postal counters.
Telephone Services: Telephone, fax, telex and telegraph services are available at the Nepal Telecommunications Corporation at Tripureshwar. Hotels and private communications centers provide long distance telephone. For calling from outside, country code for Nepal is 977 and the area code for Kathmandu is 1.
Internet Services: Several Internet cafes and communication centers have opened up in the Valley and around the country in the past few years. Visitors only have to find a place they are most comfortable in to use the facilities to keep in touch with home. E-mail and Internet services are also offered by hotels.
Media: Nepali media has improved so much in the last few years and has made communication faster and easier. The government audio and television news networks are Radio Nepal and Nepal Television respectively. However, numerous FM radio stations and upcoming regional television stations are dominating the market. Major Nepali daily newspapers are Gorkhapatra and Kantipur, while the English dailies are The Rising Nepal, The Kathmandu Post and The Himalayan. A number of other newspapers and magazines are also available.
TIME AND BUSINESS HOURS:
Nepal is 5 hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT.
Business hours within Kathmandu Valley: Government offices are open from 9AM to 5PM Monday through Friday. Banks are open from Sunday through Friday from 10AM to 3:30PM. Most Business offices are open from 10AM to 5AM Sunday through Friday.
Embassies and international organizations are open from 9AM to 5PM Monday through Friday. Most shops open after 10AM and close at about 8PM. Saturdays are the main weekends in Nepal.
FLIGHTS TO NEPAL:
Nepal is served by various international airlines and the national carrier Nepal Airlines from the following cities London, Paris, Frankfurt, Vienna, Amsterdam, Doha, Dubai, Dhaka, Karachi, Munich, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Paro, Lhasa, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Patna, Calcutta, Varanasi and Bangkok. Check with your travel agency for best flight connections to Nepal.
DO NOTS WHEN BOARDING A FLIGHT TO NEPAL. Petty merchants going to Nepal from Hong Hong, Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and other such airports may ask you to help check in their access luggage of commercial value. Be bold to say no to avoid unwanted problems.
Nepal has many airports both paved and unpaved including shot takeoff and landing (STOL). Most popular trekking and tour destinations have good flight connections. Sherpa Travel makes all domestic flight arrangement for its clients.
ROAD SYSTEM IN NEPAL:
Nepal has paved East-West and North-South highways at various strategic points.
Since Nepal is an under developing country that numerous roads are under construction; thus, the land transportation is constantly expanding and improving. Major trailheads are served by both paved and unpaved rough roads.
HOTEL ACCOMMODATION IN NEPAL:
Nepal has many categories of hotels ranging from five star luxury hotels with spa facilities to simple lodges meeting the needs of every budget level. The deluxe hotels are mostly located in the Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara, Chitwan Junlge National Park, and Lumbini; decent comfortable resorts and lodges are available in popular tourism destinations. The remote area lodges can provide basic comfort lodging. Travel away from established trekking routes, require camping.
Sherpa Travel caters to Luxury Camping in the remote wilderness places in the Himalaya where all food and equipment are carried by porters for its clients. Our luxury camping is not same as backpacking in the US, Canada or elsewhere. We mean Luxury where we serve you while you carry only your day pack and walk to enjoy the nature.