Trekking in Nepal is a special and rewarding holiday. As there are few roads extending deeply into the hills, 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 greater.
Majestic, awe-inspiring, breathtaking, magnificent — the Himalayas deserve every accolade they have ever inspired. But no amount of description can adequately convey the beauty of Nepal's most-prized geographical asset. Only trekking in Nepal will confirm what the guidebooks say.
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 villages whose lifestyle has not changed in generations. Most people in Nepal trust foreigners because Nepal is one of only a handful of countries that have never been ruled by a foreign power.
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 the space of only 150km. The beauty and attraction of Nepal emanates not only from the mountains themselves, but also from their surroundings. Nepal is a country of friendly people, picturesque villages and an amazing variety of cultures and traditions that seem to exemplify many of the attributes we have lost in our headlong rush for development in the West.
For visitors who have never trekked before and are perhaps inexperienced at travelling outside of their normal environment, a trek in Nepal can be seen as a daunting experience. The thought of walking days at a time, perhaps weeks, is quite foreign to many visitors. Fortunately, most people find trekking to be quite a relaxing experience. Even though there are periods of exertion -- the trekking trails in Nepal are rarely flat -- the absence of the daily routine of home life allows the trekkers to relax mentally if not physically. And each day there is always plenty of time for resting and for experiencing the different lifestyles seen around the villages and towns that you pass.
The old adage "the better prepared and fitter you are, the more you will enjoy any sport" especially holds true for trekking. You do not need to be a super athlete but a few weeks of training prior to arriving in Nepal will enhance your experience. The best training you can do at home is walking. Try to spend an hour per day -- it doesn't have to be too complicated. While you are training you can also break in new footwear that may otherwise give you blisters out on the trail.
It is not uncommon to see trekkers of both genders that are well into their 70s! And, likewise, you will even meet some entire families with young children out on the trails. Trekkers come in all shapes and sizes.
There are two approaches to trekking: lodge treks and camping treks. The group size may be as large as 20-plus or as small as one. At the start of each trek, a Peak Paldor Trekking representative will be on hand to warmly meet-&-greet each trekker upon arrival of their flight into Kathmandu. A shuttle is arranged to a downtown hotel for a few days of pre-trip organization, sightseeing and equipment checks.
Each guided trek is under the control of a sirdar (trail boss) who is responsible for arranging accommodation and meals, whether it is a lodge or camping area, and ensuring a full complement of porters are ready every day as well as looking after the other guides, cooks, yak and pony herders. If there are fewer than three trekkers, the sirdar will also serve as a guide; with larger groups there may be several guides.
The most popular way to trek is to use local trekking lodges for accommodation and meals. There are good lodges every few hours on treks in the Annapurna, Langtang, and Khumbu (Everest) regions.
Lodges in the hills provide a special meeting place for trekkers from around the world. You will have a good opportunity to see how people in the hills of Nepal live, work and eat and may develop at least a rudimentary knowledge of the Nepali language.
On our 'Tea-House Treks', all food and accommodation is part of your package. Porters carry your gear, and a guide travels with the group during the day and handles all the arrangements for meals and dealing with bureaucracy. It's hassle-free trekking with just a light daypack!
The classic style of trek in Nepal is to camp in tents and employ porters to carry your gear and sherpas to set up camp, cook and serve meals. You carry a pack with only water, camera and jacket.
If you are used to carrying your own gear in a backpack, you'll be amazed at the apparent luxury of a trekking camp in Nepal. Although you'll be sleeping on foam mattresses placed on the ground, you'll be assigned a roomy A-frame or dome tent that comfortably accommodates two people and their gear. Meals are served family style at a table as you sit in a chair in a dining tent or outside enjoying the view. The camp staff have their own tents and kitchen facilities and kitchen-boys race back and forth to the dining tent acting as waiters. If there is no permanent toilet, the staff dig a hole and set up a toilet tent.
Camping-groups are fully independent of local accommodation and food. A fully organized trekking team is quite a large outfit as not only the trekker's personal gear needs to be carried but also the group equipment and food. It is likely that there will be three local staff to every trekker. There are many advantages to choosing a camping trek: the control of hygiene in the kitchen is a lot easier on camping treks than in lodges; there is reduced exposure to upper-respiratory ailments (like the infamous 'Khumbu Cough') compared to inside trekker-filled tea-houses; tent camping gives you the freedom to go to bed when you choose and you usually get to have a quiet night, away from the uproar of a lodge; because there are also tents for the sherpas and porters, you do not need to camp near villages and can trek comfortably in remote regions; you provide much needed employment for many local porters.
A group camping trek follows a tradition and a routine that trekkers and mountaineers have developed and refined for more than 50 years.
Nepal defines four seasons for expeditions: spring (March - May), summer (June - August), autumn (September - November) and winter (December - February). With each season comes different opportunities in Nepal. During the winter the high mountains are buried in heavy snow while the lower altitudes are perfect for exploration. With spring and the melting of snow, wildflowers abound abundantly throughout the hills and mountains painting the Himalayas in vibrant arrays of color. Although the summer monsoon season blankets most of Nepal with rain from June till August, it gives rise to beautiful, crisp weather in the fall which is the optimal time for trekking in the Himalayas.
Trekking in Nepal is possible any time of year depending on where you are going. The popular seasons are spring and autumn. During winter, trekking is possible at lower altitudes. During the monsoon season, you can trek in the rain shadow areas on the north-side of the Himalayas like Mustang, Upper Manang (Annapurna region) and Dolpo. These places are out of reach of the rain clouds because of the high mountains and are unaffected by the monsoons. The best part about trekking in this season is that the routes are less crowded and if you happen to be a keen amateur-botanist, you will revel in lush vegetation as meadows bloom in full swing.