BlogSelecting right Trekking in Nepal
18 Apr 2019 snowpath
Selecting right trekking in Nepal can be tricky specially for the new trekkers. Even though number of days play vital role in any trekking itinerary but this not the only thing to consider as a trekker. More or less, every trekking agency in Nepal has similar itineraries published in internet, which they modify in some extent if a trekker makes request. For an example, if a trekker say I have 15 days in Nepal most of the trekking agency would propose the itinerary of Everest/ Annapurna Base Camp Trekking. The suggested itinerary can be ideal for some trekkers and might not be for some trekkers. Moreover, if you consider other factors like price, protected area you want to trek, mountain you want to see, transportation feasibility, culture and tradition you want to see, your physical fitness; Annapurna Base Camp trekking and Everest Base Camp trekking are not a match from any point except the word “Base Camp trekking”.
The purpose of this article is to provide a trekker more basic information that helps them in choosing / selecting right trekking in Nepal by themselves. Here we believe trekking should not be driven by only business resolution. A blend of fun, adventure, informative vacation, know-how culture, some extent of physical and mental challenge makes a perfect trekking. We hope and believe every trekker would consider and think on more associated issues before asking I want 15 days Everest base camp trekking. However, there is always room to address your concerns once you have made-up your mind. But considering individual trekker expectation, there is no linear sequence to explain which comes first. Price or number of days or adventure level or transportation feasibility and so on. As a trekker, consider mentioned points for selecting right trekking in Nepal.
Number of days and selecting right trekking in Nepal.
We understand how precious number of days can be for any working-class people to plan a holiday and vacation.We suggest you not to make your trekking itinerary congested. Since, a slight unexpected change (eg cancel of flight to Lukla) in congested itinerary can affect your whole trekking itinerary which nobody wants. A long itinerary and you may end up paying unnecessary money. Work, plan and carefully select the itinerary so that you can enjoy optimal days being a carefree trekker. There is nothing wrong telling trek organizer about your tight schedule if you have any and ask for suggestions. Furthermore, errors and omission excepted (E & OE) financial agreement can be done with your organizer if you are not really sure about it.
7 days trekking can be possible in Langtang and Annapurna trekking region but not really in Everest trekking region. So number of days you have and the trekking region you choose play vital role for selecting trekking itinerary in Nepal. Sometime congested itinerary may be possible in the trekking region which have road access and flight as well.
Price and selecting right trekking in Nepal.
This is where many trekkers get confused and need to be attentive. Firstly, the price of any trekking depends upon the trekking region you choose. For example, Everest is expensive comparing to Annapurna and Annapurna becomes slightly expensive comparing to Langtang trekking region. Most of the trekking organizer put nominal cost on transportation, permit and accommodation cost without any profit. However, cost might be significantly high if you choose five-star accommodation over regular accommodation. Same rule applies if you choose flight over tourist bus. These kinds of price depend upon the luxury a trekker want. Ask optional accommodation, transportation with your trek organizer if available, to make the trekking cheap. Organizer will change the things happily once you let them know.
Trekkers have option to choose tourist bus/ local transportation for Annapurna and Langtang trekking to make the trekking price cheap. No option for Everest trekking until you decide to start trekking from Jiri instead of Lukla. But the biggest trick lies on the comparing per day cost of any trekking you choose. Which greatly depends upon the policy a trekking agency has and grade of service they promise to provide for clients. Longer trekking days, cheap price. More people in trekking group, cheap price.
Mountain/Landscape and selecting right trekking in Nepal.
Nepal has very unique landscape for trekking. Most of the trekking starts in tropical region of the country except Everest which starts in Forested temperate climatic zone at Lukla. Whichever trekking region you choose Everest, Annapurna, Langtang, Manaslu all of them have unique landscape and vegetation. Most of the 8000 peaks are in Everest trekking region, then few in Annapurna trekking region. Sad but true Langtang trekking has no 8000m mountain. But the Langtang trekking region still grabs the third position.
So, if you want to see high mountains in Nepal and if you are ok with physical fitness, budget, number of days, Everest is ideal choice. But if you are not mad after 8000m mountains or squeezed by budget Langtang and Annapurna can be ideal trekking from many ways. Even though Upper Mustang Trekking has few mountains, it is as much busy as Everest because of unique geography and landscape. Manaslu, Kanchenjunga, Makalu has one 8000m mountain each, but still trekkers appreciate the landscape and rich vegetation of these trekking region. Looking a map of Nepal and protected area can be very easy way to decide the trekking region you want to trek on.
Though Sherpa community is very popular among the trekkers it is not always the case. Depending upon the trekking region you see different people, religion and culture during the trekking. Everest trekking region is very popular for Sherpa community and tradition. While Annapurna trekking region is very popular for Gurung and Thakali people. Langtang trekking region is dominated by Tamang people. Narphu valley trekking has very small, isolated, closed small community of Sino Tibetan. In Manaslu trekking you find the Nubri and Tsum people rich with undisturbed culture, old monasteries and Chortens. Upper Mustang trekking is popular to see old cultural heritage and natural Trans Himalaya landscape rather than high mountains. It is fascinating that trekkers are not always in Nepal to see high mountains but also to know and study the marginalized community and their culture in Himalaya.
Transportation and selecting right trekking in Nepal.
The reason to provide the information about transportation is to let know the trekkers which trekking region are flexible to change the itinerary in any case if required. Easier the transportation feasibility, the more flexible itinerary becomes. Even though helicopter can reach any destination in case of emergency, it can be expensive for most of the trekkers to use in general situation. Road transportation during monsoon in hilly part of trekking can be a risky drive. But is well maintained during autumn and spring.
Everest trekking still relies on Flights and helicopter for transportation. No flight a day can create a chaos in Lukla and Kathmandu Airport. While Annapurna trekking is very rich in context of availability of transportation options. In emergency situation you may use road transportation (Car/Bus/Jeep) rather than waiting flights in Pokhara and Jomsom. There are no flights in Manaslu and Langtang trekking region but road transportation is easily available. While far eastern trekking region like Kanchenjunga, Makalu has option for both flight and road, but they are expensive comparing to other trekking region. For example, there is scheduled weekly flight to Suketar for Kanchenjunga trekking but it may not available in crucial moment. Choose your trekking region and stay informed about transportation availability and option.
Most of the popular trekking region like Everest, Annapurna and Langtang have well maintained luxury tea-houses. Places like Gokyo, Dragnag, Gorakshep of Everest trekking region and Base camp, Thorong phedi of Annapurna trekking region have countable tea-houses. Therefore, it is not unusual for trekkers to spend night on dining or dormitory during peak season in these places. In contrast, Langtang trekking has abundance tea-houses to accommodate trekkers. Highly emerging trekking region like in Manaslu, numerous tea-houses are under construction and are increasing rapidly. While in Kanchenjunga there are basic tea-houses with limited choices. Furthermore, there are no significant rise in new tea-houses for trekkers in Kanchenjunga trekking. Trekking organizer provides extra equipment to tackle with such problems.
Maximum Altitude and selecting right trekking in Nepal.
The maximum altitude trekker wants to conquer in trekking depends upon the determination, expectation and experience they have. Though it is not compulsory to reach your desired maximum altitude during trekking, but organizer and your guide wants it you to accomplish once it has been started and determined. Even though, hitting maximum altitude depends upon the choice of trekker, once you have made-up your mind it comes down to the responsibility of your organizer and guides.
Talking only about the extremely popular high-altitudes, some trekker like to go Gokyo ri (5375m) to enjoy the Everest region landscape while some like to go to Everest Base Camp (5364m) to share the proud moments with their family colleagues and friends. Daring trekkers continue to Everest Base camp from Gokyo through Cho-La pass(5370m). Poonhill (3210m) in Annapurna trekking can be end of the story for some trekkers while some continue to Annapurna Base Camp(4130m). Numerous popular high passes like Thorong-La (5416m) Kang-La(5320m) in Annapurna trekking region, Renjo-la(5345m), Cho-La(5370m),Kongma-la(5535m)in Everest trekking region, Larkey-La(5106m) in Manaslu trekking region see numerous of trekkers each year. Pay extra-attention in authenticity of these itineraries for successful completion and to avoid Acute Mountain Sicknes (AMS).
Age and selecting right trekking in Nepal.
There is no age bar for trekking in Nepal. At least, age is never a determining factor for successful and unsuccessful of trekking in Nepal. It is not unusual to see young, healthy, fit trekker struggling to complete the trekking, while 70 years old complete the same trekking with ease. This is not about merely encouraging old trekkers but this actually happens in Nepal. A young Nepali trekking guide can get Altitude sickness. Weird but true.
The regular and popular trekking itineraries in Annapurna Langtang, and Manaslu trekking region can be lengthy trekking hours with lots of ups and downs for some trekkers. Ask your organizer to make the trekking day short in advance stating your age if you need and you are unsure. While in Everest Trekking region, the trekking hour is short but you gain rapid altitude. Again, the organizer will rescue you by providing more acclimatization days to make the trekking successful. As simple as that. Moreover, you will get extra attention and encouragement from your trekking guide during trekking.
Physical Fitness and selecting right trekking in Nepal
We all know the story of tortoise and hare, right? Under the thumb rule, there is no hard evidences that only fit trekker completes every trekking he/she wishes. Extra body weight will never be a major hurdle to trek in Nepal. Determination might be the major factor. Trekking is not about rushing and completing the challenge you set for yourself. More rush, higher trekking pace there is bigger chances to get attacked by Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Slow the pace it is better. Comparatively, a lean trekker can be fast with pace but trekking is not again a marathon competition. Moreover, how fast and how slow you are, all of the trekkers are spending night in same tea house in pre-planned camp set by the trekking agency and guides.
The same rule we applied to those trekkers concerning about their age applies to trekker who has concern on their physical fitness. For Annapurna, Langtang and Manaslu trekking region you can ask shorter trekking hour with your organizer. Only then if you are not sure exactly what it would be like. Otherwise, there is no real thing to worry about physical fitness until you have serious health problems.
Trekking Experience and selecting right trekking in Nepal.
Yes and No. Trekking in Nepal is not as tough as that people think. Most of the trekking itineraries are well balanced keeping in mind for general trekkers. It is true small climb in Nepal is not a really small specially in lower trekking region. While in upper trekking region an altitude can be the biggest obstacles to climb even few meters. Following the strict itinerary prepared by trekking agency plus instructions from trekking guide can help a lot.
As an example, trekking in Everest region especially around Everest Base camp and Gokyo for inexperienced trekkers is not impossible but definitely is hard. While, it is also true many trekking organizer genuinely does not recommend three passes trekking for amateur trekkers. Combination of properly balanced itinerary, discipline from trekkers, sincerity from trekking guide plays vital role for success of these trekking. There is thin line in between success and unsuccess of trekking. Especially while recommending a moderately difficult and difficult itinerary to inexperienced trekkers, the responsibility comes massively under the shoulder of trekking agency and guide. Comparatively, it is easy to recommend numerous itineraries of Annapurna and Langtang trekking regions from the perspective of trek organizer without any confusion.
NOTE: The general information is shared taking in account three popular trekking regions of Nepal Everest, Annapurna and Langtang. Partially covers Manaslu trekking region. And does not represent other trekking regions like Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Dolpo, Dhaulagiri.