Are you considering trekking in Nepal? Having recently returned from an incredible trekking adventure to Annapurna Basecamp, I have gathered 10 Best Nepal trekking tips for complete beginners. Getting ready and preparing yourself both mentally and physically is crucial for spotless trekking adventure.
First and most importantly – the right gear is inevitable if you’d like to succeed without major problems. The most important of all – good hiking boots! You need to bring your own boots from home and they should be well worn in. If you buy them before the trek, you risk getting huge blisters, ankle pain, and getting possible injury. I had mine for half a year, but still felt miserable by the end of the trek.
Second item is comfortable backpack. Don’t buy one of those cheap ones in Kathmandu – your back won’t thank you. Warm sleeping bag is also a must, especially if you are traveling during colder months. Mine was comfort -8C and did well, even on the coldest nights. Surely, warmer ones are heavy, but it’s not a problem if you are hiring a porter (which I also highly recommend).
Finally, a true life saver for me were walking poles. Your knees will thank you after a long day of constant climbing down the stairs.
Physical and mental readiness
Bringing yourself in shape physically is a good way to prepare for the trek. However, mental readiness is just as important. At times, you will feel like you can’t take another step. It’s important to know how to deal with such situations, how to tell yourself to keep going. I like to clear my mind of all thoughts and just keep going no matter what. Taking things slow makes it much easier to keep climbing.
Trekking with a group may be a good motivator as well. You can lose track of time, getting to know your fellow hikers, or simply keeping the pace with them. If you are behind, it’s a good motivator seeing them again at the tea house later on. At least our group was very supportive and cheered us every time we finally made it.
Although the Annapurna range can be hiked on your own, we highly recommend local guide. It’s not safe to be in the mountains alone. The guide knows the area and can call for help. He also knows all local villages and places to rest/hide in case of possible storms.
During our latest trip we met very nice local guide Ganesh from Himalayan Partner and he kept us company for most of the trek. We had a great time talking about Nepal and our country, sharing cultural differences and our experience. If you are looking for a good local trekking company – I highly recommend this company!
Willingness to change
With each step you take, your body will change. At first, this change will be rather painful. You need to be ready for this. It gets easier each day, and by the end of the trek you will feel much stronger, walk faster and breathe easier.
Trekking in the Himalayas is not a typical lazy type of holiday. People who come here are looking for something different. These experiences come at a price. At first, you feel like you can’t do it. But once you get over this feeling, it all becomes worth it.
Love for the nature
Nature in Nepal is truly amazing. I still see mountains in my night dreams. The images you will be seeing on the way will stick in your memory forever. You will be walking through the jungles, next to huge waterfalls, fast rivers, green canyons, bare rocks and snowy mountain peaks. There is so much variety!
Also, you can spot languors and other small animals as well as lots of farm animals (donkeys, buffaloes, cows, chicken, dogs etc). Its a unique way to see local farmers lives up close, as you will be passing though villages and farmhouses.
Whether you are planning this trip yourself or have a company plan it out for you, think carefully how much you are able to walk in one day. As a rule of thumb, around 10km per day should be more than enough, considering early starts. On average, we had breakfast around 7 AM and started walking around 8AM. Ideally, you should be reaching your overnight location before 4PM.
At the beginning of the ABC trek, there are villages every 2-5km. The higher you go, the less villages you’ll encounter along the way and it gets harder to find a place to sleep. That’s another reason for hiring a local guide, who can take care of the reservations for you.
Never overestimate yourself when you are in the mountains. It may look like a short distance on the map, but takes the better part of the day to cover. Trekking in Nepal is usually walking the steps – up or downwards. Whenever you are planning a trek, always consider more time than you think you can do.
Forget the internet
Internet connection in the mountains is a game of luck. Some lodges have Wifi, but it’s usually very slow. You may be lucky to send few messages out, but don’t hope for much more. Things like uploading pictures on social media is best left for the big cities.
You can get yourself a local SIM card with internet package – I recommend Nepal telecom, as it has better coverage in the mountains. If that doesn’t work, good old SMS to let your family know you are okay.
Food in the lodges along the trek is actually very good and healthy. The variety is rather small, but the prices and quality are okay. Obviously, the higher you go, the more expensive it gets.
What I mean here by strong stomach are the Nepali roads that lead to national parks (where the trekking begins). The roads are close to non-existent. If you get easily seasick, be prepared for a really bumpy ride and take some MEDs beforehand.
All in all – you are visiting an amazing country with lots of contrasts. Most probably you won’t love Kathmandu due to its bad air quality, terrible roads, dust and dirt everywhere. Once you reach the mountains, it all gets much better.
Local people are so welcoming and positive, that you soon start smiling yourself and all the bad things fade away. Once you come home, you will be a different person. Many things that seem so important in our fast paced society, as actually totally irrelevant. Visiting Nepal and walking in the mountains will teach you to see things through a different perspective – a more positive one.