TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS WHILE TREKKING IN NEPAL
The Nepalese people are friendly and polite, but like all cultures have unwritten codes of etiquette. These codes may be very different and unrelated to what you are accustomed to. To help you, here are a few codes to remember when in Nepal. Most importantly, in the event of culture shock, be discreet!
Cultural Customs and Expressions
Your guide, from your arrival in Kathmandu until your departure, is responsible for the success of your trip and oversees your team. Do not hesitate to ask him questions, respect his position as the team leader, and above all to follow his advice! Often your guide is the only English-speaking member of the team.
In the mountains and, especially when during high-altitude travels, your guide is responsible for the safety of the group. The instructions he gives and remarks he makes to all participants must be carefully followed. The interest and safety of the trekking group must be preserved, even when it may be to the detriment of an individual member of the group
Your Nepalese team may consist of several people, each with different responsibilities. They are:
Each trekker is allotted the following maximum weights per person: Lodge (tea house) Accommodations: 15 kg maximum; Tent Camping: 22 kg maximum; Expeditions/summit ascents: 20 kg maximum. The porters are given a premium wage for carrying loads over 30 kg.
In Kathmandu, you will accommodate in a hotel. We use different hotels depending on availability. The two preferred hotels are:
Hotel Mum’s Home: Located in the heart of Thamel and Durbar Square, this hotel is ideal for walking the bustling streets of Kathmandu. The spacious rooms all have a bathroom, air conditioning, and Wi-Fi. A fully equipped and active dining room is available for all meals, and the breakfast buffet offers a wide choice of foods. The hotel offers currency exchange, laundry services, and luggage storage.
Sampada Garden: Located just 20 minutes by foot from Thamel and Durbar Square, this hotel is convenient for exploring Kathmandu. The rooms have all the necessary comforts for your stay: air conditioning, bathroom, and Wi-Fi. Breakfasts are served as a generous buffet. The hotel provides currency exchange, laundry services, and luggage storage.
In Nepal, lodges or “tea houses” provide trekkers with food and overnight accommodations. Typically the lodges have private rooms with two single beds, a common living/dining room, and a kitchen. The accommodations and comfort levels often decrease with altitude; wall insulation for heat and noise may leave much to be desired. Only the common room has a fireplace for heat, so in most seasons and at higher altitudes a good sleeping bag is essential.
Most lodges have low voltage electricity for LED lighting, but power for recharging batteries and for entertainment systems is unreliable. Trekkers should carry extra batteries and a power pack, or have a solar charger to recharge cameras, cell phones, GPS watch, and headlamp. Recharging your powerpack may cost 100 to 600 NRP depending on the lodge location and resources. Many lodges on the classic routes offer a slow internet connection via 3G/4G Wi-Fi for 200 to 600 NRP.
Toilets are basic and often located outside the lodge. Typically cold water showers are available, but these can be improved when augmented with a bucket of hot water purchase for 200 to 300 NPR. To prevent the deforestation of Nepal, we suggest that hot water be purchase only if warm by solar panels or gas. A bottle of hot water also is useful in warming a cold bed at night.
In Nepal, the national dish is “dal bhat,” meaning lentil rice. Invariably, white rice is accompanied by a lentil soup and a side dish of seasoned local vegetables, and tea. Unlimited portions are served. Nepalese usually have two meals of dal bhat daily. As described below, a trekker’s diet will have much more variation than dal bhat, and you will be offered a variety of side dishes and other choices to augment this basic meal. To bring you a greater variation and the best presentation in your meals, your guide will coordinate your meals with the lodge and trekking cooks. Your guide will also verify that proper sanitation is maintained in the food preparation.
Breakfast: Your Nepalese day starts with morning tea. You will have a choice of Tibetan bread, toast, chapati or pancakes, eggs (omelet, scrambled, or hard-boiled), and muesli or porridge.
Lunch: Depending on the location you may receive either a cold picnic lunch or a hot meal. The hot meal consists of stir-fried rice, pasta, potatoes, or curry with assorted vegetables.
Snack: Upon arrival at the evening camp or lodge around 4 to 5 pm, you will be offered a snack of cookies and tea. If you have a preferred snack, please bring it. You may be able to purchase a limited range of energy bars, dried fruits, nuts, Snickers Bars, and chocolate in Nepal.
Dinner: Usually served from 6:30 to 7 pm, dinner consists of a soup or a starter, a hot dish of dal bhat, pasta or potatoes with cooked vegetables, and a dessert.
Drinks: At each meal, encourage every trekker to drink two cups of tea or coffee as our guest. During other times, staying hydrated with water is an important personal responsibility. At some lodges, additional drinks are available but will be at your expense. Refer to the section on “Water” for more information.
Hard Days: On the day we cross a pass or have an exceptionally long distance to travel, we may skip breakfast and leave at or before dawn. If so, it is important to carry energy-intensive snack foods to help you maintain stamina.
Special Diets: If you follow a specific diet, have dietary restrictions, or specific allergies, please tell us when you register for your trek. Our guide teams will do their best to meet your request but have a variety of local constraints that make it difficult to guarantee your food requirements. It is very important that you consume sufficient food to maintain your energy levels. You may anticipate this by bringing a variety of high-calorie foods for your personal consumption to substitute for the local foods that are not acceptable for your diet.
Preparing for the trek requires several months of preparation with 4 to 5 hour walks every weekend for stamina and participating in a sport that required short periods of high exertion.
Trekking in Nepal consists of walking up and down valleys for 5 to 7 hours daily, at relatively high altitudes. On a difficult day, we may walk for up to 10 hours at very high altitudes. You must be in good physical condition to participate and enjoy this activity. Acclimatization to this high altitude is gradual and requires more than several days. Also, dehydration from the heavy exertion in the dry mountain air is a common problem that leads to cramps, weakness, and even altitude sickness, so drink plenty of water during the day. Inform the guide of your state of health, even in the event of mild disorders.
Being in good health is essential to fully enjoy your Alpinist Club trip. If your last medical visit was more than four years ago, please get another general physical exam and tell your doctor the nature of your trip (climate, altitude, difficulty, etc.). The altitude also has the effect of reviving dental problems or other chronic pain, so getting a dental checkup is also prudent. If you are undertaking a high-altitude expedition, we advise you to consult a mountain medicine specialist.
This trip takes place at high altitudes, so some people may experience altitude-related discomforts like headaches, loss of appetite, swelling of limbs. Most of these symptoms usually go away within a few days, but sometimes they can develop into a serious illness: pulmonary or cerebral edema. There are no preventive drugs for AMS. Diamox diuretic is often effective for symptomatic relief, but you should first check with your doctor to verify that it is not contraindicated for you. Think about it before you go