The Basic Things you must know before Trekking in Nepal: Nepal is a country of eternal beauty and attraction. It is a land of interesting cultures, ancient history and indigenous people, picturesque scenery and some of the greatest walking on earth. It is universally known for the highest mountain peak of the world, Mount Everest that stands tall at 8848 meters. Nepal tourism notifies about places to visit in Nepal, Lumbini, famous for the birthplace of Gautam Buddha who laid the foundation of Buddhism in the country. Having rich traditions of art, historical sites, customs, culture and heritage, Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal is a treasure house of ancient art and culture. From deep gorges to towering mountains, vibrant culture and charismatic people, Nepal is the ideal travel destination for adventurers and relaxation-seekers alike. But as with any journey, it‘s important to be prepared before you go.
1) You must obtain Nepal visa
All foreign nationals, except Indian citizens, need visa to enter Nepal. Nepali embassies and consulates overseas issue visas with no fuss. You can also get one on the spot when you arrive in Nepal, either at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan Airport or at road borders at Nepalganj, Birganj/Raxaul Bazaar, Sunauli, Kakarbhitta, Mahendranagar, Dhangadhi and even the Rasuwagadhi checkpoint at the China/Tibetan border Outside of Nepal, A visa can also be obtained at the nearest Nepal Embassy or Diplomatic Mission.
Regarding to extend your Visa you can go to the Department of Immigration, Kalikasthan Kathmandu. A valid passport and one passport -size photo with light backgrounds needed. Visa can be obtained only through payment of cash in the following currency: Euro, Swiss Franc, Pound Sterling, US Dollar, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Hong Kong Dollar, Singapore Dollar and Japanese Yen. Credit card, Indian currency and Nepali currency are not accepted as payment of visa fee. Please visit the information page on the Nepal Tourism Board website: http://www.tourism.gov.np for more Visa-Information.
2) Do Research on where you are going to trek
Please do some research on the Internet regarding specific topics, safety for women in Nepal, relevant past incidents, etc. One of the more convenient and effective ways is to search for any past incidents that might be relevant to any given area of the chosen itinerary. Of Course, one needs to put any positive or negative stats into the correct perspective, especially if you are an independent trekker. Whether solo trekking can be done on a particular route is easy to find out. A place with a high number of tourists and numerous lodges, tea-houses, etc will always be more suitable for solo trekking than other trails. There are excellent sources of information available today that make doing such research extremely easy and relatively quick; for instance Tripadvisor.com, thorn tree forum, etc.
3) Buy Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is something you will need on the road. You never know what might happen, and most health plans won’t cover you overseas. Travel insurance is much more than just medical protection. It covers you when your camera breaks, your flight is canceled, a family member dies and you have to come home, or something is stolen. If you don’t have insurance when trekking in Nepal then not only is your life in real danger but it will end up costing you your health and your bank account. The obvious afflictions when trekking are things like a sprained ankle or even a broken bone..
The not so obvious are afflictions like altitude sickness, food poisoning, hypothermia, appendix ruptures, skin infections and respiratory infections. If any of the above happens to you at 4,900 feet up a mountain then there’s a strong chance you won’t want to be spending days or weeks trekking back to Kathmandu to a hospital. You’ll need a helicopter to get you down. A helicopter evacuation in Nepal costs a minimum of USD $5,000. That’s not including any hospital treatment or in-flight medical services. Due to this cost alone, many insurance companies are no longer fully covering trekkers. Good hospitals in Nepal are rare. The rare, good hospitals make a lot of money from trekkers in need of medical care. They charge a lot! Without the right travel insurance covering you then the bills can be astronomical.
4) Book Your Flight Ticket
Since flights can represent the biggest part of your trip expenses, finding that hidden cheap deal can be just as important as finding the right destination, the right tour company, the right backpack, or the right place to stay. After all, if a flight is too expensive, you aren’t going anywhere. There lots of chance to get cheapest flight if you issue your air ticket on time. But before that you have to decide the length of your trek because many cheapest flight cost you too much on postpone and prepone .
5) Do research on the best time to visit Nepal
October and November is considered the best time of the year. The main festivals of Dashain and Tihar (greatest Hindu festivals) fall during these months. The sky will remain clear and the temperature is pleasant. December and mid-February will be snowy and cold in the mountains, still very good times to come. February – May, is one of the best months for travel, as you will see rhododendrons and many others flowers blooming in the mountains and hilly regions while you are on trek. Obviously, very good views of bright snow covered Himalayas.
Nepalese women dress modestly and such dressing sense are respected and admired here, in Nepali culture. Don’t be center of attraction due to your different attire. Dress decently and you will be respected which will be very helpful to start up a conversation and keep going. In remote areas it is better to put on long skirts, loose pants and decent shirts and t-shirts, as too much skin exposure is not taken in a good way. Tight pants, trendy t-shirts, fashionable shirts, half-pants and even shorts are cool in city areas but bikini is a no-no in Nepal. During your trek, you will not decide what to wear; the weather will do that for you. Pairs of trekking trousers with full sleeves trekking shirts is ok for trekking. When the temperature is extremely low, be prepared to keep yourself warm. You will need warmer options. You have to decide what to wear according to the time you are traveling. Dress yourself comfortably because your comfort is the first priority but make sure that the dress you choose is not tight and too revealing.
7) Don’t forget to Carry Important Medicines
It is important to get a physical examination at least 4-6 weeks, or longer, in advance of your trip. This is important so you may identify and correct any problems which may be uncovered. This will also allow adequate time for your immunizations. The physical should be done by a physician who has knowledge of altitude illness and travel medicine. The physical should evaluate your general health and screen for illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, anemia, ulcer disease, cardiovascular disease and lung problems such as asthma. Your medical kit should be developed with the consultation of your physician. As pointed out earlier, high altitude is not the place you want to have a drug or allergic reaction. You should have an ample supply of your regular prescription medicines such as blood pressure or diabetic medications.
8) Possibility to Buy and Hire
If you are planning to bring lease equipments and planning to buy and hire in Nepal. You can find here is almost all kind of equipment (Fake and Branded!) you can hired and buy in Kathmandu. Also there are some possibilities in higher in Mountain like you are going to EBC you can buy in Namche Bazaar. For the Annapurna you get chance in Pokhara anything you may need in terms of equipments, food snacks, medicines and obviously the Souvenirs.
9) Baggage Allowance on Domestic flight
Please note down that standard Baggage limits in domestic airlines are 10kg and with hold in the hand bag 5kg. Of course you can live your extra Travel bad or city clothes Hotel in Kathmandu or Pokhara. Surly it can be good Tip for you that you can wear your heavy things Jackets, trekking boots to help cut down on the weights of your bag. If you have extra heavy baggage then pay an extra charge for airplane and we need to get more porters, so therefore it will charge you an excess cost for the trip to be paid in cash.
10) Social Etiquettes
No kissing, hugging or display of affections in the public. No smoking when you are entering temples or religious sites. Take your shoes off before you enter to temples, religious sites, or when you are invited into a Nepali home. Left hand is considered unclean. Use your right hand when you are giving, taking, eating, shaking hands and etc. Remember when receiving or giving money, you must use your right hand. The feet are considered unclean. Don’t kick someone; put your feet up on a chair or table, point your feet at someone or something revered or to touch someone else’s feet. Be careful where you point your feet when sitting in a Nepali home, as to point your feet at religious shines causes’ offense. Walk clockwise around any religious building or monuments like stupas to pay yours respects and have your wishes granted.
Likewise, local people leave a small donation when visiting a temple, so if possible, do the same. You greet the local people with word: Namaste, where at the same time, you lift your hands in front of your chest like in a prayer position. Nepalese people tend not to shake hands (other than in formal office or work situations).Don’t throw rubbish onto a fire used for cooking. Fire is considered sacred.You must ask permission when you want to take a picture of people. Photographs are often not allowed inside temples and monasteries.
11) Food to avoid in Nepal
Nepal is a country with high risk for gastrointestinal illness. Poor food hygiene and lack of adequate sanitary infrastructure are responsible for the high rates of diarrheal illness in the country. Try avoiding eating at the streets, especially any uncooked food items. The good restaurants soak their salad, vegetables in iodine or other disinfectants that makes them safe to eat. Otherwise, it is best to avoid any raw vegetable or fruit that cannot be peeled at the places where you cannot fully trust. Avoid dairy products from any unreliable shops and do not eat brightly colored food as it may have used low quality food coloring.
12) Drinking water while in Nepal
Clean drinking water is very important while you are trying to remain healthy in Nepal. Water is one of the most common causes for illness in Nepal, but there are a number of ways to make sure your water is clean. All tap or ground water in Nepal should never be consumed without being purified. Bottled water is reasonably safe to drink but discarded bottles add to the country’s growing problem with pollution. You can always carry a SteriPen or purification drops, like liquid iodine (Lugol’s solution) to purify your water. Although it is very important to drink clean water, it is equally important to make sure that you are well hydrated.
13) Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
Nepal is famous for its spectacular high mountains and superb trekking routes. If you are planning to enjoy these higher parts of Nepal and travelling to high altitude, it is very important to keep oneself safe from getting Acute Mountain Sickness. Watch out for any symptoms of altitude sickness and act promptly if any of the symptoms appear. Do not rush to the higher altitude and let your body acclimatize well by letting your body adapt to the increasing altitude. You can use the acetazolamide tablets with some medical consultation to avoid the sickness while enjoying your hiking. And most important thing is consult with your trekking guide if any kind of symptoms appear because altitude sickness is very dangerous sometimes almost end your life.
14) Do not give money to beggars that you see on the streets.
Street beggars are a common occurrence in many parts of Nepal. Do not give money to beggars that you see on the streets. Even though they look pitiful, your giving away of money encourages them only to beg for more. If you really care support one of many charity organizations working in Nepal. Many tourists might find themselves showing love and support to the beggars but don’t fall for their story every single time. The amount of beggars in Nepal is breathtaking. Some are professionals which can be laughable but it’s true. Others are pretty genuine. At the end of the day it’s up to you. If you’re kindhearted, do help those in needs. But it shouldn’t be of any pressure. And don’t give money or sealed food to street children because more often than not, they will end up selling back the food and use the money to buy drugs.
15) Be sure to exchange back all the Nepalese currencies before you leave.
The official currency of Nepal is the Nepali Rupee (NPR). Exchanging money in Nepal is easy and follows the same standard to elsewhere in Asia. Exchange money in Kathmandu or Pokhara before trekking. USD, EURO, Sterling, Chinese Yen and Indian rupees are generally accepted with ease (in Kathmandu & Pokhara). There are no ATMs on most of the trails and the few that exist don’t always work. You will get charged about $5 USD (or similar) from the Nepal ATM, and probably from your bank as well. So, don’t take out just 1000 NPR at one time, take out 15000 (normal max. limit) at a time to save on all those charges. Currency can be changed at banks, airports, authorized money changers and some hotels. If you are traveler from India, Banks don’t accept Indian currency of denomination of Rs. 500 and 1000 because of fake notes going around in the market. You can always consult your guide or representative before exchange the cash and using ATM.
16) Limited Internet
Internet infrastructure is booming and struggling at the same time. Over the past few years mobile base stations are spreading out across the country, new telecom providers are starting and wifi options are growing. However Nepal’s chronic electricity shortages and bad infrastructure are hampering internet connectivity. Nowadays every hotel restaurant and café in big cities like Kathmandu & Pokhara provides free wife service but the internet is kind of slow. In localities like Lukla, Phakding, Dole and Namche Bazaar, you can pay a certain amount (around $ 5 U.S) to get unlimited WIFI coverage. If you forget to buy your share of unlimited WIFI in those villages, you can always do so at Thangnak and Dzongla which are villages located at a higher altitude and closer to the Everest. I bet you did not know that.
17) Put a face mask in city area
Despite being known for its pristine landscapes and mountain ranges, sadly Nepal’s air quality is some of the worst in the world. This is particularly true for Kathmandu, which was named as the 7th most polluted city in the world in 2017. Here, you’ll find streets crowded with traffic, smoke, dust, potholes, and sadly, a growing level of plastic pollution although many local organizations like Clean Up Nepal are working to address it. If you’re sensitive to irritants in the air, it might be worth grabbing a face mask for particularly hazy days. Masks are no longer an option but have become compulsory in current day Kathmandu, Thankfully though, once you head out of the city and into the mountains the air quality improves drastically.