Experience & Fitness
Fitness is key to maintaining health and to prevent exhaustion or injury. Start an exercise regime four to six months before your trek.
When trekking in Nepal you need to be able to walk at least about 10 km / 4-5 hours every day. An easy teahouse trek with Nepali support (guide/porter) is quite attainable for anyone who is reasonably walking fit. A good benchmark of fitness is half a day’s hill walking, with rucksack, along one of Britain’s popular routes in the Lake District, or a Munro in the Scottish Highlands.
In essence, it’s about building up endurance fitness, and the best way to do this is through hill walking. We’d also advice you buy your kit well in advance and go on several domestic hill walking trips before embarking for the Himalaya. This will give you the chance to get comfortable in your gear, and unearth any problems or niggles with the kit.
Find out, fit in
Before you depart, find out about your destination. Buy a guidebook and a dictionary and learn as much as you can.
Those boots are made for walking!
Buy a pair of sturdy, light weight, well fitting walking boots that provide ankle support. Walk your news boots in at least 4 weeks before your trek starts to prevent blisters.
Take a ‘Teahouse Trek’
Teahouse treks are ideal for beginners. They are lodges run by families and provide basic accommodation, hot meals, local knowledge and security.
The Himalaya is a cultural haven, but this can be confusing sometimes. Here are a few top tips before you go:
- Remember, shaking the head means yes!
- It is considered rude to step over someone’s feet, always walk around
- Shaking hands is not a common form of greeting; instead press the palms together in a prayer-like gesture and say “Namaste”
- Remove your shoes when entering a home, temple or monastery (and leather items in Hindu temples)
- Avoid smoking and wearing scant dress
POLITICS & WEATHER
Keep an eye out for political disturbances in your region. National or regional strikes are often announced at the very last minute and can severely limit transport around the country.
Thankfully, in recent times strikes have been few and far between. Politicians have pledged not to ‘stir up’ strikes for the next three years because of the negative impact they have on tourism.
Make sure you have access to accurate weather reports before you leave for the Himalaya, and while you are there. www.nepalhomepage.com/hotlinks/weather/ is a decent website for long term planning and picking the right season. However, local reports tend to be the most accurate, particularly as many regions have their own micro climates. Gather the relevant information from your guide or from local newspapers.
Also, remember landslides are a common occurrence during heavy rainfall, resulting in blockages along roads and trekking paths. During the rainy season, weather conditions such as fog and winds are also common and cause disruptions to domestic flights.
Look forward to Pt. IV of our Beginners’ Guide, which will go online in two weeks!