Trekking in Nepal is often at the top of many bucket lists and is also a life time goal for many. Ammonite Adventure are the Trekking Nepal Experts and have been organizing treks since 2010.
For the first time trekkers, there are many questions that need answering such as ‘When is the best time to trek’ and ‘what should I pack’ or ‘where should I trek’.
Let’s start with the most asked question.
When is the Best Time to Trek Nepal
Nepal has 2 distinct trekking seasons. March, April, May & June is the spring and summer season while September, October & November is the Autumn trekking season.
Nepal Monsoon Season
The 2 months of July and August are the Monsoon Season and all the trekking routes are basically deserted, although some do attempt trekking Nepal at this time anyway. Drawbacks to trekking Nepal during the Monsoon include the obvious wet conditions, landslides and leaches too.
There are areas that trekking Nepal possible during the Monsoon. The North side of the Himalayas bordering Tibet is in a rain shadow. This basically means that due to the topography of certain regions, the Monsoonal rains cannot reach some areas.
Nepal Winter Season
December, January & February months are cold, very cold at times. Most treks in the higher altitudes are closed due to snow, ice and avalanche threats.
Fitness and Experience
Both a certain level of fitness and experience are highly recommended when trekking Nepal. Ammonite Adventure do offer trekking packages that require virtually zero experience such as Ghorepani Poon Hill 10 Day Trek or the Langtang Valley 11 Day Trek. But a reasonable level of cardiac fitness is still highly recommended.
The term Altitude Sickness is used often but there are intact 3 types of Altitude Sickness. The most common is actually Acute Mountain Sickness – or AMS for short. AMS becomes a real threat when ascending at altitudes of 9,000ft or more (roughly 3,000 m).
AMS comes into effect usually because a trekker or climber ascends too quickly. As the air become thinner, there is less oxygen available. Your lungs need time to adjust in order to carry much needed oxygen to the different parts of your body.
All Ammonite Adventure treks over 9,000ft (3,000 m) include rest days – known as acclimatization days. Read more about altitude sickness »
What to Pack
Knowing what to pack is a big deal. You need to find that balance between what you might need and what you will need.
What to pack really depends on several things:
- How long are you traveling for
- How long are you trekking for
- What type of trek are you doing and
- How much luggage does your airline allow.
- Water – more on this below
It is easy enough to hire most of the equipment you’ll need in Kathmandu, more so in Thamel (where Ammonite Adventure is located) or in Pokhara (especially if you are trekking in the Annapurna Region).
Regardless if you purchase or hire trekking equipment, the essentials are usually as follows:
- Hiking Boots – comfortable ones!
- Sleeping Bag – for those treks where tented camps are essential
- A Day Pack – containing personal essentials
- Spare Clothing – to change into for different temperature days
- Hiking Pole (or two)
- Basic First Aid Kit (and any personal medication)
If you are in the higher altitudes the the list gets bigger – add the following:
- Hiking Pants
- Thermal Underwear
- Scarf (or neck warmer)
- Beanie (woolen headwear)
- Light Windproof Jacket
- Waterproof Outer Jacket
Soap, snacks like chocolate bars, toilet paper and other basic trekking supplies can be purchased on some popular trekking routes. The prices become highly inflated the higher you trek so you may want to consider buying such items before you set off.
Having said that, Nepali who live in the higher altitudes offer great services to trekkers and are trying to make a very basic living. If you can, it may be worth while spending a few dollars with them.
Water While Trekking Nepal
There is now a very big supply of bottled mineral water throughout Nepal. This provides a clean, safe source of water BUT you can’t carry enough with you for a whole trek AND you may want to consider the environmental impact of waste – particularly plastics waste. Nepal does not have a recycling infrastructure.
On average, you will need 2 Quarts (2 liters) a day.
Other recommended suggestions are:
- LifeSraw or LifeStraw Go
- Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent Water Microfilter
- Aquamira Water Treatment Drops
Guided Treks is what Ammonite Adventure specialize in, and for good reason. Regardless if you are trekking by yourself or as part of a larger group, Guided Treks when trekking Nepal are the better option for many reasons.
For a start, local knowledge is key to a successful trek. Also, all guided treks must, by law be organized through TAAN (Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal).
Your Hotel, some dude off the street or your taxi driver may offer to organize a trek for you. If they organize the trek themselves (and you pay them) then this is illegal. If they organize a trek for you via TAAN, then this is good and proper.
A Guided Trek also provides all meals while on trek – cooked by either a camp cook or by a guesthouse / tea house cook depending on whether you are staying in tents or guesthouse / tea house.
Porters carry all the gear necessary for the trek such as food, fuel, trekking essentials and other bits & pieces. The trekking cost covers the porters wages.
Obviously, a Guided Trek provides a Guide. Your guide will be knowledgeable, skillful, helpful, friendly and he will most likely become a friend for life.
Trekking Nepal in the Annapurna, Khumbu, or Langtang/Helambu regions then you must have a Trekker Information Management System card (TIMS).
If you are trekking unguided, you will need a Green TIMS card whereas if you are on a Guided Trek you will need a blue card. Ammonite Adventure will assist you on getting the correct card.
When trekking Nepal, there are ares considered as restricted areas. Kanchenjunga, Upper Mustang, Manaslu, Dolpo, Tsum Valley and Nar-Phu areas all require a Trekking Permit. It’s worth noting that if you hold a Trekking Permit, a TIMS card is not required.