Frequently Asked Questions
If you are thinking about taking your first trip to Nepal, you will probably have a lot of questions. After all, our journeys are different from standard tours. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about our trips:
What are our trips like?
Our trips are designed as off-the-beaten-path journeys. We do everything we can to allow you to experience the local culture and to participate in local practices. We want to give you the opportunity to interact with the locals, learn about their way of life, learn some Nepali phrases, and perhaps participate with the local trekking staff as they sing and dance after a day of trekking. We consider these interactions some of the most valuable memories to bring back home, along with the stunning views of the Himalayas. Nepalese are also very excited to learn more about our way of life.
How many miles do we walk per day?
This varies with each trip of course. In the mountains we measure hikes in hours, rather than miles. On most treks, we hike 47 hours per day, with a lunch break of 12 hours in the middle. We encourage you to walk at your own pace. There is no need to rush or "stay up" with others during the daily hikes. There will always be a guide at the back of the group to make sure that you arrive safely to camp. We know that much of the fun of trekking is maintaining a pace which will allow you to fully enjoy your surroundings.
What kind of clothing and shoes do I have to bring?
You probably have most things you need in your closet. For most hiking trips, we encourage layering your clothes for changing weather conditions. Usually, you will need to bring a combination of regular hiking clothes. Please refer to our Equipment List for personal items and equipment you need for our journeys.
Do I have to carry a backpack?
No. But you have to carry a light day-pack containing your water bottle, camera, an extra layer of clothing, sunglasses, a rain coat or wind breaker, and snacks. Porters or pack animals will carry all of the heavy gear.
Am I in good enough shape for a hiking trip?
If you are in good health and enjoy regular exercise such as jogging, tennis, or even long walks, we have a trip designed for you. The number one qualification is a positive attitude! We have had many years of experience of treks in high altitudes, so we know how to pace a trek or climb. Each person reacts to altitude in a different way, so it is difficult to predict how you will do. But in general, with the careful pacing of our trips, allowing proper rest days for acclimatization, most people adapt well. The potential problems with altitude stem from people going too high too fast. We make sure that this does not happen.
What will the weather be like on the trip?
The ideal time of year to go to Nepal is either in the fall or in the spring. In the mountain regions, day time hiking temperatures generally range from the 50's to the 80's F. Night time temperatures drop down to 20 to 40 F. Since we carefully schedule trips to coincide with the ideal seasons to visit a particular area, we do our best to assure you "good" weather. Unfortunately, Mother Nature always has the final say. We are happy to answer your weather questions on an individual basis.
What is the food like? How is the water purified?
The food on the treks are as varied as the trips themselves, but you can be assured that it will be tasty and nutritious. The food in Nepal is similar to Indian food, but not quite as spicy. We use fresh vegetables and fruits that are bought in the local villages. Our trained cooks will surprise you with delicious Indian, Nepali, and Continental cuisine. All water used for cooking and drinking is purified by our camp staff either by boiling or by the use of Iodine. (At high altitudes, Iodine is safer than boiling since water boils at lower temperatures.) You can buy bottled water while in Kathmandu and you will be provided boiled or filtered water on the trek. Always brush your teeth in treated or bottled water. As an extra precaution, you can add your own Iodine tablets to your treated water while on the trek.
What accommodations will I stay in?
Camping on our trips is considered "luxurious camping." Your tent is set up and taken down for you by our staff. Thick sleeping pads are provided for your comfort. The hotel that you will be staying at in Kathmandu is a full service 4 star hotel, where your breakfast is included. All hotels and tents while staying in Nepal are based on double occupancy. If you would like your own room and tent, please let us know and we can make arrangements for an additional fee.
While camping, what are the bathroom facilities like? How will I bathe?
On our trips, the staff digs a latrine a short distance from the camp and set up a small tent around it for privacy. While on the trail, you will soon adapt in finding a private spot in the bushes when nature calls.
You will be provided with hot washing water each morning to use for taking a sponge bath inside your tent. Rivers are great for washing clothes with biodegradable soap on longer treks. You will also be provided with hand washing water before each meal. Some trekkers enjoy washing their hair in the rivers like the locals.
What is the difference between low and high altitude treks?
Low altitude treks stay below 12,000 feet and high altitude treks will usually go up to 18,000 feet.
Will I experience Altitude Sickness?
Altitude sickness usually occurs when one fails to adapt to high altitude and it can affect anyone regardless of age or physical fitness. It can occur at any altitude over 1,800 meters or 6,000 feet. In general, you should not ascend more than 300-500 meters (1,000 1,500 feet) per day above 3,000 to 4,000 meters (approximately 12,000 feet) until you have acclimatized. Poor acclimatization results in headaches, sleeplessness, nausea, irregular breathing, and swelling of the fingers and glands. Treatment is to descend as fast as possible. In our treks and through our experience, we have planned our routes carefully to account for proper acclimatization and occurrence of altitude sickness is not common. It is important to note that drinking lots of water throughout the day and eating keeps you well hydrated and can help prevent dehydration and possible headaches brought on by higher altitudes.
Your doctor may recommend Diamox as a safeguard. Diamox is effective and some trekkers have taken it 2 days prior to a trek if flying into 12,000 feet. If you choose to take Diamox, please remember to drink a lot of fluids since it has diuretic properties.
What type of immunization do I need?
It is important to see your doctor for immunization shots at least one month before your departure. Typhoid, tetanus, meningitis, and Hepatitis A are the norm, but your doctor or any travel clinic can better advise you what is most needed. Malaria pills are optional, but probably not needed on your trek in Nepal.
Your own personal medicine is essential. Cold and cough medicine is recommended as well as bandages and aspirin. Basically, you want to bring your own personal medical kit if you were to get sick. Think as if you were going camping (in a third world country) and what you would take if you were to catch a cold. Your doctor can recommend diarrhea medicine or medicine for giardia / amoebas since this is the most common reason for upset stomachs while trekking. Past trekkers have recommended Immodium which you can buy in the drug store and Cyprofloxacin which you can buy at the pharmacy in Kathmandu. Stan Armington's Lonely Planet Guide to Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya has a great First Aid section...
It is also advised to get a dental check up before your departure.