Trekking in Nepal: from dream to reality

What traveller doesn’t dream of going trekking in the fabulous mountains of Nepal?


When we talk about Nepal and these wonderful mountains, there are often stars in the eyes of the audience. However, those who would like to, often say to themselves that they cannot. So let’s see if you really have to be cut like Mike Horn to go for a breath of fresh air in the Himalayas and make one of the most beautiful treks of your life.

A trek in Nepal does not require GI training. If you are already used to walking and are in good physical condition, the trek should go smoothly. But…

This does not mean that this journey does not require effort. It is neither easy nor difficult, it goes up and down a lot. It is better to leave with time ahead of you, 3 to 4 weeks at least. If you are pressed for time, the walk will certainly turn into a Way of the Cross and it would be a real shame to be so far away from home, in the middle of the most beautiful mountains in the world and not enjoy them.

A trek in these mountains takes time. You have to be able to stop whenever you want, or whenever you have to

For example, setting a daily average of kilometres to be covered is frankly not recommended. 10 kilometres here means nothing. It is quite possible that in these 10 km you will have to face a number of hills in a row, because once you’ve passed them, you have to go back down. Whereas on another course with equal distance, the climb will be done in a regular way.
Afterwards, not all portions require the same effort. Sometimes, a few kilometres require a sustained effort. The way can be more difficult, uncomfortable.

In Nepal as on all the other mountains of the world, the weather plays an important role, it is not to be taken lightly

It can be very hot or, on the contrary, very cold. A headwind is a great brake, as well as an icy breeze. It is imperative to leave well equipped: good shoes, a good anorak and all the important accessories.

The altitude in Nepal modifies a lot the rhythm of walking

If you are used to walking at medium altitudes, you will soon realise that 4000 or 5000 metres of altitude do not require the same effort as 1500. Moreover, when the difference in altitude increases sharply (+ 1000), it is necessary to walk slowly so that the body gets used to it… and sometimes take a rest day to acclimatise.

How much time should you plan for a trek in Nepal? There is no universal equation, the walking time varies according to each person

While progressing at a good pace for a few days, fatigue can be felt without warning. It will then be necessary to take a break in a lodge, rest your back, your knees and recover.
It is also necessary to take into account the number of treks. Many hikers on the same path, it is like on the highway, it creates traffic jams. 
In Nepal, there are two very popular seasons: autumn and spring. At this time, the roads are taken by storm by whole groups, hundreds of yaks, battered like trucks, are lining up on the monkey bridges. It is then necessary to wait, sometimes for a long time, to be able to engage, one person at a time.

Walking on the roads of Nepal takes more mental and time than physical fitness

I have seen on these paths walkers of all ages, of all shapes and sizes. From the over-trained sportsman to the quiet septuagenarian, there is something for everyone.
When you walk in this type of environment it is above all your state of mind that counts. If you walk with the idea that you have all the time in front of you to accomplish this journey, without any imperatives, without worrying about performance, you will succeed.
If you follow your rhythm, without violence, and take the time to marvel at these fantastic reliefs, this immense sky and the men and women who live here, the body will follow.

The commandos of the show-off make me feel sorry for them. Why go so far, in a country so touchingly beautiful, with an incredible culture, to look only at these shoes?


It’s almost scandalous. So many of them have only the performance in mind that I end up believing that I am from another planet. In the evening, they roll out the cards or consult the technology monsters to “do their average for the day”.
They never take the time to meet a farmer or children and be curious about them. There is in this attitude a kind of arrogance, a hurtful egocentricity for the Nepalese who are superbly ignored by these herds of two-legged donkeys dressed by The Nord Face.

On this trek, show civic-mindedness and respect


If you do not have much experience of hiking, find out about the basic rules beforehand. Be respectful of the porters, the guides and all the people who make their living from this type of tourism. Not only be polite, it should go without saying, but show them attention, if only with a smile.
Be flexible. Asking for beers, pizzas or chocolate bars at 5000 m altitude is downright stupid. All this merchandise is ridden on men’s backs to satisfy capricious tourists. What’s more, these yuck and industrial goods produce waste that will never be recycled.
If for these few weeks of your life, you took the fold of the locals by savouring morning, noon and evening yak butter chapatis, dal-bhat and omelettes? Tea that hydrates and warms, yak cheese made by the farmers, vegetables produced in the Nepalese fields. This is also adventure.

Do you have to take a guide and a porter to make this journey?


Usually trekkers take both: a guide and a porter. But you can take only a guide or a porter. It depends on you. Having a guide is comfortable. He will take you where you need to go and will also give you information about his country, traditions and culture. With a guide you leave nothing to chance.

If something should happen to you, a twisted ankle or a cold, a guide is there to support you and get you out of this bad situation. 
To have a guide is also to submit to an itinerary, an authority and a rhythm. Moreover, if you don’t get along with him, you will have to stay with him all along the circuit. There is no chance of leaving him on the road.

This guide and porter will be provided to you by a trekking agency, usually from Kathmandu or Pokara. These people will tell you that leaving without a guide is suicidal. That you will never be able to carry on your little shoulders everything you absolutely need up there. It’s normal, it’s their job, their daily livelihood. But I don’t agree with them.


Beware of trekking scams


It is common to overestimate the number of days it will take you to complete the trek. The travel agent will always add more days. It’s both prudent and pleasant, but sometimes it’s just to make money off you and the porter. 

The guide will tell you that you are a force of nature and that you are so fast that you can speed up the pace.
Morality you will return to Kathmandu with 3 days in advance… that you will not be refunded of course. 12 days charged 15, it’s profitable.
Depending on the case, the trek is reasonably calculated but to earn on food and men’s salary, the guide will ask you to speed up the pace for a lot of misleading reasons: there is no more plane from Lukla, the weather conditions will get worse, no more room in the lodges…
Your porter, who is the last rung before the dregs of humanity for these exploiters, will sometimes have to walk faster and will not earn a penny on the profit made.

A porter means safety. If you already feel that the trek will weigh you down without luggage, don’t hesitate, hire one

You will be able to enjoy your hike while saving your effort. All walkers are different. I’ve heard some young and dashing ones assure me that they would never have made the trip carrying their own bags…

Nepal is an extremely poor country, 40% of the population lives below the poverty line

Nepal’s economy is one of the most fragile in the world. Tourism is the first provider of foreign (and therefore strong) currency in the country. Alas, 80% of this resource goes into the pockets of foreign investors. The products intended for trekkers (vitamin bars, alcohols, sports clothing, etc.) are imported and the main players, sherpas, guides, hoteliers, etc. are paid at the lowest rate. For them it is a subsistence economy. So I cannot decently tell you that it is useless to call on this labour force. But if you do, make sure that they earn a dignified living.

You can hike on your own, it’s possible, the decision depends on each one of you

I took neither guide nor porter to explore Nepal: 17 kg on my back for almost 800 km during about 6 weeks of walking. I didn’t even have a map.
I did it because I wanted to be independent, solitary, free to make my own choices. So I can’t tell you that it’s impossible to do it alone. 
If you want to do without the services of guide or porter, you will still be able to make your contribution by bringing back souvenirs from local crafts. Nepal is rich in them: boiled coloured wool bonet, embroidered tee-shirts, bags, scarves, carved trinkets, the choice is great! Make sure they come from the country, it goes without saying.
In short, this experience is feasible if you have no major physical problems and are in good shape. You must progress slowly, don’t hurry and everything will go well!
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Shoes are one of the most important accessories in your luggage. Without feet, you can’t go anywhere. Here are some tips to follow so that they can accompany you for a long time!

Adventure awaits you while traveling!

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