Just arrive, organise transport and Park permits in Kathmandu and head out as an independent traveller on a Tea House Trek. This works fine if you have a bit of time to spare getting organised and are comfortable with the bustle and hassle of a crowded Asian city. Hire a guide and porter if you want to reduce the load.
Arrange in-country services before you arrive. A guide will meet you at the airport, introduce you to Kathmandu, organise transport and accompany you on the Tea House Trek. The cost of a guide for three weeks, all transport and hotels is incredibly modest. The hassles are removed and you get to use your time well.
We offer this service through Sherpa Shangri La. Chances are we can even match you to a specific guide.
There are many companies offering package tours where you are met at Kathmandu Airport, melded with other travellers from around the world and head off on one of the classic. trips. These trips are a bit of pot-luck in terms of your fellow travellers. Possibly more frustrating is that they run to a strict schedule and tend to keep everyone in one or two groups. They can be frustrating if your used to a bit more freedom. While these truips tend to run to standard itineraries, they vary considerablt in what is included and guide ratios. In particular if they exclude food while trekking you may find the Lodges regularly struggle to feed the entire group when everyone has ordered a differnt dish and the kitchen can't cope.
Escorted from New Zealand
This has the advantage of traveling with a fellow Kiwi who can help bridge the cultural gaps. It also means travelling with a group you have met before and who have a reasonably common set of goals. It is a little more expensive, and the cultural immersion is lessened by the bigger group, but it can be a great way to do and see a lot in a short time.
We operate these trips each year.
Be walk fit
Nepal is a mountainous region and so any walk is inevitably up and down hill. Even walks up apparently gentle valleys often involve major up and down sidling around bluffs and gorges. So if you are going trekking - get out and walk up and especially down hills. The most common trekkers complaint is probably "sahibs knee" - sore knees from more exercise than trekkers wre ready for.
Even on an easy trip you should be comfortable walking 4 hours a day on uneven paths on moderately steep trails. If you are not comfortable doing this you will lessen the enjoyment and possibly not finish the trip. Our escorted trips from New Zealand (where we work with everyone to ensure a reasonable base standard) we are almost unique in that so far, everyone who has started has walked the entire trip. Most standard tours end up sending some people back.
But 4 hours a day is not tiger fitness. Lots of people with artifical hips and even a prosthetic leg can find enjoyable treks. It is only about making a regular effort at walking for a few months before you go.
A really nice thing about Nepal is that there are porters to carry your packs. So you need carry no more than a camera and storm clthes (you can even hire a personal porter to carry your day pack).
Do I need mountaineering skills?
Absolutely not. There are many amazing trips that take you into absolutely stunning places without the need for any snow or ice skills or rock climbing skills. Indeed because the tracks mostly connect villages, they are generally easier than many of New Zealands back country (as opposed to front country) tracks. A good comparison would be the Routeburn. This has unven paths, a moderate contour and a moderate daily distance.
Do I need special equipment?
For a standard trek, the main items (that might be different from a New Zealand Tramp) are:
- Trekking boots tend to be light weight and should be well worn in.
- A day pack - not a big pack
- A waterproof gear bag for the porters to carry your gear (can be purchased cheaply on arrival)
- A good first aide kit (more details will be posted later).
- Water treatment kit
- A sleeping bag that is good enough to sleep inside at slightly below freezing.
- Other clothing will be covered in a separate note
Can I climb a mountain if I have limited mountaineering experience?
If your desire is to stand atop a snowy mountain feeling that great surge of accomplishment, we can find a peak to suit your skills and ambitions and team you up with guides and training to help you meet your goals.