Although a loose term, trekking is generally considered as a more extensive and challenging form of hiking that's more rigorous and demands a certain level of physical fitness prior to the trip whereas hiking refers to a more leisure walk, usually a one-day activity and generally done in well-established trails and/or roads. Treks usually involve multi-day hikes, route planning, rationing, and some equipment. Treks are graded anywhere from easy to strenuous based on the level of terrain, the region of trekking, length of walks and climate conditions.
Climbing and or/expedition are by far the most challenging activities and requires special equipment, training and comes with a lot more risk. Peak climbing in Nepal refers to a more technical variation of trekking that takes you to higher altitudes (referred to as “trekking peaks” in Nepal) than trekking trips does. Although peak climbing is also a form of mountaineering, it requires a lot less technical knowledge, physical fitness, and prior preparations compared to expeditions.
Expeditions require a much broader knowledge of mountaineering compared to peak climbing where you have to face different challenges like walking in extreme altitudes with a low level of oxygen, extreme weather conditions, sub-zero temperatures, etc. In fact, one of the most challenging expeditions in the world is found in this Himalayan country which is adorned with varying landscapes.
The difficulty of a trekking trip depends entirely on the destination and your personal preference. Nepal offers treks of varying grades classified from easy to difficult and duration varying anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks.
The easy treks explore the trails below or around 3000 meters and can be easily done by anyone with average physical fitness. Moderate treks usually range between 3000-5000 meters and trekkers should be in good physical shape as well. Likewise, difficult treks explore trails in higher Himalayas around and above 5000 meters. These treks require the participants to have very good physical fitness, mental endurance, and preparation prior to embarking on your trek. Although not mandatory, previous hiking or camping experience is preferable for difficult treks.
In simple words, no. As long as you are physically & mentally fit, there is no age limit for Trekking in Nepal. However, children below 16 years of age are required to trek accompanied by their guardians for safety reasons.
The duration and difficulty of each trek vary drastically and depend on the trek destination and trail type. However, in general, treks in Nepal can be classified into short or long treks. A trekking trip that is less than 10-12 days or so can be classified as a short trek and more than 15-20 days as a long trek. This number also depends on the number of acclimatization or rest days assigned for the trip. Typically, the duration of the trek can also be tailor-made to suit your specifications and based on the time you have at your disposal.
Depending on the trek you choose, its trail type and obviously your own personal pace, you can expect anywhere from five to eight hours walking per day covering 10-15 km. However, the walk times we mention in our itineraries are based on an average person and can differ depending on things like your fitness level, weather, and geographical conditions. Importantly, all our itineraries are designed to ensure that you walk comfortable distances each day without compromising proper acclimatization.
Once you reach an elevation higher than 3000 meters, it’s not advised to climb more than 300-400 meters in one day, so the higher you walk, the average walk per day is likely going to be shorter.
Although each season brings a distinct experience to various aspects of the journey, in general, the post-monsoon period from mid-September to December and pre-monsoon period from mid-February to May are considered as the best times for trekking in Nepal. The post-monsoon period usually provides settled weather with excellent views and the temperature is moderate. It starts to get cold and cloudy towards the end of December leading up to the winter season. January and February have heavy snowfalls which may block the trails in higher altitude, thus restricting trekking to lower altitudes below 3000m. The Spring arrives in March, the temperature starts to rise and forested trails are covered with rhododendrons blossoms and a varying expanse of other flora. The rainy seasons of June - August are often avoided as the trails are wet and chances of landslides increase drastically in the Himalayas. However, even this wet monsoon season isn’t without its perks as this is evidently the best time to trek the rain shadow areas of the high Himalayas like Upper Mustang, Dolpo, Nar Phu, Kailash.
Both Luxury and Budget trips are available while trekking in Nepal and depending on what kind of trip you decide to go with, you will have different types of accommodations available.
On one hand, there are simple and usually family-run local lodges in many well-traversed trails which are commonly known among trekkers in Nepal as “teahouses”. Most treks in Nepal are “teahouse” treks. These teahouses can refer to a large well-built stone and wooden buildings to small bamboo huts with a large mess hall and bathroom area. They have basic but clean rooms and simple beds and thick blankets which you can out on top of your sleeping bag if it’s too cold. If you’re worried about the neatness, bring your own bed liner or sleeping liner. On some teahouses, you can pay a single supplement to acquire room with an attached bathroom if it’s available, otherwise, you will have to use a communal bathroom/toilet. Most teahouses offer hot showers but it’s not readily available all the time so it’s advisable to prepare yourself for skipping showers during trekking.
On the other hand, in some places, you can stay in very nice hotels and big lodges esp. along the Everest Base Camp trek trails. Don’t get us wrong, these are still quite simple lodges, but come with some added “comforts” like room heating, attached bathrooms usually with hot showers, charging points and room decor to uplift the mood. Sounds amazing right? Well, they do cost a lot more than the basic teahouse treks hence classified as “Luxury” trip but if you can afford such a trip, it would surely improve your overall trekking experience, significantly!
All in all, you can't expect your stays in the treks to be simple but clean and comfortable. Besides, the teahouse trek in Nepal allows the trekker to travel with a minimal amount of gear which is easily a major benefit.
You will be eating your meals in the tea houses on popular trails where you will be able to choose from a variety of food available on the menu. Both western and local foods will be available at most teahouses. Dal Bhat (boiled rice, lentil soup, and vegetables) is the common and standard diet in the menu with Mo:Mo: (a kind of Dumpling) and yak steaks being the favorites amongst trekkers as well. Depending on how further you are on your trek, you can even find a wide range of cuisines including Chow Mein, Pizza, Stew, Pasta, veggies, and many other continental dishes. Breakfasts usually comprise of porridge, eggs, toasts, potatoes, and pancakes. In general, the food is tasty and of good quality. It’s always a good idea to consult with your guide before ordering something from the menu to avoid getting stale food that might potentially ruin the rest of the trek for you. Most trekkers choose to go with Dhal Bhat as it's generally consistent, fresh, and readily available wherever you go.
On camping treks, the cooking staff will prepare the meal for you in kitchen tents and usually served in communal dining tents. Although there will be a change in the food menu every now and then to avoid having the same thing every day, camping treks will not have the variety of food usually found in teahouse treks. However, the food is adequate and of the utmost standard and hygiene.
We sure can. The tea houses take the utmost care in preparing the best food for the trekkers which are not only tasty but also healthy. They will cater to different dietary requirements of the trekkers and ensure that the very best is put out on the table. Just to be extra careful about what is put on your table, our experienced guides will oversee the food you eat for the duration of the trek. Although the food menu might be limited for people with special food requirements and dietary restrictions, we make sure everyone is well catered for.
Dal-Bhat is a widely available meal in the trek which is the safest option for a gluten-free diet. Other options like Potato (Mashed, boiled and chips) and rice flour bread, momos, etc. can provide a much-needed change if it gets boring over time. Make sure you have mentioned about your food allergies and other dietary restrictions to your guides so that they can instruct the teahouse or camping cooks accordingly.
Yes, it is definitely possible to camp if you do not plan to use teahouses during the trek. Who wouldn't like to experience camping underneath the star-filled sky at the underbelly of the world's most remarkable Himalayan peaks. But, most of the well-established trekking routes in Nepal have teahouses throughout the trail and you would camp just outside of these teahouses, provided that there is a camping spot nearby and your tent fee will be close to the teahouse fee. Further, camping tends to be more expensive than a teahouse trek. Therefore, the teahouse trek is more efficient (and warmer!) in more established trekking routes like most Annapurna and Everest region treks.
That being said, camping is still a great way and in fact, the only way to access more remote and isolated trekking routes as well as to get off the beaten path in Nepal. Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek, Rolwaling Trek, Upper Mustang, Dolpo trek, and Makalu Base Camp trek are some of the World-renowned remote treks in Nepal that requires you to set up tented camps during the nights for the majority of the trekking section where teahouses are not available. You are usually accompanied by a local crew during a camping trek which includes a guide, porters, a cook and support staff.
Boiled and bottled water that is available at the teahouses are the two most common sources of drinking water supply during the trekking. Popular trekking routes will have bottled water easily available for purchase at most teahouses and villages you pass along the route.
Due to environmental issues, some trekking routes have started banning the sale of bottled water thus boiled water supplied from teahouses or your camping crew will be your safest bet. Locally purified drinking water is also available but it is recommended that you also bring your own water filter if you can if you have concerns. You should strictly avoid drinking or refilling water from taps and rivers.