Trekking General Information

The Nepal Himalaya has always been known as "The abode of the Gods". Many of the primordial history, religion, culture and tradition as well as legends and myths emanate from the awesome Himalaya. The Nepal Himalaya barbors many holy temples and shrines, monasteries and sacred lakes in the wilderness and remote parts of the region. These sites are frequently visited by pligrims. It is a land of piety and stillness.

The Himalayas is the youngest and highest mountain chain on earth. A full third of its stretches - the formidable Great Himalayan Range of 800 kilometers lies within the Nepal Himalaya. It has a convergence of 1,310 magnificent peaks over 6,000 meters, including 8 of the world's highest 14 peaks of 8,000 meters. Nestling in the rain shadows of these unique vistas of soaring summits unravel a profusion of lofty foothills, the home of the many Nepalese who delight in warm hospitality and friendship. These verdant terraced hills meander down to lush green valleys with turbulent rivers; and to the tropical lowland and jungles teeming with countless wildlife.

In its immensely diverse and undulating topography, varied climate and mix of people Nepal combines to produce a magical attraction for outsiders. Many foreign visitors come to trek one or more beautiful trekking regions. To trek, one does not have to be bizarre, neither a mountaineer nor a athlete. Anyone with a pair of strong legs, and the spirit for adventure to explore the exotic, will enjoy the thrills of trekking in the hills of Nepal. Walking in the interior of the country follows ancient foot trails which meander through the scenic river banks, intricately terraced fields and the forestd ridges connecting picturesque hamlets and mountain villages. These highly developed and well defined trails have been used for centuries and are the hive of activities to come in contact with the locals.

For visitors on extended holiday and with less restraints, there is an even more varied spectrum of adventure - be it rafting on the sparkling rivers, safaris in the jungles, trekking to explore deeper into the alpine valley with perpetual snow and glistening glaciers. The more intrepid traveller may venture further up to scale any of the 18 minor trekking peaks.
Nepal offers an astonishing topographical variation with the altitude ranging from 70 meters to 8848 meters amidst a width of 193 kilometers. Similarly, within its limited area and bounds, Nepal enjoys all the climates with alpine, temperate and the tropical jungle regions determined by its incredible altitude variation.
Unlike some countries with strict visa regulations, Nepal extends trouble-free issuance of visa to all the citizens workdwide. Indian nationals do not require visa to enter Nepal. The Royal Nepalese Embassies or Consulates abroad and at entry point's Immigration Offices provide a one month visa upon the presentation of a valid passport, two passport size photos and a payment of a valid passport, two passport size photos and a paymetn of equivalent of US$ 40 for single entry, US$ 70 for double entry and US & 100 for multiple entry respectively. Visitors entering Nepal without a visa may also abtain a 30 day visa from the Department of Immigration, Tridevi Marg (Tel. 412337/418573) Kathmandu a Payment of additional 25 percent in Ruppees with the added a payment of entry point. Visas can be extended at the Immigration Department, Kathmandu or at Immigration Office, Pokhara.

A trekking permit is required to trek in any part of Nepal. If trekking is planned in two different areas, two trekking permits are needed. Each trekking permit details and outlines the trekking route and region and it is necessary that trekkers do not deviate from the prescribed routes and regional boundaries.

The Department of Immigration located at Tridevi Marg, Thamel (Tel. 412337) issues trekking permit for the tourists who intend to trek any part of the country. Trekking permit fee for different trekking areas are fixed as follows:
                    Trekking Areas              Trekking permit fee 
              1. Annapurna, Everest        - Equivalent to US$ 5 per 
                 Langtang, Rara ect.         person per week for the 
                                             first four weeks and 
					     US$ 10 per week thereafter.
              2. Dolpa and Kanchanjunga    - Equivalent to US$ 10 per
                                             person per week for the 
                                             first four weeks and US$
                                             20 per week thereafter.
              3. Manaslu                   - US$ 75 per person per week.
              4. Mustang and Upper Dolpa   - US$ 700 per person for '
                                             the first 10 days and US$ 
				             70 per person per day 
Note : Trekking to Dolpa, Kanchanjunga, Manaslu and Mustang can be undertaken through registered trekking agencies only.

Eight areas of Nepal have been designated national parks. They are Langtang, Rara, Royal Chitwan, Sagarmatha (Everest), Shey Phoksondo, Khaptad, Bardia and Barun National Parks. To trek in any of these national park area a part permit in nessary which can be obtained at the park entrance on payment of Rs. 650/- each. similarly trekkers are required to pay Rs. 200/- for every trekker going into the Annapurna Region payable at the Immigration Offices while getting trekking permit, which is utilized for the environment conservation and maintenance of the area. There are several government registered trekking agencies in Nepal to conduct such trekking programmes. In order to have assumed quality and safe treks it is advisable to use them.

The Immigration Office is open from 10.00 to 17.00 hours from February 13th to November 16th and from 10.00 to 16.00 hours from November 17th to February 12th Sunday through Thursday. On Friday it is closed at 15.00 hours. Visa extension and trekking permit applications are accepted from 10.00 to 13.00 p.m. only. These applications are not accepted after 12.00 p.m. on Friday. The Immigration Offices remain closed on Saturdays and on other government holidays. It is recommended to allocate one day to get the trekking permit.

Royal Nepal Airlines, the national flag carrier, offers extensive domestic air services to almost all the parts of the country. Taplejung, Bhojpur, Meghauli, Pokhara, Jomosom, Manang, Jumla, Dolpa, Sanphebagar are the remote destinations where one can take a flight from Kathmandu. The other domestic airlines such as Nepal Airways. Everest Air, Necon Air and Himalayan Helicopter also provide regular and charter services to different popular domestic destinations. Please contact you trekking or travel agencies for more detail.

Flight into and out of the remote areas and airports are sometimes prone to cancellations and delays due to inclement weather. It is advisable to allow some layovers days while planning a flight out of airports like Lukla, Jumla, Taplejung and Jomosom. When these flights are considered in the itinerary it is also recommended to carry extra money to buy food and accommodation in case of delays.

Trekking in Nepal can be undertaken throughout the year. There are four seasons in Nepal. Each season has its distinct attractions to offer. The seasons are classified as follows:

Autumn (Sept-Nov.)
This season offers excellent weather and tantalising mountain views.

Winter (Dec-Feb)
This season is noted for occasional snowfall only at higher elevations. Hence it is ideal for trekking at lower elevations, generally below 3,000 meters.

Spring (March-May)
Different varieties of wild flowers, specially the rhododendrons make the hillside above 5,000 meters a haunting paradise during this season. It is mildly warm at lower elevations and at higher elevation over 4,000 meters the mountain views are excellent and temperature is quite moderate.

Summer (Jan-Aug)
Summer months, continues up to mid September making travel wet and warm. These times are blessed for the keen botanist as the higher valleys and meadows blossom with flowers and lush vegetation.

It is recommended to carry insect repellent when trekking during summer months.

Trekking in Nepal need not be considered risky affair as far as your health is concerned. Nevertheless, preventive measures such as a thorough medical check up and innoculations before you start trekking can save you from unexpected hazards. Since the remote places of Nepal are not supplied with necessities that are essential for modern medical facilities, and as the rescue and evacuation are measured in days, it is imperative to make a comprehensive First Aid Box consisting of basic drugs and accessories as part of the paraphernalia for trekking. Various trekking guide books and the pamphlet published by the Himalayan Rescue Association gives you detailed information on a complete list of medical supplies. These guide books are easily available in the book-shops of Kathmandu. In case of serious illness or injury, prompt evacuation to Kathmandu is the best remedy. Modern dentristry is unknown in the hills of Nepal, so it is advised to have a checkup before departure from home. Tooth fillings sometimes loosen in cold temperatures and at high altitudes, so it is recommended to have them checked.

All trekking demands a level of fitness that will enable one to put a good day's walking, up hill and down. Most treks should not be taken to gain more than 500 metres in one day above 3,000 meters. There should be plenty of time during the day to cover this distance, so the physical exertion though quite strenuous at times, is not sustained. The best preparation for trekking is cycling, swimming, jogging, squash, tennish and long walks involving up and down hill. Good physical conditioning will probably help for the maximum enjoyment of the treks.

Altitude Sickness, often known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is particularly a important medical consideration while trekking in Nepal. Altitude Sickness means the effect of altitude on those who ascend too rapidly to elevations above 3,000 meters. The initial symptoms of AMS are as following:
- Nausea, vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Insomnia/sleeplessness
- Persistent headache
- Dizziness, light headedness, confusion,
- disorientation, drunken gait
- Weakness, fatigue, lassitude, heavy legs
- Slight swelling of hands and face
- Breathlessness and Breathing irregularity
- Reduced urine output

These symptoms are to be taken very seriously. In case of appearance of any of the above symptoms any further ascent should be reconsidered; otherwise more serious problems can occur which can even cause death sometimes within a few hours, the Only cure for the Altitude Sickness is to descend to a lower elevations immediately. Acclimatization by ascending to no more than 300 to 500 meters per day above 3,000 meters and the proper amount of rest are the best methods for prevention of AMS.

Literatures and pamphlet published by Himalayan Rescue Association consists of detailed information on AMS. The Central Immigration Office and all trekking agencies in Kathmandu distribute this pamphlet free of cost. Since these documents also give information on the list of suggested medical supplies for trekking it is a compulsory item for every trekkers' medical kit.

HRA is a Nepalese voluntary organization registered with His Majesty's Government to run a mountain rescue service in the mountain tourist areas. The Association's major role is the prevention and treatment of mountain sickness. The association's medical research work is undertaken by a team of foreign doctors at present.

The Kathmandu office and Information Centre of the HRA is located at Thamel. The HRA Information Centre has expert and uptodate information on all aspects of altitude sickness. All those intending to trek above 10,000 ft. are advised to visit the Information Centre.

HRA operates two - Trekkers' Aid Posts - as follows:


At Pheriche on the main trail to Everest Base Camp, one day north of Thyanboche. This Aid Post is well equipped and staffed by two Western doctors during main trekking season. All trekkers intending to go to Kala Patthar and Everest Base Camp are advised to contact the Pheriche Aid Post.

At Manang village in Manang. The Aid Post, is well noticeable and has a sign posted. Regular talks on dangers of altitude sickness are given here every alternate day during trekking season. The Aid Post is staffed by a Western doctor. Trekkers intending to cross Thorong La Pass and visiting the surrounding areas are advised to contact the HRA aid post either at Chindi or at Manang.