While I was trekking in the Himalayas in Nepal, I entered a Buddhist monastery. But I was unaware I had to take off my shoes. I realized it only after a local guy shared me about the cultural morales in Nepal.
This is just a single incident that taught me about the don’ts while trekking in Nepal. Besides these, there are many things I realized that every trekker planning to trek in Nepal should consider before going for trekking in Nepal.
From trekking in the unknown lands without a guide to disrespecting the beliefs and values of locals, here I share you top 5 mistakes to avoid while trekking in Nepal.
1. Trekking Without a Guide in the Himalayas
Travels in Nepal are quite a hassle for foreign travellers. The transportation, modes of communication, places of accommodation are different from that of other countries. So, you may have to go through a number of things or challenges while you go trekking in Nepal.
Teahouses en route to Everest Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, or Annapurna Circuit Trek in peak seasons are full. And there are always specific rules of an area that you need to follow.
A guide helps you arrange all these things and make your trip smooth. If you have already visited Nepal several times, you can be okay without a guide. But, if you are a new kid in town, solo trekking is a big no-no!
To cut the cost, some trekkers trek into the Himalayas without any guide. They may find it economic until they end up getting in troubles to find places for food, accommodation, finding routes and many more.
Some trekkers do hire a porter and attempt using him as a guide. But, it’s hard to find porters who can speak English and manage the food, accommodation, and travel of your trip. So, trekkers struggle in the entire trip instead of enjoying the journey.
Likewise, many trekkers like me, who trek alone lose their way in the wilds. But, without a proper guide, you are just exposing yourself into more threats.
If you are new to Nepal, then there are many things that you have to learn. From greeting people to getting familiar with Nepalese culture, you need time to adapt to the Nepalese environment.
Thus, for arrangement and to learn the basics of adjusting in the Nepalese society you need a licensed guide. Do not compromise on hiring an experienced one for you.
2. Not Buying a Travel Insurance
Most of the treks in Nepal are above 2000 meters which extends to over 4000 meters altitude. So, many trekkers may get altitude sickness in such height. Also, the mountain weather turns quite challenging due to the unpredictable weather conditions.
The elegance of Himalayas usually comes with uncertainty. You expose yourself to high altitudes, steep terrains, and cold climate. And the hostile surrounding often adds challenge to the lives of trekkers. In such a situation, travel insurance is always handy because it covers you in most of the difficult situations.
While you plan to visit Nepal, make sure you have travel insurance, especially if you are going for high altitude trekking or mountaineering. With travel insurance, you can feel secure and have to worry less. It’s always wise to prepare for the unforeseen risks. But before you buy one, you need to make sure that your travel insurance covers the theft, loss, medical and helicopter rescue in case of emergency.
Many trekkers need immediate evacuation due to altitude sickness or some other health issues and injuries. So to protect yourself in such situations, make sure your travel insurance offer helicopter evacuation as well.
Most people who do not travel frequently tend to overpack. Many trekkers bring a lot of stuff while coming to Nepal. With so many luxury items, extra layers of clothes, too much food, and other essentials, backpacks can be full and heavy. Therefore, it is important that you choose your backpack according to how many days you are going to travel, items you need to carry and remoteness of your travel destination.
While trekking in Nepal, there are many tea-houses that offer cosy accommodation and warm meal throughout the trek. So, you do not need to worry about food and accommodation. Also, you need not to pack all the trekking stuff halfway you choose to trek to the least explored regions like Dhaulagiri Trek, Kanchenjunga Trek, or Upper Dolpo Trek.
So, pack only things that you absolutely need. With a light backpack, you do not need a porter. It saves a significant amount of money.
So I would recommend to carry less and enjoy your trip.
4. Travelling Faster
Due to time constraints or less budget, some trekkers plan to cut their treks short. They normally are in rush to reach the final destination and return as fast as they can. There are a few shortcomings in shortened treks.
Firstly, trekkers miss the chance to enjoy the moment fully. Trekking is not just about reaching the destination. It’s about enjoying every moment throughout the trek. Every trek in Nepal offers cultural and natural diversity. So, you may miss many attractions when you are busy planning to complete the trek shortly.
Moreover, treks in Nepal takes you to high altitudes. While shortening your trek, you have to give up your acclimatization days. Such frequent walks with less rest increase the risks of altitude sickness. This problem has compelled many trekkers to quit their tour in the halfway. Or, sometimes it has often led to their death.
So, never cut your trek short. If you do not have enough time, you can rather choose short treks that are more convenient. Careful! trying to see more in less time may hit you back. You may end up seeing so little and getting severely ill.
5. Depending Entirely on a Map
Many trekkers attempt to make full use of their trekking map while trekking as an independent trekker. But, as they fully rely on trekking map they may fall into severe challenges and inconveniences on the trek.
If you look at the trekker’s history in Nepal, several trekkers go missing in Nepal. In the last 5-6 years, around 70 trekkers have gone missing, only a few have been found alive.
Besides a few popular treks, many trekking trails in Nepal are still off-the-beaten with missing road signs. This may add challenge to the trekkers to identify proper routes on their own.
In the monsoon season, landslides and floods wash away the direction marks, parts of trails, wooden bridges, and more.
Moreover, the geographical difficulty and lack of immediate communication access can make things worse. So, depending entirely on a map is not a wise option if you are planning to trek in less frequented trekking trails.
Trekking in Nepal is a complete adventure. However, it welcomes some challenges too. So, to keep yourself safe, you need to prepare well before heading to Nepal for a trek. There are several risks that you should avoid to make your travel fun.
From overpacking to not following certain unspoken rules, there are many mistakes you may make. Unknowingly, these mistakes may ruin your treks. So, learn from the mistakes of other trekkers and make your trek in Nepal a memorable one.