Nepal, Trekking

What’s it like: trekking in Nepal

April 25, 2015

Himalayas, trekking in Nepal – something that has been on my wish list for a while now, something to distant, seemingly hard and logistically complex. But what the hell, we thought, and booked tickets last week. We are going to Nepal! On Monday!!

UPD: due to extremely saddening tragic events, of course, our trip was cancelled. If you would like to help this amazing beautiful country and its kindest people in the hard times, please donate to a cause you trust that’s represented in Nepal. Every penny helps.

Pooh hill trekking - Joukje 13 - via TinyBlackBird.com

I have never done trekking before, just hiked here and there and I have no idea what to expect from this trip. There are so many ho-to’s out there, endless checklists and things you should take and things you shouldn’t take…

I was ‘training’ the other day, climbing up and down the stairs of our condo and somewhere between floor 38 and 39, head buzzing with trekking thoughts, I had a brilliant idea of asking my experienced friends a few questions. Quite a few people I know went to Nepal over the past few years, so that seemed like a reasonable thing to do.

By floor 55 I thought it would be amazing if they reply and I’d share the advice with others too. So here you go, an ultimate how-to. What’s in like trekking in Nepal, wisdom from our fellow trekkers. Enjoy!

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Ghorepani Poon Hill

Liuba

1. When did you go trekking?
29.04 – 7.05.2014

2. What was/were the things you were told you’d need but you never needed them.
Food, there are plenty of tea houses with food and even beer.

3. What was/were the things that you think are an ABSOLUTE must on a trek?
Comfortable shoes and a raincoat.

4. Did you listen to any music/audiobooks while trekking? Can you send them over?
No, sounds of nature are the best!

5. Did you have any injuries? Or other health-related issues?
Nope, just needed good massage after :)

Pooh hill trekking - Joukje 9 - via TinyBlackBird.com

Hannah

1. When did you go trekking to Nepal?
March 2014

2. Which trek did you do? How many days total?
Poon Hill circuit and it took us 4 days.

3. What was/were the things you were told you’d need but you never needed them.
The sleeping bag (glad I didn’t take one). All the tea houses had a decent bed and a super thick blanket (like really thick, seriously!)

I took a “second skin” sleeping bag instead, they are super light and give you that separation from the sheets (they all looked nice and clean but you never know right??). For different treks you will have different needs.

Pooh hill trekking - Joukje 2- via TinyBlackBird.com

4. What was/were the things that you think are an ABSOLUTE must on a trek?
The sunscreen (do not underestimate the power of the sun) the mosquito repellent, dry fit leggings and shirts. Something for the rain… we were not really prepared for it and it rained for 2 days, we made some improvised ponchos with thick plastic that we bought at one of the tea houses, it was functional but far from ideal (it was so hot).

Pooh hill trekking - Joukje 12 - via TinyBlackBird.com Pooh hill trekking - Joukje 8 - via TinyBlackBird.com

5. Did you listen to any music/audiobooks while trekking?
Not really, I prefer to be present and enjoy the journey, the sounds of the mountains.

6. Did you have any injuries? Or other health-related issues?
Yes, I injured my right ankle a bit  when trekking down, we were going at a faster pace because it was raining, it was a bit painful, wished I had taken it easier.

Pooh hill trekking - Joukje 7 - via TinyBlackBird.com
(Joukje and Hannah)

Joukje

1. When did you go trekking?
March 2014

2. Which trek did you do? How many days total?

Gorephani – Poon Hill, 4 day trek.

Nayapul – Tikhedunga – Ghorepani – Poon hill – Ghorepani – Gandruk and from there we took a 3 hour bus back to Phokara, but you can also do Gandruk – Durali – Phokara.

Pooh hill trekking - Joukje 6 - via TinyBlackBird.com

Beautiful trek! We were there at a time that it wasn’t too busy, so often it would just be us and our guide. We went from sun to snow, to rain, to hail. It was almost like a 4 season trek. Parts of it looked like a fairy forest, we saw lots of beautiful donkeys, some wild yaks and just a lots of breathtaking nature.

3. What was/were the things you were told you’d need but you never needed them.
Water chlorine or something to clear the water. We just bought bottled water and you can also refill it at the tea houses and restaurants. I also brought a lot of nuts and seeds based on my India experience with food – but the food in Nepal was incredible good and fresh with lots of vegetables. So those travelled with me back to Kathmandu.

Pooh hill trekking - Hannah 3 - via TinyBlackBird.com

Nobody told me to bring all the stuff, but me being a girl, I totally overpacked and ended up carrying 10kg of luggage on my back during the trek which was not needed. I had at least 2 outfits per day, haha! I ended up wearing same clothes most of the time as those are the most comfortable ones anyway. And for toiletries just the basic stuff is needed. Do make sure you can layer up though. Especially at night and early morning as it can get quite chilly. So it would be good if you can layer some pants and also long sleeves + sweater.

4. What was/were the things that you think are an ABSOLUTE must on a trek?
Definitely good comfortable shoes, second skin, rain poncho, at least 2 pairs of clothes for when 1 pair gets soaking wet due to heavy rain.

Also – wear long pants to prevent from mossies or other insects to bite you. Hannah got some nasty bites when wearing 3/4 pants.

Pooh hill trekking - Joukje 4 - via TinyBlackBird.com

5. Did you listen to any music/audiobooks while trekking?
No – just enjoyed the beautiful nature most of the time. Did listen to some meditation tracks at some point, but its really nice to just be with nature and look around and be fully present.

6. Did you have any injuries? Or other health-related issues?
Nope, only got sore legs after few days. So when back in Pokhara walking stairs was painful and we looked really silly when walking.

Pooh hill trekking - Joukje - via TinyBlackBird.com

Karina

1. When did you go?
21-28 March, 2015

2. Which trek did you do? How many days total?
Poonhill Trek – 4 total days

Poon hill - Karina 3 - via TinyBlackBird.com

3. What was/were the things you were told you’d need but you never needed them.

  • Sleeping bag
  • Spare laces
  • Backpack cover
  • Water purification (provided by tour guide)

Poon hill - Karina 2 - via TinyBlackBird.com Poon hill - Karina 1 - via TinyBlackBird.com

4. What was/were the things that you think are an ABSOLUTE must on a trek?

  • socks… LOTS of socks!
  • fleece & wind breaker (& waterproof) jacket
  • good trekking boots
  • water bottle

5. Did you listen to any music/audiobooks while trekking? 
One of us brought a portable speaker and put it in his pocket. We played music which made the trek really enjoyable.

6. Did you have any injuries? Or other health-related issues?
I slipped on horse poop. They are everywhere. Luckily didn’t have any serious injuries.

Poon hill - Karina 4 - via TinyBlackBird.com

Langtang trek

Kristi

1. When did you go trekking?
I went 25th of March – 4th of April 2015

2. Which trek did you do? How many days total?
Langtang trek up to Kyanjin Ri 4,779m. And then to Thulo Syabru to Dhunche.

Langtang trek - Kristi 2 - via TinyBlackBird.com

3. What was/were the things you were told you’d need but you never needed them.
I really was using everything I took with me. I packed as light as possible.

4. What was/were the things that you think are an ABSOLUTE must on a trek?
A sleeping bag – even though they have blankets in the camps, but as lot of people have used them before you, you will feel better sleeping in your own sleeping bag. I used my sleeping bag and on top of that I used the blanket. The blanket is heavy and keeps you warm.

It gets very cold during the night, so my recommendation is to bring very warm sleeping clothes. Proper hiking boots, altitude sickness medication, painkillers, sunblock, weather jacket in case it rains and snows, band-aids in case of blisters, meds in case of tummy issues, water purifier tablets. Try to pack as light as possible. 3-4 shirts is enough. You can do your laundry in the camps. Also, playing cards would be a good thing to have.

5. Did you listen to any music/audiobooks while trekking?
I had a paper book with me that I read once in a while. But I didn’t have any music with me. While trekking I think the sound of the mountains and nature is way better. Listening to the birds or the sound of the river for me was way more satisfying :)

What I wish I’d taken with me was a notebook to write. I found myself having lots of interesting dreams and thoughts during the trek that I wish I could write down.

Langtang trek - Kristi 1 - via TinyBlackBird.com

6. Did you have any injuries? Or other health-related issues?
Oh yes! :) I spread my Achilles which is why I recommend to have proper hiking boots. I had to walk for 2 days 6 hours a day on lots of painkillers because I was using my running shoes to trek. That was physically, but even more emotionally hard and challenging.

I also had altitude sickness which luckily happened after we got down form the top. My body shut down completely as if someone had pushed the Off button. Was lying in bed with headache, shivers and could not breath properly for 2 hours. Altitude sickness is a pretty common thing, but what is important is to really pay attention and listen to your body. Usually you can’t feel it while you are walking. For most it happens when they stop to rest. Make sure to drink lots of water, really a lot :)

See more of Kristi’s beautiful pictures on her Facebook page.

Mardi Himal trek

Oflavia

1. When did you go trekking?
My group and I went in October 2014.

2. Which trek did you do? How many days total?
We went to Mardi Himal Trek and it was 6 days and 5 nights.

Mardi Himal trek - Oflavia - via TinyBlackBird.com

3. What was/were the things that you think are an ABSOLUTE must on a trek?
Most of the stuff that I was asked to bring was necessary (if you book your trip with the guide, the guide would usually send you a list of things you need on that particular trek – Olya).

Few things that I think can be compromised are: backpack cover, trekking poles (the guide can cut bamboo for you), spare laces. But as for the clothes, just bring very little since for the first few days you’re gonna be mostly sweaty, and the rest of the days you’re going to be freezing cold.

4. What was/were the things that you think are an ABSOLUTE must on a trek?
I think the must thing to do is to have proper trekking boots and a high quality backpack. Poncho was a must for me because there’s a good chance of it rain and it’s very uncomfortable walking wet. Sleeping bag is a must too, it might be so cold that blanket provided won’t be enough.

5. Did you listen to any music/audiobooks while trekking?
I listened to Coldplay’s “Ghost Stories” most of the time :)

Pooh hill trekking - Hannah - via TinyBlackBird.com

6. Did you have any injuries? Or other health-related issues?
I didn’t have any injuries, just minor altitude sickness during trekking to the top.

Check out Oflavia’s project Findwhere for more pictures from Nepal.

Hiranya

Mardi Himal trekking - Hiranya - via TinyBlackBird.com

1. When did you go trekking?
October 2014

2. Which trek did you do? How many days total?
Mardi Himal, 8 days.

3. What was/were the things you were told you’d need but you never needed them.
Medication for altitude sickness. Thought I would be sensitive to this. Instead what I did was to have garlic soup every day and never experienced any altitude sickness!

4. What was/were the things that you think are an ABSOLUTE must on a trek?

  • Good Trekking Boots! (High cut if possible as it reduces the chances of your ankle getting sprained)
  • QUICK DRY TOWEL. oh-my-god!
  • Counterpain
  • Universal Adapter with multiple USB ports (Plug points are limited so with this you can share and charge two phones at once! :D)
  • If you would be facing leeches, to avoid them crawling up your leg, wear leggings or trekking pants with the option to seal the bottom!

5. Did you listen to any music/audiobooks while trekking? Can you send them over?
Coldplay mainly.

6. Did you have any injuries? Or other health-related issues?
Nope! Maybe some slips and slides here and there but nothing major

Pooh hill trekking - Joukje 14 - via TinyBlackBird.com

Thank you so much ladies for the great insights and for the stunning pictures – all photos in this post are by these beautiful girls. You can hover over a picture to see which trek it’s from.

I feel much more knowledgeable now, confident and solid with my initial intention to just go for it without all the worries and doubts, I have the boots, so I should be fine, right?

Can you try to guess which trek I’m taking?

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