Welcome to Himalayas
Trekking is the most popular activity in Nepal and is the best
way to experience the natural splendour and cultural riches of the
Himalayas. Differences in altitude support a wide range of
vegetation types and lifestyles and famous peaks shelter remote
mountain villages that are untouched by modern ways of life.
Most treks follow well-used foot trails that have been in use
for hundreds of years, connecting pastoral settlements, little
mountain villages of stone and wood, and monasteries, temples and
shrines. Mountain trekking is not a solitary wilderness experience,
as trails are shared with pilgrims and traders driving fully laden
yaks or donkeys over the high mountain passes. Herders and other
parties of tourists can also provide some company, along with their
guides and quick-footed porters beneath their enormous loads.
Trails cross high over rivers on swaying suspension bridges,
meandering up valleys and past green terraced fields, through
Tibetan-style stone hamlets a-flutter with colourful prayer flags,
where ancient prayer wheels on the main route are kept spinning by
the stream of passers by.
Whatever region one chooses to trek in, the magnificent scenery
is always dominated by soaring heights and icy mountain peaks.
Different regions allow a range of trekking options, from easy
walking for a few days to strenuous expeditions lasting a few
weeks, from circular routes around the Annapurnas, to summit
assaults on Mount Everest. There are also different approaches to
trekking in Nepal, depending on time, money and experience.
Organised, all-inclusive treks include porters, guides, cooks,
tents, equipment and transport, and provide comfort and security as
well as eliminating lengthy preparations beforehand. Teahouse treks
follow the most popular trekking routes in the entire Annapurna
region, Langtang area and the Everest region, and allow walkers to
make their own way from village to village, carrying minimal
equipment and relying on 'teahouses' for food and accommodation. It
is also possible to hire a guide and/or porters for these
expeditions. For those wanting to get away from it all there are
also many less-developed routes in more remote regions.
A trekking permit is no longer required in many regions,
including the popular Annapurna, Everest and Langtang areas;
however a fee must be paid to trek in a designated national park,
conservation area or wildlife reserve, which can be paid at the
entrance (NPR 1,000 or NPR 2,000 for most areas). The Annapurna
region requires the fee to be paid in advance at the ACAP office in
Kathmandu or Pokhara (NPR 2,000 for the permit and NPR 1,400 for
the TIMS Card), which goes towards environment conservation and
maintenance of the area. Fees and entrance charges have been known
to change without notice, it is best to check the situation on the
ground before you embark on your trek or risk paying a NPR 4,000
penalty whenever you are caught without the correct permit.
Information & Facts
Nepali is the official language. English is spoken in all
major tourist areas.
The official currency is the Nepali Rupee (NPR), which is
divided into 100 paisa. As change can be a problem it is
recommended that visitors have a supply of small notes handy.
Tourist activities are often quoted in US Dollars and it is
advisable to carry new dollar bills in varied denominations. Both
Euro and US dollar travellers cheques are widely accepted in
tourist areas and can be cashed easily in most banks and major
hotels throughout the country. There are ATMs in Kathmandu and
Pokhara. Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards are
accepted in many tourist hotels, shops, restaurants and travel
agencies. Banks and moneychangers are present in all tourist places
and in the major cities; all receipts from foreign exchange
transactions should be kept so rupees can be exchanged back into
foreign currencies on departure. Cash is needed when trekking.