Author Topic: Trekking Explore the Himalaya  (Read 715 times)

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Offline soiamd

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Trekking Explore the Himalaya
« on: April 13, 2009, 04:42:59 PM »
Nepal.s natural beauty continues to attract travellers from all over  the world who come to experience for themselves Nepal.s uniqueness as a trekking destination. What in particular makes Nepal stand out as the world.s most popular country for trekkers and adventure tourists in general?

1) The prime attraction is of course the Himalayan mountain range itself, the central portion of which comprises the Kingdom of Nepal. As an ancient Sanskirt proverb states, .A hundred divine epochs would not suffice to describe all the Himalayas!.. Of the 14 Peaks in the world above 8,000 metres, 8 are in Nepal. Beneath the backdrop of these majestic peaks lie Nepal.s hill country where most of the major trekking routes are located.

2) Life in these regions has been little effected by the inroads of modern civilization so that the area remains completely unspoilt in comparison with other tourist destinations. Nepal has few roads so actually trekking is the only way to really see and appreciate the country.

3) Nepal.s many ethnic groups are almost as diverse as the country itself, ranging from the Mongolian .Bhotes. in the north to darker skinned Aryans in the South with many shades in between. This .cultural scenery. is also a feature of interest to most trekkers.

ABRIEFHISTORYOFTREKKING

Although Nepal opened its doors to the outside world in 1949, it took at least another decade for tourism to really get rolling and to build up the necessary infrastructures for things to run smoothly and effectively. Thus, government of Nepal first began to allow short treks in 1964, at which time  there were no organized trekking agencies and very few travel agencies. First to take the initiative in forming a trekking agency was Lt. Col. Jimmy Roberts who established Mountain Travel Nepal in 1964. Already an experienced mountaineer Col. Roberts was able to draw his clients from mountaineering circle that he was acquainted with.

Within a few years, tour operators such as Thomas Cook and Sportshaus Schuster were sending groups and business continued to expand steadily. Other trekking agencies to be established such as Trans Himalayan Trekking Pvt. Ltd. in 1969, followed by many others. The credit for pioneering the marketing of trekking tours in the Himalayas goes to Capt. M.S. Kohli as in 1971 he introduced trekking in the Himalayas as a commercial proposition and launched a worldwide campaign which was responsible for the unprecedented success of these tours. There are numerous advantages of trekking with an agency, the best of which is that the .agency takes care of everything including all travel arrangements, meals, experienced guide, cook and porters for your luggage so that a trekker is free to enjoy himself. Trekking with an agency is also much safer as there is no chance of robbery or crime which has in the past few years become somewhat of a risk for individual trekkers.

CLASSIFICATIONOFTREKS

Most trekking agencies divide their treks into basically four regions both for convenience and practical purposes. These four regions are:

1) Northern region i.e. north of Kathmandu, encompassing mainly Helambu, Gosainkund and Langtang valley.

2) Eastern/Everest region. This includes not only Everest base camp but also Namche Bazar, Lukla, Thangboche monastery and the whole Solukhumbu area.

3) Central region encompassing all treks whose starting point is Pokhara e.g. Jomosom, Muktinath, Manang and Annapurna sanctuary.

4) Western region . mainly Surkhet, Jumla and Rara Lake. The majority of treks fall into these four areas though some trekking agencies also organize treks to less frequented areas such as the far west of Nepal and Arun valley (World.s deepest ).

Besides classifying by areas, some agencies also classify their treks by grades or by length which further helps the potential trekker to make a suitable choice. To be more explicit trekking brochures usually list 3 grades: easy (eg. 2-5 day trek north of Pokhara); medium (eg. 12 day trek to Gosainkund); and difficult (eg. 4 weeks trek to Everest base camp). An average trek last about 2 weeks and unless a client has had previous trekking experience, he should start with a small to medium length trek.

HOWORGANIZEDTREKSARECONDUCTED

The average trekking group consists of between 6 and 12 people though numbers can be varied anywhere from 1 to 25 people, not including staff. Naturally, the number of staff increases proportionally to the number of trekkers but on average, a group should have 2 Sherpas, one or two cooks, a few porters and a sardar who acts as group leader and co-ordinator. If clients speak French, German or some other European language, then a sardar with knowledge of these languages can usually be arranged (through prior information). As far as baggage is concerned, each client is issued with a .daypack. which will then be carried by the porters. There is usually a luggage limit of 15 kg. Personal effects such as camera, binoculars, sweater and the like are carried by the trekkers themselves. Besides carrying the daypacks, porters also carry all food and cooking fuel, which helps to preserve the environment. This by the way, has been a major cause for concern of both HMG and conservationists alike as many trekkers were cutting down trees for firewood causing deforestation and subsequent erosion in some areas. A typical daily schedule is as follows:- The day starts at 6 a.m. with a cup of hot tea, followed by breakfast at 6.30. By 7 o.clock everyone should he ready to start walking. The reason for this early start is to take advantage of the cool morning when walking is easiest; also the morning air is very clear, allowing a better view of the mountains than at other times of the day. The cooks rush ahead to prepare lunch which should then be ready when the groups arrive at around 11 o.clock. After reaching a suitable spot, usually close to a village, the Sherpas and porters set up the tents and tea is served. One is then free to rest or explore the nearby surroundings according to one.s wishes. After an evening meal at around 7 p.m. most trekkers turn to their tents to enjoy a sound sleep.

HOWTO ARRANGE A TREK

The trekking season starts from October and extends to the end of May after which comes the monsoon rains. The months of November and December are best for clear views of the mountains, but temperatures are also quite low at this time. The weather gets warmer around March at which rhododendrons and other alpine flora start to appear. However, views also start to get a little hazy due to the warmer weather. In organizing a trek, Kathmandu trekking agencies require the following information in order to make a reservation:-

1) intended route,

2) number of trekking days,

3) number of persons,

4) date of arrival in Kathmandu,

5) proposed date for starting the trek and if known,

6) probable hotel address in Kathmandu.

Upon receiving this information the concerned trekking agency will then furnish all necessary details including cost quotation. The home travel agency will be required to place 50% deposit for confirmation after which the remaining details (such as visa forms and trekking permits) will be worked out.

Reservations should be made about 3 months in advance and it is also recommended that trekkers stay at least a few days in Kathmandu first before embarking on their trek in order to acclimatize. Cancellation fees vary according to the notice given. Under no circumstances do trekking agencies give a refund once a trek has begun. Insurance is strongly recommended by most trekking agencies in order to cover the cost of emergency rescue by helicopter. Some trekking agencies also handle other arrangements such as hotel accommodation and onward flights.

Physically Fit and Mentally Prepared

As with adults, children should not set out on a trek unless they are reasonably strong and in good health. Children of at least five years can walk further, and their awareness is at a level where they can gain much from what they see. Perhaps even more important, at this age they are capable of following good health practices: of keeping everything but food and drink out of their mouth, of washing hands frequently, and of not getting too friendly with village dogs. It is also important that children be mentally prepared for what they.ll encounter. For example, they may find themselves eating dinner without fork or spoon in a dark, smoky mud room, huddled around a fire with goats and dogs, and with chickens running over their legs.

While this may be a pleasant adventure for some children, it can also be a little frightening if they are not forewarned. Of course, if you.re trekking with cook, porters, and tents, you.ll find yourself eating in much the same style as you would on a picnic, but with tables and chairs if you choose.

None-the-less, be mentally prepared: even if you have done a lot of hiking in your own country, you will find trekking in Nepal a very different experience.

HEALTH CARE

Wherever you trek, find out about trail conditions and by all means take enough warm clothes and adequate sleeping bags. One night at 3,000 m without enough warmth can spoil your entire trek. Everything you need is available for rent in Kathmandu.s trekking shops or from your agent. And be sure to pack a few snacks. A handful of muesli or a bite of a carefully treasured candy bar can do wonders to lift flagging spirits on a hard day. During your first two weeks in Nepal you, like most visitors, whether young or old, may go through a period of bodily adjustment. You may experience some digestive disorder, but once it.s over, a little care should prevent anything more serious. Don.t let your children drink water except that which you or your trekking cook have boiled or which has been properly treated with iodine. Local food when eaten hot should be safe, as should hot tea. Make sure your medical kit has plenty of bandaids and sterile dressings as well as antiseptic creams for minor scrapes and cuts.

POINTSTOKEEPINMIND

It is perhaps worth mentioning a few points which without clarification can sometimes cause misunderstandings, especially with those tourists who have not travelled in Asia before. First of all, a client should understand exactly what trekking is . it is not mountaineering or rock scrambling and therefore does not exclude women or older people. Trekking is for all ages from teenagers upwards. Also, trekkers should be physically fit and should enjoy walking and camping life. As one guide book says, .The first night of your trek too late to find out you don.t like to sleep in a sleeping bag!.. One final point concerns the environment. Nepal is a beautiful country and trekking agencies are very concerned that it stays this way. Nothing would spoil the Himalayas more than trails of cigarette packets and sweet wrappers. It would be helpful if all trekkers were asked to stick to the motto, .take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints.. With all that Nepal has to offer, it seems fairly sure that the trekking trade will continue to grow and prosper!


source nepal traveller

Offline ewangjoni

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Re: Trekking Explore the Himalaya
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2012, 04:40:11 PM »
Life in these regions has been little effected by the inroads of modern civilization so that the area remains completely unspoilt in comparison with other tourist destinations. Nepal has few roads so actually trekking is the only way to really see and appreciate the country.

Offline briensmith

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Re: Trekking Explore the Himalaya
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2012, 06:05:27 PM »
Trekking in Himalayas can be most enjoyable and challenging experience of your life. Globally known as trekker’s heaven, trekking in Himalayas actually requires great courage. Though trekking provides you with some of the best opportunities to view the natural beauty through naked eyes but it you need to be physically fit. It can be your one of the most memorable of vacations in Himalaya and also reasonably less expensive. It is a surely best way to enjoy stunning nature beauty and experience it to its full extent.


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