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Nepal
Kandoo guide for trekking in Nepal

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Start planning your perfect Himalayan adventure with these essential links.

Special offer: Save £50/$65 off all treks and pay only £100/$130 deposit if you book before 31st October 2018

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Nepal is the one destination that Kandoo’s team go back to again and again. There is so much great trekking to do and we love the friendly people.

First-time trekkers in Nepal are always wowed by the Khumbu region around Everest.  And once you have got the taste for the Himalaya, the spectacular Annapurna region is a great next stop.

If you look up at the peaks when you are trekking and fancy trying to summit one, then there are also some great climbs like Island Peak or Mera Peak. These are perfect for a first climbing adventure and with our experienced guides you know you are in really safe hands.

For the ultimate Nepal adventure, book now with Kandoo, the high altitude experts

Nepal trekking regions and routes

Although there are 10 mountain regions in Nepal many of these are very remote and almost nobody visits them. Trekking in Nepal therefore focuses on the three main regions shown on the map below. The Everest region, often referred to as the Khumbu after the main valley coming down from Everest, the Annapurna region and Langtang Valley.

Everest trekking regions map

 

Everest region trekking routes final LargeThe Everest trekking region  has Mount Everest at its top  and extends south past Lukla where most people start their treks. Jiri which was the starting point for Everest trek before the airport at Lukla opened is the bottom of the region.  This whole area is shaped by  four  huge valleys and glaciers. The Khumbu valley running down from Everest itself. The Dudh Koshi valley running parallel  to the west.  The Imja valley running down from Island Peak and a little further south the Aran valley with Mera Peak at its head.

All of these valleys provide great treks. The classic Everest base camp trek goes directly up the  Khumbu valley. The Gokyo Lakes trek heads up the Dudh Koshi valley before crossing into the Khumbu to visit base camp. The  Island Peak climb goes up the Imja valley and Mera Peak climbs head up the Arun valley. All   are shown on the map opposite and more information about the region and all the routes can be found here.

Annapurna trekking routes map LargeThe Annapurna trekking region covers the huge Annapurna massif encompassing one 8000m peak, 13 over 7000m and a further 16 over 6000m. This whole area is now in  the Annapurna Conservation Area. Within this vast area there are a huge range of outstanding treks and we operate four of the very best. These are the Annapurna Circuit, the Poon Hill Trek and the trek to Annnapurna Base Camp (Annapurna Sanctuary).We also include in our Annapurna treks the Manaslu Circuit as it is next to the e Annapurna circuit and makes for a great quieter alternative.  All   are shown on the map opposite and more information about the region and all the routes can be found here.

The Langtang Trekking region is relatively close to Kathmandu and accessible without a flight, The Langtang Valley is a beautiful unspoilt area that offers some great trekking.

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When is the best time to trek

Weather in NepalThe main factor affecting the decision about when to trek is the weather. Nepal has a bad  monsoon season in June to September and at the height of winter the temperatures at night drop very low. This means that as a general rule you can expect the best weather for trekking in Spring and Autumn.

There is though some variation in the weather between the trekking regions. For all the detailed information on the weather in the Everest region see here and in the Annapurna region see here. The bottom line of this though is that the Annapurnas are much drier even during the summer monsoon period for two reasons. First they are  far enough West to miss the main monsoon weather streams. And second, the Annapurnas are so big that they create their own rain-shadow.

You can see  this clearly on the graph opposite. Lukla with the highest rainfall is the gateway to the Everest region. Ghoropani is at the southern-most part of the Annapurnas. Jomsom is to the North East of the Annapurna massif and has very low rainfall year round. So while you should definitely avoid the Everest region from June to August you can still trek in the Annapurnas during this period.

In winter you will mainly have dry weather with blue skies in all regions but it will be very very cold. This means that  if you want to trek from from December to January you will need extra warm clothes and sleeping bag.

What about other activities?

shutterstock 550731916 chitwan safari MediumBesides trekking, Nepal has some fantastic other activities and a lots of spectacular festivals. White water rafting is extremely popular and this is particularly good in the later Spring months as the glacier melt swells the rivers.  

For animal lovers, a visit to Chitwan on safari is an excellent option. hTis is best in the months from October to February when the days are cooler and less humid. As well as elephant rides, you regularly see rhino and occassionally tiger. Whatever you see though, the jungle at Chitwan is a great destination.

 Cultural tours in Kathmandu are possible all year round but the summer months  again are best avoided. The main sites in Kathmandu including Boudhanath, Bhaktapur and Durbar Square can easily be visited in a day. If you have time, a day trip to Bhaktapur is also worthwhile

Everest region festivalAnd try to fit in a Nepali festival

Nepalis are generally either Buddhists or Hindus , with a large number being  both! The great advantage of this is that they celebrate all the important dates in both the Buddhist and Hindu calendar as well as a number of other national days. If you add up all the days of festivals it comes to more than two months worth!  You can read all about the main festivals here.  

Festivals specifically celebrated in the Everest region are the Mani Rimdu festival, in October/November and the  Dumji Festival, celebrated in May/June. Both are big colourful festivals and are worth adding into your trekking schedule if you have time.

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Why trek with Kandoo Adventures

 
Safety is our top priority
Safety is our top priority

We have world-class risk assessment and safety procedure...

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Excellent guides
Excellent guides

Highly qualified and trained guides who have regular refresher training in first aid...

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Trekkers have more fun with Kandoo
Trekkers have more fun with Kandoo

A key attribute that we look for in our guides is the ability to make a trek fun

 
You book direct for great prices
You book direct for great prices

Because we sell direct with no middle-man we offer exceptional quality and great prices too. ......

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When to trek in the Himalaya

February to May
sunshine showers icon
As Nepal moves out of its winter the weather starts to get warmer and showers are generally brief and infrequent. The early months are very quiet on the trails, the latter months less so, but still not as busy as in the Autumn. April and May is a fascinating time to vist Base Camp as this is when all the Everest climbers are in residence Dry, quiet and getting warmer
June to August
rain icon
With the arrival of the monsoon, temperatures rise, humidity goes through the roof and daily downpours in the afternoon are the norm. Unless you particularly like being wet this is a bad time to be in the Everest region but the Annapurna region still remains dry. Monsoon season
September to November
sun icon
The busiest trekking season in Nepal starts in September and lasts into the early days of December when temperatures fall away rapidly. Warm, dry days and clear, chillier nights become the established pattern and rain showers are brief and light. Warm, dry and clear
December to January
sunshine snow icon
As the days get shorter the temperatures drop dramatically and with increased precipitation there are regular snowfalls which make for beautiful mountains but difficult trails. Trekking at this time of year can be exciting but only with the best of warm weather gear. Cold and with frequent snow showers

Availability and prices

Last Updated September 26 2018
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What kit do I need for trekking in Nepal

As you will experience big variations in temperature both during a day and as you climb ho higher altitudes your packing list for Nepal should be based around layering. Our full kit list and a packing checklist are here and you can download our easy to use infographic by clicking on the image below.

Packing list

How hard is trekking in Nepal?

Generally trekking in Nepal is much more accessible than it used to be even 10 years ago with much improved transport between destinations and an ever increasing quality of accommodation available along the main routes. Of course the downside of this improved access is more people. Nepal trekking never was a wilderness experience: most of the high valleys have been lived in by local Nepalis for generations, even if only on a seasonal basis, but now you will get mobile signal in most areas and you should not be surprised to see genuine Illy coffee and great cinnamon buns.

Most days, walking is not too arduous, no more so than a typical day's hiking at home. What makes it challenging is that you are doing this for upwards of 15 days consecutively and at altitude. Altitude in particular should never be underestimated as a challenge.  By the time you reach the height of Everest base camp, air pressure is down to about 50% of sea level which means every lungful of air contains half the normal amount of oxygen. Walking slowly then becomes critical.  You can read lots more about altitude sickness and acclimatisation here.

Also, you should remember your porters are hiking the same route as you but are carrying up to 30kg so do not be too aggrieved if travel is slow and it sometimes feels as though the trekking days has been a little short.  The higher you go up into the mountains the more your porters will be able to do compared to you so a little patience is more than justified.

Nepalese trekking lodges

Nepal trekking Lodge bedroomThe standard of accommodation still varies hugely but on the most popular routes there is generally plenty of clean, well kept accommodation. Lodges nearly all have inside toilets and for a modest fee you can even get a warm (ish) shower. Rooms are normally twin shares with two pretty hard wooden beds and a thin foam mattress. They may even provide blankets but we would certainly recommend bringing your own good quality 4 season sleeping bag unless you are used to sleeping rough in freezing conditions.  More on kit and equipment is here

Nepali lodge dining roomDining in the lodges will be in a large open room with tables round the outside-our guides try to make sure we secure you a spot away from the door and nearer to the fire but can't always guarantee this.

All of these comments on lodges relate to "standard lodges" but there are now a small but increasing number of "luxury lodges" - these are about on a par with a normal 3 star hotel but they will have heating, en-suite bathrooms  and other home comforts. As they are in short supply they get booked very early and we only offer them on private treks.

Food in the Nepali trekking lodges

Menu on a himalaya trekAs the quality of lodges has improved, so has the food. It used to be the case that the only meal available was Dahl Bhat- boiled rice with a very thin lentil dahl. This is what the porters will eat almost exclusively and you will often hear them joke "Dhal bhat - 24 hour power" and it might be for a Nepali who has lived on it for all his life but for anyone else it is pretty unappetising fair on a regular basis.

Fortunately all but the most remote lodges now offer a very extensive menu of food although when you have seen almost the same menu every day for 14 days you quickly realise the menu is not so long as it might appear. Steam spaghetti, steam veg spaghetti, steam egg veg spaghetti, mixed spaghetti are perhaps not unsurprisingly pretty similar. 

Nevertheless the range of food options available led us to change our policy on food two years ago. Prior to that we charged food inclusive prices and in each lodge there would be "table d'hote" option which would be what was included. Over time it became increasingly clear that people wanted to choose exactly what they wanted off the a la carte so we changed our pricing to exclude food. You need to budget between $25 and $30 per day for food and should use this figure when comparing our prices to other operators

Acclimatisation and altitude sickness

Looking after yourself, eating well, ensuring you remain well hydrated, and keeping warm (or cool) and dry are all key to any successful high altitude trek but are particularly important on the longer treks in Nepal. You might get by on a short trek ignoring some of these, but on a longer trek you have to really focus on the basics to give your body the best chance of acclimatising and avoiding altitude sickness. 

Acclimatising refers to the natural changes in the body that happen as you climb to higher altitudes and air pressure reduces. These changes only happen slowly and so the rate of descent needs to be carefully controlled. Where the route ascends quickly this means days have to be taken where you either rest or do a short day hike, going a little higher during the day but returning to a lower altitude to sleep. All our itineraries are designed to ensure you have the best chance of acclimatising properly.

Altitude at different destinationsThe first and most obvious effect of ascending to altitude is that you become breathless quickly: this is because as the air pressure drops there is literally less oxygen in every lungful of air you breathe. You can see from the table opposite that this decline is quite dramatic. At Everest base camp there is only just more than 50% of the oxygen you have at sea level so no matter how fit you are you have to go more slowly at altitude.  Overtime your body will produce more red-blood cells to compensate for the lack of oxygen but this is a slow process.

And it is particularly critical  that you do not over exert yourself- you should always be walking at a pace where you can manage a conversation- as over exertion is the best way to bring on the other adverse effects of altitude,  pulmonary or cerebral oedema, which together are referred to as severe Altitude Mountain Sickness ("AMS") 

Without being too technical, where there are places in the body where a thin membrane separates fluids (eg your blood) from air, then a drop in the air pressure can cause  those membranes to leak. There are two key places where this happens: in the lungs where you get pulmonary oedema, much like pneumonia and in the head where you get cerebral oedema. This starts out as a bad headache but can then progress quickly to a coma as pressure on the brain increases. 

Both these conditions can be fatal. Our guides are all highly experienced in spotting the signs of AMS and fortunately both conditions resolve themselves very quickly if you descend. While everyone will experience some of the early symptoms of AMS you must never ignore these and if they progress you must not continue to ascend.

Some of the other great things you can do in Nepal

The Himalayas are famous for trekking and climbing but there is so much more on offer if you have time!

 
Cultural Tours
Cultural Tours

We offer a wide selection of cultural tours in Kathmandu. Visit all the main sites, including Boudhanath, Bhaktapur and Durbar Square, to get a real taste of Nepali culture and life...

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Chitwan Safaris
Chitwan Safaris

Go on an elephant safari in Nepal's oldest national park, Chitwan. Situated a short flight south of Kathmandu, the park is home to one of the few remaining populations of the rare Bengal tiger, and also home to one-horned rhinos and wild elephants...

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Mountain Biking
Mountain Biking

If hiking in the Himalaya is not enough of an adrenaline fix then why not add in a few days Mountain Biking. Good quality mountain bikes are available to rent in Kathmandu and Pokhara, and we can arrange a guide to get you off the beaten path and onto some great trails.

 
White River Rafting
White River Rafting

Sitting at the foot of the Himalaya and under the full force of the Indian Monsoon, Nepal has an amazing diversity of rivers that is a white water paradise with a variety of white water rafting adventures. Let us know how long you want to raft for and we can arrange a fantastic adventure.

 
Yoga
Yoga

Yoga and trekking combines two of Nepal's most distinct traditions. Adding a Yoga retreat into your trekking experience is a great way to allow the body to recover from the stresses of a long trek. And with the current awareness of mindfulness where better to learn than in the country where the Buddha himself was born.

 
Paragliding
Paragliding

The hills above Pokhara, on the edge of the Annapurna have become a mecca for paragliding with warm winds from India meeting the mountains to create powerful thermals. We offer tandem flights throughout the year at Sarangkot in the Pokhara valley, a site which offers spectacular views of three 8,000m peaks and friendly and constant conditions for paragliding.

Frequently asked questions

The questions below cover general issues that apply to trekking in all regions. There are questions specific to the Everest region here and to the Annapurna region here.

Q1What is the best way to get to Nepal?

From Europe there are lots  of flights to Nepal connecting via the Middle East hubs and via Delhi. Our favourite is Qatar, via Doha. From North America you can also fly via the Middle East or from the West Coast via Singapore or Bangkok. For more advice on flights to Nepal see here.

Q2Can I trek without a guide?

Nepal is the only country in which we operate where you can trek without a guide. On the main routes the trail is very  clear and finding your way is easy. A guide though can do a lot more than find the way. They have extensive knowledge of the mountains and local customs and they will also make the trek much, much safer.  Self-guiding  can seem like a great idea until something goes wrong. You might slip and damage an ankle.You might get altitude sickness You might get a bad chest infection. Lots of things can go wrong  at high altitude  and the risks are very serious. If you are by yourself and there is a problem the consequences can be fatal.

In 2016 nearly 200 people died on the Annapurna Circuit because  they got lost in a snow storm. Each year at least 20 people die on the Everest trek because of altitude sickness. These deaths could have been prevented if they had been trekking with an experienced, qualified guide. For more information about our guides see here .

Q3What qualifications do your guides have?

We are members of the Nepal Mountaineering Association and all our guides have passed the "Basic Mountaineering Course". 

All our guides also have annual first aid training and specialised training in managing altitude sickness.

For climbs, our guides have at least all passed the NMA's "Advanced Mountaineering Course" and most of them are qualified as members of the International Federation of Mountain Guides see IFMGA, this is the highest standard world wide of guide qualification.

Q4What are toilets like on the treks?

The toilet facilities in most lodges are basic but adequate. Generally they are all plumbed in toilets with water available for flushing probably in  a tub with a jug. Take your own toilet paper though. There are now very few of the old fashioned "long drop" toilets but in nearly every lodge the toilet will be of the Asian "squatty" variety not the Western sit down type so make sure you are flexible!

Q5What is the difference between an open group trek and a private trek?

Whether you book an open group trek or private trek, Kandoo provide the same high standard of service. Where they differ is the flexibility they offer. Our open group treks run to scheduled itineraries and dates.  Private treks can be organised on any route or itinerary and on any dates. Also on private treks we are able to offer a lot of tailor made options like camping overnight at Everest base camp , helicopter treks, hotel upgrades and safaris and cultural tours. 

Q6How will I be able to wash?

Hot showers are sometimes available in lodges at extra cost and you can also pay at most lodges for a large bowl of hot water to take to your room. Other than this you should plan on a combination of cold water washes and using wet wipes. Please remember though that you must take a "rubbish bag" up with you as all the trash you create you will have to carry out.

Q7Do you organise treks in Nepal for charity?

Every year we organise more and more treks for charity. Our private- tailor made treks are perfect for a group of friends looking to trek to EBC to raise funds for their favourite charity. For more information about what we can do for your charity trek see here

Q8Do I need travel insurance?

All trekkers must have proper insurance cover for any of our Nepal treks.  The exact cover will depend on the trek being booked as most polices are linked to an altitude cap. Depending on the route you choose this may vary a lot. For more advice on travel insurance see here . 

Q9How dangerous are the internal flights in Nepal?

None of Nepal's domestic airlines are approved by the EU. This means they are not comparable with internal flights within Europe in terms of safety standards. Given the incredibly challenging flying and landing conditions the incidence of problems is very small. The risks of flying in Nepal should not be ignored and it is your choice whether you feel these risks are acceptable. Alternatives to flying though are not safer and are certainly far less convenient. For more information on the risks of travelling in Nepal see here .

Q10How well do you treat your crew?

Kandoo have always made treating our local crews a top priority. In Nepal, all of our guides and ports come from the Sherpa region in the North East of Peru and they are all actually related.  This might be Mother's brothers son try and work out what we would call that.   In villages where there are only a few thousand people these relations bind the communities together very strongly. As a result our team in Nepal is particularly strong and supportive of each other. For more information about our crew see here .

Q11What vaccinations will I need to visit Nepal?

By the time you have had all the vaccinations you need to visit Nepal you will end up feeling like a pin cushion.  Please ensure you see your doctor for specific up to date advice but for our general recommendations see here

Q12Do I need a visa to visit Nepal?

All travellers require a visa to enter Nepal. These can either be obtained in advance or bought at the airport. To buy a visa in Kathmandu you will need 6 months to run on your passport and a valid return flight ticket.  For more information on visas see here

Q13What tips do you recommend?

All our crew are paid excellent wages. More than those recommended by the Nepal Mountaineering Association. Tips for good service though are normal in Nepal and our specific recommendations can be found here

Q14Do I need to use porters?

You do not have to use porters and if you really want to carry all your kit we can arrange this for you. With your day-sack and the rest of the kit you need though you are likely to have around 20kg to carry Unless you are exceptionally fit and acclimatise very well, the effort in carrying this load at nearly 5000m will  reduce the chance of you completing your trek successfully.

Porters rely on work for tourists as their main source of income and all our crew are well-paid and well looked after.

Q15What is food like on the treks?

The quality of food in lodges is now quite good although the variety is limited. The menus in the lodges might seem extensive but that is only because they will have 8 varities of fried rice, etc. For more  on food in Nepal lodges see here.

Q16What is the accommodation like on treks?

On all our treks the accommodation is in lodges for the whole of the trek. On climbs  there are a number of days around summit day where you will be camping.

Lodges generally provide a  basic twin room with wooden bunks and a thin mattress. There will always be a common room where meals are taken. This will generally have some form of heat in the evening. At lower altitudes some rooms may be available with basic "en suite" facilities but more generally there will be a shared, unisex toilet block. For more information about lodges see here.

 

Speak with an expert Start planning your next adventure by contacting one of our team.
Sarah BW

Sarah Orson

Adventure Travel Consultant

Phone: +44 (0) 1283 499980

RB BW crop sml

Rachael Bode

Adventure Travel Consultant

Phone: + 44 (0) 1283 499982

SK BW crop sml

Sharon King

Adventure Travel Consultant

Phone: +44 (0) 1283 499981

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