These FAQ’s will provide you with general information and answers to questions you might have when considering or preparing for a trek in Nepal. We hope that this information will be helpful to you, but if you have any questions that are not answered here, please be sure to email us!
With so many guide companies in Nepal, how do I make sure I am selecting a reputable one?
The most important consideration is to ensure that the guide company you select is licensed and certified by the Government of Nepal Ministry of Tourism. This ensures that their guides have received the required training and have at least 3-4 years of experience. The company should be able to provide you with a copy of their certificate and their registration number if you request it. In addition, ask for references from prior clients – and check them out of sites like Trip Advisor.
What if I’ve never done any trekking before? Can I still do a trek?
No problem! Nepal is a great place to start! As part of our job, we work with you to ascertain your experience and ambitions and find the trek to best match these. However hard or easy you’d like it to be, and as much or as little experience as you have, we can provide perfect trek for you.
What exactly is included in your fees?
That depends on the tour or trek you want to go on, and how much you much you want us to handle for you. A part of our service is to be flexible in what we offer so that we can ensure that you have as good an experience as possible. In general, our fees include a guide(s), porter(s), food and lodging on the trek, trekking permits and sleeping bags. We can also include hotels and domestic flights and other costs at the client’s request.
I’m interested in doing a tea house “lodge trek”. What can I expect?
There are small lodges, or tea houses, on the main trekking trails of Nepal that are set up to cater to trekkers’ needs. If you are on a “lodge trek”, this is where you’ll be sleeping, eating and relaxing after your day of trekking. They are simple and small but functional, clean, and provide safe food to eat. A typical tea house is a wooden structure, each room with two beds and shared bathrooms. Breakfast and dinner will be eaten at the lodge where you stay overnight, but lunch is usually taken somewhere along the route.
What is a wilderness/camp trek?
A wilderness trek gets off the beaten path by going into areas without tea houses or lodges. While often more rewarding, such treks are much more demanding logistically, as we must take along tents for camping and cooks and kitchen for food preparation. You also need to be prepared for very basic accommodations – sleeping in tents, outdoor latrines, no shower facilities. This type of trek is best suited for those who have done adventure trekking, backpackers, those with experience being in the wilderness. For high elevation wilderness treks, you should also be physically fit and without medical conditions that might require special attention for higher elevations (we can arrange wilderness treks in lower elevations for those with less physical ability).
Is the food in the lodges and camps safely prepared? Do I need to worry about getting sick or having diarrhea?
Our guides do their utmost to ensure food safety while you are on a lodge or camp trek. Actually, our guides are often the cooks while you are on your trek! In the lodges on the trek routes, they are used to hosting foreign guests, and as this is their livelihood, they take food safety very seriously.
That doesn’t mean that incidents of illness or diarrhea don’t occur. This can happen any time you travel, especially to a developing country. We recommend that you talk with your doctor about the need for a broad-spectrum antibiotic, in case you need it. Better safe than sorry!
Bottled water is also available for purchase at the lodges on a lodge treks. An environmental option would be to bring water purifying tablets. On wilderness treks, boiled water is provided every day, but we also recommend that you bring water purifying tablets.
How long will we walk during an average day’s trek?
This will vary depending on the trekking route you select. Generally, each day you can expect five to seven hours of walking, covering probably 10 to 14 km. However, if your trek takes you above 3500m, while the trekking time will be the about same, you will only cover 8 to 10 km. Most importantly, all our itineraries are flexible and can be affected or changed by weather and geographical conditions, as well as the physical capabilities of the individual participant.
What happens if I am injured on a trek and not able to hike anymore? What are your emergency protocols?
Because we are experienced guides, we have learned how to deal with emergency situations. Our exact response will depend on the type of problem and location. Our guides are trained to provide basic first aid and will assist as much as they are able from a medical standpoint. If the problem is more serious, our guides know how to organize an emergency evacuation.
How physically fit do I need to be to do a trek in Nepal?
We offer a variety of treks to accommodate everyone’s fitness level, ranging from easy to strenuous.
No previous trekking experience or physical preparation is required to attempt this type of trek. They can even be suitable for children. Such treks usually vary from 2 to 5 days in length and can reach an altitude of 3000 meters with up 300 to 400 meters of elevation gain each day. These treks are usually on well-maintained paths and involve walking up to 5 hours a day.
Some examples of easy treks that we offer are Royal Trek in Pokhara, Kathmandu Valley hiking, Pokhara Valley hiking, Jomsom valley trek.
Moderate Treks will require at least 6-7 hours of walking, 500 to 800 meters of elevation gain each day, and crossing passes as high as 4200 meters. You can expect trekking on rough trails. Therefore, you will require physical and mental fitness and a positive attitude. Previous hiking experience will help ensure that you will enjoy this type of trek.
Some examples of this type of trek that we offer are Annapurna Base Camp. Ghorepani Ghandruk trek (Annapurna region), Langtang Valley trek, Langtang Heritage trek, Annapurna mini-trek, Everest mini trek.
Previous trekking experience and technical knowledge are essential for Difficult Treks. Besides walking on rough trails for 6-7 hours and crossing passes as high as 5500 meters, you will also be doing glacier crossings on snow/ice. We limit the maximum elevation gain each day to no more than 800 meters, as you will be facing high altitude air with low levels of oxygen. Positive attitude and perseverance are required.
Some examples of this type of trek that we offer are Annapurna circuit trek, Manaslu Circuit trek (Manaslu region), Chola Pass trek (Everest Region), Renjola Pass trek (Everest region), Dolpa trek (Dolpa region), Upper Mustang trek.
Strenuous Treks involve long days, long hours of challenging hiking, high altitude passes above 5000 meters, difficult terrain and glacier and snow walking. You need to be mentally and physically fit and in excellent health and physical condition. As part of technical requirements, you will be required to have rock and ice climbing experience with the knowledge of the use of an ice ax and crampons. You should consider joining one of our rock climbing and glacier walking classes prior to help you prepare for this type of trek.
Some examples of this type of trek that we offer are Ganjola Pass (Langtang Region), Larkey Pass trek (Manaslu area), Tilicho Pass trek (Annapurna region), Nar Phu trek (Annapurna region).
Who will be our guide for trekking and/or touring?
We pride ourselves in being able to provide you with well-qualified, experienced guides who excel in customer service. Nepal Unique only employs staff or our network of qualified contract guides who we know personally and have qualified personally. Amongst our guides; we have those who are able to communicate in English, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Russian and French. Most of our guides are from the mountain regions of Nepal and conditioned for trekking above 3000 meters. We also have city tour guides for sightseeing in the Kathmandu region who have extensive knowledge about the cultural, architectural and natural heritage of the city. All of our guides have the essential skills such as leadership, management of logistics, customer service, conflict resolution, and personnel management.
With an objective of sustaining local communities, Nepal Unique employs guides and support teams from many of the different groups of Nepal’s diverse ethnic community; including Gurung-Tamang, Mager, Sherpa, Rai and Brahmin. This ensures sufficient knowledge about culture, ecosystem, flora and fauna, geography and history of Nepal.
Most importantly, we only provide guides who have gone through Intensive Wilderness First Aid, Trekking Guide training, City Tour Guide training and Eco Trekking Workshop, which are certified and approved by the government of Nepal.
Do you have number requirements of your trips?
We have trips available for any number of people, even if it’s just you (with the exception of trips to Tibet, Dolpo, Manaslu and Kanchenjunga). However, we prefer to keep our groups to a maximum of fifteen people. However, if you would like to make a group booking for more than fifteen people, it can be arranged for you.
What type of equipment do you provide? What should I bring myself?
We provide sleeping bags, trekking poles if needed and a first aid kit. For camping treks, we also provide tents, mattresses and kitchen equipment. Everything else is up to you! We can, however, help you with a suggested list of what you should bring with you. You can find a sample on our website under Travel Information – Outdoor Equipment.
Will I need to carry everything I bring along on a trek?
No, you only need to carry a daypack with your water, camera, passport, trail food, clothing for layering, potential rain, cover for backpack, blister care kit. For everything else – up to 20 kgs – we will provide porters for your belongings. In the event you require more personal gear, we can arrange additional porters for an additional cost.
What are the best times to visit Nepal for trekking / touring / expedition?
The busiest tourist season in Nepal is mid-September through November, especially for trekking. The weather is typically the most pleasant this time of year. While the weather is the spring season (March-May) is a little more unpredictable, it is also considered a good season. Temperatures are usually mild in lowland areas while cooler to cold in higher altitudes. Mountain views can be better this time of year, and it is also the time when mountain flowers blossom – especially the national flower of Nepal, the rhododendron, which can cover complete hillsides in blazes of red, pink and white blooms. Winter season (January and February) is usually recommended for safari tours in the lowland regions, as well as low altitudes trek below 4000m. For some areas of Nepal such as Langtang Valley, Upper Mustang, Upper Dolpa, and Tibet and India treks, the summer season (June thru August) is the best because these areas are in rain shadows and the monsoon rains are much lighter there. Expedition season is usually April and May, and sometimes September through October.
Do you provide airport pickup service for your clients?
Yes, absolutely! When you provide us with your flight itinerary, we provide someone to greet you at the airport and transport you to your hotel. For customers or clients who have booked our any packages, this service is included with the cost of your package.
Does your company help to arrange international flights? Domestic flights? How about hotel bookings and other services?
We regret that we are unable to arrange international flights, except for those originating from Nepal. But we can certainly help you with all domestic flights, hotel bookings, and other services.
Do I need any type of insurance before participating on one of your treks? Should I arrange for it before arriving in Nepal, or can I get insurance in Kathmandu?
It is a condition of joining any of our trips that you have in place comprehensive insurance to cover you for medical issues and accidents. If you are planning on a trekking or climbing/expedition, your insurance must cover emergency air ambulance or helicopter rescue. Please note that you will need to arrange for this insurance coverage in your home country. It cannot be obtained in Nepal, and we are unable to arrange or sell insurance.
When arranging for your insurance, consider the type of traveling you will be doing. Some insurance has specific exclusions for certain types of adventure travel. Be sure to check the coverage exclusions carefully to ensure that you are covered, or you may need to arrange for supplemental insurance. It may be prudent to provide your insurance company with a copy of your adventure itinerary that you are going to undertake to make sure that they cover all activities being undertaken on the trip, as some companies exclude some adventure travel.