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Among the many tourist adventure activities in Nepal, Trekking is by far the most popular. The diversity in Nepal's nature and range of exotic culture makes this country ideal for trekking. Trekking in Nepal provides and opportunities observe the local culture of the people and enjoy the beauty of nature undisturbed by influence of modernity. One can choose between fully organized trekking and independent trekking depending on the situation. Fully organized trekking costs comparatively higher and has fixed itinerary. However trekkers have their own staff and can even visit remote regions that have no teahouse facility, when trekking is done in organized group. Independent or teahouse trekking on the other hand is suitable for small groups wanting to visit the more popular arrears that have a good network of teahouse.
Equipment and Clothing
Equipment needed depends largely upon where, when and how one is trekking. The main emphasis while trekking is on keeping warm and dry while still being light weight. For lower altitude, fleece jackets are adequate, while at higher altitudes down jackets are advisable. Waterproof, wind proof jackets and pants, well broken-in footwear, head covering are also recommended. Good sleeping bags, sunglasses, drinking water bottle, torchlight, sun block cream, toiletries, first aid kit and very good route map are other items necessary. Cameras, on the other hand, are handy for taking home memories. Trekking equipments are available in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Namche Bazaar.
Health and Medicine
Medication shops are few on trekking routes. Therefore, it is best to carry first aid kit and read about the possible problems before hand. On the Everest Base Camp route are Pheriche and on the Annapurna Circuit route at Manang, there are clinics operated by the Himalayan Rescue Association the specializes in treating trekker's health problems. These clinics are open only during the main trekking seasons. While on treks, the following problems could occur:
- Upset stomach, often caused by change in diet or contaminated food and water is a common ailment. To avoid it one should pay particular attention to hygiene and quality of food and drinks.
- Cough, cold, sore throats, common in the dry mountain air can lead to chest infection. Sore throats can best be avoided by attempting not to breathe cold air directly through mouth. Smoking should also be avoided.
- Joint muscle strains, foot problems and blisters are other hindrances for trekkers. Wearing good footwear will go long way in avoiding these problems. For sprains and strains, apply cold water to reduce swelling and support the joint with crepe bandage.
- Acute Mountain sickness (AMS) is a fatal sickness caused by random altitude ascension. Therefore, climbers ascending 3000 meters or above should acquire sound knowledge of proper acclimatization processes. Symptoms of AMS included headache, loss of appetite. Swelling of limbs, dizziness, and difficulty in sleeping, irregular breathing, nausea and unusual weariness. Maintaining good fluid intake helps combat altitude sickness and hurried descent or evacuation to lower altitude is the only best cure.
Safety and Security
Nepal is a safe country to trek provided the basic rules are observed. When with trekking agency most contingencies are handled by agency staff. However, one could get lost or hurt and have no one to ask for help when trekking alone. Therefore, trekkers should either with trek with agencies, or hire reliable guides if trekking in smaller groups. Women guides are available for women trekkers. The best way to avoid risk while trekking is thorough planning, playing by the rules and realizing human limitations. In case of misfortune, detailed message should be dispatched to a reliable organization or individual immediately for rescue operation. If communication facilities are unavailable, normal first aid principle should be followed still help arrives. Some of the safety rules to abide by are:
- Do not trek alone
- Do not make a display of wealth
- Keep belongings secure and within sight.
- Make arrangements for handling emergency situation before hand
- Register personal information and trekking plan details with respective embassies
- Buy travel insurance policy that covers helicopter rescue cost. Leave a copy of details with an agency in Kathmandu
- Choose only authorized government registered trekking agencies, guides and porters