One short runway and no going back. Are you brave enough to come to Lukla?
Nepal is popular as a natural tourist destination, especially among trekkers. Nepal is a country where most of the attractions are outdoors. However, it is a developing country and not all tourist places are accessible by transportation. This means that you might have to spend a quite bit of the distance on your legs. It's good if you're planning to trek, but are you fit? There are lots of things to do in Nepal, but if you aren't fit, trekking might not be for you. Are you prepared for power cuts even in cities? Can you live with the slowest internet speed in the world?
If you are planning to trek, having a good level of fitness is crucial as the Himalayas are a challenging environment for walking and climbing. Are you prepared for the height? Are you prepared for the treacherous and unpaved bumpy roads that have a thousand foot drop on the other side?
Here are some more things to be aware of when travelling to Nepal.
1. Preparation is Key
Be fit and active
Nepal is not somewhere to get fit by trekking; and being unfit can put you and your companions in danger. There are times when you have to walk 6-7 hours without a break. This is when you have to carry your stuffs, food and clothes.
Having the right gear is vital for the mountains. This includes down jackets, boots, hats, sunscreen and water. When you pack for Nepal, a top tip is to wear your hiking boots on the flight. This ensures that if your luggage is lost or if your flight gets delayed and have to transfer right away, at least you will have boots with you. Most other things can be purchased in Kathmandu if your luggage gets misplaced. But a pair of well- fitting boots is more difficult to replace in time for a trek.
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KEEN's waterproof hiking boot is also available for men, with unisex versions for kids and adult kids. It is imported from China and has a strong rubber sole with body made from pure leather. As a cherry on top, it is very light.
With the highest mountains in the world, Nepal is a destination where visitors have to be on alert for altitude sickness. Knowing what to look out for is crucial as progression of the disorder can kill. Experiencing nausea and vomiting together with a headache are the early signs. The treatment is to descent from the current altitude.
Photo by: Mike Behnken via Flickr
Taking things slowly is vital to adjust to the altitude. Acute mountain sickness is a risk in anyone who goes 10,000 feet or more above sea level. Recognising the early signs of vomiting and a headache are vital as the disorder can strike anyone and kill if left untreated. The only cure for altitude sickness is to descend to a lower level.
Essential Trekking Guide from Lonely Plant
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Nepal’s roads are in a dangerous state with potholes, precipices and overloaded vehicles - all part of the norm. If you are driving, do ensure you have insurance and be aware of overtaking vehicles and chaotic roads. Be particularly careful of cows wandering around as these are considered holy and killing one (even accidentally) will cause offense (not to mention, it is illegal).
Photo by: McKay Savage via Flickr
It is very dangerous to drive at night in Nepal as there are no street lights in some places and vehicles are sometimes missing this essential piece of kit as well.
4. Political problems
Nepal is generally a safe country to travel in but there have been political disturbances from Maoist extremists. If you come across a demonstration in Kathmandu or another town, it is best to stay out of the way and not to attempt to photograph it. It is also a good reason for not trekking alone in some areas of Nepal. NepalBandh.com is a very good website to see if the areas you are planning to visit are a part of demonstration and rallies.
Steer clear of rallies and demonstrations like this!
Photo by: Rich via Wikimedia Commons
5. Sunstroke and Heat Problems
Nepal has a mild climate, but it can get quite humid and hot in valleys at times. Walking or doing any form of exercise exacerbates dehydration and if not rectified, leads to heat exhaustion. It is really important to drink 2-3 litres of fluid each day to avoid this problem. Being well hydrated also helps avoid altitude sickness. At higher altitude, the sun’s rays are stronger and there is an increased risk of sunburn and sunstroke. That's why it is important to use a sunscreen and wear a sunhat. Sunglasses are also vital for protecting the eyes against the sun’s rays.
Absolutely do not forget a camera!
6. General Health and Hygiene
Nepal is a developing country and anyone visiting should check out the immunisation recommendations before travelling. Washing your hands before eating and after using the bathroom is vital to prevent stomach upsets. It is also important to not drink the tap water. The water from the water supply is pure drinking water but it can contain impurities which are present in the pipeline. No one is Nepal drinks water straight from the tap without filtering and boiling it.
However, ensure that you do drink at least 2 litres of fluid daily. Bottled or purified water is recommended.
Early Morning Sunrise on Everest
Photo by: Sam Hawley via Flickr
7. Get to know local rules and customs
If you're a Westerner, you are probably comfortable with hugging, kissing and showing affection publicly. However, these acts are totally frowned upon. Hugging might be okay (but keep it really short) but kissing even on cheek is regarded morally wrong and disrespectful of the society. Yes, you might say Nepal is truly weird! Do your homework, get to know about the areas you are traveling to from your travel agent or your guides.
Nepal is one of the best places to relax and enjoy your vacation. Just help yourself first!