If you have heard about Nepal, chances are high that you have heard about its mighty mountains, rolling hills and wonderful wilderness, always welcoming travelers since the country opened its door to visitors. No doubt this beautiful country is an amazing destination for world class trekking adventures. You have hundred of choices here. From busy trails of Everest to quiet trails of Dolpo, from easy mid hill walks to challenging mountain passes, from few days’ hike to month long clambering on the glaciers – the list is endless. You will literally be spoilt by the choices. This broad range of trekking options, however, is normally categorized into three trekking types on the basis of the service and logistic arrangement involved in it. At Explore Himalaya, we offer all three trekking types to our visitors.
1. CAMPING TREK
Camping Trek is fully organized trekking in which you will be supplied with all camping equipment along with food, Sherpas, helpers and tents for accommodation. This trekking type is ideal for those who want less frequented trails with no teahouses or less accommodation options. This type of treks offer a really special experience as you will be visiting the far flung areas that have very less contact with the modern world. Nowadays, with the availability of teahouses and lodges in most of the trekking trails in Nepal, compared to other trekking types, this style of trekking is less in use, and used only where there is special requirement or no other option of accommodation left. Treks in Dolpo and Dhaulagiri regions are operated in this style.
Support Crew in Camping Trek
On camping trek you will be sleeping and eating on tents. A trekking crew contains one sirdar, one cook and the numbers of kitchen crew, Sherpa assistants and porters depending on the size of the group. Sirdar and his assistants speak reasonable amount of English, good enough to explain you about the places, local culture or any sight that catches your eyes. Under the leadership of the Sirdar (the local trek leader), the crew consists of several Sherpa assistants who will ensure you don’t take the wrong path, a cook and kitchen crew to keep you well fed with delicious and nutritious meals and the porters to transport all the gear from camp to camp.
Our main aim is to make the trek as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible. Some of the best moments of the trek are the times spent getting to know your trekking crew who are born and brought up in remote mountain villages. The ratio of both Sherpa guides and kitchen crew to group members is generally 1:4 and the ratio of porters to group members is around 3:1 at the beginning of the trek, but this decreases as food is consumed and loads become smaller. For bathroom facilities we carry a toilet tents, your camping staff dig a deep hole in the ground for excrement and cover the hole with soil after the business is done.
A Typical Day in Camping Trek A typical day begins with a hot cup of tea brought to the tent at about 6am, followed by a bowl of hot water for washing. After packing our bags and having a good breakfast, we set off for the day. All you need to carry is a small day pack containing water bottle, camera, sun cream, hat, rain jacket and a warm jumper, just in case. The porters will carry the rest of your gear for you. After walking for 3-4 hours we stop for lunch at around midday. Then after we continue for the afternoon’s walk which is generally shorter and we arrive at camp in time for afternoon tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the nearby villages, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book. On some days, we will arrive at camp by lunchtime and the entire afternoon will be free. Dinner is usually served between 6 – 7pm. After dinner, the evening will often be spent playing cards and talking with the crew, or perhaps even joining in some singing and dancing, before heading off to the tent for a well-earned sleep.
Meals and Drinking Water in Camping Trek
We provide three tasty, plentiful and nutritious meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes. To start the day, breakfast consists of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereal followed by omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread. Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads.
After a long day on the trail, dinner is a hearty 3 course meal – soup, followed by a variety of vegetable, meat, rice and pasta dishes and completed with a simple dessert. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided at all meals. We use as much fresh products as possible and special dietary requirement is always catered for. The leaders are able to maintain very tight controls on health and hygiene in the kitchen with respect to general cleanliness and food preparation and also within the group with respect to personal hygiene. This has allowed us to maintain remarkably high standards of health over many years of trek organization – and good health is vital to an enjoyable and successful trek and climb.
All foods are well cooked and vegetables are treated by potassium permanganate or iodine. You will be provided filtered water about 3-4 liters per person per day. The good thing about such water is it doesn’t smell chlorine. We normally use Sawyer Filters. You can also bring water purification pills in case you want to drink water from local taps. Antiseptic soaps and potassium or iodine treated water are provided for washing.
2. TEAHOUSE/LODGE TREK
Teahouse trekking type involves accommodating in teahouses dispersed up and down the travelling trails of Nepal. In this type of trekking, your service includes food, guide, porter and accommodation. Teahouses basically refers to mountain lodges operating the bedding and eating facilities for trekkers. Generally, all the teahouses have sharing rooms (with few single rooms), indoor latrines, restrooms, eatery, kitchen and lounge area. Most of the teahouses are owed by local people where family members, relatives and some additional staffs work every day to satisfy the necessities of guides, porters and travelers. This type of trekking is popular in all major trails in Everest, Annapurna and Langtang regions.
Support Crew in Teahouse Trek On teahouse trek you will be accompanied by a team of local crew whose aim is to make the trek as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible. The crew consists of a local leader (Sirdar) and a team of porters to carry all your gear. On average, there will be a ratio of one porter to every two group members. Sirdar speaks reasonable amount of English, good enough to explain you about the places, local culture or any sight that catches your eyes.
Whilst we endeavor to stay in the best possible accommodation along the way, you should be aware that most teahouses, particularly in the smaller villages, are quite basic. The bedrooms are usually very small, the bathroom facilities are often shared and meals are served in a communal dining hall. Although simple, the teahouses do provide shelter and warmth and are normally run by friendly local families. Teahouse treks are less expensive than Camping trek and are largely suitable for small groups. Usually during busy seasons if private rooms in smaller villages are fully occupied you might have to sleep in dormitory.
Meals & Drinking Water in Lodge Trek
On our teahouse/lodge based treks we provide standard breakfast, lunch and three course dinner, tea or coffee will also be included with each meal. Your guide will help with menu selection and ensure that you get the best value meals possible. Although the food is usually plentiful and delicious, you should be aware that the menu is normally not extensive. Most teahouses offer a variety of rice and noodle dishes, as well as soup and seasonal vegetables. A variety of cereals, bread and egg dishes are generally available for breakfast. There will also be plenty of snacks available such as biscuits, chocolate and soft drinks and in some areas you will find fresh fruit in season. You can buy packaged water (bottled mineral water) from local lodge and shop en route or you can also ask your guide to fill your water bottle with filtered water.
A Typical Day in Teahouse Trek The day activity is pretty much same as in camping trek. The only difference is we will have our meals in teahouses instead of camps. Each morning after packing our bags and having a good breakfast, we set off for the day’s walk. All we need to carry is a small day pack containing water bottle, camera, sun cream, hat, rain jacket and warm jumper, just in case. The porters will carry the rest of our gear for us.
After walking for 3-4 hours we stop for lunch at around midday. The afternoon’s walk is generally shorter and we usually arrive at our destination in time for afternoon tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the village, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book. On some days we will arrive at our destination by lunchtime and the entire afternoon will be free. After dinner, the evening will often be spent playing cards and reliving the day’s adventures, before heading off to bed for a well-earned sleep.
3. GAP TREK
This is a shortened form of Guide Accommodation and Porters (GAP). This type of trek is ideal for those that want basic and essential support from us. We offer an English speaking local Sherpa guide, accommodation in local lodges during trek and arrange required porters. Trekkers buy meals on their own. So, the whole arrangement is same as Tea House aside from you paying for your own meals.
Compared to what we are used to, the services provided by the company, from the Finnish point of view felt like luxury. During our trip all went well and everything worked. Absolutely nothing to complain of!