KATHMANDU, Dec 21: Nepal is a paradise when it comes to adventure travel. We have eight out of 14 tallest mountains in the world as well as the most exciting trekking trails including the Annapurna Circuit, Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Base Camp etc., to name a few. And every year, thousands of people ranging from first-timers to professionals come to these places to climb the mountains or trek around it. Places like these have enjoyed their fair share of visitors marveling at their natural beauty.
Dipak Bhujel has been helping adventure enthusiasts make the most of such places for about 14 years. In all his years as a trekking guide, he has accompanied locals and tourists to places like Everest, Annapurna, Makalu, Manaslu, Mustang, Kanchanjunga etc. He has also worked as a guide for places like Mansarovar, Mount Everest (Tibet side), places around South India as well as Mount Kailash.
31-year-old Bhujel works for the travel company Himalayan Exodus. Here, he gives us tips on adventure travel, a few do’s and don’ts that can help beginners and professionals alike make their travel safe and fruitful.
The importance of proper planning and research
Whenever you plan to trek or travel near mountains or a place at high altitude, it’s important to plan. As places like this can be expensive to travel to, it’s necessary to plan your budget. This doesn’t mean you can’t travel on a budget – you just have to be careful about where and how you are spending. Also, you should do proper research before going there. Be fully informed about the weather and learn a little about its topography and the names of the lakes and mountains that you might see along the way. Before leaving for the trip, let your family and relatives know where you are going. Give them a copy of your itinerary and contact locals and guides before you leave for the trip.
Pack light but pack smart
Give priority to the equipment needed like first aid materials, dry foods, walking sticks, water bottles, sleeping bags etc. After that, pack warm clothes. Don’t pack more clothes that needed as clothes make the bag heavy and take up more space. Also, don’t keep all your money at the same place. It’s better to keep it at different places, so that if you loose your purse, you can use the money you kept inside an extra pair of socks. It’s also better to have a satellite phone with you incase there is an emergency and you don’t have network on your phone.
Learn to acclimatize
This is the most important thing to remember. A person should never climb more than 300 to 400 meters on a single day. Also, after every 3000 meters elevation, a one-day rest is a must. If you plan to reach Tilicho lake over the weekend, rethink. You will be climbing up from 1300m to 4900m and walking for at least four to six hours a day so it’s reasonable to take about three or four days to complete the trek. It’s important to get yourself accustomed to lower oxygen levels as well as the cold atmosphere otherwise you can suffer from altitude sickness. Another thing to remember is to always wear warm clothes as well as properly cover your head and face. Don’t take off your all your clothes if you feel hot while walking as the wind can cause headaches and you can come down with a cold if you aren’t careful.
Eat well and stay hydrated
Always carry dry food with you. You can carry dry fruits, biscuits, chocolates etc. to snack on if you get hungry on the way. Carry a thermos of warm water or water packs that you can fit in your bag. Always remember to keep yourself hydrated while walking as this helps against altitude sickness. When dining at hotels, have fiber rich, healthy food that can give you energy to walk the next day. As you go up, you might find your appetite decreasing but it’s important not to give in and continue eating properly.
Follow the official rules and routes
If you are trekking somewhere for the first time, it’s better to take a guide. They can help you with the permits and insurance, booking of hotels and taking the easy and right route. That way, you will be safe incase of any inconvenience or mishaps. Also, it’s important to be aware of the culture and traditions of the place you are visiting. You should be careful about using your cameras and drones and also about how you dress or behave, especially at places that are ethnically distinct like Lo Manthang. Of course, you should put your comfort first. Casual, simple clothes are accepted in all places. You should always walk with your permit and register yourself at checkpoints. This way, if you get lost or sick, officials can track and rescue you.