Trekking, Nepal

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  • Machhapuchhre and Annapurna South from Ghandruk
    Machhapuchhre and Annapurna South from...
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  • Ang Thile Sherpa, Virtual Tourist ;-)
    Ang Thile Sherpa, Virtual Tourist ;-)
    by into-thin-air
  • Route just before Jhinu
    Route just before Jhinu
    by into-thin-air
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    Trek in the Khumba and see Everest in 9 Days

    by into-thin-air Updated Feb 6, 2014

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    Everest & The Upper Khumba from The Panorama Hotel
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    Some people go to Nepal with a very limited timescale but still want to do a trek in the Khumba and see Everest – This tip is designed for trekkers with only nine days to trek in the Everest Region, This then leaves safety days and sightseeing days to enable the trek to be fit into a two week Nepal Visit.

    1)Kathmandu to Lukla by flight then trek to Benkar (2750m) (Waterfall Lodge Highly recommended)
    2) Benkar to Namche (3450m)
    3)Namche - Rest / Acclimatisation day )Trek up to The Panorama Hotel to get the view as in the photo)
    4)Namche - Thyanbosche (3867m) (Visit the Monastery)
    5) Thyanbosche - Pangboche (3930m) (Trek up to Upper Pangboche to visit the Gompa and see the views)
    6) Pangboche – Phortse
    7) Phortse to Namche
    8) Namche to Lukla
    9) Fly Kathmandu

    Namche to Namche; you will be rewarded with great views of Everest and Ama Dablam and it will be a memorable trek :-)

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    Trekking routes and times for EBC

    by into-thin-air Updated Jan 26, 2014

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    Rob at EBC
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    There are 4 main trailheads for trekking routes to EBC

    Lukla by flight
    Jiri by road
    Tumlingtar via The Arun Valley by flight or road
    Salleri by flight or road

    By far the most popular is Lukla as this is also the shortest route at around 14 days to trek for there to EBC and back

    Then the next shortest option is Salleri
    To get to Salleri you can either fly or go by jeep / bus, the latter takes around 24 hours and adds about 3 days trekking in and 2 out – So around 21 days Kathmandu – EBC- Kathmandu

    Then the next shortest Jiri / Shivalaya
    To get to Jiri / Shivalaya is a full day’s journey by bus from Kathmandu and then about 6 days trekking each way to where the route joins up with the path near Lukla – so about 28 days Kathmandu – EBC- Kathmandu

    Finally Tumlingtar
    To get to Tumlingtar you can either fly or go by jeep / bus, the latter takes around 24 hours and trek to where the route joins up with the path near Lukla on the Arun Valley Trek takes about 10 days - so about 36 days Kathmandu – EBC- Kathmandu

    Obviously you can trek in one way and out another, the above timings will give you a rough idea of how long all the varying options is likely to take.

    Good Luck and Happy Safe Trekking
    Rob

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    Brief resume of different teahouse trekking routes

    by into-thin-air Updated Nov 2, 2013

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    Kalla Patar from Gorak Shep
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    EBC
    Pro’s
    1) Seeing Everest
    2) Wonderful high altitude trek that can be trekked safely in as little as 2 weeks Lukla – Lukla or 3 weeks Jiri – EBC – Lukla or just under 4 weeks Jiri EBC – Lukla – Gokyo – Lukla or longer

    Con’s
    Can be expensive if you fly to and from Lukla and risk of flight delays at Lukla

    Trek Report from my own EBC Trek
    Downloadable Trekking Map

    AC (Annapurna Circuit)
    Pro’s
    1) Diverse trek starting off at low altitude passing through paddy fields. Then grain fields, pasture, forests and out above the tree line over Thorung La (5540m) then through the deepest valley I the word, The kali Gandaki
    2) Easy road access to trailheads so no flights required
    3) Can be trekked as the full circuit of fly out of Jomsom if time is tight

    Con’s – Trek now somewhat marred by road building
    Downloadable Guide to The Annapurna Circuit Trekking Route avoiding the new roads

    Downloadable Annapurna Trekking Map

    ABC (Annapurna Sanctuary)
    Pro’s
    1) Relatively short trek of about 10 days but gets you right into the heart of the mountains
    2) Can be extended to include Poon Hill if time permits
    3) Easy road access to trailheads so no flights required

    Con’s
    Few villages and none above Chomrong so a little lacking in culture and real Nepali life

    Trek Report on Alternative Annapurna Trek

    Langtang / Helambu

    Pro’s
    1) Least crowded of all the teahouse trekking routes
    2) Can be combined with Helambu (You can then trek right back into the Kathmandu Valley and save a long arduous bus journey)

    Con’s
    The bus ride from Kathmandu to Syapru Besi

    Trek Report from my own Langtang Trek
    Downloadable Langtang Trekking Map

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    Add flavour to your drinking water

    by into-thin-air Written Oct 3, 2013

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    Tang

    Equipment: For this I use “Tang”, readily available in the supermarkets in Thamel
    Sometimes it’s called by different names, but if you ask for Tang then the shopkeeper will understand what you are talking about. I used lemon flavour and it tastes good, i believe there are other varieties including orange.
    TIP – Take along a plastic container from Home as “Tang” comes in a glass jar - a plastic container is both lighter and safer

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    Alternative Aproach route for ABC

    by into-thin-air Written Oct 3, 2013

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    Route just before Jhinu
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    When trekking ABC there are several alternative route to Chomrong, then after it’s one path up to ABC and then back down again to Chomrong.
    The route below is one that tends not to be used by the large groups and in my opinion is now the best approach route, so you may find it useful

    1) From Pokhara to Kande by bus of private car (The latter should be about 1000 NPR)
    Then trek via Australian camp to Deurali (Up at first then fairly level – About 4 hours trekking)
    2) Then the next day to Jhinu – Down in the morning and a little up in the afternoon – Jhinu has an excellent hot spring so don’t miss this
    3) Jhinu to Sinua - about ¾ days trek, Steeply uphill and then downhill on steps, the steeply uphill to Real Sinua
    4) Sinua to Himalaya – about ½ day, down at first to Bamboo, trough Dovan and then steadily up
    5 Himalaya to Deurali -- ½ day steadily up
    6) Deurali to MBC - -- ½ day steadily up
    7) MBC – ABC – Dovan - Full day, up early, breakfast at ABC then return downhill all the way to Dovan picking your pack up at MBC when passing
    8) Dovan to Chomrong -- ¾ day with one up and over and a pull up to Chomrong
    9) Chomrong to Ghandruk – ¾ days trekking, first steeply down then up a bit, then more or less contouring – You pass through the old Garung Village of Ghandruk and come to the better lodges about 10 minutes later.
    11) Only one hours walking downhill to the village of Chane where the road now ends – Negotiate a jeep to Pokhara (2013 this cost me 900NPR for myself and my guide) then 1 ¼ hours on a rough road to Naya Pul and a further hour on a better road back to Pokhara – In time for lunch !!
    Good Luck
    Rob

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    Which trek to do with ony 3 or 4 days available ??

    by into-thin-air Updated Sep 16, 2013

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    Helga and Rob on Poon Hill in 2004

    If you only have a Very Short time to go trekking in Nepal then without doubt the best short trek is The Poon Hill Trek, This can be done in 3 days Pokhara to Pokhara, However it is quite a strenuous trek going continuously uphill for two days, the second day being on a Lot of steps – If you can squeeze an extra day you would be better of by far doing a circular route to Poon Hill by
    1) Early Morning bus from Pokhara to Naya Pul and trek to Ghandruk (2013 update – You can now get a jeep / bus to Chane which is about an hours trekking below Ghandruk, so setting of from Pokhara around mid day is possible)
    2) Ghandruk to Tadapani
    3) Tadapani to Ghoropani
    4) Early rise, Poon Hill, Breakfast at Ghoropani and trek back to Naya Pul and an evening bus back to Pokhara

    However if you only have 3 days available then from Pokhara you would catch a bus to Naya Pul on day one and from there trek to Hile, Day 2 trek to Ghoropani, Day 3 This will be a long day, you would get up before the sun and do the short trek up to Poon Hill for the sunrise, then trek back down to Naya Pul (All downhill) and an evening bus back to Pokhara

    Happy and Safe Trekking
    Rob

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    Summery of Trekking Styles on Nepals popular treks

    by into-thin-air Updated Sep 15, 2013

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    Between Dhugla and Lobuje
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    Trekking EBC, ABC, AC, Langtang and Helambu are all “Teahouse Treks”, normally people tend to either do it entirely independently, Hire a Guide or Porter or join a group.
    I will try and go through each option giving pro’s and con’s so you can decide which option suits you best

    Teahouse trek
    This is the least expensive way to trek and you have the most flexibility as you plan your own stops, if you are tired you simply stay an extra night somewhere or stop trekking earlier than you had originally planned, also if you are feeling fit then you can continue further than planned – as long as this doesn’t infringe on the very important rule for AMS, once reaching 10,000 feet take one full day to acclimatise and then only gain 1,000 in altitude per day
    However with Teahouse trekking You have no support if things do go wrong

    Hire a Guide Porter/Guide or Porter
    If you don’t want to trek Entirely independently a much better solution is rather than joining an Organised Group to hire a Guide or Porter/Guide and maybe one porter between two trekkers (When I say Guide I mean a guide with a Government License – a Porter/Guide doesn’t usually hold one and is in effect a guide in training, his English might be a little limited but he will be keen, knowledgeable and he will carry a certain amount of your belongings and is cheaper than the government licensed guide, a porter is just that, no guiding experience, usually no English and just there to carry your belongings – 1 porter usually carries 2 trekkers belongings)
    By hiring your own staff, you are entirely in charge of your schedule, you can either walk quicker, slower, stop and start when you want, eat when you want and pick your own accommodation and can learn some more about Nepal, Culture, Language and facts about the areas you are trekking through as well as providing some much needed employment to a local person.

    To work out your prices you must factor in
    1) Your transportation costs
    2) Your staff transportation costs (Nepali nationals get a huge discount on flights)
    3)Staff fees
    a) The professional trekking guide with government license holder cost around US$.25.00 per day.
    b) Porters cost around US$18 per day
    c) The Porter/Guide cost around US$20.00 per day
    Above cost includes insurance, food, accommodation, salary.
    4) Your own food and accommodation costs – typically this will work out around $30 per person per day

    If you work out how many days you wish to trek for, add in your flights and other costs then this will give you a really Good idea of not only how much your trek will cost you, but exactly where you money is being spent !!

    Most agents now offer “Packaged” treks, these tend to cost about $65 per person per day and include either a Porter/Guide or a Government Licensed Guide and porter(s) for larger groups, all your food (3 meals per day with tea or coffee) and accommodation as well as your TIMS and National Park entrance fee, Sometimes road transport by local bus is also included but Not Flights, Fizzy drinks / Beer / Mineral water, Snacks and “Staff” tips
    Personally I wouldn’t go for one of these “Packaged” treks as I like to keep my own costs separate from that of “Staff” – This enables me to stay where I want and eat where, when and what I want.

    Join a group
    The Most expensive option and the one with the least flexibility, you Must keep up with the group or get left behind, Most times the money you spend isn’t spent in the areas that you are trekking through, you tend to stay in tents but are well looked after, the food tends to be better than you get in the teahouses but you are really paying for that privilege !!

    If you decide to go down this route then it is better to use a local company because at least by doing that the money stays in Nepal and it works out at a fraction of the price of paying for such a trek in your home country with no major reduction in service as Most of the international companies sub-contract the guiding and porters out to a local company in any case !!

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    Annapurna Circuit in 8 or 9 days ??

    by into-thin-air Updated Jul 1, 2013

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    Vintage AC - Helga in Tukshe

    Rather than starting AC at the more traditional Besisahar / Bhulbhule catch a jeep as far as you can up the Marsiange valley – This was Chame last I heard – From there it will take about 3 or 4 days to reach Manang – One night to acclimatise there (Although some say that if you spend a night in Upper Pisang that this isn’t totally necessary) – Then a night in Letdar, a night in Thorung Phidi, a night in Muktinath (Although I think Jharkot is a better option) and then your final night in Jomsom – So allow about 9 days to trek.
    You can then catch a flight from Jomsom – But if you don’t want to fly you can go by bus / jeep to Beni and catch a big bus from there to Pokhara, this can be done in 24 hours but an overnight in Beni offers a bit more comfort.

    Good Luck and Happy Trekking
    Rob

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    Two-day trek without the need of permits

    by into-thin-air Written Apr 26, 2013

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    Australian Camp.
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    For a two-day trek without the need of permits, take a bus or car from Pokhara to Kande and walk up to Australian Camp. Take lunch there, then onto Pothana, don’t go through the ACAP checkpoint, stay in a lodge before it. Then the next day walk down to Dhampus, take a lunch there then onto Phedi where you can catch a bus or car back to Pokhara
    Good Luck
    Rob

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    Guides

    by into-thin-air Updated Mar 28, 2013
    Genuine Licence of a government trained guide
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    These days there are many people selling their services as “Guides” in Nepal – But many of these so called guides aren’t what they claim to be.

    Real Guides are government registered and have to be fully trained before obtaining their licence – So before you hire a “Guide” check his credentials – Above is a photo of a Genuine Licence
    Good Luck
    Rob

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    Should I trek AC or ABC – The often asked question

    by into-thin-air Updated Feb 27, 2013

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    Traffic on the new jeep road below Jharkot
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    Both treks have there own merits so it is difficult to say that one is better than the other, the AC is a longer and harder trek, it usually takes around 18 days to complete and involves walking up one valley (Marsyangdi), over a high pass (Thorung La), down another valley (Kali Gandaki), then over a high ridge (Poon Hill), The advantages of the AC trek are that you walk through a lot more diverse terrain, You see the changing landscapes and cultures, from paddy fields at Besisahar, passing through different crop belts as you gain altitude, then into forest and finally you trek above the tree-line and cross the pass. The culture also changes as you gain altitude from Nepali to Tibetan. However the AC is Slowly changing as road building progress up the valley towards Manang and there are now jeep roads all the way down from Muktinath to Beni in the valley of the Kali Gandaki, But you can avoid most of these and keep to the old trekking routes so don’t let that worry you to much, Maybe the time to do the AC is now before the road building is completed though !!??
    Once you reach Manang you Must spend an extra night there to aid acclimatisation, otherwise you increase your risk of AMS. Then after Manang you should only gain 300m per day, so take 2 days to reach Thorung Phidi, Then it is a hard day crossing the pass to Muktinath !!
    After Muktinath you have an easy few days following the Kali Gandaki down as far as Tatopani before “The Sting in the Tail” and the hike up to Ghorepani (Poon Hill). It is a good idea to visit the Hot Springs at Tatopani in the morning as they are a lot less crowded and a lot cleaner then, then set off up towards Ghorepani after lunch and take a day and a half to get there – you will find this a lot more pleasant than trying to get up there in one day !!. From Ghorepani trek down to Birethanti and spend a last night there before the short trek (maybe one hour) to the road head at Nayapool and the bus ride back to Pokhara.

    ABC is a shorter trek, around 10 days setting off from Phidi, it is classed as an easier trek, but don’t be fooled into taking it lightly as it is still hard enough ;-) You start off by crossing a ridge from Phidi to Ladruk (Two days), cross the Modi Khola at New Bridge (No Bridge !!) and then follow the valley up to ABC – However the trek does involve a lot of ups and downs as the path takes in the villages of Chomrong and Sinuwa which are both high above the river, there is only one path after Chomrong so you have to return the same way but can divert after Chomrong and trek out via Tadopani and Ghorepani (Poon Hill) to extend your trek up to about 2 weeks. From Ghorepani you can either trek out as per the AC, or trek down to Tataopani in one day to take advantage of the hot springs, then either walk down to Beni or catch a jeep, From Beni you get a bus back to Pokhara.
    The ABC is a lower trek so less risk of AMS, but you still have to take care and only gain the statutory 300m per day after Himalaya Lodge.

    The views from Both treks are Awesome so not a lot to help you choose there.

    So it all depends on how much time you want to go trekking for and what your own personal tastes are.
    Whichever trek you choose, I am Sure that you will have an Excellent time – Just Enjoy

    Equipment: There is now a new NATT Guide out (Link on the bottom of this page)
    This helps you avoid the worst on the new jeep roads

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    Can I trek EBC in two weeks ?

    by into-thin-air Updated Nov 4, 2012

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    Approaching Gorak Shep
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    Yes, You can, Although it is Very Tight !!

    And Only If you fly into Lukla, Then you can do EBC in 2 weeks and still allow sufficient time for acclimatisation.

    Here is my suggested itinery

    1)Kathmandu to Lukla by flight then trek to Benkar (2800m)
    2) Benkar to Namche (3450m)
    3)Namche - Rest / Acclimatisation day
    4)Namche - Debouche (3700m)
    5) Debouche - Dingboche (3930m)
    6) Dingboche - Pherichi (4220)
    7) Pherichi - Dhugla (4600m)
    8) Dhugla – Lobuje (4950 m)
    9) Lobuje – Kala Patter(5545m) - Gorok Shep(5140m)
    10) Gorok Shep- EBC (5360m)- Lobuje (4930m)
    11 Lobuje - Pangboche (High level route turning left at Dhugla)
    12) Pangboche – Tengboche
    13) Tengboche - Namche Bazaar
    14) Namche Bazaar - Lukla
    15) Fly Kathmandu

    (If you wanted to cut this trek down by a day then you could choose between Kala Pattar (Best option for Great Views of Everest) and EBC it’s self) and therefore combine days 9 and 10 and therefore save one day)
    Also If you are Really tight on time and want to combine days 13 and 14 you can do this without affecting your safety but it does make it a very Long day - This way you can fit the trek into a 2 week timescale.

    Side Trek to Gokyo

    To do this side trip you could either cross Cho La (Guide recommended for this crossing) or do as I did which is instead of staying at Tengboche on day 11 trek to Phortse Tenga, Then
    Day 12 trek to Gyele
    Day 13 Gyele to Phang
    Day 14 Phang to Gokyo
    Day 15 Climb Gokyo Riand trek back to Luza
    Day 16 Luza to Namche Bazaar
    Day 17 Namche Bazaar to Lukla
    Day 18 Fly Kathmandu

    2012 update – Please note that the trail up the eastern side of the Gokyo Valley has recently been much improved, although I haven’t been up this way recently myself, two of my trek-mates trekked up to Gokyo last month (April) and told me that it is now much improved, in fact one of them said it was now in far better condition that the more traditional route on the western side.
    So this gives you a choice of routes and it now makes a lot more sense to stick to the eastern side of the Gokyo Valley when trekking from Gokyo to EBC (Or the reverse) and leave the trail on the western side for trekking between Namche and Gokyo (Or the reverse)

    Good Luck

    Rob

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    Suggested 8 day trek in Langtang

    by into-thin-air Written Oct 20, 2012

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    Looking down Langtang Valley from Langtang Gompa
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    This trekking schedule is for trekkers with a 10 day timeframe who want to trek in the Langtang Valley
    The 1st day will be your chosen transportation to Syabru Besi (Bus or 4x4)
    Day 2 – Trek to Lama Hotel (But if it were me I would stop at either Rimche, 10 minutes before or Riverside, about ½ an hour after
    Day 3 – Trek to Langtang, Explore the Gompa
    Day 4 – Trek to Kyangin Gompa
    Day 5 – Explore the Upper Valley and return to Kyangin Gompa
    Day 6 – Trek to Ghoratabela
    Day 7 – Trek to Sherpagon (High level Traverse – Turn right at Rimche)
    Day 8 – Trek to Syapru Besi
    Day 9 – Transport back to Kathmandu

    This leaves you one spare day – Always a good idea when trekking

    Good Luck and Happy Trekking
    Rob

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    Do I need separate TIMS / National Park Entrance

    by into-thin-air Written Sep 18, 2012

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    Yaks on EBC Trek

    Do I need separate TIMS / National Park Entrance when doing multi-treks

    Usually Yes, However if you are doing combined treks, Langtang and Helambu or Annapurna Circuit and Sanctuary then as long as you don’t leave the National park between treks then you only pay One Langtang National Park Entrance / One ANCAP and One TIMS
    If you are doing a long section of something like “The great Himalayan Trail” then you only need one TIMS, but obviously have to pay all the National Park Entrance fees for the parks you trek through

    However, If you are Trekking Everest Base Camp and a few days / weeks later Trekking in a completely different region, say Langtang or Annapurna Circuit then you need new TIMS / National Park Entrance for each trek.

    Good Luck and Happy Safe Trekking
    Rob

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    Trekking the Helambu Valley.

    by cachaseiro Written Sep 15, 2012
    Me in the Helambu Valley.
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    When i was in Nepal in may 2012, i went trekking in the Helambu Valley and did what they call the "helambu circuit"".
    This is one of the lower altitude treks in Nepal and during may when i was trekking there it was nice and warm all the way and i did the entire trek in shorts and T shirt.
    This is not a trek where you are up in snow caped mountains, but more of a cultural trek where you are mostly between 2000 and 3000 meters above sea level and you have many villages there and this is a trek where you have a good chance to view nepali village life.
    I was there a little late in the season and did not meet many other foreign trekkers (5-10 per day) so the valle was not overrun with tourists at all.

    I decided to do the trek alone without any travel companions, porters or guide.
    this is something you should think twice about before doing and i only decided to do so cause i have worked as a trekking guide myself in the past and is very used to mountains and because the Helambu Valley is one of the easier treks to do in Nepal.

    The trek itself is moderate in it's difficulty and there is no climbing you need to do.
    You must be relatively fit if you want to enjoy the trek and be ready to walk up and down steep slopes at least 5-6 hours per day.
    The altitude is quite moderate too and if you do the classical circuit then you shoud not come above 3600 meters so the risk of getting altitude problems are quite small.

    The Helambu Valley has the advantage too that it is quite easy to reach from Katmandu.
    It's only about an hour by bus from Kathmandu to Sundarijal where most people decide to start the trek and when you decide to end the trek then you have a few towns in the valley where a couple of mini busses per day go back to Kathmandu, if you do not want to do the entire circuit.
    If you do the entire circuit then you should count on spending 8 to 10 days doing it, all depending on your level of fitness.

    Equipment: A pair of good hiking boots is the biggest must when trekking in Nepal and even if it's warm most of the year in the Helambu valley, then you will most likely be spending at least one night over 3000 meters of altitude and that can be very cold at night, so you should bring a good jacket.
    Most lodges will have plenty of blankets you can borrow though if you are cold when you go to sleep.
    And some sunscreen lotion is very advisable too as the mountain sun is stronger than at sealevel and you can get severly sunburned, especially in your face and remember that the small local shops have a very limited number of things to sell, so things that the local nepalis do not use themselves can often be quite expensive.

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