Himalayan Trekking FAQ

For more travel details about JOURNEYS worldwide nature and culture explorations see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below. For additional questions regarding travel to Africa, South America, Australia, Asia and the Middle East, call 1-800-255-8735.

JOURNEYS Himalayan Trekking FAQ

Frequently asked questions about Himalayan trekking


What's special about trekking in Nepal, Bhutan and Ladakh?

Unless you have been in the Himalayas it is difficult to comprehend the wonders they hold and the challenges they pose. After more than 30 years of trekking experience including living in Nepal, leading treks through the Himalayas and working with guides and leaders throughout India, Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet we can say, assuredly, the Himalayas hold special experiences for every traveler.

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What are the advantages of trekking?

To feel the rhythms of Himalayan life and get close to the high peaks, take a trek. In our view trekking involves extended hikes into roadless areas accompanied by a support staff of guides and assistants. Sometimes you may also have porters or pack animals. Often you will have your own cook. You will always have a local guide who is fluent in English and local languages and who knows not only the route, but the local merchants, farmers and villagers along the way.

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Do I need to trek to enjoy the Himalayas?

Many areas are accessible by air and surface vehicles. You can view the mountains from road accessed lodges and by air. Many wonderful aspects of Himalayan cultures will come to you if you visit the cities, temples and markets, but to have a deeper understanding of traditional cultures and the rhythms of village life you need to trek. Trekking is as much about adjusting your own attitudes and behaviors to a simpler life as it is about observing the lives of others. If you are fit enough and have the time to do so, you should trek really to enjoy the wonders of the Himalayas.

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How fit to I need to be to trek?

The more fit you are, the more ambitious you can be in your planning. Any traveler of modest fitness can succeed and enjoy exploring villages, visiting the tiger-rich jungles of the lowlands or savoring views of the highest peaks. Exploring Kathmandu and Pokhara, Nepal or Paro and Thimphu, Bhutan does not involve traveling to high altitude or hiking. Good hotel accommodations, capable guides and 4x4 vehicle-based itineraries permit extensive exploration flavored with unique cultural experiences and a real sense of exotic environments. Even if you can't trek, plan a Himalayan trip. Trekking does not require extraordinary fitness. If you exercise regularly, maintain a healthful weight and do not suffer from heart, respiratory, leg or back problems you will probably enjoy the physical routines of trekking. You will certainly enjoy the excellent meals your cook prepares, the cultural access your guide facilitates and the close views of high peaks, remote communities and deep valleys.

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What is the best time of year to trek?

You can find good places to trek somewhere in the Himalayas at anytime of year. The western Himalayas of Ladakh are ideal from June through September. Nepal has the clearest weather from October to May. December and January are cold at higher elevations. The summer months are mild, but some areas receive monsoon rains from July to September. Bhutan is also cold in winter, but receives less rain in summer than Nepal.

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Where do I spend the nights? If I'm camping, what can I expect?

You may stay in local homes and lodges or in spacious, 4-person tents carried by your staff. Your personal gear will be carried by porters or pack animals. Your task is just to enjoy yourself. All camp chores are handled by your trekking crew. There is some latitude as to how much or little support we provide, but a usual rule of thumb is 2-3 trekking staff per trekker depending on the destination and length of trip. We do not encourage backpacking without a guide.

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How far do I trek each day?

You will typically walk 4-9 miles (5-8 hours) each day. Some days may be rest days for impromptu exploration. In high and steep areas, you may move more slowly. Most people begin to feel the effects of high altitude over about 6,000' and your trekking pace is always adjusted to permit safe acclimatization. JOURNEYS treks follow established trails used by local people. You will probably carry only a light day pack.

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How safe is trekking?

Probably safer than any kind of vehicle travel or travel in urban areas. You are getting away from the dangers of modern society and entering a world where people watch out for each other and maintain a vigilance for the well-being of their neighbors. Your cook will oversee careful, healthful food preparation. Your guide will be asking continuously about the trail ahead and the health of all the trek participants. Our treks do not follow trails or pass through areas which are dangerous. You will seldom, if ever, have to wade streams or navigate difficult foot paths.

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How flexible is the trekking day?

You can hike at your own pace, stopping when you wish. There is ample time to cover the necessary hiking distance each day with lots of stops. If you are on a private trek, you may wish to take more or fewer days to cover a given distance, or add in rest days. If you like to hike fast, your guide will be concerned that you acclimatize to high altitude effectively. You may wish to reach camp at a measured pace, but take a side hike after camp arrival. Your guide is always interested to learn about your personal interests and to accommodate those interests as the trip permits.

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What will I eat on the trek?

You will have three meals each day plus snacks. Breakfast usually includes a choice of toast, eggs, hot cereal and hot beverages. Lunch may be prepared hot or served as a picnic always with a choice of beverages. Dinner is a major meal with 4-5 main courses usually including salad and/or soup, several vegetable dishes and a meat dish. There will be a fruit desert and hot beverages. We gladly cater for vegetarians. We combine elements of Western and Asian cuisine.

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Can I arrange a private trek?

Easily. Call us and discuss your interest and dates you can travel. We will help you plan your perfect trekking experience.

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Why trek in the Himalayas with JOURNEYS?

Regardless of where, when or how you travel, the most important consideration is with whom you travel. JOURNEYS has been offering Himalayan explorations for all types of people and interests since 1978. Our guides and staff are knowledgeable, dependable, well-trained and skilled in the art of keeping you healthy, happy and involved in the travel experience of a life time.

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