As we gear up and start planning for our Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal in October of this year, here are ten things that we came up with that can possibly help you (or even save your life).
1) The locals have been interacting with tourists for many decades so you do not need to worry about language. You should be able to get around as long as you communicate in plain & simple english keep slangs out of the conversations
2) Dal/Bhat/Tarkari is the national food of Nepal and is probably the best thing you’d want to eat during trekking. It provides you good balance of carbohydrates, proteins and minerals that would be helpful for extra energy that you’ll require during the treks. Avoid Meat at all cost! It may not be worth it if you catch a bug because of poorly handled meat during cooking.
3) Water in the kathmandu area is scarce so be careful on which brand of bottled water you buy. Also please know that 1/4th of bottled water is actually contaminated there. Please do some good research on a reputable brand and stick with it. In the villages you should be fine as long as you have water purifying tablets or a reliable water filtration device like katadyn.
4) There is no simple way to get rid of the tons of people in the streets of kathmandu to try to sell you everything from “yak bone items” to fossil rocks to “khukuri” to 1000s of different variety of beads. You can try “No English” and “bholi sabai kinchu, ahile hattar cha” (I’ll buy everything tomorrow, I am busy today) but most of the times you may just have to experience this It is part of the adventure in standing out as a tourist in the kathmandu crowd.
5) Respect the signs posted in the temples. Some of the temples only allows “Hindus” to go inside the sacred areas or “core” of the temples. For example “PasupatiNath” temple in the banks of Bagmati river is one such temple that has such strict rules. We cannot argue who, why and when this rule is made as it has been there for 1000s of years. I guess in “Rome do as the Romans do” and visit other places which allows everyone and welcomes with open arms Luckily there are 99% temples that have no such restrictions there.
6) In kathmandu, Dust, noise, lots of people (i mean lots and lots of people), horns, stares, street vendors, traffic jams is what makes it a very lively city. Please have patience and just go with the flow. You’ll get where you want to go, just little slower and just seems a lot hectic if you are not used to seeing the “third world” way of compact city life. There is going to be more people per square mile than there is going to be in some cities in the first world countries.
7) I don’t think it is a good idea to drive anything or ride anything in the city of kathmandu, if you are in the villages you can find a mountain bike guide and go for some nice single tracks.
8) Travel with groups as much as you can and find a reliable local guide. You can reply to this thread if you are planning to go there soon and are looking for a travel company there. We have few recommendations.
9) Obey the signs and rules in the trekking route and pay all the respective fees required to travel to certain areas. If you hire a good local guide or a travel agency for your trip, they will take care of everything for you. Again shoot us a reply and we can help you out there.
10) AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) can kill you. Some of the severe complications of AMS are Cerebral Edema (Water in the brain) and Pulmonary Edema (Water in the lungs). Please take enough time to acclimatize on recommended places. It is not a tourist scam to have you spend extra day in the designated village. It has very good reasons. Some of the first AMS symptoms are severe headache, nausea, vomiting and “not walking straight”. Your only option during the 1st stages is to get to lower altitude ASAP to avoid going to further stages and requiring an airlift which could both be costly, time-consuming and sometimes impossible due to very unpredictable weather patterns in the himalays.