WHEN TO GO TO NEPAL
These are typical weather and trekking conditions you may encounter month by month but remember that every year is different. Conditions vary from one trekking region to another and mountains make their own weather - even in traditionally dry months it can rain.
JUNE, JULY & AUGUST: The monsoon is in full swing and these months are not good for trekking, except in Dolpo, Mustang and Tibet, which are in the rain shadow of the Himalayas.
MID – LATE SEPTEMBER: A fair amount of cloud and rainfall still around. Lush vegetation and wildflowers, hot temperatures at low altitudes and a few leeches presents, but pleasant trekking higher up.
OCTOBER & NOVEMBER: Clear skies and good visibility; still warm at lower altitudes but nights could fall to –15C above 4000m. November is cooler than October.
DECEMBER: Great temperatures for trekking below 2500m but can get very cold at night at higher altitudes, with temperatures down to-20 C or colder. With proper clothing, trekking can be very rewarding because of the excellent visibility. Light snowfalls a possibility.
JANUARY: Conditions similar to December, but often colder.
FEBRUARY: Still excellent visibility but starting to warm up during the day, especially later in the month. Good trekking at lower altitudes but still cold at night higher up.
MARCH: Still good visibility and getting warmer at low altitudes Wild flowers and rhododendrons start to bloom and a good month for birds.
APRIL: Rhododendrons in full bloom, alpine flora at higher altitudes and plenty of bird life, hot trekking at lower altitudes but ideal temperatures higher up. More cloud and haze around in the pre-monsoon build up, especially in the afternoons.
MAY: Very hot at lower altitudes but excellent trekking higher up. Abundant flora, especially alpines; mornings often still clear but cloud and haze around and possibly some pre-monsoon showers.
EQUIPMENT & CLOTHING:
Equipment needed depends largely upon where, when and how one is trekking. The main emphasis while trekking is on keeping warm and dry while still being lightweight. For lower altitude, fleece jackets and pants are adequate, while at higher altitudes down jackets are advisable. Waterproof, wind-proof jackets and pants, well broken-in footwear, head covering are also recommended. Good sleeping bags, sunglasses, drinking water bottle, torchlight, sun block cream, toiletries, first aid kit and a very good route map are other items necessary. Cameras, on the other hand, are handy for taking home memories.
Trekking equipments are available for hiring in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Namche Bazaar.
HEALTH & MEDICINE:
Medication shops are few on trekking routes. Therefore, it is best to carry first aid kit and read about the possible problems before hand. On the Everest Base Camp route at Pheriche and on the Annapurna Circuit route at Manang, there are clinics operated by the Himalayan Rescue Association that specializes in treating trekker’s heath problems. These clinics are open only during the main trekking seasons. While on treks, the following problems could occur:
- Upset stomach, often caused by change in diet or contaminated food and water in a common ailment. To avoid it, one should pay particular attention to hygiene and quality of food and drinks.
- Cough, cold, sore throats, common in the dry mountain air can lead to chest infection. Sore throats can best be avoided by attempting not to breathe cold air directly through mouth. Smoking should also be avoided.
- Joint muscle strains, food problems and blisters are other hindrances for trekkers. Wearing good footwear will go a long way in avoiding these problems. For sprains and strains, apply cold water to reduce swelling and support the joint with crepe bandage.
- Acute Mountain sickness (AMS) is a fatal sickness caused by random altitude ascension. Therefore, climbers ascending 3,000 meters or above should acquire sound knowledge of proper acclimatization processes. Symptoms of AMS include headache, loss of appetite, swelling of limbs, dizziness, difficulty in sleeping, irregular breathing, nausea and unusual weariness. Maintaining good fluid intake helps combat altitude sickness and hurried descent or evacuation to lower altitude in the only best cure.
SAFETY & SECURITY:
Nepal is a safe country to trek provided the basis rules are observed. When with trekking agency most contingencies are handled by agency staff. However, one could get lost or hurt and have no one to ask for help when trekking alone. Therefore, trekkers should either trek with agencies, or hire reliable guides if trekking in smaller groups. The best way to avoid risk while trekking is through thorough planning, playing by the rules and realizing human limitations. In case of misfortune, a short detailed message should be dispatched to a reliable organization or individual immediately for rescue operation. If communication facilities are unavailable, normal first aid principles should be followed till help arrives. Some of the safety rules to abide by are:
- Do not trek alone.
- Do not make a display of wealth.
- Keep belongings secure and within sight.
- Make arrangements for handling emergency situations before hand.
- Register personal information and trekking plan details with respective embassies.
- Buy travel insurance policy that cover helicopter rescue cost. Leave a copy of details with an agency in Kathmandu.
- Choose only authorized government registered travel and trekking agencies, guides and porters.