Over the years I learnt often through my own hard experiences, the importance of safely trekking in Nepal as any instance can quickly turn into a life and death situation in remote regions.
Here are my safety tips while trekking in the Himalayas in Nepal:
- Many trails in Nepal have mules /donkeys as main transport vehicles. If you see mules/donkeys coming towards you,make sure you always give side on the safe end. Don’t ever stand on the edge of a cliff to let them pass. Mules/ donkeys will not hesitate to push you off the edge as they usually take the safest side in the trail!
- Use walking sticks (2 if possible). it helps ease your balance and in some tricky situations like crossing streams or on broken paths.Roads usually go from good to worse within a day of change in weather. Sticks are special help to your legs. You can find a pair at an affordable price in Thamel, Kathmandu.
- Ask fellow traveller who are coming from opposite directions on the status of the trails and where there could be potential difficulty in passing through.
- If you are alone or with only one companion, always tag along groups. This helps you when you chance upon a difficult situation when even small landslides, streams on paths cause you to walk carefully (often with the group’s guidance). Don’t hesitate to use your hands on difficult places. They are most handy. Don’t forget them:)
- Make sure your shoes are in good condition (carrying a super glue helps to glue in soles that might come off in these grueling walks). Water proof /resistant shoes are a good investment.
- In suspension bridges (you will run across plenty), don’t walk looking down deep into the gorge. It’s usually dizzying. Look straight ahead. if there are mules/donkeys crossing the bridge from the other direction, stop right there and go back! Let the mules/donkeys pass entirely before you step on to that bridge ! I told you so!
- Be extra careful walking downhill than uphill specially in cliffs. Slower is better. Sticks help a lot here. If you want to watch the scenery, stop and watch. I would warn you over watching the beautiful scenery around you while walking on a cliff trail.
- Watch your head! (when you are going to toilets, homestays, kitchens, gumbas as many of the traditional doors were built for people less than 6 feet (1.8 meters tall).
- If you are worried about the weather affecting your travel, I recommend you to carry a satellite phone as there are no reliable warning systems in many villages up behind the mountains. A solar charger is best as there is plenty of “strong” sunshine during the day. Most villages don’t get electricity during the day (in Manaslu region) and are unreliable then too.
- Always leave a day or two extra when you are trekking for more than a week or two. Most accidents happen because we are strapped for time and want to rush the trek which is dangerous in remote, high altitude regions.
Nepal is a heaven when it comes to traveling through pristine beauty of nature and soul warming beauty of the locals you meet on the way.
My warm wishes for your soul cleansing journey safely in the wonders of Nepal!
Travel Safely !
(If you have your travel tips, let me know. I will add them here).
Meanwhile you can also read some of my trekking diaries here.