Trekking in the Himalayas can be the experience of a lifetime. If you feel that it’s time to get away from everything you know for a couple of weeks, there’s nothing like the remote Himalayas! For many experienced trekkers and hikers, the Himalayas stand as the ultimate trekking destination.
Before you hit the trekking trail there are a few practicalities that you need to sort out first. Among other things, you need to
o Study the trekking route and itinerary
o Obtain tickets and permits if necessary
o Arrange the logistics of food, gear, porters etc
Arranging all the details yourself can be interesting, if you like that kind of thing, but also daunting and time-consuming.
If you don’t have much time to spare, if you are not interested in planning, arranging and organizing the details of a trek, or if you just have no idea where to start with it all, chances are that you would be better off hiring a trekking agency to take care of the details.
A trekking / travel agency can arrange either a tailored solution for you, or sometimes book you in on a pre-scheduled group tour. Either way, you avoid taking care of all the little details. You can concentrate on the actual trekking.
A trekking agency will generally provide you with a guide and perhaps also porters on your trip, depending on your requirements and budget. In certain parts of the Himalayas, trekking agencies are actually required to guide you around. This is true for trekking in Bhutan and in restricted areas of Nepal.
On a camping trek, it is normal that the trekking company provide the complete food and lodging logistics, while on a lodge-to-lodge trek (a ‘tea-house trek’), the job of the guide is more in the way of giving directions, providing local information and acting as a liaison officer with local population. In case of sickness, accidents and other emergencies, it is also normally expected that the guide will make all the necessary arrangements.
You can usually find a reputable trekking agency in one of the local country capitals or in major towns close to the trekking trail heads. And of course online. But it is always good to try and meet someone from the agency face-to-face, as you need to be able to trust them and have some mutual understanding – literally, do you speak the same language? – symbolically, does your personalities match? That kind of thing. You can also try asking other trekkers / travelers on location about their experiences and recommendations.
Using an international tour operator / travel agent is another way to go. Many big travel companies have partnerships with local travel agents, so they know who to trust.
Trekking the Himalayas is something everyone deserves to try at least once in their lifetime. To see the highest mountains of the world, to meet the people who live there and to experience their way of life. A trek in the Himalayas is more than just a holiday. It is an experience that can re-vitalize you and give you new inspiration in your life!