About Remote Area Treks
Many deservedly popular trekking routes have facilities for trekkers, small lodges called teahouses because of their much humbler origins. Teahouse lodges have basic accommodations and serve meals: You can trek with just a guide and porter.
That's exactly what most trekkers want. But those looking for something extraordinary can get off the major trails and explore some of Nepal untouched by trekkers (and largely untouched by the modern world). This is the real Nepal. Come.
Caveat: Because these routes require a tented camp, a Sherpa crew and a staff of porters, they are expensive for two people and very expensive for the solo trekker. The best way to trek the remote area is with a few friends - two or three couples make a great group.
In the Annapurna region, there's a route as short as five days: Siklis and Rambrong Danda - 5 or 10 days. But most remote area treks take two to three weeks. Mustang - 12 to 14 days can be done as a tented trek, gaining more options to vary the route and stay away from the new road. And Nar and Phu - 16 Days is just as great a cultural experience, done as a loop off the Annapurna Circuit trail.
West of Annapurna is the amazing Dhaulagiri Circuit - 14 to 16 days, a very difficult and strenuous trek, not for the faint-hearted or for first-timers.
And in the far east, Kanchenjunga, the third tallest mountain and spectacularly beautiful, has options from 18 days to a month.
But these are just samples. One of the best parts of our job is working with prospective guests to make an itinerary to fit their time and interests.
What a Day on a Tented Trek is LikeA knock comes on your tent pole: "Good morning Sir, good morning Madam. Bed Tea!" And with that one of your camp Sherpas sets up your tea while you rub your eyes. Drink the tea and poke your head out of your tent. We use modern, oversized dome tents so you and your tentmate will have plenty of room. Head for the toilet tent, and then to the big dining tent for a great spread at breakfast.
The food on a tented trek is excellent, and our cooks take pride in producing an amazing variety from their kitchen. We carry light folding camp tables and chairs along - it's really very comfortable! You get a big basin of hot water for washup, and the Sherpas disassemble the camp amazingly quickly. Everything is loaded onto pack animals and/or taken up by porters. It makes for quite a sight, with more than a dozen porters, the kitchen crew, your Sherpas and Guide all loaded up! And you're off!
The kitchen crew leaves early to get lunch started before you arrive at the mid day stop. Usually the porters get underway before you too, so the evening camp will be ready. You and your Guide generally walk together, and he will explain the countryside, the people and their villages, and answer your questions. Some of the Sherpas will also walk along with you, so a larger group doesn't have to stay together.
What you see and the terrain through which you pass will vary a lot. All our routes combine spectacular countryside, breathtaking mountains, and a chance to meet the local people and see how they live.
The morning walk is three to four hours long. In some parts of the country the trails are difficult; but they are mostly good. There is a lot of local traffic everywhere except in the high Himalaya, so these trails are the roads and the lifeblood of the Nepalese. Where the trail is steep you will often find stone steps to help.
Trekking in Nepal consists of a lot of up and down, and you are at higher altitude on average than when hiking elsewhere in the world. Otherwise, the physical demands are similar. And since, by Himalayan custom, your heavy gear is carried by a porter, you need carry only a daypack with your camera, water bottle, wallet, and a jacket.
(Feeling a bit odd about having someone carry your things? Please don't. Portering is a hard job but an honest one. We pay well for good porters, and you are helping them support their families by giving them work.)
Lunch is another feast - different every day, but always hot and cold food and plenty of choice. Fresh fruit where available. Here and at every stop we'll refresh your water bottle with boiled and filtered water. Some people treat it further with iodine or a Steripen device, but that's not necessary - we're very careful with the water.
Because every trip with us is a custom trip, you get a lot of say in all the meals. That's just one of the advantages of skipping the big group treks!
Some people like to rest after lunch, and others like to get going right away. We're flexible. The afternoon walk is often shorter than the morning, particularly if the evening camp is especially interesting. There's always time to stop for a break or a pot of tea, or to look around in a village, or to climb a ridge.
If you find you want to go further than your itinerary states, or if you think we've made the days a bit long, just talk to your guide, and he'll adjust the next day's itinerary. That flexibility is another benefit of custom arrangements.
When you arrive at the evening camp, your tents will usually be ready for you. Settle in, and explore the area or just relax. You can hang out in your tent or gather in the dining tent. Many people bring books or cards and other games, and the crew will be happy to teach you Nepalese games too. After dinner relax in the good company and that wonderful, peaceful frame of mind that trekking brings. You're ready for your tent and foam mattress, and a good night's sleep.