Trekking through the Himalayas is one of those bucket list trips, right? Up there with seeing the Northern Lights, visiting the Galapagos Islands and walking the Great Wall of China?
Well it can be. If you’re prepared, that is.
And if you’re not? Hmm.
As I discovered on a recent four-day trek in Nepal to Poon Hill (oh come on, don’t be so childish) through the Annapurna region, being unprepared can make things a little more… trying. Here are five things I probably should have considered, as should you, before strapping on the crampons in Nepal.
1. Have I trained enough?
And by enough, I mean at all. Sure, Poon Hill ain’t Everest, and you probably ain’t no Sir Edmund Hillary. But doing some form of exercise each day for a couple of weeks before you head off will help. Drinking excessively each day for a couple of weeks before you head off won’t.
I learnt this the hard way when, as I huffed and puffed along the trail on day two, I was overtaken by three Chinese women and their 90-year-old grandmother… and then by a dude with his eight-year-old son.
SAVE THE PAIN AND TRAIN*
*That’s OG TWN talk right there. Nike, we’ve trademarked it…
So there was this ridiculous girl on the trek I did who decided that necklaces made from Nepalese rupees, psychedelic woven belts and bindis were all necessary accoutrements for the hike. “I would rather fall off the mountain than wear North Face!” I heard her announce with gusto at one point.
Well let me tell you something: after this lass climbed the 3,000 steps to get to the teahouse in Ghorepani hillside village that first day, she was just about ready to murder someone for their hiking poles. She would have done bad, bad things to swap her tie-dyed t-shirt for some North Face breathable fabric.
And yet she didn’t, because the jewels and bindis just looked so friggin’ fabulous on Instagram.
Now this seems like a ridiculous question to ask yourself. I mean, who in their right mind would assume there’d be ATMs in remote hillside villages? And yet, that girl with the preposterous hiking outfits assumed just this. So when on day three of the hike she and her travelling companion realized their wallets were bare, they had to ask their poor Nepalese guide for a loan. Shameful doesn’t even come close.
And so, even though rooms at local teahouses are $4 a night and meals are about $2, take cash and LOTS OF IT. Especially if you’re prone to a spot of woven blanket and Buddhist trinket shopping along the way.
4. Do I want to make friends?
Because if you don’t, you need to stay quiet. As a mouse. Otherwise you might just find yourself stuck in a two-hour conversation about how Krishna will be your saviour…
Let’s just say there are lots of people trying to “find themselves” in this part of the world. There are also lots of people just trying to enjoy a beautiful trek and a few coldies. If you’re one of them, then SHHH.
5. Do I want champagne and caviar?
If so you’d better BYO, because it’s Maggi noodles*, momos and beer in them there hills. The teahouses you’ll be staying at are the kind of establishments where travellers’ old bed sheets may serve as curtains… So yeah, don’t expect any cordon bleu action.
At the very least, you should consider a Mini Moët for the sunrise trek to Poon Hill, the pinnacle of the hike that ascends to 3,210 metres. Surrounded by the snow-capped Annapurna range, with that delicious orange orb popping up in front of you, you’ll want to cheers to life being fabulous and beer just won’t cut it.
*The Maggi’s are damn addictive, so it’s lucky you’ll be hiking for about six sweaty hours a day to work them off.
I paid for my own adventure, but if you want to book this trek you can do it HERE
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON CITIZENS OF THE WORLD HERE
READ ABOUT TOURING THROUGH CHINA’S GUILIN AND YANGSHUO PROVINCES HERE