Trekking in Nepal is one of the most adventurous activities you can undertake. Nepal is a country with some of the tallest mountains in the world. Its cultural beauty also adds to your trekking experience. But in order to have the best possible experience, you need to hire a guide while trekking in Nepal.
There are plenty of awesome trekking destinations in Nepal. Annapurna Base Camp trek, Everest Base Camp, and Ghorepani Poon Hill trek need no introduction to anyone. These are three of the most legendary treks in Nepal.
In addition, there are other plenty of trekking destinations in this sumptuous country. Many more destinations are opening up for people to trek in.
However, regardless of which place in Nepal, you go for your trekking expedition, it is important that you hire a guide. Guides add richness to your trekking experience in a variety of ways.
Let us take a look at the various ways guides help to enrich your trek.
1. Navigating Your Route Better
If you have trekked in a particular destination for a couple of times, you might not really want to hire a guide in order to complete the trek there. However, if you are planning to trek in a particular region for the first time, it might be really difficult to find the correct path as soon as there is a diversion.
Besides, if you are trekking in a region for the first time, you might not really know how good or bad are the trekking trails are. You need to prepare mentally for a particular type of terrain.
A guide is your guarantee that you will get plenty of information about how the trail of a particular path is. You won’t have to worry about any diversions that might lead you to undesired destinations.
While trekking, you might also venture in trails that have not yet been trodden. Such trails might be dangerous as well. Guides help you to not stray from your trekking trails.
Besides, some trekking trails are closed in some seasons. For instance, some paths of Everest Base Camp trek are closed while trekking in the winter season due to possibilities of heavy snow. Guides have all the information regarding that matter.
During snowy seasons, even the locals can’t really have a good estimate of the trekking trails as many trails are often deluged with snow. As guides walk trekking trails almost all year round, you will be pretty safe in their company.
In a similar token, in the monsoon season, some trekking trails might just be too slippery to take. In such circumstances, you need to take an alternative route. Guides will help you with that as well.
All in all, navigating a place is a whole lot better and safer with a guide.
2. Managing Your Itineraries Better
If you have not trekked in a particular location before, you might not have a good understanding of how well you will actually fare in terms of the distance you cover. A guide will also help to adjust your itineraries by judging your trekking speed.
Some days the trekking trails might be flat while on other days, you might have to trek in steep uphills. The guides will help you assess how well your body reacts to trekking uphill. Thus, (s)he might also help you to adjust your itineraries better if you need to adjust your plans.
If you have not had an ample amount of preparation, you might also need to spend the number of days than usual for the purpose of acclimatizing. For instance, while trekking to very high altitude regions like Everest Base Camp or Kanchenjunga Base Camp, your body might require the number of acclimatizing days or hours.
In addition, you might also need to abandon a trekking day if there is unforeseen weather or if your body breaks down with exhaustion or other reason. In those cases as well, the guides will lead you to the nearest lodges or teahouses. This ensures that you don’t get troubled due to such unforeseen circumstances.
So if you require to adjust your itinerary, guides will be there to help you in a variety of ways.
3. Easy Booking
Nepal’s trekking destinations are getting more and more popular. This is due to the fact that the tourism industry is growing at a rapid pace. The trekking trails are getting better and a whole lot safer than in the past. As a result, more lodges are opening up. And these lodges are jam-packed in trekking seasons.
You might not be able to find rooms of your choice if you are trekking alone in peak trekking seasons. You might be forced to share a common room with other trekkers if you don’t have appropriate reservations.
In such a circumstance, guides will be helpful. A guide is generally born and brought up in a particular destination where he is leading you to trek. (S)he also has plenty of guiding experience in that particular location.
So guides have very good contact with lodge and hotel owners. This helps you be safe about the place that you are going to lodge in. Besides, they often have contact with a variety of lodge, tea houses as well as luxury hotel owners.
So you can tell your guide about what kind of accommodation you are looking for. (S)he will help you to get booked in the places you are most comfortable with.
Guides also have a very good idea about which lodges serve the food you are most comfortable with. For instance, some lodges might be really limited in the variety of food they serve. You might want to stay in lodges that serve a variety of food that include Continental and American food.
You might also want to be sure what kind of toilets you are looking for. Some lodges only have squat toilets while others have a western touch to it. You can tell your guide what kind of restrooms you are most comfortable with and as him/her to arrange your lodging accordingly.
4. Arranging Porter’s easy
After having a hearty chat with your guide, you might also want to let him know how physically fit you are. Once (s)he has had a good look at your physical fitness, (s)he will help to assess how many porters you might need in order to complete your trek.
If you have a large group, you might have need number of porters. A guide can assess how much cumulative weight of the backpack of your group. That will help him get a good idea about the number of porters needed.
So you won’t have to worry about the determining which or how many porters you will need.
If the porter you hire is not trustworthy, (s)he might also run away with your backpack. But if you hire a porter with the help of a guide, you can be assured that the porter is trustworthy as well. So you won’t have to constantly worry about whether the porter is a genuine person or not.
5. Break the Language Barrier
When you are trekking in mountainous regions, most people who live there have poor economic standards. In such places, there are probably no schools or colleges. So the people who live in those regions might not understand even the simplest of English words.
The lodge owners or restaurant owners might not be able to speak words besides Thank You or Welcome. So you might have plenty of problems while dealing with them about your needs.
You might want to have your food cooked a certain way or might need to communicate with the lodge owners about your other necessities.
If you are a solo trekker, you might also have a lot of problems communicating with people there even for the simplest of reasons like for asking directions or otherwise.
In this way, if you are not versed with the Nepalese language well, you might bump into some problems.
A guide will help you break down whatever communication barrier you have by translating your thoughts into the Nepalese language for the local people.
In addition, some guides also have some degree of command over European languages. Some students of the Travel and Tourism in Nepal also study some European languages like French, Italian, or Spanish these days
So if your guides are students who have a basic understanding of such languages, it will be really easy for you even if you have trouble speaking English language.
But you need to confirm the language abilities of your guides with the travel agency with which you have booked your guide.
6. Cultural Experience
The cultural experience is something without which your trek will be utterly incomplete. Once you get in touch with the historical or religious significance of the place you are going to, it adds a lot of value to your trek.
For instance, while trekking to Everest Base Camp, you will be going to Tengboche Monastery. You need to learn the cultural and historical significance of the Tengboche Monastery. If there are any legends associated with the place, it adds to the mystique of the place even more.
Similarly, you might also want to interact with the priests or monks of Muktinath temple while you are in the Annapurna Circuit Trek. A guide will help you do that as well as (s)he can help you have conversations with the people you want to talk to.
There might also be local shrines and ponds that have a great cultural value. You might never get to know about them if you don’t have a guide who actively interacts with you and gives you a feel of the place.
So trekking in Nepal with a guide helps develop a stronger bond with the place and people you see and meet.
7. Benefit the Local Economy
Ordinary Nepalese might have a tough time hiring a guide as the earnings and savings of an ordinary Nepali is not high enough to hire a guide. Plus the Nepalese currency is really weak. So many internal tourists might not hire a guide.
But many international tourists come from places whose economies are really strong. This makes it easier for them to hire a guide.
Hiring a guide also has an added benefit of adding to the local economy of the place you have trekked to.
Many of the guides or guide cum porter you hire are people who have practically lived their lives in the place you have trekked in. You will realize how difficult lives there are and you might want to make a positive difference to the economy of those places.
Many people in remote parts, including the trekking destinations, often apply to countries like Dubai, Malaysia, or other countries in the Middle East or the Persian Gulf. They work as manual laborers there. There lives as manual laborers are incredibly tough. It also leads to estrangement from family members as communication from those countries is extremely difficult.
So if you pour some money in these trekking destinations, you will add positively to the economy of the place. You will also directly aid these families by bringing their families closer together.
8. Boosting Your Confidence
There are times while trekking when you feel that carrying on is next to impossible. I have seen many trekkers almost give up on the treks because the uphill was too difficult to scale. Their guides were the ones who encouraged them to complete these treks with ease.
Trekking can be long and arduous. Despite having plenty of physical strength, you might sometimes be down on your mental strength.
Your guide will never let you be down. (S)he will constantly throw out positive vibes so that you continually make progress throughout your trek.
In addition, you might also feel that some trails are too difficult to complete due to great slopes. Your guide will give you plenty of physical as well as mental support you will need during the trek.
9. Develop Great Friendships
Finally, if you are a solo trekker or otherwise, you might want to have great conversations as sometimes trekking can be boring if you have walked 8 hours or more.
Guides are good at having conversations. They might have guided people from different corners of the world. So they will have plenty of stories to share with you.
Besides, guides also have a wealth of stories about their lives as they have lived in places that are shielded from urbanization of urban towns and big cities.
With all the beautiful conversation you have while trekking, the chances of making friendships that last for a lifetime are quite high.
Tips for Hiring a Guide in Nepal
If you are not sure which trekking agency to hire a guide from, you can take a look at the reviews on TripAdvisor. That will help you know the standing of the trekking agency and the guides they provide.
Ask a Friend
If a friend of yours has visited Nepal before, you might heed out for some advice with him/her.
Check for the Registration
If you are hiring a guide via a trekking agency, make sure that you check whether the agency is registered. You should also ask for the registration of the guide.
Have a Chat with the Guide beforehand
Trekking agencies have tons of guides you can choose from. So you can just have a friendly chat with them to see if you are comfortable with the language skills of the guide or his overall demeanor.
Look for Experience
Experience Counts!! You can ask the trekking agency or the guide how long (s)he has been a guide for. This will give you a lot of comforts to travel with the person as (s)he will know the nooks and crannies of the place you will visit.
To compound the pleasure of trekking in Nepal, you should certainly hire a guide. Having an experienced guide with good communication skills will help you understand the history and the culture of the place you are traveling in. They will not only be your good mates but also provide the necessary physical and mental support while trekking. So get out there, take a look at a few trekking agencies and hire a good guide for your next trekking trip to Nepal.