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Nepal--Her First Hike


New Yorker Joanne Tsung considers herself a newcomer to the world of solo traveling and just returned from a six-week trip to Nepal. This was a first for her, and what a first it was. She completed the Annapurna Circuit, a 23-day trek around the Annapurna range and a 12-day trek to the Gosainkund holy lake region. Joanne writes...

I always considered myself a relatively easy-going and low-maintenance person, especially in regard to travel. I started to doubt these parts of my personality as I became more and more nervous about travelling to Nepal by myself. Looking back, I knew Nepal was tourist-friendly but I had no idea how easy it would be. I highly recommend Nepal for those who want a relatively painless initiation into the world of independent travelling and who love hiking and being outdoors. Here are some of the lessons that I learned from my experience in Nepal...


10 Steps to a great trek...
Start by taking the stairs. At least one month before your trip, become a regular at your gym and concentrate on cardiovascular and strength training. Throw in an occasional yoga class to build flexibility--and your spirit.
Research your treks. Consult a guidebook on the itineraries of the pricey, all-inclusive camping treks for ideas. Make sure that a trek matches your physical stamina and your travel schedule.
Don't forget the weather. Weather should be considered when planning a trek, especially on treks with a high pass. The most popular trekking months are October and November (think crowds). The monsoon season lasts from June to September (think leeches).

To save money, avoid booking your trek from home. Spend an extra day or two in Kathmandu and use one of the many trekking agencies to organize your trek or find you a porter or a guide. Meet your porter or guide before you hit the trails to test your compatibility. Note that there are trekking agencies that specialize in planning treks for women and that use women guides and porters.

Leave yourself enough time. Confirm all flights prior to leaving for a trek and arrive back in Kathmandu at least one day before your flight in case of transportation problems. Travelling by bus or other local transport in Nepal can be rough.

Talk and listen to other trekkers in Kathmandu. They can provide useful traveller's hints on treks, restaurants, lodges, weather and trekking agencies.

For more helpful hints on trekking, click here.




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