Why it’s best to have a GUIDE when trekking in Nepal….
1) To really get to KNOW the beautiful country of Nepal. A licensed trekking guide will enhance your knowledge and appreciation of culture, flora and fauna and animals, mountaineering, and the peaks of Nepal. A guide can add so much depth and richness to your trek experience.
2) Safety. No one knows the details that will keep you safe like a trained trekking guide. Changes in the weather, changes in trail conditions, awareness of any political/social situations that could endanger you (for example, when we trekked in 2003, there was political unrest going on in certain areas; our guide knew where to go and where to avoid!)
3) Peace of mind and an uncomplicated travel experience. It takes a lot of mental energy to figure out bus timetables, to wonder about prices and bargaining, and to arrange to lodge when trails are crowded. We “could” have handled these details (we’re experienced travelers), but going out with a licensed trekking guide was the best decision and worth every dollar. Our guide kept us enchanted and informed about each peak and valley we were seeing, and he called ahead each day to confirm lodging. He gave advice that probably saved us much misery, such as “only order dishes with meat during our 1st or 2nd day of the trek…after that, it’s best to stick to egg and vegetarian options because meats have been carried in greater distances, stored for longer times, and there is the possibility of food poisoning”. Our guide kept current of weather forecasts and trail conditions and was able to make necessary modifications of which we would have been unaware.
4) The opportunity to form a friendship with a Nepali national. Trekking clients will have differing expectations of socializing, but in our case, we greatly enjoyed getting to know our guide, sharing meals, learning about Nepali life and culture through his eyes, enjoying laughs and after-dinner card games, and truly feeling like we were a group of “3 travelers + guide = 4”.
In conclusion, if you do not hire a trekking guide, it is possible to save a little money. But, my strong recommendation is that you trek with a GUIDE when exploring the amazing mountains of Nepal. Twice we have trekked Nepal, and twice we have had a guide….and we never regretted the decision for a moment.
April 2019 – Mardi Himal Trek
(Guide: Sujan Pandey, Founder & Lead Guide of the company “Himalayan Connection”)