How to Prepare for Trekking in Nepal?

Planning to trek in Nepal? Come prepared with our comprehensive guide on fitness, permits, gear, and everything you need to make it a memorable adventure.

How to Prepare for Trekking in Nepal?

The pristine Himalayas blanketed in snow surrounded by vibrant cultures, ever-changing landscapes, and the prayer flags fluttering with the constant wind beckons adventure enthusiasts from all over the world.

Making this dream come true are the trekking trails of Nepal which allow the trekkers to experience this magic firsthand with an experience unlike anywhere in the world.

However, preparation is the key to achieving this transformative experience. So, lace up your boots and read on to find out everything you need to know before trekking in Nepal.

The Trekking Paradises of Nepal

Nepal is often regarded as a trekking heaven and rightly so as the country offers a wide range of trekking adventures catering to the needs of any and every trekker in terms of views, landscapes, difficulty, and more.

Snow blanketed view of Gorakshep with Mt Pumori
Snow blanketed view of Gorakshep with Mt Pumori

Whether you want to reach the base of the highest peak through the Everest Base Camp trek, experience unique high-altitude deserts with the Upper Mustang trek, or experience the remoteness of the country through the Manaslu Circuit trek, Nepal has it all.

The country features some of the most iconic trekking routes like the Annapurna Circuit trek and Annapurna Base Camp trek which have been popular for many years along with budding trekking routes like the Langtang Valley trek and Ghorepani Poon Hill trek.

How Fit Do You Need to Be to Trek in Nepal?

For first-timers as well as seasoned trekkers, the majestic Himalayas of Nepal feature an adventurous trek for all intrepid trekkers.

However, the most important thing for a safe and enjoyable experience is to know the challenges awaiting you.

Trekking in Nepal is not a leisurely walk in the park. It is an adventure that requires thorough preparation and training.

Early morning bliss at Mardi Himal viewpoint
Early morning bliss at Mardi Himal viewpoint

The difficulty factors like altitude, terrain, climate, and remoteness of the trek vary from one trek to another. However, basic fitness is mandatory to tackle any kind of trek that you are embarking on.

Walking continuously for several hours every day for a week to two weeks in the scorching heat while also tackling the increasing altitude with each footstep. This is exactly what a trek looks like.

Joyful moments on the ABC trek
Joyful moments on the ABC trek

While the hours might fluctuate, the basic idea is that you should be well prepared with physical strength, trail awareness, and mental fortitude for a successful and enjoyable experience of trekking in Nepal.

Trek Difficulty Levels

Amidst the diverse range of treks available in Nepal, each one of them is designed to cater to different levels of difficulty and experience.

While some treks might be fit for experienced trekkers looking to take their adventures up a notch, some of them are designed to merely help new trekkers enter the world of trekking.

Either way, worry not as Nepal has a perfect trek for all kinds of adventurers. The treks in Nepal are generally categorized into three kinds based on the difficulty level: Easy, Medium, and Hard treks.

Happy trekkers at Poon Hill
Happy trekkers at Poon Hill

The easy treks are perfect for those who are new to the world of trekking as these treks demand comparatively less physical fitness.

These routes are designed around places with lower altitudes and feature gentle inclines and well-maintained trails.

Some of the easy treks in Nepal are short treks like the Langtang Valley trek, Langtang Helambu trek, Ghorepani Poonhill trek, and also shorter sections of the Annapurna Circuit trek. Besides this, short hikes around Pokhara are also a great option.

Triumphant trekkers at Annapurna Base Camp!
Triumphant trekkers at Annapurna Base Camp!

For those with medium-level fitness and who practice walking for long hours, the medium-level treks are the best fit as they cater to your physical limitations while also providing you with a sufficient adrenaline rush.

These treks feature higher altitudes and steep sections with varied terrains making it an encompassing adventure.

Acclimatization hike to Pungyen Gompa, Manaslu Circuit Trek
Acclimatization hike to Pungyen Gompa, Manaslu Circuit Trek

Most of the treks in Nepal fall into this category like the Annapurna Base Camp trek, Manaslu Circuit trek, Upper Mustang trek, and more.

For trekkers with high experience and strong fitness levels, Nepal features a range of challenging treks that test your spirits at every kilometer of distance and every meter of altitude that you tackle.

These treks feature every sort of challenges like high altitudes, winding trails, constant ascent and descent, technical sections, harsh weather conditions, and rugged and unique terrains giving you the literal experience of roughing it up.

Enroute to Lobuche from Dzongla
Enroute to Lobuche from Dzongla

The difficult treks in Nepal challenge your physical and mental resilience but give you an experience worthy of tackling these challenges. The treks falling under this category are the Everest Base Camp trek, the Annapurna Circuit trek, the Everest Three Passes trek, and more.

Finding Your Perfect Trek

While the categorization given above is meant to simplify the types of treks available in Nepal, it might leave you in a dilemma with the question of how to choose the perfect trek for your adventure.

The key to finding the perfect trek is knowing your fitness levels. If you are someone who can easily walk for 2-3 hours and enjoy going on short hikes once in a while, you can go for the easy treks without any difficulty.

At Thukla Pass: Where mountains meet prayer.
At Thukla Pass: Where mountains meet prayer.

For those who hike regularly and can manage a certain level of altitude gain, opt for the medium-level treks. Finally, if you are an experienced trekker or hiker who can comfortably walk for long hours, opt for the hard level of treks.

However, this is not to say that people with basic fitness cannot embark on hard treks. With proper training and preparation, you can build your strength and stamina making your body fit for the medium as well as the hard level of treks.

Basic Fitness Requirements

While the level of fitness required for a specific trek in Nepal requires details about the trekking trail and the challenges, these basic fitness requirements are applicable for any kind of trek ranging from rolling hills to steep and technical trails.

As you will need to walk for continuous hours with a certain amount of weight in conditions with less oxygen, cardiovascular strength is a must.

No matter what trek you are preparing for, you should have enough cardiovascular endurance for 5-7 hours of walking with breaks.

Some treks will feature steep ascents and descents as well as staircases like the Annapurna Base Camp trek. Therefore, leg strength is very important to bear your weight alongside the weight of your backpack as you cross these trails.

Besides that, core strength is important to maintain your balance and stability in the oftentimes narrow trekking trails where the lack of proper footing might lead to accidents and injuries. Therefore, muscular strength is also an important fitness requirement.

The strenuous walks for continuous hours can be harsh on your body, especially your legs and your back leaving you sore and in pain. In such cases, flexibility might be of big help as it helps prevent muscle strains and any other soft tissue injuries.

Once all these boxes are checked, make sure to prepare in terms of mental stamina too as it is as important as physical fitness to deal with the challenging and often unpredictable situations of the trek.

How to Train for Trekking in Nepal?

Proper preparation and training to achieve a strong physical base well in advance of your trekking adventure is the key to enjoying your experience thoroughly instead of just dragging your feet in the trails of the Himalayas.

But a common question amongst the trekkers is how to train for trekking in Nepal. Stick to a basic fitness routine by incorporating the exercises given below and you should be good to go.


We have already highlighted the importance of cardiovascular fitness. In the difficult terrains of treks in Nepal that too amidst the low level of oxygen at high altitudes, it is very important to have strong cardiovascular stamina.

Basic activities like swimming, cycling, running, jogging, brisk walking, and going on short hikes can be a great start. Once you have incorporated these into your routine, you can gradually increase the intensity and the duration.

While all the other exercises strengthen your heart and lungs, regular hiking with a certain weight can closely mimic the challenges you will face during the trek including long hours of walking, high altitude, and more.

Aim for not less than 4 cardio sessions per week and you will notice a positive change in your heart and lung health and stamina.

Strength Training

Strength training is another compulsory activity that you must incorporate into your fitness regime to train your legs, calves, back, core, and shoulders for all the pressure that they will be enduring during your trekking adventure.

Going up the trails with a weight on your back exerts lots of pressure on your shoulders and legs. At the same time, your core gets affected due to all the rigorous walking.

If you do not have enough core strength, you might lose your balance. So, indulge in exercises that focus on your leg strength and core strength along with your upper body muscles.

Certain reps of exercises like squats, lunges, leg presses, push-ups, and planks are a great way to start. You can also indulge in weight training to maintain overall body fitness.

Make sure to give your body enough recovery time instead of going at it every day. Doing strength training 2-3 times a week should be enough for your body to build the required endurance.


For those who are just venturing into the world of trekking, it is important to know that the only thing tougher than walking for long hours is the dreaded soreness that follows it causing you discomfort.

Therefore, although it might seem unnecessary at a cursory glance, it is very important to include stretching exercises like yoga and pilates into your fitness regime.

These exercises allow your body to relax and improve flexibility along with core strength. Doing a few minutes of stretching before and after the workout and even during trekking can help you deal better with the soreness.

Stair Climbing

With the varied terrains present in the Himalayas, trekking in Nepal often involves steep climbs and knee-jerking descents with staircases making a regular appearance. If you are unprepared, it might be hard on your legs and your core.

Therefore, climbing up and getting down the stairs of a tall building is another activity you can include in your fitness routine. It simulates the ascents and descents that you will encounter during the trek.


Throughout your preparation to meet the fitness requirements for trekking in Nepal, what you are looking to achieve is the endurance and stamina to allow you to enjoy your adventures in the Himalayas.

The key to achieving it is, to begin with a rather light routine and increase the intensity and the duration gradually. Try to prepare in conditions as close as that you will find in Nepal for the best results.

Mental Practices

Just like physical fitness, mental endurance can also be achieved and taken up a notch through constant practice of mindfulness.

Engage in practices like yoga and meditation while visualizing situations like conquering the trek which allows you to build a positive mindset around your trekking adventure making it more comfortable and enjoyable.

Understanding Altitude and Acclimatization

Trekking in Nepal means paying a visit to some of the highest peaks in the world. Be it the Annapurna Base Camp trek or the iconic Everest Base Camp trek, they are all set amidst the thin realm of high-altitude air.

Besides physical preparedness, another thing that you as a trekker must have is the awareness of altitude, acclimatization, and altitude sickness. Defying the common perception, altitude sickness has nothing to do with your physical fitness.

No matter how fit and healthy you are, altitude sickness can bring you to your knees with a collection of symptoms like nausea, dizziness, headache, fatigue, and more. Therefore, trekking at high altitudes demands proper planning and acclimatization.

The key to preventing altitude sickness is to stay hydrated and climb at a moderate pace. While the kilometers you cover on the trail might not seem much, it might be of a significant elevation gain. So don’t cover lots of kilometers in a day.

As you reach high altitude areas, dedicating a day to acclimatization is of utmost importance as it allows your body to adjust and adapt to the thin realm of oxygen.

Listen to your body and if you feel any symptoms, it is best to extend your acclimatization days.

Gearing Up for Trekking in Nepal

A big part of your comfort and safety while trekking in Nepal is determined by the gear that you are bringing along. Therefore, it is very important to pack the right gear for your trekking adventure.

The essentials include good quality footwear that are well broken in before you pack them for your trek as it avoids any kind of soreness and blisters on your feet. Opt for a waterproof one with ankle support to tackle the rugged terrains.

Trekker walking on snowy trail of Annapurna Base Camp route
Proper gear is essential for mountain treks due to unpredictable weather

Another fundamental base to cover is clothing that tends to all kinds of variable temperatures that you will come across. The key to avoiding overpacking here is to adhere to the layering system with moisture-wicking base layers and insulating top layers.

Waterproofing is important as the downpours are unpredictable. Therefore, waterproof jackets, backpack covers, gaiters, and waterproof pants are very important. A backpack that fits all the essentials without causing inconvenience is a must.

Do not forget to carry a daypack with essentials like your documents, a first aid kit, sun protection, a reliable map, and some snacks and oral rehydration salts. However, the specifics of packing might vary slightly based on your trekking route.

Therefore, read our blogs like Packing for Manaslu Circuit Trek and What to Pack for Annapurna Base Camp Trek to get a better idea regarding the gear and accessories required.

Essential Permits and Documentation

Once you have tackled your fitness and essential gear, another facet of a successful trekking adventure is the knowledge required to obtain essential permits with proper documentation.

Most of the treks in Nepal require the trekkers to carry certain permits depending on the region that they are visiting. A TIMS (Trekker’s Information Management System) card is mandatory for all foreign trekkers.

A TIMS card is essential for both trekkers and authorities as it allows the authorities to track the trekkers’ movements ensuring responsible tourism and it also ensures the safety of the trekkers.

Besides that, you might need a separate national park/ conservation area permit depending on the area of your trek as most of the treks are situated within the national parks and the conservation areas of Nepal.

Certain treks like the Manaslu Circuit trek also require you to obtain a restricted area permit as these areas are highly endangered.

You can obtain all these passes either online or in Kathmandu Valley. To avoid the hassle, partner up with any reliable local trekking operator like Ace the Himalaya who can arrange the permit for you.

Another important thing to note is that solo trekking has been banned by the Government of Nepal.

Therefore, you must be with a registered guide to trek in the Himalayas of Nepal. Agencies like Ace the Himalaya play a huge part here.

Additional Tips

  • Undergo a proper health checkup before embarking on the trek as it allows you to uncover any hidden ailments further determining your fitness level for the trek.
  • Be vigilant about your food and hydration throughout the trek. Prioritize your health and safety for a successful trekking adventure.
  • Indulge in smart packing by carrying convertible and quick-drying clothing as it saves a lot of your space along with making your trek hassle-free.
  • Listen to your body while preparing for the trek. Do not indulge in rigorous training routines. A slow yet steady fitness regime with a gradual increase in duration and intensity goes a long way as it allows your body time for recovery.
  • Indulge in responsible trekking by following sustainable practices like leaving no trace and not disturbing the wildlife. For more insight on a sustainable trek, you can read our sustainable Everest base camp trek blog for your reference.
  • Embrace the local culture while learning some of the common Nepali phrases and greetings like ‘Namaste’. Be open for a change with the mouth-watering Nepali cuisine.
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