The Himalayans are possibly the best wonders of nature. Everyone must have dreamt at least once in their lifetime to be in close vicinity of the Himalayans. But we are also very aware of the incredibly unforgiving terrain and weather of the Himalayans. If we have to prepare so much for just a week’s trek, imagine how hard is it for the people that practically live in the mountains. As trekkers, it is ours responsibly to make their lives easier and preserve the nature through our travels. Here, we have listed five trek etiquettes trekkers must follow during their trek.
Leave only footprints
Waste management is still a tremendous challenge in developing countries like Nepal. While even capital city struggles with disposing its wastage safely, the mountains practically have no proper system of disposing their waste. As trekkers, we have to be incredibly careful about how much waste do we produce and how do we manage them. While creation of some forms of waste is inevitable, we can always make small differences. For instance, don’t take too much of disposable stuff that you might not need while trekking. Avoid using plastic bags and use cloth bag preferably. While disposing the waste, make sure that throw them away properly in designated landfills or dustbins. While these may all seem to tedious and pointless at first, when we all do it collectively, we are indeed making a very big difference.
Respect the local culture
Culturally, Nepal is a very rich country. Its mountains are no different. While the new generation is more openminded towards everything, the previous generation still carry their culture and tradition in their hearts. Everywhere you go, you will come across beautiful and ancient temples and monasteries. During your trek, you will get to experience the tradition and lifestyle of the place you spend the night in. That means, you will eat their cuisine and basically live like them for a day or so. During that time period, make sure that you do not ridicule or show disrespect towards their culture. Of course, when you go to a new place, their culture is bound to be intriguing to you but make sure that you don’t overwhelming react to it.
Travel with a sustainable travel operator
This point comes in before you even begin your trek journey. Nepal has thousands of trekking agencies too eager to plan a trip for you. While the primary objective of all these firms is to earn profit, some are also driven by their sustainable and social responsibility. It might be a bit tough but it is not impossible to find one of these agencies. Search on Google and you will find a list of travel agencies that actively work with the rural communities and have practices that preserve the environment. For instance, some travel agencies employ guides from the particular local area and promote local employment. Some contribute a share of their profit into earthquake rehabilitation process and some might sponsor education to needy kids. You just have to pick one.
Nepal sure has air-conditioned malls and galleries that sell all kind of exotic and ancient handicrafts and souvenirs to take back home. While it is too tempting and convenient to shop at these locations, we suggest you to do otherwise. Not just souvenir shopping but also eating and sleeping, where you choose to spend your money makes a big impact on Nepalese tourism economy. By choosing to buy gifts and souvenirs from vendors locally, you are big time helping to inject the money directly into the local community. By choosing to have your dinner at a hole-in-the-wall eatery or spending a night in a family-run motel, you are helping the businesses at the lower spectrum grow. While there are so many advantages for the local community if you choose to do so, going local will also create a more unique and authentic travel experience for yourself too.
Volunteer for a cause
Following the disastrous earthquake of 2015, Nepalese countryside and mountains could surely use some volunteering from you. Matter of fact, even if it wasn’t the case, volunteering in Nepal goes a long way. It doesn’t matter if you are visiting for two weeks or spending a whole year, contributing a portion of your time to worthwhile charities and non-profits can help make a small difference. Irrespective of whatever skill you have, be it medical, engineering, or social care, there are wide variety of options to choose from to help put your value experience to other people’s good. This indeed is going to be a very heartfelt, fulfilling, and rewarding experience for you.