GHT in Facebook GHT in LinkedIn GHT in Flickr Judy's Blog GHT in You Tube

GHT Alliance Form

Frequently Asked Questions

Trail Questions

  1. How fit do you need to be to experience the GHT? Can you recommend one easier section for lower fitness / older tourists and one more demanding section for fitter / younger ones?
    As the GHT is an extensive network of trails there is a route to suit anyone. The idea behind the trail network is to encourage people to develop their own itineraries to suit the sort of experience they are seeking. So for example, the Tamang Heritage Trail between Langtang and the Ganesh Himal is an excellent short, easy trek among colourful Tamang villages and a magnificent panoramic viewpoint at 3700m – it’s ideal for those who want a genuine interaction with mountain communities and some great views. At the other extreme are the Makalu High Passes route where the views of Mt Makalu and the Everest region are sensational, however this trail requires mountaineering skills at high altitude (over 20,000 feet) and requires a very high level of fitness.
  2. What's the best way to prepare for a GHT trek? Can you prepare for the higher altitudes or is that simply a case of slow acclimitisation once in Nepal? In your experience, is high altitude medication useful?
    The best way to prepare for a trek is to trek, so the longer and more sustained your exercise program before you depart the better. Of course, few people have the time to dedicate to long training periods but it is important to try and get some cardio-exercise every day and then a longer session or two on the weekends. The fitter you are before you start the faster your body will adjust to daily walking and altitude. However, the effects of altitude are very complex and fitness level is not the only factor to consider when acclimatizing. The only way your body can cope with a change in altitude is to acclimatize slowly and let your body adjust naturally. That means being patient, remaining hydrated, not pushing yourself too hard and always being aware of your physical condition (and others if in a group). There are a number of drugs available through your GP that can assist in the acclimatizing process, so it’s worth consulting your doctor about all the health implications of traveling in Nepal before a trip.
  3. Is there any particularly useful gear that GHT trekkers should bring with them?
    I have many favourite bits of gear and clothing that I would sorely miss in the hills! I have a sleeping bag that will keep me warm even if a wild storm was to blow in (Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0). Most people purchase a sleeping bag that is barely warm enough for the hills, normally because they want to save money and they are poorly informed. As you are spending one third of your trek in the bag make sure it’s toasty (rate to at least -5ºC for treks below 4000m, -10 ºC for treks to 5000m). As well as the bag make sure you have a comfy sleeping mat as the ground is often rocky and cold (I love the Exped Down Mat 7). I am a massive fan of trekking poles and have used them on every trek for the last 15 years. If you want to be trekking in your dotage, use them now. I prefer the carbon-fibre shaft models (Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork) with flick locks as they perform better in very cold conditions. I also have a bunch of gadgets that really make life more convenient and fun, like a decent headtorch (Black Diamond Spot), a Power Monkey eXplorer solar recharger, Kindle 3 ibook and the indispensable iPod for relaxing in camp after a day on the trail.
  4. I am very interested in doing the GHT. I'm doing a bit of research, obviously, beforehand, and I'd like to know roughly how much it would cost to do the full trail, as well as a section or two - average cost of the actual trail, what the costs include etc. Obviously I'd have to add on flight costs and gear etc but I just need to start working out how much I'd have to save to be able to afford to do the hike in about a years time say?
    Costs really depend on which route you take, how comfy you want to be and what sort of support you require. For example, a young Nepali guy just walk almost all of Nepal for less than $2000 as he was able to rely heavily on local hospitality and he didn't cross the high passes. At the other end of the spectrum is the World Expeditions Nepal Traverse - a 150-day trek for $35,000, which crosses all the high passes.
  5. Can I walk the GHT Nepal High Route in one go?
    Yes, it could be possible to do the Nepal GHT in one continuous push. If you are considering starting in October then you’d require a serious rest break from mid-February to mid-March while the winter storms close the high passes. Alternatively you could start in Fevruary and end in July but that potentially means trekking in the monsoon. Either route would be physically and logistically tough and expensive depending on how many were trekking, but it is possible. A sample itinerary would be:
    From Kanchenjunga (2 weeks to start) head over to Makalu (2 weeks), over the high passes and through the Everest region (10 days), through the Rolwaling and Langtang (3 weeks), around the southern flanks of the Ganesh Himal (1 week) and then around the Manalsu and Annapurna Circuits to Jomsom (3 weeks). From Jomsom head thru Upper Dolpo via Chharka Bhot to Pho (2 weeks) then to Gamgadhi (2 weeks) and up to Simikot and to the border behind Api and Saipal (2 weeks). So that’s about 130 days plus rest and bad weather stops, which always seem to happen in the mountains. A big issue would be cost; you'd need food dumps along the route as most of the villages are subsistence-based and you would have to have some porters or pack animals to carry supplies.
  6. Can you walk in both directions - or is it normal to start in east or west?
    You can walk either way. Robin generally chooses east to west because the sun is on his back (good for route finding and solar recharging). The passes are much the same east to west or reverse, and depending on the time of year you start you might find west to east gives better weather.
  7. What do you eat?
    The national dish in the mountains of Nepal and India is dhal bhat, a rice and lentil combination, which is common throughout the Himalaya. In Tibet you will more likely find thukpa, a noodle and vegetable soup. In Bhutan it’s ema datchi (boiled cheese and chili). If you have a full kitchen crew then it’s possible to carry other foodstuffs around with you, and for longer treks dehydrated meals are ideal.
  8. Can I live off the land?
    Many of the places you pass through on the GHT are subsistence based, so it is necessary for you to carry all of what you need to complete your trek. Sometimes you can purchase a chicken or goat but you must be prepared to slaughter and prepare it within your group.
  9. How fit should I be?
    Your fitness level may not help you avoid the effects of altitude it can have a direct bearing on how well your body copes with the continuous physical exercise of trekking. The fitter you are, the faster and more easily you will become ‘trail fit’ and the more likely that you will enjoy every day in the mountains. Ideally you should concentrate on cardiovascular fitness, build stamina and undertake a bit of strength training to add muscle tone.
  10. Do I have to camp? Or are there tea-houses or shelter I can use?
    As the GHT follows local village to village trails for much of it's length there are plenty of local lodges and shelters along the way. Most villages throughout the Himalaya offer some form of shelter to the passing traveller, but don't expect much and it is essential that you can speak the local dialect - remember there are over 20 ethinic groups along the trail in Nepal alone! The main areas that offer some form of accommodation in Nepal are:
    • Kanchenjunga - from Suketar/Taplejung to Pangpema (the last few days are in herders huts)
    • Makalu - from Tumlingtar to Tashigaon, then check if the tea-shops are open to Base Camp
    • Everest - extensive tea-houses throughout the region
    • Rolwaling - the Eco-Himal lodges in the lower valleys and basic tea-houses as far as Na
    • Langtang - tea-houses throughout Helambu and the Langtang valley as far as Kyangjin Gompa
    • Ganesh Himal - Tamang Heritage Trail has basic tea-houses and there are some simple lodges in the Tipling valley
    • Mansalu - tea-shouses to Samdo, there is a simple lodge being built beside the emergency shelter before the Larkye La which should be open in 2010
    • Annapurna - extensive tea-houses throughout the region
    • Mustang- simple tea-houses to Lo Monthang
    • Dolpo - tea-houses from Juphal to Ringmo and in larger villages in Upper Dolpo
    If you trek during the yarsagumbha colection season (April/May) you will find thousands of Nepali people in the hills using simple shelters and nomadic traders who sell staple foodstuffs to them. It is always recommended that you carry your own emergency shelter, at least 5 days of food and a satellite phone and/or emergency beacon.

  11. Do I have to use a trekking agency or can I just trek alone?
    You certainly have to use a trekking agency in all Himalaya countries to process trekking permits. In Bhutan you have to use a local company for all of your logistics and field crew, there isn’t much that you can do to change or customize itineraries. In India, Nepal and Pakistan it depends on where you are going, your language skills and field-craft, and the level of risk associated with your route. We enjoy long treks in wilderness areas that inevitably requires some sort of support crew: a guide/translator, a climbing Sherpa to carry ropes, etc, and a cook to carry essential food. If we are going to be away from villages for a few days then we'll also take a local porter or two to carry food supplies and lighten all loads. In the main trekking areas you only really need a guide for communication. In many remote areas there is a minimum group size of two 'tourist' trekkers, thus preventing truly independent trekking. But then it is always safer to trek with at least one other for both altitude and security reasons.

    A great idea is to try and team up with nomads through the remoter sections, Sorrel Wilby did a similar thing when she traversed Tibet. At the moment this method is frowned on by authorities for travellers to Nepal, but it would certainly be an option for resident Nepali to explore their country.



Posted by
Mark Pinder
What would you consider the most technical section of the GHT?

Reply to this comment »

Posted by
It is often possible to do a lot of hiking in the Himalayan regions (and elsewhere) without the requirements mentioned on this site; in particular there is rarely a need of a’ trekking agency’ unless you lack confidence to such an extent that you require such an expensive and often unnecessary support. Be very wary of sites and books promoting ‘tours’ which run into tens of thousands of dollars. Do you know how ridiculous that amount of money is in the context of countries such as India, Nepal and China? Of course Bhutan is an exception because use of a travel agency is mandated by the government there but no where else is it absolutely necessary unless of course you are pursuing a highly technical hike.

If it is adventure you are seeking, just go to the region and do everything yourself. Take only the equipment that you can carry (light-weight backpacking), make good use of the numerous information resources put in place by the respective governments, talk to regular folks who inhabit those regions (many of them can understand simple English) and if you think you really need a ‘translator’, most western countries are multicultural enough to include someone whom you might befriend and who might also be interested in a similar trek.

Note that ‘tour agencies’ don’t have a special quota for military permits. You can get them yourselves.

Note that the best place for highly accurate information about various aspects of the regions you intend to visit is academia; make use of mountains of information available from universities around the world on any aspect of your visit. In particular, note that really authentic and detailed information about the cultures and places you want to visit, no matter how far-flung, can be had from anthropologic field studies. Similarly, if it is the local ecology that interests you or geology or anything else, there is bound to be someone somewhere who has published some study on it. Find it! Prepare for it!

The point I am trying to make is that create your own adventure. Make your own mistakes, take your own risks, enjoy your own euphoria and for humanity’s sake, you don’t need a cook or a load carrying sherpa for your trip! Contribute to the communities you encounter in numerous other ways.

Reply to this comment »

Posted by
Susanne Stein
Hi Aman,
have you been on the GHT? I would like to walk the GHT, but I dont want to go with a hundreds of porters and cooks. Any ideas?

Reply to this comment »

Posted by
Robin Boustead
It sounds like Aman has done most of his trekking in India where the approach is more DIY than in Nepal.
If you are in the lower hills where local villages offer resupply points then of course you can be independent. Two American guys just tried the GHT on their own and they found they needed locals guides and had to average 37km a day to resupply points, and they didn't complete the high route (see for more inf).
The best advice is don't over commit yourself, learn the terrain and what's involved before starting and make sure you have exit routes planned if things go wrong. All of things are sadly missing in Indian trekking culture where foolhardiness and exaggeration override common sense.
Happy trails!

Reply to this comment »

Posted by
Robin Boustead
Sorry for the delay in replying, Mark, by far the most technical section is the high passes around Makalu. This involves moderate level mountaineering, abseiling, climbing and the like and all at high altitude.
Hope that answers your question,

Reply to this comment »

Posted by
David Howells
I am looking into hiking the Nepal section of the GHT possible Oct to Feb next year. I would be interested in doing it with somebody if anybody is interested?...David

Reply to this comment »

Posted by
dhendup lama
Hello! David Howells. I have recently returned following a month and a half trek in the Kargil District (Kashmir), Ladakh and Lahaul and Spiti regions, somewhat covering one half of my trek expedition in North India. Next, I shall be heading to Nepal, first week of August 2011 for the second phase of my trek expedition. I have a very similar itinerary to the GHT prepared for my trek. If you may be interested, I could provide you with further details.
Get trekked!!! Dhendup.

Reply to this comment »

Posted by
Jon Wood

Firstly I just wanted to say that this is a great website.

For a few years I've had the idea of trekking from one side of the Himalayas to the other (east-west) in a single trip. Can you recommend where I could start and finish and roughly how long you would expect a continuous trip between these points to take?



Reply to this comment »

Hi Jon, There are so many route variations it is hard to say how long a trip across the Himalaya could take... but if you wanted to go from Bhutan to Pakistan you should expect it to take a year or more of walking. So, with rests for winter and monsoon it will take a couple of years at least! The trek across Nepal takes 4 - 5 months, Bhutan is 6 to 7 weeks, it would take 4 months to walk across the northwest Indian states... plus there's side trips, Sikkim and rest stops! Hope that helps, Robin
- Robin Boustead, 21.11.2012

Hi Jon,
May i help you? I been GHT whole trek with Mr Bobin boustead in 2009. Now i will lead commercial GHT trek from east to west and west to east.
Pema: 977.1.9741062773

- pema , 06.01.2013

Posted by
Marcos Perez
Can I take my dog with me?

Reply to this comment »

Hi Marcos,
Sure you can!

- Robin Boustead, 17.08.2014

Posted by
Paula Marsh
Hi Robin & others ... am not sure of how Gerda's trip went in terms of guides/porters etc, so just a couple of Qs : is there a min. no. of trekkers per group permitted ? Can you do the high route as single woman with lady guide/porter; alternatively 2 trekkers & 1 guide ? Are there guides/porters willing to do the whole hight route in 1 go ? If so when is best time of year to start. Assuming Makalu area most difficult, when is the ideal time to reach/do this section ? Finally : how do you plan/date all the permits required ahead of time & will govt agencies allow for extra time due to weather/other constraints ? Thanks for any advice on the above. regards, Paula

Reply to this comment »

Posted by
Derek cullen
Hi there,

Thanks for the information it's much appreciated.

Planning a 5 month solo hike across Nepal (no high passes), just how far apart are the re supply points for water/food?

Also is the visa not for 60 days, how do you get around this or extend it?


Reply to this comment »

Hi Derek,

You can re-supply some food items most days, although there are some sections where you will need to carry food for a day or two. I recommend you pack some dehy meals just in case!

Have a look at Stuart Bilby's story... he did a similar thing.

As for visa's, you can extend to 150 days in Kathmandu. You will need the support of a trekking agency to get the full 150 after you arrive as otherwise it will mean returning to KTM every couple of months.

Hope that helps!


- Robin Boustead, 16.09.2015

Please comment here

GHT Products Shop Now
Copyright © 2009 - 2015 Pole to Pole Expeditions Pty Ltd Content by Robin Boustead
Design & Programming : Upperlative Solution Pvt. Ltd