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Should I go on my own or with a tour operator?
Going in a group with a tour operator is a little more expensive, but more comfortable. There will be porters to carry most of your luggage (you just carry a small daypack yourself).
Also with a tour operator you can visit more remote places, because the tour operator brings all you need (tents, food etc.). Trekking-permits to remote areas are often given only to groups.
But going on your own is indeed possible. But I’ll recommend hiring a local guide unless you decide to trek one of the big tourist routes like Annapurna, where you can eat and sleep at teahouses.

Which time of the year is best?
October and November are considered the best times of the year. The monsoon will have just ended, and clear skies with optimal temperature will prevail. February and March is fine too, but a little cloudier.
From mid-June to early October, it's the monsoon, during which time it rains almost everyday and most of the Himalayas are hidden behind the clouds.

What is the temperature like?
The temperature varies a lot in the mountains.
Under 2000 meters you only need light clothes. Over 2000 meters the temperature can drop to minus degrees (celsius) in the night. So bring a good sleeping bag (consider also to bring an inner-sleeping bag). At mid-day the temperature will be fine, 20-25 degrees. Late afternoon when the sun disappears behind a mountain peak the temperature drops suddenly. Then you need some warm clothes.

What should be on my packing list?
I’ll just mention a few important things here:
Both light and warm clothes like light sweater, thick sweater, light wind-tight coat (rain-proof). Bring also both light and warm pants.
In general it's good to bring both light and warm clothes, then you just put on another layer if you feel cold.
It's very important that you have a good pair of trekking-boots. Don't use a new pair of boots when you start the trek. Walk many kilometres in the boots before you leave for the tour.
It's also important to bring good sunglasses, because the sun is very strong in the mountains. Consider buying real mountain-glasses.

What is altitude sickness?
Altitude Sickness is the effect of altitude on those who ascent too rapidly to elevations above approximately 3,000 meters. The basic early symptoms of altitude sickness are headache, loss of appetite and sleeplessness. One shouldn't ignore these early symptoms as these symptoms may lead to more serious warnings. Medicine is no substitute for descent. If a doctor is available, he may give medicine and oxygen. However, the patient must go down at once to lower altitude even if treatment is given! Read more at http://www.ismmed.org

Copyright (c) 2006 Mogens Larsen. All rights reserved.