Thinking of doing the Valley of Flowers trek? Got queries that you need answers to before or after you book your trek? Well, if you’re thinking of, or, if you’ve booked your trek already, we are here to give you information and help you address all your queries.
Valley of Flowers FAQs – Answered!
1. Is the Valley of Flowers trek difficult?
The Valley of Flowers trek gradient ranges from easy to moderate. The treks from Govind ghat to Ghangariya, Ghangariya to Valley of Flowers, and Hemkund Sahib are all well-defined man-made paths which makes it an easy trek. If you feel that the trek is difficult, you can always hire a pony or a Dholi and complete the trek, at an additional cost. However, we encourage you to complete the trek by foot to experience the beauty of the trail entirely.
To decrease the intensity of the trek and to get you used to higher altitudes before you visit the valley of flowers, we have an acclimatization trek to Gorson Bugyal which also works as a warm-up trek for Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib.
2. What are the COVID-19 precautions you are taking for the trek?
After due considerations and after understanding the guidelines and precautions set by the respective State Governments and the Government of India, we are conducting operations ensuring the full safety and security of our Nomads and our on-ground staff. You can contact us id you wish to visit the valley. Click here more about the safety protocols followed by TrekNomads before, during and after the trek.
3. Is there an eligibility criteria for the trek?
Valley of Flowers is a good beginner’s Himalayan trek owing to its trails. Anyone who is physically fit with prior trekking experience in the Sahyadri’s, Western Ghats, or any one-day hiking experience can take up this trek with ease. The trails also have transport options like mules, dholi’s which can be availed through the trail.
4. What are the best months to do the valley of flowers trek?
The Valley of Flowers officially opens up in June (dates defer each year depending on snowfall and other factors). This trek showcases a different side of nature every month making all the months between June – September equally beautiful to visit the valley.
- June – Since this is the opening month, you can expect to see some amount of snow on the trail to both Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib
- July – This is when the monsoons hit the country, however, the monsoons only start from mid-July and bring the Valley alive. You may not get to see a lot of flowers until mid-July but the lush green valley will leave you captivated, nevertheless. Also, July is one of the least crowded months on this trail.
- August – August is when you see the valley carpeted in flowers, if you are a nature enthusiast or a photographer, then this is when you should trek to the Valley of Flowers. There will be slight rains in August but the misty Himalayas just make the experience twice as good.
- September – You can expect to see a lot fewer flowers in September than in the other months, but what is interesting is that the skies clear up in September, giving you perfect views of the mountains and the trail. Also, the trail may be more crowded during this month owing to the pilgrims trekking up to Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib.
In our opinion, anytime between Mid July – August end is a great time to trek to Valley of Flowers.
5. What kind of flowers do we get to see in the Valley of flowers?
A canvas for the shutterbugs and professional photographers, the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand is a home to rich Himalayan flora including several rare medicinal plants such as Aconitum Heterophyllum, A. Falconeri, Arnebia Benthamii, Dactylorhiza Hatagirea, Gymnadenia orchids, Megacarpaea Polyandra, Picrorhiza Kurroa, Podophyllum Haxandrum, Aconitum Violaceum, Polygonatum Multiflorum, Fritillaria Roylei, and Taxus Wallichiana.
The Valley of Flowers is endowed with 520 species of high altitude plants including angiosperms, gymnosperms, and pteridophytes, of which 498 are flowering plants.
Flowers that carpet the meandering meadows of Valley of Flowers include Orchids, Poppies, Primilas, Marigold, Daisies, Geranium, Petunia, Sediams, Lilies, Calendula, Zinnia, and several others. The sub-alpine forests of birch and rosy rhododendrons besiege the parking area spreading the riot of colors in Valley of Flowers.
6. Will there be snow on the trail?
If you trek in the first week of June, you may get to see some snow here and there, but not in the other months.
There will be snow at the streams (in June):
- Just after the jungle post
- Before the Haathi rock
- Before the Legge’s grave
- Also, once we get out of the jungle during Hemkund Sahib trek, we will see snow.
- The entire Laxman Ganga main glacier will be frozen with ice as high as 12-20 feet
7. Do I need a porter and mule to carry my luggage during the trek?
Porters and mules come as a part of your inclusion when you trek with TrekNomads. Each trekker can get their rucksack (1 – 60-liter bag that weighs up to 10 kg max) transported by porters without any extra cost all through the trail.
8. Can children do the trek?
Yes. Kids can visit the valley of flowers. The Valley of Flowers trek is one of the very few Himalayan treks that can be taken up by kids. We have seen young couples with toddlers, children of all ages trek to Valley of Flowers. While some opt for ponies, most children climb by themselves. At TrekNomads, the minimum age for kids who can trek with us is 7 years and above. The trails also have transport options like mules, dholi’s which can be availed through the trail.
9. Can senior citizens do the trek?
Absolutely! We have had people over 60 years of age who have trekked with us to Valley of Flowers. There is a medical certificate that every Nomad has to submit with approval from their general physician on participating in the trek.
10. Can we opt for helicopter rides from Govind ghat to Ghangariya?
While there is an option to opt for a helicopter ride, this comes at an extra cost of INR 3,500 (may vary) one way per person (for each person weighing up to 80 kgs) which is not included in the trek fee that we charge. But we strongly recommend doing this trek on foot to enjoy this experience.
11. How many kilometers does the trek cover?
The total distance covered in this departure is approximately 50+ Km. Here’s a quick break-up of the distance covered on each trek:
- Auli to Gorson Bugyal – 8-10 Km (Both ways)
- Govind ghat to Ghangariya – This includes a jeep ride from Govind ghat to Pulna of about 4 Km and then trek from Pulna to Ghangariya of 11 Km (One way)
- Ghangariya to Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib – 7 Km one way
- Ghangariya to Valley of Flowers – 5-6 Km (One way)
12. What is the total travel distance covered and altitude gained during the trek?
As a part of the itinerary, you will be traveling from Rishikesh to Auli and then Auli to Govind ghat.
Here’s a brief gist of the total travel time and altitude gain:
- Rishikesh – 1,030 ft (312 m)
- Rishikesh to Auli – Travel – 270 Km (8-10 hours); 8,202 ft (2,500 m)
- Auli to Govind ghat – Travel – 30 Km (1.5 hours); 6,000 ft (1,800 m)
- Govind ghat to Badrinath – Travel – 60 kms (3-4 hours); 6,150 ft (1,875 m)
13. Is there a fitness regime that must be followed to prepare for the trek?
Yes. Every trek you do in the Himalayas requires you to be physically fit. If you think you’re not prepared, we suggest you start your fitness regime at least 8-12 weeks before your departure date. If you need help getting fit and ready for the trek, we can customize your fitness regime for you once you register for the trek.
Monitoring your fitness regime is just as important as actually doing it, the same can be discussed with our Founder post-registration.
14. Is acclimatization really necessary?
Absolutely! And we cannot stress this enough. When you go to higher altitudes you need to allow your body to get used to this change in altitude. When you start going to higher altitudes too fast, the oxygen levels in your body start depleting which can cause Acute Mountain Sickness or commonly called AMS. An acclimatization trek gives your body the much-needed time to get used to the high altitude helping you avoid AMS.
To decrease the intensity of the trek and to get you used to higher altitudes, we have an acclimatization trek to Gorson Bugyal which also works as a warm-up trek for Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib.
15. What type of accommodation will be available during the trek?
The stays all through the trek will be in private rooms with private washrooms:
- 3 star or similar hotel stay in Rishikesh
- Resort stay in Auli
- Semi deluxe stay in Ghangariya
- Resort/hotel stay in Joshimath
While we will try our best to give you a comfortable experience, please note that these areas are prone to have frequent power outages, and the facilities in Ghangariya/Joshmitha are at a bare minimum.
16. What kind of food can I expect on the trails?
Our Valley of Flowers trek package includes all meals excluding lunch and dinner at Rishikesh. Through the trek, we try and provide you with healthy, nutritious, balanced food to help you sustain the weather condition while keeping you energized. Here’s what a typical day’s food looks like on the Valley of Flowers trek:
- Coffee in the morning between 6.30 AM – 7 AM
- Breakfast – Standard Indian breakfast such as paratha’s, upma, idli sambar, etc. with coffee/tea as per your preference
- Packed lunch – This may include chapati subzi or even rice item such as pulav/veg biriyani with a drink and a chocolate/sweet
- Evening Tea – Evening tea/coffee will be served with a snack
- Dinner – This will be a rice/chappati based three-course meal with appetizers, main course, and dessert
17. Can I opt for single-sharing accommodation?
Yes, you can opt for single-sharing accommodation at an additional cost. You can customize your trek at your convenience. If you are a solo trekker looking for single accommodation, the same can be conveyed to us at the time of booking and the revised cost as per your new accommodation will be shared with you.
18. I want to extend/decrease the number of days of the trek, can I do that?
Yes, you can. We create customized trekcation experiences which means that while we have set departures, we keep your time in mind too. If you wish to reduce/increase the number of days in your departure, the same can be discussed and done upon request and at an additional cost.
19. What should I carry on the trek?
We will share a detailed checklist of all equipment and essential items that you would need to carry on this trek once you register for the trek. If you need any assistance in buying/understanding what to buy for the trek, our team will be happy to help you 🙂
20. Is insurance included as a part of the inclusions for this trek, if so, what does it cover?
Yes, you will receive complimentary insurance coverage as a part of the trek package. The inclusions are:
|Hospitalization Expenses for injuries & illness||INR 3,00,000|
|Medical Evacuation||INR 1,50,000|
|Personal Accident||INR 3,00,000|
|Outpatient Expenses for injuries/illness||INR 10,000|
|Daily Allowance in Case of Hospitalisation due to injury/illness||INR 500*5 days|
|Checked-In Baggage Loss||INR 10,000|
|Checked-In Baggage Delay||INR 2,500|
|Missed connections||INR 10,000|
|Compassionate Visit||INR 20,000|
21. Will there be ATMs on the trail?
There is no ATM facility available in Ghangariya. There are ATM facilities available in Joshimath, however, they too run out of cash very often. We recommend you withdraw the required amount at Rishikesh or while traveling to Rishikesh.
22. What is the tipping culture like on the trail?
Tipping is the way to acknowledge the work of good service. This is how you thank people after you enjoy their services. The on-ground staff sustains themselves financially from conducting these treks and we recommend you to tip the trek guides, porters, and the staff. You could either choose to tip them individually at the end of the trek, or you could tip them at the end of each day for their services.
Please note that when it comes to tipping, any amount that you feel appropriate works.
23. How can I reach from major cities to Rishikesh?
The assembly point for our trek to Valley of Flowers is Rishikesh which means that
The most convenient way to reach Rishikesh is to fly there. You can fly directly to Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun which is about 21 Km from Rishikesh.
Getting to Rishikesh from Jolly Grant Airport: Once you reach Dehradun, you can either choose to take airport buses that ply once every hour between Rishikesh and Dehradun (takes roughly 2 hours to reach without traffic). Or, you could hire a private prepaid taxi to drop you at Rishikesh. There are plenty of taxis available as you exit the airport. The charge for a one-way drop usually ranges between INR 800 – INR 1000. The benefit of taking a taxi is that you can reach our hotel directly.
Another economical option is to share the cab with co-passengers who you’re going to trek with.
If you’re traveling from Delhi, you can choose to travel via train. Rishikesh does not have a functional railway station. The nearest station would be Haridwar. You can take the Nanda Devi Express chair car in the morning and you will reach Haridwar by noon
Getting to Rishikesh from Haridwar Railway Station: You can reach Haridwar and then travel to Rishikesh which is again approximately 21 Km. You could either take a bus from the station or hire a private taxi.
We recommend that you book a direct flight to Rishikesh as it saves you time and the effort booking and taking multiple options of transport to Rishikesh.
Another option to commute to Rishikesh especially for trekkers traveling from Delhi is to take a direct bus from Delhi. You can easily find a Volvo or even Non AC buses from Kashmere Gate ISBT that cost approximately INR 500 – INR 800.
Please note that transport from Dehradun to Rishikesh can be arranged for an additional cost, if required.
24. How is the network & connectivity during the trek?
There is no network in the Valley of Flowers trail, you will only find mobile connectivity only until Govind ghat base camp. Network connectivity and internet can be found in Auli. There is no connectivity in Ghangariya, Valley of Flowers, or even Hemkund Sahib.
The stay in Rishikesh, Auli, Ghangariya, and Joshimath are in hotels and have electricity. However, you can expect electricity outages sometimes because of the region and the weather conditions.
You get 3G network in Auli and an intermittent network on BSNL phones in Govind ghat and Ghanghariya.
25. I have motion sickness, how can I cope with the travel?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. A lot of trekkers have motion sickness, there are few simple tricks to prevent this:
- Take one Avomin an hour before the journey starts
- Sit at the window seat in the TT and avoid sitting on aisle seats, preferably sit in the first two seats at the front
- Avoid eating heavy fried food before travel, eat light this helps keep motion sickness at bay
- Avoid reading a book or reading something on your Kindle while traveling. Instead, listen to music or use this time to catch up on some sleep
Note: It is advised to get a Doctor’s opinion on the usage of Avomin before the trek
26. Do I need to carry a medical kit?
Our trek lead/captain will be carrying a basic first aid kit along. We recommend that you carry your personal medication and consult your doctor on the medicines you are required to take for the trek. You can find pharmacies in Joshimath, however, there may be limitations on the kind of medicines you get here. We suggest you carry all your medications with you from home.
27. What if I start feeling unwell during the trek?
We recommend that you report back to our Trek Captain/Guide if you feel unwell at any point during the trek. They will guide you on what needs to be done and how you can take care of yourself.
As a norm, we will be checking your oxygen level twice every day to ensure that your oxygen saturation is normal. We may ask you to stay at the base camp or descend back to lower altitudes depending on your condition. Please note that decision of the trek leader or the guide will be final in these circumstances.
As a part of the pre-trek process, we ask our Nomads to get a medical certificate signed by a doctor to ensure that they are physically and medically fit to do the trek.
28. Do you practice responsible trekking on your treks?
Yes, we do. Responsible trekking is at the core of what we do.
- We believe in leaving the mountains in a better condition, which is why we follow a no-litter policy on our treks. Each trekker will have to bring back the waste created during the trek
- To help you enjoy the trek to the fullest, consumption of alcohol, smoking, and other intoxicants are a strict no on our treks
- We do not allow plastic on our treks; this means that we do not provide plastic bags, bottles or even lunch boxes on our treks. You will have to carry your own lunch box, water bottle, and cutlery that you will use during the trek. Not only does this help you go plastic-free it also helps prevent litter
- We provide biodegradable plastic bags to each of our trekkers during the trek to carry back the waste created on the trail to the base camp
Valley of Flowers Important Links:
- If you want to check the Valley of Flowers Itinerary: Head over to our Valley of Flowers trek page
- To see how the Valley looks during the monsoons: Check out this photoblog of 45 stunning pictures captured during the monsoon trek to Valley of Flowers
- To check the list of things to carry for Valley of Flowers Trek: This link has a detailed list of what to pack for the trek
- If you are looking for more treks to do in 2021: Here’s a link to our upcoming treks lined up for 2021
- Wondering how we’re ensuring safety during the COVID-19 situation: Click here to learn all about how we’re keeping treks and our Nomads safe during treks.