People interested in trekking often come to our office in Manali to join already booked trekking tours.
This is understandable, since with the number of trekking participants, the price per person decreases. In addition, many guests prefer to make contact with other fellow hikers during a trek. In fact, it is always very interesting to go on a hike with people of different origins, nations and background. During a trek, one gets particularly close. You sit together by the campfire or in the kitchen tent and getyourselfinniceconversations.
I myself find it always exciting to spend a few intense days with so many different people and to learn their personal stories.
For example I’ve been with a Canadian Orthodox-Jewish family who only eat kosher, I’ve taken the Manali-Leh Highway with a 60-year-old American and tomorrow I’ll go on the six-day Hamta Pass with three young Argentine men.
Most of the acquaintances are really nice. In rare exceptional cases, of course, you can also be unlucky and are on a mountain tour with people who are not quite like minded. But these situations also contribute to personal development. On a trekking tour there are no escape route and you have to learn to just take a breath in these situations and jump over your shadow. After all, this community does not exist for a lifetime, but only for a few intense days or weeks.
Now, of course, the question arises of which group size is best. However, there is no flat-rate answer to this!
We’ve had a lot of treks with a couple only and these treks were wonderful as well. With small groups, you get to know each other very quickly and the guests are much more in contact with the local staff, such as porters, guides or chefs. On a small group trek, a personal and intense bond quickly develops between employees and customers, and you trek much more as a team and take the barriers away. Above all, the cultural exchange is enorm.
Of course, such treks are also a bit more expensive!
Actually, our recommendation regarding the group size is a maximum number of nine guests. Also, I still think that a group number of about 10 participants is ideal. Anything that goes beyond it, can easily become impersonal. A personal contact with the staff, with the exception of the guide, of course, then no longer exists. Even the group does not really get to know each other then. In addition, it is difficult to find a consistent pace. Great teamwork is required here!
Nevertheless, only yesterday a 22-strong Israeli group came back from a very successful four-day trek! Israelis are excellent in group formation and what first was a group of 10 participants quickly became twenty-two. The participants liked it very much!
So the best size of the group is a very individual decision and depends on every trekker personally. In any case, I look forward to my three Argentines tomorrow: Cooking together, having nice conversations and good hikes.