Last Modified: 01 Oct 2014
Trip code: HNXD
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 May 2015
From ancient kingdoms to majestic mountain vistas, trek for 10 days through the breathtaking Himalaya landscape. Pass awe-inspiring glaciers, stay on the banks of pristine rivers, cross mountain pastures, dip into natural hot springs and encounter mule trains carrying supplies to remote villages. Rest and revive in cosy mountain teahouses and meet friendly locals along the way. Time spent in Kathmandu and Pokhara completes the adventure with insights into Nepali culture and tradition.
UPDATE - ANNAPURNA BLIZZARDS & AVALANCHE
Over 30 people have died as a result of heavy snowfall in the Annapurna region and north Dolpa district since 14 October. The weather is improving, but conditions at high altitude remain hazardous and light snow is forecast for the Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Manaslu and Jomsom regions. Our local partners in Nepal have confirmed that all Intrepid travellers are safe and accounted for.
The local authorities continue to advise against trekking in the area around Thorang-La pass on the Annapurna circuit because of heavy snow.
This tour does not trek in the affected region and will run as per the original itinerary.
This trip is run by our experienced sister company Peregrine Adventures. Your group is therefore likely to be a mixture of Intrepid passengers and other like-minded international travellers.
Table of Contents
- Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Days 1-2 Kathmandu
On arrival in Kathmandu, you are met at the airport by our representative. After you settle into the hotel there’ll be a group briefing with your tour leader in the late afternoon. They will discuss the trek details and co-ordinate any last minute arrangements.The evening is free, but usually our tour leader will organise dinner (optional) at one of Kathmandu’s fine Nepali restaurants.
The next morning we explore Kathmandu on an organised sightseeing tour which includes: Bodhnath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world, where we observe Buddhist monks in prayer in the monasteries surrounding the stupa; we also visit Pashupatinath, the most famous Hindu temple in the country, located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. Here we see Hindu holy men (sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the ghats.
The rest of our time in Kathmandu is free for further sightseeing and exploration. Today you will be issued with your Trek Pack and departure information for the next morning.
The Trek Pack is valued at over US$500 and includes a kitbag, high quality sleeping bag designed for sub-zero temperatures, inner sheet and high-altitude jacket.
- Kathmandu - Bodhnath Stupa
- Kathmandu - Guided city tour
- Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple
- Nepal Trek Pack (kitbag, sleeping bag, inner sheet & jacket)
Shangri La Hotel or similar (2 nts)
Day 3 Shyauli
We have an early departure from the hotel for our flight (approx 30 min) to Pokhara which usually offers spectacular views of the main Himalayan chain to the north.
In Pokhara we are transferred by road (private bus - approx 1.5 hours) to the starting point of the trek at Nayapul. Our porters will be waiting and after a brief stop to stretch our legs and for the porters to organize the load, we set off on our walk.
We walk through the busy trading post of Nayapul. We cross a small stream via suspension bridge and continue on a dirt road before crossing the Modi River to reach Birethanti. At Birethanti, the trekking permits are checked at the Annapurna Conservation Check Post. We continue to traverse following the Modi Khola upstream passing through settlements inhabited by the Chettris and Brahmins. On a clear day looming majestically in the distance we can see the Machhapucharre (6993m).
We reach the small hamlet of Shyauli Bazaar (approx 2 1/2 hours total) where we stop for the day.
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 4 Ghandruk
Today we start the climb to Ghandruk. The trail gradually climbs out of Shyauli and we cross a steel suspension bridge. From here the trail climbs more steeply up stone steps through settlements of Klieu, Kimche and Chane, where one can see beautiful scenery and village life.
From the small village of Chane the trail traverses and then climbs up to the village of Ghandruk, where we stop for lunch and spend the night. Ghandruk is one of the biggest Gurung villages in the area and one can see the difference in the lifestyle of the Gurungs to that of their neighbours in the lower areas. Ghandruk is well known for the number of its menfolk who have served in the British Gurkha regiments.
From our lodge at Old Ghandruk, we have spectacular views of Annapurna South (7219m), Hiunchuli (6441m) and Machapuchhare (6993m) and Hiunchuli (6434m).
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 5 Tadapani
Another day ascending, but an easier walk now that we have found our trekking legs! Leaving the terraced hillsides and the village of Ghandruk behind we enter oak and rhododendron forest. This is a particularly pretty part of the walk, the forest often alive with the sound of birds, the small tumbling waterfalls and if you visit in spring, (late March to April) the rhododendron in full bloom.
There are no villages on today’s route, but there are a few teahouses at Baisi Kharkha providing welcome drinks and a place to rest. There are fine views of Annapurna II (7937m), Annapurna III (7555m), Annapurna IV (7525m), Annapurna South (7237m), Machhapuchhare (6993m) and Lamjung Himal (6931m) along the way.
Our lodge at Tadapani is the perfect setting for sunset and sunrise views.
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 6 Bayli Kharka
We leave the main trail that leads to Ghorepani and follow a rarely used trail initially through a thick rhododendron forest that leads to local water buffalo pastures. The climb is gradual and we soon emerge above the tree line to superb views of the Annapurna range.
We take lunch by a small stream and then continue to climb gradually though open countryside to reach a small pass, where our trail descends through rhododendron to an open clearing known as Bayli Kharka and our lodge.
From the lodge there are great views of Dhaulagiri Himal.
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 7 Upper Chistibung
This morning we descend through open ground and forest to reach the pastures of Lower Chistibung, where we have lunch.
After lunch we continue to walk through forest, ascending gradually and passing through several buffalo grazing pastures to reach a clearing and temporary herder’s settlement at Upper Chistibung, where we stay in the small community lodge.
For the next week we will stay in lodges run by the local communities. We have contributed to the construction of these lodges, which is all part of a series of local projects. Being off the beaten track the villages have previously not enjoyed the benefits of tourism. Now with the network of our Community Lodges, profits are going to benefit local projects and schools.
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 8 Kopra Ridge
To reach the ridge at Kopra we have a steady climb that takes us above the tree line. This area is noted for wildlife and we should keep our eyes open for Himalayan tahr and Danfe pheasant. The best way to tackle the climb is to ascend steadily, take our time and rest as often as we wish.
We reach our lodge on Kopra Ridge in time for lunch and we will be greeted more fantastic views. This extraordinary panorama includes Annapurna South, towering directly above and only six kilometres away, and Fang and Nilgiri prominent to the north, whilst across the depths of the Kali Gandakhi Valley, the Dhaulagiri Himal dominates the entire western skyline.
The Kopra Community Lodge is the highlight of our work in the region. Profits from this lodge have contributed to the secondary school at Nangi, which we visit in a few days time.
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 9 Swanta
From Kopra Ridge we descend off the hillside and continue steeply downhill. We retrace our route back to Chistibung.
We then head to the village of Swanta, where we overnight in the newly constructed lodge. We have supported the local school over the years, and there is time to pay a quick visit, and perhaps interact with the kids.
- Swanta - Nangi Secondary School visit
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 10 Ulleri
From Swanta we descend through the village fields to a small river and take a quick look at the local water mill. From here we cross the suspension bridge and head upwards to the village of Chittre, where we join the main trekking trail.
There is a further ascent to reach the village of Ghorepani where we are e met with great views of the Dhaulagiri massif and a well-earned rest.
For the rest of the day it is all downhill. The walk passes through beautiful rhododendron forest and have lunch at the village of Nangethanti. In the afternoon continue to trek through the forest and for those trekking in late March or April the rhododendron should be in full bloom.
Arrive at Ulleri in the mid afternoon with plenty of time to explore this picturesque village.
Lodge (1 nt)
Days 11-12 Pokhara
Another early start to make the most of the day. From our lodge at Ulleri there is a very steep descent of over 500 metres on a stone staircase to the Bhurungdi Khola River where we cross a small suspension bridge to reach the village of Tirkedunga.
After giving the knees some time to recover, we continue on a more gentle descent to the village of Birethanti, on the banks of the Modi Khola. Here we have lunch and then cross the new bridge to the east bank, before following the river back to our pick-up point at Naya Phul.
After saying farewell to our porters we are transferred by coach back to Pokhara. We stay at a hotel which is located close to the lakeside. This hotel has a swimming pool, so you may wish to bring your swimming costume. After a welcomed shower, we have the rest of the day free to relax or do some exploring. It is well certainly worthwhile hiring a boat for a row out on the lake (Phewa Tal), which is the second largest in Nepal.
Pokhara has an interesting old area as well as an elaborate Hindu temple and a Buddhist monastery. The lakeside area has good shopping opportunities and internet cafes. In the evening there is the option to dine out at one of the many lakeside restaurants (cost not included).
We have allocated a further day in the peaceful surroundings of Pokhara.Your leader can advise you of sightseeing opportunities or you may just wish to relax and laze around the hotel swimming pool.
- Pokhara - Boating on Phewa Lake - entrance fee only - NPR700
- Pokhara - International Mountaineering Museum - NPR500
Hotel Barahi or similar (2 nts)
Days 13-14 Kathmandu
After breakfast we have the morning free in Pokhara to relax or do some more sightseeing.
Fly back to Kathmandu and enjoy a free afternoon to shop for souvenirs or see some more sights.Patan which is located in the south of the city is also worth a visit with its own Durbar Square full of historic structures and statues of past kings.
Our final night in Kathmandu gives us a chance to go out on the town and enjoy a final dinner (optional) with our travelling companions and new-found friends.
Our trip ends the next day after breakfast. Your leader will be on hand to advise and assist with your onward travel arrangements.
A departure transfer to the airport is not included and Kathmandu has so much to offer, so we recommend that you consider booking pre-tour or post-tour accommodation and a departure transfer before you commence your travels.
At the end of your tour please consider donating to the KEEP Porters Clothing Bank. As you will have come to realise on your tour, porters play a vital role in the tourism industry enabling tourists to visit Nepal’s most picturesque and difficult terrain. The majority are subsistence farmers who travel from lower areas of Nepal to the higher elevated trekking routes to find employment. Contrary to the belief that porters are well-adjusted to the cold and altitude of the Himalayas, every year many porters suffer from a variety of illnesses such as altitude sickness, snow blindness, hypothermia and frostbite and some even die as a result. The Clothing Bank was set up in 2009 to provide ill-prepared porters with better clothing suitable for trekking in a mountain environment and reduce the number of unnecessary illnesses and fatalities which occur each year.
Usually donations of used jackets and trousers/pants from Westerners do not fit Nepali porters who tend to be smaller. However donations of other clothing items such as socks, boots, sunglasses, warm gloves and sleeping bags are always welcome. Your leader can ensure that your donation is passed on.
If you would like to make a financial contribution to KEEP please do so through the Intrepid Foundation and we will match your donation dollar for dollar.
Shangri La Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
- HNXD Annapurna Dhaulagiri - Single Supplement (HNXD)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
- Annapurna Circuit (HNXC)
- Everest Base Camp (HNXE)
- Everest & Gokyo Lakes (HNXL)
- Everest Base Camp (HNXE)
- Annapurna Explorer (HNXR)
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
The comforts of home are more of a rarity. English isn't common and the food will be quite different to home. It's important to observe some of the local customs to not cause offence. Many of the locals’ standard of living may be confronting.
Our highest physical rating. Get ready for a heart-pumping adventure with plenty of challenges and some extreme conditions. You'll be required to be seriously fit for this trip as difficult activities are included.
For the trek on this trip the general rule is you will need to be fit and the more preparation you have done for it, the more you will enjoy it. You will be walking in altitudes of up to approximately 4130 metres above sea level and it will be demanding trekking on some days. You will be walking with your full pack, with the possibility of extreme variations in temperature. We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the months before you travel, particularly if you are not used to bouncing around and raising your blood pressure. Doing mountain walks or climbing long stair cases with a pack is good preparation (try putting a few bricks in your pack for real training). Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trek to its fullest.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only and are subject to availabilities. For our families we have priced an all inclusive package including entrance fees, transport and local guide where relevant to assist you with budgeting the exact amount required on tour. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. The optional activities listed in your itinerary are activities that are available to you as a guideline and have been checked locally.
The decision to partake in any activity not listed above is entirely at your own discretion and risk. If you do have any complaint about or problem with, any such optional activity your claim should be directed to the activity provider and not to us.
The official currency of Nepal is the Nepali Rupee (NPR).
ATMs can only be found in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Bhaktapur. Money exchange facilities are available in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan (only outside the park) and Bhaktapur.
The Government of Nepal has banned the import, export and use of 500 and 1000 Indian rupee notes in Nepal. You should ensure you are not carrying these notes on arrival in Nepal as they will be confiscated and you may be fined.
While travellers' cheques have security advantages exchanging them can be a lengthy process, commissions can be high (up to 10%) and they can be difficult to change in rural areas, on weekends and public holidays. If you choose to bring travellers' cheques, make sure they are a major brand and major currency.
Please note that most establishments in Asia will not accept foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded and they can be very difficult to exchange or extra fees added when exchanging at banks. Please ensure that you have new, clean notes.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Hotel porters: NPR50-100 is adequate for porters that assist you with bags to your room.
Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise 5-10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$2-3 per person, per day for local guides. (Including city tour guides, jungle guides, rafting guides, assistant trek guides)
Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a porter in addition to your leader. We suggest US$2-3 per person, per day, per porter.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of US$2-3 per person, per day is generally appropriate.
Local transport: For a city tour we suggest US$2 per person, per day.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$3-5 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
NOTE: Please don't tip with coins or notes of or less than NPR50, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
A departure tax of NPR200 each way for the flight to and from Lukla is NOT included. All international departure taxes should be included in your flight ticket.
Kathmandu Valley-wide transport bandhs (strikes) can be called at very short notice. When these bandhs are in place the Nepal Tourism Board and the Nepal Tourist Police in conjunction with the Himalayan Rescue Association run Shuttle Bus Services between various hotels in Kathmandu and the domestic and international airports; this service costs 300 rupees person.
Weather conditions in the Himalayas can change rapidly and our group leader may be forced to change the trip itinerary accordingly. During the winter months from November to January, flights across Nepal, particularly in high mountain areas, can be delayed due to poor weather conditions. In November 2010 flights from Lukla were delayed for over one week. Travel in rural areas during Monsoon Season (June - September) can be hazardous, with rains causing flooding and landslides that can cut off regions for days at a time. Travellers need to be prepared for all weather conditions and changes in planned itineraries if necessary.
Please note adverse weather conditions at Lukla airport may occasionally mean that your flight to/from Kathmandu cannot operate. Please bear this in mind when making comparisons between companies offering this trip. We build in additional days into the itinerary to accommodate this however, very rarely persistent adverse weather could mean that the start of your trek or your return to Kathmandu is delayed. Ultimately any prolonged delay of your return to Kathmandu may result in missing your intended international flight. In these circumstances we cannot be held responsible for you missing onward travel arrangements.
Between June and August, it is monsoon season in Nepal. If you do choose to travel during this time, please note that you will encounter wet conditions, obscured views, and an extra leech or two. Flights to and from Lukla are also more likely to be delayed due to the weather.
Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 16.
Please bring 2 passport size photographs for your trekking permit to the group meeting.
Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Lodge (8 nts), Shangri La Hotel or similar (3 nts), Hotel Barahi or similar (2 nts)
Accommodation at local lodges - better known as teahouses - are simple but comfortable. Toilets and washing facilities are shared and rudimentary, and the food is plain and filling. In a teahouse, passengers are provided with small twin share rooms with twin beds, mattresses and pillows. At times, in high seasons, and in places where there are limited number of teahouses, passengers have to make do with dormitories. In some places, teahouses don't have access to electricity, depending on solar powered lighting instead. In more remote regions, teahouses don't have running water and toilets can mean just a hole in the ground. Hot shower facilities are available in some teahouses for a price but in most of the places, a hot shower means a bucket of hot water, barely enough to wash your body.
Budget for meals not included:
For all flights to/from Lukla a maximum of 10kg of check-in luggage and 5kg of carry-on hand luggage per person is included with your flight ticket. Excess baggage (up to 5kg per person only) will be charged at NPR120 per person at your own expense.
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Shangri La Hotel
Phone: +977 14412999
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Shangri La Hotel
Phone: +977 14412999
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
All foreign nationals (except Indians) require a visa to enter Nepal. Visas are obtainable from embassies abroad on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport and at some land borders (including borders with India and Tibet).
Getting a visa at the airport can sometimes take time due to long queues. There have been instances when passengers were asked to show return flight tickets. You will also need to provide two passport photos and the following fees in US dollars cash. Other currencies are also accepted although rates may differ. The following costs were correct at time of writing:
- Multi entry visa valid for 15 days - US$25
- Multi entry visa valid for 30 days - US$40
- Multi entry visa valid for 90 days - US$100
Please note if you are staying in Nepal for less than 24 hours while in transit a transit visa can be issued on presentation of your international flight ticket, there is a nominal charge of US$5 and one photo is required.
Your visa application form may require you to state the dates on which you enter and exit that country. Please note we suggest you list your date of entry a few days before, and date of exit a few days after, your intended dates in case you encounter any delays or problems en route. To help calculate the exact dates of these crossings we have found the website www.timeanddate.com to be very useful.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
PACKING, PACK WEIGHT, DAY PACK & PORTERS
Please keep the weight and bulk of your main pack to a minimum by bringing clothes made from lightweight material. Don't pack too much clothing; one or two changes will be all you need. However, as the weather conditions in the Himalayas are often unpredictable, be prepared for all eventualities, be it rain, unseasonable cold or heat. For the trek all of your gear should be packed into plastic bags to protect from the weather - dry clothes are essential for your comfort.
A medium size, comfortable day-pack is required for you to carry personal personal items such as camera, water bottle, valuables, sunscreen, hat etc...
Intrepid provide porters to assist with carrying your main pack, and you will be expected to carry your day pack. Please keep your main pack luggage to a minimum - baggage to be carried by a porter can NOT exceed 10kgs per person.
For all trekking tours you will need the following items:
- Thermals to wear underneath your normal clothing
- Warm, waterproof and windproof jackets and pants
- Thermal lined gloves
- A warm hat (and perhaps a sun hat)
- Good walking boots/shoes with ankle support that are well broken-in (this means worn frequently prior to travel because new boots invariably equal blisters and discomfort).
- Down jacket
Please note all the equipment above, as well as sleeping bags and packs of different sizes, are available to hire on the ground in both Kathmandu or Pokhara. Keep in mind that this can depend on availability and the standard of equipment can vary. Many passengers prefer to bring everything themselves. We do not recommend hiring boots.
Remember to also bring a mixture of t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, warm sweaters, good socks, trousers (lightweight cargo trousers are better than jeans) for layering and for the lower altitudes, and make note of which season you are travelling in.
SLEEPING BAG & INNER SHEET:
A sleeping bag is essential while trekking as only blankets are provided at tea houses. Please note that sleeping bags, are readily available to buy or hire in both Kathmandu and Pokhara at very reasonable rates. Most items can be hired for no more than US$2 per day. Your group leader can assist you in hiring gear. If you plan to hire a sleeping bag we recommend that you bring an inner sleeping sheet, which adds another layer of warmth. Please note for camping treks you need to either bring or hire a 4 season sleeping bag.
LEFT LUGGAGE AT HOTEL:
Please note you do not need to take all your gear with you while trekking - we can leave luggage behind at the hotel and collect it at the end of the trek.
TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT:
It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary to store your luggage separately (and unattended) from the group. The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas. If your bag does not fit in these areas then often the only place to put it is on your bed or seat. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.
Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage for included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.
Before departing on your trek, make sure you have enough Nepalese currency to purchase meals and drinks during the trek - in the smallest denominations possible, as there are no ATM's and no one out there is going to be able to change a NPR500 note!
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
While trekking, boiled or safe water is available for drinking. However, you should also carry a water purification method. Options include:
- purification tablets available from camping stores or pharmacies eg. Micropur.
- 2% tincture of iodine, available from pharmacies, used at 4 drops per litre of water and left for at least 20 minutes - longer in very cold weather.
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
Before your trip:
Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.
During your trip.
While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly.
Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
There have been a number of recent air accidents in Nepal. We only use airlines that have passed strict safety audits for internal flights on this trip, including Buddha Air, Yeti Air & Tara Air. EU clients please see our safety page for important information regarding internal flights in Nepal.
ACCLIMATISATION AND ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
Altitude sickness has the potential to affect all trekkers from 2500m and higher. We ascend slowly and give our bodies plenty of time to adjust to the smaller quantities of oxygen in the air. However it is important to be aware of the normal altitude symptoms that you may encounter BUT NOT worry about:
- Periods of sleeplessness
- Occasional loss of appetite
- Vivid, wild dreams at around 2500-3800m in altitude
- Unexpected momentary shortness of breath, day and night
- Periodic breathing that wakes you occasionally
- Your nose becomes bunged up
- Dry cough develops
- Mild headache
If you are feeling nauseous and dizzy be sure to let your group leader know so that we can monitor your condition.
TRAINING FOR A TREK
Before deciding whether or not you want to travel on this trip, please have a read of the training for a trek document.
Travelling in India and Nepal whilst the Holi festival is on (a lunar festival but generally held in March every year), can at times be dangerous - a lot of locals participate in consumption of intoxicating substances. The day has been associated with physical violence and danger. Your leader will be advising you and your group on what places to avoid on this day and it may even be necessary for us to alter your itinerary for the day to avoid putting you or our group leader in high risk situation.
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
Please ensure that your policy does cover you up to the maximum altitude on this trip, and includes helicopter evacuation. Proof of this must be taken with you on the trip, as you will need to show it to the leader.
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
Dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees by wearing sleeves and long trousers. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in areas of predominantly hot climate. In many rural areas women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.
ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING:
While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including the World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for protection of Animals) advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link:
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Responsible Travel projects
Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Nepal include:
* Kathmandu Environmental Education Program (KEEP)
KEEP advocates and promotes ‘minimum impact’ trekking by working with visitors, the tourism industry and the local community. KEEP offers training on nature conservation to the local Nepalese, as well as basic and intermediate English for trekking guides and lodge owners, first aid training, eco-trekking workshops and courses on ecological thinking and Positive Impact Tourism. Your support through The Intrepid Foundation will support the purchase of clothing and equipment for the Porters Clothing Bank, and the conduct of porters’ awareness workshops. www.keepnepal.org
just-one targets disadvantaged children living in dangerous and vulnerable situations on the streets and provides them with training and educational opportunities that bring greater economic security to themselves and their families. Your support through The Intrepid Foundation will assist them in developing their current facilities to include an activity centre and library at their rehab home, and help them build capacity to reach an even greater number of disadvantaged children.
*Prisoner's Assistance (PA) Nepal
Prisoner’s Assistance (PA) Nepal helps to equip children of prisoners with self-sustaining life skills and education, moving them out of prisons and into the community. Your support through The Intrepid Foundation will help increase the capacity PA Nepal to support more prisoners’ children.
For more information on our projects in Nepal, or to make a donation, visit: www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/?projectcountry=nepal
Carbon Offset C02-e 67.00 kgs per pax.
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