Last Modified: 16 Apr 2014
Trip code: HNXS
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
From ancient kingdoms to majestic mountain vistas, trek for 15 days through the breathtaking Himalaya landscape of the Annapurna Ranges. 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.
Table of Contents
- Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Day 1 Kathmandu
Namaste! Welcome to Nepal.
You can arrive at any time on day 1 as there are no activities planned until the important welcome meeting at 18:00. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where and when this important meeting will take place. Please ask a member of reception for this information.
Kathmandu is an awesome mixture of legend and modern development with a rich artistic and cultural heritage. Narrow lanes lead to small squares and courtyards where ornate carved balconies overlook shrines and temples. Buzzing markets and bazaars are the centre of Nepali life where stalls and small hole-in-the-wall shops sell everything from bangles to Buddhas to beetroot. Kathmandu has been a travellers' centre for many years, reflected in the international flavour of the bright lights and 'Coca Cola culture' of the central Thamel district.
If you arrive early, why not take time to climb to the Swayambhunath Temple. Situated on a hilltop, the instantly recognisable stupa with its Buddha eyes attracts a steady stream of pilgrims and the views out over the valley are superb. Alternatively, check out Durbar Square, home to the palace of the Kumari Devi, considered to be a living goddess.
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 acclimatising 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:
- Kathmandu - Durbar Square - NPR750
- Kathmandu - Everest scenic flight - USD190
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Day 2 Bandipur
Leaving Kathmandu, we head for Bandipur, first by local bus and then by Jeep; stopping along the way at Dumre (approx.5 hours). Located high on a ridge (1,000 m) above the road to Pokhara lies this little-known Newari trading village.
At the eastern part of the town is the pagoda-roofed Bindabasini temple which acts as the abode of the goddess Durga, Bandipur's guardian deity. The rich wooden carvings and detailed brass-work that adorn the temple are replicas of those found in the many old pagoda structures of the Kathmandu Valley.
Bandipur is still not in many travellers 'to visit' list, so the likelihood of meeting fellow travellers is still very minimal. The views are stupendous, as is the warm local welcome. There is a terrace opposite the hotel in the main street from where you can view the other side of the valley and watch the goings on of the village - a great place to enjoy an afternoon drink. In front of the guesthouse is a café and bar serving simple, delicious meals from locally sourced organic ingredients.
Be prepared for simple lodgings and food, but more importantly the genuine friendliness of the locals and the simply stunning views of the Annapurna and Manaslu mountain ranges - the hallmark of this region. Bandipur is a basic village but the surrounding countryside makes for great walks and all the locals will want to talk to you and guide you on your way.
Our accommodation for the night is a restored village mansion in the heart of the old bazaar. The rooms here are simple but cosy in traditional style with dim lighting, old wooden doors and thick brick walls. The timber and red brick building with carved beams and staircases has pleasant twin and double rooms in traditional style with separate shared facilities (towels provided, separate ladies'/gents' blocks). The facilities might be simple, but the staff are extremely friendly and helpful and the Nepalese feel of the place has been retained so it's a favourite of many of our travellers.
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Day 3 Pokhara
Leaving the Bandipur behind, we head for the enchanting Nepalese town of Pokhara (approx. 3 hours).
Pokhara enjoys a delightful setting on a lake beneath the snow-capped peaks of the Annapurna range, making it an excellent place to relax and contemplate what lies ahead. This afternoon we have our trek briefing and preparation, but depending on our arrival time, there may be time to hire a small boat for a quick paddle on the lake. There are also plenty of cafes where you can put your feet up and enjoy international cuisine, while the main street is full of shops and stalls selling a wide range of Nepali and Tibetan souvenirs. If you need to hire some extra trekking gear then there are numerous shops available offering everything you could possibly need.
Pokhara is part of a once vibrant trade route extending between India and Tibet. To this day, mule trains can be seen camped on the outskirts of the town, bringing goods to trade from remote regions of the Himalayas. This is the land of Magars and Gurungs, hardworking farmers and valorous warriors who have earned world-wide fame as Gurkha soldiers. The Thakalis, another important ethnic group here, are known for their entrepreneurship.
Our simple hotel in Pokhara is set 300m back from Fewa Lake and with a back-drop of Machhapuchhare (Fishtail mountain) rising beyond. It has twin-bedded rooms with attached bath and a hot shower facility.
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Days 4-13 Annapurna Ranges
At 8,091m, Annapurna 1 is one of the highest mountains in the world. Its surrounding sister mountains are equally imposing and create magnificent panoramas from any view point. This trek covers a wide variety of terrain, from lowland pastures and peaceful villages to powerful glaciers and stunning mountain views. In the rugged mountain scenery, we stay in mountain communities and meet friendly Nepali hill people as they go about their daily lives. The expedition is not only visually superb but also a chance to learn about local cultures. Along the way we see thundering waterfalls of melted snow, cross icy rivers and reward ourselves with a soak in natural hot springs.
While the trekking is challenging, averaging 6-7 hours' walking a day on steep terrain, our Annapurna Sanctuary expedition into the Himalayas allows you to get up close to the massive Himalayas without major issues associated with high altitude. The highest point on the trek is Annapurna Base Camp at 4130m, which is optional. Those concerned about altitude sickness are welcome to remain in the Machhapuchhre Base Camp (or even lower) for an afternoon of rest.
We stay overnight in small basic teahouses along the track. These remote teahouses are operated by the mountain Nepalese to cater for trekkers, and they provide simple but delicious hot food.
Details for the trek are as follows. (Please note, however, that the exact itinerary can vary due to unforseen circumstances including weather conditions or strikes called by the political parties.) All trekking times are approximate.
Day 5 - Pokhara to Tikhedhunga (1,540m/approx. 5 hours).
An hour long drive (remember driving times are always approximate in Asia - patience is your closest friend!) brings us to Nayapul where we commence our trek. We gear up and follow the Bhurungi Khola until we reach Tikhedhunga.
Day 6 - Tikhedhunga to Ghorepani (2,750m/approx. 6 hours).
We ascend to Ulleri Village through a pleasant rhododendron forest, much more impressive than the trees your grandmother has in the garden! We stay overnight at Ghorepani (check out the local disco - but don't get your hopes up in case it's closed!).
Day 7 - Ghorepani to Tadapani (2,700m/approx. 5 hours).
Early birds can bounce out of bed to witness the sunrise over Annapurna from nearby Poon Hill (1 hour uphill climb) - you have to do this at least once in your life, right? Then the adventure continues as we trek on to Tadapani.
Day 8 - Tadapani to Chhomrong (2,170m/approx. 6 hours).
We descend to Kimrung Khola before climbing again to Chhomrong village, at the base of Hiunchuli (6441m). There are breathtaking views of Annapurna and Macchhapucchhre from here, plus delicious pizza! By now we will have realised that there are some items we could do without, so excess gear can be left in Chhomrong as we will return through here on day 12.
Please note the walk on days 8-12 is flexible according to weather conditions and how the group is coping.
Day 9 - Chhomrong to Doban (2,580m/approx. 6.5 hours).
On to Kuldi Ghar for about 3 hours' walking, then down to the banks of the Modi River and up again to Doban.
Day 10 - Doban to Deurali (3,231m/approx. 4 hours).
Passing through Himalaya Hotel, we continue up the narrow valley to Deurali.
Day 11 - Deurali to Annapurna Base Camp (4,130m/approx. 4.5 hours).
Sticking to the west bank of the Modi River, we enter an open valley near Machhapuchhre Base Camp. This is where you can decide how your legs and your lungs are holding up. You may decide to remain here or press on to the Annapurna Base Camp for the night. The views from both base camps are fantastic - all the hard work to get here is worth it!
Day 12 - Annapurna Base Camp to Bamboo (2,335m/approx. 7 hours)
After seeing the sunrise on the snowy peaks around us we head back down the valley the same way to Bamboo (or further if the knees can handle it).
Day 13 - Bamboo to Jhinu Danda (1,780m/approx. 5.5 hours).
Passing back through the up and down staircases of Chhomrong we continue on down to Jhinu Danda. From here it's a 20 minute walk down to a hot spring by the Modi Khola for a well-deserved bath!
Day 14 - Jhinu Danda to Pothana (1,970m/approx. 7 hours).
By now we have thighs of steel and are pretty good at carrying our packs. It's down to cross the river and an ascent to Landruk, Tolkha, Deurali and Pothana.
Note - This is a trek that requires a very good level of fitness as there are plenty of ascents and descents (in fact there's hardly anything flat!) and the walking is strenuous. The weather can be harsh in December and January with snow and frosts. Our expedition is led by an experienced local guide who speaks English.
Our accommodation along the way is at local lodges, better known as teahouses, which are comfortable without being luxurious, toilets and washing facilities are shared and rudimentary, and the food is plain and filling. In a teahouse, we are provided with small private rooms with twin beds, mattresses and pillows. At times, in high seasons, and in places where there are a limited number of teahouses, we may have some nights in dormitories. In some places, teahouses don't have access to electricity and depend on solar powered lighting. In remoter regions, teahouses don't have running water and toilets can mean just a hole in the ground. Hot shower facilities are available in the majority of the teahouses for a price although in most of the places, a hot shower just means a bucket of hot water!
- Porter for trekking days
- Poon Hill sunrise hike
- Annapurna Base Camp trek
- Machhapuchhre Base Camp trek
- Modi Khola Hot Springs - USD1
Teahouse (10 nts)
Days 14-15 Pokhara
This is the final day of the trek and it is a short downhill stretch all the way from Pothana to Phedi (approx 1.5 hours) via Dhampus village... yes, we made it! After lunch it's only about 45 mins (driving!) to Pokhara to check into our hotel for a well-earned shower and an end-of-trek celebration to enjoy the good things in life - like cold beer and a steak, or vegetarian lasagne!
There are no activities planned for day 15 and you are able to depart the hotel at any time. Check out time from the hotel is at 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
There are numerous buses each day making the run to Kathamandu as well as buses to Chitwan National Park. There are also buses leaving for the Indian border and on to the holy city of Varanasi. Pokhara is also connected to Kathmandu by several daily flights.
- Pokhara - Boating on Phewa Lake - NPR500
- Pokhara - International Mountaineering Museum - NPR500
Guesthouse (1 nt)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
- Annapurna Circuit (HNXC)
- Walking Annapurna (HNAA-B)
- Everest & Gokyo Lakes (HNXL)
Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The majority of activities included on this trip will be challenging. The fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy your holiday.
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. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
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 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 NPR20, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Please bring 2 passport size photographs for your trekking permit to the group meeting.
Weather conditions in the Himalayas can change rapidly and our group leader may be forced to change the trip itinerary accordingly. The months of January and February may see the base camp component of the trip delayed or even cancelled due to the inclement weather. Alternative itineraries will apply if this is the case. Travellers need to be prepared for all weather conditions. For more information please read the 'What to Take' section of these Trip Notes.
Snap bandhs (strikes) can occur at any time in Nepal with very little notice, resulting in your itinerary having to be revised. Although we will endeavour to minimise any additional costs incurred there may be occasions where the traveller will need to cover trip changes, including flights, of which you will need to use your emergency funds and then claim the money on your travel insurance.
Maximum of 12 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.
Teahouse (10 nts), Guesthouse (4 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.
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
Budget for meals not included:
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.
Holy Himalaya Hotel
Brahmakumari Marg Jyatha Road
+977 1 4263172
Joining point description
Hotel Holy Himalaya has 55 rooms and is centrally located in Thamel. The facilities in the rooms include air conditioner and ensuite bathrooms.It also has a rooftop garden with mountain views.
Joining point instructions
There are two pre-paid taxi booths inside the terminal, one on each side as you exit the baggage claim area. They have fixed rates of NPR400 to anywhere in the Thamel area from 6am-8pm and NPR500 from 8pm-6am. Otherwise you will need to bargain hard from the taxi rank outside of the airport - aim for NPR300. The drive into Thamel takes 30 to 40mins dependant on the traffic.
Alternatively Intrepid offer a pre-arranged transfer service option. Enquire with your agent and advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip departure. If you have purchased an arrival transfer you will be met after exiting customs outside. Look for our representative holding a sign with your name on it. If you have any trouble locating your transfer rep, or if your flight is going to be delayed, please call the following numbers:
+977 985 106 8827 (Balaram)
+977 984 123 1506 (Dil)
Normal check in time at the hotel is after 12:00.
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 operators Emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Alternate Finish point
For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
19 Apr 2014 (HNXS140419), 17 May 2014 (HNXS140517), 27 Sep 2014 (HNXS140927), 11 Oct 2014 (HNXS141011), 18 Oct 2014 (HNXS141018), 01 Nov 2014 (HNXS141101), 15 Nov 2014 (HNXS141115), 29 Nov 2014 (HNXS141129), 07 Mar 2015 (HNXS150307), 04 Apr 2015 (HNXS150404), 18 Apr 2015 (HNXS150418), 02 May 2015 (HNXS150502), 16 May 2015 (HNXS150516), 26 Sep 2015 (HNXS150926), 10 Oct 2015 (HNXS151010), 17 Oct 2015 (HNXS151017), 07 Nov 2015 (HNXS151107), 14 Nov 2015 (HNXS151114), 28 Nov 2015 (HNXS151128)
Hotel Mountain Villa
Diko Patan, Hallan Chowk
Lake Side, Baidam
Phone: +977 61461954
Alternate Finish point instructions
There are daily flights to Kathmandu, along with frequent daily buses to Kathmandu, or to Chitwan National Park and the Indian border and Varanasi.
Check out time from the hotel is at 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
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, the International airport, or on arrival at the India / Nepal border.
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 only:
- 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 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 and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
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 12kgs per person.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
Your leader will conduct a brief safety discussion before our trekking activity.
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.
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!
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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:
* The Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP) promotes positive impact tourism and minimum impact trekking through information services for travellers and locals. They also provide vocational training in hospitality, ecotourism, conservation, first aid and English to ensure the future ecological and cultural prosperity of Nepal.
Carbon Offset C02-e 67.00 kgs per pax.
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