Colours of Nepal Trip Notes

Journey around Nepal from Kathmandu to Pokhara and Bandipur, meet the creatures of Chitwan National Park and discover the colours and characters of the 'roof of the world'.

    • 11
    • HNKA
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $2,305
      CAD $2,380
      AUD $2,335
      EUR €1,605
      GBP £1,350
      NZD $2,600
      ZAR R23,370
      CHF FR1,945
      *
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    • Explorer
    • Comfort
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Print Version
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014
Colours of Nepal
Trip code: HNKA
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 31 Dec 2015
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
StyleGroup sizeVisas
ThemesYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
MapSingle travellersWhat to take
ItineraryAccommodationSafety
Also available to purchaseMealsTravel insurance
We also recommendTransportResponsible Travel
Culture shock rating Joining point A couple of rules
Physical ratingArrival complicationsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyFinish point Carbon offset
TippingEmergency contactFeedback
Important notesEmergency funds
Style
Comfort
  • 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!
Themes
Explorer
Map

Itinerary
Days 1-2 Kathmandu
Namaste! Welcome to Nepal.
An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
You can arrive at any time on day 1 as there are no activities planned until the important welcome meeting. 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.
The real Kathmandu is a contrast. Work your way through manic traffic to the peace of the Great Stupa of Tibetan Buddhism at Bodhnath and the nearby holy site of Lord Shiva. Heighten your spiritual awareness as you witness the devotion of the people around the religious sites and feel the pulse of Kathmandu in the colourful local market.
Take a tour to the small, feudal city of Bhaktapur. This lovely town, almost a timewarp of temples and backstreets, has all the commotion and colour of long tradition and rich heritage. Visit a Bhaktapur potter and try your hand at their craft. Walk on cobbled streets and through narrow alleyways to get an insight into the life of the local people.
In the early morning – weather permitting we take the Scenic Mt. Everest flight. This amazing experience will take us parallel to the Himalayan range that includes Mt. Everest.
On our return 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.
Included Activities
  • Kathmandu - Guided city tour
  • Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple
  • Everest View Flight in early morning
Optional Activities
  • Kathmandu - Day trip to Patan - NPR500
Accommodation
Shangri La Hotel or similar (2 nts)
Days 3-4 Pokhara
Nestled in a valley and sitting on a lake so still it reflects the mountains, Pokhara is the gateway to the Annapurna Ranges and Nepal's second largest city.
We have an early departure from the hotel for our flight to Pokhara which usually offers spectacular views of the main Himalayan chain to the north.
Take a boat ride across the lake (Phewa Tal), which is the second largest in Nepal.
Stop in at the fascinating International Mountain Museum, where we learn of the amazing tales and hear about the exploits of the various climbing expeditions in the past.
There is plenty of free time for further exploration in the peaceful surroundings of Pokhara. The lakeside area has good shopping opportunities and internet cafes. Pokhara has an interesting old area as well as an elaborate Hindu temple and a Buddhist monastery.
Included Activities
  • Pokhara - Boating on Phewa Lake - entrance fee only
  • Pokhara - Peace Pagoda
Accommodation
Hotel Tulshi or similar (2 nts)
Days 5-6 Bandipur
Drive by private vehicle to Bandipur. (2.5hrs approx)
Winding its way up and down hills, Bandipur's main street is lined with three or four storey brick buildings with carved wooden windows. The small temples in the town add to the atmosphere in what is a traditional Nepali hill village, still relatively untouched by modern tourism; few foreigners find their way up here. Sit and relax, or stretch your legs with a walk through the village and out into the surrounding countryside for superb views up the Marsyangdi River valley, to the Himalaya beyond. Many of the range's giants can be seen - Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Manaslu, and the distant Annapurnas.
Included Activities
  • Bandipur - Guided walk
Accommodation
Local Guesthouse (2 nts)
Days 7-8 Chitwan National Park
Heading down south to the lowlands, we drive to the Chitwan National Park (approx 3 hrs). Of all the world's remaining jungles, this is one of the most enchanting.
In the afternoon take a 'rhino-watch' safari, keeping an eye out for crocodiles, pythons, deer, brilliantly coloured birds and rhinos, even the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger is a possibility with luck on your side.
Before dinner enjoy a traditional 'stick dance' performance by the Tharu tribe.
In the morning take a canoe ride along the Rapti River on the park's boundary, which shelters a quarter of the world's remaining gharial population. This fish eating crocodile has long been hunted for the supposed aphrodisiac qualities of its snout. Later this morning, we also visit a tribal village.
There is some flexibility and activities may vary with the time of the year and known wildlife movements and locations.
Included Activities
  • Chitwan - Jeep safari
  • Chitwan NP - Jungle walk
  • Chitwan - Canoe safari, Bird Watching walk or Jeep safari
Accommodation
Royal Park Hotel or similar (2 nts)
Day 9 Bhaktapur
Continue on to Bhaktapur (6-7hrs approx.) which was once the Capital of Nepal and the Great Malla Kingdom during the 15th century. It’s rich heritage, inspiring temples and artisan history played a big part in Bhaktapur being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Accommodation
Local Guesthouse (1 nt)
Days 10-11 Kathmandu
Spend the morning exploring Bhaktapur’s famous temples, starting at Durbar Square, the majestic Lion Gate and the Golden Gate, reputed to be the most beautiful piece of art In Nepal. The Pashupati Temple, a replica of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu. An enlightening morning of discovery and enrichment as we truly deep dive into all Bhaktapur has to offer.
In the afternoon of day 10 we drive to Kathmandu.
The evening is free to relax and celebrate your journey with an optional final night dinner together at one of Kathmandu's great restaurants.
There are no activities planned on the last day and after breakfast you may depart the hotel at any time. Check-out from the hotel is at 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
Accommodation
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.
  • HNKA Colours of Nepal - Single Supplement (HNKA)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Ladakh Explorer (HHKL)
  • Colours of Nepal - Independent (HNKAJ)
Culture shock rating

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.
Physical rating

Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye to this unavoidable issue in some areas, Intrepid has established a centralised fund whereby contributions from recommended suppliers are collected and distributed back into the business. Intrepid aim to provide the best value trips in the market, and this fund assists in keeping operating costs and trip prices low to you.
A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of our traveller - you - is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
Spending money
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.
Tipping
NEPAL:
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.
Important notes
NEPAL STRIKES:
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.
MONSOON SEASON
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.
Group size
Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
Your group will be a mixture of Intrepid booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers from our sister company Peregrine Adventures.
Single travellers
A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
Accommodation
Shangri La Hotel or similar (3 nts), Local Guesthouse (3 nts), Hotel Tulshi or similar (2 nts), Royal Park Hotel or similar (2 nts)
Meals
10 Breakfasts
USD 250.00
Transport
Boat, Plane, Private Bus
Joining point
Shangri La Hotel
Lazimpat Road
Lazimpat
Kathmandu
44600
NEPAL
Phone: +977 14412999
Arrival complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the Joining Instructions section above for who to contact.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, again following the Joining Instructions in these trip notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Finish point
Shangri La Hotel
Lazimpat Road
Lazimpat
Kathmandu
44600
NEPAL
Phone: +977 14412999
Emergency contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency please contact our local office in Kathmandu on +977 9801 123 617
For further contact details please visit:
Emergency funds
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
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.
NEPAL:
Australia: Yes - on arrival
Belgium: Yes - on arrival
Canada: Yes - on arrival
Germany: Yes - on arrival
Ireland: Yes - on arrival
Netherlands: Yes - on arrival
New Zealand: Yes - on arrival
South Africa: Yes - on arrival
Switzerland: Yes - on arrival
United Kingdom: Yes - on arrival
USA: Yes - on arrival
Visas are obtainable from embassies abroad or on arrival at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport. If getting the visa at the airport be prepared for 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 two photos are required.
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
WATER BOTTLE:
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 end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
PASSPORT COPY:
Please bring a photocopy of your passport main page and airline ticket if you will require airline reconfirmation at the end of your trip.
LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS:
Please note domestic airlines allow a maximum of 20kg check in luggage and 5kg hand luggage. Any excess luggage expense will be your own responsibility.
HEADLAMP OR TORCH:
A headlamp or torch is recommended for around your accommodation at night. Some properties have limited lighting and are powered by generators that switch off at a certain time. It’s a good idea to bring a headlamp or torch to navigate your way around at night.
CLOTHING:
You visit a number of temples on this trip so it's a good idea to take a sarong along with you as it is compulsory to wear in a lot of temples and for shoulders and knees to be covered. Singlets, tank tops, shorts are not acceptable attire for temple visits.
Safety
INTERNAL FLIGHTS:
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.
PERSONAL SAFETY - NEPAL:
Pick-pocketing and bag-snatching are common, particularly in airports and on buses. Take care when walking around at night. Avoid walking on your own and don’t carry large sums of cash. Keep valuables in a hotel safe if possible. Bars and restaurants now close at midnight as part of a government crackdown on illegal activities. Foreigners remaining in bars and clubs after hours have been detained by the police.
FESTIVALS:
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.
HELICOPTERS:
With the exception of medical and emergency evacuations, due to the safety risks involved we are unable to use helicopters as a substitute for cancelled or postponed internal flights or for any other itinerary alterations.
Travel insurance
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:
Responsible Travel
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:
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.
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 local representative 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:
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 192.00 kgs per pax.
Feedback
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We realise that our partner company may ask you to complete paper or online feedback following your trip, however we would also like to know what you thought and encourage you to submit your feedback to us too. We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
Once you’ve left your feedback with us you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.