Nepal Adventure Trip Notes

For the ultimate tour in Nepal, embark on Intrepid's Nepal Adventure. Visit Kathmandu, Pokhara, Bandipur and the Siklis area as you tour Nepal's beautiful countryside.

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    • HNXA
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    • Explorer, Walking
    • Original
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Last Modified: 21 Feb 2013
Nepal Adventure
Trip code: HNXA
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2012
Yearning for travel laced with adventure? Jump on this action-packed journey full of variety and unique experiences. Trek through rhododendron forests deep in the Siklis and soak up glorious mountain vistas on hike through the spectacular Kathmandu Valley. Meet friendly locals in Bhaktapur and enjoy a riveting cultural experience Pokhara. Admire the majestic Himalaya, go river rafting, and explore ancient kingdoms. This two-week Nepal Adventure has it all.
Table of Contents
StyleGroup sizeEmergency contact
ThemesYour fellow travellersEmergency funds
MapSingle travellersVisas
ItineraryAccommodationIssues on your trip
Itinerary disclaimerMeals introductionWhat to take
Culture shock rating MealsHealth
Physical ratingTransportSafety
Physical preparationGroup leaderTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point Responsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionA couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsResponsible Travel projects
TippingFinish point Carbon offset
Departure taxFinish point descriptionFeedback
Important notesFinish point instructions
Style
Original
  • 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.
Themes
Walking, Explorer
Map
Nepal Adventure
Itinerary
Days 1-2 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 17:00. 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 a fascinating 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. Crowded 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 which is reflected in the international flavour of the bright lights and 'Coca Cola culture' of the central Thamel district.
On day 2 we make an early start to climb to Swayambhunath, the monkey temple. Situated on a hilltop, this instantly recognisable stupa with its Buddha eyes attracts a steady stream of pilgrims and the views out over the valley are superb.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. There is free time during the afternoon before a guided walk takes us through the heart of the old city to Durbar Square, home to the palace of the Kumari Devi, considered to be a living goddess.
Also on day 2 will include a visit to and presentation by KEEP (Kathmandu Environmental Education Project), which is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation that aims to minimise the negative influences of tourism by advocating and promoting 'minimum impact' trekking. Its aims are twofold. To provide impartial and independent information to travellers and to ensure the future ecological and cultural prosperity of Nepal through positive impact tourism and outreach project work. At the organisation's Information Centre we will get practical advice about conservation, trekking and mountain safety, causes of deforestation, ecotourism, and the do's and don'ts of Nepalese society.
ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
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:
http://d3oxn90f3yphmd.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/file_attach/52735_product_altitude-sickness.pdf
Included Activities
  • Kathmandu - Visit to KEEP
  • Kathmandu - Guided city tour
  • Kathmandu - Durbar Square
  • Kathmandu - Bodhnath Stupa
  • Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple
  • Kathmandu - Swayambhunath Temple
Optional Activities
  • Kathmandu - Day trip to Patan - NPR400
  • Kathmandu - Everest scenic flight - USD190
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Days 3-4 Kathmandu Valley
Time to stretch those muscles and get out into the Nepali countryside. We take day packs with enough gear for 2 nights and our main packs are transported to Bhaktapur.
On day 3 we drive northwards to the hill station of Nagarkot (approx. 2 hrs). Later we have the chance to stretch our legs on an optional walk around the surrounding or simply lounge around enjoying the view of the valley beneath and the distant mountains amidst the tranquility and natural beauty of Nagarkot. Situated high on a ridge on the north eastern rim of the valley, this is one of the best places in the valley for all-round views of the Himalayas - from Gaui Shankar to Ganesh Himal and, on a very clear day, even Mount Everest.
In Nagarkot we stay in a villa nestled on the top of the Nagarkot hill at 1950m. All rooms are well furnished and spacious with attached baths and 24 hours hot/cold running water.
On day 4 wake-up to the magnificent view of the first rays of sun hitting the Himalayas. After breakfast we hike down to the medieval town of Bhaktapur via the oldest temple in Nepal, Changunarayan, taking a scenic route through terraced paddy fields, villages and pine forests- partly switching back and forth along the countryside road (5.5 hrs approx). In the afternoon, go on a guided tour of the town still proudly living in its past. The wooden palace and the five storey pagoda temple are two of the most beautiful buildings in Nepal and the people live up to their town's name which translates as 'town of devotees'.
Our guesthouse has small rooms and is in a great location, close to the Nyatapola Temple and porter's square. A roof top restaurant offers a great view of Bhaktapur.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Day 5 Nuwakot
We drive back to the city and then continue to the north-west climbing out of the valley taking the criss-crossing road heading towards Trisuli Bazaar. Just before the bazaar, we turn off the main road and head up the hill to the ancient citadel of Nuwakot (approx . 4.5 hrs). It was in Nuwakot that the unifier of Nepal, Prithvi Narayan Shah, in 1769 established his Gorkha army. Nuwakot's saddle-back position provides impressive defences in three directions sweeping down to river valleys far below while its imposing towers, seen from any approach, were enough to deter any force. Just beyond, on the south-facing hillside, backed by the 7,000m Langtang Himal, is the delightfully restored The Famous Farm.
Accommodation
Farmstay (1 nt)
Day 6 Trisuli River
Transfer to the rafting put-in at Baireni, driving down from Nuwakot to now familiar road (20 mins approx) before veering off the road on to a less-frequented, but bumpy, dirt track following the course of the river which you're soon going to negotiate. The dirt track merges with the highway, after about 1.5 hrs giving you respite from the bumpy ride, at Galcchi, from where it's a short drive to the put-in at Baireni/Galaudi. Rendezvous with your rafting crew, safety briefing and straight to action. This river offers the best introduction to rafting in Nepal with grade 2-4 rapids.
Depending on the river current, we'll be paddling for approximately 4-5 hours on day 6 as we make our way to our campsite at the Trisuli. The open rafts hold 8 persons and international standard lifejackets and head gear are provided. The rafting guide will give you a safety drill and demonstration of the commands.
Accommodation for the night is at our permanent tented camps on the sandy banks of the river, connected to the roadside village and our small café by a trail bridge. There are in total 10 spacious safari tents with twin beds, mattresses, bed-sheets and linen. Solar heated hot shower facility and toilets are available at the campsite. Meals are taken in the café on the other side of the bridge. In the free-time, passengers can visit the nearby villages, or wander around in the well-restored and maintained 'Garden of Streams' wherein lies the 'Big Fig', one of the oldest and biggest Banyan tree you'll ever see.
Included Activities
  • Trisuli River - Rafting
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Day 7 Bandipur
Rafting for another 3 hours we reach our end point then take a bus to Dumre (approx. 2 hrs) where we transfer to jeeps to travel the final 7km up the mountain to Bandipur (approx. 30 minutes). The road is a twisting mountain track so be prepared! After arrival there is free time.
Bandipur is a relatively non-touristy town so it is unlikely that we will meet many other travellers there. The views are wonderful as is the warm local welcome. 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 guesthouse tonight is a restored village house in the heart of the old bazaar. The timber and red brick building with carved beams and staircases has pleasant twin and double rooms with separate shared facilities. In front of the guesthouse is a café and bar serving simple, delicious meals from locally sourced organic ingredients.
Included Activities
  • Bandipur - Guided walk
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Day 8 Pokhara
In the early morning we head to Pokhara (approx. 3 hrs) with some great scenery on the way. Once on the vibrant trade route extending between India and Tibet, Pokhara's delightful setting on Phewa Lake has the Annapurna Range almost hanging over the town and is very atmospheric. You can prepare for the trek to come by taking an afternoon walk to the World Peace Pagoda, perched on the hill on the other side of Fewa Lake.
If there is time, visit Pokhara Museum as it reflects the ethnic mosaic of western Nepal, inviting you to learn about the lifestyles and history of ethnic groups such as the Gurung, Thakali and the Tharu.
Pick up some goodies at the open market of the Tibetan Refugee Camp and learn thing or two about the intricacies of carpet weaving at the all female carpet factory.
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.
Optional Activities
  • Pokhara - Boating on Fewa Lake - NPR500
  • Pokhara - International Mountaineering Museum - NPR500
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Days 9-12 Siklis Trek
On this trip, we wanted to enjoy a trek that would open up the magnificent views that are afforded by the Annapurnas but was away from the major circuit. The less-travelled trails of the Siklis area are the perfect answer. There are no teahouses in this area so we travel as a fully supported expedition, and when we say fully supported we mean it. Under the leadership of a sirdar, the organiser of a trekking party, there are porters to carry all the tents (including toilet and dining tents), chairs, food and your belongings, a chef and assistant to cook for us and of course sherpas. All you need carry is a daypack with a few basics for the day.
Day 9 (approx 6 hrs trekking)
We take a short drive to Lamakhet before starting our trek through the land of the Gurung people following the Mardi Khola river. The people here are very friendly and open. From their terraced fields we climb through alpine meadows and forests to Ghalegaon (1620m). A short walk beyond the village and the many giants of the Annapurna are revealed with a dozen or so peaks over 6500m, as well as massive glaciers.
Day 10 (approx 5.5 hrs trekking)
In the morning we trek westwards with the snow-capped peaks to our right. After lunch we make the steep climb up to Tara Top, a grassy wooded knoll and the highest point of the trek at 3056m. This is the point where we get spectacular 180-degree panoramic views - the Annapurnas, central Nepal and the foothills dropping down to the plains of India. Sunset and sunrise are just spectacular.
Day 11 (approx 5.5 hrs trekking)
We start our return journey but by a different route. Today's trek takes us through a shady rhododendron forest full of orchids, lichen and moss. In the afternoon we have a steep descent to our campsite at Parje (1980m).
Day 12 (approx 5 hrs trekking)
Today is all the way downhill following the course of Modi river to the village of Sabi (830m).
These nights we will stay in alpine camping tents with 2 separate foam mattresses, bed-covers, linen and pillows for 2 passengers each. There will be a separate dining tent with dining table and chairs, and toilet tents. Hot, clean water provided for brushing and washing up. As far as possible, camping is done as close to the water source.
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (4 nts)
Day 13 Pokhara
Our walk follows a small stream that leads us down into the Pokhara valley (approx 3 hrs trekking) where private transport will take us back to our simple hotel in Pokhara for mid-afternoon (approx. 1 hr).
Nestled in a tranquil valley, Pokhara is a great place for just relaxing after working those muscles - the ideal place to finish your trek. Hiring a rowboat to paddle on the lake is a great way to appreciate the magnificent surroundings - you can even get someone else to do the rowing! There are plenty of lakeside 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.
A Nepali dinner and party is held in the gardens of our trek headquarters to celebrate our return and to say goodbye to our porters and trek staff.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Days 14-15 Kathmandu
We start early on day 14 as it is a long bus ride for the return journey to Kathmandu (approx. 7 hrs). Arriving back in the early afternoon, and checking back into our hotel, the rest of the day is free for you to explore more of this legendary city.
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.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
      Itinerary disclaimer
      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.
      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

      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.
      Physical preparation
      We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trip to its fullest.
      For the trek on this trip the general rule is the more preparation you have done for it, the more you will enjoy it. Although we are not walking at altitude or setting any distance records each day, the trek can still be demanding , as we walk through hilly terrain with our daypacks, with the possibility of extreme variations in temperature.
      Included activities
      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.
      Optional activities
      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.
      Money Exchange
      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.
      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: NPR20-30 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$1-2 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$1-2 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$1-2 per person, per day is generally appropriate.
      Local transport: For a city tour we suggest US$1 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$2-3 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 NPR1, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
      Departure tax
      All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
      Important notes
      PASSPORT PHOTO:
      Please bring 2 passport size photographs (for trekking permits) to the group meeting.
      NEPAL STRIKES:
      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.
      EXTREME WEATHER:
      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.
      Group size
      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
      Single travellers
      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 room (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.
      Accommodation
      Guesthouse (8 nts), Camping (with basic facilities) (5 nts), Farmstay (1 nt)
      Some of the accommodation along the way is very basic, staying in local guesthouses and homestays with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has cold water only. Accommodation on this trip is on a twin / multi share basis. Please note there may be times when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
      While camping, we'll stay in twin-share dome tents with simple foam mattresses for each person. On most nights there will be a separate toilet tent. Hot, clean water will be provided for brushing and washing up.
      Meals introduction
      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.
      Meals
      6 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 6 Dinners
      Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
      USD 250.00
      Transport
      Bus, Raft
      Group leader
      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.
      Joining point
      Marshyangdi Hotel
      Paknajol
      Thamel
      Kathmandu
      NEPAL
      Phone: +9771 4700105
      Joining point description
      Hotel Marshyangdi is situated in the heart of Thamel, Kathmandu’s tourist mecca. Its variety of restaurants and shops, pulsing nightlife and easy access to major tourist sites and the airport make it a convenient place to stay.
      www.hotelmarshyangdi.com
      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)
      The hotel is approximately 200 metres north from the Kathmandu Guest House and about 40 metres north-west from the Rum Doodle restaurant
      Normal check in time at the hotel is after 12:00.
      Arrival complications
      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.
      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, 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
      Marshyangdi Hotel
      Paknajol
      Thamel
      Kathmandu
      NEPAL
      Phone: +9771 4700105
      Finish point description
      Hotel Marshyangdi is situated in the heart of Thamel, Kathmandu’s tourist mecca. Its variety of restaurants and shops, pulsing nightlife and easy access to major tourist sites and the airport make it a convenient place to stay.
      www.hotelmarshyangdi.com
      Finish point instructions
      A taxi to the airport will cost about NPR400 from 06.00-20.00 and NRP500 from 20.00-06.00. Hotel reception or your leader can help you organise a taxi.
      Normal check out time is 12 noon. If you are departing later in the day or evening, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
      Emergency contact
      In the case of genuine crisis or emergency in Nepal, we can be reached by telephone on the following numbers:
      Balaram +9779851068827
      Niraj: +977 9851023167
      Dil: +9779851059148
      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:
      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.
      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.
      CASH:
      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!
      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 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.
      Health
      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.
      ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
      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:
      http://d3oxn90f3yphmd.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/file_attach/52735_product_altitude-sickness.pdf
      Safety
      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:
      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.
      While our itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatisation, you are likely to feel the effects of altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation whilst on this trek. Please be aware that your group leader may deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time, and arrange for you to descend to a lower attitude.
      Your leader will conduct a brief safety discussion before our trekking activity.
      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.
      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.
      LOCAL LODGINGS:
      On this trip you will be staying in some restored houses and local lodges - these are one of the charms of this journey, but their staircases, balconies and passages etc may not always comply with western safety standards. Please do not expect elevators in these properties as they are preserved to their original state.
      FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
      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!
      SEAT BELTS:
      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.
      LIFE JACKETS:
      While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
      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
      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:
      LOCAL DRESS:
      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
      Carbon Offset C02-e 67.00 kgs per pax.
      Feedback
      After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.