Last Modified: 19 Mar 2013
Trip code: HNSN
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2012
This trip includes everything that makes Nepal a classic travel destination. Discover beautifully preserved palaces and temples, see picturesque monasteries perched high in the hills, experience traditional Nepali life and be constantly surrounded by timeless mountain views. Meet Sherpa people, see Newari wooden homes, dine on traditional food and visit the charming towns of Bhaktapur, Bandipur and Pokhara. Raft the Seti River, spot wildlife in Chitwan National Park and conclude in bustling Kathmandu for a truly special adventure.
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.
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 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 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 and this is reflected in the international flavour of the bright lights and 'Coca Cola culture' of the central Thamel district.
Take a tour of the significant cultural and religious landmarks of Kathmandu, starting with a visit to one of the holiest Hindu temples in the world - Pashupatinath, dedicated to one of the trinity Gods in Hindu pantheon. Meet the saffron clad, dreadlock sporting ascetics who readily pose for photos for little alms. Witness the Hindu cremation on one of the funeral pyres on the other side of the Bagmati River.
Bodhnath is a short distance away, located in the heart of the Tibetan community, Bodhnath's stupa is the largest in Nepal, and the area is a maze of restaurants and workshops. Later, climb to the 'monkey temple' of Swayambhunath. Situated on a hill top, the instantly recognisable stupa, with its Buddha eyes, attracts a steady stream of pilgrims, and the views out over the valley are superb. The guided tour now takes us through the heart of the old city to Durbar Square, home to the palace of the Kumari Devi, who is considered to be a living goddess. We conclude the tour walking through the old market areas of Indrachowk and Asan to the KEEP office.
KEEP (Kathmandu Environmental Education Project) 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 both 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 and trekking.
- Kathmandu - Visit to KEEP
- Kathmandu - Guided city tour
- Kathmandu - Durbar Square
- Kathmandu - Bodhnath Stupa
- Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple
- Kathmandu - Swayambhunath Temple
- Kathmandu - Day trip to Patan - NPR400
- Kathmandu - Everest scenic flight - USD190
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 3 Bhaktapur
Crowded with visitors from Kathmandu during the height of the day, the rest of the time Bhaktapur offers a true Nepali experience. Simply wander the narrow streets from square to square or down cobblestone laneways to watch the local traditions come alive before your eyes, and appreciate the peaceful simplicity of this town. Bhaktapur has its gem in the Durbar Square - a World Heritage site listed by UNESCO. The wooden palace and the five storey pagoda temple are two of the most beautiful buildings in Nepal and the people here live up to their town's name, which translates as 'town of devotees'. This palatial enclave has bewitched pilgrims and travellers for centuries.
Our guesthouse has small rooms, and is in a great location close to the Bhaktapur-Nyatapola Temple and porters square. A roof top restaurant offers a fabulous view of Bhaktapur.
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Days 4-5 Nuwakot
We travel to the historic town of Nuwakot and the Famous Farm (approx 6 hrs.)
Set on a terraced hillside above a fertile valley, the 'The Famous Farm' is an imposing manor house and two charming cottages. The Farm itself is a delight of quiet corners and verdant niches with terraces of colourful, organic crops. In the afternoon you explore the locality, including a visit to the former citadel of the Shah dynasty built to serve as an important stop on the thriving trans- Himalayan trade route.
Choose to either relax and enjoy the mountain air, or set off on pathways and trails through the nearby forest to explore this quiet corner of the upper Trisuli region. Foreign travellers are still a rarity in these parts so except some locals to be surprised and delighted by your presence.
Farmstay (2 nts)
Days 6-7 Bandipur
Transfer to Bandipur (4.5hrs approx) - located high on a ridge (1000m) above the road to Pokhara, is a relatively non-touristy town so it is unlikely that we will meet many other travellers there. On a clear day the views of the Annapurna and Manaslu mountain ranges are amazing - 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.
At the eastern part of the town is the pagoda-roofed Bindabasini temple which acts as the abode of the goddess Durga, Bandipur's guadian 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. The other important temples and shrines in the vicinity include the Mahalaxmi temple with its exquisite woodwork and the Khadka Devi temple which comes alive once a year during the Dashain festival.
Consider a hike to the less explored small village of Ramkot ‘Magar’ (approx. 4 hrs return), rich with local interaction opportunity's with the local villagers, witness age-old farming methods and bask in the glory of stunning views of the Himalayas, the views from here being in contrast to the ones you get from Bandipur. Or make a difference to give something back to the community - help out at the Learning Centre for under-privileged children.
Our guesthouse tonight is a restored village mansion 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.
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Days 8-9 Pokhara
Embark on a drive to Pokhara, which takes approx 2.5hrs. Pokhara enjoys a delightful setting on a lake beneath the snow-capped peaks of the Annapurna range, making it an excellent place to relax. There may be time to hire a small boat for a quick paddle on the lake for sunset. 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.
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 worldwide fame as Gurkha soldiers. The Thakalis, another important ethnic group here, are known for their entrepreneurship.
Set your alarm clocks for an early wake-up as this is the day we have an opportunity to witness one of the grandest spectacles; the first rays of sun splashing the snow garbed mountains of Annapurna range. The nearest one, Fishtail, is a mere 25 kms away from the viewpoint at Sarangkot. We drive by chartered vehicle to Sarangkot (approx. 25 minutes). There's also an option of walking up to the top most viewpoint at Sarangkot, about a 45 minute walk from the lower viewpoint. After breakfast down at the Lakeside, we visit one of the famous natural wonders of Pokhara- Devi's Fall, where the water from Fewa Lake thunders into a hole and disappears. We then proceed to the Tibetan Refugee Camp, located in close proximity to the Fall, where we can go bargain hunting for the Tibetan handicrafts in the many shops dotting the open-air market. Or you can simply roam around visiting the local monastery and the carpet factory witnessing 'girl-power' at work.
There are host of places you can visit and activities you can indulge in during your free time in Pokhara, for which you can always avail of your tour leaders recommendations and service.
We stay in a simple hotel in Pokhara.
- Pokhara - Devi's Fall
- Pokhara - Sarangkot visit
- Pokhara - Tibetan Refugee Camp visit
- Pokhara - International Mountaineering Museum - NPR500
- Pokhara - Boating on Fewa Lake - NPR500
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Day 10 Seti River
Transferring by jeep to Damauli (approx. 1.5 hrs), we meet up with our crew of rafting experts. Perfect for beginners or intermediates, the Seti River has plenty of easy rapids for us to race through surrounded by a green jungle corridor full of birdlife. The water is usually warm (except for the winter months Dec-Feb, where you are provided with wet-suits), the camping is on white sandy beaches and the food is plentiful.
The Seti River is rated as having grade 2 to 3 rapids. Depending on the river current, we'll be paddling for between 4-5 hours each day. 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.
We camp in twin share tents pitched on the river banks with individual foam mattresses, linen and bed-sheets provided. Toilet tents are also set up.
Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Days 11-13 Chitwan National Park
It's time to head to the lowlands and to the famed Chitwan National Park. We drive to Chitwan by tourist bus early in the morning, and settle into our the hotel in the Sauraha village on the edge of Royal Chitwan National Park (approx. 5 hours). This afternoon we will pay a visit to a tribal 'Tharu' village by a traditional mode of transport - a bullock cart.
We spend our first and last night in Chitwan here, with the middle night spent at Ghatgai. Though the village itself is now developing, there are still some perfect settings, particularly where small restaurants look out over the river to the jungle beyond.
Please note that due to safety concerns we have suspended all wildlife jungle walks within Chitwan National Park.
The next day after breakfast we walk to the river from where we will be taken by boat to Ghagtai village (approx 3.5 hours). Enjoy exploring the village on foot and bird watching along the Rapti river.
From October when jeep safaris resume we will boat part of the way before meeting our drivers and touring the national park by vehicle (approx 3-4 hours), finishing in Ghatgai in the late afternoon.
We return to headquarters for our third and final night in Chitwan via Twenty Thousand Lakes with time for optional activities in the afternoon.
- Chitwan - Canoe safari, Bird Watching walk or Jeep safari
- Chitwan NP - Jungle walk
- Chitwan NP - Crocodile Breeding Centre
- Chitwan NP - Village tour
Lodge (2 nts), Guesthouse (1 nt)
Days 14-15 Kathmandu
It is a long bus journey back to Kathmandu (approx. 5 hrs). Arriving in the early afternoon, subject to road conditions, we'll check back into our hotel and 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.
Hotel (1 nt)
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.
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.
This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
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: 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.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
This trip starts at 6pm on day 1. Please be ready for your group meeting. Please bring your completed Personal Information forms (you'll find the forms on the notice board at your hotel), passport and return flight tickets to the briefing.
Weather conditions in the Himalayas can change rapidly and our group leader may be forced to change the trip itinerary accordingly. Travellers need to be prepared for all weather conditions.
Please note this trip is very adventurous - expect to rough it every now and again, whether it's a bumpy road, hassling by persistent vendors, hawkers and beggars, forced changes to the travelling routes by flash strikes, the odd cold shower or encounter with a squat toilet.
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:
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.
Guesthouse (6 nts), Hotel (3 nts), Farmstay (2 nts), Lodge (2 nts), Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
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.
1 Breakfast, 2 Lunches, 1 Dinner
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.
Private Bus, Raft, Jeep, Minibus
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
Intrepid will provide life jackets for private boats, but cannot guarantee that all public ferries will have enough life jackets or life rings for all clients.
On this trip you will be staying in some heritage hotels and traditional guesthouses, and these are one of the charms of this trip, but occasionally staircases, balconies and passages etc don't always comply with western safety standards. Please don't expect elevators in these properties as they are preserved to their original state.
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
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.
Please note that helmets are not always provided for sightseeing on bicycles.
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:
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:
ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING:
During your visit there may be opportunities to ride elephants and see them perform. While we believe it's important to give our travellers a choice and respect each individual's decision, we recommend that Intrepid travellers bypass this activity. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA), 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:
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 80.00 kgs per pax.
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.