Nepal Family Discovery Trip Notes

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    • HFFN
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    • Explorer, Family, Walking
    • Original
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Last Modified: 27 Nov 2012
Nepal Family Discovery
Trip code: HFFN
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2012
A carefully designed trip suitable for families with children of all ages which allows you to experience the very best of Nepal. You’ll have ample time to see the sights of Kathmandu; medieval market squares, busy market stalls and scores of ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples. After a night in a traditional Newari home converted into a guesthouse, you'll travel to the lakeside town of Begnas. Then you’ll embark on a fantastic camping trek into the foothills of the Himalayas. Here you’ll walk through remote hill villages against a backdrop of 8000m summits whose icy peaks pierce the blue skies. After visiting Pokhara, the gateway to the Annapurnas, you travel to one of Asia’s greatest wildlife reserves, Chitwan, and spend a couple of days on jungle safari. Travelling by elephant, canoe and on foot, you’ll be looking out for exotic birdlife and the famous Indian one-horned rhino!
This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, The Adventure Company.
Table of Contents
StyleGroup sizeFinish point instructions
ThemesYour fellow travellersEmergency contact
MapSingle travellersEmergency funds
ItineraryAccommodationVisas
Itinerary disclaimerMeals introductionIssues on your trip
Culture shock rating MealsWhat to take
Physical ratingTransportHealth
Included activitiesGroup leaderSafety
Optional activitiesJoining point Travel insurance
Money ExchangeJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel
Spending moneyJoining point instructionsA couple of rules
TippingArrival complicationsThe Intrepid Foundation
Departure taxFinish point Responsible Travel projects
Important notesFinish point descriptionFeedback
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
Family, Walking, Explorer
Map
Nepal Family Discovery
Itinerary
Day 1 Kathmandu
Namaste! Welcome to Nepal.
You can arrive at any time today as there are no activities planned until a group meeting this evening.
You will be sent joining instructions approximately 2-3 weeks before your trip starts, which will contain full details of exactly where to meet your group leader.
Kathmandu is a mixture of ancient architecture and modern development and, with its rich artistic and cultural heritage, it remains the legendary destination it has been for decades. Crowded markets and bazaars are the centre of Nepali life and the narrow streets are home to holy men, monks, bicycles, incense, goats and sacred cows.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Nuwakot
After breakfast we'll set out on a half-day guided city tour to see some of the spectacular sights of Kathmandu. We'll head out to the edge of town to visit Swayambunath, a 2000-year-old stupa set on a hill. The eyes on the stupa follow you as you walk around it, turning the prayer wheels as you go. We'll also visit Durbar Square, the 'original' Kathmandu, opposite the old royal palace that is filled with temples. There is plenty of time to do your own thing too, or to buy any last-minute items for the trek. The city itself if a labyrinth of streets and markets, crowded with exotic produce and a bewildering mix of people. You are likely to see Gurkhas from the area east of Pokhara, proud Tibetan women in their striped aprons, traders from India, and sadhus - Hindu holy men - who may be on a pilgrimage to one of the countless shrines or temples of the valley.
In the afternoon we'll drive to the secluded rural village of Nuwakot (approx 3 hours) for a delightful stay in a converted farmhouse. Here we can spend a few hours in the late afternoon exploring the village and surrounding area on foot.
Included Activities
  • Kathmandu - Guided city tour
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Day 3 Bandipur
This morning we set off west for the four-hour journey to the small village of Bandipur. Along the way we break the journey at the Trisuli Centre.
A riverside community village, here you might meet members of the Trisuli Young Leaders Club - a group of children aged between 5 and 18 who may end up being the next generation of trip leaders.
Continuing on through the foothills of the Himalayas, as we approach Bandipur, keep an eye out for views of the high peaks. We arrive in Dumre, turn south off the main highway, and continue to a ridge set at an altitude of 1050 m, where lies the village of Bandipur.
Winding its way up and down hills, Bandipur's main street is lined with three or four storey brick buildings with carved wooden windows. The small temples in the town add to the atmosphere in what is a traditional Nepali hill village, still relatively untouched by modern tourism; few foreigners find their way up here. Sit and relax, or stretch your legs with a walk through the village and out into the surrounding countryside for superb views up the Marsyangdi River valley, to the Himalaya beyond. Many of the range's giants can be seen - Langtang, Ganesh Himal, Manaslu, and the distant Annapurnas.
Please note that single rooms may be unavailable here during the peak season due to the limited number of rooms.
Included Activities
  • Visit to the Trisuli Centre
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Day 4 Begnas Lake
After spending the morning walking around Bandipur, we will stop for lunch before heading west to Begnas Lake, driving through terraced hillsides and to the south of the Himalayas themselves. Bordered by precisely maintained rice terraces on either side, Begnas Lake is a great place to relax before the trek. During our time here, there will be time for a pleasant stroll, or simply to sit and watch the tranquil waters of the lake itself. In the evening, your group leader will brief you about arrangements for the following day's trek.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 5-7 Annapurna trek/Pokhara
Trekking in Nepal is one of the most rewarding parts of a visit to this mountainous kingdom. Some visitors are put off by the thought that all trekking requires the skills of a mountaineer, and specialist equipment to match. This is not true for the majority of routes, including the one we'll walk but it is important to remember that all trekking is more difficult than just a ramble and that there is little, if any, flat ground in Nepal's hills. On this trek however we do not reach very high altitudes. We walk on well-graded paths that link small farming communities. Steep stone staircases and occasional suspension bridges dot the route. Most people, including children, will find the pace, distance and duration of each day's walk within their capability as long as they are realistic about their fitness and abilities.
Few nationalities provide a camping experience as well as the Nepalese; their hospitality and organisational skills are legendary, as will become clear on the trek. Tents and mattresses are provided, camp staff cook your meals, providing tasty and nutritious food, whilst porters carry your main bags, leaving you with only your day pack to carry.
A short boat ride across Begnas Lake signals the start of the trek. The first day's walk will take you to the village of Chisapani ('cold water' in Nepali). Walking at a leisurely pace, we first pass through rice fields before climbing through villages offering superb panoramic views along the way of Annapurna 2, Manaslu, Lamjung Himal and Himalchuli. We head into the renowned Annapurna Region and after approximately six hours' trekking, we arrive at the small village of Chisapani where we camp for the night at an altitude of around 1260 m.
The following day we continue to walk for approximately 3.5 hours/7 km. En route we can pause to admire the views, take photos or have a drink in one of the many wayside village teahouses. All around these villages the terraced fields are a testament to the ingenuity of the Nepalese people who have turned the steep hills into productive fields, growing rice, wheat and maize. People you pass are incredibly friendly, and kids will often walk alongside, practising their English. In the village centres, old men sit beneath banyan trees on stone benches, smoking and gossiping. Women and children come up from the fields carrying huge loads effortlessly.
On arrival our vehicle will be waiting to take us to Pokhara. In the evening we will visit Pokhara Base Camp, which will be set up for an end of trek party with trekkers and staff alike.
The lake and mountain backdrop to Pokhara is one of the most stunning in the world. Pokhara was 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 Himalaya. This is the land of Magars and Gurungs, hard-working farmers and valorous warriors who have earned worldwide fame as Gurkha soldiers. The Thakalis, another important ethnic group here, are known for their entrepreneurship.
The following day is free for you to relax or explore as you please. Perhaps visit the World Peace Pagoda, Devi's Falls and Mahendra Cave. Or make time for a visit to one of the Tibetan villages that dot the area, where superb carpets and other handicrafts can be haggled over.
Included Activities
  • Overnight trek in the Annapurnas
Optional Activities
  • Pokhara - Tibetan Refugee Camp visit - Free
  • Pokhara - International Mountaineering Museum - NPR500
  • Gurkha Museum - Free
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts), Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 8-9 Chitwan National Park
This morning we have a long road journey to the low lying terai jungle region, and the world-famous Chitwan Reserve, which covers 932 square kilometres of floodplain.
Chitwan National Park is situated in the central Nepali Terai, a huge nature reserve protecting hundreds of square kilometres of grassland and marshes. Home to over 700 species of animal in total, it's a fantastic place to see wildlife and you are nearly guaranteed to see the heavily armoured Asian rhino, as well as sloth bears and even tigers if you're lucky.
An experienced jungle guide will accompany us here on excursions including an elephant-back safari, penetrating deep into the jungle. Rhinos, bison, wild boars, monkeys and a wide array of birds are a common side. There is also a chance, albeit a very slim one, of seeing Bengal tigers, bears and leopards.
Another highlight of the trip is a canoe ride on the Rapti River, which drapes the National Park. The banks of the river are home to sun-bathing mugger crocodiles and the unique long-nosed gharial crocodiles.
Afterwards, we walk to the elephant breeding centre.
Elephants at the breeding centre are taken out by their mahouts on a daily basis between the hours of 10:30 am and 3 pm, where they go into the jungle to collect fodder and bathe.
While we believe it's important to give our travellers a choice and respect each individual's decision, we recommend that Intrepid travellers bypass the elephant activities in Chitwan National Park. 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.
Other activities during our stay in the park include taking an ox-cart to a Tharu village, a bird-watching walk on the periphery of the national park, dancing to the tunes and moves of the Tharu artists, and an informative slideshow on the rich flora and fauna of the jungles of Chitwan.
Included Activities
  • Chitwan - Canoe safari, Bird Watching walk or Jeep safari
  • Elephant Breeding Centre
  • Elephant-back 'rhino-watch' safari
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 10-12 Kathmandu
A short transfer this morning is followed by a flight to Kathmandu. We aim to arrive by lunchtime, so the afternoon is free for you to wander the little streets around Durbar Square and of course to do some shopping. There are plenty of bargains to be had, but haggling is essential.
The following day we'll take a sightseeing trip to the medieval town of Bhaktapur and the temple complex of Pashupatinath - regarded as the holiest place in Nepal, and the site of the Pashupatinath Temple, which is the most important Hindu shrine in Nepal. Switching religions, we will also visit the Buddhist stupa of Bodhnath.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Included Activities
  • Kathmandu - Day trip to Bhaktapur
  • Kathmandu - Bodhnath Stupa
  • Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
  • HFFN Single Supplement (HFFN)
    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.
    Nepal is a developing country and as such standards are very different to those found at home. Delays to travel plans can occasionally occur. Accommodation at Bandipur, whilst comfortable, is basic; multishare accommodation with separate toilet and shower.
    Physical rating

    This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
    This trip is considered ‘easy to moderate’ - anyone in good health can take part. Kids who enjoy walking will be able to manage the trek (daily max. 9km, +/-6hours, lots of hills and steps but not designed to be exhausting!).
    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
    A departure tax of NPR150 for the Chitwan - Kathmandu flight is NOT included. All international departure taxes should be included in your flight ticket.
    Important notes
    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.
    LOCAL PARTNER:
    This trip is operated by our experienced local partner, The Adventure Company.
    AGE RESTRICTIONS:
    Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 5. Please note that anyone aged under 18 must be accompanied by (and share accommodation with) a parent or legal guardian.
    Group size
    Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
    Your fellow travellers
    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
    Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
    www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
    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.
    A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
    Accommodation
    Hotel (8 nts), Guesthouse (2 nts), Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
    Accommodation is clean and simple. You'll mainly stay in small, locally-run, 2-3 star hotels and guesthouses, which reflect the character of the area,generally these will be a twin room with private facilities. Sometimes you'll stay in larger, more comfortable hotels or occasionally rustic accommodation with basic facilities. We use a variety of accommodation on most trips; chosen for their value for money, location and atmosphere. We also try and incorporate unique accommodation experiences, such as a night with a local tribe, or sleeping under the stars in the desert.
    GENERAL ROOMING CONFIGURATIONS:
    Family of two - All family groupings of two will be put into a twin room.
    Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room. Please be aware that in some places triple rooms are in short supply. This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twin room with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where it is impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which of your party takes the single room.
    Family of four or more - You will most likely stay in two twin rooms. If and wherever possible we will aim put you in a quadruple room. Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’t guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.
    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
    11 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 7 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 100.00
    Transport
    Minibus, Boat, Plane
    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
    The Shanker Hotel - HFFN
    .
    Lazimpat
    Kathmandu
    NEPAL
    Joining point description
    The Shanker Hotel is a 100 year old palace, situated in the heart of Kathmandu, Nepal. This palatial hotel, once owned by the grandfather of Her Majesty of Nepal, is characterized by exquisite and authentic objects d'art, which enhances the beauty of the existing exterior. The erstwhile queen and her late sisters are assumed to be born in this palatial building.
    The 94 guest rooms are air-conditioned, have cable tv, personal safes, refrigerator, IDD phones and Wi-Fi access (for a fee). The Hotel has restaurants, bars, ATM facilities, pool and landscaped gardens.
    Joining point instructions
    A complimentary arrival transfer from the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Transfers cannot be arranged on arrival. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid. Intrepid provides one complimentary arrival transfer per booking even if clients are arriving at different times.
    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
    The Shanker Hotel - HFFN
    .
    Lazimpat
    Kathmandu
    NEPAL
    Finish point description
    The Shanker Hotel is a 100 year old palace, situated in the heart of Kathmandu, Nepal. This palatial hotel, once owned by the grandfather of Her Majesty of Nepal, is characterized by exquisite and authentic objects d'art, which enhances the beauty of the existing exterior. The erstwhile queen and her late sisters are assumed to be born in this palatial building.
    The 94 guest rooms are air-conditioned, have cable tv, personal safes, refrigerator, IDD phones and Wi-Fi access (for a fee). The Hotel has restaurants, bars, ATM facilities, pool and landscaped gardens.
    Finish point instructions
    A taxi to the airport will cost about NPR400 from 6am-8pm and NRP500 from 8pm-6am. Hotel reception or your leader can help you organise a taxi.
    Check-out from the hotel is at 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
    Emergency contact
    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency only, The Adventure Company can be reached on Tel: +44 1420 593000. For further contact details please use the following page:
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
    Visas
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    NEPAL:
    Australia: Yes - on arrival
    Belgium: Yes - on arrival
    Canada: Yes - on arrival
    Germany: Yes - on arrival
    Ireland: Yes - on arrival
    Netherlands: Yes - on arrival
    New Zealand: Yes - on arrival
    South Africa: Yes - on arrival
    Switzerland: Yes - on arrival
    United Kingdom: Yes - on arrival
    USA: Yes - on arrival
    Visas are obtainable from embassies abroad or on arrival at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport. If getting the visa at the airport be prepared for long queues. There have been instances when passengers were asked to show return flight tickets. You will also need to provide two passport photos and the following fees in US dollars cash only: multi entry visa valid for 15 days - US$25, multi entry visa valid for 30 days - US$40, multi entry visa valid for 90 days - US$100.
    ***Please note if you are staying in Nepal for less than 24 hours while in transit a transit visa can be issued on presentation of your international flight ticket, there is a nominal charge of US$5 and two photos are required.
    Issues on your trip
    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
    What to take
    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.
    CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT:
    Below is a suggestion of what you might find useful to take on this trip. Please remember that Nepal is a conservative country, and local sensibilities should be respected - halter neck or sleeveless tops or brief shorts are not acceptable for adults.
    * Warm mid-layer (i.e. fleece)
    * Swimsuit
    * Warm long trousers (not jeans)
    * Sun-hat
    * Woollen hat, gloves and scarf
    * Trainers
    * Waterproof jacket and trousers
    * Lightweight clothing for daytime wear in Chitwan jungle.
    * Hiking boots (well worn in)
    * 3/4 season sleeping bag
    * Torch or headtorch
    * Waterbottle (1 litre minimum)
    * Sunglasses, sunscreen and lipsalve
    * Insect / mosquito repellent is essential
    * Anti-bacterial gel for ‘washing’ hands (available from most leading chemists)
    * Personal first aid kit and sewing kit
    * Moneybelt
    * Water purification tablets
    * Travel pillow
    Brightly-coloured clothing is not appropriate for Chitwan as it is easily seen by animals and may disturb them; wear muted tones in natural colours (beige, khaki, etc but not army-style camouflage clothing). Warm clothing will still be needed for early morning game viewing in Chitwan for those departing between October and March. For women, shorts are acceptable, but shoulders are best covered (i.e. vest tops are not appropriate)
    A laundry service may be available in some places, but we recommend you take biodegradable travel detergent so that you can wash clothes as you choose. NB: Some of the above items can be easily rented in Kathmandu / Pokhara (sleeping bags, down jackets etc.). Whilst quality does vary and you must choose carefully, the cost is usually reasonable. Renting avoids having to purchase equipment and carry it when it’s not needed. Your Group Leader will assist you in arranging equipment should you need it.
    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
    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.
    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:
    DIWALI FESTIVAL:
    Travelling during the Hindu festival Diwali (a lunar festival but generally held between mid October to mid November every year) can be dangerous. During this time there are many displays of fireworks in the streets. It can be very noisy for several days and there is also a lot of pollution caused by the fireworks. As there are no restrictions on buying fireworks in India there are often injuries caused by people exploding them inappropriately. During this festival your leader may be required to alter your itinerary to avoid any dangerous areas to avoid putting the group at risk.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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:
    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.
    Feedback
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