What are the best trekking seasons in Nepal?
There are two great times of the year to hike in Nepal. The spring season runs from March through May, and then the Autumn Season runs from September through November. Temperatures can vary significantly from season to season, location to location, and elevation to elevation. Kathmandu daily temperature average is from 9C (49F) in January to 23C (73F) in June. The Everest Base Camp area Temperatures can run from 4C (39F) in January, to 16C (60F) in June.
How do I get to Nepal?
Nepal is a very popular tourism destination in south Asia known around the globe, with a number of international airlines providing service to and from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. Many airlines have direct and non-stop flights from the Middle East and Asia, with others having connecting flights through other countries to get you to this magical land of enchantment and natural wonders. Check with your local travel agency in your home town or go online and book your flight directly through any one of the many travel sites. Be sure to take note of the duration of your flight (many can be quite lengthy with long layovers) as well as the date of arrival, so that you don’t miss out on your planned adventure. I recommend arriving at least two days ahead of your scheduled tour or trek, to allow for a little recovery and adjustment time. Also be aware that travel or transit through other countries may require a Visa, (China allows a transit visa for up to 72 hours that you get upon arriving in country, for transfers) so check ahead of time before booking a flight. Remember to get pre-printed boarding passes for all flights that show the date and time of departure for each flight at each leg of your journey so you can easily get a transit visa if you are traveling through a nation like China. I urge everyone traveling to Nepal to pack only what you can carry on the plane with you, as luggage transfers can be a nightmare and are occasionally difficult and may not arrive with you.
Am I going to be picked up at the airport?
One of the Representatives of Himalaya Hub Adventure will meet you at the Tribhuvan International Airport to take you by private car, van or jeep to our own private hotel, the Hotel Himalaya Hub. There is no additional fee for this service. Built new in 2017, the Hotel Himalaya Hub was designed for the traveler, trekker and adventurer, and is a small very clean, comfortable four story hotel located just a few blocks outside of the Thamel district, with a small bar and restaurant located on the top floor. It is within easy walking distance to all of the Thamel area.
Where and how can I get a Visa?
You can get your tourist visa when you arrive in Nepal. When you arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport you will walk into the terminal from the tarmac and immediately to your right you will see several of the self-service Visa Kiosk’s. Follow the instructions on the machine to receive your Visa slip which is dispensed down and to the left of the machine. You must then take this slip and your passport to the bank window about 50 feet away. Rastriya Banijya Bank, is back by the doors you entered the terminal through. You must pay in US or foreign currency (not Nepali Rupee’s) for the Visa based on the amount of time you filled in at the Kiosk. You must have at least 6 months remaining on your Passport before the expiration date to receive the visa, so please check before you leave for Nepal that you will have enough time left once you arrive here. The fee for a 30 day tourist Visa is $40 USD, and for a 90 day Tourist Visa the fee is $100 USD.
After paying the bank for the visa, take the receipt they give you and walk to the next counter if you want to exchange currency. It is the currency exchange booth and you can exchange your money for the Local Nepali Rupee which you will need while trekking and to purchase local goods. There is a small exchange fee that is part of the transaction so please don’t be alarmed if the numbers do not match your calculations exactly. Next you will proceed to the Customs and Immigration booths just a few feet away where you will get in line for the appropriate Visa booth (signs above the Immigration Officer tell which line to be in15/30, 45, or 90 day) and have the Immigration Officer check your documents (Visa receipt, visa payment receipt, and current Passport with at least 6 months remaining before expiration). Once you pass through Immigration it is downstairs to Customs declaration and security screening and then on to baggage claim. Hopefully you only have carry-on luggage (you can buy anything you need for your stay or trekking in Kathmandu at reasonable prices) and I advise that you bring only what you can fit in your carry-on luggage and is necessary. Lost checked baggage can take an eternity to arrive if it gets delayed in a transit country or misdirected or delayed for any reason. Once you clear baggage claim proceed outside to your awaiting Himalaya Hub Adventure staff member who will bring you safely to the hotel. The ride itself is a priceless experience.
What about the currency?
Nepali Rupee are acceptable everywhere and you can exchange most currency at the airport or many other money exchange counters in Kathmandu like many found in the Thamel district. Other currencies like USD, EURO are also acceptable in main cities like Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan, and Nagarkot but not in the mountain areas during trekking days.
Will I attend orientation before departure?
After you are arrive at the hotel, depending on your arrival date on the same day, or the next day, there will be a solo or group orientation meeting to go over all aspects of your adventure. At this time if we have not already done so, we will collect all the final insurance paperwork as well as introduce you to the guides, team members and staff. You will be thoroughly briefed on your journey, the expectations and behavior of everyone, common courtesies, customs and common sense. We will also brief you on health concerns, emergency procedures, medical evacuations and overall safety. Everyone will be expected to participate and are encouraged to ask questions at this time. The only foolish question is the one you didn’t ask.
Where and what will the trekking be like and the schedules?
The trekking will be in the mountain areas for many of the packages with some treks reaching elevations of 5,420m (17,782 ft.) elevation. Please take some time at home before your tip to prepare physically if you have not already done so. Be prepared and know your true limits and abilities. I also encourage everyone to read and learn about altitude sickness and the associated symptoms. On the trekking the Rise and shine time will be 7:00 a.m. each morning so we can get an early departure to the days next destination. There will be tea houses, guest houses and hotels on the trek, with all three daily meals and lodging being paid for in your package. Around 12:00 p.m. each day the trek will stop to have lunch, then re-start our journey until we arrive at our destination about 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.. After we arrive at the daily destination you will check in to the hotel for an overnight stay. You will have a little leisure time for a shower (optional and is not paid for in the package) or a drink (Nepali’s do serve and consume alcoholic beverages) before dinner which will be served around 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., with a little more leisure time after. Please enjoy the local hospitality and try your best not to get carried away. A local alcoholic beverage served in the region and while trekking is Raksi. It is made from millet or rice and is similar to Japanese Saki. It is also very potent at 45% alcohol, so please drink responsibly. Then it is off to bed early for the next day trek.
What will the trekking team be like?
You will be accompanied by a very experienced and professional trekking guide/team leader that speaks your language and is supported by one or several young, strong and experienced porters. They all are there to support you and your adventure and will take very good care of you in the mountains. Please be respectful of their culture, of them, and treat them with respect and honor as the great and proud people they are, and they will respond in kind. Anger or outward frustration, hostility or profanity are always unacceptable anywhere, and especially in their culture so please do not use any or display a bad temper. Remember you are the guest of honor, so please act accordingly.
What about communication while we are trekking?
Cellular service is available in most trekking areas and routes and internet service is accessible in Everest, Annapurna and Langtang areas. There are some areas where there is no service at all, so be prepared. Remember this is a remote and ancient land, which is part of the experience of it all.
Can I recharge batteries along the trek?
Yes, you can charge batteries along the trek in most of the villages with the cost at approximately $2 to $3 USD per hour. In the remote areas electricity is a luxury. You can also bring a small solar charger that clips on to your backpack with an adapter and charge them as you trek.
What about drinking water?
We will supply safe bottled water along the way but come prepared with water purification tablets and or a water purification filter system such as Katadyn or similar. You can also buy mineral water, boiled water or filtered water during the trek at some of the villages. Leaving the clear acetate water bottles exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays for six hours a day or more, even on cloudy days will kill all of the bacteria in the water in a process known as SODIS or Solar Distillation. This will make the drinking water much more safe to drink and parasite free. Sorry, this process does not enhance the flavor or remove any dissolved solids from the water.
What kind of meals will I be served during the trek?
Meals will be provided three times a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You will be provided a menu in each of the teahouses or hotels and you can enjoy the local dishes according to your interest. Be cautious of vegetables and fresh fruits as many are washed using local water sources and may contain harmful bacteria. Also make sure the food you order is thoroughly cooked as refrigeration in some areas is almost non-existent. Be wary of under cooked eggs and chicken as well as they may contain salmonella bacteria which can cause almost immediate and serious health care problems. There are many different items served such as Western dishes, Continental, Nepalese, Chinese and Indian, and Tibetan meals are available in all places.
What happens if there is a medical emergency or I get altitude sickness?
All of our guides are trained in first aid and are prepared to deal with the most common ailments or injuries that may occur on a trek. In the case of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or other major medical emergency, Himalayan Hub Adventure will cover the initial expenses of any rescue operation including helicopter rescue. Insurance for helicopter rescue as well as travelers insurance is required as a condition of booking some of our adventures. We will make sure that you are adequately insured for any such event before departure from Kathmandu. In the more frequented regions and trekking areas there are Health Posts which have been established by foreign doctors and many are staffed by foreign national personnel. Himalayan Hub Adventure is an Associate member of The Himalayan Rescue Association.
Are the Himalaya Hub Adventure trekking crews insured?
All of the crew members and staff of Himalayan Hub Adventure, including guides, cooks, Sherpas and porters are fully insured and all of our support and staff members are well paid, well trained and properly equipped.
Could you give us some information about the team leaders?
All of our team leaders are highly experienced and professional and all have been selected based on their technical proficiency, proven safety records, good judgment, patience and awesome personalities. All of our team leaders are trained by the Nepal Mountaineering Association, the Ministry of Tourism and at the High Altitude Medical Training Center and all are currently licensed as guides by the Government of Nepal. All of our guides are very experienced in dealing with the effects of high altitudes and many are natives of Nepal and the high mountain areas where they guide. They easily acclimate themselves to the high altitudes with little to no noticeable difficulty and therefore can better service our clients without becoming a casualty themselves. They are all trained in first aid techniques and can handle most any mountain situation with skill, calm and confidence.
What kind of Banks and ATM’s are available in Nepal?
Nepal has modern banking facilities and some international banks even have offices in Kathmandu. You can find ATM’s almost everywhere in the big cities and in a few locations in the outlying areas. ATM’s are located in leading hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and other locations. Almost all foreign currencies along with credit cards such as American Express, Visa, and Master Card are accepted in Nepal. It may not be New York or Los Angeles, but we are more modern than many are aware. If you bring cash to exchange in Nepal, be aware that you can only bring in $2,000 USD in cash or other currency equivalent per person.
What happens if I need to leave the trek early?
We will provide maximum effort to ensure a swift and safe return to Kathmandu, and will assist with travel arrangements as we can while you are in the process of returning.
Does Himalaya Hub Adventure arrange domestic and international flights?
We are only licensed for domestic and regional transportation, including local air transport and commercial flights, buses, taxis, vans etc. in Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan. We cannot arrange international flights or travel for our customers to or from any other destination.
Does Himalaya Hub Adventure accept major credit cards?
Yes we accept American Express, Visa and Master Cards. If you are paying in person in Nepal, we recommend that you to make a payment in cash or Travelers Check as the Nepali bank charges for credit cards are quite high.
What if I arrive early or depart late? Extend a few days?
We are always working hard to accommodate our clients in any way that we can. That is our business, helping you experience all Nepal has to offer. We would be happy to assist you in making arrangements such as personalized tours, extra hotel rooms, airport pick up and arrange for private rooms and more. Just ask us.
Can I bring some food with me?
Of course you can. Power bars, fruit snacks and Powerade powder is recommended to bring as supplemental nutrition. Cramping is an issue with some trekkers and those who easily dehydrate, so think of high Potassium prepackaged and individually wrapped foods as well as drinking lots of water on the trek. Don’t forget the electrolytes.
What extra expenses should I prepare for?
The extra expense depends on you. In Kathmandu a hot meal could run from $10 to $15 a meal per person or just a few dollars. Deals are where you find them and Kathmandu is a deal maker’s paradise so don’t hesitate to negotiate a better price from a vendor or store. On the trekking $15 a day per person should cover most expenses. Only you know you, so plan accordingly. Remember that any excess Nepali currency can be exchanged back at the Airport when you leave, or at a local bank. Gratuities for meals etc. are greatly appreciated as they are most places so please remember to show your appreciation for the local hospitality. A 15% gratuity is standard. The other expenses you should prepare for are perhaps some hiking gear if you don’t have any already. In the Thamel district there are far too many places to list here that you can buy everything you could possibly need. Good quality hiking pants and a light rain poncho is a good idea especially in the rainy season as well as a good hiking sweater for the cold mountain areas. Himalaya Hub Adventure will provide the necessary down jackets and down sleeping bags for the cold area trekking but if you wish you can purchase your own. A good quality pair of sunglasses and neck cords is a good idea, as well as sunscreen if you are fair skinned or burn easily. A small hand lotion and bottle of hand sanitizer and lip balm are also recommended for the trekking, as is disposable and biodegradable sanitary wipes for hygiene and travel tissues. Bring a small sealable plastic bag like a gallon size zip lock to keep stuff dry. Hiking packs and other gear are also available in the Thamel district, just make sure of proper fit, good quality and comfort when loaded fully. Guided trail Trekking is not the same as wilderness travel, or overland trekking, so plan for lighter loads.
Boots? Yes, you will need a good quality hiking boot or shoe (personal preference) when you come to Nepal. So bring a very good set of them with you that are thoroughly broke in. By that I mean get a real pair of hiking boots or shoes from an outdoor store like Cabela’s or Bass Pro or similar sporting goods outlet. Keen brand, Saloman brand, Merrell brand etc. are all good quality for general purposes, so if you don’t know ask the sales associate to help you. Tell them of your plans. Then go out and break them in thoroughly for a month of walking daily. New boots can blister your feet and toes and ruin an awesome experience before it really starts. I suggest fully waterproof boots such as the Keen Targhie III, or similar. Bring good quality Merino blend wool socks too, that are 65% to 80% Merino wool (my personal preference). Bring at least five pair. Don’t worry though you can buy them here if you need to. Also bring a small kit of foot powder to dust your feet daily while trekking and also some moles skin. Mole skin is a pre-adhesive bandage that you cut to size and is really thick and sturdy and is placed over hot spots (sore pre blister areas) or blisters to protect them while they heal and keep you trekking. Trust me on this one, it is a wise investment of a few dollars that can salvage a trekking adventure and return it to fun in short order.
What are some basic Nepali customs that I should know about?
What are health requirements and immunizations required for Nepal?
Please be aware of your own personal medical conditions and requirements. There are several very good modern Hospitals in the Area staffed with good quality modern doctors that can serve your needs, such as the Travelers Hospital near the British Embassy and only a 10 minute walk from the hotel in case you have a medical situation that needs attention. This is where that travel insurance comes in, or you can pay in cash if you would like. They accept all forms of payment and currency.
Nepal does not require any specific immunization for visitors. It is however advisable to have proper vaccinations before coming to Nepal. Many immunizations require a two or three shots series that may be given over one week or several weeks. If you can, get them well in advance before you come. Nepal is a developing third world country with sanitation and water quality challenges. Waterborne disease is always a concern, so Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B shots should be received, and or boosted. Nepal is also home to several types of mosquito’s which can vector or transmit serious illness to a bite victim, although the rate of infection locally is still pretty low. A few of these diseases are Japanese Encephalitis, Dengue fever as well as Malaria. Other Vaccinations to consider are for Typhoid, Meningitis, Mumps, Polio, Tetanus and Measles as well as Influenza such as H1N1. One final consideration is the amount of stray and unvaccinated dogs encountered in Nepal. Some may have rabies, and a bite can be a serious problem. The pre-rabies shots are recommended (two shot series), making the treatment far easier and a lot less painful should you get a bite.
Consult with your doctor for a complete list of recommended vaccinations and shot schedules. Allow time to get current on these vaccinations before coming to Nepal. If you miss one or two, the cost is not exorbitant to get them here and it is done in very short order without much fuss and in most cases just a few minutes.
Note: When in Nepal try to drink only bottled water that is sealed when you receive it, as traveler’s Diarrhea is a real problem as it is in many third world countries and it can ruin even the best laid travel plans. Also brushing your teeth and washing your toothbrush with bottled water as well as other personal hygiene should be thought of and planned for such as the disposable wipes for sanitation and perhaps some travel packs of tissue. If you need medicines for a particular condition or ailment, bring them if you can, but read up on what is and isn’t allowed. There are local pharmacies everywhere that you can get any high quality medications from without so much as a doctors nod. Plan accordingly.