Himalayan Adventure Trip Notes
Trip code: FFNP
Trip length: 12 days
- Barter for bargains in city bazaars
- Camp and trek in the foothills of the Himalaya
- Embark on an elephant back safari in search of rhinos
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!
Following your flight, you transfer to your first night’s accommodation and check in. You have time to freshen up before your Group Leader meets the group to run through the days ahead. Please meet your Group Leader in the hotel reception at 20.00 for the tour briefing.
Hotel Manaslu (AAAA) - 1 night (Swimming Pool)
Kathmandu/ Drive to Nuwakot
After breakfast you’ll see the spectacular sights of Kathmandu during a half-day guided city tour. You’ll visit Swayambunath, a 2000-year-old stupa (shrine) set on a hill. The eyes on the stupa follow you as you walk around it, turning the prayer wheels as you go. You’ll also visit Durbar Square, ‘the original Kathmandu’ opposite the old royal palace that is filled with temples. There’s plenty of time to do your own thing too, or to buy any last-minute items for the trek. Kathmandu itself is a labyrinth of streets and markets, crowded with exotic produce and a bewildering mix of people. You’re 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 are, perhaps, on a pilgrimage to one of the countless ‘power places’ (shrines or temples) of the valley.
Later, you’ll drive to the secluded rural village of Nuwakot (approx. 3 hrs) for a delightful stay in a converted farm-house. There you’ll spend a few hours in the late afternoon exploring the village and the surrounding area on foot.
The Famous Farm Guesthouse (AA) - 1 night (BD)
Bandipur Village Stay
This morning you set off west on your four-hour journey to the small village of Bandipur, breaking the journey en route at the Trisuli Centre - the riverside community village. Here, you may meet members of the Trisuli Young Leaders Club - a youth group of children between 5-18 who may end up being the next generation of trip leaders. The foothills of the Himalayas are in themselves impressive enough, but as you get closer to Bandipur you get now familiar views of the high peaks. After you arrive in the thriving community of Dumre you turn south, off the main highway, and continue to a ridge set at an altitude of 1050m; here lies the delightful village of Bandipur. Winding its way up and down hills, Bandipur’s main street has many 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. You can 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 amongst them.
The Old Inn Guesthouse (AA) - 1 night (B,D)
Please note that single rooms may be unavailable here during the peak season due to the limited number of rooms.
After spending a morning walking around Bandipur, you’ll pause for lunch before heading west to Begnas Lake driving through terraced hillsides and to the south of the great Himalayas themselves. Bordered by precisely maintained rice terraces on either side, Begnas Lake is a great place to relax before your trek. Take a pleasant stroll or simply sit and watch the tranquil waters of the lake itself. This evening, your Group Leader will brief you about arrangements for your Himalayan trek.
Begnas Lake Resort (AAAA) - 1 night (Swimming Pool) (BLD)
Trekking in Nepal is one of the most rewarding parts of a visit to this mountainous kingdom. However 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 you walk! Most people – even 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. (rough distances and duration of walks are indicated below).
One should, however, remember that all trekking is more difficult than just a ramble - there is little if any flat ground in Nepal’s hills but you don’t reach very high altitudes. You’ll be walking on well-graded paths that link small farming communities. Steep stone staircases and occasional suspension bridges dot your route. Few nationalities provide a camping experience as well as the Nepalese; their hospitality and organisational skills are legendary, as will become clear on your 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 daypacks 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 you first pass through rice fields indicating that you are still at a relatively low altitude. From here the trail now climbs through villages offering superb panoramic views along the way of Annapurna 2, Manaslu, Lamjung Himal and Himalchuli. You’ll head into the renowned Annapurna Region and after approximately six hours’ trekking you arrive at the small village of Chisapani, your night stop and camp, at an altitude of around 1260m.
Camp (CS) – 1 night (Bx1, Lx1, Dx1)
End of trek
Today, continue to walk for approximately 3.5hrs/7km. En route you 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, practicing their English skills. 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, and giggle as you greet them with a namaste, the Nepali word for ‘hello’.
When you arrive, your vehicle will be waiting to drive you back to Pokhara. This evening, you'll visit the Pokhara Base Camp which will be set up for an end of trek party with trekkers and staff alike.
Hotel Barahi (AAA) - 2 nights (swimming pool) (B,D)
Pokhara, standing at 884m above sea level, is warmer and more humid than Kathmandu. The vegetation is lush, reflecting the sub-tropical climate. Sited on Phewa Lake, beneath the great Annapurna massif and dominated by the ‘Fish-tail’ mountain, Machhapuchhare, Pokhara is surrounded by verdant green hills. Today is free for you to explore or relax as you please, Pokhara has a wide variety of activities that you can enjoy around the town.
You may visit the World Peace Pagoda (built in 1994 and sitting on a ridge overlooking Phewa Lake), Devi’s Falls and Mahendra Cave - a good torch is useful here! Or perhaps 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. (B)
Chitwan National Park
This morning, you'll retrace part of the route that brought you to Bandipur, only this time bearing south at Mugling. This long road journey brings you into the low lying terai jungle region, and the world-famous Chitwan Reserve, which covers 932 square kilometres of floodplain. The park is home to varied wildlife and birdlife, including the famed symbol of Chitwan, the one-horned rhino, and the elusive royal Bengal tiger, of which there are believed to be around 80 roaming in the park. An experienced jungle guide will accompany you on your excursions, perhaps the most exciting of which is your safari on elephant-back, penetrating deep into the jungle. Rhino, bison, wild boar, monkeys, and a wide array of birds (over 400 species on record) are a common sight, and with luck on your side even the royal Bengal tiger, bear and leopard are a possibility, albeit a slim one.
Another highlight of the trip is the canoe ride on Rapti River, which drapes the national park, the banks of which are home to sun-bathing 'mugger' crocodiles and the unique long-nosed 'gharial' crocodiles. Afterwards you walk to the elephant breeding centre. Elephants at the breeding centre are well attended to and are taken out by their mahouts (elephant drivers, whose commands they’re used to and follow) on a daily basis between the hours of 10:30am and 3pm, where they go into jungle for collecting fodder, safaris and bathing. However, please remember that elephants are naturally wild animals and their behaviour can at times be erratic and highly unpredictable, especially in the absence of their trainer and controller. Therefore in the interests of visitor safety, please be advised that elephants are chained during the centre’s opening hours. Please also keep your distance from elephants while embarking and disembarking on safari.
Keeping you engrossed and buoyed over the span of your stay will be a ride on an age-old mode of transportation (an ox cart to a ‘Tharu’ village), bird-watching walk on the periphery of the national park, dancing to the tunes and moves of the ‘Tharu’ artistes and an informative slide show on the rich flora and fauna of the jungles of Chitwan.
Royal Park Hotel or Narayani Safari Lodge (AAA) - 2 nights (Bx2, Lx2, Dx2)
A short transfer is followed by a flight to Kathmandu. Aiming to arrive by lunchtime 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, but friendly haggling is essential. The following day, you’ll be taken sightseeing 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, the tour will also take you visit the Buddhist stupa of Bodhnath.
Hotel Manaslu (AAAA) - 2 nights (Swimming Pool) (Bx2, L)
Trip ends Kathmandu
The trip ends at your hotel in Kathmandu. (B)
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
For comparability, all prices in this dossier are quoted in one currency. We use the US Dollar since that is familiar to most. However, once on tour you will need to pay for all goods and services in the local currency. See your Country Dossier for details of exchange rates.
Trip gradesTiger Spotting
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!). 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; multi-share accommodation with separate toilet and shower. Minimum age: 7 years.
Transport - Minibus, domestic flight, on foot, dugout canoe, elephant.
Accommodation - Hotels (6nts), camping (1nt), lodges (2nts), guesthouse (2nts).
Meals - 11 breakfasts, 5 lunches & 7 dinners.
Single room supplementA single supplement is available for this trip priced from 60 GBP. This does not guarantee a single room for all accommodation. please contact us to discuss this.
For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal! For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.
One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase).
A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc. It will also be useful to use this bag to pack what you will need for the overnight camping trek too.
Although this is definitely not a sun, sea and sand holiday, why not take a ball or a frisbee with you. As well as being handy for games around camp with the other families and probably your trekking crew, they’re a great way of encouraging interaction with local children.
SOME INTERESTING READING:
Your Child’s Health Abroad - Matthew Ellis and Jane Wilson-Howarth, (Bradt publications).
Travel with Children – Maureen Wheeler (Lonely Planet)
Himalaya – Michael Palin
A Season in Heaven - David Tomory
Living in the Clouds – Eva Kipp
Shopping for Buddhas - Jeff Greenwald
The Snow Leopard – Peter Matthiessen
FOR YOUNGER READERS:
Within Reach: My Everest Story – Mark Pfetzer
Folk Tales of Nepal - Nagendra Sharma
SOME USEFUL PHRASES:
Namaste – Hello, Greetings
Dhanybhad – Thank you
Hajur – Excuse me, pardon
Tapainko naam ke ho? – What is your name?
Mero naam George ho – my name is George
Local Costs - Nepal
Whilst on trek you are likely to spend £12-15 per day on meals not included. In Kathmandu and Pokhara you will probably spend around £12 for meals, drinks, etc. Approximate costs are given for guidance only, and may vary widely according to location and type of establishment.
Soft drink £0.40
Medium beer £1.50
Local snack lunch £3.50
3-course dinner* £7.00
*reasonable mid-range tourist class restaurant
Visas & Permits - Nepal
Holders of UK & IRL passports do require a visa. A Nepalese visa can easily be acquired on arrival at Kathmandu airport or at the border from the immigration office. You will be required to fill in a form, submit 1 passport size photo and can be paid in GBP or US$ cash ($25 for a 15 day visa or $40 for a 30 day visa). Nationals of all other countries should contact their local embassy or consulate. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the end date of the trip. Information can also be found at www.travcour.com. This information is given in good faith, but may be subject to change without warning. Please note that, where appropriate, obtaining a valid visa is ultimately your responsibility. Please consult a visa agency or the consular authorities 4-6 weeks before departure for the most up-to-date information.
Vaccinations - Nepal
The following are recommended:
NB: Yellow Fever vaccination is required if travelling via an infected country.
For detailed information and advice concerning vaccinations go to:www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk
Vaccination requirements change periodically so we advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information.
International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.
For better or worse, tipping is an accepted part of everyday life, and - although it is always at your discretion - you will be expected to tip to reward service. This can vary widely, but please allow £25 per person (including children), for this trip. Also, if you wish to tip your Group Leader (in recognition of their contribution towards your overall enjoyment of the holiday) a suggested guideline would be approximately £1 to £2 per person, per day.
Please note: The scene upon arrival at Kathmandu airport is getting increasingly chaotic. Often there will be people insisting to take your luggage for you who, in return, will expect a heavy tip. We advise you not give your luggage to anybody except for the person wearing an Adventure Company t-shirt and holding an Adventure Company placard. You may also like to ensure that you have some small change with you (1-2 GBP) in case of getting lured into the help offered by the touts.The itinerary and supplementary information has been compiled with care and provided in good faith. However it may be subject to change, and does not form part of a contract between the client and The Imaginative Traveller.
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
- It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
- We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at email@example.comThe Imaginative Traveller & The Adventure Company. This trip is operated by our partner company, The Adventure Company. They have more than 10 years experience in adventure travel and they share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a codeshared departure you can expect there to be both Imaginative Traveller and Adventure Company travellers on your trip.