When you gain altitude, you must obey the rules, These rules are Very Simple, Once you reach 10,000 feet (3.000m) you Must stay 2 nights to aid acclimatisation, then after this you Must Only gain 1,000 feet (300m) per day (Sometimes it isn’t possible to stick to this rule because of a lack of accommodation, so if you gain more altitude than you should, then you Need to spend another extra night to acclimatise before proceeding up) , Otherwise your risk of being subject to AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) is Substantially enhanced.
However Even if you obey this rule you can still get AMS and the Only cure is to loose altitude, However sometimes this isn’t easy as you might have to gain altitude before you can loose it, Here Diamox comes in handy as it treats the symptoms, Headaches, sickness, double vision to name a few, thus enabling you to loose this Necessary altitude to aid your recovery.
Some doctors now think that regularly taking Diamox helps the acclimatisation process, However one problem is that if you don’t get the AMS symptoms, then you aren’t aware that you are starting with AMS and therefore have a lot less time to act when you do realise that you are starting with it !!
Organised treks often put there clients on a regular dose of Diamox, I personally disagree with this practice and once got into a massive argument with an Australian based outfit on their way up to Gokyo who were feeding Diamox to their clients like Smarties !!
So – All I can say is you have to make your own mind up, weigh up the Pro’s and Con’s and come to your own decision.
I have now done 10 high altitude treks in Nepal, I always take Diamox in my first aid pack, but Thankfully to this day haven’t had the occasion to have to take one – Fingers Crossed that that continues !!
No Idea from where to start but I have to write about the experience I recently got in Nepal. Nepalese people in general called Indians "Dhoti". The word is derived from Dhoti which is a piece of cloth worn by Biharis (native or inhabitant from the State of Bihar, India), who are frequent dwellers of Nepal as the Indo-Nepal border is an Open Border and Nepal shares a vast part of border (South) with India.
There are some incidents of harrassements of the Biharis in Nepal also. Indians, please be careful while venturing in Nepal and avoid conflicts with local youths. And above all, "NEVER SAY BUDHHA WAS BORN IN INDIA!"
This is an often asked question so I will try and shed some light on it ;-)
The risk of catching Malaria in Nepal varies depending on where in Nepal you go and when you go there. I have travelled to Nepal a total of ten times in November, December, January, February, March and April and never taken any Malaria preventatives , I Know that this involves a Risk, But to me (And Here I Add To ME) these risks of catching Malaria are outweighed by the side effects that I have suffered in the past from taking the preventatives.
However - If I travelled to Nepal mid monsoon then I might well take the preventatives, especially If I was spending time in the Teri
I think that it is up to the individual visitor to Nepal to weigh up the Pro’s and Con’s of catching Malaria against their side effects of taking the Malaria preventatives
All travel involves risk, the risk of disease, the risk of road accidents AMS whilst Trekking, falling and breaking a leg etc etc. So weigh up the Pro’s and Con’s yourself and come to your own decision
Good Luck and Happy Travels
I am pleased to say that the idea of banning independent trekking in the Langtang Region (As well as other teahouse trekking routes) has been abandoned – The official word is that the policy has been put on hold indefinitely – So lets all hope that it stays that way ;-)
In my opinion TAAN jumped the gun and what they originally said on their website, that the policy had already come in, was simply untrue and has since been taken down.
So- At least for now, Independent Trekking is still permissible on all the teahouse trekking routes in Nepal.
The Government of Nepal has taken the decision to ban solo independent trekking in The Langtang Region of Nepal unless the trekker is accompanied by a guide or porter.
This ban will also include the Helambu trekking region as The Langtang National Park stretches as far as Kutumsang and the TAAN site does stipulate “The Langtang National Park”
The only way that solo trekkers will now be able to trek in The Langtang National Park without trekking staff will now be to find a trek-mate to team up with, which probably isn’t a bad idea and as long as the government doesn’t try to reintroduce the short lived rule of banning independent trekking altogether, then IMHO that is the main thing
Over the last few years I have seen an increase in the amount of people who claim to be guides who have no formal qualifications and therefore shouldn’t be pretending to be something that they aren’t
Part of the problem is that less scrupulous agents hire out these “None Guides” as real guides in an attempt to save money – This isn’t helped by some trekkers who try to bargain the price down – So in a way, you sometimes get what you pay for.
But – If something goes wrong and your guide is inexperienced and unqualified then this can mean Big Trouble and sometimes even Life Threatening
So – What’s the advice
Only hire out fully Licenced Guides, check that they are in fact fully Licenced by asking to see their “Guides Identity Card” – I have posted one here to illustrate what a genuine one looks like.
The same applies if you are going to attempt to climb a trekking peak – To obtain the peak permit you will need to hire out a climbing guide, so again check his papers and make sure that he is who he is claiming to be, I have posted a genuine one here so you can compare it.
Good Luck and Happy Safe Travels
What was once a great little inexpensive restaurant in central Thamel has now really gone downhill, the prices have almost doubled in the last 12 months (10% “Service Charge also now added) and the quality f the food has hit rock bottom.
I have been back twice this trip just to make sure I hadn’t gone on a bad day – But the second time I went the prices had gone up yet again (Only one week later) and the breakfast that I Was served was inedible
So – With some regret, as I had used this once fantastic little restaurant for more than 10 years, I have to say that I would now avoid it as there are many places selling better food for much less money.
2012 update – The visa office has moved since I wrote this “Tip” in 2010, But it is still in the same area. Visa extensions are still the same price and the system of extending them is still more or les the same – I have updated as follows
1) Negotiate a taxi to The immigration office in Kathmandu in the morning – The office has recently moved, but it is still in the same area as the old one but just around the corner, My taxi was 200NPR each way from Thamel
2) Ignore all the touts that hang out at the immigration office, pick up a form from the desk in front of you as you enter the building and fill it in
3) Take you filled in form to the desk and hand it over with your passport photo
4) The extension fee is then calculated (This is $2 per day, minimum charge $30, so in effect you might as well always extend your visa for 15 days as less days will still be $30) in Nepali Rupees which you pay further along the counter and get a receipt
5) Return at the appointed time (Usually after 3pm) with our receipt to pick up you passport – But always check that the visa extension is correct before you leave the office – Also check that you have been given your own passport back – I was given the passport of a Dutch female my mistake, but when I pointed this out I was soon given my own ;-)
Since the new visa rules were introduced last year (2009) there has been a lot of confusion in what best to do with getting your visa and then extending it.
In this tip I will TRY and shed some light on this, As no doubt if you have read the new rules then these will have left you as confused as I was !!
OK – If you are coming to Nepal for more than 30 days but less than 60, If this is the case then it will pay you to Only get a 30 day $40 visa on arrival and then extend it. (Visa extensions cost $2 per day, Minimum charge of $30 (15 days) and then thereafter $2 per day. So if you are going for more than 60 days it pays you to buy the 90 days $100 Visa.
Visa Extension Office, This is now located in the outskirts of Kathmandu so it is best to get a taxi – From Thamel this cost me 75NPR on the meter, so Never pay more than around 150NPR.
What Should Happen
Head for the office at Baneshwor, Kathmandu around 13.30, This will give you time to fill in your visa extension form and pay for it as the cash desk closes at 14.00.
Once at the office you will have to fill in the visa extension form, This is straightforward enough, you will also need one passport sized photo. Then you present this form along with your passport to the guy on the right-hand side of the main desk (The one in front of you when you go through the door) He checks the form, then you go to the lady on the left hand side of the desk and pay your fee, This can Only be paid in NPR, The lady will tell you exactly how much it is based on the days exchange rates from US $'s. She will then give you Two prices of pink paper, One is a receipt for the fee and the other a receipt for your passport. You are now free to leave the office and go to the little café down the road – But make Sure that you keep your two prices of pink paper Very Safe.
Then after 16.00 you can head back to the office with the receipt for your passport.and pick up your passport along with your new visa extension – All Done, But Make Sure you check the dates on the visa extension BEFORE you leave the office !!
The Reality of what does happen
When you arrive at the office you might well be greeted by two “Officials”, these “Officials” will hand you your visa application form and you fill it out, then they ask you for the visa fee, But this isn't the equivalent of $30 (Assuming it is a 15 day extension that you are getting), It is more like the equivalent of $60 – If you are foolish enough to pay this then these “Officials” will give you your Two prices of pink paper and the rest is as above – Only it has now cost you Double – The “Officials” aren't really “Officials” but people who have an “Arrangement with the Officers who issue the visas, They give a proportion of the Baksheesh to the real Official Staff behind the counter and this saves you queuing up – But for the 10 minutes you might stand in the queue the $30 extra that you pay isn't good value for money.
Another “Trick” is that sometimes they will close the cash desk early, This happened to me when I had to extend my visa a second time because my flight was cancelled and then rescheduled due to the Iceland Volcano- Luckily I had my Nepali friend Nirmal with me and he argued the toss – Eventually the cash desk miraculously reopened – But if I hadn't been lucky enough to have Nirmal with me then I would have had no choice but to go back the next day.
Personally I think that the Nepal Government should clean this up as it will undoubtedly put people off returning to Nepal – Just another Sad case of Official Corruption in this Troubled but Beautiful country.
Good Luck to everyone who has to put themselves through this system, If you are in Pokhara then this is the place to get your visa expended, in March 2013; the whole process was hassle free and took less than ½ hour
I learned this the hard way. I was in a jeep and I realised I had not greeted the driver as we bumped down the road. So I said "Namaste" and held my hands together. Big mistake! the driver had to turn around to look at me and return the greetings. How we didn't then take out 5 people and a fruit stall - I don't know. Please do the pleasantries with the driver before you set off!
What to do to minimise the chances of this adversely affecting your trip
1) Make sure your travel insurance has adequate cover to compensate you if your checked in baggage is completely lost
2) Try and get all your essentials into your hand baggage (most of your trekking gear is less important as this can be hired or bought inexpensively in Nepal)
3) Wear your boots / trekking shoes for the journey
4) Use distinctive, easily identifiable checked in baggage
5) If changing airlines with reciprocal baggage handling agreement, double check with the check in staff at the gate that your checked in baggage has been loaded
6) If changing airlines without a reciprocal baggage handling agreement it is usually your responsibility to ensure that your checked in baggage is loaded on the aircraft – Transit Staff should be able to help with this but also double check with the check in staff at the gate that your checked in baggage has been loaded
If you are going trekking in nepal then altitude sickness is something that you should study a bit before you go as this can become a serious issue in the Himalayas.
Once you go up above 3000 meters altitude then there is a fairly big chance that you will feel the altitude to some extend.
some people can trek to 5000 meters without problems and some will need to turn around and walk down at 3000 meters.
and then some people can scale Mount Everest at 8448 meters without oxygen.
And you level of fitness plays no role when it comes to altitude sickness.
It can strike even the fittest person on he mountain.
It usually starts with headache and dizzyness and if you get that then you should take a break and ascent slowly.
In general you should try never to trek more than 1000 meter up per day so that your body can get accostumed the the this air.
If it gets worse and you start vommiting and having blurry vision then you should go down right away as this is when you enter the zone where it's dangorous and several people die from altitude sickness every year in Nepal.
This is just a small introduction to altirude sickness and you should sit down and read one of the booklets available at most tourist offices in Nepal and possibly also seek some advice in advance from a doctor who is a specialist in this before you go.
Trekking the Himalayas is one of the best travel experiences in this world and you do not want it to be ruined by the altitude.
The political situation is at the time i write this (september 2012) quite rocky and there are many demonstrations and strikes.
The political landscape in Nepal is sharply devided and the two main groups are the royalists and the maoists who spend a lot of time trying to obstruct the other wing instead of governing the country.
In the past the maoists had regular terrorist attacks in some areas of Nepal, but this is luckily no longer so after they became a part of the parlament a couple of years ago.
They are trying to close down any institution that has to do with the monarchy that was abolished recently after the crown prince wiped out his entire family with a machine gun.
That situation has created some political turmoil recently.
Apart from obviously trying to steer clear of any confrontation between political groups and police, you should also try and plan your logistics after it as it's not nice to try and flag down a taxi for an early morning flight just to find out that the streets are bloced by protestors so you can't make it.
I suggest that if you have an early morning flight out of Kathmandu airport then you should stay the last night at one of the airport hotels by Katmandu airport, so you can walk to the departure lounge in case of roadblocks.
And at the time writing this roadblocks are quite frequent in Kathmandu.
Personally I don’t think it is the greatest idea for Anyone to trek alone in Nepal, Particularly as a single female as there have been some incidents lately where solo females have been found dead or “Disappeared”
The latest of these was in June 2012, Debbie Maveau a Belgian woman, who had gone missing for 16 days in Langtang and found dead in a forest in the district.
Police said they are investigating the case to find the real cause of Maveau's death.
The Belgian woman had entered the Langtang National Park area on May 31, planning to trek in the Gosiakund area for six days.
Another was Aubrey Sacco who “Disappeared” in Langtang in Spring 2010 and of whom no trace has yet been found, there was also the case of a solo Australian Lady attacked on the Jiri route, luckily she escaped to tell the tale, as did the 3 French Ladies who were attacked by army personnel in Langtang l
Apart for the risk of being attacked, just from a safety point of view trekking alone can be a bad idea as if illness or accident happened then you have no back-up, I aren’t necessarily saying rush off and book onto an organised “Tour” or even hire a guide, But I think to try and find a trek-mate before you set off is a must rather than to consider trekking alone. You could read the Travelling Companions and Trekking & Mountaineering boards on Lonely Planet Thorntree’s and see if there is anyone else trekking around the same time to team up with and if not pop up your own threads on there as well as on here, But if you don’t have any luck there then once you arrive in Kathmandu most of the backpacker hotels have notice boards, it is worth reading them as there are often trekkers looking for trekking partners, My favourite hook-up point is The Garden Restaurant at Pilgrims Guesthouse in North Thamel (Although I never stay there as personally I think the rooms are a bit overpriced for what you get) Pop in for lunch or dinner as there is a good chance of finding likeminded people.
Good Luck to one and all
Happy and Safe Trekking
There is a lot of political turmoil in Nepal currently. We faced a tough time, as we were on a short trip of 4 days to Kathmandu, out of which there were a lot of street demonstrations for two days.
Although the Nepalese are courteous enough, to allow tourist vehicles to go through a mob infested area, it can get ugly at times. Chances are that you get stranded at times.
It is also a good time for cab drivers, tour operators to charge extra bugs to ferry you around town or nearby places around Kathmandu.
Imp. Tip for Indians : Indian rupees are welcome in Nepal. However we were informed at the Airport, that Rs. 500.00 & Rs. 1000.00 notes are not acceptable in Nepal. The local currency exchange counter at the airport will not accept notes of these denominations, and the security at the time of leaving the country, will try to extract Rs. 500.00 note from you, if they know you are carrying a few notes, stating that it is not allowed inside Nepal.
My Old Adage goes like this
Hotels are for Sleeping
Restaurants are for Eating
Trekking / Travel Agents are for arranging Trekking and Travel
These days Hotels try to be a “One Stop Shop” trying to provide Everything that their guests might require – My own advice would be to stick to “My Old Adage”
Hotel Travel desks simply haven’t anything like the experience of a Genuine Trekking / Travel Agent so they either offer a poor service or sub-contract for a hefty commission and you end up paying more
Hotel Restaurants don’t turn over the food quickly, This is even more important now with constant load shedding (Planned power cuts) make freezer temperatures shoot up and down – The older the food the more chances there is of making you ill.
Well that’s my advice – Over to you now ;-)
I have never done this myself, but saw the possibility of getting your TIMS at the Sagarmatha Park Gate posted on a travel forum a few months ago, so I emailed my preferred gent in Kathmandu to see if he could confirm that this was true.
He replied saying that it is possible, but this isn’t normal practice and wouldn’t advise anyone taking this option. His reasons were that the application / issue wasn’t guaranteed to be done properly, with the route details being transferred to the TIMS computer (i.e. sometimes the fee goes straight into the pocket of the person issuing your TIMS and the paperwork goes in the bin) – Therefore if something was to go wrong on your trek and a search had to be organised, there would be a possibility that your entrance to Sagarmatha National park would be unrecorded, so any searches would take place in the wrong area.
Therefore I would strongly advise getting your TIMS permits sorted out in Kathmandu !!
Good Luck and Happy Safe Trekking
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