More Safety Tips in Nepal

  • Food on trek is usually much cleaner
    Food on trek is usually much cleaner
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  • Kathmandu Set Breakfast
    Kathmandu Set Breakfast
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  • Trekking Guides Identity Card
    Trekking Guides Identity Card
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Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Nepal

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    Should I hire a porter out on the way ?

    by into-thin-air Updated Aug 12, 2016

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    Personally, I would hire your porter out from a reputable agency in Kathmandu Before you start you trek, The reasons are

    1) Always remember that it is YOU that are responsible for any Staff that you hire out, This responsibility includes their health and welfare as well as ensuring that they have appropriate clothing for the trek. All the Reputable agents not only ensure that their “Staff have adequate clothing but also that they have adequate insurance too.
    2) The price that you agree is the price you pay, there have been instances of trekkers hiring porters independently for an agreed fee and then after a few days having to re-negotiate the fee because the porter has threatened to abandon them !!
    3) There have also been instances of porters disappearing in the night with their clients belongings. If you have hired your porter from a reputable agency then you have some comeback.
    4) Also reputable agents really do look after there staff and try to make sure that they are as fully employed as possible, often a porter will return from one trek and within a couple of days be off on another, So rather than them walking the streets looking got their next job, they can spend a day or two relaxing with their families. So not only is it good business for the agent, it is also good business for the porter.
    5) Prices for a good strong porter from a reputable agency are US$.15per day (2010)

    The only downside to doing it this way is that you will be responsible for paying your porter / guides transpiration costs to and from the trail head, for example Kathmandu to Lukla and return, but Nepali Nationals get a huge airfare discount - a RETURN ticket for them is currently around $80

    Two of our Porters in Upper Mustang
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    Big Belly

    by into-thin-air Updated Aug 12, 2016

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    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.

    When Big Bellies did Good Breakfasts !!!!
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    Minimise the chances of losing your checked in bag

    by into-thin-air Updated Aug 12, 2016

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    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

    Good Luck
    Rob

    Tej with my Rucksack Pro-Tector
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    My Old Adage

    by into-thin-air Updated Aug 12, 2016

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    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”

    My reasons

    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 ;-)

    Tip
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    Security of your luggage on bus roofs

    by into-thin-air Updated Aug 12, 2016

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    Security of your luggage on bus roofs can be a problem in Nepal, Especially on busses to popular trekking road-heads like Jiri– But there are several things you can do to minimise the risk of theft.
    1) When you luggage is loaded, pop up on the roof yourself and padlock you rucksack to the roof-rack – OK this won’t stop someone from delving inside it but at least you won’t get the whole rucksack stolen
    2) Consider buying some kind of Rucksack Pro-Tector
    3) Lock as many of the pockets as you can and have the things of least value in any unlocked ones
    4) Take all your valuable things inside the bus with you
    5) When the buss tops get out as often as possible to check on your rucksack
    6) Sometimes people buy one extra bus ticket between two people and then bring the luggage inside the bus – This can be unpopular with the rest of the passengers but it does work.

    Good Luck and Happy Trekking
    Rob

    Local Bus
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    The Question of taking Malaria preventatives

    by into-thin-air Updated Aug 12, 2016

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    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
    Rob

    Near Durbar Square, Kathmandu
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    Paying Deposits to agents based in Nepal up front

    by into-thin-air Updated Aug 12, 2016

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    The First thing to mention is to make sure that your chosen agent is listed on the TAAN Members directory

    Normally an agent won’t ask for a deposit unless he stands to loose money if for some reason you didn’t show up.

    However sometimes when you are booking treks, flight or other services through agents based in Nepal in advance you will be asked to pay a deposit up front to cover potential losses for “No Show” . As long as the deposit requested isn’t overly large and you are confident that the agent is a good and reliable one then paying a small deposit shouldn’t be a problem. But Be Aware that there are also a Lot of Sharks out there !!

    There are also a lot of Good, Reliable and Trusted Agents out there and there are legitimate reasons for agents to ask for small deposits of around $50 so that in a case of someone not showing up they are then not out of pocket, I will try and list some of the most common of these below.
    1) TIMS and ANCAP in advance, especially when the client is heading off trekking soon after arriving in Nepal.
    2) Internal flights, Again especially when said flight is soon after client arrives in Nepal
    3) Direct transfers from Kathmandu Tribuvan Airport to places like Pokhara by private car.
    4) If the trek also involves a trekking peek where a peek fee has to be paid.

    Very occasionally it is reasonable for an agent to ask for a larger deposit, Personally I would never advance in access of $100, Reasons for agents requiring larger deposits would be things like
    1) Direct transfer from Airport to Dunche/ Syapru Besi or Syange by Landcruiser with TIMS in advance and “Staff” (Guide and porters) already waiting.
    2) Trekking in a restricted / protected area where trekking permits are requited, these can run at up to $500 and involve a lot of paperwork up front so larger deposits are again often required especially when the client is heading off trekking soon after arriving in Nepal.

    Reliable and Trusted Agents wouldn’t ask for deposits much larger that I have suggested because of deductions received at there end incurred by electronic money transfers. Even with companies such as muncha.com the rupee / $ or Euro rate is significantly less (Maybe 5%) than you get when you are in Nepal, This rate difference usually comes out of the agents profits, so they won’t ask for a significantly larger deposit than covers what they actually stand to loose if the client doesn’t show up.

    Good Luck
    Rob

    Crossroads at Sauraha (Chitwan)
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    Dangers of Trekking alone

    by into-thin-air Updated Aug 12, 2016

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    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
    Rob

    Debbie Maveau Aubrey Sacco who ?Disappeared? in Langtang in 2010
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    Try and Make Sure your Rucksack arrives Safely

    by into-thin-air Updated Aug 11, 2016

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    When you go to Nepal you will probably use a rucksack as your luggage, In all probability it will be an Expensive one and you will no doubt be intending to use it when you go Trekking !!
    So it is important that you do Everything that you can to try and ensure that it arrives safely, Dry and in One Piece !!
    Over the years I have had Loads of Problems with Exactly this !! Going to retrieve my rucksack from the carrousel only to discover that the straps have been ripped off or that the fabric has been torn.
    So what did I do ??
    I designed the “Rucksack Pro-Tector”, you can take a look at my web-site at Pro-Tector
    People then ask me If I use my own products when I travel. – Here you can see Nina safely retrieving my Rucksack (In it’s “Rucksack Pro-Tector”) from the Carrousel at Kathmandu Tribuvan Airport.
    Yes it Did arrive, Safe, Dry and in One Piece !!

    Nina safely retrieving my Rucksack @ Kathmandu
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    Volunteering in Nepal

    by into-thin-air Updated Aug 11, 2016

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    Personally I would be Very Wary of volunteering in Nepal, or anywhere for that matter, unless I either personally knew someone working or has worked for the organisation in question, Or had a personal recommendation from someone that I knew and Trusted.
    Two years ago in Nepal I met an Australian Lass who had paid a lot of money to volunteer in Nepal, she was meant to be met on arrival at Kathmandu Tribuvan Airport and Guess What ?? No-One Turned up !! Then she was unable to make contact with this organisation, so she had not only lost her money, but had lost her opportunity to volunteer as well !!
    Luckily I was able to put her in touch with a friend of mine, Declan Murphy who runs a small charity called “just-one”That strives to actively promote and facilitate educational opportunities for disadvantaged and marginalized children in Nepal by working at a grass-roots level with the children, their families and their communities to implement a range of carefully developed, culturally sensitive, sustainable initiatives.

    Luckily Declan was able to sort something out for her and she was able to salvage her trip

    So, Be Careful when you are volunteering because there are a Lot of Sharks out there !!

    Unfortunately, since writing this “Tip” Declan Murphy has had to wind up operations at just-one – Declan had dedicated 12 years of his life to the charity, so we are all very sad that just-one had to finish in such a way !!!

    Good Luck

    Rob

    Street scene, Kathmandu
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    Hiring Staff Direct – Be Aware !!!

    by into-thin-air Updated Apr 11, 2016

    This “Tip” is designed for trekkers who are considering hiring their trekking staff direct rather than going through an agent, and although this sometimes used to work out a little cheaper, often this is no longer the case with some independent guides demanding large salaries. So, before deciding to do so, the following information might be of help.
    1) TIMS – Trekkers who elect to take trekking staff with them on their trek should use a Blue TIMS Card, these are only available to trekkers who elect to employ trekking staff and part of the $10 fee that you pay is used to provide trekking staff with basic medical and accident insurance (Confirmation of this can be found on the TAAN website Many good agents elect to purchase their trekking staff additional insurance and, of course deal with any claims should accidents or illnesses arise.
    Blue TIMS Cards are now only available either through, or through certain government offices by TAAN Registered Agents (Individual trekkers cannot get these themselves, not can independent guides without the input of a TAAN Registered Agent) Independent Trekkers can however obtain a (Green) FIT TIMS Card for $20 from TAAN Pokhara Secretariat in Pokhara, and the offices of Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu and Pokhara, but If they trek using the Green TIMS Card and hire a guide, then there is no insurance cover provided with the TIMS Card (This is clearly stated on the TIMS Card) and therefore the following Insurance rules apply
    In Nepal, it is a legal requirement to provide any trekking staff you hire out with accident insurance as well as an agreed daily remuneration, necessary clothes and equipment. Therefore if you elect to hire out trekking staff directly and not through y a TAAN Registered Agent, you are entirely responsible for the health and general wellbeing of anyone you hire out. The first problem you are likely to come across is actually knowing if your trekking staff have insurance as all documentation for such policies is written in Nepali, so, you could in fact, in good faith pay for an insurance policy and then find out that it is either worthless or possibly even none existent. Even if you have managed to source a good insurance policy for your trekking staff, maybe through an insurance broker, you will still be responsible to make any initial payments and then try to claim them back through the insurance, and if you can’t read Nepali, you won’t know what is, and isn’t covered. Typically, Nepali trekking staff opt for “Land Only” insurance and this means that, say after an accident, their cover doesn’t start until they get to the nearest roadhead, then this may take several days and incur costs of several hundreds of $’s to get them there (Hiring a horse or yak as well as attendants along with their associated costs). Then there will be an ambulance journey of several hours to get them to the nearest hospital, so more money to lay out and hopefully claim back through the insurance at a later date, finally the hospital treatment its self, so yet more money to lay out and hopefully claim back through the insurance. On top of this there will usually be an “Excess” to pay, so even if your trekking staff had insurance, If there was an accident or severe illness, you could easily be several hundred $’s out of pocket as well as having had your trek ruined.

    2) Pay Disputes – Over these past few years’ costs to trekking staff have increased several fold, food costs in particular for Trekking staff have doubled and probably doubled again and their wages have hardly risen at all. Unfortunately this has led to an increased amount of Pay Disputes – What can happen is that after you have agreed the daily rate, several days into the trek your trekking staff can demand an increase in their pay – This can be both very difficult to deal with as well as inevitably costing you more money that you originally budgeted
    3) Run-Off’s – This is when your trekking staff disappear with some of, or all your belongings and although Run-Off’s are rare, occasionally there are reports of them. The easiest way of dealing with them is by trying to prevent them happening in the first place – Agreeing a staged method of payment is the easiest option, say 1/3 up front. 1/3 at the half way point of the trek and the final 1/3 on successful completion of the trek

    My own preference is, rather than risk any of the above, is that I hire my own trekking staff out through a reputable TAAN registered agent as by doing this, it is the agent that then takes on the responsibility for the trekking staff and have to deal with any illnesses or accidents that involve insurance claims and pay any additional costs involved, deal with any pay disputes and the consequences of any Run Off’s (However, these are unlikely in any case and even more so when hiring trekking staff out through an agent.

    For anyone who doubts the above information, The Nepal Immigration manual is available online as a download and all the above information (Plus a lot more) is readily obtainable at by downloading Nepal Immigration Rules and Regulations and reading Chapter 3, “Trekking” paying particular attention to clause 38

    Good Luck and Happy Safe Trekking to one and all
    Rob

    Rob and Sambhu on way back from EBC
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    Trying to avoid the “Kathmandu Quickstep”

    by into-thin-air Updated Jan 3, 2016

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    Trying to avoid the “Kathmandu Quickstep” (A name that I Love as it summarises oh so well the symptoms that you could all potentially suffer)

    Personally, I believe that the chances are High that most visitors to Nepal get at least a mild dose of the dreaded “Kathmandu Quickstep” at some stage on their trip, especially if they have come direct from a None third world country with “Normal” and “Accepted” standards of food hygiene – However, if you have come up from somewhere like India, your chances are greatly reduced as your stomach has already become “Hardened” – So all you can do is be pedantic about everything you eat as well as your own personal hygiene, especially after toileting as transmission of Bugs hand to mouth is probably the biggest culprit. Also the water supply in Kathmandu is appalling with water often being stored in huge dirty underground cisterns after being delivered in dirty old tankers and even though restaurants often advertise their food as “Washed and/or Cooked in water containing iodine”, that doesn’t mean that the crockery and cutlery is also washed the same way. Also freezer temperatures go Up and Down with the constant load shedding (Planned power cuts) with food freezing and thawing many times before it is eventually consumed by an unsuspecting visitor, so meat and fish products are best avoided, at least pre trek
    However, once you are out of Kathmandu and on trek, water standards do improve as does the availability of fresher food, so although you shouldn’t drop your guard too far, the chances of becoming ill does drop and by the time you return to Kathmandu your own stomachs will have become more accustomed to a few bugs in your food and, again, although you shouldn’t completely drop your guard, the likelihood of you becoming ill will be vastly reduced compared to when you first arrived

    Here are a few specific things that you can do to minimise the chances of being adversely effected by stomach bugs
    1) Be pedantic about your own personal hygiene, take along a alcohol based hand sanitizer and use this after toileting as the water that comes out of the taps isn’t treated and avoid using the towels (if any are provided)
    2) Keep away from meat and fish products as with the current load shedding of around 12 hours per day mean the freezer temperatures are up and down and the food will have thawed out and refrozen many times – Stick to the popular restaurants where other people eat so as to further minimise this
    3) If eating tinned fish (Such as tuna) make sure that it is from a previously unopened tin (One of the worst bouts of food poisoning I had in Nepal was from a tuna sandwich where I hadn’t insisted on this)
    4) Only drink bottled water in Kathmandu and treated water everywhere else and check the seals before drinking
    5) Keep your mouth shut in the shower and Never brush your teeth in anything other than treated / bottled water
    6) Before going trekking, it is worth going to a local pharmacy and asking what the current bugs are that are doing the rounds and buying a course of anti biotic’s for this so you have them to hand if necessary
    7) When I now go trekking, I tell my guide that part of his responsibility is looking after my stomach and that when the food is being prepared in the lodges, that he must ensure that the food is fresh and is prepared hygienically – I tell him that his tip will be enhanced if I don’t have stomach problems – This seems to have worked because the number of times I have had stomach bugs on trek has now really reduced !!

    I could go on, but the above will at least give you an idea

    Good Luck and Happy Safe Travels

    Rob

    Food on trek is usually much cleaner Kathmandu Set Breakfast Good clean trek food Kathmandu Big Set Breakfast
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    The dangers of not acclimating properly

    by into-thin-air Written Nov 15, 2015

    I have seen an increasing number of posts where either trekkers (Probably being unaware of the risks of not acclimating properly) and agencies going on treks with insufficient time, therefore not acclimating properly and thereby putting themselves at a massive risk of AMS.

    The most ludicrous of these was recently posted on TA with the following trekking schedule
    Day 01: Arrival at the Kathmandu international airport and pick up by our office representative and transfer to the hotel
    Day 02: Rest and preparation of the trekking
    Day 03: Fly to Lukla (2,700m) and trek to Phakding (2,600m)
    Day 04: Trek to Namche Bazaar (3,450m)
    Day 05: Trek to Pangboche (3,985m)
    Day 06: Trek to Lobuche (4,930m)
    Day 07: Trek to Gorak Shep (5,130m) and excursion to Kala Pattar (5,545m) and trek back to Thyangboche (3,880m)
    Day 08: Trek back to Lukla
    Day 09: Fly back to Kathmandu and farewell dinner
    Day 10: Drop off at the airport and departure for selected destination

    I met a chap that followed this trekking schedule on my first EBC Trek in January 98, well when I say I met him; I should really say that I walked past his body, wrapped up in a sleeping bag outside a tent just to the north of Tengboche (Where the trail drops down towards Debouche)
    He was a 31 year old Japanese lad who had flown into Lukla on day 1 with his guide and then trekked to Namche Bazaar, his guide had told him the importance of spending a second night there to acclimatise, but this advice was ignored and the second day they trekked to Tengboche. The guide had then tried to insist on spending a second night at Tengboche and was crying when the client again insisted on continuing on – But he didn’t get very far before starting to vomit, getting dizzy and collapsing, they were carrying a tent, so the guide erected the tent and got the client inside, but he was dead within ½ hour.
    When I past the body, a couple of days had elapsed and there were two Nepali’s guarding the body, they had placed the body outside the tent and were staying in it while awaiting instructions on what was happening with the body – Presumably the authorities had contacted the next of kin to establish their wishes and were possibly waiting for funds to appear before arranging transportation of the body back to Japan.

    As you might well imagine all of this really rattled me and since experiencing this, I have always(Understandably) been very cautions when it comes to proper acclimatisation and now Always recommended that trekkers should read the proper guidelines written by The Institute of Mountain Medicine on the link below and would personally recommend that you try to stick closer to the lower 300m per day daily height gain (After you have spent your acclimatisation day at3.000m) rather than the upper limit of 500m.

    Good Luck and Happy Safe Trekking

    Rob

    Near to where the body was View towards Everest from Tengboche The Monetary at Tengboche Rob at the Monetary at Tengboche
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    Obtaining TIMS permits at the Sagarmatha Park Gate

    by into-thin-air Updated Mar 7, 2015

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    Although you can get your TIMS and pay your National Park Entry at Monjo, I was advised to get TIMS in Kathmandu as I was told that sometimes your TIMS application form with details of your route plan can end up in the bin and the fee in the officials pocket, this would leave no record of your Park Entry and could well hamper any rescue attempt (if one was needed)
    Obtaining TIMS in Thamel is a lot simpler than it used to be since the new counter has opened – Details of the new TIMS counter on the link below

    Good Luck and Happy Safe Trekking
    Rob

    TIMS permit
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    MAYBE BETTER TO FLY

    by davidjo Written Jul 25, 2014

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    In Nepal the roads are very dangerous due to the topography and the chances of having a crash are apparently 10 times higher than being in India. Because of Nepal’s topography, poor road conditions, careless drivers, and lack of regulation, the chance of passengers surviving an accident is also much lower here than anywhere else. More people have died in road accidents than in the ten year conflict with the Maoists, and since 2006 more than 10,000 fatalities have occurred on the country's roads.
    Considering these facts you should consider flying between Kathmandu and Pokhara
    The photograph below shows a net across the river between Kathmandu and Pokhara, and the purpose of this is to catch dead bodies that are floating down river from a bus accident. The crowded bus drove off the road and into the river causing many deaths.

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