Saturday, December 6, 2014

Himalayan Shangri –la tour


Known as the Himalayan Shangri –la this two week journey takes you through Nepal most authentic and exhilarating journey. Eagerly starting off from the sightseeing tour of Patan Durbar Square swiftly moves toward Kakani that offers magnificent views of the Kathmandu Valley. Tingled with richness and tradition, Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Nagarkot welcome you with its authentic heritage and aspiring views.
Similarly, Pokhara offers a magnificent view of the Himalayas that trench among the high altitude. We reach Muktinath on the 12th day of the trip which holds great importance for both Hindus and Buddhists. It is believed that the great sage Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) meditated here and is considered one of the main attractions. 

Days: 16
Highest point: Muktinath (3760m)
Difficulty Level: Easy

·         Classic trek- popularly known as Himalayan Shangri-la
·         Access to the high mountains of the Himalayas within a reasonable timeframe
·         25 minutes scenic mountain flight from Pokhara to Jomsom
·         Ideal trek throughout the year as the route stays at a low altitudes
·         Passes through Muktinath- one of the most sacred holy sites of Hindus and Buddhists
·         Passes through the world’s deepest gorge of Kali Gandaki
·         Panoramic view of Mt. Annapurna1(8091), Mt. Dhaulagiri (8167m) and Mt. Nilgiri (7061m)
·         Unforgettable sunrise and sunset views along with majestic peaks of the Himalayas including Mount Everest from Nagarkot
·         Geo thermal hot Spring Bathing Pool in Tatopani
·         Saligram” fossil can be found at the river bank of Kaligandaki which is considered incarnation of God Bisnu
·         Explore Thakali villages and culinary art of Thakali people
·         Highly recommended for luxury trekkers

Trip Notes

Daily Notes:
As we start our trip, Kathmandu gives you the taste and feel of modern city but as you go deep inside, then you will know the relevance and importance of its cultural heritage. Generally the first 3 days will be easy within the comfort of Hotel Annapurna and its amenities.  The first few days, you will be introduced to the local culture and cultural heritage with a sightseeing tour of Patan Durbar Square, Bungmati, Bhaktapur durbar square and Khokana.  Then the trip slightingly takes its turn with visiting places like Kakani, Nagarkot, adapting you to the hilly region giving you a chance to know and understand the climatic behavior of the region.
Moving on, the 5th day welcomes you with Pokhara as an urban tourist hub. From here we start our trek towards Nayapul by a shared a/c car.

On trekking trips, you will be woken up between 6-7 am for the breakfast and after breakfast you walk for 2, 3 hours. Lunch is generally served at 11 am on trail. You will get about an hour’s break during lunch when you can rest, write a diary, talk or do anything you like. After lunch, we walk for 2 to 3 hours and reach to camp late afternoon.  During the trekking it is highly important for any individual to adapt and acclimatize, most of your day will engage in trekking, and resting.

Accommodation: Accommodation varies according to place, time and situation. During this program you will be placed at Annapurna Hotel for the first 3 days in Kathmandu. In Nagarkot you will stay at the Club Himalaya. Similarly, in Pokhara you will stay at the Temple Tree Resort.  During the trekking one can choose what they like on the basis of their budget. Lodges and hotels are easily available but it is highly recommended to be with the team. All accommodation cost is covered in the program fee.

Meals:  In this program lunch and dinner in Kathmandu and Pokhara are not available; the client has to bear the cost of lunch and dinner. One can easily drop by any of the near restaurants and enjoy the selected menu.  Wide ranges of foods are available in the city area according to taste and preferences. But during the trekking the program fee covers the cost and offers comprehensive meals 3 times a day. A trekker has to bear all his personal expenses including souvenirs, laundry, optional sightseeing etc.

Flights: Flights schedule are not so regular in Nepal due to climatic fluctuation so it is wise to confirm your flight a day before. Delay and cancellation may be of a few hours or a couple of days. During the program in case of any flight delays all accommodation and food are managed for you by the company. You will however be liable for costs arising from delay of flight. In case of flights being delayed from remote airstrips due weather or technical difficulties, most itineraries have a spare day built in to absorb such delay. Longer delays may make require helicopter evacuation necessary, but such delays can usually be claimed through travel insurance.

High Altitude Sickness: This program goes through a wide variation of attitude starting from Kathmandu (1400m) to Nagarkot (2163m) to Pokhara (827m) to Kalopani (2609m) to Muktinath (3760m) to Jomsom (2743m). It is highly recommended for every participant to be relaxed and not to hide any sort of physical deformity or problems. Guests may suffer from altitude sickness if they travel rapidly to elevations above 3,000 meters. Most itineraries are however geared to make a reasonable ascent minimizing altitude sickness possibilities.  Typical symptoms of altitude sickness are persistent headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, disorientation and loss of balance, persistent cough and difficulty in breathing. Our guides and tour leaders will be monitoring group health on all treks that take us to altitude, and though not common, it is sometimes necessary to take clients off trek and descend to lower altitudes for their safety.

Weather: The weather may change drastically during the program.  Due to the huge fluctuation of altitude and geographical location, climate and weather remains an unpredictable factor. It may be freezing or very low which may drop to -20 degree Celsius during the evening, night and early morning. The daytime temperatures may be generally between 20- 35 degree Celsius. The weather can change and snow fall may occur at any time at higher altitudes.

Tips: The culture of giving tip is not new in Nepal. A tip is generally given at an end of journey in appreciation of the services you receive. Visitors themselves should decide how much money they want to give as tips to porter, guide or team leader. Tour leaders may also organize a group’s tips kitty and at an end of journey you need to give tip to the tour leaders. Besides tips, visitors can help the porters by giving them mountain clothing and other useful items like water and wind resistant jackets, pants, warm hats, gloves, sunglasses, spare kit etc.

Visa information: Travelers can apply for Nepalese visa from Nepalese embassy or consulate office situated nearby. They can also get a visa from Tribhuvan International Airport or from any other entry point in Nepal if they have no time to visit an embassy, or are not travelling from their home country. Visitors should have a few sets of photos, a passport, and required money to apply for visa.

Note: All visas sold on arrival are multiple entry visas and are available to cover 3 different durations of visit: US$25 for 15 days, US$40 for 30 days, and US$100 for 90 days. Please ensure you purchase the duration sufficient to cover your whole visit including days of entry and exit. Please do note that these durations refer to each country into Nepal e.g. 15 days for each entry.

Visa extensions: Visitors can extend their visas from the immigration offices of Kathmandu and Pokhara only. They need to pay US $30 for 15 days extension, US $ 5 per day after 15 days and US$50 for multiple- entry visa. If visitors overstay then they need to pay a fine of US$3 per day if they overstay less than 30 days (plus a US$2 per day visa extension fee).

Health and travel insurance: Visitors should visit their personal physician or health clinic 4 or 8 weeks before coming to Nepal and vaccinate themselves. Travel and medical insurance is a must, and should include coverage for emergency flights and medical expenses.

Vaccination: Visitors must visit their personal physician or health clinic 4 or 8 weeks before coming to Nepal and vaccinate themselves though vaccination is not compulsory. However vaccinations are recommended for the protection.

Note: Some vaccinations are prohibited for the pregnant women and people with allergies.
  • Hepatitis A: The vaccination of Hepatitis A is recommended for all visitors which provide long-term immunity.
  • Hepatitis B: This vaccination too is advised to all travelers. Three intramuscular doses are given in 0, 1 and 6 months.
  • Influenza: This vaccination is given annually to prevent flu.
  • Japanese B encephalitis (JBE): JBE vaccination is given three times over 3 to 4 weeks which avoids mosquito- borne vital encephalitis. Generally it is recommended for the travelers who travel to the Terai and other rural areas.
  • Meningococcal meningitis:  This vaccination is recommended for the prolonged stays.
  • Polio: Polio is generally given in childhood. But if visitors have not taken it at their childhood then it is recommended vaccination for them.
  • Rabies: Rabies is especially transmitted by street dogs and monkeys. It is strictly recommended for children and other visitors who are at the high risk of animal bites or direct contact with bats.
  • Tuberculosis (TB): Most people of the west are given this vaccination in their childhood. But if they are not vaccinated, it is suggested vaccination for them.
  • Typhoid: Typhoid vaccine is available as an injection and capsules which is recommended for all visitors because Typhoid fever is growing problem of Nepal.
  • Yellow fever: The travelers who come from Africa, America and other yellow fever infected area should take vaccine for yellow fever.
  • Tetanus diphtheria: Tetanus or diphtheria vaccine should be taken in every 10 years.
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR): This vaccination is recommended for all the travelers born after 1956 but not for pregnant women or severely immune compromised individuals.
  • Cholera: Cholera is spread because of polluted drinking water. It is only recommended for the high-risk individuals like health travelers and people who travel to remote areas.
Packing tips:
  • Warm clothes for cold weather, including a set or two of thermal inner wear.
  • Water and wind proof outer shell jacket and pants.
  • Walking clothes like lightweight loose trousers, shorts and comfortable and cool shirts.
  • Rain ponchos, wool socks, broken in walking boots, long trousers, warm hats, gloves, bandana, trekking poles, cap/hat for walking in the sun
  • Sleeping bags if you have them.
  • Travelers wearing lenses should carry plenty of lenses solution and backup prescription glasses.
  • Sunglasses or ski glasses if walking in snow or high altitudes.
  • Basic first aid kit and personal medication.
  • Sunscreen and sun hat help from sun
  • Water purifiers like iodine tablets, filters etc.
  • Headlamps with spare batteries.
  • Hand sanitizers.
  • Photocopies of passports and other important documents
  • A travel guide book and map
  • Cameras and carrying cases
  • For a comprehensive packing list, see (link to site on trekking FAQ).

How to enter Jomsom?
Jomsom is a tourist hub and every year hundreds of travelers and adventure enthusiasts come here for trekking. Pokhara city is the gateway to this program and the trek starts from Nayapul.
When is the best time to go for this trek?
This trekking program is feasible from March to May and September to November. December to February is considered adventurous and is recommended for travelers who like try their limits.
What is kinds of cloths should I pack for this program?
Depending upon the time and season you need to confirm you clothing, but with a package that includes a lot of travelling, you should pack wisely including all you comfortable clothes.  
What is the necessary documents do I need to bring for this trip?
Please bring Valid Passport, Travel insurance with  a separate photocopy, Return flight tickets, Insurance coverage policy, Cash and Traveler’s Checks, Emergency contact numbers for T/C’s, banks, insurance, family contacts.
How many hours do we walk during trek?
This trekking goes through 391 KMs within the 16 days of variation of altitude. Averagely you will walk from 4 to 5 hours daily.  
What level of physical fitness do I need for the trip?
On average you will need to walk from 4 to 5 hours, you need to be in a top physical condition. The trek goes through lots of uphill and downhill in the mountain. So a trekker must have health and physical fitness for completing this trek. However, no climbing training is needed as there is no climbing involve during this trip.

Is there any cultural shock that I should be prepared for?
Nepal is a developing country and trekking in the remote region you should be careful about your attires, language and behavior. People in these regions are very hospitable but they have zero tolerance level in regards to nudity and obscenity.
Is it recommended to get Nepalese visa in advance or at the airport?
It is highly recommended to acquire Visa in advance then to obtain it at arrival. During arrival though the Nepal practices an easy visa policy but may face queue problem depending on time and situation.
Note: If you are staying for more than 15 days, don’t forget to ask visa for 30 days.
Where do we stay in the mountain? Do we need to bring tent and mat?
 No, you do not need to bring tent and mat. During the program most of the accommodation is covered by the program fee. While in Kathmandu accommodation is done at Hotel Annapurna and in Pokhara you will be accommodated at Temple Tree Resort. Similarly, during the trekking you will be accommodated at local lodges.  

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