Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When is the best time to visit Nepal?
Spring and autumn season are the best times to visit Nepal. Spring lasts from March to May with warm days with warm to cool evenings and occasional rainfall. Spring is also best time to see Rhododendron flowers in blossom across the Himalayan foothills.
Fall season from September to December brings clear and ideal warm days with cool evenings. Fall is the best time to see the scenery far and wide. Also, it is the best time to see the country if you want to see the Dashain and Tihar festivals coinciding with the harvest festival when everyone is done with the harvesting and has plenty of food to enjoy. During this festival, almost every family makes new clothes for the entire family. The whole population celebrates showing their best clothes and many festivities.
Kathmandu is warm from April to October. From November to March day time temperatures are warm and evenings are cool to cold.
Temperature in other parts of the country:
Temperature of course varies depending on at what altitude you are traveling. In the middle hills between 10,000 to 14,000 feet elevation, you will experience cool to cold mornings and nights and warm day time temperatures. At the higher Himalayan valleys, 15,000 to 19,000 feet, you will experience cold mornings and nights and cool to warm day time temperatures.
Multiple layers to adapt to changing conditions are recommended including summer type clothing for day use and a light jacket or sweater for the evening. During the winter season from December, bring winter clothes such as warm jackets, sweaters, shirts, trousers and thermal underwear. These are recommended for travel in the Kathmandu Valley, middle hills around 9000 ft and the Terai lowlands. For trekking clothing in the highlands, please see the Trekking Gear List.
Can I get tourist visa on arrival?
Yes, you can get visa on arrival at the Kathmandu International Airport or at designated road entry points. Please check with Nepal Embassies and Consulates nearest you whether your country is eligible for visa on arrival. This will help you to avoid inconveniences in your travel. You can also obtain tourist visas to Nepal from the Nepalese Embassies and Consulates abroad. For more details on Nepal visa, please refer to Visa and Entry Formalities on our website or send us an email.
Is vaccination or any inoculation required to visit Nepal?
Certificates of vaccination against Cholera and Yellow fever are not required to visit Nepal unless you are coming from an infected area.
Vaccination against Meningitis, and Hepatitis 'A' and 'B' maybe necessary. You should consult with your doctor whether or not you should take the above, and when you should take these vaccinations. All vaccinations that your doctor recommends should be taken prior to your trip departure. Also, consult your physician for flu shots.
Malaria is not a problem in Nepal. However, if you are planning to visit southern lowlands of the country such as Chitwan Jungle National Park, then you should take precautions, and use mosquito or insect repellents when hiking in the outdoors. Wear long sleeved shirts and pants, and use mosquito nets at night. The highlands do not have mosquitoes so you need not to worry about them. However, you might get some gnats occasionally particularly on a damp day which you can deter them with insect repellent. This is true only if you are traveling pre and post monsoon weather. So, bring a small dose of insect repellent.
Electricity, what is the voltage and cycles used?
It is 220V/50 cycles in Kathmandu, Pokhara and other parts of the country wherever there is electricity available. The electrical outlet sockets are three and two thick rounds. We recommend that you bring international electric converter adapter to use in Nepal. Electrical appliances can be charged in limited places as Nepal is still a developing country which has limited electrical lines. So, if you are going on a trek, we recommend that you leave any heavy electrical appliance in Kathmandu and bring only battery operated cameras.
Water- is it safe to drink tap water?
No. Please do not drink tap water and stream water.
Hotels and lodges serve boiled and filtered water which is safe to drink. The hotel tap water is good for brushing your teeth and washing. Of course you can always use the boiled and filtered water to brush your teeth to be on the safe side. Bottled water is widely available in Nepal. However, to reduce the amount of plastic in the environment, please limit the purchase of bottled water as much as possible. While trekking, your trekking crew will provide you boiled water three times a day to fill in your water bottles.
Should I bring my own medicine?
Yes you should bring your own personal medicine in a small medical kit with enough for the duration of the trip. You should consult your doctor for all your prescribed medicine. Also, we suggest you bring some over the counter medicine for diarrhea and headache.
ARRIVAL TRANSFER IN
Whom do we meet on arrival in Kathmandu Airport?
The arriving guests are met outside the arrival terminal of Kathmandu Airport at the exit gate by Sherpa Travel representative. The airport regulations do not allow hosts to enter the arrival lounge for safety and security reasons. After you collect your luggage, if you do not have anything to declare with customs go through the Green exit, and go through the Red exit if you have to declare anything with the customs. As you exit the terminal, look for your name or group name placard in the waiting crowd.
How do we identify and meet Sherpa Travel representative?
Sherpa Travel trip leader, guide or representative will display a placard with your name or the name of the group you are traveling with which is easily identified.
What should we do if we did not meet your representative?
In this case, you should ask the airport authority for Sherpa Travel representative staff. Normally, our representative is always at the airport holding a placard for the arriving guest (s). The only event that our representative might not reach to the airport on time would be traffic problem from accident or political protest. In the event that our rep is not yet at the airport, the best thing to do would be to wait near the exit gate away from the waiting crowd and also try to call our Kathmandu representative to the phone numbers we provide you before your departure. Help will arrive soon.
After we meet Sherpa Travel representative, will he or she transfer us to our hotel? Is the transfer private or a shared one?
Sherpa Travel provides private transfer to every private trip guest. Shared private transfers are provided to group arrivals only.
Does Sherpa Travel representative carry our luggage to the car?
After you meet Sherpa Travel representative, you should still hold onto your luggage in the trolley because the rep has to go to call the vehicle from the parking space. Once the vehicle arrives at the loading zone, the rep and the driver will help to load your luggage onto the vehicle. The bell or the concierge will help you with the luggage at the hotel upon check in.
On arrival at the hotel, does Sherpa Travel representative help us in the check in process?
Yes, you are assisted to check-in at the hotel front desk until a room number is assigned to you.
What type of vehicle is used for the transfers? Are the vehicles air-conditioned?
We provide cars, vans and coaches for transfers on arrival, departure and during the tour. The type of vehicle we use depends on group size. For example, we use 4 seat cars for 1-2 persons for transfer in and out and a jeep or van is used during the tour. We use 10-12 seat van for 3-5 persons and 6-9 persons for transfer in, out and during the tour. Group size 10 persons and more, we use tour coaches. The same type of vehicle is used for transfers to and from trailheads where road condition is good. On unpaved gravel roads and dirt roads, we use four wheel drive vehicles such as jeep and land cruisers. We use both air conditioned and non-air conditioned vehicles for ground transfers. Please note that most vehicles in Nepal do not use air condition.
Does the chauffeur or the Sherpa Travel representative provide any orientation as we are transferred to the hotel?
No. Our drivers are not fluent in English or foreign language. The representative can provide some information and answer your questions. Orientation is given at the briefing on your trip is usually done at the hotel after you have checked in and refreshed.
DEPARTURE TRANSFER OUT
How many hours prior to the departure flight are we picked up from our hotel and transferred to the airport?
You are transferred from your hotel to the airport 2-3 hours prior to the time of your departure flight. The transfer out pick up time is usually confirmed with each guest or the tour leader the previous day.
How are we assisted in the transfer out to the airport?
You are informed in advance of the transfer time to the airport. Then the vehicle with driver, guide or one of our staff or an executive will help you to transfer out to the airport in time to catch your outbound flight.
DURING YOUR TRIP IN NEPAL
Whom should we talk to if we have questions or need help during our trip in Nepal?
Your guide is the person to whom you should ask for help and for any question during the trip in relation with your itinerary. If you need help on other things such as changing a guide, alternating an itinerary, extending a trip or changing a flight, you should see the manager in charge of our operation in Nepal.
Do you provide departure transfer, and can you help us reconfirm our return flight?
We do provide departure transfer to all our guests and help reconfirm every client on outbound flight seat reconfirmation as a courtesy of our service.
TREKKING IN THE HIMALAYA
How fit should I be to go on a trek?
You do not have to be superman or superwoman to be able to trek.
If you are in reasonable shape, enjoy walking, can walk uphill and downhill, you will likely do fine. If you have been hiking in the past and do bicycling or participate in walking exercises, you may find trekking easier. Nepal’s trails go through many different terrains and sizes (flat, on the slope, uphill and downhill, wide and narrow trails). We highly recommend that you participate in routine hikes, bicycling, elliptical exercises, tread mills or running to prepare yourself for any trekking in the Himalaya. The better shape you are in the more you will enjoy your hiking in the Himalaya.
How many hours will we trek each day, and how about high altitude sickness?
Normally, you will trek 5-6 hours each day from one campsite to another. However, some trails require longer hikes 6-8 hours or more.
This is because you are hiking through uneven terrains and the campsites we have chosen are usually a flat ground close to the streams and scenic spots. As a result, some days will be easier and shorter hikes while other days will be longer and more difficult hikes.
Trekking up to 7,000 or 8,000 feet generally would not cause high altitude sickness known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), and some people experience altitude sickness when trekking beyond 10,000 feet elevation. Importantly, not everyone experiences high altitude Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Different people respond differently to high altitude. Everyone needs to drink plenty of water, eat well, and minimize alcohol and caffeine at high altitudes. Other influences include how strong you are and at what elevation you live. People coming from sea level are more easily affected by the high altitude, but not everyone from sea level gets high altitude sickness. So doing some hiking at high elevations could acclimatize you better if you are participating on our treks that go beyond 10,000 feet such as Everest Base Camp, Kalapathar, Thorung Pass, Larkya La, Rupinala, Ganjala, Annapurna Base Camp, Dhaulagiri round, Dolpo and any another trek crossing 17,000-18,000 feet passes.
Trekking around Kathmandu Valley rim, Helambu, Pokhara, Kalinchowk or any trek below 9,000 feet, generally you are unlikely to experience altitude sickness.
What is a Lodge trek?
Lodge trek involves staying in the lodges for the night and trekking on the main trail from one lodge to another. Breakfast and dinners are served at the lodges you spend the night. Lunch is served at local inns and restaurants en-route. Lodges in remote Nepal do not provide blankets. So, you need to bring a sleeping bag. There are two types of lodge treks in Nepal.
Economical Trek with basic lodging:
This trip involves trekking on the main trail from one lodge to another, and overnights stay in economical lodges; breakfast costs are included in the trip price; however lunches and dinners are chosen by and paid for by the trip participants.
Trek with Comfortable Lodging:
This trip involves trekking on the main trail from one lodge to another, and overnights stay in comfortable lodges with more facilities for your comfort. Lunch is served at local inns and restaurants while en-route. Breakfast and lunch costs are included in the trip price; however dinners are chosen by and paid for by the trip participant each evening.
What is a Luxury Camping Trek?
Luxury Camping Trek involves overnights in tents setup and packed by the guide(s), meals are cooked fresh daily by experienced cook and served, luggage are carried by porters. You’ll carry only your day pack while trekking. Sleep in two person tents with 3-4 inch thick foam pads for your comfort.
On luxury camping treks, we provide you with a two person tent per two people and a foam mattress per each person. All cooking equipment including cooking pots, stove, utensils, cutleries, kitchen tent, dining tent with tables and folding stools, candles, kerosene lanterns, and toilet tent are provided. We carry all the food supplies for the trek and camping equipment. Our cooking crew prepares delicious fresh meals three times a day throughout the trek. Meals we serve on the trek are delicious Nepalese, Western and Chinese varieties. Therefore, all you need to bring is a good sleeping bag, and a daypack with your personal gear along with a good attitude for the trip. A luxury camping trek has the freedom to trek on the main trekking route as well as off the main trails in the scenic wilderness areas. Please note a luxury camping trek is not same as backpacking and camping that is done in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.
How many people are there in a group?
Fixed departure trip is minimum 2 persons to operate and maximum 16 persons in a group. Our fixed departure trips are operated as Lodge to Lodge trek as well as the fully organized camping trek. The prices are different for these trips and confirmed at the time of booking. Please inquire for details.
Fully organized camping trek group size is maximum 16 persons including the tour leader and minimum of 2 persons. Fully organized camping treks are operated in the popular trekking areas as well as off the main routes.
Treks in the remote Himalayan trails, the ideal group size is minimum 2 persons and maximum 10 persons.
Private treks, minimum 1 person and maximum 16 persons are preferred to provide a quality service.
Jungle Safari and eco tours, minimum 1 person and maximum 16 persons are operated. When we have 16 guests for jungle safari and eco tours going into wildlife reserves and national parks to see wildlife, the group is divided into two to reduce the noise and manageability for safety.
Bird watching, minimum 1 person and maximum 10 persons are organized and require advance arrangement. Bird watching is best when there are fewer people in a trip. Please inquire for details.
Sightseeing tour groups are usually operated in the Kathmandu Valley, Nagarkot, Dhulikhel, Kakani, Daman, Chitwan, Lumbini, Tansen and Pokhara. Our sightseeing tour group size can range from one person to 50 persons or more in a group.
Do you operate private trips?
Yes, we offer private trips for those of you who want to travel as an independent traveler or group by selecting your own travel dates and schedule. Private trips are suitable for your own choice of itineraries and schedule particularly if you are planning to travel as a couple, family, and friends. select a pre-arranged itinerary or let us create a new itinerary with the sights you want to see and type of experiences offered. Private trips allow you to travel at your own pace to enjoy the sights and sounds of destinations.
Whether you want to go on a fully organized camping trek, lodge to lodge trek or travel from one destination to another by vehicle and plane, let us help you in the Himalayan Region of South Asia (Bhutan, Indian, Nepal, and Tibet), Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam) and Northeast Asia (China and Mongolia). We can assure you that we can offer you some of the best trips.
What type of hiking boots and footwear should I bring?
A well broken-in boots are best for comfortable trekking. A good pair of trekking boots should have good angle support, plenty of toe room, stiff sole to prevent twisting. Hard rubber sole is best for good grips. Soft soles into which you can easily sink your nail are not good and they slip. Your boots should be light with all of the above as you will be lifting your feet up with every step you take. A new pair of boots or boots fittings either too loose or too tight makes for a very uncomfortable hike. So, you should break-in your boots before your trek. Bring a well broken-in pair of boots that can fit your feet with thick pair of cotton socks at low elevations and thick pair of wool socks at higher altitudes. When selecting your boots, ask for a pair of boots that have Cambrelle lining or similar material that keeps your feet cool, dry, and comfortable. Gore-Tex waterproof boots are best for high altitude trekking and pre- and post- monsoon hikes.
At the end of the day, your feet need rest with some air. So, bring tennis or running shoes which are good for walks around the camp, hotel and in the city as well as light pair of sturdy sandals.
What type of food are we served during the trek?
You will be served three hot meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). You will awake with hot tea or coffee service, and a bowl of warm water for washing. Then breakfast is served. Around mid day, you will be served hot tea, coffee, lemon, juice and water when you arrive at the lunch spot. Then lunch is served. Evening, as you reach the campsite, you will be served hot coffee, tea, chocolate, biscuits and warm water for washing. Dinner is served after you are well settled into the camp. The above routine continues until the last day of your trek. Meals we serve on the trek are western, Chinese and Nepalese delicious and nutritious dishes.
How do you maintain food hygiene and freshness while trekking?
Food hygiene is strictly controlled in our mobile kitchens. Our cooks are trained in the proper handling of food items and food hygiene since we work in the hospitality business. Raw vegetable and fruits are washed in Potassium permanganate (KMnO[4)] or Iodine. Food items are carefully selected according to the destination and length of the trek. We work hard to provide many fresh vegetables and fruits to enhance a nutritious diet while you are on the trek. Fresh veggies and fruits are refilled from local markets and village farms along the trek.
Drinking water is treated with Iodine or other water purification remedies, and boiled before serving our guests. Antibacterial soap, iodine treated and boiled water is provided for washing. We care for your well being while you are trekking with us.
How do I get water if I finish my water before I get to the lunch stop or the campsite?
Along the popular trekking routes, there are local inns with small shops every now and then where you can purchase a bottled water to refill your water bottle. Please do not refill your water bottle with stream water no matter how clean it looks. Once you reach the lunch stop and the evening campsite or the lodge, you can refill with boiled water that your crew provides you.
In remote areas away from human settlement, you can refill your water bottle with stream water by using the water purification tablets. One bottle of Potable Aqua water purification and disinfectant tablets will be wise to carry in your pack in the event that you have to fill your water bottle with stream water. We usually provide boiled water three times a day while you are on our camping trek and twice when you are on a lodge to lodge trekking program.
Emergency situation- how are we assisted?
If any trip member gets sick from Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) at high altitude or another cause in remote mountain area and cannot continue the trek, and the situation is serious, a helicopter is arranged to pick you up to take you to Katmandu. There you are met by our staff and taken to an international medical clinic. If your trek location is nearby a road, then you will be transferred by vehicle to Katmandu for medical treatment. If your situation worsens and more advanced medical attention is required, an outbound international flight will be arranged.
If your AMS is minor, your guide will assist you to hike to lower elevation and will assist you to go to the nearest location where there is a clinic. If you have a minor AMS, your situation will improve as you hike to lower elevation. However, if your AMS situation does not improve, then helicopter evacuation is arranged to take you to Katmandu.
Please make sure that your insurance policy covers emergency medical evacuation while traveling. It is you who will have to pay for the helicopter rescue and any medical treatment in the event you get sick or experience an emergency situation. Also, it is Sherpa Travel policy that you are required to have insurance coverage for emergency medical evacuation before your departure for a high altitude trek, adventure trip, or any trip with us. We pray and wish that our clients and crew do not have to face any accidents or medical emergencies. However, it is your responsibility to go prepared.
Will you help me to reconfirm my return ticket while I am on a trip in Nepal?
Yes, our office in Katmandu will help you to reconfirm your return ticket while you are on the trek and given to you when you return from the trek. Please note: when you purchase your air ticket, you must have a confirmed return ticket from Nepal. If you come in without a confirmed return flight seat, it might be difficult during peak seasons to reconfirm a flight seat.
What we do is that we collect your tickets on arrival, and reconfirm your return flight to make sure you have a confirmed return flight.
If in any event if you missed your domestic flight due to bad weather or any another reason and could not make to Katmandu on time to connect your international flight, we will assist you to reconfirm your return ticket. If you are on a mountaineering expedition or on any another special mission and you have to be in Nepal more than several months, you might want to leave your return ticket open. We can help you to reconfirm such a return ticket. Airlines sometimes charge a fee for reconfirmation of an open ticket.
What is the policy on excess baggage?
Nowadays, baggage allowance varies from airline to airline. Therefore, it is best that you check with the airline or your local travel agent where you purchased your air ticket for clarification.
Normally, international flights allow 44lbs. per person and charge expensive fees for any additional weight. Nepal Domestic flights allow 33lbs. (15kilos) per person.
Excess baggage is allowed with a fee. However, we advise you to make your baggage within the limit allowed on a domestic flight.
How much currency will I need?
You will need about US Dollar 250 during the trip in Nepal as personal expenses. You should exchange and carry this in small denominations as change will be difficult in the remote areas. There isn’t much you can purchase during the trek. However, the Everest and Annapurna trails sell souvenirs at some of the villages. If you are purchasing a souvenir item while on the trek, please do so only on return trek so that it will be easy on you. Shopping is best done in Katmandu and Pokhara, where you will spend a day or two before your departure. Some shops in both cities accept credits cards.
Where do I leave my luggage when I am on a trip outside Katmandu?
You can leave your luggage at the hotel in Katmandu while you are on a trek, rafting or jungle safari trip.
Safety during the trek?
We highly care for your security while you are trekking with us as your safety is the utmost importance to us.
Our trekking crew (guides, cooks and porters) are carefully selected for your trip. We employ guides who are licensed by the Government of Nepal. These guides are reliable and honest. Your trekking crew will provide security and will remain vigilant throughout the trip. At nights at the campsites, your guide will assign staff members (usually assistant guides) to take turns to guard the campsite throughout the night for an added safety measure. It is also your responsibility to take care of yourself and your belongings while traveling. Never leave your baggage unattended at the hotel lobby, airport, and crowded campsites.
Once your luggage is assigned to the designated porter on the trek, it is safe. In the evening, when you arrive at the campsite, claim your luggage and put inside the tent. Most trekking destinations are safe. However, your guide will advise you in some locations where you may need to be extra careful. Be very vigilant on your valuables such as passport, money pouch, cameras, and binoculars. These should be carried by you at all times and put in a secure place at night.
The above questions and answers are also relevant for Bhutan, India and Tibet. Sherpa Travel also has web pages with regionally specific information along with the tour information. If you have additional questions, please feel free to inquire, and we will be pleased to answer all your questions and help you the best we can to make your trip pleasant and comfortable.
SHERPA TRAVEL, INC.
P.O. Box 376
Lee Vining, CA 93541