Some brief statistics related to Nepal
According to census year 2016, Nepal’s current population is 28.98 million, 34% <15, 61% from 15-64, 5% >64. ~1 800 births/day
Over 123 languages and local dialects are spoken. Nepali is spoken as mother tongue All can speak Nepali. English is widely understood in tourist and trekking areas. Many trekking guides have learnt other western and eastern languages.
Religions: 81% are Hindu, 9% Buddhist (mainly living in high northern regions), 4,5% Muslim, 1,4% Christian.
Land area: 143 350 km2; Low Terai 20,1%, Middle Hills 56,2%, High Himalaya 23,7%. Arable land 16,8%, Forest 25,4%, According to Central Bureau of Statistics.
Time Zone: Nepal is 5’45” ahead of GMT and 15 minutes ahead of Indian Time.
To Travel by Road
To Experience the Culture and Festivals
A passport, valid for six months beyond the date of entry, and with blank pages for the visa is required.
Check that your passport is correctly stamped on arrival and departure to avoid possible complications. Also, check the passport number and visa dates – so as not to overrun the dates.
Visas can be purchased on arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport. Complete the visa form, provide one recent passport size photo and pay for the visa in foreign cash.
NB: Visas can only be paid for in foreign notes: Preferably US$, but other major currencies are acceptable. Offer the correct amount: change is not always available!
A single entry visa, valid for 15/30/90 days will cost US$ 25/40/100.
Visas may be extended, (only at the Immigration Offices in Kathmandu or Pokhara) to a maximum of 150 days in a calendar year. A minimum extension is US$30/15 days (to be paid in Nepalese rupees).
Visa applications can now be pre-registered online – but the system is not always in operation.
Read the requirements and have a photo and all requested details available before starting the process. http://online.nepalimmigration.gov.np/tourist-visa
No vaccinations are required.
Spare Passport Photos and Document copies
Bring 6-8 recent passport photos for use on the Visa application, Visa extensions and Trekking Permits – that vary depending on the region.
Make Copies of your passport, including your visa pages. Leave a copy at home and carry a set with you (or trekking partner). Consider secure online data storage. Without copies, passport replacements can be very time-consuming! Copies are also used for trekking permits.
Our guides are trained in first aid, carry a comprehensive medical kit and can deal with most of the problems encountered on treks. However, in the case of a serious accident outside help needs to be available.
Thus, comprehensive insurance is essential and obligatory. We cannot take you trekking without full insurance cover; purchased in your home country. Such insurance cannot be purchased in Nepal.
You need to have full, personal, travel insurance that covers personal belongings, trip cancellation plus medical rescue and evacuation insurance (for air ambulance and helicopter rescue services). You must carry the company’s insurance policy certificate with you: it must include your name, address, policy number and the contact numbers and procedure for the company’s rescue department.
In case of a serious trekking accident: the insurance company will be contacted and they will take over the rescue process: sending in the necessary ground or air support. Without it, your trekking team would have to try to carry you out; possibly exacerbating your injuries. We will not risk that.
Landmark Discovery Trek’s staff are covered by our own full accidental and medical insurance cover.
Entry permits are required to each of Nepal’s National Parks and Conservation Areas. The range from Rs 1000 – Rs 3000/entry. Additional trekking permits are required for Restricted Region treks. We will organize the permits for you on arrival.
There are five Restricted Regions, all along or close to the Tibetan borders that were opened to limited trekking post-1990. The aim: to conserve fragile environments and the cultures of the various Tibetan communities that had settled there. Fees are high and range from US$90 – $500 for a week or 10 days, then stiff daily amounts. These treks may only be undertaken with a professional guide and a minimum of two trekkers. Your original passport and extra photos are required. (These are for Upper Dolpo, Mustang, Nar-Phu, Tsum and Manaslu, Kangchenjunga)
Credit cards are fairly widely accepted in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Beyond that, some large towns and Game Parks may have facilities; but in villages, only local currency (Nepalese Rupees: Rs) is accepted.
Take sufficient Nepali Rupees on your trek. Tips may be paid in Rupees or Dollars (with Rupees preferred by local porters in remote regions).
NB: It is wise to pre-prepare/pack Rupees for Tips before leaving on your trek: especially if you are flying out of a region; as local porters will leave you at the airport on the last day.
Carry Nepalese Rupees on Trek. Teahouses will seldom deal in foreign currencies – as they loose on the exchange rate. If they do accept it, they are likely to give change in Rs.
Your only expenses on the trek should be for hot showers (the cost rising with altitude), charging batteries, additional drinks and snacks, and the purchase of curios. It is illegal to purchase antiques in Nepal.
Tips are not obligatory but are an accepted part of trekking. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of the team’s work. Perhaps work from a base of 10-15% of the cost of your trek with your guide receiving twice or more, the amount given to each porter/day.
It may help to “work as a group” – placing the tips for Guide and each Porter in marked envelopes/bank bags and handing them to each one at a ‘ceremony’ at the end of your trek. Should you personally wish to give an additional amount to anyone who has been particularly helpful to you; do so (discreetly).
It may be easier for groups to organize the tips before departing on the trek.
Successful treks call for a slow, steady walking pace. People who trek too quickly or climb too high in a day are most likely to suffer from Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Expect to walk for 5-6 hours a day. Stops for rests and a leisurely lunch are added to this: 07:30 – ~16:00 is common. With a porter carrying your main luggage, you should only carry 3-5kg of warm or rainproof gear, water, sunscreen, and a camera.
Treks below 3 000m/9 850ft are unlikely to cause problems (Annapurna’s Poon Hill …). We schedule rest days (with local walks) to assist with acclimatization for treks over 3 000m. Then walk more slowly, for shorter distances as the altitude continues to rise.
So, if you are able to walk for a few hours in hills at home; you should be able to trek to our homes, landmarks and spectacular scenic highlights. A regular walking or jogging programme, say three times a week, for a few months before your trip will ensure your readiness.
NB: Our Budget Treks for people with limited time may be ‘faster’ than normal. Pre-fitness and stamina are called for.
We recommend that you fly into Kathmandu and then spend two nights in the city before driving or flying to the trekking destination. This gives time for acclimatization and a chance to check on kit while we arrange any necessary trekking permits. If time is limited, treks can begin on the day of your arrival or early the following day.
Cloud and turbulent weather along the Himalayan ranges is common and may lead to internal mountain flight delays or cancellations. We suggest you add at least one extra day after your trek before flying out of Nepal.
This only applies to treks in the Dolpo, Mustang /Annapurna, Everest, Makalu, and Kangchenjunga regions.
Anyone who is reasonably fit and can walk for 5-6 hours a day in the hilly country can trek in Nepal.
Children from 5 or 6 up to 15 years are recommended to remain below 3 500m/11 500ft. From 15 years onwards they can tackle the higher routes.
Some treks are more demanding than others, depending on the geography of the river valleys. For example, the Manaslu trek is more difficult than the Annapurna Trek due to its deeply incised valleys and the additional up-down climbing that this involves. The Manaslu trails are also more exposed in places with sheer drops to the river, often far below.
Trails that begin low and gradually climb to high passes over many days may prove easier than those that begin high (from mountain airports) and offer less time for acclimatization. Pre-fitness, stamina and a slow steady pace are always recommended.
Our preference is for groups from 1 – 10 persons, but more can be accommodated on request. In the Restricted Regions (Dolpo, Mustang, Nar-Phu, and Manaslu), a minimum of two persons: who must be accompanied by a registered guide, is obligatory.
After completing passport, immigration and visa requirements, we will meet you outside the terminal building and transfer you look for your name to your hotel. (Look for your name on our name board.) on our name board
In the cities, we use cars or a minibus.
To and from treks we use local buses, mini-buses or jeeps. This could depend on distance, terrain and group size.
Internal flights are booked on one of Buddha, Yeti, Tara or Simrik Airlines. The companies run 18, 42 and 72 seater planes: the smallest servicing the tiny mountain airports. Main luggage limited to £ 15kg/person on the small planes.
NB: Mountain flights are scheduled early in the morning and are subject to delays caused by weather conditions and visibility. We thus recommend that you add at least one extra day after your trek in case of delays.
City Hotels: We generally use selected two-star hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara: on a bed and breakfast basis. On road tours, we aim to offer hotels of similar quality. You may upgrade on request.
Teahouse treks: Friendly villagers along all the main trekking routes have built Teahouses on their properties for trekkers. They are simple, clean, offer good, safe, hot food and assure you of a warm welcome.
Printed menus are often the same for all lodges along a trail. Creative cooks add spice and variety to your choices.
Double rooms will have twin beds (with a sheet, pillow: and usually a duvet on request). Squat toilets may be in or outside the building. Washing facilities can be rudimentary and hot showers are not always available. On the more popular routes, the teahouses and their facilities are likely to be better. The higher you trek, the less likely you are to get hot water (from solar power or porter-carried-gas, as wood is unavailable).
On all our treks we include full board and lodging, tea and coffee, fruit and snacks and safe drinking water.
The cost of WIFI and charging batteries is not included. Bottled drinks, snacks, and curios will also be for your account.
Luxury Lodges: are increasing in number along with the Everest BC and Annapurna trails: at a price! Bedrooms may have attached bathrooms with hot water and “western fittings.” Dining rooms are “upmarket.” Locations with superb views are often included. Luxury on EBC + ABC or the Circuit route
Camping expeditions: are offered in areas where teahouse accommodation is not available.
Nepali people are conservative in dress and it is frowned upon to show an excess of skin (and no nudity; never plunge naked into a river). Always wear a top and refrain from short shorts.
An excess of affection is in public is also frowned upon.
When visiting temples, monasteries and homes, wear long trousers or a skirt, shirt or blouse (with a scarf if it has shoulder straps) and remove your shoes before entering.
Cows are sacred to Hindus: so also remove belts and other leather items before entering a Hindu Temple.
Don’t point the soles of your feet at a person or deity when sitting.
It is disrespectful to pat a child (especially a young monk) on the head.
Be discreet when taking photos; request permission for portraits and group shots. Refrain from a flash in buildings.
Speak calmly to others; raising your voice will only make matters worse.
When giving or receiving money or a gift, use your right hand and touch that elbow with your left hand as a mark of respect. This courtesy is often extended to handing plates or cups…
Please do NOT encourage begging by giving pens, sweets, money etc. to children in villages. Rather give a donation to the village school.
Weight is a crucial factor when compiling your kit list. A porter may carry £ 15kg for each of two trekkers. This is also the baggage allowance on the small planes that fly to the mountain airports. You should carry only 3-5kg in a day pack: warm or waterproof gear, 2-3 liters of water, camera, hat and sunscreen (torch, book).
Don’t expect to be able to wash or dry kit each day. Wear what you have on again: everyone does, nobody notices..! Teahouse balconies all have washing lines. Bring a few pegs. Use layers of clothing to add warmth – with an outer windproof top.
There are countless shops that sell all types of trekking gear in both Kathmandu and Pokhara. Quality varies – and ‘top brands’ are available in selected shops.
NB I: It is advisable to arrive with good trekking boots that have been broken in. They are your most important item!
NB II: Landmark Discovery Treks will provide you with a duffle bag, sleeping bag, down jacket and walking poles should you need them. Kit not required on the trek can be safely left (in a bag) at your hotel while on the trek.
The kit is best packed in “quiet” plastic bags inside the duffle bag to ensure dryness. (Bring spare bags)
Sleeping bag: lightweight with stuff bag [ideally rated at £ –10oC/14oF for high altitude nights].
Teahouses provide a base sheet and pillow and can usually offer duvets.
Thermal underwear on high altitude treks
Socks (thick and thin)
Boots – with good treads and ankle support for long treks
Spare walking shoes Spare laces
Shirts 2 (or 3)
Layers of warm tops (2-3)
Rain gear (top with hood – pants can be useful)
Down jacket: for high altitude treks
Scarf and gloves: especially for high altitude treks
Dark glasses (particularly important for possible snow work)
Duffle bag and day pack (plus inner plastic bags for waterproofing)
Toothbrush and paste, razor(?) …
Soap – and a face cloth can be useful (with a bowl of warm water)
Small towel (quick drying)
Personal medication and bandages
Biodegradable soap and pegs for clothes
[Leech oil to ‘control’ leeches from May to October??]
Ankle/knee guards (if used)
Toilet paper (only supplied in city hotels)
Hiking poles (if used)
Spare shoe laces
Head torch and spare batteries
Camera, batteries, charger and cards
Short treks need less clothing; not less warmth!
Camera cards are only available in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Batteries occasionally! We advise stocking up in Kathmandu or Pokhara. Carry a spare set of camera batteries: even if you have a charger.
Nepal uses 220 volts through standard European round 2 or Indian round 3 pin plug sockets. Bring an adapter if you need one. Power outages are common, everywhere.
Yes, on most days: for a fee. Most villages now draw electricity from local hydro-electric schemes. However, supply can be erratic – patience is needed.
Most routes have cell phone availability, at least near villages. The popular routes are better supplied.
Kathmandu and most regions, including the Everest and Annapurna trails use the NCL and NTC networks.
Dolpo uses the Hullo network. Manaslu currently has poor reception, but landlines are available.
Cards are only available in Kathmandu, Pokhara and at the airstrip village of Juphal in the Dolpo region. We will advise you on which SIM card to purchase on arrival.
No vaccinations are required for entry to Nepal.
Malaria is prevalent in the lowland Terai regions from March to September. If you are touring in the Terai during this time it is recommended that you bring prescribed medication.
Acute mountain sickness is caused by your body’s reaction to a shortage of oxygen. At 5 000m/16 400ft air contains half the oxygen present at sea level. A slow, steady ascent from comfortable altitudes generally allows your body sufficient time to ‘acclimatize’ – adjust your breathing to take in more oxygen. From 2 800m upwards, some people start to feel the effects of altitude.
Symptoms are first noticeable in the brain or lungs and include a headache, loss of appetite, nausea, coughing, and fatigue. Admit to your symptoms – rest; don’t continue climbing higher to sleep. If the symptoms get worse while resting, descend to a lower altitude. Rest until you feel better and then continue upwards slowly. Abandon your trek (not your life) if necessary. Tell your guide if you are not feeling well – and act on his advice.
The prescription drug, Diamox, can assist with the prevention of AMS symptoms. It is a diuretic that increases respiratory rate and breathing depth (also urine flow); assisting acclimatization by reducing headaches, nausea and improving sleep. Take ½ a tablet (125mg) or 250mg in 12 hours (fingers and feet may tingle; don’t worry).
Your guide will carry an emergency kit and is trained to deal with numerous situations. If necessary he can assist you with outside contacts.
Bring any necessary personal medication with you. Include sunscreen, lip ice, plasters, etc. You will not be able to purchase these once you leave Kathmandu or Pokhara.
You will need to bring two water bottles (for 2-3 liters). We will provide you with iodine or chlorine drops and safe drinking water as you need it.
In cities, conventional “western toilets” will be found in most hotels. On the trek, squat toilets are universal; and easy to use. Bring your own toilet paper (expect to place it in a separate bucket). Water and a ladle will be on hand for flushing. [If toilets become frozen in winter, holes will be dug out of doors!]
Teahouses will have at least a tap outdoors and metal basins on request. “Showers” are often available – (possibly just a high pipe) and can be hot, warm or not. At high altitudes, ask for a bowl of hot water. Facilities are better on the popular trekking routes.
Use a good rain jacket with hood and a pair of waterproof trousers (overlapping your boots). A cap under the hood will keep rain out of your eyes. However, ‘good’ raingear can also be hot and clammy to wear.
For the kit, inner plastic bags in your daypack will solve the problem. A waterproof cover over your daypack can help.
Pack kit in your duffle bag in (quiet) plastic bags. Your porters will also, effectively, shield your bag with plastic sheeting during rain or snow.
With the range in altitudes in the Himalaya, weather prediction is notoriously difficult: expect the unexpected. Beautiful days, warm in the sun, are followed by colder nights. From 1 000-3 500m temperatures may be 5o to 20oC; higher up they may be -10o to 20oC and above 5 000m -15o to 20oC. Wind chill causes temperatures to plummet. Winter temperatures (December – February) are commonly 10oC lower. Rain or snow can arrive without warning, throughout the year.
Be forewarned and pack sufficient warm wind or rainproof gear in your pack each day.
The porters in Nepal are the backbone of the transport industry along mountain trails away from the southern roads. They come from all corners of the land. They carry their head-supported loads in baskets (dokos) or tied to the strap that goes around the head. 25–30kg is the recommended mass for trek porterage. However, porters will be seen cheerfully carrying immense loads up to their body mass or more and over great distances. Research has shown that the Nepalese have adapted to be able to do this with a minimal increase in their metabolism.
The Sherpa people are of Tibetan origin and moved into the Khumbu (Everest), Solu and Helambu regions some 500 years ago. They became involved in the early mountaineering explorations of the late 19th and 20th centuries: and proved to be highly resourceful and successful. Today, many Sherpas continue to work as Mountaineers, Hoteliers – and porters.
So while some Sherpas may be porters, it is incorrect to call all porters Sherpas. Porters carry goods. Please honor, care for and support your porters.
You may get shaken by the ground, but the cities, villages, and trails are everywhere safe. Kathmandu’s streets are seething with people and vehicles and progress is slow. But courtesy and kindness are universal. Take the normal precautions with wallets and cameras and be more vigilant at night.
Your EBC trek began at over 2 000m. Consider a trek that begins low and takes you through Middle Hill Hindu and Buddhist farming communities before rising towards the giants. A great trail with an exhilarating mix of scenery is the 140km Manaslu Circuit Trek that begins at 700m. Its topography is demanding and the trails are often exposed; but if offers some of the best scenery in the Himalaya. Add in the seven-day Tsum Valley trek. The Annapurna Circuit would be an easier (and more crowded) circuit trek option.
Other great options include the Kangchenjunga Trek on Nepal’s eastern border or the sparsely populated high Dolpo camping trek in western Nepal behind the Dhaulagiri Range.
In many ways, Nepal is unique. Its gentle and friendly people offer visitors a warm and sincere welcome. Its scenery changes from humid lowland jungles and farmland through forested hills to the ice capped giants of the High Himalaya in a distance of only 200km. Once away from the roads, the village trails are quiet: the only sounds being water, wind and birdsong or the quiet conversations of villagers going about their business. The further into the mountains you trek, the more dramatic the scenery becomes and a sense of awe is often the only response possible.
So listen to your friends and contact us to design your first trek: for few people are satisfied with only one visit.
Congratulations! Depending on your time and sense of adventure you could consider an overland tour from Kathmandu to explore Pokhara and then continue south to Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha before continuing to the Chitwan National Park with elephant rides, a canoe trip and jungle walks.
If you are both fit and looking to trek, then consider a trek with luxury accommodation to Everest Base Camp, or a shorter trek to the Annapurna Base Camp: both with spectacular and ‘close up’ glacial scenery.
It will be our pleasure to offer you a private tour on whichever route you choose. A car with chauffeur (and a guide?) could take you on the overland route. A flight to Lukla or Pokhara with your guide and then the addition of a porter would complete your trekking party.
Garbage, Litter and Water Control: Don’t litter, don’t pollute
The official governmental guide to trekking states:
Let the Himalayas change you – Do not change them, so remember, while you are trekking to:
We at Landmark Discovery Treks believe wholeheartedly in these rules and request that you join us in our efforts to improve our trekking routes and landmarks in every possible way.
Thus, we ask you not to:
Drop tissues, sweet papers, packets or plastic items: carry them to our next destination for correct disposal.
Do not discard cigarette ends or matches and be very conscious of the dangers of fire.
Do not throw items into Teahouse fires or ovens: it may be offensive on religious grounds
Do not squat behind bushes or rocks anywhere near a stream.
Dig a hole and cover it properly before leaving. Preferably burn the paper, carefully.
Entry permits are required to each of Nepal’s National Parks and Conservation Areas. The range from Rs 1000 – Rs 3000/entry. Additional trekking permits are required for Restricted Region treks. We will organize the permits for you on arrival.
There are five Restricted Regions, all along or close to the Tibetan border that was opened to limited trekking post-1990. The aim: to conserve fragile environments and the cultures of the various Tibetan communities that had settled there. Fees are high and range from US$90 – $500 for 7 or 10 days, then stiff daily amounts. NB: Permits are for trekking days, not trekking nights: thus a 10-day permit means in on Day 01, out on Day 10, after 9 nights.
Restricted Region treks may only be undertaken with a professional guide and a minimum of two trekkers. Your original passport and extra photos are required. (These are for Upper Dolpo, Upper Mustang, Nar-Phu, Tsum Valley, Manaslu, and Kangchenjunga)