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Thread: Nepal trek advice needed :)

  1. #1
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    Nepal trek advice needed :)

    Hey-I'm planning a trek in Nepal for Fall 2011.... read previous threads, a few guides, and trek company literature. I'd like comments/suggestions on the rough plan (which is itself all a question )and numerous questions ..little of my plan is set in stone. If you'd rather e-mail than reply on the Board, that's fine.

    -early October, probably a tea house type trek with use of guide/porter, probably joining a small group

    -present thought is Langtang/Gosaikund for 16-17 days total ...also possible are Annapurna Sanctuary, Annapurna Circuit or Everest base camp

    -this is my first and probably only adventure like this-most of you don't know me from a bag of rocks--while 65, i'm in good shape/fairly strong hiker and don't anticipate any serious problems with physical part of trek (sure i realize altitude is a minor crapshoot every time)

    -guide book(s), etc to read/carry?

    -plane from Boston, probably thru London then Abu Dabi (not Delhi?) and to Kathmandu (avoid Nepal Airlines)?-airline recommendations?
    -have you had travel/baggage issues?, can't imagine i won't have to check a bag for under plane (hate that)? How many extra days "slop" might i leave on each end of trip for plane connection problems, or trek late returning to Katmandu?

    -i've researched numerous trek companies --US/UK/Aus big outfits that 'arrange" treks with Nepalese partners (Adventure, Intrepid, Kumuka, etc) and direct contact with several companies in Nepal--right now i think i may go "direct" to/with Nepali company like Unique Path Trekking (the company Kumuka and other seem to contract with)--your thoughts/recommendations?

    -travel/trek insurance (usually mandatory)-from whom, correct "type" and when purchased?

    -order to get plane reservation, trek contract (suspect they'll "hold" trek commitment a day or three?) (insurance-last) ?

    -visa in US or Kathmandu?-i'll have 4" extra passport photos for visa, travel permits

    -immunizations (not required, but suggested)-diphtheria, Hep A&B, tetanus, polio??

    -gear--there's are tons of lists-i expect to be carrying a day pack and probably have porter carrying my "kit"-some companies provide what appear to be "good enough" sleeping bags, down jackets and a kit bag for porter as part of deal--i'd like "enough" gear, but would rather go fairly light--any must haves, don't takes?....take poles or buy cheapos there?...other gear you might buy/leave in Nepal?.thoughts on rain/snow gear?

    -medications you did/might carry?-have access to, but have never used Diamox

    -water--tablets, Aquamira type stuff? or?

    -all trek meals included in package
    -any "goodies" food you'd carry on trek? from home or buy in KM?

    -ATM in Kathmandu-how much small denomination Nep cash did you carry on trek itself?

    -tips-how much, to whom and when?

    -e-mail or phone access to family for routine? emergency?-probably "easy" in KM and very tuff on trek?

    any other advice you may have --thanks for persevering thru this --i of course want trek to be great

    jim
    Last edited by buckyball1; 01-19-2011 at 04:37 PM.

  2. #2
    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    I did the Annapurna Circuit and Sanctuary back in 1995 and it was very easy to do so back then without a guide company or porters. The Annapurna Circuit is easy to negotiate for a westerner, and your pack doesn't need to be any more than a big New England day pack. We stayed in guest houses all the way, in my mind it was much nicer than going with the guided groups and staying in the big tents, but to each his own.

    Check with your doctor about immunizations, they'll have the latest info.

    I won't talk about visas since I suspect whatever I knew in 1995 is out of date now.

    We used iodine for all of our water, no plastic water bottles. Not sure what the situation is now, but plastic trash was a huge and growing problem.

    I suspect that a few of the towns on the circuit will have cell towers. I know there is/was coverage at basecamp. By this point you might even find an internet cafe or two in the towns.

    I flew through Thailand but that was not by design. Royal Nepal Airlines didn't have a great reputation then and they still managed to fall short, but we made it in and out of Kathmandu without problems. Don't rely on internal air connections to be on time or even to happen. You can get stranded if the weather turns bad.

    Have a great time, everything will be fine, enjoy the heck out of it!
    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. -- Dr. Seuss

  3. #3
    Senior Member Buffalo's Avatar
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    Hi Jim,
    We did Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar last October and I'll be more than happy to help in any way I can! I'll send you a email note answering as many of those questions as I can.
    We did it on our own, unguided and no porters, so some of the questions I can't answer but I'll do the best I can.
    In the meantime, at the risk of self-promoting, check out our blog. We are writing a day by day account of the trip which hopefully will answer some of your questions. Just click under the pic there and check it out, we are up to Chapter 9 now so you may have to back track a little bit.
    I'll drop you a note!

    __________________________________________
    Our blog: http://52withaview.com
    Our photos: www.danandmeenakshi.phanfare.com

  4. #4
    Senior Member una_dogger's Avatar
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    Just a few thoughts as its been 10 years since I travelled to Nepal, as Dave says I am sure many things have changed.

    -Iodine, and request "boiled water"
    -I brought Diamox, didn't need it but another did so it was good to have
    -EmergenC!!!!
    -you can buy nsaids, antibiotics, and stronger pain relievers over the counter in Nepal
    -Pokhara is an excellent little city for pre and post Annapurna
    -DO NOT MISS ANNAPURNA SANCTUARY!!! Unless you have an unrelenting urge to see Everest (which you will see out the right hand side of your aircraft on your approach to Kathmandu) go to the Annapurna Region. I cannot begin to express the immense beauty of the landscape, the people, the culture and the complete and total equalizing force of immersing yourself in a land where everyone gets everywhere on thier own two feet. Hopefully you have found some info on the Annapurna Conservation Area Project and the many humanitarian/environmental/cultural preservation/sustainable ecotourism efforts that are ongoing.
    http://www.ntnc.org.np/thematic-areas
    -don't eat the meat or cheese or any raw veggies, stick with the dal bhat and you should survive without too many rounds of dysentary! (my only bout was after a meal that included tepid soup, believe me, spending 24 hours on the cold hard stone floor of a Nepalese "toilet" isn't how you want to spend a day of your vacation )

    An AP Circuit or Sanctuary Trek (I did both) will consist of about six miles walking a day, with a leisurely lunch stop. Your porter will probably be run ahead to secure your tea house, while your guide will walk along with you to bridge language barriers and help with the money. Hire them, they need jobs. And it will enhance your cultural experience by freeing you up to enjoy more.

    Lonely Planet Nepalese Phrasebook

    I think I stayed in Thamel section of KTM, at the quiet, western end of the strip in Pokhara, and in a dive in Besishahar.

    I was guided by Lal Lama of World Peace Trekking in KTM, not sure if they are still around. I opted for a small outfit and arranged all over the internet. I think my airfare was about 1100USD while my entire trek was around the figure of $15USD/day for guide, porter, tea house stay.

    Bring lots of fun things for kids, like bouncy rubber balls and shiney/colorful beaded bracelets. Cheap stuff here in the US, but great for connecting with the many,many beautiful and inquisitive children you will meet along the way.

    Have a wonderful time.

    Oh, and November is best. Avalanches are frequent on the Sanctuary Trek in March. Some folks died in an avalanche the day ahead of us on the trail.

    Hope this helps!

    PS take poles and your own stuff. a couple changes of clothes, a down sleeping bag, a down coat, eye protection, sunscreen, lip balm, gloves etc but overkill not necessary -- enough to keep you comfy -- for APS and Circuit, I had a few days above the snowline where I appreciated my down booties at night and a down fluffy during the day and good gloves, but most days I was in a fleece or teeshirt-- think Colorado weather. Check out what your porters are geared with and make sure they've got eye protection, good socks etc -- simple stuff that can make a huge difference for them and available wicked cheap in KTM. Also, its not a bad idea once you meet your porter to make sure he's got a decent pack to carry your stuff in. We had an issue with a guy in our group who was pretty big and had planned on his porter using his pack -- the poor little dude was dwarfed in it.
    Last edited by una_dogger; 01-19-2011 at 05:53 PM.
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  5. #5
    Junior Member Faline's Avatar
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    So where did you end up going?
    ADK: 46er
    Whites: 39/48
    Maine: 9/14
    Vermont: 5/5
    NE: 101/115

  6. #6
    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faline View Post
    So where did you end up going?
    Buckyball1 hasn't logged in for about 2 years. I don't think you'll get an answer to your question.
    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. -- Dr. Seuss

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