If you are thinking about taking your first trip to Nepal, Tibet you will probably have a lot of questions. After all, our journeys are different from standard tours. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about our trips:
Highlander is your unbiased expert in helping you find the perfect adventure. We make it easy for you to find all adventure trip options 'under one roof' so you only have to make one call to explore the Himalaya of options. We help you navigate through hundred of trips to find the one that best matches your desired budget, timing, destination and activity level. And, if we cannot find the perfect preset package, we will help you customize one.
Yes, you can obtain your entry visa at the Kathmandu airport upon arrival or at a consulate in your home country. In either case, you need 2 passport size photograph and the visa fee. To date, the fee is USD 30 for 15 days, USD 50 for 30 days and USD 125 for 90 days. Check with us for an update.
Our trips are designed as off-the-beaten-path journeys. We do everything we can to allow you to experience the local culture and to participate in local practices. We want to give you the opportunity to interact with the locals, learn about their way of life, learn some Nepali phrases, and perhaps participate with the local trekking staff as they sing and dance after a day of trekking. We consider these interactions some of the most valuable memories to take back home, along with the stunning views of the Himalayas. Nepalese are also very excited to learn more about your way of life.
The answer is yes, you can. However, we always recommend that you take a guide along.
They act as a liaison between you and the people and without the guide you will never get in touch with the people. You will visit the place but not interact with the culture and learn from it.
The guides get their licenses from the Government organisation called NATHM (National Academy for Tourism and Hotel Management) and are officially recognised by the government. They are trained from time to time on issues such as first aid, Acute Mountain Sickness, rescue methods etc. Travelling in Nepal is not like in other countries where the altitudes are low. Once you cross the altitude of 3000m (and you will in almost every trek) you have to be extremely cautious.
The guides are knowledgable in methods to reduce your impact in the environment and culture of Nepal. They will help you minimize the negative impacts of your travels. They will also inform you on how to not be offending to the culture of
Finally, they also have a wealth of information about the area you are traveling in and about Nepal in general.
This varies with each trip of course. In the mountains we measure hikes in hours, rather than miles. On most treks, we hike 4-7 hours per day, with a lunch break of 1-2 hours in the middle. We encourage you to walk at your own pace. There is no need to rush or stay up with others during the daily hikes. There will always be a guide at the back of the group to make sure that you arrive safely to camp. We know that much of the fun of trekking is maintaining a pace which will allow you to fully enjoy your surroundings.
Tea house trekking means staying and eating in local lodges. We stay in single rooms where possible, but often you will have to share. Rooms are basic, normally just a bed with a
pillow, blankets. A few have electric lights and all have a spacious dining room-lounge.
We eat at tea houses and, although the food is usually plentiful and delicious, the menu is not extensive. They offer a variety of potato, rice and noodle dishes, as well as soup and seasonal vegetables. Beers and local spirits are often available, but that will be at your own cost. A variety of cereals, bread and egg dishes are generally available for breakfast. There are also snacks available such as basic biscuits, chocolate and soft drinks and in some areas you will find fresh fruit in season.
Camping means sleeping in tents, normally we provide a two person tent for one client, and large three person tents for a couple. These treks normally go to more remote regions where
there are no tea house facilities. You will have a full staff of guides, cooks and porters to take care of you on these treks.
No. But you have to carry a light day-pack containing your water bottle, camera, an extra layer of clothing, sunglasses, a rain coat or wind breaker, and snacks. Porters or pack animals will carry all of the heavy gear.
If you are in good health and enjoy regular exercise such as jogging, tennis, or even long walks, we have a trip designed for you. The number one qualification is a positive attitude! We have had many years of experience of treks in high altitudes, so we know how to pace a trek or climb. Each person reacts to altitude in a different way, so it is difficult to predict how you will do. But in general, with the careful pacing of our trips, allowing proper rest days for acclimatization, most people adapt well. The potential problems with altitude stem from people going too high too fast. We make sure that this does not happen.
The ideal time of year to go to Nepal is either in the fall or in the spring. In the mountain regions, day time hiking temperatures generally range from the 50's to the 80's F. Night time temperatures drop down to 20 to 40 F. Since we carefully schedule trips to coincide with the ideal seasons to visit a particular area, we do our best to assure you 'good' weather. Unfortunately, Mother Nature always has the final say. We are happy to answer your weather questions on an individual basis.
On camping treks we provide 3 tasty, plentiful and nutritious meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes. To start the day, breakfast consists of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereal followed by omelette, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread. Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads. After a day on the trail dinner is a hearty 3 course meal - soup, followed by a variety of vegetable, meat, rice and pasta dishes and completed with a simple dessert. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided at most meals. We use as much fresh produce as possible and our cooks and kitchen crew maintain good standards of cleanliness and food preparation hygiene. Special dietary requirements can be catered for.
All water used for cooking and drinking is purified by our camp staff either by boiling or by the use of Iodine. (At high altitudes, Iodine is safer than boiling since water boils at lower temperatures.) You can buy bottled water while in Kathmandu and you will be provided boiled or filtered water on the trek. Always brush your teeth in treated or bottled water. As an extra precaution, you can add your own Iodine tablets to your treated water while on the trek.
We need you to send us a scan of your personal details page from your passport; we prefer this in JPG format not much bigger than 100 KB. We need to receive this at least one month before your Tibet tour, we will then do all the necessary work for you to get a travel permit to Tibet and a Chinese visa.
No, sorry you will have to let us arrange a group visa for you, as the Chinese don't allow travelers to travel individually to Tibet from Nepal.
We insist you have travel insurance when you come on one of our tours. You need to get this from home as no travel insurance is available in Nepal. Please refer to our insurance advice for more information.
We will help you in your selection of equipment to bring, it depends a lot upon the season you arrive here or where you are going, so please see our basic equipment lists besides each tour or e-mail us for a complete gear list.
All our staff has insurance and free access to equipment. The salaries are above average and our staff members are free to join any trade union. Medical care, if needed, is for everyone in the expedition. Our porters carry a maximum of 30 kilos and if a porter gets sick we will take care of him until he has recovered. This means that our clients are paying a slightly higher rate but you are supporting decent and equitable working conditions for all staff.
Every trip is different, depending on the various rules. But, as a rule of thumb, a deposit at the time of booking is typically 33%. If you cancel before 30 day there will be no charge. Between 25 and 10 day the rate of refund varies from 10 % to 65%.
If you cancel after 10 days no refund will be made.
Many trips require it and we always recommend it to protect yourself in the event you need reimbursement for the costs of medical evacuation, trip cancellation or interruption, unexpected delays, lost luggage or any medical services needed while traveling.