© 2020 by Arizona Photo Adventures

 Nepal Adventure - What to Expect

Overview

Our adventure takes us over a variety of terrain so you should be prepared to tackle all situations, hence the recommendations below. 

Before the adventure starts

  • While not mandatory, we suggest checking the CDC's website for a list of recommended immunizations prior to travelling to Nepal. Keep in mind that some immunization types such as Hepatitis A+B shots are administered as three shots over one month so you need to plan this in advance to be ready by departure time. Also, the likelihood of mosquito bites is quite small due to the timing of our travel (outside of the humid monsoon season), which should greatly limit the chances of being affected by mosquito-borne diseases

  • Get health and travel insurance. Our local guide carries a first aid kit for helping with minor health issues and is also prepared to help with evacuation to the nearest hospital in case of serious issues, but it's best to carry your own insurance to cover potential costs related to emergencies

  • It's best to keep your luggage at a minimum for two reasons. First, while trekking, we're going to take only the essentials since porters will carry our baggage. Second, we'll be taking an internal flight from Pokhara to Kathmandu and the maximum allowed weight for checked luggage on that flight is 33 lbs (15 Kg) per person, which is less than what international flights usually allow. However, charges for overweight luggage are fairly small.

  • Although not mandatory, it may be useful to bring 3 photos sized 1.5 x 1.5 inch to be used when applying for the tourist visa at the Kathmandu airport, as well as for buying a cell phone SIM card

Environments

  • Towns will experience mild to warm temperatures between 55°F(13°C) and 83°F(28°C). Shorts, light pants and a light jacket should be sufficient to keep you comfortable throughout the day

  • During our trekking in the Himalayas temperatures will vary from 41°F(5°C) to 70°F(21°C) , so it's best to follow the clothing recommendations in the trekking section below to stay comfortable

During the entire trip

  • Upon arrival at the Kathmandu airport you will need to get a tourist visa, which costs $30 USD for a 15 days stay. US dollars are preferred, although Euros or British Pounds will be accepted. We highly recommended having exact change on hand to cover that transaction. You can find more about the visa process here.

  • Credit cards are usually not accepted for payment, nor are foreign currencies, so you'll need to get some local cash (Nepalese Rupees). We recommend to bring at least $300 USD for purchases not covered in the itinerary (such as meals not included in the schedule, alcoholic drinks, gifts, etc.). There are ATMs and exchanges available in most towns we stay.

  • Drink only bottled or filtered water, which is available at all times

  • Nepal uses a Type D power plug and, while many hotels have universal plug adapters, it's best to have your own, for example this one which accepts plugs from both European and North American devices

  • Buy a data/voice SIM card for your phone at the airport. You will need a passport photo in order to do so, although they will take the photo on the spot if you don't provide one

  • Just like anywhere else, some locals are happy to be photographed, some are not, so please respect that. However, in some touristy locations we'll meet people who would only accept to be photographed for a small fee, usually the equivalent of $1 USD, so it's best to keep some cash on hand should you wish to photograph them

While in towns

Lodging is provided in 3 star hotels in double rooms, with private bathrooms

What to bring:

  • Breakfast is included, but lunch and dinner are not. Meals are usually under $10-15 USD, so you'll need some cash on hand to cover those

  • Comfortable boots/shoes are important since we'll cover a lot of ground throughout the day

While trekking (days 6-10)

Lodging is provided in so-called "tea houses", essentially basic accommodations along the trekking route that offer a sleeping and dining place, usually 2-4 persons per room. Bathrooms are usually shared with other guests. Most tea houses only allow charging electrical devices for a small fee, usually $1 USD per device. Similarly, hot showers cost about $1 USD per session. 

There are no laundry facilities during trekking, so you need to bring enough clean clothes to last  you for the 5 days of trekking. A practical and recommended alternative is to use moisture wicking underwear, socks and shirts that can be washed at night and dry by morning.

Before trekking starts, we're going to spend one day in the town of Pokhara. Here, we're going to store our luggage and repack only the essentials needed for trekking. Our local guide will provide each participant with a so-called "porter bag" to fill and those bags will be carried by porters for the duration of the trek, while participants only need to carry their small back with personal items for use during the day as they see fit. Each night, upon arriving to our lodging, the porters will bring participants' bags to our rooms and pick them up the next morning before hitting the trail again.

You need to make sure that your essential items to be used during trekking weigh no more than 22 lbs (10 Kg). Volume is not critical, but is expected to be kept within reasonable limits.

During the day is recommended to dress in layers in order to accommodate pre-dawn temperatures and warmer 

Last, but not least, get your toenails trimmed before the trek! Your feet will thank you for that.

What to bring:

  • A sleeping bag. Tea houses are not heated (except for the lobby during the evening), but they do provide warm blankets, but some travelers prefer to have their own sleeping bag as a first layer

  • Pillow covers

  • Hiking boots or shoes

  • Hiking socks

  • Long sleeve shirts. Moisture wicking and light materials are preferred

  • A light backpack. Since porters carry all our luggage, we only need to carry a small backpack for your personal items, camera, water bottle, light jacket, poncho, etc.

  • Trekking poles. They are very useful, especially on the descending portions of our trek

  • A light warm jacket

  • A wind and waterproof jacket

  • A fleece jacket

  • A light warm hat/beanie

  • A poncho or light raincoat. Chances are we won't see much rain, but just in case...

  • A wide brim hat and sunscreen

  • A flashlight and/or headlamp

  • A water bottle or bladder for your backpack is necessary since we may not be able to find bottled water at all times and purified water will be used instead

  • A small power bank. All tea houses provide charging for our electronics, but sometimes it's more convenient to have your own charging device instead. However, check with your airline on carry-on and checked-in battery restrictions during flights

For photographers

  • A DSLR or mirrorless camera is recommended

  • We usually carry a wide lens (e.g. 16-35 mm) for all-purpose and landscape shots, a telephoto lens (e.g. 70-200 mm) for details and distant shots and a medium lens (e.g. 50 mm) for portraits

  • A lightweight tripod will come handy for night shots and also for waterfall shots, which we have a few on our itinerary

  • A waterproof camera bag

  • A lightweight laptop for processing photos or, at least, a backup drive for your photos