FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

GENERAL FAQ

Financial Security

Travelsmith Nepal is a licensed travel agency in Nepal, license no: 2608/071 issued by Ministry of Culture Tourism & Civil Aviation. We are also a member of Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) and Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) - Refer to Credentials. Membership with these tourism authorities of Nepal means our accounts are subject to regular and rigorous independent scrutiny. It may not prevent failure, however, certainly makes it less likely.

Travelsmith will send you the invoice with company accounts details (tangible evidence). Only after you receive the stamped and signed copy of invoice send 30% of total tour cost to us. After your partial payment is received into our accounts, the company will send you the receipt of your payment together with the service vouchers containing hotel booking reference number ( you may check your booking directly with the hotel by providing them the reference number). These vouchers make you eligible to claim service mentioned in the voucher. The rest of the payment we will collect after we receive you in Kathmandu.

All in all we want to assure you that your payment is completely secured with us.

You can book with Travelsmith Nepal with confidence that the amount paid for your trips is fully secured.

Visa

Every national except Indian nationals will require a visa to enter Nepal. Nepal extends trouble free visa issuance for all countries. The valid passport and two passport sized photograph will be required and the visa is easily available at the Tribhuvan International airport or any entry points of Nepal. The visa fees will be as follows (all the visa fee must be paid in USD cash) credit card will not be acceptable.

Valid for 15 days (multiple entry): US $ 25 or equivalent foreign currency

Valid for 30 days (multiple entry): US $ 40 or equivalent foreign currency

Valid for 90 days (multiple entry): US $ 100 or equivalent foreign currency

For SAARC countries visa fee is free for 30 days including Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka & Maldives.

The following countries do not get visa upon arrival and will have to be requested to apply for the visa from Nepalese Embassy or other Nepalese diplomatic missions in advance:

  • Nigeria
  • Ghana
  • Swaziland
  • Zimbabwe
  • Somalia
  • Cameroon
  • Liberia
  • Iraq
  • Ethiopia
  • Palestine
  • Afghanistan

Clothing

The clothing in Nepal differs as per the season. In Kathmandu the day time temperature is pleasant throughout the year, but in the winter time the temperature drops down in the mornings and evening (though never drops below freezing point).

In winter (Dec-Feb): Sweaters, warm garment, jackets or down vest and warm sleepwear. During monsoon (Jul-Sep): You will need an umbrella or raincoat, particularly in Pokhara where the rainfall is much heavier than in Kathmandu

Casual medium-weight cotton wear are good choice round the year. Sun glasses, a hat and covering for unprotected skin are all necessary in high altitude treks. Comfortable, durable walking shoe is must, also add an extra pair to wear around the hotel.

The important is that the clothes should be comfortable and modest. Mostly for women long baggy walking shorts are better, but the best are loose trousers, a below-the-knee skirt will be modest. Men should wear shirts and long trouser (knee length shorts are acceptable though). Men should never go bare-chested in the city.

Shopping

Shopping can be a rewarding experience in Nepal. Whether you are looking for cheap souvenir or a real piece of art, you can find almost anything in the tourist area of Kathmandu and Pokhara. The most common tourist item includes Thangkas, Paper products, Tibetan carpets, Pashmina, Metal works, tea etc.; However, remember that antiques cannot be taken out of the country.

If you have bought something that could possibly be antique, you should get a receipt and a description of the object from the shop where you bought it. If it looks more than 100 years old you need a permit from the department of Archaeology to take it out of the country.

Health and Inoculations

Make sure you are healthy before you start travelling. If you require any specific medicine, take an adequate supply of it, as it may not be available locally. Carry a part of the packaging showing the generic name rather than the brand, which make getting replacements easier. Carry a legal prescription from your doctor to show that you legally use the medication. Anyone with known heart disease should carry a recent copy of the ECG. This is useful in aiding quick diagnosis of a problem if that may arise.

No special inoculation/immunization is required for Nepal visit. However, we recommend the clients get themselves immunized against certain illness that are not prevalent in their home country such as Typhoid, Malaria, Meningitis, Hepatitis etc.

ATM's

Automated Teller Machines are now widely available in Nepal. However, ATM in Kathmandu and Pokhara only accept major International cards. VISA and Master card are widely accepted in most of the ATM. The cash will be given out in Nepali rupees only.

Please note American Express and Cirrus card are not accepted in most of the places.

Credit/Debit cards

Major credit cards like VISA and Master Card is widely accepted at better and mid-range hotels/restaurants and fancy shops in Kathmandu and Pokhara. However, do be aware of some bank service charge that will be added over the amount.

Climate

Nepal climate varies significantly throughout the year, with seasons showing themselves very differently at different altitude.

Seasons are typical of North Hemisphere: hot April-August and cold November-January with two brief warm periods, February-March and September-October.

Nepal’s has following climatic seasons:

  • Spring season: March-May
  • Rainy season: July- Mid-September
  • Winter: December-February
  • Summer season: May-June
  • Autumn: October-November
Electricity

Power comes out at 220 volts/50 cycles per second. Lengthy power cuts “load shedding” are daily occurrence. Good hotel and restaurants will have backup generators. The European standard two-pin socket is most common.

Tipping

Most hotels and restaurants now days automatically include a percentage of service charge in the bill. Trekking/tour guides and chauffeurs do except some tips, but is not mandatory. If you think you have been provided exceptional service by the guides or chauffeurs you may tip them as per your discretion.

Travel Insurance

Please note, travel insurance is not included in the tour package. Hence it is worth taking insurance before travelling, to cover against injury, theft or loss. Before buying a new policy, please check whether you have been already covered: some all-risk home insurance policies may cover your possession and medical schemes include cover when abroad.

Tourists should make sure that their insurance policies also cover soft adventure activities during their stay in Nepal such as rafting, trekking etc.; If you are planning some adventurous activities like bungee jumping, rafting and trekking the insurance policy most also include “dangerous activities”.

Choose the policy that covers medical and emergency repatriation, including Helicopter evacuation and in the eventuality of serious illness, accident or if clients are stranded in remote areas due to unexpected bad weather conditions.

Money and Exchange

The Nepali rupees are issued in the Notes of Rs 1, Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 1000. Different colors make them easy to distinguish. The amounts are written in English on the back side of the note.

Money exchangers are widely spread across the tourist area of Kathmandu and Pokhara. You may also exchange the currency in the hotel. Major international currencies including US Dollars, Pound Sterling, and Euro are readily accepted. While officially exchanging money from the money exchanger, you are required to show the passport, and you are issued with a foreign exchange encashment receipt showing your identify with the amount of hard currency you have exchanged.

Approx. exchange rate as of 19 March 2015:

  • 1 USD = NPR 100.01
  • 1 EUR = NPR 106.18
  • 1 GBP = NPR 146.67
  • 1 AUD = NPR 76.13
Time Zone

Nepal is 5 hrs 45 minutes ahead of GMT and 15 minutes ahead of Indian standard time. There is no daylight saving time in Nepal, so daylight saving time elsewhere reduces/increases the time difference of one hour.

TREK FAQ

Your Team

We organize private trek only, hence you will be accompanied by an English speaking Sherpa guide. However, please note these Sherpa guides are born and bought up in the remote mountain region of Nepal. Most of them are not even formally educated; hence they will be able to communicate in basic English only, however you will greatly appreciate their sense of humor.

You will then have porters as per the requirement. You are required to carry a rucksack with personal belongings such as camera, your passport and the things that you require. The rest of the things will be carried by the porters. The porters will walk in a fast pace and you will meet them at trek end points, each day, be sure that you have all the required items in your ruck sack.

The Sherpa guide will be with you all along. Our Sherpa guides are very experienced, hence request you to follow all the instructions given by him for safer trek.

Tips

The Sherpa guide and porter, who will be along with you, do expect few tips, though it will never be demanded. These people are from very poor background; hence tips are also their source of income.

It is totally up to you to reward Sherpa guide/Porters after the service is over, the amount may depend on how satisfied you are from the overall service provided by them.

Emergency

In case of emergencies our Sherpa guide will do anything to help you. However, you should have the travel insurance from your home country that covers medical and emergency repatriation, including Helicopter evacuation, in the eventuality of serious illness or accident or if clients are stranded in remote areas due to unexpected bad weather conditions.

Meals

All the meals during the trek will be included in your package. However, please note that in mountain region, there will only be less variety of food available. You will be offered a fixed meal planned by your Sherpa guide.

The breakfast will comprise of a cup of tea/coffee, cereal, egg & bread/toast. The lunch will include the main course (fried rice/dal Bhat/noodles/macaroni/potatoes) & tea/coffee only. The dinner will comprise of soup, one main course, dessert and a cup of tea/coffee.

Any additional consumption over the regular menu will incur extra cost and will have to be paid by you. Lunch will always be light, consisting of vegetarian items only. Non- veg dinner will be provided twice a week. We recommend carrying a bottled mineral water for drinking.

National Park, Permits

All these fees are already included in your tour cost. We will require your scanned copies of passport in advance (before your arrival to Kathmandu) so that we can start processing the permit in advance. After you arrive in Kathmandu we will collect your 2 photograph and by the same evening or the next morning we will hand over your required permits.

However, if you are trekking in the restricted areas such as upper Mustang, Dolpa, the trek permits for these regions will be advised separately and will not be included in your trek cost. The amount should be paid after you arrive in Nepal. However there is the video charge of USD 100 per video camera in all national parks which must be paid directly.

Altitude Mountain Sickness

AMS is one of the problems for the trekkers who gain the maximum altitude in a day. Our tour itineraries are designed very professionally to prevent AMS during your treks. However, if you have the symptoms of altitude sickness such as headache, loss of appetite, nausea and fatigue then your immediate inform your Sherpa guide. He will help you in which case you will have to walk down to lose the height immediately and seek help from the local health post.

Accommodation

Accommodation during treks will be very basic. We request clients not to have high expectation. As you move to the higher altitude, you may even have to share the dormitories and toilets. The accommodation in these regions cannot be booked in advance; hence our guide will try their level best to accommodate you in the best available lodge in the area.

Equipment required

No special equipment will be required for trekking in Nepal. You will be trekking through well-established trails. However, we recommend you to bring good down jacket to keep you warm, hiking boot with perfect ankle support, fleece jacket and quality sleeping bags, water bottle. Sleeping bags can also be hired from Kathmandu though will not be very clean.

Experience

You will not require any experience for the trekking. However, you should be physically fit to walk in an uneven terrain for at least 5-6 hours a day.

Physical fitness

Trekking in the mountain region of Nepal will involve walking over uneven terrain. This can prove physically tiring, especially as the altitude increases. The best thing to do is start with basic exercises, walking up and down. If you have a busy time, then, you should train yourself with exercise machines.

Trekking puts much effort on the quadriceps muscle in front of the thigh hence do start with walking and jogging at least a month prior to your trek. Take stairs whenever possible instead of lifts/elevators.

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