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Images of Nepal holidays - Imaginative Traveller

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Images of Nepal holidays - Imaginative Traveller Powered By Docstoc
					Images of Nepal Trip Notes
This tour encompasses all the highlights of Nepal. Starting in Kathmandu we have time to explore its narrow streets, lovely medieval architecture and hidden temples. We continue to Pokhara, famous for its fabulous views, and Chitwan with its abundant wildlife. The second half of the trip takes us to small villages in the foothills of the Himalayas with superb views of the mountains and overnight stays in small friendly villages.

Highlights
• • • • • • Explore the exciting city of Kathmandu Relax in Pokhara, the beautiful lakeside city Hike into the foothills of the Himalayas Search for tigers and rhino in Chitwan Easy 4 day trek in the Kathmandu Valley Stunning Himalayan views

Factfile
At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip dossiers. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip dossier for your tour around one month before departure. Code: HAIP Style: Adventurer Trek grade: A - Easy Maximum group size: 18

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Staffing: Fully escorted by Imaginative Traveller Tour Leader, services of cook, camp staff and porters during trek. Accommodation 7 nights simple hotels, 2 nights camping during trek, 2 nights jungle lodge Transport Private coach, public bus The single supplement does not apply to the nights camping during the trek. Activities: Walking / hiking, and optional elephant ride Meals As per itinerary. B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, d-Dinner. Meals included whilst trekking. For other meals allow US$ 15-20 per day Entrance fees: Not included. Please allow US$30 for sites listed as part of the itinerary. This does not include entrance fees on optional excursions. Tipping: To avoid embarrassment and save you money all tours operate a tipping kitty. Please allow US$12-20 per week of the tour for this. This does not include a tip for the tour leader. This is entirely at your own discretion but if you are happy with their services we would recommend an amount of US$3 per person per day. Additional sightseeing and Optional activities: If you wish to visit a wide range of sites and take part in a variety of optional activities please allow approx US$50 (not including mountain flight in Kathmandu). For comparability, all prices in this dossier are quoted in one currency. We use the US Dollar since that is familiar to most. However, once on tour you will need to pay for all goods and services in the local currency (with the exception of the local payment which must be paid in US Dollars in good condition, unmarked notes). See your Country Dossier for details of exchange rates.

Local Payment
There is a local payment of US$200 on this tour. This must be paid to the Tour Leader in US Dollars cash on Day 1 of the tour.

Country Dossiers and Pre-Departure Information
This Trip Dossier is designed to be read in conjunction with our Nepal Country Dossier and Pre-Departure Information. Pre-Departure Information is available in sections online or as a booklet from your booking agent. (Please note those who book online will not be sent a Pre-Departure Booklet and will need to download it). It is essential that you read this dossier, the Nepal Country Dossier and the Pre-Departure Information in full before you travel.

Arrivals
Arrival transfers are not included in your tour, but may be pre-booked for an extra charge at the time of booking your tour. For details of arrival transfers or making your own way to the tour meeting point, please refer to your Country Dossier and your Pre-Departure Information

Tour Briefing
Once all the members of your group have arrived your tour leader will organise an introductory briefing (usually at noon on day 1). This meeting will give you an overview all the exciting things you will be seeing during your tour and will include lots of practical information on how to get the most out of your time in Nepal. You will need to bring with you your passport, all tour vouchers and a copy of your insurance policy to this briefing so that your tour leader can obtain important details that are essential to the running of the tour. Important Note: it is a condition of joining our tours that you are in possession of a comprehensive travel insurance policy. If you do not have a policy you will be required to purchase one from your tour leader in order to join the tour.

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Hotel meeting Points
Start Point:
Kathmandu Prince Hotel GPO Box 8974 CPC 005 Chhetrapati, Thamel Kathmandu KATHMANDU Phone: (977) 1 4255961

End Point:
As above

Itinerary
DAY 1 - KATHMANDU
Arrival day. Arrive and check in to your hotel. Kathmandu Kathmandu is a fascinating almost medieval city full of extraordinary temples, monuments, and colourful street life. There are endless small streets jam packed with stalls selling cloth, pots and pans, spices, souvenirs, saris and a myriad of other merchandise. Scooters carrying families of 5, bicycles, taxis and pedestrians all compete for space and there is always something to marvel at. The best way to explore Kathmandu is to spend a few hours wandering through the maze of narrow lanes in the old part of town which are crowded with colourful little shops. Most roads lead eventually to the Durbar Square. Here you find the old Royal Palace, many temples, and you may even catch sight of the Living Goddess, known as the Kumari, as she appears at window of the Kasthamandap, or House of Woods, which gives Kathmandu its name. If you want to look for souvenirs, you can simply stroll through the maze of narrow lanes of the old city where you'll find shops selling Thangkas (traditional paintings of religious and ceremonial paintings), block prints of Nepalese, Tibetan and Chinese deities, Tibetan carpets, Tibetan and Nepalese clothes, Nepalese caps (or topi), terracotta pottery, jewellery, masks and puppets, bronzes, khukris (the traditional knife of the Gurkhas) and many other arts and crafts. Mount Everest flight It is possible to book a flight to see Mount Everest whilst you are in Kathmandu. The cost is US$170 (subject to change) per person and this amount also includes transfers from the hotel to the airport and back. The one hour Everest flight takes off from Kathmandu Airport and flies east where you can see magnificent mountains, including Mount Everest, from a height of around 25,000 feet. You can enjoy a seemingly endless chain of snow capped peaks as you fly above the clouds, over glaciers and lakes, rivers and gorges from your private individual window. This excursion offers a great opportunity to experience and photograph the aerial view of the highest mountain peaks in the world, the Kathmandu valley and the landscapes of Nepal. The mountain flights are operated by one of the domestic airlines and they depart in the morning. Please note that the flight only operates when the weather is good and view is satisfactory. The best season is September to May. If you are interested in booking this please ask your tour leader for further details.

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DAY 2 - KATHMANDU
Morning walking tour to the market area of Asan, Durbar Square and Swayambunath Temple. Morning walking tour of Kathmandu; afternoon at leisure to explore the city and look for souvenirs. Swayambunath Temple The famous Swayambunath Temple is perched on a hill outside Kathmandu and has a square golden stupa rising from a lovely white dome. Monkeys play on the steps up to this temple. Swayambhunath is said to be more than 2000 years old and is a very holy place for Buddhists as well as Hindus. You have a wonderful view over Kathmandu from here.

DAY 3 - POKHARA
Drive to Pokhara, a lovely lakeside city with fabulous views of the Himalayas. Drive to Pokhara in western Nepal, situated in a magnificent location with the Himalayas behind and beautiful Lake Phewa in front. Kathmandu - Pokhara Pokhara is a market town in western Nepal. The scenery along the road is a constantly changing treat for the eye - there are rock gorges and rivers, rolling hills, tiered rice paddy terraces and glimpses of the Himalayas in the background. The Pokhara area is the most popular destination in Nepal after Kathmandu. It's an area of natural beauty rather than historic or cultural interest and is also the starting point for some of the most popular treks in the country. The incredible Annapurna massif includes the famous Annapurna I to IV plus Annapurna South, and the magnificent Machapuchare, or 'fishtail' mountain.

DAY 4 - POKHARA
A free day to go for a boat ride on the lake, hike into the hills, visit the Tibetan refugee centre or simply hire a bike and enjoy this laid back lake side town. A free day to go for a boat ride on the lake, hike into the hills, visit the Tibetan refugee centre or simply hire a bike and enjoy this laid back lakeside town. Day at leisure in Pokhara Pokhara is set in a lovely valley at the foot of the Machapuchare so you get spectacular views of the mountains from all parts of the town. It is quite different from Kathmandu with few temples, but it does have plenty of scenic attractions and is close to the mountains. There are some interesting short walks or bicycle rides from Pokhara or you can swim and canoe on Lake Phewa or just watch the last rays of the sun stream across the dip in the mountains that hold the lake. Along the lakeside road, there is a continuous stretch of small hotels, restaurants and shops; it's an area which still has a bit of the old hippie scene feel about it.

DAY 5 - CHITWAN
Drive to Chitwan National Park, transfer to our jungle camp. Chitwan National Park Our lodge is at the edge of Chitwan National Park. The park is one of the best places on the Indian subcontinent in which to see wildlife. The sanctuary is home to rhinoceros, tiger, leopard and other jungle cats, elephants, buffalo, sloth bear, gaur (wild oxen), wild boar, langur and rhesus monkeys, freshwater dolphins, freshwater

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crocodiles, pythons, and king cobras, plus over 350 species of birds, including giant hornbills, peacocks, and eagles. Chitwan has been called the best sanctuary in Asia and its beautiful vistas and splendid wildlife justify the claim.

DAY 6 - CHITWAN
On foot, canoe or on elephant, there is the chance to see some of Chitwan’s famous rhinos, as well as the many other animals inside the park. You are free to explore either on foot or on elephant, and hopefully you will get the chance to see some of Chitwan’s famous rhinos, as well as the many other animals inside the park. Park entrance fee (US$10). Optional Elephant ride (US$20) or canoe ride and jungle trek (US$15). Jungle Activities The greatest thrill at Chitwan is the elephant-back safaris in search of wildlife - seeing a rhino from atop an elephant is an experience not to be missed. Canoeing trips along the Rapti River are another way of seeing the wildlife, particularly the crocodiles and freshwater dolphins. The park offers a variety of other experiences, including jungle walks and bird watching. The best chance of wildlife sightings is in the early morning and late afternoon. Also remember to wear neutral-colour clothes as you don’t want to scare the animals away with bright colours.

DAY 7 - KATHMANDU
Drive to Kathmandu.

DAY 8 - SHIVAPURI
We trek into the Shivpuri hills north of Kathmandu. We walk past an interesting monastery and uphill through lush oak and rhododendron forests to Shivapuri where we camp for the night. (LD) Drive to Budhanilkantha, site of a huge 5 metre monolithic statue of Lord Vishnu, one of the valley’s most photographed sites. From here we start our trek into the Shivpuri hills. We walk past an interesting monastery and uphill through lush oak and rhododendron forests to Shivapuri where we camp for the night. On the first day we trek approximately 10km and have a mixture of some steep ascents and flat trails. (LD) Approx 6 hours trekking Budhanilkantha Located just 8kms north of Kathmandu, Budhanilkantha is famous for its remarkable statue of lord Vishnu reclining on a bed of snakes. The seventh century statue lies in the middle of a small pond and is a place of pilgrimage for all Hindus. There is a morning puja (worship) everyday from 9-10am and in October or early November each year, the statue becomes a scene of great activity as thousands of worshippers celebrate the Haribodhini Ekadasi festival as Vishnu 'awakens' from his summer sleep. Shivapuri At 2,732m, Shivapuri is the second highest peak among the hills surrounding the Kathmandu Valley. Trekking in the Shivapuri hills offers breathtaking Himalayan views and intense rhododendron forests in March and April. Trekking The trek included in this trip is graded A - Easy and consists of a mixture of long and short walks, ranging from 4 to 7 hours walking per day. The trek will not take you to high altitudes (the maximum altitude will be 3,000m) and is led throughout by an Imaginative Traveller Trek Leader. Please see the Trek Grades page for more details.

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Although no previous trekking experience is required for this trip and most of the trek is on flat or downhill trail, there is a fairly long walk with some ascents involved on Days 1 and 2 which can be tough on your legs. Therefore you require a reasonable level of fitness as the more physically fit you are, the more easily your body will adapt to hiking in the Himalayan foothills. We also recommend that you bring hiking boots with ankle support as footing can sometimes be on loose rock. Porters carry all camping equipment and personal luggage, leaving you only with a small daypack to carry. Our porters will also take care of all other necessary tasks, such as setting up the communal camp and cooking meals. Our camping accommodation will be in two-person 'A' frame tents. A kitchen tent, dining tent and toilet tent is also provided. Basic equipment such as sleeping mattresses will be provided, but you will need to bring your own sleeping bag. For more information about the trekking team and facilities please see the Supplementary Tour Information section at the end of this dossier.

DAY 9 - SHIVAPURI - CHISOPANI – DHAP
An uphill climb of 45 minutes takes us to the top of Shivapuri from where we have fabulous Himalayan mountain views ranging from Everest to Manaslu. The trail continues gradually downhill through beautiful forests with different kinds of birds and flowers. From our camp site we will have great views over the Kathmandu Valley. (BLD)

DAY 10 - DHAP - NAGARKOT
An interesting trail takes us to the hill retreat of Nagarkot, perched on a ridge 32km east of Kathmandu. It commands sweeping views of the Himalayas. Five of the world's ten highest peaks - Everest, Lhotse, Choyu, Makalu and Manaslu are visible from here. Nagarkot is also a popular spot to watch sunrise and sunset. We stay the night in a lodge. (BL) Nagarkot With clean, fresh air and sweeping mountain views, Nagarkot is a fabulous place to soak up the majesty of the mighty Himalayas. Five of the world's ten highest peaks – Everest, Lhotse, Choyu, Makalu and Manaslu are often visible from here. The hilltop retreat also offers magnificent views out over the Kathmandu Valley and is surrounded by terraced hillsides and picturesque farm houses. Nagarkot is also popular spot to watch sunrise and sunset over the snowcapped peaks.

DAY 11 - NAGARKOT - BHAKTAPUR – KATHMANDU
The trail continues down hill through terraces and villages to Bhaktapur, a beautiful ancient city which exudes a sense of the traditional past. We stroll around the uncrowded streets of this medieval city before driving back to Kathmandu. (B) Bhaktapur One of the three cities of the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur is a beautifully well preserved medieval gem. At one time Bhaktapur was more important than Kathmandu, but since the 18th century the city has allowed time to pass it by. Newari houses, with overhanging upper storeys, line the streets and alleyways and as you wander you will discover temples, statues and palaces, as well as many craftsmen at work.

DAY 12 - KATHMANDU
Tour ends.

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Supplementary Information
Hotel Meeting Point
UK travellers & those booking over the Internet: Details of the meeting point hotel will be printed on the tour vouchers you will receive one month prior to departure. Overseas travellers: Your local agent will provide vouchers with details of your meeting point hotel. As meeting point hotels may be subject to change we recommend you check the details online one month prior to departure.

Visas
You will need to obtain the following visas for this tour. Contact your travel agent for current prices: Available on Arrival • Nepal Single Entry Visas cost USD $25 for stays of up to 15 days, USD $40 for stays of up to 30 days, and USD $100 for stays of up to 90 days. Payment is in cash (payable in any major currency) and 2 passport photos are required to purchase a Nepal visa on arrival at Kathmandu airport. If the visa application form requires a contact address in the destination, please give either your meeting point hotel or the address of our local contact (which you will find in the Nepal Country Dossier). It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of the correct visas for your holiday and onward travel. The Imaginative Traveller cannot accept responsibility for anyone who is refused entry to a country because they lack the correct documentation.

Border Taxes
Nepal entry by air: nil Nepal exit by air: nil

Special Luggage Requirements
The Pre-Departure Information includes an extensive luggage checklist. However, there are some special requirements for this tour. Although the Kathmandu Valley Trek is a short, low altitude trek, a warm sleeping bag and down jacket are essential in winter (see below for more details). When you arrive in Kathmandu you will be given a trekking bag that you will share with one other person. This bag has to include everything that you want to take on the trek and should not weigh more than 20kg (i.e. 10kg per person). The bag itself can only fit the equivalent of two small rucksacks inside so you must make sure that you pack light. This bag will then be carried by a porter and cannot be accessed during the day. You should therefore bring a day pack in which you can carry whatever you will need during the day. The following is a list of equipment which you will need for this trek: • Small towel • Hiking boots with ankle support (and spare laces) • Day pack

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• Sleeping bag - from October to mid-March you will need a -20°C sleeping bag. At other times of the year a -5°C bag is adequate. Note these can be hired locally. • Down Jacket - this is advisable for treks from October to mid-March. At other times a warm, windproof fleece jacket will be sufficient. Note that these can be hired locally.* • Lightweight waterproof jacket (year round) • Good quality warm gloves and hat (Oct – mid-March) • T-shirts and lightweight trousers • Sunglasses (glare is a severe problem) • Torch and spare batteries (a head torch is particularly useful) • Toilet paper • Any first aid equipment (e.g. knee support bandages, plasters) that you think you may need. Please note: Shorts are not appropriate dress for Nepal. You will see other trekkers in shorts but there are signs in teahouse menus from local communities requesting that trekkers do not do this and we request that you respect this. If you on an extended journey and would rather not bring these items or if you do not wish to purchase them especially for the trip, they can be hired locally for US$1-2 per day. Note that although these sleeping bags and down jackets are of good quality, they are not washed often (frequent washing means that they become less warm) so you are strongly advised to bring your own sleeping sheet. Availability of helmets Protective helmets of a reliable standard are not available locally and as a result we are unfortunately not able to supply these. If you intend to take part in activities such as bike, horse, donkey or camel rides, and would like to wear a helmet, you should therefore consider bringing one with you.

Fitness
On any trek, there are sometimes steep ascents and descents so you require a reasonable level of fitness. The more physically fit you are, the more easily your body will adapt to hiking in the Himalayan foothills. All treks demand a good day's walking and it goes without saying that you should be pretty certain that you will enjoy a walking holiday before you even consider trekking in Nepal. However you don’t have to be young or super-fit, and age in itself is no barrier. There is physical exertion, but it is sustainable. Most people in good health who lead an active life will have no problem in enjoying themselves.

Trek Grade
Our treks have been graded A, B or C depending on their difficulty - this trek is graded category A - Easy. See the Trek Grades page for more information on the grading scheme.

Transport
Private Coach To travel by road in Nepal we use privately chartered coaches. There is a no smoking policy on all our tour buses – however there are tea and toilet breaks every couple of hours or so. The only exception to this rule is the driver. Distances are not always great, but generally road conditions are not good and progress can be slow. We have noted approximate driving times in the itinerary.

The Trekking
In the itinerary above we have noted the probable walking times for each day. However, please note that these are very approximate as different groups walk at very different paces. Generally the guide will be able to evaluate

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the fitness of the group very quickly and will then be able to estimate more accurately the walking times for each section of the trek. During the trek itself, different guides have different ways of coordinating the group. Some guides will allow each member of the group to walk at their own pace whereas others like to keep the group together and will stop frequently to ensure that all members of the group are able to keep up. However, if you are finding that the rest of the group are walking too quickly and you are not able to walk at the pace that you would like, please do mention this to the guide. It is usually possible to arrange for a porter to walk with you at your own speed so that you can enjoy the trek to the full.

Trekking Team
Throughout your journey, you will benefit from the experience of one of our trekking teams. A team is headed by a Sherpa leader, known as a Sardar. An expert trekker, it is his role to ensure the smooth running of the trip. There is also a team of porters headed by a foreman called a Nike. They are responsible for carrying all equipment and your main pack. Some travellers feel uneasy about someone else carrying their load but please do not insist on carrying your own pack. Porters are proud of their job and upsetting the system will only result in uncertainty and disunity amongst crew members. We also have a cook and a team of camp helpers who prepare all meals during the trek, erect, dismantle and transport all camping equipment, etc. We have strong regulations regarding the treatment of our Porters and insist that they are well treated. With this in mind, Imaginative Traveller and our local operators act in accordance with the aims of the International Porter Protection Group. This means that our Porters are paid a fair wage according to the new regulations of the Porter's Union. They are provided with appropriate clothing, footwear and equipment; and there are limits imposed on the amount of weight which they are permitted to carry. In addition to this Porters are fully insured. If they are injured or become ill then they are entitled to the same medical care as our travellers, and if they have to leave a trek then they are always accompanied by someone who speaks their local language.

Too Big For Your Boots?
If you've grown out of your walking boots but there's still lots of life in them - give them to your porter! There is a lack of good quality walking boots for porters as most are made for westerners and are far too big for the average Nepali. So if you have a pair of unwanted good quality walking boots (size 34-40) please make room in your bag and take them to Nepal with you where your trek leader / sirdar will arrange for them to be donated to a porter or porter group. You can be sure your boots will be hugely appreciated and will enjoy a new Himalayan lifestyle.

Meals
It is important to keep up energy levels on any trek. Your trekking team will provide you with nutritious and delicious food three times a day – you will be amazed at what can be produced on a small trekking stove in the foothills. We always stop for lunch so there is time to relax and take time over your meals. Breakfast usually consists of cornflakes or muesli, eggs (as you like), chappatis and local bread, butter, honey, jam, tea and coffee. Lunch will normally be fried rice or noodles, macaroni, fruit cocktail, biscuits, tea and coffee. Dinner will vary from day to day but will usually be a three course meal consisting of soup, rice or noodles, seasonal vegetables and a dessert.

Camping
You will be provided with good quality two-person tents and foam mattresses. You are not provided with a sleeping bag so it is crucial that you bring one of these yourself (or hire one in Kathmandu). You are also not provided with a pillow so it may be worth bringing an inflatable pillow with you if you want to use one. Besides sleeping tents, one kitchen, dining and toilet tent is also provided.

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General information
Price includes:
• Staffing as shown in the 'Factfinder' • Accommodation, meals, transportation, and sightseeing excursions as per itinerary

Price does not include:
• • • • • • • • • Visa costs Border Taxes Entrance fees Drinks, tips, laundry and other items of a personal nature. International flights Departure transfers Meals other than those listed Transfer to hotel on arrival The single supplement does not include the nights camping during the trek.

Are You Ready To Go?
Before you travel it is essential that you read ALL of the following documents which you can obtain from your booking agent: • Trip Dossier (this document) • Nepal Country Dossier • Pre-Departure Information The itinerary and supplementary information has been compiled with care and provided in good faith. However it may be subject to change, and does not form part of a contract between the client and The Imaginative Traveller.

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