frequently asked questions
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Q. Am I adventure traveller/trekker?
This is an important question! Adventure travel can be challenging because you can encounter very different cultures, attitudes and ways of doing things than you would be used to back home. Although our tours are well organized and offer good quality transport and accommodation, none of them are of a luxury standard and you should not always expect streamlined travel arrangements, particularly in developing countries. Public buses may be late, showers may be cold, restaurant services a lot slower, fewer people speak English and general hygiene and toilets may be of a lower standard than what you may be used to. If you have a flexible approach, a good sense of humour, can go with the flow, be prepared to get involved and help your tour leader if necessary and accept that things don’t always go to plan; you will maximize your enjoyment of your adventure holiday. See the http://www.trekkingagencynepal.com for more information about what tours would suit you best.
Q. I want to relax - will a Snowy Horizon Treks and Expedition be the best holiday for me?
Our group tours are adventure orientated and offer the opportunity to do a variety of cultural activities and outdoor excursions. If you love being busy and seeing new things then our tours are ideal for you. There is free time on all tours but some travelling days will be long and there will be some early mornings in order to maximize your sightseeing time. If you’re looking for a very chilled out beach resort-style holiday, it may be best to look elsewhere, as most of our tours require clients to be moderately fit and energetic. See http://www.trekkingagencynepal.com for more information about what tours would suit you best.
Q. I’m travelling alone – is a group tour/Trekking/Mountaineering right for me? Who will I share a room with?
Although some people travel on our tours with friends or partners, many people come alone, perhaps because their friends have different interests or budgets. Although you may begin your assignment alone, by the end of the tour you will have many new friends for life. Snowy Horizon Treks & Expedition will usually match you with other group members of the same gender. If you want your own room a single supplement options are available on request.
Q. Can I be independent on a group Trekking/Mountaineering?
Absolutely! We encourage all our clients to be as independent as possible. After arriving in a new town you will have free time to go off on your own or with other group members. We often go out as a group for a meal or drink, but it is up to you to decide how often you wish to do this. On group tours you can leave the tour and join up again later if you like. The tour leader will ask you to sign a Voluntary Leave Disclaimer form and explain to you how to catch up with the tour at the next destination. Please note that none of the expenses during your leave are covered by Snowy Horizon Treks & Expedition and you will not receive refund for any unused services or food.
Q. Couldn’t I do this much cheaper on my own?
It may be cheaper to organize your own adventure if you only count direct cost and consider your time as of no value. It takes a long time to research all the options and compare prices from various suppliers and operators even in today’s age of internet. Yes there is advantage of comparing prices and buying the cheapest but often the cheapest is not the best value considering the risk, the frustration, missed opportunities, dealing with uncooperative government offices, struggling with communications, language, cultural differences and potentially low quality experience. Imagine how much time and effort is required to prepare an itinerary and book all of your own transport, accommodation, permits, Apart from guaranteeing these services, our prices include the booking fees and administration costs to make the reservations. Hotels, domestic flight tickets, any included entrance tickets, prepared food, necessary climbing equipment and staff are booked in advance to ensure availability. Plus, our itineraries are designed by adventure travel experts, who actually were at the location and understand local conditions, so you can rest assure that your tour will cover all the major highlights and many of the off-the-beaten-track destinations you’ve always wanted to see. You have the benefit of a tour leader who will take care of the logistics so when you arrive at your destination you will have free time for relaxation and sightseeing, rather than having to worry about the next part of the journey and all of the language difficulties that you may encounter. You will also have the comfort of knowing that your arrangements have been made by a legitimate, reputable operator who you can turn to for support if you need it. We make it easy so all you have to do is relax and go with the flow.
Q. When is the best time of year to Trekking and Mountaineering in Nepal?
Our Trekking agency Snowy Horizon Treks and Expedition operates throughout the year but there are some seasonal variations in availability which are detailed on tour itineraries and in the brochures. There are 2 trekking seasons in Nepal for high elevation trekking, i.e. during Nepal spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October). Trekkers prefer autumn season just after monsoon, because the air is very clear and the clarity of panoramic Himalayan views is superb. Climbers on the other hand prefer spring season because the snow conditions are better for climbing in spring season. Trekking on lower altitudes can be done any time outside the monsoon season and if you want to avoid crowds, trekking lower elevations between November and March is a good choice.
Q. When should I book my Trip?
There are two schools of thought about when to book a tour - some people prefer to book when they've saved enough money for their entire trip and leave the booking until closer to the date of departure. Others prefer to book their tour many months in advance to take advantage of our discount rate of early booking. From time to time we do offer late space discounts on tours which are departing within 60 days or so - visit our Terms and Condition page to see the options.
Our reservations team (or your travel agent) will be able to give you specific advice about the best time of year to travel to destinations where the weather will have a large impact on your adventure. Please bear in mind that some tours include destinations where you may need to get special visas and vaccinations or apply for permits - any of these items can take several weeks to organize, so it's really best not to leave this until the last minute.
Q. How do I find flight airline ticket to Nepal?
There is a number of airlines flying directly to Kathmandu from Bangkok, Singapore, Bombay, New Delhi, Doha and Bahrain among others. The most convenient flights are with Thai Airways with daily flight from Bangkok connecting with many flights from Europe, Australia and the USA. To find competitive airfare try different on-line portals such as Expedia.com, Travelocity.com and multitude others, compare their prices with your local Travel Agent and check Thai Airways portal. If you require airfare from India Snowy Horizon Treks & Expedition can offer you a competitive price, so contact us. Be aware of ticket conditions, some are not refundable or even non-changeable.
Q. How do I book my Trekking, Tour and Expedition/package?
You can book your trip using booking form of on our website or by E-mail. Please visit our Web site for more information or contact us.
Q. Do I need travel insurance?
Yes, travel insurance is compulsory. You are required to purchase comprehensive travel insurance before travelling with us and provide details of your insurance to your tour leader (Us) at the beginning of your tour. Please make sure you know exactly what you are covered for, remembering that there are many adventure activities available during the tour which may not be covered by basic insurance. Make sure that your travel insurance covers general medical expenses, hospitalizations and medical evacuations. Also ensure that you are covered for travel at high altitudes if necessary for your trip.
Q. Will I need visas?
Visa requirements vary for different nationalities depending on the countries you will be visiting. For visa you should either use a visa service or contact each country’s consulate or embassy for the latest information, well in advance of travel. Please note that obtaining the necessary visas is your responsibility and if you don’t have the correct visa for your destination(s) you may miss out on all or part of your adventure.
Q. What essential documents do I need to bring with me on tour?
To enter Nepal you must hold a valid passport and obtain Nepalese visa. Most of visitors can obtain a visa at the entry point. You need one passport photo for the application. If you don’t have photo with you, no problem, there is an inexpensive photo service available at the arrival hall. You will also need your travel insurance, which may need to cover medical evacuation including helicopter service.
Q. How fit do I have to be for adventure trip to Nepal?
It depends on your activity. For your cultural experience tour to Kathmandu and Lumbini you must be able to walk comfortably for few hundred meters and climb stairs to be able to visit temples and monuments. For hiking trip you must be able to walk up to 10km a day and walk on an unpaved path up to hills as high as 300m. You have to be able to carry a small daypack with some water, snacks and your warm jacket or rain jacket. If you doing a trek fitness requirement is higher because trekking is done on higher elevation, where lower oxygen pressure will add extra stress to your body; you need to be able to walk at least 15km in a day and climb up hills 500m high on an unpaved and uneven path. For climbing or high altitude mountaineering extreme level of endurance is required. You must be able to run, not just jog, comfortably for at least 5km. It is not unusual for mountaineers to run marathons.
Q. What is the weather & temperature like during trekking?
During spring and autumn seasons the weather is usually stable and warm at lower elevations up to 3000m; you can expect to wear just a T-shirt. The higher you go the colder it gets so you must pack warm clothes including down jacket for higher elevations. At 5000m you can expect day temperatures around 10-15°C and 0°C and below at night especially with a clear sky. In winter trekking above 3000m is not feasible due to possible snow fall and cold weather, however at low elevations hiking is very comfortable with warm days and chilly nights.
Q. Do I need vaccinations?
Vaccination requirements vary from destination to destination and from person to person. We are not medical professionals and we are not able to give you specific advice about which vaccinations you should take. You should seek professional advice from your doctor, travel nurse or medical centre before you travel and take your itinerary with you to your appointment, which should be made at least 6 weeks in advance of travel.
Q. Is the water safe to drink?
Most of treks pass through villages with very simple ablution facilities and farm lands; there is always village above the track, so the water should be boiled or treated before the consumption. Even clean spring water may contain biological or chemical contamination due to local minerals and be totally harmless to locals, who are used to its chemical content but may not be tolerated by tourists. It is wise to avoid non boiled or untreated water.
Q. Will the altitude affect me?
Many of our tours offer the opportunity to trek in the mountains or fly into cities which are at high attitude. Altitude can, affect anyone at moderate to high altitude, generally anything over 3,000 meters. Altitude sickness is caused by the low pressure of oxygen which can be up to a third less than at sea level. Symptoms can include dizziness, headaches, nausea and fatigue. No one understands why some people are affected and others not. The age, level of fitness and strength is no indication of how well you will fare. If you experience symptoms it is a good idea to walk slowly, breathe deeply, eat light meals, avoid alcohol and cigarettes and try not to over exert yourself as you acclimatize to the altitude. There are know acclimatization techniques, which our guides follow to mitigate and minimize affects for high elevation. For more information about altitude affect and medications you require please ask your doctor before you travel.
Please be aware that altitude sickness can be serious but also easily reversible condition if treated timely. Our guides are trained to recognize the symptoms and will help you to climb, trek or hike in a safe manner. So if you are trekking and your guide or tour leader advises you to rest or descend, please do as instructed. As a trek is a mixture of ascents and descents, altitude sickness is often short term and suffering from it does not necessarily mean you will be unable to complete the trek.
Q. Can I add extra days to my trekking trip?
Absolutely; our trips are fully customisable and you can add extra activity at the time of booking your trip. If you decide to extend your trip after arrival to Kathmandu we will be delighted to extend your holiday at our catalogue prices.
Q. What kind of luggage should I bring?
We strongly recommend that you bring a soft frameless backpack or sports type bag. Wheeled luggage and suitcases are NOT permitted. Please do not bring as these are not suitable for storage on the trucks, coaches, public transport, or air cargo. You will need to carry your own luggage and should make sure you have a bag you find comfortable (and light enough) to carry. Please note that our tours in Tibet and Bhutan travel on our expedition type vehicles but we provide porter or Yaks to carry your luggage here in Nepal. If you are travelling on a tour with internal flights, your luggage should not exceed 20kg. A day pack is required for most of our excursions. If possible, bring a light string or cotton bag for market shopping so you can politely refuse plastic bags.
Q. What should I pack?
This is a very frequently asked question and the aswer of course it depends entirely on your destination, the season you're travelling in and the activities you'll participate in. The most important thing to pack is your sense of humor because this can get you through any situation - including lost luggage! There are specific packing lists in our regional pre departure information. Some tours require sleeping bags - this will be indicated on the tour brief. Bring comfortable, hardy, waterproof shoes and waterproof clothing for outdoor activities, e.g. trekking. Bring long, light clothing for hot destinations and countries where you'll encounter conservative attitudes to dress. For peak climbing and Mountain Expedition please contact us for details.
Q. Are porter services available on the trek or do we do we have carry all of our own gear?
Absolutely, the porter services are part of all our tours. There is amount of load included in the package sufficient for most of our clients. If you brought more luggage with you and exceeded the allowance, you can rationalize you load we will store for you all unnecessary items in Kathmandu or purchase excess luggage allowance.
Q. Will somebody come to pick me up at the Airport upon my arrival?
Absolutely; our representative will meet you as soon as you walk out from the Kathmandu airport building. It will be easy to find us; we will display a clearly visible Snowy Horizon sign and have vehicle available to take you to your hotel.
Q. How do I book my hotel in Kathmandu and my trekking trip?
All our trekking packages include hotel accommodation in Kathmandu typically for 2 days before and 2 days after the trip. We provide 3 star accommodation for most of our packages. If you wish to stay in different hotel category we will book it for you and adjust the cost accordingly. If you wish to stay longer in Kathmandu we can book accommodation for you. If you wish to nominate your preferred hotel in Kathmandu we can book it for you and adjust the package cost accordingly.
Q. What sort of accommodation can I expect in Kathmandu and while trekking?
All In Kathmandu all categories of accommodation are available from simple but clean tourist hotels and backpackers hotels through to 5 star luxurious international hotels. While trekking the accommodation varies depending on the area. In Khumbu area you will find lots of good comfortable lodges and high quality eco lodges. Similar in Annapurna area there is a wide choice of lodges. Away from major tourist areas the lodges are much simpler but improving with time and number of tourists visiting area. In lodges you are expected to bring your own sleeping bag and lodge will provide blankets and doonas to keep you warm. For camping options we camp in style and comfort utilizing the best equipment and travelling light. We hire sufficient number of porters to carry all gear and employed experienced kitchen, helping and guiding staff. The only job you have to perform well is to enjoy your holiday.
Q. What sort of transportation do you use?
Nepal is very mountainous country, so flights are often the only way to reach your destination. There is an extensive network of public busses and private transportation, where the roads are available. You can take a simple and cheap public bus or slightly more expensive but comfortable private tourist bus. Hiring a car or van is also a popular choice and they are always hired with a driver.
Q. How do I meet with the leader and other participants?
On most group tours the tour leader will be at the joining hotel and will hold a pre-departure briefing in the late afternoon/early evening of day 1. Please let our office know if you are unable to get to the joining hotel in time for this meeting. On some of our shorter trips, where you join only for a short activity you will meet your guide usually on first day of the activity when you get picked-up from your hotel and you will be briefed with other participants before the beginning of your adventure.
Q. How long is the trek?
The length of treks varies and you can find total length for each of our itineraries. The itinerary is designed in such a way that the daily distance can be covered by appropriately fit person in 4-7hrs.
Q. Is crime as bad as I’m led to believe?
Definitely not! The media has a tendency to report only the very worst news, which means that we can get quite a negative impression of a country and quite often we don't hear anything about the very friendly, helpful people and extraordinary cultures in these amazing destinations. Most crime is opportunistic and non violent but of course, it is possible to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Care and common sense will nearly always prevent problems. Read the travel safety notices issued by your government, purchase comprehensive travel insurance and take heed of your tour leader's advice when you arrive. As long as you take care of yourself, your friends and your personal belongings and use a bit of common sense, you will be fine. Visit our web page “About us” where you will find out about our background, Legal Documents and our Licences and Certificates issued to us by our government.
Q. How safe is it?
On all our trips your well-being is our first priority. We employ experienced staff, who monitor all aspects of the adventure and are familiar with all aspects of travel the remote area.
Q. Do I carry some medicine during my trekking?
You need to bring your personal and prescription medicine; we will provide an adequate emergency First Aid Kit.
Q. Are there any hospitals along the track?
The hospitals are located in Kathmandu and major cities, so in real emergency you need to get evacuated by helicopter to Kathmandu, which is expensive and therefore it is important that your insurance covers helicopter medical evacuation. There are also some limited clinics along the trek.
Q. Are meals included?
In major cities Lunch and Dinner are not included to give the opportunity to have a choice of sampling local foods in one of many restaurants and cafes. Your breakfast is a part of hotel accommodation. On the trail of your Trekking, Peak climbing, mountain Expedition and Jungle activities all meals i.e. Breakfast, Lunch and Diner are provided. Some picnic lunches are also prepared on Discovery Tours and Overland Expeditions. Meals may be included on Independent Travel stopovers and packages - see your tour descriptions for details. At other times clients make their own arrangements with advice / recommendations from our tour leaders and local reps.
Q. Can I get a shower along the trek?
Most of lodges we use will have shower facilities for a small fee.
Q. Can I charge my digital camera or other batteries on my trip?
Absolutely; All lodges provide phone and camera charging facilities for a small charging fee with a range of international outlets. On camping trips or in the base camp you will be able to charge your battery from provided solar panel or solar charged batteries with an inverter.
Q. Is Internet access available while trekking?
Internet is available along popular treks in Everest and Annapurna regions. You can also purchase wireless modem such as NCELL for your notebook and you will be able to use it in many areas including many places along the trek to the Everest base camp.
Q. Are there communication facilities available while we trekking?
Yes, many lodges have internet based or radio based telephony and make it available for national and international calls. There is mobile coverage in many villages in particularly along the Everest base camp trek and of course satellite phone coverage is available within Nepal.
Q. What is the best way to carry my money?
In most destinations (Nepal, India, Bhutan and Tibet) all currency and travellers cheques should be in US dollars. Other currencies such as Euro may be accepted but they may have to be converted to U$, so not carrying U$ you expose yourself to inconvenience. Travellers cheques are a safe way to carry your funds although they can sometimes be more difficult to exchange than cash. ATMs are the easiest way to withdraw money BUT you should never rely solely on them and always have a back-up of cash and they are only available in larger locations such as Kathmandu or Pokhara. We recommend that you bring as much US dollars cash (in small denomination bills with no rips, writing or other damage) as you feel comfortable carrying. This should be in addition to your local payment. See the relevant country dossier(s) for more details.
Q. How much additional money do I need per day?
Our trips include 3 healthy meals while trekking designed to be sufficient for the amount of physical activities creating a healthy appetite, so you don’t need to buy any food just because you are hungry. You will need some money to purchase bottled water and to spoil yourself in German bakeries along Everest trek or if you wish to visit a coffee shop in Namche Bazaar for coffee and cake. The bottle of water, which costs 50c in Kathmandu can be expensive along the trek because has to be brought by porter along a long and arduous trek and high in the mountains it can cost $2-3 per bottle; you can expect similar price for a cake or coffee. You may require to buy some small goods like T-shirt, hat or some small items you have forgotten from Kathmandu, so you may budget $10-20 per day. Although tips are not mandatory you may consider a small budget to reward your porters, guides or climbing Sherpas.
Q. Can I use credit cards in the places we visit while trekking?
Credit cards are widely accepted in major cities by hotel shops and airlines. There are ATM machines in Kathmandu and Pokhara, however on the trek you must pay cash for the services.
Q. Do I need to tip my guide and porters? What is the customary tip?
There is no customary tipping in Nepal, however it is as appreciated as in any other country by service industry; it is entirely up to you and no one gets offended by any tip no matter how small it is.
Q. How can I get more information?
We can send you comprehensive notes on all of our trips by post, fax or email, or you can download them from our website. Our office staff would be pleased to help you or ask your travel agent select your adventure holiday. Our staff has in-depth experience of the trips we offer and can provide first-hand advice and travel tips. This is a reason why over 55% of our participants join us through personal referrals or have travelled with us before.
Q. Can I organize my own private group?
We offer a number of fixed departures for expeditions and popular treks but most of our itineraries depart at our clients arrival schedules so, we would be happy to devise a program to suit your travel interests. This service is available to any individual or group. However, as a general rule, for a quote to match the brochure price we need a minimum of six people. For larger groups there may be a price reduction. We regularly organize tailor-made holidays for families, groups of friends, school, clubs, charities and special interest groups and we’d be happy to advise you on your plans.
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