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Nepal


NEPAL GENERAL INFORMATION
 
Astride the great Himalayan frontier, is a country ranging from the vast lowland jungles at around 200m above sea level to the highest mountains on earth, which include ten of the world’s fourteen eight thousand meter peaks.
 
From the jungles of the Terai, stronghold of the Royal Bengal tiger and the Greater One-Horned rhinoceros, the land begins to rise.  At first it climbs gently through hills chequered with fertile terraces, small villages and ancient cities.  Then the slope of the earth steepness and merges into massive walls where trees cease to exist and snow and ice begin. Even higher, the savage beauty culminates in Sagarmatha, Goddess Mother of the World, and the highest mountain on earth, Mount Everest!
 
This is Nepal, the home of 26 million people whose customs and languages are as diverse as the terrain. Nepal is a land where deities mingle with mortals, and strange legends follow yak caravans down from the mountain passes to become part of the Hindu folklore. Here live the Gurkhas, famed for their courage; the Sherpas, legends in mountaineering and the Newars, skilled craftsmen who contribute to the rich artistic heritage of the Kathmandu Valley. And Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, a unique blend of religions, temples, palaces and people.
 
It is in this mystical land of diversity, beauty and excitement, a land unparalleled in the world, that the name South Asia Trekking has for over decades been synonymous with prestigious, high quality, Eco-responsible adventure travel. South Asia Trekking offers a range of exciting holidays to suit all ages and requirements.  You may participate in just one of the adventures that we have to offer or combine several to create a complete adventure package.
 
WEATHER
Nepal receives a southwest monsoon for about 2 months from mid-July until mid-September. During this period lowland trails south of the Himalayas are not suitable for trekking although north of the Himalayas towards the Tibetan/Chinese border, where the climate remains extremely good, trekking continues to be excellent.  The weather from mid September through to mid June is mainly stable and dry, the conditions are generally very pleasant.  The temperature varies with altitude and during the winter month’s temperatures drop below freezing at altitudes above 10,000 feet. However, the skies are usually clear   and mountain views are generally superb.  The months of March and April provide spectacular flowering rhododendron forests in regions easily reachable from Kathmandu or Pokhara.  The warmer months of April and May are more suitable for high altitude trekking, as are the months of October to early December when the weather is generally superb.
 
GENERAL MATTERS/DOCUMENTATION
Visas and documentation
You must have a passport that is valid for a minimum of six months. For Nepal we advise that you obtain a tourist visa from your nearest Nepalese Embassy before traveling. However, if this is not convenient, then a visa can be obtained on arrival at the Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport on payment of the following fees:
 
a/    Single entry for up to 60 days is US$ 30 for first visit in the calendar year and US$ 50 for each successive month up to a maximum of five months in one calendar year.
 
b/     Double entry for up to 60 days is US$ 70.00 per person
 
c/     Multiple entry for up to 60 days is US$ 90.00 per person
 
Forms are available in the arrival lounge and one passport photograph is required and visa fee in cash US Dollar. Please note that certain special regulations/fees apply if re-entering Nepal within one year. Please check with us if you have any queries.
 
If traveling via India we strongly advise that you obtain an Indian visa. Note that these must be obtained in your home country before traveling and are NOT available upon arrival in India.
 
Passport photographs
Bureaucracy in this part of the world means that it is useful to carry a few extra passport photographs. These often come in useful for permits, visas etc.
 
Trekking permits
Due to a recent change in regulations many areas no longer require trekking permits. However, should one be required we will forward you a trekking permit application form.
This should be completed by your client as soon as possible and returned to us with three passport-sized photographs and a photocopy of the relevant pages of their passport.  Their actual trekking permit will be handed over in Kathmandu.
 
Customs
All baggage must be identified and has to pass through Nepal custom’s inspection at the port of entry. Standard duty-free allowances apply. Import of items such as video camera etc are permitted but will be registered in your passport.
 
Water 
It is not advisable to drink tap water. Boiled and filtered water or mineral water is recommended.
 
Official weekly holiday
Saturday is the official weekly holiday in Nepal. Most of the shops and offices are closed on this day while Government offices are closed on Sunday as well.
 
Insurance
Please ensure that all travelers are fully insured. Note that, especially for trekking, we advise that helicopter evacuation is also included. Note that special insurance may be required when trekking. Please note adequate insurance is not readily available in Nepal so your clients should arrange this prior to their arrival in Nepal.
 
Finance
Most international credit cards are accepted in the larger hotels and shops. However, we suggest that you also take a supply of traveler’s cheques or cash.
 
On arrival it is a good idea to change some money into small denominations - useful for tipping and paying taxis (no-one ever has any change).
 
Electric current
Sometimes a little irregular in supply and wattage, but when it’s “on” -220V AC 50 cycles.
 
Time - Nepal is 5 hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT and 15 minutes ahead of Indian Standard Time.
 
Vaccinations and immunizations
No immunization are legally required for Nepal.  However, we recommend shots against Typhoid, Tetanus, Meningitis and Gamma Globulin/Havrix for hepatitis.  Please also check on their polio immunization (only a sugar lump!). Advise your clients to consult their doctor well in advance of departure and remember to carry certificates as proof of immunizations, should they be required.
 
Stomach upsets can be a problem but avoidable if your clients are careful with their diet. Do not drink tap water that has not been first boiled and sterilized, nor food or unwashed fruit in the city bazaars.  Local tea is usually safe.
 
Clothing
To generalise, regardless of area visited and time of year, clients should be advised to bring both lightweight clothes for tropical wear and a set of warm clothes.  With these they can cope with every eventuality. We can send specific information depending on their itinerary.
 
Mail from home/contact addresses
Please feel free to request us for an update of hotel addresses etc. Mail for you may be sent to our office addressed as follows:
Clients Name (Dates of travel/name of tour)
C/O South Asia Trekking
P O Box 12832, Chakrapath (New Colony) Kathmandu, Nepal
Tel: (+9771) 4373396 Fax:    (+9771) 4484300
E-mail: southtreks@infoclub.com.np  info@southasiatrekking.com
 
For e-mails and faxes please also include your full name and dates of travel. Airmail letters from Europe/USA to the Indian Sub-Continent take 10 to 14 days.                                                  
 
On arrival at Kathmandu airport and after completing immigration and customs formalities, please have your tour leader or you look for our representative holding South Asia Trekking sign along with your name.
 
After your / clients’ arrival in Nepal, we will take care of their arrangements from start to finish.
 
Confirmation of booking
All bookings are made upon receipt of your confirmation e-mail/fax/letter.  We usually require a deposit to hold secure bookings.
You will be sent confirmation of the arrangements being held, the nett price and payment requirements.
 
Final payment is normally due 30 days before arrival of your client but we will be sending you specific details.  If cancellation takes place before final payment, a cancellation charge will be levied or the deposit retained.
 
Cancellation Policy
Arrangements may be cancelled at any time but the cancellation should be communicated to us in writing.
Since cancellation incurs administrative costs we will retain any deposit paid and in addition will apply cancellation charges as follows. We strongly advise that you and your clients have insurance coverage against cancellation.
 
Period for deparrture within which written cancellation is received Sum of cancellation charge shown as a percentage of the package price

Price increases
Any unforeseen cost increases beyond our control will be passed on directly to the agent/client whenever such increases are effected.  This could include such items as airfares, fuel costs, government taxes, currency exchanges etc.
 
Change of itinerary
We reserve the right to change or alter any itinerary at anytime for reasons beyond our control, which includes weather conditions, cancellation of flights or government restrictions in certain areas.
 
Payments
 
We will advise when to make payments after the arrangements have been confirmed.
 
GIFTS
Nepal has a wealth of traditional handicrafts, which are suitable for gifts for incentive guests and VIP clients. Here is a brief selection of what is available:
 
Tibetan Carpet - Tibetan carpets come in different sizes and can adorn walls or floors. Made in private homes or handicraft centers, they are woven in bright colours with chemical dyes or with more subtle and expensive vegetable dyes, in traditional designs.
 
Tibetan Seat Rug - This small rug is especially designed for draping over chairs. Designs vary from very simple to intricate.
 
Tibetan Silver Bracelet - Of Tibetan inspiration and motif, bracelets  of this kind are worn by men and women alike, on the wrist or forearm. Coral or turquoise stones are set on a base of an open carved silver bangle.
 
Brocade Satin Evening Pouch - An attractive and elegant evening accessory made for women, in Chinese brocade.
 
Thangkas  - Thangkas are scroll paintings of Buddhist iconography depicting various manifestations of Buddha, the mandala wheel of life, Buddhist Saints and the Buddha Jutaku stories. These are fine, delicate paintings on cloth, available in different sizes.
 
Filigree Animals - these are made of brass, inlaid with small pieces of coloured stones. The temple lion figure is the most popular. There are also elephants, rhinos, peacocks and deer.
 
Brass Candle Holders with Guardian Lions - This work of art depicts the fierce looking beasts guarding almost every temple in Nepal. An attractive and decorative piece for tables.
 
Brass Statuettes - Images of Buddha, Vishnu and other Hindu, Buddhist and Tantric deities are cast by Newari artisans using the now almost extinct "low wax" process. They come in various qualities and sizes.
 
Brass Tiger Paw Ashtray - Specially made for Tiger Tops, this fine souvenir item is a perfect reminder of your jungle safari experience. It is cast from the impression of the pugmark of a Royal Bengal tiger.
 
Small Carved Window  - A replica of the widely admired fantailed peacock Newar window. The Newar windows, with there elaborately carved woodwork, are considered among the finest woodcarvings anywhere in the world.
 
Carved Wood Strut - A fine piece of woodcarving, which serves as a supportive and decorative piece in houses, palaces and temples. The replica is attractive as a decorative piece on the wall.
 
Carved Wooden Temple- This replica of Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu is another fine example of Nepal's excellent woodcarvings. Pashupatinath is the most sacred of Hindu temples in Nepal.
 

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