We use a wide range of accommodation, ranging from clean and comfortable hotels and guesthouses, to basic tea houses that are often multi-shared and waterproof tents on our fully assisted trekking and rafting programs.
Our hotels rooms are generally twin bedded, with private facilities which are usually of Western style.
When traveling in remote areas, toilet facilities are usually local squat style and can often be quite primitive.
On shorter routes we take the rather run-down local buses and mingle with the locals.
Jeeps or minibuses are often used to get us to and from our trekking and rafting departure points.
On longer routes, we use private or tourist buses, which provide a slightly higher degree of comfort and safety.
Around Kathmandu and Pokhara bicycles are a great way to take in the atmosphere and scenery.
Widely found in Kathmandu and Pokhara, all licensed taxis are metered, but drivers are often reluctant to use them.
Make sure to negotiate the fare before departing.
Great way to be traveling around in the old part of the city though their movement is restricted on the main, traffic-congested roads at the day time.
Besides, it's an environment friendly mode to explore the backstreets and narrow alleyways of Kathmandu.
For fare, you'll have to haggle with the driver.
The traditional way of getting to places in the Himalaya.
Food & Drink
Traditional Nepali food is plain and simple, not very spicy, but full of flavors.
While trekking in the mountains, (especially in Everest and some part of Annapurnas) the Tibetan influence becomes more evident in the food
Many Indian dishes are found in the plains in the south.
Dal-bhat-tarkari - a thick lentil soup (dal), with rice (bhat) and vegetable curry (tarkari)
Vegetarians are well-catered for
Chang is a mild beer made from millet or rice and is the home brew of the Himalaya.
Racksi is a country liquor usually made from millet, wheat or corn.
The Nepali morning normally begins with a cup of tea
Locally produced soft drinks are widely available.
Lassi is a curd based drink which may be either savory or sweet. It is popular and refreshing.
The legal drinking age is 18
Do not drink the water unless you are sure it has been filtered.
The same applies to ice.
Bottled water is readily available in the main centre although a more environmentally-friendly option is to take water purification tablets with you, or a camping bottle with an in-built filter.
All the major cities have internet access either in hotels or internet cafes
Expect connection speeds to be slow
International calls can be made from nearly all the centres we visit except for when you're rafting and trekking in the remote regions
Mobile phone coverage is available but is unreliable
Global roaming agreements exist with some international phone companies. Check with your provider before leaving home if you wish to access roaming
Receiving post is not convenient as we are normally doing something or traveling during the opening hours of most post offices
When posting mail to international addresses it is best to leave your mail at the post office rather than in a post box.
Nepal the currency is the Nepalese Rupee (NPR).
It is best to bring a mixture of cash and travelers checks in major currencies - USD, CAD, EUR, AUD - and ensure you have a mixture of large and small denominations. Money may easily be exchanged at Kathmandu airport on arrival and banks and licensed moneychangers in cities. Credit card cash advances and ATM withdrawals are in NPR only.
Shopping is difficult to predict, but most people buy more than they intended. If you intend to buy quality art works including hand-painted thangkas, carpets or traditional jewelry allow significantly more – you can easily spend USD200+ for top quality items.
What to buy?
Nepal is great for all kinds of handicrafts, textiles and artworks
Popular buys include clothing, embroidered items, Tibetan carpets, traditional religious paintings, hand-woven pashmina shawls, pottery, jewellery, traditional masks, puppets, bronze, traditional knives, prayer wheels, wood carvings and traditional musical intruments
Thangkas are traditional Buddhist painted banners. They make great souvenirs as they are designed to be rolled up and easy to carry
Check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to import some items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand for example have strict quarantine laws.
Art of Bargaining
The art of bargaining is something you can work on during your trip. Here are a few pointers to help you on your way:
Start bargaining with some idea of what you consider a fair price for the item to be. This will usually involve sourcing the item in a number of different stores.
The correct price for an item is the price you agree to pay, that keeps both you and the seller happy. Therefore, there’s no “right” price.
Don’t appear too interested in an item. Walking out of a store is often a good way to get the price to drop.
Shop with a friend – buying in bulk will often reduce the price.
Learn the numbers in the local language. It will win respect from the seller and will certainly make the process a lot more interesting.
Be polite, patient, but firm in your bargaining. No one ever has received a cheaper price through being rude or insensitive
Most importantly, enjoy the experience, and remember you are often only bargaining over only a couple of dollars- Keep it in perspective.
Once a price you have offered is accepted it is not appropriate to back out of the deal.
Only say you’ll buy something later if you intend to buy later. The sellers usually have amazing memories, and will come hounding you on your promise!
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