Frequently Asked Questions on Trekking
Q2. How do I book a trek with you?
After choosing the trip you wish to join, the first step is to fill up the form available here (http://www.explorehimalaya.com/booking.php). A deposit has to be made in order to confirm the reservation. All details will be emailed to you to make it easy for you to book. The next step is to book a plane ticket to Asia and then get ready for an adventure of a lifetime.
Q3. Can your guides speak English?
The cultural tour guides are quite proficient. The trekking guide (Sirdar) and his assistants speak reasonable amount of English, good enough to explain you about the places, local culture or any sight that catches your eyes.
Q4. How big are the groups?
We try to bring together a small group of like minded people to give them a memorable and insightful travel experience, coupled with an invaluable opportunity to interact with each other in a fun-filled environment. Our travel group generally comprises of maximum 12 members.
We need a minimum of 2 participants to run our fixed departure dates. For private trips, no minimum and maximum apply.
Q5. Do you arrange private treks?
Yes, we do. If you would like to travel independently, or with your friends, families & colleagues you are invited to choose any of the trips at your convenient timeframe for any number of people (minimum 1 & maximum 100 at a time). Cost for private trip is fixed on the basis of group size, trek area, duration and trek style, and is negotiable. We also arrange TREKS FOR SINGLE WOMAN. If none of our fixed group departure dates work for you and you do not have anyone to accompany you, you can still be able to make your preferred trip with us. There is absolutely nothing to worry about making it solo trip. We assign local guide, porters etc who you can trust your life with.
Q6. How long do we walk each day?
All our trekking programs are classified into THREE different categories according to the level of difficulty. Soft Adventure treks are only about a week to 10 days in duration. They generally don't go above 4000 meter and each day, you can expect to be walking for around 4 – 5 hours. While moderate to fairly challenging treks are longer treks that go right into high mountain country. Physically quite tiring, these involve approx 6-8 hours trekking along rocky ridges of high Himalayan peaks.Strenuous treks are longer treks that go far beyond the normal haunts of trekkers and tourists. Physically challenging, these may involve 7-9 hours trekking and likely to include unfavorable weather conditions and strenuous activities. It’s definitely not for beginners.
Q7. What is GAP trek?
This is an abbreviation of Guide Accommodation and Porters (GAP). This option of the trek is for those who want basic support from us. This is the most economic way to do trekking in Nepal. We provide an English speaking local Sherpa guide, book and pay for the accommodation in local lodges during trek and arrange required porters and trekkers pay for meals directly to the local lodge owner. This option works only in certain routes in Everest, Langtang and Annapurna regions where trekking routes are served by local tea house or lodges. You pay for your own meals. We take care of all expenses of our staff.
Q8. What is TH trek?
TH trek means tea house trek. Some of the popular trekking routes are served by lodges making it possible for you to stay at local Tea house (mountain hut) during your trek. Tea house treks are less expensive then Camping trek and are largely suitable for small group. Usually during busy seasons if private rooms in smaller villages are fully occupied you might have to sleep in dormitory. Price includes accommodation in lodges, guide, porters and all meals.
Q9. What is FOT trek?
On FOT or Fully Organized Trek your eating and sleeping arrangements will be fully organized by the support crew. FOTs are also known as CAMPING TREKS. On camping trek you will be sleeping in tents. A trekking crew consists of one sirdar, one cook and kitchen crew, Sherpa assistants and porters depending on the size of the group. Under the leadership of the sirdar (the local trek leader), the crew consists of several Sherpa assistants who will ensure you don't take the wrong path, a cook and kitchen crew to keep you well fed with delicious and nutritious meals and the porters to transport all the gear from camp to camp. Our main aim is to make the trek as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible. The ratio of both Sherpa guides and kitchen crew to group members is generally 1:4 and the ratio of porters to group members is around 3:1 at the beginning of the trek, but this decreases as food is eaten and loads become smaller. For bathroom facilities we carry a toilet tent. Your camping staffs dig a deep hole in the ground for excrement and cover the hole with soil after the business is done.
Q10. What about security during trekking?
Security of our clients is the foremost important for us. All our guides and other support crew are carefully chosen for your trips. Our guides hold licenses issued by the Nepal Government. They are very honest and reliable. But we would also advise you to take care of your own personal belongings. If you are on ‘camping trek’ please do not leave your bags unattended at any time for your own safety. Take your main bag inside the tent once you reach campsite. At night, put all bags and belongings in the middle of the tent. Your guide assigns a Sherpa on turn wise basis to guard the campsite throughout the night. If you are on ‘Tea house or GAP trek’ arrangement, you will be sleeping in local tea house. You have to take sensible precautions yourself at all times. Never leave your baggage unattended and keep your lodge room locked when you go out.
Q11. What type of food is served during a trek?
On a CAMPING TREK we provide three tasty, plentiful and nutritious meals daily with a variety of local and western dishes. To start the day, breakfast consists of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereal followed by omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread. Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads. Dinner is a hearty 3 course meal - soup, followed by a variety of vegetable, meat, rice and pasta dishes and completed with a simple dessert. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided at all meals. We use as much fresh produce as possible and special diets are regularly catered for. The leaders are able to maintain very tight controls on health and hygiene in the kitchen with respect to general cleanliness and food preparation and also within the group with respect to personal hygiene. All foods are well cooked and vegetables are treated by potassium permanganate or iodine. Boiled water is served for drinking. Antiseptic soaps and potassium or iodine treated water are provided for washing. Special dietary requirements can always be catered for.
On the Tea House treks we provide standard breakfast, lunch and three course dinner, tea or coffee will also be included with each meal. Your guide will help with menu selection and ensure that you get the best value meals possible. Although the food is usually plentiful and delicious, you should be aware that the menu is not normally extensive. Most teahouses offer a variety of rice and noodle dishes, as well as soup and seasonal vegetables. A variety of cereals, bread and egg dishes are generally available for breakfast. There will also be plenty of snacks available such as biscuits, chocolate and soft drinks and in some areas you will find fresh fruit in season. You can buy packaged water (bottled mineral water) from local lodge and shop en route or you can also ask your guide to fill your water bottle with boiled water and treat with water purification pills.
Q12. How to get safe drinking water on the trek?
On camping trek, our staff will boil and cook meals treated by potassium permanganate or iodine. On GAP trek, you will be able to buy safe hot drinks in the tea house. We recommend you to bring water purification pills. On the trail, water from the streams is safe if away from settlements.
Q13.What is the overnight accommodation like?
In cities like Kathmandu or Lhasa, accommodation will be in hotels of your preference. We have a pool of hotels that ranges from luxury deluxe to budget hotels. While on a trek accommodation will depend on the trek style. If you are taking a camping then you will be sleeping in tents.
Whilst we endeavor to stay in the best possible accommodation along the way, you should be aware that most teahouses, particularly in the smaller villages, are quite basic. The bedrooms are usually very small, the shared bathroom facilities are often outside and meals are served in a communal dining hall. Although simple, the teahouses do provide shelter and warmth and are normally run by friendly local families. Tea house treks are less expensive then Camping trek and are largely suitable for small group. Usually during busy seasons if private rooms in smaller villages are fully occupied you might have to sleep in dormitory.
Q15. Do you provide any equipment while trekking?
On all our Camping treks we provide all the tents, sometimes dome tents, sometimes sturdy A frames and normally people share one tent between two; a foam mattress each; all the cutlery and utensils, cooking pots, stoves; candles/kerosene lantern, tables and stools, kitchen tent, dining tent and toilet tent; all the main meals while trekking but not snacks. On Tea house trek there is no necessity to provide any equipment.
Q16. Do you arrange domestic and international flights?
In the domestic front we work with all domestic airlines operating in Nepal. Explore Himalaya has IATA trained personnel who will assist and guide you in booking our domestic or international flights.
Q17. What type of ground transportation is used on your tours?
We have a fleet of mostly Japanese made Toyota vehicles of all types and sizes, from small two-seater luxury cars to large capacity luxury tourist coaches.4WD Land cruisers are used in difficult and muddy road trips. Size and type of vehicle depend on size of your group. We use two-seater car for 1-2 persons, micro luxury 6-seater van for 3-5 persons, 10 seater van for 6-9 persons and tourist coach or coaster for group size above 10 persons. Our drivers are specially trained to serve in the hospitality industry. The vehicles are checked carefully before assigning them to your service.
Q18.Is tipping included and if not, how much should I budget?
Tips are appreciated by your support team after the trip. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. Some trekkers give 10% of the total tour cost as tips.
Q19. What happens in case of emergency?
In the case of a serious sickness or a casualty, which we believe will not happen; you shall be rescued by a helicopter. Since you are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own after getting back in Kathmandu. Ask your guide to arrange a runner to the nearest communication point and inform office about requirement of a helicopter. While asking for the helicopter, please send name of the sick person and give exact location from where helicopter can airlift you. Do not leave the place although you are getting better once you have ordered Helicopter.
Q20. How Should I dress during a trek?
The clothing you bring will need to allow for both the warmth of the days and the chill of the nights. While trekking during the day at lower altitudes, lightweight trekking trousers and T-shirts are recommended. It's always a good idea to carry a waterproof jacket and some warmer clothing with you though as mountain weather is notoriously unpredictable. For the cold nights, thermal underwear, a warm fleece jacket and even a down jacket will help to keep you warm. Good shoes are of great importance. They must be sturdy and comfortable. For higher altitude treks where you may have to tread snow for long hours, good boots are available for rent in Kathmandu. In view of local customs, try not to wear too skimpy or revealing clothes. Your reception by locals can vary greatly on the way you dress.
Q21. What is the best time for trekking?
The best time to trek is from October to May. The first two months of the dry season – October and November, when it is still comfortably warm – are ideal for trekking in Nepal.
December, January and February are still good months for trekking, but it can be bitterly cold at high altitudes.
Q22. Is it possible to change the lodge if it is not in order?
Yes, you can definitely change the lodge if you feel it is not in order by talking over with your guide, (provided there are other lodges with good rooms in the vicinity).
Q23. Do you reserve rooms at the lodges before or during the trek?
We accommodate trekking groups in local lodges available on the trail. As it is not possible to book the rooms days in advance, we send a porter few hours ahead of the group each day to book the rooms.
Q25. Can we change the itinerary?
Depending on the prevailing situation, you can modify it to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of trek completion should always coincide with the original itinerary.You should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip into the remotest region, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in itinerary. In such cases, we or your guide will suggest the best alternative similar to your original itinerary.