Coronavirus Threat in Nepal Update #2

Posted Mar 11th, 2020 under Blog, Company News, Tourism News,

Following our first update on coronavirus threat in Nepal, please find our second update as follows.

coronavirus threat in Nepal

Source: https://news.un.org/

1. Taking into account the global recommendations and measure of the WHO, the Government of Nepal has decided to temporarily suspend visa-on-arrival for the nationals of the following 8 countries (to be effective from 10th March till the date of further notice). The Government has added 3 countries to the prior list of 5 countries.

i. People’s Republic of China (including Special Administrative Regions)
ii. Islamic Republic of Iran
iii. Italy
iv. Republic of Korea
v. Japan
vi. France
vii. Germany
viii. Spain (Source: Department of Immigration, Government of Nepal)

2. The nationals of these 8 countries can obtain visa beforehand from the Nepali Missions abroad after submitting a recently issued health certificate stating that they are not infected by COVID-19. Those who have already got the prior visa from the mission and embassies of Nepal abroad are to provide health certificate that proves COVID-19 negative along with their travel document upon their arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport. The health certificate must be recently produced maximum 7 days earlier before the time of arrival in Nepal. (Source: Department of Immigration, Government of Nepal)

3. The nationals of these 8 countries are strongly recommended to use Tribhuwan International Airport as the only entry and exit point. Rest of the land POE (Point of Entry and Exit) in Nepal are temporarily suspended till the date of further notice. (Source: Department of Immigration, Government of Nepal)

4. At Tribhuwan International Airport, the preventive safety measures like thermal scanner, thermal gun and disinfectant spray are being continued with 24/7 Health Desk and Ambulance service. (Source: Tribhuwan International Airport Civil Aviation Office)

5. As of March 06, a total of 437 samples have been tested out of which 436 have proved corona negative. (Source: Ministry of Health, Government of Nepal)

We hope our second phase update on coronavirus threat in Nepal helps you to be informed. We shall keep you updated!

For more information:
i. Tribhuwan International Airport Civil Aviation Office – https://www.tiairport.com.np/
ii. Department of Immigration – http://nepalimmigration.gov.np/
iii. Ministry of Health and Population – http://heoc.mohp.gov.np/
iv. Nepal Tourism Board – https://www.welcomenepal.com/
v. Sukraraj Trpical and Infectious Disease Hospital – http://stidh.gov.np/home

Everest Base Camp Trek Distance, Time and Elevation

Posted Feb 26th, 2020 under Blog, Photo Essay, Travel Guide, Trekking & Hiking,

It’s a known fact that Everest Base Camp Trek is a very rewarding highland adventure. Flying to thrilling Lukla Airport, walking past quaint Sherpa villages and breathtaking landscape, and finally getting real close to Everest, the highest of all peaks in the world, Everest Base Camp Trek is definitely a whole new level of experience. As expected of any trekking adventure in the Himalayas, it also involves a lot of walking (continuously for about 11/12 days) in the alpine terrain. So, anyone interested to undertake this adventure is sure to ask mandatory questions like how high? how far? and how many hours.  However, there is absolutely no reason to get worried – we are making things easier for you! Below we have listed some major facts on distance, time and elevation involved in Everest Base Camp Trek. Please note that we have used a standard itinerary to provide a general overview of the trek, though there can be some side treks and different stopovers depending on individual requirement.

Gorak Shep to Everest Base CampSummary of distance, time and elevation

  1. Distance: The total distance of standard Everest Base Camp trek (Lukla-Everest Base Camp-Lukla) is about 130km round trip (65 km each way). Normal number of days to cover the distance is 11/12 days. So, you will be walking roughly about 11 km in about 6 hours a day in average. As the terrain is rocky with switchbacks (gradual ascent and descent), the pace will be slow about 2.5 km an hour. So, Everest Base Camp Trek is achievable for people of all ages. As you need to acclimatize while going up, it takes 9 days to reach the Base Camp (including the 2 acclimatization days) and just 3 days to return to Lukla.
  2. Elevation: Everest Base Camp Trek is not a very technical trekking. However, elevation is a bit of challenge that needs to be considered of. The very starting point of the trek, Lukla Airport itself is at an altitude of 2860m. Lukla Airport, known as Tenzing Hillary Airport, is popularly known as one of the most adventurous airports in the world due to its tricky runway perched on a cliff. The highest point you reach is 5545m (Kala Patthar), an amazing viewpoint to savor the beauty of Everest and her sister peaks. Though the altitude variation looks extreme, the itinerary is planned in such a way that your body gets enough time to acclimatize. An average elevation gain ranges from 400m to 800m per day. When you gain significantly high altitude in a particular day, the next day will usually be the rest day to acclimatize. As a whole, elevation defines both the challenge and joy of Everest Base Camp Trek.

Day to day distance, time and elevation

To get a more comprehensive idea on the distance, time (walking hours) and elevation, here is a day-to-day break down of the standard Everest Base Camp Trek with en-route highlights.

Day 1: Lukla to Phakding 

Phakding

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain
 

9 km

 

4 hours 2860m – 2656m

En-route Highlights: mani walls and boulders, villages like Cheplung, Lhawa and Ghat, suspension bridge (first one of six such bridges in the trail)

Day 2: Phakding to Namche       

Namche

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain
 

12 km

 

6 hours 2656m – 3440m

En-route Highlights: Monjo (National Park Entry point, Entry Permit Check Point), Jorsalle, 4 suspension bridges (3 above Dudh Koshi and 1 above Imja Khola, the iconic one seen in movies), approximately 700m vertical climb before reaching Namche – shouldn’t be taken lightly as you will set off for the climb right after your lunch and when you have to walk uphill in altitude right after meal, it can’t so easy. This uphill climb is the first of the two tough climbs you will have in Everest Base Camp Trek.

Day 3: Rest Day at Namche

Khumjung Village

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain
 

6 km

 

4 hours 3440m – 3880m – 3440m

Activities:

  1. Visit to Sherpa Culture Museum, Sagarmatha National Park Museum ( about 100m above Namche) & Monastery
  2. Hiking to Khumjung/Khunde (3790m- about 2 km from Namche) – about 400m climb from Namche to Syangboche Airport and continue to Khunde and Khumjung
  3. Hiking to Hotel Everest View (3880m – about 2.5 km from Namche) – about 400m climb from Namche to Synagboche Airport and continue to the hotel
  4. Hiking in a loop Namche-Syangboche-Khunde-Khumjung-Hotel Everest View-Namche; you can also choose to stay overnight in Khumjung or Hotel Everest View

En- route Highlights: Views of Everest, Nupste, Lhotse and Ama Dablam; Khunde Hospital, Khumjung School, Khumjung Monastery, Hotel Everest View (one of the highest hotels in the world) etc.

Day 4: Namche to Deboche

Tengboche Monastery

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain
 

11 km

 

6 hours 3440m-3734m

En-route Highlights:  Views of Everest, Nupste, Lhotse and Ama Dablam; a suspension bridge over Imja Khola , after about 300m downhill walk to Punki Tenga; about 500m of climb to Tengboche (second of the two vertical climbs after Namche climb), Tengboche Monastery (3867m – 10 km, 5 hours)

Day 5: Deboche to Dingboche

Lower Pangboche Village

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain
 

11 km

 

6 hours 3734m – 4410m

En-route Highlights: Views of towering Amadablam and Nuptse; Everest starts to hide behind the Nuptse wall; Pangboche Village (3985m- about 3 km, 2 hours) combination of 2 settlements lower and upper; Pangboche Monastery with its famed yeti skull; Pangboche is also the last village for Amadablam expedition – climbers go to Amadablam Base Camp via Pangboche; consistently flat trail throughout; crossroad one leading to Pheriche and other leading to Dingboche

Day 6: Rest Day at Dingboche

Dingboche Village

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain
 

 

i. 1.5 km (if Nangkar Tshang Hill)

ii. 11 km (if Chhukung Village & Chukkung Ri)

 

i. 3 hours (includes steep climb)

ii. 6 hours

 

i. 4410m – 5083m

ii. 4410m –  4730m – 5550m

 

Amadablam View from Nangkar Tshang

Activities:

  1. Hiking to Nangkar Tshang Hill (5083m, about 700m high from Dingboche, 2.5 hours) which sounds like Nagarjun (Nepali word of Sanskrit origin), at first steady climb and later on steep. Nangkar Tshang hill is right behind Dingboche village.
  2. Hiking to Chhukung Village (4730m, about 5km, 1.5 hours) – the last village before Island Peak, can continue to Chhukung Ri (5550m, about 820m high from Chhukung Village, 3 hours) if you want to push yourself a bit harder –  in this case an early start from Dingboche is required.

En-route Highlights:  From Nangkar Tshang Hill 360 degree views of Mt. Makalu, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, Island peak, Amadablam, Kangtega , Thamserku , Taboche, and Cholatse ; From Chhukung Ri impressive view of Imja Tse (Island Peak), Imja Glacier, Ama Dablam, Makalu and Nuptse

Day 7: Dingboche to Lobuche

Lobuche

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain
 

8.5 km

 

5 hours  

4410m – 4910m

 

En-route Highlights: Views of Amadablam, Taboche and Cholatse;  Thukla – a riverside lunch stopover, A Memorial Park at Thukla Pass  – has about 100 memorials (called chhortens in local language) of those who died while climbing Everest  and other mountains including legendary climber Babu Chhiri Sherpa; Khumbu Glacier moraine

Day 8: Lobuche to Gorakshep (Base Camp hike)

 

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Gain
 

i. 4.3 km (Lobuche – Gorakshep)

ii. 3.5 km (Gorak Shep – Everest Base Camp)

 

i. 2.5 hours

ii. 5 hours for round trip (3 hours + 2 hours)

i. 4910m – 5140m

ii. 5140m – 5364m – 5140m

En-route Highlights: Khumbu Glacier, close up views of Pumori, Nuptse, Khumbutse, Lhola, Everest Base Camp, Tip of Everest (highlight of the whole trek)

Day 9: Morning Kala Pathhar hike; Gorakshep to Pheriche

Gorak Shep

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Loss
i. 1.2 km (Gorakshep – Kala Pathhar)

ii. 10 km (Gorak Shep – Pheriche)

i. 3.5 hours for round trip

ii. 5 hours

i. 5140m – 5545m – 5140m

ii. 5140m – 4371m

En-route Highlights: Spectacular sunrise view of Everest, Nuptse, Changtse, Lhotse etc.  from Kala Pathhar

Day 10: Pheriche to Namche

Pheriche with a backdrop of Amadablam

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Loss
 

14 km

 

7 hours 4371m – 3440m

En-route Highlights: Pangboche monastery; Tengboche monastery; Suspension bridge at Phunki

Tenga; views of Nupste, Everest, Amadablam, Kangtega Thamserku, Kongde Ri etc.

Pangboche village with monastery

 Day 11: Namche to Lukla

Distance Walking Hours Elevation Loss
 

18 km

 

7 hours 3440m – 2860m

En-route Highlights: 5 Suspension bridges, Dudh Koshi River; and of course trees (you might have almost forgotten about them)

 

Chitwan National Park, a World Heritage Site

Posted Feb 12th, 2020 under Blog, Wildlife & Bird Watching,

Chitwan National Park is a world heritage site and also the first national park in Nepal which is located in the mid-south Terai of Nepal. It is a huge block of alluvial grasslands and subtropical moist deciduous forests. It was established in 1973 in order to protect the endangered animals which was found there. A total of 68 species of mammals, 544 species of birds, 56 species of herpetofauna and 126 species of fish have been recorded in this park. It is really popular forone horned rhino, tigers and gharials.

chitwan national park

Chitwan National Park is also considered as the heart of the jungle found along the foot of the Himalayas. Several activities that can be done in Chitwan are;

Jungle walk:

  • Jungle walk is the opportunity to explore and experience the beauty of the flora and fauna. It may be of 1 to 5 days depends upon curiosity of the guest.

Canoe trip:

  • Canoeing is the typical handmade dugout canoe on either the Rapti or the Buddha Rapti River, which border the national park. There are chances to see two types of crocodiles, Gharial and Mugger basking on the riverbank.

Village tour/Cultural programme:

  • The native people of Chitwan are Tharu who offers guided cultural tours to meet the people and experience their traditional self-sufficient way of life. They also perform traditional Tharu folk dance at hotels and invite guests to join them in their rhythmic display.

Elephant breeding center:

  • This is recognized as the first elephant breeding center in Asia where baby elephants socialize with their parents and other babies owned by government on the purpose to raise the young elephants.

Jungle drive:

  • To track rare species four wheel jeep drive is prefered in the less disturbed areas. And the facilities inside the park are not available during the monsoon.

Bird watching:

  • Visitors will have great opportunity to see many species of birds in early morning. Elephant back safari,an elephant back ride is one of the safest ways to enter jungle and see the wild life as it is anexciting never to be forgotten experience.

Elephant bath:

  • Riding on the bare back of elephant and go to the Rapti river for swimming and washing them is great fun to play.

Tower stay:

  • There is a tower in the middle of the jungle where you can spend the whole night and feel real nature surroundings.

Crocodile breeding center:

  •  Gharial crocodile is one of the endangered species of the world. To protect them, UN has established the crocodile breeding center where we product the large number of Gharials and release them in the River.

Bicycle tour:

  • During the ride you will get to visit 20,000 lakes area, which afford a varied experience of birds and mammals.

There are three ways of transportation from Kathmandu to Chitwan; bus, car or flight. The road distance is 154.1 km. The cheapest way of transportation is by bus which costs  $5 – $7 and takes 5/6 hours approximately. There is a direct bus departing from Kathmandu and arriving at Chitwan Sauraha. The quickest way of transportation is to fly which costs approximately $110 and takes 30 mins.  It takes approximately 5/6 hours to drive from Kathmandu to Sauraha by car. There are 138+ hotels available in Sauraha. Prices start at $100 per night.

A Peek at Patan Durbar Square

Posted Feb 14th, 2020 under Blog,

Being one of the 3 durbar squares situated in Lalitpur, Kathmandu valley, Patan Durbar Square is one of the greatest attractions of Kathmandu. Being the oldest Buddhist city in the world, Lalitpur also known as Patan or Yala, is extremely popular for its artistic heritage. On its own, Patan Durbar Square consists of 3 main stupas out of the 4 stupas in Patan. Patan has about 136 bahals or courtyards and 55 major temples and most of these structures are in the vicinity of the Durbar Square. The Durbar Square is a marvel of Newari architecture. The square floor is tiled with red bricks. There are many temples and idols in the area. The main temples are aligned opposite of the western face of the palace. The entrance of the temples faces east, towards the palace. There is also a bell situated in alignment beside the main temples.

Patan Durbar Square

One of the major attractions of Patan Durbar Square includes the Patan museum, which is filled with bronze statues and religious objects. Other major temples that attract the eyes of everyone are as follows:

•KRISHNA MANDIR
Krishna temple is the most important temple in Patan Durbar Square. It was built in the local variety of Shikhara style called Granthakuta. The stone carvings along the beam above the first and second-floor pillar are most notable. The first-floor pillar carvings narrate the events of the Mahabharata, while on the second floor there are visual carvings from Ramayana. King Siddhi Narsingh Malla built the temple in 1667. It is said that one night the King saw Lord Krishna and his consort Srimati Radha standing in front
of the royal palace. He ordered a temple to be built on the same spot.

•BHIMSEN MANDIR
Srinivasa Malla built Bhimsen temple in 1680. It is renowned for its three interconnected golden windows. Bhimsen is a great personality in Mahabharata. He was known to be brave and strong. In Newari culture, he is traditionally worshiped as a god of business and trade. Tourists are not allowed inside the temple.

•VISHWANATH MANDIR
Vishwanath Temple is dedicated to God Shiva. It was built in 1627 during the reign of Siddhi Narsingh Malla. The roof supports are decorated with erotic carvings similar to imagery widespread in Shiva temples in India. Two stone elephants in the front entrance guard the temple. On the other side of the temple is the sculpture of a bull, Shiva’s vehicle. A stone linga is enshrined inside the temple.

•TALEJU BHAWANI MANDIR
Taleju temple was built by Siddhi Narsingh Malla in 1640 and rebuilt by Srinivasa Malla
in 1667 after a fire. Taleju Bhawani was the patron deity of the Malla kings. It is a five-storey temple with triple-roofs. Other than the local treasures, one of the things that is notable about Patan Durbar Square is its ambiance. There are a lot of hang out places and restaurants in the area that have helped in appealing the youths and visitors. The place exudes a different vibe than the one you’ll get in the Kathmandu city just a couple of minutes away. The afternoon time is especially the most favorable time to roam the streets of Patan Durbar Square. The light during sunset gleams through the structures of the monuments and gives mesmerizing view.

When it comes to food, there are plenty of Newari eateries near Patan Durbar Square serving ethnic cuisines. Patan is also considered the heaven for Newari cuisines. Apparently, you can find Newari eateries on every alley or galley of the city largely known to locals only. Beside food, you can also find local drinks Aila (liquor) and Thwon (beer) in those eateries. Patan Durbar Square is indeed a must-visit place if you want to soak in the cultural richness of the Valley.

All You Need to Know about Accommodation in Everest Base Camp Trek

Posted Feb 4th, 2020 under Blog, Food & Accommodation, Travel Guide,

We all know that Everest Base Camp Trek is an adventure that includes a fair amount of walking every day. You need to walk continuously for 6-8 hours. So, most of us are concerned about ideas and information related to walking or day time activity. But what about the nights? After a whole day of rambling through the rocky terrain and relishing the sparkling peaks, what you need the most is a bed where you can lay your head. After all an intrepid adventurer seeking some raw Himalayan adventure also needs a peaceful sleep at the end of the day. So, accommodation  in Everest Base Camp Trek is a crucial matter. And the region’s remoteness adds its importance more as accommodation can be a tricky affair in high altitudes. So, it’s a very sensible thing for every trekker to know about the accommodation facilities that are available during the Trek. So, here is all you need to know about accommodation in Everest Base Camp trek.

Accommodation in Everest Region - Hotel Everest Inn Lukla

Hotel Everest Inn Lukla 

Where to Stay?

During Everest Base Camp Trek, you will find numerous teahouses, lodges and hotels that provide accommodation facilities to make your well-earned sleep comfortable. You can also go for tented camps but it’s almost outdated as there are many accommodation providers along the trail, and camping trekking is environmentally not very friendly. So, most of the trekkers choose teahouses or lodges.

  • Teahouses are small outlets run by local people. They provide basic facilities like room with small beds and blankets; hot shower and dining services. The facilities are basically modest.
  • There are also some lodges with more luxurious amenities in major stopovers like Lukla, Phakding and Namche. They provide better services like comfortable beds with electric blankets, attached washroom, hot water showers and free WiFi services.
  • Hotels like Everest View Resort (one of the highest hotels in the world) and Yeti Mountain Home lodges (Lukla, Phakding, Monjo, Namche, Thame and Kongde – the highest hotel) provide deluxe facilities. They have spacious rooms with en suite bathrooms, heated rooms, thermos and electric blankets etc.
Accommodation in Everest Base Camp trek - Hotel Everest View

Hotel Everest View (3880m)/Photo Courtesy: Hotel Everest View

Accommodation in Everest Base Camp trek - A Tea House in Monjo

A Tea House in Monjo

Rooms

Basically, rooms in teahouses are small with twin beds. The bed has a mattress, bed sheet, pillow and blanket. Night are extra chilly, so always make sure to bring a sleeping bag as there is a very less chance of getting extra blanket especially during peak season. Rooms can have simple furniture like table and chairs, in some cases nothing at all. Dorm rooms are also available. In some teahouses, you can also have single rooms and en-suite rooms but in limited number. However luxury lodges and hotels, as expected of, have more spacious room, en suite bathrooms, electric blankets, heated rooms, luxury furniture etc.

Accommodation in Everest Base Camp trek - Tea House Hotel Room in Everest Region

Accommodation in Everest Base Camp trek - A twin room in a tea house twin room

Twin Room in a Tea House

Toilet and Shower

You can find western style toilets throughout the route but most of the time they are very basic. You have to arrange toilet paper by yourself and you are not supposed to flush it down the pan. You have to trash it in a bin placed next to it. As water gets frozen, toilet paper tends to block the drain. So, follow it with all honesty. Hot Shower facility is available but using it incurs an extra cost from $5 – $10 per shower. Shower room is generally a small common room with a hot water tap. In most cases, water is heated by solar power. You have to arrange toiletries and towel on your own. In deluxe room, you can also get attached shower facility. In luxury lodges and hotels, you will have 24 hour running hot shower facility.

Laundry

Hotels, lodges and some teahouses (up to Namche) provide laundry facility with extra charge depending on the number and type of clothes (not exceeding $1/2 per piece). Beyond Namche, you can ask for hot water and wash yourself. This also incurs extra cost (approximately $2/3 per bucket) as in high altitude fuel is really scarce. You also need to keep in mind that days are usually not very warm and sunlight hour is short. So, while washing make sure the day is really warm and the next day is acclimatization/rest day.  Beyond Dingboche (second last stopover before reaching Base Camp), normally people don’t think of washing clothes because of the freezing temperature.

 Dining

Every tea house, lodge and hotel has a big dining room with a big heater in the middle of the room. The heaters are fuelled with firewood (in lower elevation) and yak dung. Such rooms are communal rooms where you eat, relax and socialize. Some dining rooms also have a television set and a bookshelf with a small collection of books. Generally people tend to spend most of their evenings in dining room as such rooms are warm and lively with full of people. Dining menu of teahouses has limited options of continental and local foods. They have breakfast and lunch/dinner menu with simple choices of beverage.

A Tea House Dining Room in Everest Region

A Tea House Dining Room in Everest Region

interior of a tea house in Pheriche

Interior of a tea house in Pheriche

 Price

As with the other services, the price of accommodation in Everest Base Trek also depends on the altitude. As you go higher, the price also tends to be higher though the services tend to be more basic. The accommodation price is somewhere between $2 to $5 in teahouses. In teahouses, you are expected to eat where you stay. Otherwise, you may have to pay twice or thrice the price of the regular room price if you are not eating. As you won’t find fancy restaurants or many dining choices in most of the places, it’s sensible to eat where you stay. Though teahouses have budget price, the price in some luxury lodges and hotels can go as high as $200+ depending on the facilities. You can also find mid-range rooms from $20-$40. In places like Lukla, Phakding, Monjo, Namche, Syangboche, Kongde and Thame, you have the options of mid-range and high range accommodation facility.

WiFi

Wifi service is available in lower altitudes. You have to pay extra charge for this service about $5 (per stay) up to Namche though you can’t be really sure about signal strength. Beyond Namche, teahouses normally don’t have WiFi facility. A better option is to use Everest Link network which works throughout the region. It has better connectivity and faster speed. You can buy the data package at approximately $2 (10GB) and $3 (30 GB) valid for 30 days. You can also use Ncell and NTC network but they don’t work properly in some places as you go higher.

Electricity

Everest region has the facility of electricity powered by hydro-electricity in lower elevation and solar energy in higher elevation. So, teahouses, lodges and hotels have electricity facility. But due to remoteness and altitude, people have to use it economically. In teahouses there won’t be charging plugs in rooms. Charging facility is available in dining room (common room) with extra charge ranging from $5 to $10 (depending on the devices like mobile phones, camera battery, power bank etc.) But, most of the time such facility is fully packed. So, it is sensible to bring a fully charged power bank. Rooms, washrooms, shower and corridors are well lit. So, you won’t have much problem during night time. However, it’s better to have a head lamp or torch handy. In some teahouses, you can also get electric blanket and electric heater for a charge of about $20 per night.

A Hotel in Gorak Shep

A Hotel in Gorak Shep

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The meeting and handling was good. Our trek guide was very good, helpful and knowledgeable. We had a very nice trek. People around were very helpful and realistic about the trip. Happy indeed!

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