Accommodation: Hotel, Camping or Tea house (lodge)
Transportation: Private Vehicles/ Tourist Coach
Max Altitude: 4381m
Trekking to the foothills of Himalayas in Langtang, where numerous sacred lakes nestle
A wonderful off-the-beaten trek, filled with wonderful scenery and ethnic Nepali cultural experience, Trek to Sacred Lakes is a great trekking holiday in Langtang Region. You make your way through forests filled with rhododendron blooms during spring season. The myriad blooms of red, white and pink around you will make you feel as if you are in paradise. As this is a less frequented trail, you can look ahead to a peaceful and serene experience, devoid of the usual ‘trekking crowd’. The trail leads to three of the holy mountain lakes – Gosainkunda, Saraswatikunda and Bhairabkunda. These lakes are sacred to the Hindus and during the full moon day in July, many Hindu pilgrims flock to Gosainkunda to take a purifying ritual bath. The breathtaking and panoramic views of Ganesh Himal, Manaslu, Himal Chuli, Langtang Lirung and a few Tibetan peaks remain within your view throughout the trek.
Day 1 Arrival Kathmandu
Day 2 Sightseeing tour of Boudhanath, Pashupatinath & Patan
Day 3 Drive to Nuwakot (1200 m) – approx. 4 hrs
Day 4 Trek to Badahare (1250 m) – approx. 8 hrs
Day 5 Trek to Betang (2250 m) – approx. 7 hrs
Day 6 Trek to Lapung (3300 m) – approx. 8 hrs
Day 7 Trek to Chodang Kharka (3850 m) – approx. 7 hrs
Day 8 Rest day in Chodang Kharka (3850 m)
Day 9 Trek to Jumacho Kharka (4100m) – approx. 7 hrs
Day 10 Trek to Gosainkund (4380m) - approx. 7 hrs
Day 11 Trek to Sing Gompa (3254 m) - approx. 7 hrs
Day 12 Trek to Dhunche (2030m) - approx. 4 hrs
Day 13 Drive to Kathmandu – approx. 8 hrs
Day 14 Depart Kathmandu
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and tents during the trek
Private surface transfer from Kathmandu to Nuwakot .
Private surface transfer from Dhunche to Kathmandu
English speaking local expert guide & porters
National Park fees
3 nights accommodation at 3 star hotel in Kathmandu on double sharing with breakfast
All guided sightseeing tour in Kathmandu and entry fees.
Airport transfers and escort
Insurance of the guide and porters
International flight & departure tax
Lunch & dinner in Kathmandu
Personal gears & clothing (available on hire)
Tips, any expenses of personal nature, client's insurance.
Arrive Kathmandu and transfer to Kathmandu
You will be greeted by a panoramic view of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below once you fly in the sky of Kathmandu. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The representative will help you check into your designated hotel. At the hotel you will be briefed about your daily activities.
Overnight at Hotel..
Sightseeing tour of Boudhanath, Pashupatinath & Patan Durbar Square
Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence. There will be a guided tour to Boudhnath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal and after that to Pashupatinath, the most popular Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. We take a tour to Patan also called as Lalitpur (the City of Artisans), which is 5km away from Kathmandu. We walk through Patan Durbar Square, and delight in the architectural wonders of Malla era. Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Krishna Temple and Golden Temple are the major attractions at the square. Overnight at Hotel
Drive to Nuwakot (1200 m) – approx. 4 hrs
From Kathmandu we take a drive of about 4 hours to Nuwakot. On the way we stop at Kakani. Nuwakot is an important historical place since ancient times. In 1767 A.D., King Prithvi Narayan Shah made Nuwakot the second capital of Nepal. From here he started his unification campaign. During the ancient days, the traders bound to and from Tibet passed this way. Situated on a hill top the seven storied palace Sattale Durbar, Ranga Mahal, Garadhar palace and various temples are the major attractions of this historic town. Here you get a chance to experience authentic Nepali lifestyle and culture at close quarters by staying at the home of a local family. Overnight at Local Lodge
During the ancient days, the traders bound to and from Tibet passed this way. Situated on a hill top the seven storied palace Sattale Durbar, Ranga Mahal, Garadhar palace and various temples are the major attractions of this historic town. Here you get a chance to experience authentic Nepalese lifestyle and culture at close quarters by staying at the home of a local family..
Trek to Badahare (1250 m) – approx. 8 hrs
First two days of our trek leads us through Tamang villages and terraced fields in the Nuwakot District. This gives an excellent opportunity to get an insight into the culture and custom of the Tamang community. We take a break for lunch on the bank of the river “Sano Khola”. Then we cross the stream by bridge and walk uphill for nearly 2.5 hours. In the evening, while watching the sunset, we can observe neighboring hills cultivated by Tamang families and the rim of the Kathmandu valley. Overnight at Local Lodge
Trek to Betang (2250 m) – approx. 7 hrs
From Badahare we continue our trek through Tamang villages, where we can observe everyday life of this hard working but very hospitable people. Their lifestyle hasn't changed much since the ancient days. On the way there is a small Gompa, Junlang Gompa. Tamangs are Buddhists, and share a close affinity with the Tibetans. Overnight at Local Lodge
Trek to Lapung (3300 m) – approx. 8 hrs
As we ascend higher, we gain altitude. Our route gently slopes up through a rich and verdant forest. The rhododendron area begins from here. Rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal. The Greek meaning of: rhodos is "rose", and dendron - "tree". Some of the best-known species are noted for their many clusters of large flowers. From gentle pink to deep red, the rhododendron flowers cover the hills during the spring season, a heavenly sight that will make you feel as though you are walking in paradise. The forest gives way to rich pastures where we meet Tamang shepherds in traditional attire. Overnight at Local Lodge..
Trek to Chodang Kharka (3850 m) – approx. 7 hrs
Kharka is the temporary hut of the Tamang shepherds. They collect milk from Naks (female version of yak) and Dzokpos, a hybrid of yak and cow. We visit the cheese factory. From this place spectacular panorama of the Himalayan mountains opens up: Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Shisapangma, Cho Oyu, Langtang II and Langtang I Lirung. Dawn is the best time to enjoy this view. The sun slowly rising up, bathing the snowy peaks in red, yellow, orange and pink colours will leave you mesmerized. Overnight at Local Lodge
Rest day in Chodang Kharka (3850 m)
We take a one day rest for acclimatization and to renew our energies in Chodang Kharka. It is a wonderful place, situated on top of a ridge with panoramic views. Take your time to explore the interesting high altitude flora and fauna: various kinds of plants, birds and animals. Do not miss out on the breathtaking sunrise and sunset, when the white snowy peaks seem to take on wonderful colors. Overnight at Local Lodge
Trek to Jumacho Kharka (4100m) – approx. 7 hrs
All day the trial going up and down around 4000m leads us through rhododendrons area. This day we pass from the moist forest to alpine zone where alpine rhododendron species with small flowers and small leaves cover the land and crystal brooks stream down from sacred lakes. We camp at Jumacho Kharka, close to the mountain river, a tributary of the Lamo Kunda – one of the sacred lakes in this area. Fantastic landscape open here: picturesque waterfalls and majestic rocks on one side and blue space with the tremendous snowy peaks of Langtang Lirung, Himalchuli, Ganesh Himal and Manaslu rising up on the other. Overnight at Local Lodge
Trek to Gosainkunda (4380m) - approx. 7 hrs
From Jumacho Kharka we climb slowly to reach the Gosainkunda Lake. We crossed the source of the sacred Trishuli river and take meditative stop at the Saraswati Kunda. Bhairav Kunda has a petrifying beauty with its unusually darker shade. The next sacred bowl is Gosainkunda. According to Hindu legend Lord Shiva, a powerful hindu diety, created this lake by piercing the glacier with his trident to obtain water to pacify himself after having swallowed Kalkut poison that threatened to destroy the world. The large rock in the center of the lake is said to be the remains of a Shiva shrine. Overnight at Local Lodge
Trek to Sing Gompa (3254 m) - approx. 7 hrs
Several points on top of the ridge open up Langtang valley to Langtang Lirung in the morning. To the west there the Himalchuli, Ganesh Himal and Manaslu peaks rise up. The trial goes down cross Laurebina and Cholangpati to Sing Gompa. Sing Gompa is the main attraction at Chandan Bari, which also has several hotels and a small cheese factory. Overnight at Local Lodge
Trek to Dhunche (2030m) - approx. 4 hrs
From Sing Gompa we continue to descend till we reach our final point – Dunche. Overnight at Local Lodge
Drive to Kathmandu – approx. 8 hrs
From Dunche we drive to Kathmandu. And transfer to hotel.
Our office representative takes you to the airport for your flight home with wonderful memories of Sacred Lakes Trek.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE
Langtang region is the home of several ethnic groups. The majority of people are Tamang, Sherpa and Bhotia. Their religion is related to the Bon and the pre-Buddhist doctrines of Tibet. Today this religion has merged with the newer teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. Helambu situated at the north side of Kathmandu valley, which comprises of highland villages, such as Melamchi and Tarkeyghyang. Beautifully situated in alpine meadow, beauty of this region is worth spectacular. The region is mostly inhabited by friendly and helpful Tamang people. It is home to two major races of peoples, the Hyolmo or Yolmo and the Tamang. Helambu also offers an opportunity to experience Sherpa culture. Helambu is also famous for its sweet apples and artistic Buddhist monasteries.
Moderate to fairly challenging
Due to gradual ascent along the river valley this Langtang trek is not considered strenuous, but yet, it remains challenging as it reaches an altitude of 4773 meter at Kyangjin Ri. It involves approximately 6 to 8 hours of trekking on up and down well marked trails. No previous experience is required, you should be moderately fit, used to some regular exercise and enjoy walking in the high altitude conditions.
We offer several options regarding the organization of your trek:
1) Guide, Accommodation and Porter trek (GAP trek)
Includes: Accommodation, guide and porters
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. Trekkers pay for meals directly to the local lodge owner. Expect to spend around 2000-2500 Rupees a day for food. Guide, accommodation and porters are covered in the price.
2) Camping trek
On camping trek you will be sleeping and eating on tents. A trekking crew contains one Sirdar, one cook and the numbers of 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 will ensure you take the right path. The kitchen crew will keep you well fed with delicious and nutritious meals. The porters shall transport the gear from camp to camp. Our main aim is to make the trek as hassle-free and enjoyable as possible. Sirdar and his assistants speak basic English, good enough to explain to you about the places, local culture or any sight that catches your eyes.
Includes: Guide, Porters, Cook, All meals and tents
3) Lodge or tea house trek
Although simple, the teahouses or lodges do provide shelter and warmth and are normally run by friendly local families. The lodge or tea house treks are less expensive than camping trek and are largely suitable for small groups.
Includes: Accommodation in Lodge, guide, porters and all meals
YOUR TREK CAN BE ORGANIZED IN ALL THE 3 WAYS AS MENTIONED ABOVE.
Trekking in the Langtang region does not need tremendous logistics in terms of accommodation as you will find plenty of clean and friendly lodges along the trail. We stay in single rooms where possible, but often you will have to share. Rooms are basic, normally just a bed with a pillow and blankets. A few have electric lights and all have a spacious dining room-lounge. We will accommodate you and your group in local lodge available each day. We send a porter ahead of us to book the required rooms for the group (rooms cannot be booked in advance). Please remember that some of them are very basic and a sense of adventure is necessary. It is cheaper to stay in lodge rather than organizing a camping trek.
Camping trek means sleeping in tents. On a camping trek, the tents provided are ‘Two men dome’ or ‘A’ shaped. Foam mattress with insulation underneath is provided for sleeping. Clients need to have their own sleeping bag. Bags or cloth packs are used as pillows. If you wish, you can bring your own ‘Air pillow’.
We have a pool of hotels in Kathmandu with 3 Star categories which we provide to clients in connection to this itinerary, unless it is mentioned otherwise or clients have a special choice. You can check on the description of such hotels through our website.
FOOD AND DRINKING WATER
Meals are included in our price and are taken in Lodges available along the trail. You can find a considerable variety of Nepali and Western food as well as drinks (coffee, tea, milk, soft drinks, and beer).
Meals are prepared by our cook. We provide three tasty and nutritious meals daily along with drinks.
You will have to make your own eating arrangements in the many Lodges available along the trail. Expect to spend around 2000-2500 Rupees a day for food. Guide, accommodation and porters are covered in the price.
On camping trek, our staff will boil water and cook meals treated by potassium permanganate or iodine. On GAP trek and Lodge trek, you will be able to buy bottled water in tea houses.
We recommend you to bring water purification pills.
LUGGAGE WHILE TREKKING
During trek your main luggage will be carried by porters or pack animals (usually yaks or cross breeds). You simply carry a day pack with water bottle, camera, sun-screen, spare jacket, etc. - a small load that allows full enjoyment of the trek. A trek bag is ideal for your main luggage, plus a small lockable bag for travel clothes or anything that you do not need during trek which you can leave at hotel’s locker room/safe deposit box in Kathmandu for free of charge.
GROUP LEADER AND CREW
We provide different options concerning leadership in order to match your requirements:
1) Western leader
2) Trained Nepali Trek leader (experienced and knowledgeable)
3) Sherpa Guide (handles the logistics and guides you and your team on the trek)
The Sherpa guide (commonly called Sirdar) will be accompanied by a crew of porters. On camping trek, there will be 2/3 porters for each members while on GAP and Lodge trek 1 porter for 2 members.
JOIN A GROUP OR PRIVATE TRIP
Our trips are available on both fixed departure and private basis. If you are looking for a group to join this trip please check our ‘2018 departures’ link for availability, dates and price. 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).
If you want to do something that is not included in our trip list we are ready to tailor your trip to suit your exact requirements. In short, we will make every effort to get you on the trip you want.
GROUP SIZE OF FIXED DEPARTURE TRIP
If you opt to join our ‘fixed departure trip’, you are likely to be joining people from different countries of any age group except minors. The size of group varies: minimum no of persons required to operate a trip is 2, the maximum is 12 people.
Personal expenses depend largely on the type of trek, duration and the trekking region.
Lodge trek and Camping trek:
You only need money for table drinks (alcoholic/non alcoholic beverages), snacks while walking, tips, souvenirs, hot shower (available in some places).
You need to pay for your meals and should expect to spend around 2000-2500 Rupees a day for your food and snacks.
Tips are appreciated by your support team after the trip. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. As a suggestion, we advise that you can allocate 5- 10 % of the total tour cost as tips.
The starting point of the trek is Sundarijal, which is connected by approx 2.5 hours drive from Kathmandu. On your return, our car/bus shall pick you from Dhunche and drive to Kathmandu. We will arrange the transportation from your hotel to the airport (Kathmandu).
While trekking in the remote parts you may not have an access to telephone facility for some days or weeks. However, en route there may be few places where telephone facilities may be available and likely to be working. If it is crucial for you to keep in contact with your family or others, we can provide you a sim card or rental satellite phones if necessary
TREKKING GEARS & EQUIPMENT
You will need walking boots, sleeping bag (4 seasons/ -20C rated), waterproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, sun-screen and day pack.
Comprehensive list of equipments will be provided once you book your trip or check CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT LIST LINK.
GEARS AVAILABLE IN KATHMANDU
It's not necessary to spend a lot of money buying extra equipment and clothing before your trip. Majority of these gears can be bought or hired at reasonable rates in Kathmandu.
TYPICAL DAY ON TREK
Each morning after packing our bags and having a good breakfast, we set off on the day's walk. After walking for 3-4 hours we stop for lunch at around midday. The afternoon's walk is generally shorter and we usually arrive at our destination in time for afternoon tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the village, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book. On some days we will arrive at our destination by lunchtime and the entire afternoon will be free. After dinner, the evening will often be spent playing cards and reliving the day's adventures, before heading off to bed for a well-earned sleep.
However, on a camping trek, you begin your day with a hot cup of tea which will be served to you in the tent at 6 am, followed by a bowl of hot water for washing. Other day activities are the same as mentioned above.
MEETING AND GREETING IN KATHMANDU
You need to pass on your International flight details to us for a “meeting and greeting” service at airport. You just pass on the Customs and come out of the Terminal building where you will see someone standing with a placard with either ‘Explore Himalaya’ or your name written on it. Our airport representative or tour officer will greet you and welcome you with a garland
CLIMATE AND BEST TIME TO GO
The Langtang-Helambu trek can be done anytime of the year except the monsoon season (June to September). Temperatures will drop considerably as you trek higher every day. The nights can be chilling cold (between -5C to 5C) but the days can be sunny and hot (between 10C to 20C). Temperature starts to drop as you gain altitude. The mornings are usually clear, with clouds building up during the afternoon, disappearing at night. Trekking during the monsoon is not recommended, as the visibility during monsoon is limited. Trekking during the winter is possible; however, it is much colder than autumn and spring.
March, April, October and November are the most popular and favored months for traveling. Please choose the date that is convenient for you.
The itineraries for each trip should be taken as a guideline only. 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.
We ensure liability as per indicated itinerary and list of services. If the holiday is cut short or completed earlier than the projected period upon client’s wish, we shall not be responsible or make refund against unutilized days or services. Clients need to pay extra for Hotels/services incurred in Kathmandu or elsewhere in such cases.
In addition to your trek, we can organize extensions both within Nepal and other neighboring countries. You may want to try water rafting or a jungle safari in Nepal or Nepal Cultural Tour. You may as well take a trip to Tibet, India or Bhutan, whichever seems more appealing to you
All visitors except the Indian nationals must hold passport and valid visa. Visa can be obtained at the Nepalese diplomatic missions and consulates abroad. Visa is also issued at the entry points. It can be extended at the Department of Immigration, Bhrikutimandap, Kathmandu. Children under 10 years need not pay any visa fee. People willing to get entry Visa at the air port or any of the land entry points are required to fill a visa form with passport photograph. So, please download form from the link below (visa form) and get ready while you are passing through the immigration Point.
Gratis visa for 30 days available only for tourists of SAARC countries
Multiple entry 15 days - US$ 25 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple entry 30 days - US$ 40 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple entry 90 days - US$ 100 or equivalent convertible currency
Tourist Visa Extension
* Visa extension fee for 15 days or less is US $ 30 or equivalent convertible currency and visa extension fee for more than 15 days is US$ 2 per day
* Tourist visa can be extended for a maximum period of 150 days in a single visa year (January - December).
HEALTH ISSUES AND VACCINATIONS
As vaccination requirements change frequently, we suggest you to consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to the beginning of your trip. We recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis and polio.
The main health consideration in high altitude is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and difficulty sleeping, but these should lessen within a few days. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), people take pills called ‘Diamox’. You can also use these pills after consulting with your doctor and purchase them in Kathmandu. Our itinerary will allow your body to acclimatize properly and to handle the low oxygen rate. For your service, we carry a medical kit with standard prescribed medicines along with a users’ manual which you can use upon your own risk. We do not take any medical liability since our staffs are not qualified to prescribe medicines.
Altitude Sickness has the potential to affect all travelers from 2500m and higher. Your body needs time to adjust to smaller quantities of oxygen in the air at 5500m/18,044ft; the air pressure is approximately half that of sea level, i.e. there is half the amount of oxygen. Acute Mountain Sickness is caused by going up high too fast and can be fatal if the entire warning signals are ignored. This itinerary has gradual climb and the duration itself is short, hence, chances of AMS are not high. However, one needs to be careful and take all the necessary precautions.
If you have ever suffered from altitude sickness, or have a heart or breathing complaint, we highly recommend you consult your doctor about your suitability for trekking in high altitude areas before booking.
FIRST AID KIT
We supply a medical bag with standard medicines prescribed by trekking doctors. Since our staffs/guides are not qualified for suggesting medications to western clients, we would request you to use the medicines upon your own risk. It is safer and more reliable if you have your own medicine kit and not depend on what we have. We suggest that you take some pain-killing pills with you and enough medicine for cold, diarrhea, nausea and fever. Some nasal ointment and throat-moistening pills will greatly be of help for those who are sensitive to chilly or freezing weather conditions
RESCUE / EVACUATIONS
In case of a serious sickness or a casualty, which we believe will not happen; we will do everything to transfer you to the nearest hospital. 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 to Kathmandu
Before joining a tour, we recommend you to take a travel insurance which should cover cancellation, medical expenses, helicopter evacuation and emergency repatriation.
Wonderful environment of the Himalayas is also an extremely fragile one. Increasing population density and numbers of trekkers threaten the very beauty of Nepal. At Explore Himalaya, we are extremely conscious about the environment and aim to minimize our impact as much as possible.
As deforestation is one of the greatest environmental threats, we do not have camp fires and use kerosene for cooking as an alternative fuel to wood. We also discourage trekkers from using wood-fuelled hot showers in lodges along the way. Many lodges, however, now provide solar hot showers, a far more eco-friendly alternative.
Garbage disposal is another major problem and some of the busier trails can, at times, appear strewn with litter. Our staff members are well motivated towards eco-friendly practices. We carry out all our garbage, apart from that which can be safely and easily burnt at the campsite. Our aim is to help protect and preserve this beautiful environment for future generations of trekkers to enjoy.
Explore Himalaya works with the motto ‘Development through Tourism’. Keeping in line with this motto, Explore Himalaya Community Service Project (EHCSP) has been conceived to empower underprivileged, marginalized, poor and minority segments of Nepal.
Since its inception, EHCSP has been incessantly facilitating and advocating for school education, health, community development, forest conservation, agriculture, culture preservation and fund raising. Explore Himalaya encourages its clients to contribute for the development of Nepal.
Care for Porters and Staffs
We ensure that all the porters and other staffs going into high altitude conditions are provided with adequate clothing and equipment. We are the first ever company to supply high-altitude porters with crampons.
We run the trek according to the guidelines of the International Porter Protection group (IPPG - www.ippg.net).
1) It is fundamental you acknowledge that this is an adventure tour. This requires some flexibility. The day to day itinerary is taken only as a guideline. We can not be held responsible for any delays caused by International or domestic flights, strikes, Government regulations, weather or natural casualties etc. In such cases, Explore Himalaya shall provide suitable alternatives which could be decided upon mutual agreement. If an agreement cannot be made, Explore Himalaya shall only be responsible for refunds after deducting the expenses already incurred.
2) Your booking will be confirmed by email once we receive your deposit of USD 300 and the signed copy of booking form and contract.
The balance is due no later than two months prior to departure. If you book a tour less than 2 months prior to departure, you must send the full payment within 7 days of confirmation by us.
3) If you cancel, the following scale of charges will apply:
2 months before departure – Loss of deposit (US$ 300)
29 days to 2 months before departure – 30% of total trip cost
10 to 28 days before departure – 60% of total trip cost
Less than 10 days before departure – 100% of total trip cost
If you still have any questions regarding this trip, please feel free to contact us. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours. If you want to book a trip, you can e-mail us at email@example.com or contact us directly by phone: 977-1-4418100
The meeting and handling was very good. Tour & trek guides and support staff were excellent. The hotels were also very good.