"My Love Affair with Nepal" Top 5 Page for this destination Nepal by into-thin-air

Nepal Travel Guide: 4,224 reviews and 11,904 photos

My Love Affair with Nepal

My Love Affair with Nepal started back in 1994 when I bought an old Landrover, put together a small group and drove from Cumbria (UK) to Kathmandu, since then I have returned a further nine times and am Hoping to return soon for trip number Eleven :-)

Since my first visit I have fallen in love with both the country and its people, Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, but as little as the people there have, they are nearly always willing to share it with you. So in 2004 I started my own little enterprise, Pro-Tector to try, in my own small way to help.

In the following Pages, Tips and Travelogues below I will attempt to pass on my own experiences in Nepal to try to also encourage and help future visitors to the Beautiful yet sometimes troubled country.

For those interested, my individual trips and top recommendations are written up in the travelogues, In the Nepal Travel Tips Sections I have tried to explain procedures for arriving in Nepal, Ideas for Trekking along with permit requirements and reviews of the different styles available, Rafting on some of Nepal’s Awesome rivers, What to try to see when you are visiting Nepal including the world heritage sites as well as the National Parks, Transportation ideas and options and reviews of hotels and restaurants that I have used plus many other bits and pieces that I think might well be of use to visitors to Nepal.
Nepal is a wonderful country to visit and overall is a very safe destination, the people are some of the nicest that I have met anywhere in the world and the scenery is to die for – However there are some pitfalls and I have also tried to mention these but if there is something that I have missed or extra information that you require then Please feel free to drop me a line and I will do my very best to answer you.

Visiting Nepal in 2015

November 2015 - I am continuing to update my own thoughts on the Big Question facing many travellers with trips booked to Nepal as to “Whether to go or Not” as fresh information comes to light post Nepal Earthquakes

Things have improved a lot over these past months and Nepal is once again ready for trekkers and travellers – However, everyone heading to Nepal should keep their plans reasonably flexible as all the trekking areas aren’t open for business yet and there is still damage to many of the World Heritage sites, but at least they have all now reopened for visitors - This Link gives more info

As some of you will have no doubt read, Nepal is now suffering a fuel crisis, this is something that they could have done without, but Nepal does seem to have a tendency to lurch from one crisis to another – Some international flights have been cancelled, others re-routed, so if you can still get to Nepal, personally, this fuel crisis wouldn’t stop me going, but it has effected Nepal with steep rises in both taxi and internal airfares – So again, the message is be flexible and allow yourself plenty of time, especially getting back to Kathmandu for your international flight home

Many of Nepal's famous trekking areas have again reopened and these include all the routes in and around the Annapurna’s, Everest Base Camp routes however, Langtang remains closed (But there has been one report suggesting that The Tamang Heritage trail has recently reopened, details on This Link and there are mixed reports about Manaslu

Most of the hotels are fully open including Kathmandu Embassy Hotel which is my own recommendation as well as most tourist business, shops, transportation and infrastructure

Trekking and visitor numbers are expected to be well down this year, so, if you are thinking of heading to Nepal then the 2015 autumn season will be a good option for you to go because, apart from the wonderful welcome that you are guaranteed to receive, you will also be helping the people of this beautiful country to get on with their lives and finish off rebuilding their country after these appalling disasters

Thanks So Much for taking the time to read this and, as always, if you need further info, please feel free to send me a message

Best Regards and Happy Safe Travels to Nepal
Rob

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Nepal is my Favourite Country -- So anything I could say here would be a bit biased !!!
  • Cons:It is True that Nepal does have it's fair share of political problems now - " But It IS still Safe for the Tourist in My Opinion " !!
  • In a nutshell:The Diversity of this country will always amaze me, Mountains, National Parks, Rivers to Raft and Wonderful Ancient Cities to visit !!
  • Last visit to Nepal: Apr 2010
  • Intro Updated Nov 10, 2015
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Reviews (346)

Comments (202)

  • Usctwin's Profile Photo
    Feb 3, 2016 at 1:02 PM

    Thanks, Rob for the update on Nepal. Your pages are so great that I'm planning to talk about you and them in an upcoming all-hands company meeting. Thank you for all you do!

  • StanR8's Profile Photo
    Dec 16, 2015 at 2:06 PM

    Hey Rob, thats super helpful from you to help all travelers here with advice about Nepal. Me and my wife are thinking about the ABC trip and doing it in January or early February. That seems like there are various opinions about that, some people say its too cold, snowy and dangerous while others say its a great time to go because not many people are doing it in winter. We've done many hikes and several multi-day hiking trips, but we're not very experienced neither we're mountaineers. We do have basic hiking gear, but nothing special as well.

    Would love to hear your thoughts and advice on hiking ABC in January!

    Thanks,
    Stan

    • into-thin-air's Profile Photo
      Dec 16, 2015 at 3:41 PM

      Hi Stan
      Thanks for your kind words :-)
      Trekking in Nepal in January is certainly possible, I have trekked AC and EBC in January – AC was wonderful, very cold, but no problems with snow, EBC was a slightly different matter as we had a lot of snow, but still managed the trek – So, although statistically the winter in Nepal is the driest time, when it does snow, it tends to hang around longer because of the low temperatures – Trekking ABC does pose a slight risk of avalanches, but as long as you ask the lodge owners their advice on the current situation further up the valley as you trek, if I were you I would give it a go, if you don’t get all the way to ABC, you can loop around by either Poon Hill, Kopra Danda or even Mardi Himal on the way out – Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best is about the best advice I can give you ;-)
      Good Luck and Happy Safe Trekking
      Rob

  • Oct 6, 2015 at 8:15 AM

    Hello Rob,

    Thank you for your details sharing! I got a question. We gonna spend 7th nov to 15th nov in Nepal. Planing the trek in ABC also one day for parahawing, as well as two days for transport. Which means we only left 6days for ABC Trek. We are first time trekker. Do u recommend us to do 6 days Abc trek of we should go for shorter trek (poonhill). However we really want to do abc trek. We need ur honest experienced advise:)!

    Thanks a lot
    Audrey

    • Oct 6, 2015 at 6:52 PM

      Thank you so much Rob! Your advise is very useful. After consideration we will take the shorter trek! ;) cheers and God bless:)

    • into-thin-air's Profile Photo
      Oct 7, 2015 at 12:42 AM

      No Problem Audrey - Pleased to be of help
      There are several good 6 day treks in the Annapurna Region that will suit your timeframe – One of the derivatives of the Poon Hill Trek – Or even Mardi Himal – I took longer when I trekked Mardi Himal, "Mardi Himal Trek" - Nepal Travelogue by into-thin-air But it can be safely cur down to 6 days and might well make the ideal trek within your timeframe
      Good Luck and Happy Safe Trekking
      Rob

  • Sep 25, 2015 at 11:09 PM

    Hi Rob - thanks a lot for your detailed writeup. I would like to visit trek the Annapurna Sanctuary in a few months time. The question is safety for trekkers: I saw the safety clearance report by Miyamoto for Annapurna region, and also TAAN's criticism that the report was hastily conducted and hence, not credible. Would you have any reliable sources on the safety of the Annapurna Sanctuary trek now we are a few months after the earthquake?

    Thank you for your help
    Emily

    • into-thin-air's Profile Photo
      Sep 26, 2015 at 10:34 AM

      Hi Emily
      I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t trek ABC – Even the UK Government have removed their advice notice against going (It is still up for EBC – And I Really don’t understand why??)
      ABC wasn’t really effect by either earthquake and Kathmandu is now back on its feet with all the world heritage sites open, transportation is back to normal, there is a little political unrest, but this is mainly on the Terai, so I wouldn’t worry about that either - I am heading back to Nepal myself in March – So If you are still there then, we can all hook up and swap stories
      Good Luck
      Rob

    • Oct 2, 2015 at 9:49 PM

      Thanks a lot Rob. Well I will be in Nepal for only 2 short weeks in April as I am travelling between jobs... Enjoy your trip!

  • Sep 21, 2015 at 10:12 PM

    Hi Rob,

    It's much appreciated and helpful to see your advices! I'am planning to solo visit Nepal (my first time in Nepal!) in 16 days (9th-25th October 2015). I'm considering Gokyo Trek. Could you please give me some advices - Is it safe that time? WhIch is the best trekking option for me to do Gokyo as a solo female trekker? Can I join any group there via agency? Should I book an agent in advance or just come to Thamel then select one? How much on average/How many days are good enough?

    Quite a lot questions :|... Many thanks for your advices!!!

    Thi

  • Sep 13, 2015 at 11:02 AM

    Hi Rob,
    Really appreciate the work that you have put into the blog here with travel tips. I'm considering a solo trek via the Annapurna Sanctuary but had a quick question about hiring a porter guide. Would you recommend trying to sort that out in Kathmandu via an agency or from around the trailhead at Pedhi? I know it would save me money to book outside of an agency from abroad but an keen to make sure I can start the trek on time since I have a limited window in Nepal.

    Cheers,
    Bryce

    • into-thin-air's Profile Photo
      Sep 13, 2015 at 12:08 PM

      Hi Bryce
      Thanks for your kind words about my blog
      I have used the same Kathmandu based agent for over 20 years and always hire my trekking staff out through him – As you say, it is sometimes possible to save a few $’s by hiring trekking staff out direct (Although increasingly independent guides are charging the same if not more than agents because of the intense competition) but you have to be very careful about making sure they have insurance as it is illegal to hire uninsured trekking staff in Nepal and being 100% sure that they are insured is quite a problem (All documentation being in Nepali) – Where if you go through an agent then trekking staff insurance is his responsibility – If you want to contact the agent that I use then all the relevant details can be found on "A Very Important Decision" - Nepal Travelogue by into-thin-air
      If you need more info then pleased feel free to drop me a PM
      Best Regards
      Rob

  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo
    Apr 28, 2015 at 4:53 AM

    Have been thinking about you....this is just devastating. Every day the death toll climbs. I am so saddened about all the history and incredible buildings that have been destroyed, but it is the loss of so many lives that is incomprehensible. I think it is going to take a very, very long time to rebuild.

    • into-thin-air's Profile Photo
      Apr 28, 2015 at 5:36 AM

      Thanks for your message Donna
      I have been in front of my computer for 3 days doing what I can to help – But it amounts to very little – I would have been there right now if it wasn’t for waiting for this knee operation – Not that I could actually achieve much on the ground If I were there and had survived – But My Heart rRally goes out to all those suffering there

  • Mar 8, 2015 at 5:38 AM

    Hi Rob,

    I am Eric from Malaysia. First of all, I find your guide wonderfully helpful, it saves me from a lot of troubles googling up the thing I need to know.

    I am going to do the Poon Hill trek in early April, there are some question I hope you can help me out:
    1) Is it trekking guide necessary? How much is reasonable for 4 days trek?
    2) Is it possible to find lodge along the way without advance booking? What are the lodges would you recommend in Ulleri, Ghandruk and Ghorepani?
    3) Is it possible to hail the jeep departing to Chane (near Ghandruk) right in Nayapul? If not, where can I book it?

    Thank you, I appreciate your patience to answer my questions.

    • into-thin-air's Profile Photo
      Mar 8, 2015 at 5:52 AM

      No Problem Eric
      1) Although a guide isn’t absolutely necessary for route finding. Most find that hiring one adds to the enjoyment of a trek as they can open doors for trekkers (Like finding key holders of Gompa’s to that trekkers can go inside) as well as learn about the culture, language and customs of the area you are trekking through
      If you are prepared to do a bit of simple addition, you can get a good idea of what a trek should cost you
      Permits - TIMS and ACAP – These are around $50 per trekker (Slightly cheaper if you get them yourselves)
      Staff salary - A Fully Licensed Trekking Guide will cost around $25 to $30 per day, a less qualified Porter/Guide will be round $20 to $25 per day and a porter around $18 per day – All these rates are what you should expect to pay when hiring out trekking staff through a reputable TAAN registered agent and include their food, accommodation and insurance, but not transportation or tip
      Personal costs - You will need about $25 to $30 to cover your own food and accommodation costs – This will get you rooms in a mid class lodge, a good and varied diet, an occasional treat as well as an occasional shower – If you want to stay at high end lodges, eat steaks and drink beer then allow more ;-)
      Transportation to and from the trailhead – Prices depend on what you opt for but will range from around £20 each trekker for public busses, $30 / $40 each trekker for Tourist Busses, Internal flights round $250 each trekker and around $250 in total for a private car

      Then simply add all these together and times them by the number of days and you will come up with a good idea of price
      Alternatively you could opt for a packaged trek that includes your own food and accommodation as well as permits, but I aren’t a lover of these as prices are difficult to compare as it is almost impossible to know Exactly what is included + By keeping your own food and accommodation separate you can decide where, when and what to eat as well as where you stay

      2) Booking accommodation on the Poon Hill trek isn’t necessary as there are plenty of lodges, also if you tie yourself into something and then want to finish your days trekking a littler earlier or later you have lost your flexibility – Therefore I always recommend that you just stop where you feel like stopping and then choose a lodge to your liking

      3) Jeeps depart from the main bus park in Pokhara Bazaar – You can’t book these in advance, they depart when full – The danger of trying to flag one down at Naya Pul is that they are already full so if it were me, I would get one from Pokhara – BTW, I have heard that the road now goes above Chane almost to Ghandruk
      Good Luck and Happy Safe Trekking

      Rob

  • Feb 21, 2015 at 3:41 PM

    Hi Rob,

    Can you please recommend the best place to view the everest around the lukla airport - it can be a short hike too - so that I can take the flight from lukla to kathmandu the next day. I really have 2 days to spare.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Oct 22, 2014 at 6:46 AM

    Rob:

    Just reading about the Annapurna Circuit and am seriously considering doing the trek. You mentioned above that you know of places to rent good quality, clean equipment such as backpacks and sleeping bags. Can you please provide me with the name and contact info of those companies. Also, have you heard anything good/bad about 3 Sisters Adventure Trekking company? I am considering booking the trek with them. Have heard good things about the ABC trek. Which would you recommend the most - Circuit or ABC?

    • Oct 29, 2014 at 7:31 AM

      Hello!
      Your travel stories are very inspirig! We plan to trek AC and we are looking for someone to organize it.
      I tried to send an email to Nirmal but seems to have problems with the current email address. Do you know if he has an alternative email address?
      Thanks a lot!

      Yiannis from Athens,Greece

    • into-thin-air's Profile Photo
      Oct 29, 2014 at 9:38 AM

      Sorry to hear that you are having problems in contacting Nirmal – He can be a bit on the slow side at answering his emails, especially at this time of the year which is peek season – In fact I am also awaiting a reply from him – But one thing I can say is that once you are in Nepal, he will definitely look after you very well, so if your emails are bouncing back, just try again in another day or so – Please let me know how it all goes and if you are in Nepal next Spring, I hope to be there then myself, so we might bump into each-other
      Best Regards
      Rob

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