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

Nepal Travel Guide: 4,243 reviews and 11,967 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 post 2015 earthquakes

It is now just over a year since the first of the two major earthquakes hit Nepal on 25 April 2015; this was followed by a second major earthquake on 12th May.

It has taken a Long time for Nepal to recover from these and although it is still easy to see the scars left by these two disastrous quakes, Nepal is once again fully open for Trekking and Tourism.

All the major teahouse trekking routes are now open, but Langtang, the worst hit popular trekking region still has certain paths closed, notably the one between Rimche and Thulo Syabru which trekkers would normally use when combining the Langtang Trek with Helambu by crossing Gosaikund – These treks can of course sill be combined but you now have to walk around by Syabru Besi – Also the trekking route into The Langtang Valley is now on the old high level route via Sherpagone (The low level route being part of the closed path)

The Annapurna Region was largely unaffected by the earthquakes and remained open throughout and the Everest region which was effected by the second earthquake is now again fully open.

All the National Parks including Chitwan and Bardia are open as are all the world heritage sites around Kathmandu and the surrounding valley, but the latter have lots of scars in evidence.

Road networks are now fully functioning and air travel is back to the pre earthquake standards and the fuel crisis which also crippled Nepal post earthquake is now at last over – So Anyone considering visiting Nepal should stop considering and get their flights booked as without the tourist $ once more flowing back into Nepal, the people there will continue to suffer post earthquakes

Good Luck and Happy Safe Travels to One and All



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 -
  • 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 May 13, 2016
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Reviews (350)

Comments (204)

  • Saagar's Profile Photo
    Mar 30, 2016 at 7:04 AM

    Rob, I notice that your earth quake info in the Nepal Editor column is dated. Things have much improved, I am happy to provide you with updates. I am posting updates on Facebook, the page named "Reis Nepal", most of it is in Norwegian, but I can translate it, as I have to do this anyway for NepalNow.org the next few weeks. And you can iron out my broken Norwenglish. Let me know, it's all yours to post if you want. Or another way to do it - I can post details on my Nepal page and you can summarize or copy-paste whatever you find interesting. Good to see you pasting new tips, by the way. I will probably guide in that area next autumn.

    • into-thin-air's Profile Photo
      Mar 30, 2016 at 7:29 AM

      Ho Olav
      Thanks for the reminder – I have had other things on my mind !!
      Anyway, you gave me the prompt I needed and I have now updated my travel advice for Nepal post earthquake on Nepal Travel Guide - Please take a look and see if you think I have missed anything important
      Thanks
      Rob

  • Jasperr_'s Profile Photo
    Feb 16, 2016 at 8:35 AM

    Hey Rob,
    Thanks for your effort to share all your info and experiences of Nepal!
    I'm doing the AC in mid-april this year, but I have a few questions:

    1) I'm going to be in Nepal for 23 days, do you think that's enough to do the AC (until Jomsom) and include 3/4 days for Poon hill? or is it better to just go from Jomsom to Pokhara

    2) Would poon hill be even worth the hassle of getting there after doing the amazing AC?

    3) I'm doing this trip solo, do you advice me to just take a plane to Pokhara from Jomsom to keep it 'easy' for a first timer in Nepal (with trekking experience). I don't want to make it too complicated and I really don't want to stress myself to get back in time to KTM for my flight back to Belgium.

    Thanks in advance for your time!
    I'm a bit stressed for my first long solo trip... :)

    • into-thin-air's Profile Photo
      Feb 16, 2016 at 9:16 AM

      Hi Jason
      Thanks for your kind words about my blog – Pleased to hear that you are finding eh info that I have posted useful in planning your own trip there :-)
      Before I answer your questions, I feel that I should mention that, Personally I don’t think it is the greatest idea to trek alone, just from a safety point of view as if illness or accident happened then if you are completely alone, you have no back-up – However, this doesn’t mean that you “Have to” hire trekking staff as the alternative is to find a trek-mate before you head off on trek, there will be plenty of people in Kathmandu in April, so finding someone suitable to trek with shouldn’t be a problem
      OK – Your questions
      1) – Yes, you have sufficient time, but to maximise this, try to be on your way out of Kathmandu and on the bus to Dumre / Besisahar within 2 or 3 days after arriving – You might also find "Road Building on The Annapurna Circuit" - Trekking Tip by into-thin-air useful
      2) Yes – You can catch a jeep / bus from Jomsom to Tatopani and start to trek towards Poon Hill from there – But If I were you, I would keep your plan flexible and make your final decision once your reach Jomsom
      3) Again – Just see how you go, but I would be surprised if you don’t want to continue with your trek and either walk / jeep or bus to Tatopani and walk out over Poon Hill :-)
      Good Luck and Happy Safe Trekking
      Rob

  • 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

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