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A list of frequently asked questions.
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Coronavirus COVID-19 in Nepal

Is it safe to travel to Nepal right now?

>> Latest information regarding Coronavirus and travel in Nepal here, updated November 16th 2020. <<

Update 14th March 2020

The Nepalese government has imposed strict visa and travel restrictions effective as of 14th March 2020. For more details please go to our dedicated Coronavirus Information page where we will post all future updates regarding COVID19.

 

As of 2nd March 2020 Nepal has only 1 confirmed case of COVID19 (Wuhan Coronavirus).

At this time Nepal is regarded as safe to travel to.

The Government of Nepal has decided to temporarily suspend visa-on-arrival for the nationals of the following countries, effective from March 10, 2020 until further notice:

  • People’s Republic of China, including Special Administrative Regions
  • Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Italy
  • Republic of Korea
  • Japan

Read Nepal Tourism Board Release

For the latest information on Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) visit World Health Organisation Situation Reports published daily.

Booking Your Trip

How do I book a tour or trek?

You can send us a Get A Quick Custom Quote from the booking tab of any tour on this website.

Or you may wish to choose to make a Custom Trip. Fill out the Custom Trip Enquiry form and send it.

Or contact us using our Contact page or send an email to info [at] realtravelnepal.com.

We accept a 30% deposit to secure your booking.

Once authorized, you will receive a receipt of your booking along with further details to prepare you for your upcoming trip!

We take all major currencies (EUR, GBP, USD,, AUD, CAD)

Do you offer any discounts or loyalty programs?

Yes we do!

Visit our Offers Page to discover all the ways you can save money when you book with us!

Book Early, Group Discounts, Loyalty, Refer A Friend and Giveaway Prizes.

Plus you can enter our Photo Competition to win even more!

Do you have a Cancellation Policy?

If you have to cancel your trip, contact us immediately using the Booking Assistance form. All cancellations are subject to Booking Conditions.

For tours to Tibet and Bhutan, cancellations must be advised at least 30 days prior to the tour commencement date.

Tours in Nepal may be cancelled up to 10 days prior to the tour commencement date, subject to Conditions.

Do you provide pre-departure information?

Click here for all the information on what to bring, what to expect and what you need to know before getting on the plane.

Visa, Insurance, and Flights

Do I need travel insurance?

As with any overseas travel, health insurance is recommended. Please obtain necessary health and travel insurance before coming to Nepal.

Make sure you check the details of the policy, does it cover medical evacuation and/or repatriation airfares in case of a serious medical emergency?

We recommend WorldNomads, they also cover high altitude trekking and helicopter evacuation. Buy Travel Insurance.

When booking your insurance plan, make sure you check you’re covered for the altitude you will be reaching as many insurance policies don’t cover higher altitudes.

Who organizes my flights to Nepal?

You do. You will need to arrange your travel to and from Nepal, but we can help you to find affordable flights.

The easiest tool for initial research is Google Flights.com.

BUT we’ll definitely be able to help with all your travel needs within Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.

Do I need a visa to travel to Nepal?

You will need a tourist visa for your visit to Nepal. These can be obtained for up to 3 months as a Visa On Arrival at Kathmandu airport. The maximum stay is 150 days per calendar year.

The current fees are:

15 Days – 30 USD
30 Days – 50 USD
90 Days – 125 USD

Not all nationalities are eligible for Visa on Arrival and it is important to check if you qualify.  Up to date information can be found at: http://www.nepalimmigration.gov.np/page/tourist-visa/.

For other nationalities it may be necessary to obtain a Visa prior to departure. Contact your local Nepal embassy for details.

Where can I obtain a visa?

Most of our visitors obtain a Visa On Arrival at Kathmandu airport, which is very simple.

You just need to bring a passport size photo and your payment fee as per the above question.

You can also obtain a visa from your local Nepalese embassy prior to departure. Bear in mind that this may take a up to a number of weeks and should be done well in advance of your departure.

Where do I fly to and how long will it take to get to the hotel?

Kathmandu has only one international airport, so all international flights arrive and depart from there. Our representative will meet you at the airport.

On your first day you will be staying in a hotel or homestay, depending on the tour you have booked, in Kathmandu. The drive from the airport should take about 30 – 50 minutes, depending on traffic and where you are staying.

We will make all the arrangements to collect you from the airport and take you to your accommodation.

Will there be anyone at the airport to receive me?

Yes, our representative will be at the airport to meet you on arrival. They will be holding a sign with your name or your group booking name, so you can easily identify them. You just simply leave the departure terminal and they will be waiting outside at the collections area.

General Trekking & Tour Info

What is the usual group size?

We keep our groups small in order to reduce impacts on the environment and to provide a better, personalised experience.

The group sizes range from 2 to 12 people but is usually around 4 to 6 people.

You can of course book a solo trek just for yourself.

We are also able to accommodate larger groups such as schools or student groups, up to 25.

Please Contact Us to discuss your group booking needs.

Can I get a refund if I don’t finish the trek?

If for some reason you are unable to finish your trek, unfortunately, we can’t refund you in this situation as accommodation and other services will already be booked in advance and are non-refundable.

In some extenuating and unusual circumstances, we may be able to offer an alternative trip as an exchange and are open to discussion in this case. We will always do our best to be flexible where possible, but please understand we incur costs well in advance of the commencement of your tour.

Do I need Travel Insurance when trekking?

Trekking is an adventurous activity, sometimes strenuous and in many cases there is potential for experiencing altitude sickness and related conditions. Full mountaineering and peak climbing come with obvious risks to personal safety.

Ii is advisable to have travel insurance in case of emergency, especially if going to high altitudes as evacuation by helicopter and international standard emergency health care or repatriation can be very costly.

Make sure you check the details of the policy, does it cover medical evacuation and/or repatriation airfares in case of a serious medical emergency?

We recommend WorldNomads, they also cover high altitude trekking and helicopter evacuation. Buy Travel Insurance.

When booking your insurance plan, make sure you check you’re covered for the altitude you will be reaching as many insurance policies don’t cover higher altitudes.

What kind of food will be served on the trek?

We will mainly eat at local teahouses and trekking lodges. They always offer typical Nepali food and often popular international dishes. Full board is included in your tour booking.

When you are staying in accommodations in Kathmandu or other cities and towns before and after actual treks or tours, we do not provide food. Don’t worry though there is a huge selection of cuisine from around the world to suit all tastes.

For an introduction to just some of the fabulous eateries visit Eat, Shop & Yoga.

Where will the drinking water come from?

Mineral water bottles can be bought in most trekking areas. However, we recommend taking your own water bottle and purifying system.

The water is cleaner in the mountains and you can drink it with a purifying tablet, or use our recommended Grayl Geo Press Water filter bottles. No more single use plastic bottles – clean drinking water everywhere!

There are safe drinking water stations along major trekking routes. You can also purchase boiled water in teahouses and trekking lodges.

Who can go trekking?

Everyone can experience trekking in the Himalayas!

We have tours and packages that suit every fitness level, budget, time limits and interests.

Are there any age limits for Himalayan trekking?

Nope. We have a range of family-friendly treks.

Lower altitude regions are more suitable for family trips. Though some children and seniors have completed high altitude trekking like Everest Base Camp trek.

Age is not a barrier, just your ability to hike, trek, be at altitude and have fun.

What about the difficulty levels of trekking?

Trekking is adventurous and sometimes strenuous.

There are short and gentle treks that are more suitable for those with a basic fitness level.

We also have challenging adventure treks for those with an advanced fitness level.

The difficulty level depends on the specific trips, altitude, steepness and duration and we endeavour to provide as much information as possible on our individual tour pages.

Do I need previous trekking experience?

Trekking experience is not a prerequisite. That said, previous hiking and trekking experience is greatly advantageous, especially when trekking at higher altitudes.

Your guide is trained in first aid and altitude sickness. Our staff will direct and advise you on everything you need to know to be safe and healthy during your tour

What’s the best time to go trekking in Nepal?

The best time to trek in the Himalayas is Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November). The weather is clear, dry and not so cold during these seasons. Bear in mind, that these are the high trekking seasons, so the popular trails may be crowded.

Beside this, Nepal has multiple regions that are suitable to travel in monsoon and winter too.
The Dolpo region and Upper Mustang region are suitable to trek in monsoon.

Lower altitude treks in Annapurna, Manaslu and other parts are suitable for winter trips.

Do I need permits for trekking?

Generally, yes. Treks often lead through National Parks or Conservation Areas. To enter, you need to have the relevant permits and show them at checkpoints along the route.

If it is not a preserved area, you do not need permits. There are some restricted parts such as Dolpo and Upper Mustang that require restricted area permits.

You also need a TIMS card (Trekkers Information Management System), this will help locate you faster in an emergency.

We will inform you about this when you book your trek program and will acquire any mandatory permits and cards for you and assist you all the way through this process.

For some permits we will need a full day after your arrival in Kathmandu as we will need your passport for the registration. please factor this into your travel arrangements

How long will we be walking each day?

For most of our treks you need to be able to walk at least 4-6 hrs each day. Depending on the trek there may be some days where you will be walking for about 9-10 hours.

We will have plenty of breaks throughout the day and will of course stop for lunch.

We walk approximately 5-15 kilometres each day, depending on the trail and altitude level.

What accommodation will we stay in when trekking?

Most of the trekking trails have basic lodges, which are also called tea houses. They are cosy, basic and adaptable. They usually have a common dining room, some are heated, as well as double, twin, triple or quadruple rooms.

Some lodges provide ensuite rooms, though most remote tea houses will have shared bathrooms. The more remote you are, the more basic the lodges become.

What is teahouse trekking?

Teahouse trekking is lodge based trekking as described in the above question. It is the most common form of today’s trekking where you walk from lodge to lodge, sleep and  eat there. Most of the lodges are run by locals.

On some treks there are larger towns along the way where we will sometimes stay in hotels with more amenities. These towns will often have additional restaurants and cafes where you may take additional meals at your expense if you wish.

What is involved in camping trekking?

Select experiences or remote treks may include camping as a regular or back up accommodation option. Very remote expeditions do not have the teahouse or lodge infrastructure as with popular routes, and it may be necessary to camp.

Our kitchen staff and porters will cook and serve your meals and we will sleep in tents that we will provide and carry. You may bring your own sleeping bag and other gear if you wish, or you can purchase or rent in Nepal when you get here.

If you have purchased that includes camping we will provide all the information you need to be properly prepared and kitted out as part of our pre-departure procedure.

Trek Health, Fitness & Safety

How to know if I’m fit enough to trek?

Trekking requires good physical fitness. It means you should be able to walk 5-7 hours a day.
If you have some health difficulties, high altitude treks may not be suitable.

There are trekking tours at lower altitudes and that are less strenuous. On our individual tour pages we provide information regarding difficulty and fitness.

If you have any doubts or a pre-existing health condition we recommend consulting your doctor for a checkup and medical advice.

How do I acclimatize to high altitude?

There are several ways to get acclimatized safely:

  • Starting your trek at a low altitude and ascending slowly towards a higher altitude.
  • Trekking to slightly higher than your sleeping place for that night, then descending to your chosen sleeping altitude. Our preferred method is, after arriving at our destination, to go for a walk/short hike a little higher up and then descend to eat and sleep.
  • Incorporate acclimatization days where you remain at a recommended stop for one to three days and rest, do some non-strenuous walks, hang out and have some relaxing fun.
  • Don’t sleep more than approximately 500m higher from the previous night, if possible.
  • Stay hydrated! Drink at least 3 litres of water per day.
  • Eat soup and drink warm beverages to keep you warm, hydrated and energized.
  • Makes sure to eat plenty of garlic along the way, it helps with acclimatization.

What if I get altitude sickness or am injured while trekking?

High altitude sickness is a common concern and should be greatly respected. It’s important to be well informed before trekking as ignorance of the more serious symptoms and complications can be fatal.

Our guides are trained in altitude sickness and first aid and will tend to your general health and non-serious injuries. In serious cases where medical care is required our staff will get you to local emergency care.

If sickness or injury is serious and/or no medical assistance is available, our staff will organise prompt helicopter evacuation. We recommend buying travel insurance like WorldNomads that cover helicopter evacuation and high altitude trekking emergencies.

Evacuation is always the last resort. We suggest trekking to a lower altitude or taking a rest day if you start to feel unwell or need assistance.

As a solo traveller, should I pay extra charges?

You don’t pay any extra charges even if you are a solo traveller when you book our tours.

However, the cost of solo travelling and travelling in a group certainly differ if travelling independently.

Gear, Porters & Guides

What should I pack for trekking?

Packing depends on the trekking you are going to do. If you are going alpine trekking, you need warm clothes, windproof and down jackets and good quality trekking boots.

If lower altitude trekking, less equipment is required. You can rent or buy trekking gear and clothes in Kathmandu.
Please also bring a personal first aid kit, biodegradable hygiene products and natural sun block.

It is also advised to bring any prescription medicine you might need, as they can be difficult to get in Nepal.

Ultimate Gear Packing Lists

What footwear is recommended?

Comfortable trekking boots with thick sole and warm woollen socks are necessary for trekking. If it is alpine altitude, bring more spare socks. Make sure your boots are broken in and not too new in order to avoid getting blisters, you don’t want to end your trek early because of really sore feet.

You can bring slippers or sandals for showers, and for the evenings to allow your feet to breathe.

Read more in our Ultimate Gear Packing Lists.

Do I need sun protection?

Most definitely! You will be walking in the sun most days. The sun is more powerful in the high altitude, but easier to forget about during colder periods and when in the alpine zones. At lower altitudes it is sub-tropical to tropical and so you will be hot while trekking and want to wear less clothes, exposing more skin to strong sunshine.

Skin may burn easily and eyes can become sensitive. Bring a natural sunblock with you, a wide brimmed hat, long sleeves, and UV protection glasses. If you are fair skinned it is advisable to take all the usual essential precautions, having to trek long distances can be very unpleasant if you are badly sunburnt and emergency materials will be limited.

Do I have to carry my own gear?

You will carry a day pack with essentials such as your phone, camera, hat, rain jacket, personal first aid kit, sun block, snacks and water. Your porter will carry the rest of your gear.

On shorter treks you might choose to carry all of the gear but hiring porters supports the local economy and makes your experience much more pleasurable when someone more acclimatized to mountains is doing the heavy work for you. Also great for people unsure of their fitness levels.

You may have chosen a specialized tour and have opted to carry your own gear. In this case we recommend keeping your pack as light as is practicable, typically not more than 20 to 30% of your body weight.

If you can do it with less than that, we highly recommend it. the higher you go, the heavier your load feels.

How much can a porter carry?

We recommend packing no more than 12 kgs in your main pack for porters to carry. Generally one porter carries the luggage of two and sometimes three trekkers. Avoid packing unnecessary baggage.

Pack your personal items in a small daypack for you to carry, including your electronics, water, snacks, hat, rain protection, first aid kit, sunblock etc.

Most hotels and hostels have offer storage options for you to keep extra luggage safe while you trek. If you need additional storage for such luggage let us know in advance so we can arrange the best options for you.

Should I tip my guide and porter?

Tipping is not mandatory but it is expected.

They work hard to make your trek as comfortable and easy as possible.

It’s common to tip on the last evening of the trek in Nepali Rupees, as it’s difficult for rural people to exchange foreign currency.

Do I need a guide? Can’t I guide myself if I’m experienced?

Of course some trails and regions are possible to self trek, especially if you have prior experience and are not daunted by such travel. We know, we like to self trek sometimes too.

If you’re interested in self trekking be sure to do your research and make yourself as well informed as possible. You can also check out our resources for self trekkers (coming soon), we know you’ll find plenty of useful stuff and links in there!

If an emergency occurs, having a guide to assist you is extremely valuable and could save you from serious illness or worse. Your guide is first aid trained, can communicate with the local people and knows where to get further medical assistance if needed.

Many trekking trails go through isolated regions of the countryside and into wilderness of forest and grasslands. When trekking with a guide, you can be assured that you will not get lost or stranded in the dark between villages. Guides know the trails and villages well. In more remote and high areas some parts of trails are well, dangerous!

Furthermore, having a guide ensures that you will have insider knowledge to tap into, our guides will take you to all the best places along your journey, many of these known only to locals.

Is your company’s trekking crew insured?

Yes, all of our trekking staff are properly insured during their work on the treks.

Culture, Language, Food & Climate

Do I need to speak English to travel in Nepal?

To travel in Nepal it is greatly advantageous to speak English as many Nepali people understand and speak English to some degree. If you are taking in part in one of our Volunteer programs it is essential that you are proficient in English.

Speaking English will make travelling in Nepal much easier, but it is not absolutely essential. Providing you have basic English or someone in your party speaks English you will be fine.

Increasingly of course, Nepalese people are speaking more and more languages common to their tourist groups. We can provide German speaking translators for your group treks if required and can arrange other language speaking guides with advance prior notice. Contact Us if you need to arrange non-English speaking guides or translators.

Learn Survival Nepali

Do I have to speak Nepali to volunteer in Nepal?

Many people in Nepal understand English, but speaking a few sentences in Nepali will make your life easier. It helps if you are able to speak basic Nepali, and great fun as well.

Learn Survival Nepali

What if I have food allergies or am vegetarian or vegan?

With advance notice this is not difficult for us to arrange. As part of our pre-departure procedures we will gather information from you regarding specific dietary needs. If you have urgent questions regarding food please Contact Us, we’ll be delighted to help you.

If you are allergic to the staples of rice and pulses it will be difficult to eat well on remote treks and tours, but it is less of a problem on popular treks. Many food options are typically found on menus along the established trekking routes.

Trekking for vegans is more challenging and will lack variety for sure. Dhal bhat (lentils & rice) and veg curry are always available, though you will want to opt out of the side order of yoghurt that is common.

In bigger towns and the cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara finding excellent vegetarian and vegan food is no problem. Go to our Shop, Eat & Yoga page for a small sample of what’s on offer. There are thousands of great eateries, so worry not, you’ll eat well. There’s plenty of vegetarian Indian food to be found too.

We always carry with us our own trail mix for trekking, literally kilos of the stuff we bring from home. You can also buy lots of this kind of food nowadays in Kathmandu and Pokhara, so with some good forward planning, it’s possible for vegans to eat well too.

Of course if you’re an omnivore you’ll be just fine.

What types of clothes am I allowed to wear?

We advise our visitors not to wear tight or sheer clothing, short skirts or shorts (knees should be covered), tank tops, or revealing or wide neck lines. Nepalese people dress very modestly and women cover most of their body; it is Nepalese tradition to wear long clothes.

This advice is especially applicable at religious monuments, places of pilgrimage and monasteries.

What is weather like in Nepal?

Nepal is not always as cold as people think. The country is geographically divided into three parts.

The Himalayan region of Nepal is at high altitude and will get to subzero temperatures at night and arctic temperatures in winter.

The mid-hill region (i.e. Kathmandu and Pokhara) is over 20°C all year around during the day but it gets cold at night and out of the sun in winter.

The mid-terai region (i.e. Chitwan) has the lowest altitude and is therefore the warmest, even in winter it won’t get below 10°C at night here.

In general the weather is cold from December to March, but warm in Spring and Fall and moderately hot during the summer. Fall is the best time for trekking in Nepal because the skies are the clearest.

Please bring your winter clothes (think many layers!) if you are coming in Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb and bring summer clothes for the rest of the months.

Please note that most Nepali houses and rural lodges don’t have heating so a sleeping bag is a good idea for winter nights on treks and tours.

Nepal also has a monsoon season from August to September which can bring heavy rain.

Climate in Nepal

Money, Phone & Internet

How do I change money? Are Master/Visa or bank cards accepted?

Nowadays, there are ATM services in most of Nepal cities, which will be open during the day. There are also several banks and many money exchange services.

You can bring MasterCard/Visa card, cash EUR, GBP; USD  are also accepted and easily changed at one of the money changers. Solo, Cirrus and Maestro debit cards are rarely accepted in ATMs.

We advise you to either use ATMs inside a reputable bank or go to one of the ATM ‘Lounges’ that have a security guard.

How much money should I bring along?

We provide food and accommodation along with any transportation services on the fully inclusive tours.

However, if the trip is extended at your request or by unavoidable circumstances, you need to cover the extra costs. Also, bring extra cash if you want to have things not included in our cost, like alcohol.

Depending on how long your trip is and how much you want to shop for souvenirs and handicrafts, we recommend bringing another 200 – 350 EUR if you are not staying for very long either end of your tour.

There are no ATMS in rural areas of Nepal so make sure you have enough cash with you.

If you are extending your trip or self trekking Contact Us for more information on how much money would be advisable to take with you.

Will I have access to email, telephones?

It depends on where you are going. All major hotels will have WiFi available (remote lodges may charge you), as well as telephones which you may be able to use. Most people in urban Nepal and a good deal of rural Nepal now use smartphones, so bring yours along.

You can buy cheap Nepali SIM cards with which you can make international calls and texts, and use mobile data. In all likelihood, your SIM card will be blocked for calls in Nepal, though you will probably be able to receive and send SMS depending on your service provider plan. Most people are unable to make calls from their own SIM in Nepal.

On very remote treks and tours you may be without phone coverage or WiFi for a few days.

Health & Safety

How safe is it to travel to Nepal?

It is very safe to travel in Nepal. Some foreign embassies have had warnings in place about travelling in Nepal for many years, but crime against tourists is very low and the tourism sector continues to grow rapidly. Nepal has been politically calm and stable for several years.

We always ensure our guests are accommodated in safe environments. We are proud that despite operating since 2004 we have heard no mention of any of our guests feeling unsafe or having any negative experience.

As in any major city, especially with many tourists, there are of course pickpockets. Make sure you keep your belongings safe and take the usual precautions when travelling.

How readily available is medication and treatment?

Nepal offers very basic medical services. There are several International standard hospitals in Kathmandu for emergency medical treatment. We generally refer to the CIWEC Clinic and the Nepal International Clinic.

Pharmacies are common in major cities, and there are often some smaller health stations in rural villages. There are doctors available in bigger towns on some popular treks during trekking season.

However, if you are taking any prescription medicine, we suggest that you bring an ample supply from your home country.

What vaccinations should I consider having prior to arrival?

We suggest that you consult a travel doctor from your country well before your departure as it will depend greatly on what country you are travelling from.

You may want to bring Malaria tablets, especially if travelling to Southern destinations at lower altitudes.
You may wish to consider the following vaccinations if you are concerned about disease.

Highly recommended:
Hepatitis A
Typhoid

Recommended for long stays and special exposure:
Hepatitis B
Diphtheria
Tetanus
Yellow fever
Rabies
Tuberculosis
Japanese encephalitis

What steps are taken to avoid illness?

We do all we can to ensure that all food and water we provide is safe and clean. Real Travel Nepal trains the guides and porters regarding the safety of water and food. They will always make sure your water is thoroughly boiled or the water source clean, and all food thoroughly cooked and hygienically prepared.

However, there is still a chance of contracting illnesses like diarrhoea or Guardia, or an upset stomach due to unfamiliar foods. this is not uncommon for foreign visitors.

It is important that you follow the usual hygiene protocols of thoroughly washing your hands before each meal, after using the bathroom, and after handling raw foods. Raw foods like fruit and vegetables should always be washed in clean drinking water and/or peeled.

It is usually safe to consume freshly cooked food (including street food) and hot drinks like tea or coffee.

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