14 Oct, 2017
Dear Fellow 2017 Fall in Nepal Tour Participants,
You're about to become a member of a wonderful & intimate group of world adventurers in Nepal! What follows on this page is a full, yet flexible, itinerary including practical background information intended to inform and enhance your experience.
Among the main attractions of this tour is the Mani Rimdu festival at the Chiwong Monastery. This is the most important festival of the year for the Sherpa people who practiceTibetan Buddhism in the Nyingma (literal translation = "Ancient") tradition. This festival lasts nineteen days of which only three days are public. We intend to attend the festival on one of its culminating public days, November 5th.
November is a wonderful time of year to travel in the Solukhumbu region of Nepal near Mt Everest (known in Nepali as Sagarmāthā and in Tibetan as Chomolungma); skies are the clearest and average precipitation is the lowest.
Our experience starts in about two weeks! If you have any questions or concerns please let me know!
Mark Holzbach, Principle, Tiny World Tours
Docey & Owen Lewis, and Lhakpa, Nima, & Dolma Sherpa (tour partners)
Note: the following itinerary is subject to change to accommodate serendipitous opportunities and/or unforeseen circumstances.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 30 ~ ARRIVAL IN KATHMANDU & check in at BABER MAHAL HOTEL
Participants' Kathmandu arrivals according to individual flight schedules. Someone will meet you at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport soon after you have obtained your tourist visa (a $25 USD single-entry two-week visa should be sufficient) and cleared the authorities. Before leaving the airport, Mark suggests you also try to obtain a Nepal Telecom SIM card for your cell phone, e.g. in June Mark purchased a prepaid SIM card with 10.5 Gig plan for about ~3500 Nepalese rupees (~$34). Your phone must be unlocked. Purchasing a Nepal SIM card will give you a local cell phone number, allow you to roam and make local calls, navigate geography (e.g. using google maps), and use your phone as a wi-fi hot spot and skype. Transfer and check-in at the Baber Mahal Vilas, welcome dinner at Mul Chowk Restaurant, or (for late arrivals) hotel room service. (D)
*On this itinerary B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31 ~ KATHMANDU
Hotel breakfast / coffee, morning visit to Swambanath and Sitapaila (Red Gumpa), followed by tour of Siddartha Art Gallery, lunch & nap at Baber Mahal Vilas. Afternoon tour of Patan Museum & Durbar Square w/expert followed by Nepali cuisine dinner (B, L, D)
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 1
Hotel breakfast / coffee, check out of Baber Mahal Vilas. Morning visit to Everest Art Paper factory (where Docey is business partners with Lhakpa, the owner). Learn about Full Circle. Lunch and shopping in the Thamel district. Afternoon / evening drive and check-in to hotel at Dhulikhel Mountain Resort and enjoy a leisurely dinner (B, L, D).
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 2
Hotel sunrise breakfast / coffee. Check out of Dhulikhel Mountain Resort. Drive to Phaplu with lunch en route. Check in to Kyirmu Lodge and enjoy leisurely dinner. (B, L, D)
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3
Acclimate to altitude of 2,413 m or 7,918 ft. Enjoy leisurely day of activities centered around Kyirmu Lodge and the local Monastery. (B, L, D)
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4
Visit Salleri Saturday Market & nearby Salleri monastery, visit Lokta paper workshop. Continue Kyirmu Lodge and the local Monastery activites. Help to prepare dinner (optional). (B, L, D)
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 5
Walk (or option to ride) from Kyirmu Lodge to Chiwong Monastery for lunch and observe Mani Rimdu Festival culmination then walk (or ride) to Najing. Overnight in Najing. (B, L, D)
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 6
Observe cheese making; kiwi farm; and experience trout farm dinner. Overnight in Najing. (B, L, D)
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7
Pikey "PK" Peak trek, altitude 4,068 m or 13,346 ft. Overnight stay at "Peakey Yak Lodge & Restaurant" teahouse (or similar), very basic accommodations - there's electricity to charge your mobile devices. (B, L, D)
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8
Sunrise hike to top of PK, return via Junbesi. Likely overnight in Junbesi lodge "Ang Chhokpa's Lodge and Restaurant" (or similar), hot showers. (B,L,D)
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9
Explore Junbesi and Thupten Chöling Monastery, home to about 900 monks and nuns (~80% are Tibetan refugees). Overnight in Junbesi lodge. (B, L, D)
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10
Walk from Junbesi to Kyirmu Lodge, enjoy leisure activities. (B, L, D)
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11
Transport to Kathmandu (drive at no additional cost, or helicopter or airplane flight options at additional cost & weather permitting). Optional helicopter would include sightseeing near Mt Everest. Check in to Baber Mahal Vilas. (B, L, D)
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12
Last day in Kathmandu. Open schedule. Possible visit to Bodhanath Stupa. (B, L, D)
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 13
Transfer to Kathmandu airport & fly home. (B)
Group Composition and Flexibility
There will be about eight tour participants in total, four (main) hosts and four guests. Hosts will appreciate guests' general understanding and flexibility (especially around activities, scheduling, and routing) taking into account changing and potentially unforeseeable conditions and serendipitous opportunities. Please direct any Nepal tour / Tiny World Tours concerns directly to your friendly general-managing Tiny World Tours Principal, Mark Holzbach.
Weather in Nepal in November
Please expect to have temperate days and cool nights. Kathmandu highs may be expected to reach into the mid 70s (F) or 20s (C) feeling warm in the sun, and nighttime low temperatures will dip below freezing in the mountains. This is the clearest weather time of the year; rain is unlikely, yet still possible.
What to Wear & BRING
For this tour, dress will be casual. It is your call if you'd prefer to wear more stylish clothes for Kathmandu restaurant dinners and at the Dhulikhel Mountain Resort. We recommend lightweight clothing layers that will allow you to adjust to the changing temperature, a sun-shading hat, sunglasses, hiking footwear that is comfortable and already broken-in (Docey recommends having good ankle support), a lightweight warm jacket (e.g. down), thermal (long) underwear, and a knit cap. A day pack & rain poncho that covers it will be useful for our walks / treks. The hotels and lodges have hot showers and are generally very comfortable. Our Pikey "PK" Peak tea house accommodations are very basic (e.g. bathroom is an outhouse-style squat toilet & hot showers unlikely). The cots/beds there are on the firm side, and you may use multiple (dingy) blankets there to keep you warm or bring along a foil emergency survival blanket. Sleeping bags are not required, although if you are fastidious you may desire a travel sheet / sleeping bag liner. Mark is inspired by the following "Ultralight Hiking" video from Oregon Public Television and Clint “Lint” Bunting's minimal gear list (click here), and Merrell "barefoot" trail shoes (note: these do not offer ankle support). Most gear can be purchased in the Thamel district in Kathmandu, although please do not buy your tour hiking shoes there because there won't be sufficient time to break them in. Mark brings along a metal tripod selfie stick that doubles as a walking stick. Consider bringing a lightweight flashlight/reading light and an umbrella (like Lint and Docey both do). You might like to have some small thank-you gifts to leave behind (e.g. Mark often brings packets of dried Michigan cherries).
ELECTRICITY & Electronics
Standard Nepal electricity is 230 V, 50 hz (like Europe) and three prong outlets . Please bring any electronics you desire (like laptops, mobile devices, e-readers, and cameras), as most modern electronics will automatically adapt to varying international voltages and frequencies. Flashlights are handy for walking around after dark both in the city and in the countryside. Most of our lodging will also have international style electrical outlets that can accommodate US as well as European-format plugs. Please do not plan to purchase electronics in Kathmandu because the selection is generally poor and prices are inflated. An outlet adapter might be needed at the Pikey "PK" Peak teahouse, and an external cell phone / mobile device battery is useful on our multi-day treks. Although the our hotels and lodges generally have wi-fi internet, electricity (and wifi) may be shut off periodically. Using a mobile device as a wi-fi "hot spot" via Nepal Telecom 3G network connectivity is a great backup in towns like Phaplu. Cell phone connectivity in the mountains is hit-or-miss, although Mark had brief 3G connectivity even at the top of Pikey "PK" Peak. We may be without reliable internet or 3G access from November 5th through 10th. While you have good high-speed connectivity (at home or at our hotel in Kathmandu) I recommend downloading offline google maps of the remote areas we will visit (click here for a tutorial). If you have an Android phone, you might enjoy downloading the PeakLens app.
Health Matters & Safety
Please bring along any medications you may desire or need (bring reserves if your medications are vital to your health and well-being). I bring Acetazolamide (in case of altitude sickness), a general GI tract disorder antibiotic like Ciproflaxin or faster-acting Refaximin/Xifaxan, and sleeping aid Zolipdem / Ambien. There are travel & health advisory pages on the web (like this one from the UK or this one from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). FYI, Mark, Docey, and Owen personally do not intend to get any precautionary shots for visiting Nepal at this time of year. We highly encourage / recommend taking out a travel insurance policy (for example here's a web link to the travel insurance company, Allianz). For general Nepal travel-related safety matters click here to view information published by the US State Dept.
If you enjoy reading up on area wildlife, you might like to check out the following wikipedia entries:
Social Media Sharing via a Tour Facebook page
Mark has sent you an invitation to our 2017 Fall in Nepal Tour Facebook page. If you haven't yet received it, please let him know. You are highly encouraged to post trip experience entries and share your photos / videos here.
Luggage : travel light!
We recommend packing lightly, bringing versatile items and pare down to the essentials. Traveling with one roller bag and one small duffel bag or backpack would be a great way to go.
Reading / BOOKS
Please click here for a proper Nepal-related book list written by a Brit.
If you bring any books that you want to leave behind, the Kyirmu lodge library will gratefully accept your donation.
Popular MOVIES & TV
2016 "Doctor Strange" starring Benedict Cumberbatch
2015 "Everest" 3D movie about infamous 1996 Mt Everst climbing disaster, cast includes Josh Brolin and Jake Gyllenhaal
2014 "Beyond the Edge" 3D documentary about Sir Edmund Hillary's 1953 first successful summit of Mt Everest
2012 Family Guy episode "Into Fat Air" - how Nepal got its name (click here for clip).
1986 "The Golden Child" starring Eddie Murphy
Wikipedia list of "Films set in Nepal"
IMDB list of films with Nepal locations