18 March, 2018
Dear Fellow 2018 Spring in Nepal Tour Participants,
You are 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.
As you know, on this tour we will travel with Eames Demetrios as he initiates his first Kcymaerxthaere installations in Nepal.
Among the main attractions of this tour is the Dumchi festival in the charming Himalyan town of Junbesi. This is the most important festival of the year for the Sherpa people who practice Tibetan Buddhism in the Nyingma (literal translation = "Ancient") tradition. Dumchi is a multi-day festival, and we intend to attend one of its culminating public days, April 14th.
April 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 among the clearest and average precipitation is expected to be low.
Our experience starts very soon! After reading this information, if you have any questions or concerns please share them with me!
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.
TUESDAY, APRIL 3rd ~ ARRIVAL IN KATHMANDU & check in at BABER MAHAL VILAS
Participants' Kathmandu arrivals according to individual flight schedules. Owen and I will meet arrivals 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, we will help you to obtain a Nepal Telecom SIM card for your cell phone, e.g. 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), use social media such as Instagram and Facebook, and use your phone as a wi-fi hot spot and skype. For your SIM card application please bring at least two passport photos.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4th ~ KATHMANDU
Hotel breakfast / coffee, in addition to any Kcymaerxthaere activities throughout the day, try to work in visits to Swambanath and Sitapaila (Red Gumpa). Lunch & nap at Baber Mahal Vilas & visit Siddartha Art Gallery. Afternoon Kcymaerxthaere activities + tour of Patan Museum & Durbar Square followed by Nepali cuisine dinner (Yalla Restaurant).
THURSDAY, APRIL 5th ~ KATHMANDU
Hotel breakfast / coffee, in addition to any Kcymaerxthaere activities throughout the day try to visit to Pashupatinath Hindu temple complex. Lunch & nap at Baber Mahal Vilas. Afternoon Kcymaerxthaere activities + visit to Bodhanath Stupa. Dinner at Summit Hotel.
FRIDAY, APRIL 6th
Hotel breakfast / coffee, check out of Baber Mahal Vilas as late as they will allow. Mike Reiss arrival. Might Mike like a pre-arranged spa experience (along with a shower & nap after his long flight)? If time allows, visit Everest Art Paper factory (where Docey is business partners with Lhakpa, the owner). Learn about Full Circle. Afternoon / evening drive and check-in to hotel at Dhulikhel Mountain Resort and dinner there.
SATURDAY, APRIL 7th
Hotel sunrise breakfast / coffee. Check out of Dhulikhel Mountain Resort. Drive to Phaplu with lunch en route. Check in to Kyirmu Lodge and enjoy dinner.
SUNDAY, APRIL 8th
Acclimate to altitude of 2,413 m or 7,918 ft. Enjoy optional morning orientation trek to the Ratnange lookout, or a leisurely day of activities centered around Kyirmu Lodge and the local Monastery.
MONDAY, APRIL 9th
Trek (or ride) to the peaceful and serene Kyirmu Najing Lodge (Lhakpa and Nima Sherpa's family homestead). Enjoy cheese making demonstration & dinner.
TUESDAY, APRIL 10th
Optional trek to "Lhakpa's Everst View" site (possible Kcymaerxthaere installation site) for lunch, otherwise enjoy leisure in and around Najing. Return to Najing and overnight there.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11th
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 there to charge your mobile devices. Otherwise remain and enjoy leisure in and around Najing.
THURSDAY, APRIL 12th
Optional sunrise hike to top of PK Peak, then to the charming town of Junbesi in the valley below. Everyone will check-in to "Ang Chhokpa's Lodge and Restaurant," enjoy a hot shower and convivial dinner and spend the night.
FRIDAY, APRIL 13th
Explore Junbesi and Thupten Chöling Monastery, home to about 900 monks and nuns (~80% are Tibetan refugees). Overnight in Junbesi lodge.
SATURDAY, APRIL 14th
Enjoy the fascinating and colorful Tibetan Buddhist Dumchi Festival in Junbesi. Overnight in Junbesi lodge.
SUNDAY, APRIL 15th
Helicopter charter flight from Junbesi to Hotel Everest View with a possible brief stop on PK Peak, especially if anyone in our party did not previously trek there (additional charge). Dinner and overnight at Hotel Everest View (altitude ~13,000 ft).
MONDAY, APRIL 16th
Helicopter charter flight from Hotel Everest View to view Mt Everest from Gokyo Lakes area (brief stop), then continue charter flight to Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport. Check in for final night at Baber Mahal Vilas Hotel. Shopping in the Thamel district if time allows. Special farewell dinner.
TUESDAY, APRIL 17th
Check out of Baber Mahal Vilas Hotel and transfer to Kathmandu airport according to individual flight schedules & depart.
Group Composition and Flexibility
There will be about six tour participants in total, three (main) hosts and three guests. Eames Demetrios may need us to make changes in our itinerary for the benefit of Kcymaerxthaere. We 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 APRIL
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 a clear 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, a compact lightweight warm jacket (e.g. down), thermal (long) underwear, a knit cap, and lightweight / compact gloves or mittens. 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. there are outhouse-style squat toilets & there are no hot showers). The cots/beds there are on the firm side, and you may use multiple (dingy) blankets there to keep you warm and/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 trekking 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. 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 & things for children to leave behind (e.g. Mark may bring packets of dried Michigan cherries, and one participant brought colorful wearable badges / pins that were popular).
ELECTRICITY & Electronics
Standard Nepal electricity is 230 V, 50 hz (like Europe) and three prong outlets . Please bring any portable electronics you desire (like laptops, mobile devices, e-readers, cameras, USB battery packs/power banks, USB thumb drives, compact portable bluetooth speaker, etc), as most modern electronics will automatically adapt to varying international voltages and frequencies. LED hand flashlights (& headmounted lights) 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 USB battery packs/power banks are very 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 very hit-or-miss, although Mark had brief 3G connectivity even at the top of Pikey "PK" Peak. Please assume we will be without reliable internet or 3G access from Day 7 through Day 14. 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 also enjoy downloading the PeakLens app.
Health Matters & Safety
Please consult your doctor or a travel clinic in advance if you have any medical conditions. Please bring along any medications you may desire or need (and pack reserves in a separate back-up location if your medications are vital to your health and well-being). Mark brings 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 these areas of Nepal. 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 FACEBOOK PAGE
Mark will send you an invitation to a Facebook page for tour participants. If you haven't received it, please let him know. You are highly encouraged to post trip experience entries and share your photos / videos there. Please consider adding the hashtags #tinyworldtours and #kcymaerxthaere to any of your relevant social media postings.
Luggage : travel light!
We recommend packing as lightly as possible, bringing versatile items and pare down to the essentials. Traveling with one roller bag (the size that will fit in an airplane's overhead compartment) and a daypack (e.g. a ~22 liter daypack) will be a great way to go. Although you will not need to carry your luggage for significant distances on this tour (with the exception of your daypack), please be aware that large and/or heavy luggage may not fit in our charter helicopter. If you have specific questions or concerns, please email them to Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org in advance (as much as possible) and/or Docey at email@example.com.
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
RELEVANT DOCUMENTARY FILMS
Below is a 2006 National Geographic documentary film about Tibetan Buddhism by Wade Davis, a National Geographic Explorer in residence. ~1 hour (note there are a few long gaps intended for commercials). It was filmed in Kathmandu and the Phaplu region, including the Thupten Chöling Monastery (on our Spring 2018 itinerary), and features (the late) Trulshik Rinpoche.
Below is an informative and interesting ~1 hour 1991 documentary that shows local Mani Rimdu autumn festival at the Chiwong Monastery (simular to Dumchi), and features (the late) Trulshik Rinpoche, narrated by Richard Gere.