Tibet Uncovered China, Nepal

Tibet Uncovered

China, Nepal

Hiking
15 days
2019

Sun, Oct 13

Sun, Oct 27

€4,060

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Overview

Join an adventure across the top of the world. From the serene former home of the Dalai Lama in Lhasa to the ancient narrow laneways of Kathmandu, traverse the world's highest mountain range and delve into the heart of Tibetan Buddhism. Mingle with locals, rub shoulders with pilgrims and take in spectacular scenery – this is most definitely Tibet and all its treasures uncovered.

Map

Itinerary

Day 1Kathmandu
Namaste! Welcome to Nepal. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. Those who have pre-booked an arrival transfer can meet their driver outside the airport terminal, a few metres from the exit door – look out for the Intrepid signboard. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception for the location of this 2pm meeting. We'll be collecting your insurance details, next of kin information, visa application fee and passport photo fee, and you will need to fill in the application forms for the group visa at this meeting. Please ensure you have all these details handy to provide to your leader. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, we advise you to arrive a day early so you're able to attend and finish the paperwork in time for the visa application. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please call our local emergency number and inform our local team immediately. This group meeting will be longer than your normal Intrepid meeting as there are a fair bit of paperwork to go through for the visa application inc. a 6-page form to fill. Then your tour leader will take you to take the photos needed for the visa application (5 USD per person) to make sure all the photos submitted are in line with the embassy requirement. Afterwards, your evening is free, but your trip leader will usually organise an (optional) evening meal at one of Kathmandu's fine Nepali restaurants. Notes: Remember not to obtain a Chinese visa in advance, as you will use a group visa when entering Tibet from Nepal. Any other valid Chinese visa in your passport will be cancelled if you do obtain one. Please see the 'Visa' section of these trip notes for more information. When you fill in the application form, please do not use any abbreviations. You will be asked to fill in your place of work with detailed address and contact info too. If you are unemployed or still studying, you can fill you your workplace from the past or your school details. Please make sure all the information you have filled in the form is accurate, particularly all matching your passport. Any inaccurate info including spelling mistakes etc may result in denial of China visa from the authorities.
Day 2Kathmandu
This morning, our local partner will take all the necessary documents to go to China embassy and submit them for the group visa application. In the meantime, you’ll have to be ready to be called into the embassy for any further enquiry about the group visa, so your tour leader will take you for short walks near the hotel and sites but please note that we don’t advise you to be separate from your group and your tour leader in case that an urgent embassy visit is required. It’s possible for you to visit the monkey temple nearby (at your own expense). After 2 pm when the embassy procedures are finished, your tour leader will take you on a walking tour (2-3 hrs) to explore the excitement and allure hidden in the lanes and alleys of Kathmandu. Step out into the streets of Kathmandu, whose mixture of ancient architecture and modern development, and rich artistic and cultural heritage, means it remains the legendary destination it has been for decades. Crowded markets and bazaars are the centre of Nepali life and the narrow streets are home to holy men, monks, bicycles, incense, goats and sacred cows. Experience these all on the walking tour with your tour leader.
Day 3Bhaktapur - Changu Narayan - Kathmandu
Today, we leave in the morning on a private bus to visit one of the most highly rated ancient town near Kathmandu – Bhaktapur. 14 KM away from Kathmandu, Bhakatapur was one of the 3 royal cities in Kathmandu valley, and remains a living museum with stunning architecture and art, rich history and fascinating religion of Buddhism and Hinduism. Take a stroll with your leader through the zigzagging alleys and learn about the stories of the kings and the saints of the past, say hi to the locals and admire the intricate wood carvings and pottery making. Continue on to Changu Narayan, a hidden gem in Kathmandu’s religious scene, being one of the oldest Hindu temple in the region. Enjoy some time of tranquillity and nature here before heading back to the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu.
Day 4Lhasa (3,650m)
Fly to Tibet's capital, Lhasa (approximately 2 hours) (3,650 m). Colourful and historic, the holy city of Lhasa is situated in a small valley. Unknown to the outside world for years, even the most adventurous and hardy of explorers rarely reached the city without being turned away, either by the treacherous terrain or the fierce warrior monks that protected Tibetan territory from intruders. Nowadays it welcomes tourists, but remains an enchanting city, steeped in culture and mythology. In Lhasa you will stay at a basic but centrally located hotel with twin-share accommodation decorated in traditional Tibetan style.
Day 5Lhasa
This morning, take it easy to adjust to the altitude. At noon, take a cooking class and learn the fine art of preparing momo, traditional Tibetan dumplings for lunch.Though the dish appears in neighbouring countries Nepal and Bhutan, it’s believed to originate in Tibet. In the afternoon, we'll visit Sera Monastery where the fascinating Buddhism debate takes place between the Tibetan monks. We won't understand a thing that they are debating about, but it's purely joy to see how they heatedly discuss the philosophies in a very exaggerated and eye catching manner.
Day 6Lhasa
In the morning, visit the Potala Palace, the incredible former home of the Dalai Lama that’s perched 130 metres above the city. The palace is divided into two parts, the White Palace (secular and used as offices and the like) and the Red Palace (home to chapels, shrines, and tombs of Dalai Lamas). Although you must stick with your guide while exploring Potala Palace, this in no way lessens the impact of seeing what is truly a wonder of the architectural world. Then visit Jokhang Temple, considered the spiritual heart and most sacred temple of Tibet. It always attracts a steady waves of pilgrims. Spend some time exploring this 6-acre World-Heritage listed site and learn a thing or two about its history. According to legend, the temple was built on top of a lake after many failed attempts to build monasteries in other nearby locations. Feast your eyes on golden Buddha which stands in the centre. If you still feel energetic enough, perhaps join the pilgrims walk around the Barkhor Street or around the Potala palace (clockwise direction), both of which are considered sacred Koras by the Tibetan Buddhists.
Day 7Drak Yerpa (4889m) - Lhasa
Take a private bus to the Drak Yerpa Monastery. Known variously as Brag Yer-pa, Yerpa, Dagyeba, Dayerpa or Trayerpa, this is one of the holiest cave retreats in Tibet, the 'life tree' of Lhasa. It’s located in the spectacular limestone cliffs of the Yerpa Valley, with views of prayer flag-covered mountains. Here you can explore some of the caves, including ones where pilgrims sip holy water or slip through a small gap in the rock, and perhaps talk with the few remaining monks that live there. Monks have begun to return to Yerpa, but numbers are strictly controlled by the government, which carries out regular patriotic study sessions.
Day 8Gyantse (3,977m)
Continue to Gyantse (approximately 8 hours) (3,977m). The drive is long but rewarding, with spectacular views and plenty of photo opportunities, including at Karo La (5,039m). We will stop out at Yamdrok Lake (4,441m), it is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. Gyantse is a small agricultural town that's famous for its wool carpets. It has a very traditional feel to it, and indeed everyday Tibetan rural life continues here much as it has done for centuries. There are a number of interesting buildings around town, including the Pelkhor Chode Temple complex, a unique structure built in 1414 comprising five stories, each one representing a different stage on the path to enlightenment. The backstreets of Gyantse are a great place to see contemporary Tibetan life, with pilgrims, pop music, cows, 'cowboys' on motorbikes, kids and monks mingling in a lively mixture of cultures.
Day 9Gyantse - Shigatse (3,840m)
Today start your day with a visit to the Pelkor Chode Monastery and its Kumbum Tower, aka 'Ten Thousand Buddha Pagodas' with an architecture style featuring Han, Tibetan and Nepali. Then enjoy lunch with a local Tibetan family at their home before leaving for Shigatse (approx. 2 hours). Shigatse is home to the massive Tashilhunpo Monastery, traditionally the seat the Panchen Lama. Your leader will take you on a tour through the myriads of the monastery – each building with their own intricate decorations, legends and religious imagery – you can ask for directions to the tranquil Chapel of Jampa and meditate on the world's largest gilded statue. The courtyard outside of the Kelsang Chapel is one of the best places to observe the pilgrims and monks prepare for ceremonies. In the evening, perhaps join the pilgrims on their kora, spinning prayer wheels as you walk around the perimeter of the monastery and take in the lovely views and atmosphere (approximately 1 hour).
Day 10Sakya (4,300m)
Continue to Sakya (approximately 3 hours) (4,300m). Sakya's monastery and town buildings are quite unique. The monastery is built in medieval 'Mongolian' style. Rather than being whitewashed, the secular buildings are painted in red and white stripes. At first the halls may seem similar to other monasteries you have visited, but after spending some time here you'll see that Sakya has a subtle, ancient beauty unlike any other. You might also like to climb the hill through the Tibetan Village to see what's left of the original monastery complex. Make sure you pick your way through the ruins and remaining buildings in a clockwise direction, as this is a kora route (prayer circuit). You can also hike a little further afield to the nunnery, which sits high on the hill and overlooks the town. For dinner tonight, perhaps try some spicy food at one of the little restaurants run by Sichuanese immigrants. You will stay the night in a basic guesthouse (note that hot water is usually unavailable here).
Day 11Everest National Park (4,980m)
An exhilarating drive (approximately 5–6 hours) brings you to Everest National Park.The road is winding but the you'll be compensated with great view of world's greatest snow capped mountains standing together afar like giants. Leave your big luggage on our private bus and take an overnight bag with you for the park shuttle bus to Rongbuk Monastery and visit this world 2nd highest monastery. On a clear day you might even get a photo of the monastery's chorten against the backdrop of mighty Everest, or Qomolangma, as it is called in Tibetan. Today, around 50 monks and nuns remain in this relatively modern Tibetan monastery (in the early 1900s, some 500 lived here) Then get settled where you'll stay tonight - the camp ground of the yark hair tents set up by Tibetans to accommodate the travellers who come here for a night close to the Everest. Depending how you feel you can either relax at the tent site or walk to the Everest Base Camp Monument Stone that's about 500 meters away. The monument is the closest you can get to the Base Camp on the Chinese/Tibetan side but standing in front of the Everest will simply leave everyone speechless as it becomes clear why it's a sacred mountain to the Tibetans. For the more energetic, your leader can take you for a hike to the upper Rongbuk Monastery (the highest!) and visit some caves where the monks meditated in the ancient times. Note: In summer months, the group will stay at Rongphu in the tent city that is set up along the road to Everest Base Camp. Accommodation here is in nomad-style tents. Tents sleep up to seven people with basic mattresses and bedding provided, but we recommend using a sleep sheet and preparing some warm clothes, as it can get quite cool in the evenings. There are basic pit toilets nearby. For heating there is a yak dung stove in the central open area of each tent. At such close proximity to the tallest mountains in the world, the surroundings more than make up for the basic sleeping conditions. In colder months, when the tent city is not operational, the accommodation will be a monastery guesthouse, or lodgings in a nearby town. Rooms here are quad-share with very simple, shared facilities. Also note that Everest Base Camp can close without any prior notice because of political issues and/or bad weather. Prior notice will be given where possible. When it's closed, passengers will stay in Old Tingri (4,300m) where a beautiful view of Everest is still possible on a clear day.
Day 12Shigatse
A full day travelling ahead after breakfast. If you would like to, wake up early and get some last shots of Everest during sunrise time. Afterwards, say goodbye to our hosts and return to Shigatse (approximately 8 hours).
Day 13Lhasa
Journey back to Lhasa (approximately 6 hours). Though it's a long day of driving, the scenery along the way is spectacular, so sit back, relax and enjoy it. There will be stops for lunch and to take photographs of the mountains.
Day 14Kathmandu
Head back to the airport to board your flight to Kathmandu (approximately 1.5 hours). Your journey comes to an end where it all began, back in Kathmandu. You'll check back into your hotel, then head out for a final (optional) group dinner. Boasting a delicious array of international and local cuisine, Kathmandu is lovely place to dine, especially after your adventure across the 'Roof of the World'.
Day 15Kathmandu
Your trip comes to an end. There are no activities planned, and you are free to depart the hotel at any time before 12 noon. If you are departing later, luggage storage can be arranged at the hotel.

Trip title

Tibet Uncovered

Trip code

CBSN

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019
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Introduction

Join an adventure across the top of the world. From the serene former home of the Dalai Lama in Lhasa to the ancient narrow laneways of Kathmandu, traverse the world's highest mountain range and delve into the heart of Tibetan Buddhism. Mingle with locals, rub shoulders with pilgrims and take in spectacular scenery – this is most definitely Tibet and all its treasures uncovered.

Style

Original

Themes

Explorer

Transport

Plane,Private Bus,Public Bus

Physical Rating

4

Physical preparation

You will be mostly travelling on high altitude (above 3000 meter elevation) while in Tibet, with several long bus journeys to remote areas with basic facilities. Please consult your doctor if you have any particular concern over travelling on high altitude and we highly recommend you read on AMS and prepare yourself accordingly.

Joining point

Hotel Moonlight

Joining point description

The Hotel Moonlight is situated on the edge of Thamel near the bustling downtown area of Kathmandu. the hotel features a quiet courtyard garden and a rooftop terrace with great views over Kathmandu. 46 rooms with LCD TV, individually controlled A/C, room service, telephone and gym. There is free wifi throughout the hotel. The hotel has a restaurant serving Nepali and international cuisine as well as a bar.

Joining point instructions

Please refer to your itinerary for the joining hotel name and address. If you have not pre-booked an arrival transfer you will find taxis available on arrival at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport There are two pre-paid taxi booths inside the terminal, one on each side as you exit the baggage claim area. They have fixed rates of NPR600 to anywhere in the Thamel area from 6am-8pm and NPR800 from 8pm-6am. Otherwise you will need to bargain hard from the taxi rank outside of the airport - aim for NPR500. The drive into Thamel takes 30 to 40mins depending on the traffic. Please be aware that there may be porters outside the terminal offering their services for a fee. If you do not wish to use their services, be ready to kindly but firmly let them know. Alternatively Intrepid offer a pre-arranged transfer service option. Inquire with your agent and advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip departure. If you have purchased an arrival transfer you will be met after exiting customs outside. Look for our representative holding a sign with your name on it. If you have any trouble locating your transfer rep, or if your flight is going to be delayed, please call the following numbers: +977 980 112 3617 Normal check in time at the hotel is after 12:00.

Finish point

Hotel Moonlight

Finish point description

The Hotel Moonlight is situated on the edge of Thamel near the bustling downtown area of Kathmandu. the hotel features a quiet courtyard garden and a rooftop terrace with great views over Kathmandu. 46 rooms with LCD TV, individually controlled A/C, room service, telephone and gym. There is free wifi throughout the hotel. The hotel has a restaurant serving Nepali and international cuisine as well as a bar.

Finish point instructions

A taxi to the airport will cost about NPR600 from 6am-8pm and NRP800 from 8pm-6am. Hotel reception or your leader can help you organise a taxi. Alternatively Intrepid offer a pre-booked transfer service - enquire at the time of booking. Normal check out time is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.

Important information

1. Do not obtain a Chinese visa in advance. As we must enter on a group visa when entering Tibet from Nepal, any other valid Chinese visa in your passport will be cancelled. 2. In order for us to apply for your Tibet entry permit you must provide a scanned, colour copy of the personal details page of your passport to your booking agent no later than 40 days prior to the start date of your trip. 3. Your tour leader will lead your through the visa application formalities on Day 1 including taking you to take passport photos for the visa. Please see itinerary Day 1 for details. 4. Please be aware that in recent years there have been times when restrictions on nationalities being able to travel on specific departures have been implemented or Tibet has been closed to foreign tourists without warning. 5. Due to the demands of travelling at high altitudes a Passenger Self Assessment Form is required for this trip. 6. All clients will be entering Tibet on a Group Permit arranged by Intrepid Travel and as such it's not possible for anyone to leave the group and remain in Tibet or continue to travel in China individually. Everybody must enter and leave Tibet with the group. Make sure you read the 'Visas' section for important details on the information you must provide for your group's Tibet permit. 7. It's a criminal offence for anyone to carry images of the Dalai Lama or the Tibetan flag - doing so may lead to confiscation of the items, detention, arrest or imprisonment by Chinese authorities. We strongly advise travellers against carrying these items at any time while within China. 8. A Single Supplement is available to purchase on this trip except for the stay in Everest National Park tent. 9. Please note while traveling in China you will not be able to access some popular internet websites. 10. You will have different tour leaders in Kathmandu and in Tibet and the flight and immigration procedures between Kathmandu and Lhasa is unaccompanied by a leader. 11. The two internal international flight on this itinerary between Lhasa and Kathmandu are included in the trip price. 12. The luggage limit for the included flights is 23kg.

Group leader

All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Safety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

Visas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. NEPAL: All foreign nationals (except Indian passport holders) require a visa to enter Nepal. Visas are obtainable from embassies abroad, land borders (including borders with India & Tibet) and on arrival at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport. Getting a visa at the airport or land borders can sometimes take time due to long queues. There have been instances when travellers are asked to show proof of exit from the country, ie flight tickets. You may also need to provide two passport photos and the following fees in US dollars (subject to change, cash only). Other currencies are also accepted although rates may differ. The following costs were correct at time of writing: - Multi entry visa valid for 15 days - US$25 - Multi entry visa valid for 30 days - US$40 - Multi entry visa valid for 90 days - US$100 Please note if you are staying in Nepal for less than 24 hours while in transit, a transit visa can be issued on presentation of your international flight ticket, there is a nominal charge of US$5 and one photo is required. Your visa application form may require you to state the dates on which you enter and exit that country. Please note we suggest you list your date of entry a few days before, and date of exit a few days after your intended dates in case you encounter any delays or problems en route. To help calculate the exact dates of these crossings we have found the website www.timeanddate.com to be very useful. CHINA - NEPAL to TIBET GROUP VISA: Tibet is a province of China and all travellers require a Chinese visa. Current regulations require that all foreign visitors entering Tibet from Nepal do so on a Group Visa. Your tour leader will arrange for a Single Entry Group Visa in Kathmandu on Day 1 or 2 of your tour. Please do NOT obtain a Chinese visa before you travel. Any existing Chinese visa in your passport will be cancelled upon application for the Group Visa. The cost of the Group Visa is approx US$115 per person (US citizens US$200) to be paid in cash to your group leader. RETURNING TO CHINA: If you are planning to continue your travels in China after your tour (ie. flying from Kathmandu to Beijing) you will need to apply for a Single Entry Tourist Visa at the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu. Please check with the embassy for any specific application requirements. At time of writing the embassy is open for visa applications on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and may be able to provide same day service. DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR TIBET PERMIT & FLIGHT BOOKINGS: Tibet permits are arranged with the help of our local partners. If you are travelling on an itinerary that visits Tibet you will need to email the following document to us as soon as possible after booking and no later than 40 days before departure: * Clear, colour scanned copy of the personal details page of your passport Please make sure that this copy is of the passport that you will be travelling on. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number and bring your old passport with you on your trip as well. This may also cause significant delays in obtaining your Tibet permit so please plan ahead. If we do not receive these documents from you in time, your name and passport details will not be listed on the group permit and you will not be able to board the flight to travel to Lhasa with the group. WARNING – TRAVEL TO TIBET Please be aware that this is a politically sensitive area of China which has in the past been closed to foreign travellers without warning. A change in the political situation can also lead to unforeseen delays in issuing visas and permits. We aim to keep our travellers as up to date as possible with any changes, however these are often made without any official announcement by authorities and as such are out of our control. TIBET PERMIT: All nationalities require a permit to enter Tibet. Intrepid will arrange for a permit allowing your entry into Tibet however, Intrepid requires you to provide a clear scanned colour copy of the front page of your passport (photo page) at the time of booking in order to do this. This should be in JPEG format and Intrepid must receive this at least 40 days prior to travel. Please make sure that this copy is for the passport that you will be travelling on. If you have to renew your passport please bring your old passport with you as well. Due to the political sensitivity of this region it is important to understand that there are sometimes unexpected difficulties in obtaining Tibetan permits which are out of Intrepid's control. Frequently, and without official announcement by the government authorities controlling permit issue, the region of Tibet has been closed to visitors, or permits denied. It is impossible to predict when or if these sudden changes will occur again in the future. Of course Intrepid and our local ground teams will do everything we can to obtain permits or warn our travellers if they will be affected by last minute closures, however we may have to put alternative itineraries in place as a result.

Why we love it

Flanked by the majestic Himalayan Mountains, Kathmandu is nothing short of a legendary destination. Its bustling alleyways are filled with monks, incense, goats and sacred cows; its temples steeped in symbolism

Is this trip right for you

This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information. This itinerary is operated at a leisurely pace. It's a combination of free time and time spent with the group –perfect for travellers who like a bit of flexibility. There are some quite long days of travel, which can be tiring. On the other hand, the scenery is absolutely amazing, so sit back, relax and soak it up. Steeped in myth, spirituality and of course remote mountainous terrain, Tibet is a great place to visit if you're an independent, open-minded traveller. Note that in recent years there have been some restrictions on certain nationalities being able to travel on specific departures. Tibet has also been known to be closed down to foreign tourism without warning.

Health

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared. ALTITUDE SICKNESS: Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary! Before your trip: Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor. During your trip. While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/altitude-sickness BIRD FLU: The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously confirmed human deaths from avian influenza in China. There is a very low risk to travellers. For further information please visit: http://www.who.int/influenza/human_animal_interface/en/

Food and dietary requirements

FOOD IN NEPAL: In Kathmandu and Pokhara there are plenty of restaurants and cafes for all tastes and budgets. For a glimpse at what traditional Nepali cuisine entails, check out our guide here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/guide-to-nepali-cuisine/ Nepal caters very well towards vegetarians and vegans with almost all restaurants having a veg section of the menu. Your tour leader will be able to direct you towards restaurants that are known to have better hygiene, especially in tourist areas where they are travelling with our groups regularly. FOOD IN CHINA: What IS authentic Chinese food like? Check out these articles to get a taste: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/china-food-trip-blog/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/china-food-stereotypes/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/a-guide-to-traditional-chinese-street-food/ VEGETARIANS & VEGANS: Vegetarians in China certainly won't go hungry as there are always plenty of meat free options on menus including vegetable, tofu and egg dishes. Your leader can advise on some local favourites. Dairy is uncommon in Chinese cooking, although in some regions like Tibet, Xinjiang and Yunnan you will find milk products as part of the local cuisine. Vegans should also have few problems finding tasty meals in most locations. Nearly all cities will have vegetarian restaurants, often near to temples or monasteries that specialise in Buddhist cuisine. Check out this blog for a guide to eating vegetarian in Beijing: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/a-vegetarians-guide-to-beijing/ DIETARY NEEDS: Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may wish to supplement inclusions with their own supplies from markets or supermarkets. Please note that some dietary requirements, such as Gluten Free, will be uncommon in China and you may need to explain to your leader what you can and can't eat as well as research common dishes before you travel. ALLERGIES: For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader will endeavor to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic and research suitable local foods before travelling. In Tibet, there aren't many choices of western food. You'll easily find Chinese cuisine or Nepalese food in Lhasa, and of course Tibetan noodles, momo, Yak butter tea, Tibet milk tea or Yak burger are not to be missed. Once outside of Lhasa, we don't often have options on where to eat in smaller towns or on the long driving days. In these cases, your tour leader will take you to restaurants which have been rated well by past travellers. The variety of food will still be limited due to the fact that the region is underdeveloped, but it'll cater for most dietary requirement, including vegans and vegetarians.

Money matters

SPENDING MONEY: When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document). NEPAL: The official currency of Nepal is the Nepali rupee (NPR). Its symbol is often displayed as Rs. USD are also widely accepted in Nepal. ATMs can only be found in Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Bhaktapur. Make sure you carry sufficient cash to cover your needs when travelling outside of these cities. Money exchange facilities are available in Kathmandu, Namche, Pokhara, Chitwan (only outside the park) and Bhaktapur. Credit cards are not widely accepted. The Government of Nepal has banned the import, export and use of 500 and 1000 Indian rupee notes in Nepal. You should ensure you are not carrying these notes on arrival in Nepal as they will be confiscated and you may be fined. Please note that most establishments in Asia will not accept foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded and they can be very difficult to exchange or extra fees added when exchanging at banks. Please ensure that you have new, clean notes. Before departing on a trek, make sure you have enough Nepalese currency to purchase meals and drinks, in the smaller denominations where possible, as there are no ATMs and larger notes (such as 1000R) can be difficult to change. CHINA The official currency in China is the Yuan or Renminbi (CNY). 1 renminbi (yuan) = 10 jiao (mao). ATMs are widespread, so the easiest way to access cash on your trip is to bring a credit/debit card. Please check with your bank about overseas withdrawal fees before you depart and look for ATMs with your card logo. You may find that your card does not work in certain ATMs, so we recommend purchasing some CNY in your home country so you have some cash for your first day. Currency exchange is available at major banks and some hotels. The easiest foreign currencies to exchange are USD and EUR, however please be aware of the security risk of carrying large amounts of cash. Commission is sometimes charged for currency exchange. Check the rate before you exchange and carefully check the amount you are given and ask for a receipt. Please note that due to restrictions on currency conversion for foreigners in China it may not be possible to change left over CNY back into foreign currency, so please plan your budget and spending money well by withdrawing/exchanging what you need as you go. CONTINGENCY FUNDS: We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved. NEPAL: If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader. The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: Your Group Leader: You should consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$3-4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$2-3 per person, per day for local guides. (Including city tour guides, jungle guides, rafting guides, assistant trek guides) Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of US$2-3 per person, per day is generally appropriate. Local transport: For a city tour we suggest US$2 per person, per day. Hotel porters: NPR50-100 is adequate for porters that assist you with bags to your room. Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise 5-10% of the total bill amount is appropriate. NOTE: Please don't tip with coins or notes of or less than NPR50, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult. TIPPING IN CHINA: If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many of our destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. In China tipping is not compulsory, but has become expected in the travel industry and is considered a way of showing appreciation for great service. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: - Restaurants, markets, and taxi drivers - tipping is not customary and is not expected by the locals. - Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$5 per day for local guides depending on their service and their involvement with the group. - Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$2-US$4 per day for drivers. - Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$4-US$6 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult. Depending on the type of trip you are doing and the number of local staff involved, your tour leader may discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your group leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent. The record can then be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. DEPARTURE TAX All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

What to take

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg. Many travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller suitcases or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps or handles. If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. A lockable bag or small padlock will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day. Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip. Essential: - Clothing: a mixture of lightweight and dry fast clothing and warm layers are recommended essential for travelling in this region. Long shirts, pants, scarves are useful for covering shoulders & knees when visiting religious sites. - Shoes: sturdy and comfortable shoes for walking long distances are essential. - Personal travel documents inc. your passport (visa), travel insurance, fight tickets and trip notes. Photo copies of your passport and visa, passport size photos and travel insurance will be handy. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary. - small first aid kit including items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent, and essential medicine depending on your doctors advice. - Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card and money belt - Sun protection like hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Recommended: - Refillable water bottle (1.5 litre capacity suggested): The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. - Cell phone, camera with spare batteries, charger, and adapter plug - Hand wash, travel wipes, toiletries and small towel - Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries) - Torch or flash light esp. for stay at local guesthouses or home stays Optional: - Sleeping bag. Useful for camping, overnight trains and poorly heated hotels, particularly during the winter months of Dec - Feb when temperatures are low. - Sleep sheet. If you are travelling during the hot season you may wish to pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather. - Ear plugs to guard against street noise and snorers. - A good book, a journal and music player for overnight train rides and longer drives. Other things to consider: - Check weather in destinations you are travelling to online a few days before you go to make sure you pack appropriate clothing - Laundry facilities may not be available in all destinations, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes to tide you over until your next chance to wash

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below. Intrepid's Local Beijing Office: +861064067328

Responsible travel

We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller LOCAL DRESS: As with everywhere we travel, we strongly recommend wearing modest clothing in China (ie. covering shoulders and wearing shorts or skirts to the knee) both for your own comfort, and to respect that standards may be more conservative than in your home country, especially outside of major cities.

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched by Intrepid Group dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Nepal include: *Forget Me Not Forget Me Not rescue and reintegrate ‘paper orphans’ to be thriving, vibrant and connected to family, community and opportunity. In Nepal, there are currently 16,886 children in orphanages and up to 80% could be raised by at least one of their parents if given support. Many of the children have been taken from their families, trafficked into orphanages and used to generate funds. Last year Forget Me Not received 27% of all children rescued from orphanages in Nepal. Rescued children are given complete medical care including psychological, physical and overall wellbeing assessments. Individual case plans are developed and missions determined to trace each child’s family and work towards reunification and reintegration. https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/forget-me-not/ *Seven Women works to economically and socially empower marginalised women in Nepal through literacy programs, skills training and income generation. www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/seven-women/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/meet-kathmandus-hidden-artisans-the-extraordinary-seven-women/ For more information on our projects in Nepal, or to make a donation, visit: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/?projectcountry=nepal

Accommodation notes

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on our different trips than your own. CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights. Please note, the standard of accommodation in Tibet varies considerably and can be basic at times, especially out of Lhasa. Hot water and power supply can be sporadic, and the facilities can be old due to the lack of development in the region as well. At the tent 'city' (our stay at the EBC section of the trip), we will be staying in a seasonal tented camp. The tents are spacious, well-equipped 8 person sized, which come with dormitory style single beds, solid flooring and a central heating stove. There are no showers here and the toilet facilities are a little primitive but the view of the north face of Everest should make up for the lack of creature comforts!

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SINGLE TRAVELLERS: Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Accommodation

Hotel/Guesthouse (13 nights),Permanent Tented Camp (1 night)

Map

Itinerary

Day 1Kathmandu
Namaste! Welcome to Nepal. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. Those who have pre-booked an arrival transfer can meet their driver outside the airport terminal, a few metres from the exit door – look out for the Intrepid signboard. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception for the location of this 2pm meeting. We'll be collecting your insurance details, next of kin information, visa application fee and passport photo fee, and you will need to fill in the application forms for the group visa at this meeting. Please ensure you have all these details handy to provide to your leader. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, we advise you to arrive a day early so you're able to attend and finish the paperwork in time for the visa application. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please call our local emergency number and inform our local team immediately. This group meeting will be longer than your normal Intrepid meeting as there are a fair bit of paperwork to go through for the visa application inc. a 6-page form to fill. Then your tour leader will take you to take the photos needed for the visa application (5 USD per person) to make sure all the photos submitted are in line with the embassy requirement. Afterwards, your evening is free, but your trip leader will usually organise an (optional) evening meal at one of Kathmandu's fine Nepali restaurants. Notes: Remember not to obtain a Chinese visa in advance, as you will use a group visa when entering Tibet from Nepal. Any other valid Chinese visa in your passport will be cancelled if you do obtain one. Please see the 'Visa' section of these trip notes for more information. When you fill in the application form, please do not use any abbreviations. You will be asked to fill in your place of work with detailed address and contact info too. If you are unemployed or still studying, you can fill you your workplace from the past or your school details. Please make sure all the information you have filled in the form is accurate, particularly all matching your passport. Any inaccurate info including spelling mistakes etc may result in denial of China visa from the authorities.
Day 2Kathmandu
This morning, our local partner will take all the necessary documents to go to China embassy and submit them for the group visa application. In the meantime, you’ll have to be ready to be called into the embassy for any further enquiry about the group visa, so your tour leader will take you for short walks near the hotel and sites but please note that we don’t advise you to be separate from your group and your tour leader in case that an urgent embassy visit is required. It’s possible for you to visit the monkey temple nearby (at your own expense). After 2 pm when the embassy procedures are finished, your tour leader will take you on a walking tour (2-3 hrs) to explore the excitement and allure hidden in the lanes and alleys of Kathmandu. Step out into the streets of Kathmandu, whose mixture of ancient architecture and modern development, and rich artistic and cultural heritage, means it remains the legendary destination it has been for decades. Crowded markets and bazaars are the centre of Nepali life and the narrow streets are home to holy men, monks, bicycles, incense, goats and sacred cows. Experience these all on the walking tour with your tour leader.
Day 3Bhaktapur - Changu Narayan - Kathmandu
Today, we leave in the morning on a private bus to visit one of the most highly rated ancient town near Kathmandu – Bhaktapur. 14 KM away from Kathmandu, Bhakatapur was one of the 3 royal cities in Kathmandu valley, and remains a living museum with stunning architecture and art, rich history and fascinating religion of Buddhism and Hinduism. Take a stroll with your leader through the zigzagging alleys and learn about the stories of the kings and the saints of the past, say hi to the locals and admire the intricate wood carvings and pottery making. Continue on to Changu Narayan, a hidden gem in Kathmandu’s religious scene, being one of the oldest Hindu temple in the region. Enjoy some time of tranquillity and nature here before heading back to the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu.
Day 4Lhasa (3,650m)
Fly to Tibet's capital, Lhasa (approximately 2 hours) (3,650 m). Colourful and historic, the holy city of Lhasa is situated in a small valley. Unknown to the outside world for years, even the most adventurous and hardy of explorers rarely reached the city without being turned away, either by the treacherous terrain or the fierce warrior monks that protected Tibetan territory from intruders. Nowadays it welcomes tourists, but remains an enchanting city, steeped in culture and mythology. In Lhasa you will stay at a basic but centrally located hotel with twin-share accommodation decorated in traditional Tibetan style.
Day 5Lhasa
This morning, take it easy to adjust to the altitude. At noon, take a cooking class and learn the fine art of preparing momo, traditional Tibetan dumplings for lunch.Though the dish appears in neighbouring countries Nepal and Bhutan, it’s believed to originate in Tibet. In the afternoon, we'll visit Sera Monastery where the fascinating Buddhism debate takes place between the Tibetan monks. We won't understand a thing that they are debating about, but it's purely joy to see how they heatedly discuss the philosophies in a very exaggerated and eye catching manner.
Day 6Lhasa
In the morning, visit the Potala Palace, the incredible former home of the Dalai Lama that’s perched 130 metres above the city. The palace is divided into two parts, the White Palace (secular and used as offices and the like) and the Red Palace (home to chapels, shrines, and tombs of Dalai Lamas). Although you must stick with your guide while exploring Potala Palace, this in no way lessens the impact of seeing what is truly a wonder of the architectural world. Then visit Jokhang Temple, considered the spiritual heart and most sacred temple of Tibet. It always attracts a steady waves of pilgrims. Spend some time exploring this 6-acre World-Heritage listed site and learn a thing or two about its history. According to legend, the temple was built on top of a lake after many failed attempts to build monasteries in other nearby locations. Feast your eyes on golden Buddha which stands in the centre. If you still feel energetic enough, perhaps join the pilgrims walk around the Barkhor Street or around the Potala palace (clockwise direction), both of which are considered sacred Koras by the Tibetan Buddhists.
Day 7Drak Yerpa (4889m) - Lhasa
Take a private bus to the Drak Yerpa Monastery. Known variously as Brag Yer-pa, Yerpa, Dagyeba, Dayerpa or Trayerpa, this is one of the holiest cave retreats in Tibet, the 'life tree' of Lhasa. It’s located in the spectacular limestone cliffs of the Yerpa Valley, with views of prayer flag-covered mountains. Here you can explore some of the caves, including ones where pilgrims sip holy water or slip through a small gap in the rock, and perhaps talk with the few remaining monks that live there. Monks have begun to return to Yerpa, but numbers are strictly controlled by the government, which carries out regular patriotic study sessions.
Day 8Gyantse (3,977m)
Continue to Gyantse (approximately 8 hours) (3,977m). The drive is long but rewarding, with spectacular views and plenty of photo opportunities, including at Karo La (5,039m). We will stop out at Yamdrok Lake (4,441m), it is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. Gyantse is a small agricultural town that's famous for its wool carpets. It has a very traditional feel to it, and indeed everyday Tibetan rural life continues here much as it has done for centuries. There are a number of interesting buildings around town, including the Pelkhor Chode Temple complex, a unique structure built in 1414 comprising five stories, each one representing a different stage on the path to enlightenment. The backstreets of Gyantse are a great place to see contemporary Tibetan life, with pilgrims, pop music, cows, 'cowboys' on motorbikes, kids and monks mingling in a lively mixture of cultures.
Day 9Gyantse - Shigatse (3,840m)
Today start your day with a visit to the Pelkor Chode Monastery and its Kumbum Tower, aka 'Ten Thousand Buddha Pagodas' with an architecture style featuring Han, Tibetan and Nepali. Then enjoy lunch with a local Tibetan family at their home before leaving for Shigatse (approx. 2 hours). Shigatse is home to the massive Tashilhunpo Monastery, traditionally the seat the Panchen Lama. Your leader will take you on a tour through the myriads of the monastery – each building with their own intricate decorations, legends and religious imagery – you can ask for directions to the tranquil Chapel of Jampa and meditate on the world's largest gilded statue. The courtyard outside of the Kelsang Chapel is one of the best places to observe the pilgrims and monks prepare for ceremonies. In the evening, perhaps join the pilgrims on their kora, spinning prayer wheels as you walk around the perimeter of the monastery and take in the lovely views and atmosphere (approximately 1 hour).
Day 10Sakya (4,300m)
Continue to Sakya (approximately 3 hours) (4,300m). Sakya's monastery and town buildings are quite unique. The monastery is built in medieval 'Mongolian' style. Rather than being whitewashed, the secular buildings are painted in red and white stripes. At first the halls may seem similar to other monasteries you have visited, but after spending some time here you'll see that Sakya has a subtle, ancient beauty unlike any other. You might also like to climb the hill through the Tibetan Village to see what's left of the original monastery complex. Make sure you pick your way through the ruins and remaining buildings in a clockwise direction, as this is a kora route (prayer circuit). You can also hike a little further afield to the nunnery, which sits high on the hill and overlooks the town. For dinner tonight, perhaps try some spicy food at one of the little restaurants run by Sichuanese immigrants. You will stay the night in a basic guesthouse (note that hot water is usually unavailable here).
Day 11Everest National Park (4,980m)
An exhilarating drive (approximately 5–6 hours) brings you to Everest National Park.The road is winding but the you'll be compensated with great view of world's greatest snow capped mountains standing together afar like giants. Leave your big luggage on our private bus and take an overnight bag with you for the park shuttle bus to Rongbuk Monastery and visit this world 2nd highest monastery. On a clear day you might even get a photo of the monastery's chorten against the backdrop of mighty Everest, or Qomolangma, as it is called in Tibetan. Today, around 50 monks and nuns remain in this relatively modern Tibetan monastery (in the early 1900s, some 500 lived here) Then get settled where you'll stay tonight - the camp ground of the yark hair tents set up by Tibetans to accommodate the travellers who come here for a night close to the Everest. Depending how you feel you can either relax at the tent site or walk to the Everest Base Camp Monument Stone that's about 500 meters away. The monument is the closest you can get to the Base Camp on the Chinese/Tibetan side but standing in front of the Everest will simply leave everyone speechless as it becomes clear why it's a sacred mountain to the Tibetans. For the more energetic, your leader can take you for a hike to the upper Rongbuk Monastery (the highest!) and visit some caves where the monks meditated in the ancient times. Note: In summer months, the group will stay at Rongphu in the tent city that is set up along the road to Everest Base Camp. Accommodation here is in nomad-style tents. Tents sleep up to seven people with basic mattresses and bedding provided, but we recommend using a sleep sheet and preparing some warm clothes, as it can get quite cool in the evenings. There are basic pit toilets nearby. For heating there is a yak dung stove in the central open area of each tent. At such close proximity to the tallest mountains in the world, the surroundings more than make up for the basic sleeping conditions. In colder months, when the tent city is not operational, the accommodation will be a monastery guesthouse, or lodgings in a nearby town. Rooms here are quad-share with very simple, shared facilities. Also note that Everest Base Camp can close without any prior notice because of political issues and/or bad weather. Prior notice will be given where possible. When it's closed, passengers will stay in Old Tingri (4,300m) where a beautiful view of Everest is still possible on a clear day.
Day 12Shigatse
A full day travelling ahead after breakfast. If you would like to, wake up early and get some last shots of Everest during sunrise time. Afterwards, say goodbye to our hosts and return to Shigatse (approximately 8 hours).
Day 13Lhasa
Journey back to Lhasa (approximately 6 hours). Though it's a long day of driving, the scenery along the way is spectacular, so sit back, relax and enjoy it. There will be stops for lunch and to take photographs of the mountains.
Day 14Kathmandu
Head back to the airport to board your flight to Kathmandu (approximately 1.5 hours). Your journey comes to an end where it all began, back in Kathmandu. You'll check back into your hotel, then head out for a final (optional) group dinner. Boasting a delicious array of international and local cuisine, Kathmandu is lovely place to dine, especially after your adventure across the 'Roof of the World'.
Day 15Kathmandu
Your trip comes to an end. There are no activities planned, and you are free to depart the hotel at any time before 12 noon. If you are departing later, luggage storage can be arranged at the hotel.

Trip title

Tibet Uncovered

Trip code

CBSN

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019

Introduction

Join an adventure across the top of the world. From the serene former home of the Dalai Lama in Lhasa to the ancient narrow laneways of Kathmandu, traverse the world's highest mountain range and delve into the heart of Tibetan Buddhism. Mingle with locals, rub shoulders with pilgrims and take in spectacular scenery – this is most definitely Tibet and all its treasures uncovered.

Style

Original

Themes

Explorer

Transport

Plane,Private Bus,Public Bus

Physical Rating

4

Physical preparation

You will be mostly travelling on high altitude (above 3000 meter elevation) while in Tibet, with several long bus journeys to remote areas with basic facilities. Please consult your doctor if you have any particular concern over travelling on high altitude and we highly recommend you read on AMS and prepare yourself accordingly.

Joining point

Hotel Moonlight

Joining point description

The Hotel Moonlight is situated on the edge of Thamel near the bustling downtown area of Kathmandu. the hotel features a quiet courtyard garden and a rooftop terrace with great views over Kathmandu. 46 rooms with LCD TV, individually controlled A/C, room service, telephone and gym. There is free wifi throughout the hotel. The hotel has a restaurant serving Nepali and international cuisine as well as a bar.

Joining point instructions

Please refer to your itinerary for the joining hotel name and address. If you have not pre-booked an arrival transfer you will find taxis available on arrival at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport There are two pre-paid taxi booths inside the terminal, one on each side as you exit the baggage claim area. They have fixed rates of NPR600 to anywhere in the Thamel area from 6am-8pm and NPR800 from 8pm-6am. Otherwise you will need to bargain hard from the taxi rank outside of the airport - aim for NPR500. The drive into Thamel takes 30 to 40mins depending on the traffic. Please be aware that there may be porters outside the terminal offering their services for a fee. If you do not wish to use their services, be ready to kindly but firmly let them know. Alternatively Intrepid offer a pre-arranged transfer service option. Inquire with your agent and advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip departure. If you have purchased an arrival transfer you will be met after exiting customs outside. Look for our representative holding a sign with your name on it. If you have any trouble locating your transfer rep, or if your flight is going to be delayed, please call the following numbers: +977 980 112 3617 Normal check in time at the hotel is after 12:00.

Finish point

Hotel Moonlight

Finish point description

The Hotel Moonlight is situated on the edge of Thamel near the bustling downtown area of Kathmandu. the hotel features a quiet courtyard garden and a rooftop terrace with great views over Kathmandu. 46 rooms with LCD TV, individually controlled A/C, room service, telephone and gym. There is free wifi throughout the hotel. The hotel has a restaurant serving Nepali and international cuisine as well as a bar.

Finish point instructions

A taxi to the airport will cost about NPR600 from 6am-8pm and NRP800 from 8pm-6am. Hotel reception or your leader can help you organise a taxi. Alternatively Intrepid offer a pre-booked transfer service - enquire at the time of booking. Normal check out time is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.

Important information

1. Do not obtain a Chinese visa in advance. As we must enter on a group visa when entering Tibet from Nepal, any other valid Chinese visa in your passport will be cancelled. 2. In order for us to apply for your Tibet entry permit you must provide a scanned, colour copy of the personal details page of your passport to your booking agent no later than 40 days prior to the start date of your trip. 3. Your tour leader will lead your through the visa application formalities on Day 1 including taking you to take passport photos for the visa. Please see itinerary Day 1 for details. 4. Please be aware that in recent years there have been times when restrictions on nationalities being able to travel on specific departures have been implemented or Tibet has been closed to foreign tourists without warning. 5. Due to the demands of travelling at high altitudes a Passenger Self Assessment Form is required for this trip. 6. All clients will be entering Tibet on a Group Permit arranged by Intrepid Travel and as such it's not possible for anyone to leave the group and remain in Tibet or continue to travel in China individually. Everybody must enter and leave Tibet with the group. Make sure you read the 'Visas' section for important details on the information you must provide for your group's Tibet permit. 7. It's a criminal offence for anyone to carry images of the Dalai Lama or the Tibetan flag - doing so may lead to confiscation of the items, detention, arrest or imprisonment by Chinese authorities. We strongly advise travellers against carrying these items at any time while within China. 8. A Single Supplement is available to purchase on this trip except for the stay in Everest National Park tent. 9. Please note while traveling in China you will not be able to access some popular internet websites. 10. You will have different tour leaders in Kathmandu and in Tibet and the flight and immigration procedures between Kathmandu and Lhasa is unaccompanied by a leader. 11. The two internal international flight on this itinerary between Lhasa and Kathmandu are included in the trip price. 12. The luggage limit for the included flights is 23kg.

Group leader

All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Safety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

Visas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. NEPAL: All foreign nationals (except Indian passport holders) require a visa to enter Nepal. Visas are obtainable from embassies abroad, land borders (including borders with India & Tibet) and on arrival at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport. Getting a visa at the airport or land borders can sometimes take time due to long queues. There have been instances when travellers are asked to show proof of exit from the country, ie flight tickets. You may also need to provide two passport photos and the following fees in US dollars (subject to change, cash only). Other currencies are also accepted although rates may differ. The following costs were correct at time of writing: - Multi entry visa valid for 15 days - US$25 - Multi entry visa valid for 30 days - US$40 - Multi entry visa valid for 90 days - US$100 Please note if you are staying in Nepal for less than 24 hours while in transit, a transit visa can be issued on presentation of your international flight ticket, there is a nominal charge of US$5 and one photo is required. Your visa application form may require you to state the dates on which you enter and exit that country. Please note we suggest you list your date of entry a few days before, and date of exit a few days after your intended dates in case you encounter any delays or problems en route. To help calculate the exact dates of these crossings we have found the website www.timeanddate.com to be very useful. CHINA - NEPAL to TIBET GROUP VISA: Tibet is a province of China and all travellers require a Chinese visa. Current regulations require that all foreign visitors entering Tibet from Nepal do so on a Group Visa. Your tour leader will arrange for a Single Entry Group Visa in Kathmandu on Day 1 or 2 of your tour. Please do NOT obtain a Chinese visa before you travel. Any existing Chinese visa in your passport will be cancelled upon application for the Group Visa. The cost of the Group Visa is approx US$115 per person (US citizens US$200) to be paid in cash to your group leader. RETURNING TO CHINA: If you are planning to continue your travels in China after your tour (ie. flying from Kathmandu to Beijing) you will need to apply for a Single Entry Tourist Visa at the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu. Please check with the embassy for any specific application requirements. At time of writing the embassy is open for visa applications on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and may be able to provide same day service. DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR TIBET PERMIT & FLIGHT BOOKINGS: Tibet permits are arranged with the help of our local partners. If you are travelling on an itinerary that visits Tibet you will need to email the following document to us as soon as possible after booking and no later than 40 days before departure: * Clear, colour scanned copy of the personal details page of your passport Please make sure that this copy is of the passport that you will be travelling on. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number and bring your old passport with you on your trip as well. This may also cause significant delays in obtaining your Tibet permit so please plan ahead. If we do not receive these documents from you in time, your name and passport details will not be listed on the group permit and you will not be able to board the flight to travel to Lhasa with the group. WARNING – TRAVEL TO TIBET Please be aware that this is a politically sensitive area of China which has in the past been closed to foreign travellers without warning. A change in the political situation can also lead to unforeseen delays in issuing visas and permits. We aim to keep our travellers as up to date as possible with any changes, however these are often made without any official announcement by authorities and as such are out of our control. TIBET PERMIT: All nationalities require a permit to enter Tibet. Intrepid will arrange for a permit allowing your entry into Tibet however, Intrepid requires you to provide a clear scanned colour copy of the front page of your passport (photo page) at the time of booking in order to do this. This should be in JPEG format and Intrepid must receive this at least 40 days prior to travel. Please make sure that this copy is for the passport that you will be travelling on. If you have to renew your passport please bring your old passport with you as well. Due to the political sensitivity of this region it is important to understand that there are sometimes unexpected difficulties in obtaining Tibetan permits which are out of Intrepid's control. Frequently, and without official announcement by the government authorities controlling permit issue, the region of Tibet has been closed to visitors, or permits denied. It is impossible to predict when or if these sudden changes will occur again in the future. Of course Intrepid and our local ground teams will do everything we can to obtain permits or warn our travellers if they will be affected by last minute closures, however we may have to put alternative itineraries in place as a result.

Why we love it

Flanked by the majestic Himalayan Mountains, Kathmandu is nothing short of a legendary destination. Its bustling alleyways are filled with monks, incense, goats and sacred cows; its temples steeped in symbolism

Is this trip right for you

This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information. This itinerary is operated at a leisurely pace. It's a combination of free time and time spent with the group –perfect for travellers who like a bit of flexibility. There are some quite long days of travel, which can be tiring. On the other hand, the scenery is absolutely amazing, so sit back, relax and soak it up. Steeped in myth, spirituality and of course remote mountainous terrain, Tibet is a great place to visit if you're an independent, open-minded traveller. Note that in recent years there have been some restrictions on certain nationalities being able to travel on specific departures. Tibet has also been known to be closed down to foreign tourism without warning.

Health

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared. ALTITUDE SICKNESS: Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary! Before your trip: Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor. During your trip. While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/altitude-sickness BIRD FLU: The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously confirmed human deaths from avian influenza in China. There is a very low risk to travellers. For further information please visit: http://www.who.int/influenza/human_animal_interface/en/

Food and dietary requirements

FOOD IN NEPAL: In Kathmandu and Pokhara there are plenty of restaurants and cafes for all tastes and budgets. For a glimpse at what traditional Nepali cuisine entails, check out our guide here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/guide-to-nepali-cuisine/ Nepal caters very well towards vegetarians and vegans with almost all restaurants having a veg section of the menu. Your tour leader will be able to direct you towards restaurants that are known to have better hygiene, especially in tourist areas where they are travelling with our groups regularly. FOOD IN CHINA: What IS authentic Chinese food like? Check out these articles to get a taste: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/china-food-trip-blog/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/china-food-stereotypes/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/a-guide-to-traditional-chinese-street-food/ VEGETARIANS & VEGANS: Vegetarians in China certainly won't go hungry as there are always plenty of meat free options on menus including vegetable, tofu and egg dishes. Your leader can advise on some local favourites. Dairy is uncommon in Chinese cooking, although in some regions like Tibet, Xinjiang and Yunnan you will find milk products as part of the local cuisine. Vegans should also have few problems finding tasty meals in most locations. Nearly all cities will have vegetarian restaurants, often near to temples or monasteries that specialise in Buddhist cuisine. Check out this blog for a guide to eating vegetarian in Beijing: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/a-vegetarians-guide-to-beijing/ DIETARY NEEDS: Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may wish to supplement inclusions with their own supplies from markets or supermarkets. Please note that some dietary requirements, such as Gluten Free, will be uncommon in China and you may need to explain to your leader what you can and can't eat as well as research common dishes before you travel. ALLERGIES: For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader will endeavor to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic and research suitable local foods before travelling. In Tibet, there aren't many choices of western food. You'll easily find Chinese cuisine or Nepalese food in Lhasa, and of course Tibetan noodles, momo, Yak butter tea, Tibet milk tea or Yak burger are not to be missed. Once outside of Lhasa, we don't often have options on where to eat in smaller towns or on the long driving days. In these cases, your tour leader will take you to restaurants which have been rated well by past travellers. The variety of food will still be limited due to the fact that the region is underdeveloped, but it'll cater for most dietary requirement, including vegans and vegetarians.

Money matters

SPENDING MONEY: When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document). NEPAL: The official currency of Nepal is the Nepali rupee (NPR). Its symbol is often displayed as Rs. USD are also widely accepted in Nepal. ATMs can only be found in Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Bhaktapur. Make sure you carry sufficient cash to cover your needs when travelling outside of these cities. Money exchange facilities are available in Kathmandu, Namche, Pokhara, Chitwan (only outside the park) and Bhaktapur. Credit cards are not widely accepted. The Government of Nepal has banned the import, export and use of 500 and 1000 Indian rupee notes in Nepal. You should ensure you are not carrying these notes on arrival in Nepal as they will be confiscated and you may be fined. Please note that most establishments in Asia will not accept foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded and they can be very difficult to exchange or extra fees added when exchanging at banks. Please ensure that you have new, clean notes. Before departing on a trek, make sure you have enough Nepalese currency to purchase meals and drinks, in the smaller denominations where possible, as there are no ATMs and larger notes (such as 1000R) can be difficult to change. CHINA The official currency in China is the Yuan or Renminbi (CNY). 1 renminbi (yuan) = 10 jiao (mao). ATMs are widespread, so the easiest way to access cash on your trip is to bring a credit/debit card. Please check with your bank about overseas withdrawal fees before you depart and look for ATMs with your card logo. You may find that your card does not work in certain ATMs, so we recommend purchasing some CNY in your home country so you have some cash for your first day. Currency exchange is available at major banks and some hotels. The easiest foreign currencies to exchange are USD and EUR, however please be aware of the security risk of carrying large amounts of cash. Commission is sometimes charged for currency exchange. Check the rate before you exchange and carefully check the amount you are given and ask for a receipt. Please note that due to restrictions on currency conversion for foreigners in China it may not be possible to change left over CNY back into foreign currency, so please plan your budget and spending money well by withdrawing/exchanging what you need as you go. CONTINGENCY FUNDS: We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved. NEPAL: If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader. The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: Your Group Leader: You should consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$3-4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$2-3 per person, per day for local guides. (Including city tour guides, jungle guides, rafting guides, assistant trek guides) Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of US$2-3 per person, per day is generally appropriate. Local transport: For a city tour we suggest US$2 per person, per day. Hotel porters: NPR50-100 is adequate for porters that assist you with bags to your room. Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise 5-10% of the total bill amount is appropriate. NOTE: Please don't tip with coins or notes of or less than NPR50, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult. TIPPING IN CHINA: If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many of our destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. In China tipping is not compulsory, but has become expected in the travel industry and is considered a way of showing appreciation for great service. The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: - Restaurants, markets, and taxi drivers - tipping is not customary and is not expected by the locals. - Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$5 per day for local guides depending on their service and their involvement with the group. - Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$2-US$4 per day for drivers. - Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$4-US$6 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult. Depending on the type of trip you are doing and the number of local staff involved, your tour leader may discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your group leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent. The record can then be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. DEPARTURE TAX All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

What to take

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg. Many travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller suitcases or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps or handles. If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. A lockable bag or small padlock will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day. Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip. Essential: - Clothing: a mixture of lightweight and dry fast clothing and warm layers are recommended essential for travelling in this region. Long shirts, pants, scarves are useful for covering shoulders & knees when visiting religious sites. - Shoes: sturdy and comfortable shoes for walking long distances are essential. - Personal travel documents inc. your passport (visa), travel insurance, fight tickets and trip notes. Photo copies of your passport and visa, passport size photos and travel insurance will be handy. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary. - small first aid kit including items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent, and essential medicine depending on your doctors advice. - Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card and money belt - Sun protection like hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Recommended: - Refillable water bottle (1.5 litre capacity suggested): The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. - Cell phone, camera with spare batteries, charger, and adapter plug - Hand wash, travel wipes, toiletries and small towel - Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries) - Torch or flash light esp. for stay at local guesthouses or home stays Optional: - Sleeping bag. Useful for camping, overnight trains and poorly heated hotels, particularly during the winter months of Dec - Feb when temperatures are low. - Sleep sheet. If you are travelling during the hot season you may wish to pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather. - Ear plugs to guard against street noise and snorers. - A good book, a journal and music player for overnight train rides and longer drives. Other things to consider: - Check weather in destinations you are travelling to online a few days before you go to make sure you pack appropriate clothing - Laundry facilities may not be available in all destinations, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes to tide you over until your next chance to wash

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below. Intrepid's Local Beijing Office: +861064067328

Responsible travel

We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller LOCAL DRESS: As with everywhere we travel, we strongly recommend wearing modest clothing in China (ie. covering shoulders and wearing shorts or skirts to the knee) both for your own comfort, and to respect that standards may be more conservative than in your home country, especially outside of major cities.

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched by Intrepid Group dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Nepal include: *Forget Me Not Forget Me Not rescue and reintegrate ‘paper orphans’ to be thriving, vibrant and connected to family, community and opportunity. In Nepal, there are currently 16,886 children in orphanages and up to 80% could be raised by at least one of their parents if given support. Many of the children have been taken from their families, trafficked into orphanages and used to generate funds. Last year Forget Me Not received 27% of all children rescued from orphanages in Nepal. Rescued children are given complete medical care including psychological, physical and overall wellbeing assessments. Individual case plans are developed and missions determined to trace each child’s family and work towards reunification and reintegration. https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/forget-me-not/ *Seven Women works to economically and socially empower marginalised women in Nepal through literacy programs, skills training and income generation. www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/seven-women/ https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/meet-kathmandus-hidden-artisans-the-extraordinary-seven-women/ For more information on our projects in Nepal, or to make a donation, visit: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/?projectcountry=nepal

Accommodation notes

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on our different trips than your own. CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights. Please note, the standard of accommodation in Tibet varies considerably and can be basic at times, especially out of Lhasa. Hot water and power supply can be sporadic, and the facilities can be old due to the lack of development in the region as well. At the tent 'city' (our stay at the EBC section of the trip), we will be staying in a seasonal tented camp. The tents are spacious, well-equipped 8 person sized, which come with dormitory style single beds, solid flooring and a central heating stove. There are no showers here and the toilet facilities are a little primitive but the view of the north face of Everest should make up for the lack of creature comforts!

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SINGLE TRAVELLERS: Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Accommodation

Hotel/Guesthouse (13 nights),Permanent Tented Camp (1 night)
Time until next start
49
days
01
hours
:
44
min
:
05
sec

Prices from

€4,060

Duration

15 days
2019

Sun, Oct 13

Sun, Oct 27

€4,060

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Overview
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The Intrepid Foundation
Accommodation notes
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Your fellow travellers
Itinerary disclaimer
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