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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Travel Guide to Nepal

Planning a trip to Nepal is not as easy as planning a vacation in Hawaii or Europe. Nepal is one of the most distant destinations on Earth if you are starting your trip from North America, and it takes almost 2 days just to get there. A trip to this Himalayan kingdom requires a great deal of advance planning. You should set aside plenty of time to make all the necessary arrangements to ensure your journey is as enjoyable as possible.

When should I go? How do I get there? What do I need to pack? Where should I stay? What kind of restaurants are there? What should I see? These are some of the questions that this section will answer.

The single-most-important thing to know about flying to Nepal is that with relatively few flights into the country, seats book up months in advance during the peak trekking seasons. Try to make reservations at least 6 months in advance, especially if you want to fly on Thai Airways or Singapore Airlines. By July or August, you'll find that nearly every flight into the country during this period is wait-listed. Royal Nepal Airlines, which is infamously unreliable, is usually the last airline to fill up.

There are no direct flights from the United States to Nepal, so unless you fly Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, or Pakistan International Airlines, you're going to have to change airlines somewhere en route, usually in London or Delhi if you are eastbound or in Bangkok or Singapore if you are westbound. You'll also have to spend a night somewhere en route-Bangkok, Singapore, Karachi, and Delhi are the usual overnight stops.

If you are traveling through Delhi, it's a good idea to have an Indian visa, even if you aren't planning to leave the airport. We've had reports of people being refused onward passage because they didn't have a visa, even though they were only transiting through the airport.


Security.
Nepal is generally very safe with one of the lowest crime rates of all countries. Travel with children in Nepal, yet with a bit of planning it is remarkably hassle free

Shopping.
 Despite Nepal's lack of raw materials, shopping here is quite advanced. Curio arts, Garment and Carpets are head the export list. Nepal's carpet industries are world renowned.

Currency.
The unit of the Nepalese Currency is the Rupee. Nepali Rupee notes come in Rs. 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000 denominations.

Banks.
Banks are open between 10:00 A.M. to 2:30 P M. from Sunday to Friday. They are closed on Saturdays and other holidays.

Credit Cards.
Major credit cards are widely accepted in Kathmandu and Pokhara hotels, restaurants and shops.

Currency Exchange.
There are plenty of Currency Exchange Counters in Kathmandu and Pokhara

ATM’s.
Visitors can withdraw money through Visa /Master Card from the different ATM machines at several locations in Kathmandu and Pohkara.

Electricity
 220 Volts, 50 Hz


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Altitude Sickness

Altitude is defined on the following scale High (8,000 - 12,000 feet [2,438 - 3,658 meters]), Very High (12,000 - 18,000 feet [3,658 - 5,487 meters]), and Extremely High (18,000+ feet [5,500+ meters]). Since few people have been to such altitudes, it is hard to know who may be affected. There are no specific factors such as age, sex, or physical condition that correlate with susceptibility to altitude sickness.
Some people get it and some people don't, and some people are more susceptible than others. Most people can go up to 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) with minimal effect. If you haven't been to high altitude before, it's important to be cautious. If you have been at that altitude before with no problem, you can probably return to that altitude without problems as long as you are properly acclimatized.
AMS is common at high altitudes. At elevations over 10,000 feet (3,048 meters), 75% of people will have mild symptoms. The occurrence of AMS is dependent upon the elevation, the rate of ascent, and individual susceptibility. Many people will experience mild AMS during the acclimatization process. Symptoms usually start 12-24 hours after arrival at altitude and begin to decrease in severity about the third day. The symptoms of Mild AMS are headache, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, nausea, disturbed sleep, and a general feeling of malaise.
Symptoms tend to be worse at night and when respiratory drive is decreased. Mild AMS does not interfere with normal activity and symptoms generally subside within 2-4 days as the body acclimatizes. As long as symptoms are mild, and only a nuisance, ascent can continue at a moderate rate. When hiking, it is essential that you communicate any symptoms of illness immediately to others on your trip. AMS is considered to be a neurological problem caused by changes in the central nervous system. It is basically a mild form of High Altitude Cerebral Edema.

Golden Rules:

GOLDEN RULE # 1
If you feel unwell at Altitude, it is Altitude Sickness until proven otherwise.

GOLDEN RULE # 2
Never ascend with symptoms of AMS

GOLDEN RULE # 3
If you are getting worse or have (HACE or HAPE), go down at once!!!

Things You Must Know: 



Summery: 
  • Acclimatization. There are no specific factors such as age, sex, or physical condition that correlate with susceptibility to altitude sickness.
  • Causes. The major cause of altitude illnesses is going too high too fast.
  • Prevention. "Climb High and sleep low." This is the maxim used by climbers.
  • Prevention. Avoid tobacco, alcohol and other depressant drugs including, barbiturates, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills.
  • Diamox allows you to breathe faster so that you metabolize more oxygen, thereby minimizing the symptoms caused by poor oxygenation.
  • Dexamethasone (a steroid) is a prescription drug that decreases brain and other swelling reversing the effects of AMS.
  • Basic Treatment. The only cure is either acclimatization or descent. Symptoms of Mild AMS can be treated with pain medications for headache and Diamox. Both help to reduce the severity of the symptoms, but remember, reducing the symptoms is not curing the problem.
  • Moderate AMS. Moderate AMS includes severe headache that is not relieved by medication, nausea and vomiting, increasing weakness and fatigue, shortness of breath, and decreased coordination (ataxia).  At this stage, only advanced medications or descent can reverse the problem.
  • Severe AMS. Severe AMS requires immediate descent to lower altitudes (2,000 - 4,000 feet [610-1,220 meters]).
  • HAPE. Anyone suffering from HAPE must be evacuated to a medical facility for proper follow-up treatment.
  • HACE. Severe instances can lead to death if not treated quickly. Immediate descent is a necessary life-saving measure


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Upper Dolpo Trek

This trek takes place in the north-west region of Nepal. Dolpo is located in the Phoksundo National park of mid-western Nepal, behind the Dhaulagiri massif, towards the Tibetan plateau, cut off by a series of very high passes and closed by the snow most of the year.
As it is one of the remotest and least exposed areas of Nepal, and also naturally isolated by the difficult topography, it offers rare opportunities to explore near virgin territory and meet people, almost unexposed to tourism. Because Dolpo is so close to Tibet's border, the people of Tibetan origin inhabit it. The trek provides chances to visit several unique monasteries (gompas).

DAY
PLACE
ALTITUDE
Day 1
Arrive in Kathmandu – Transfer to Hotel
1,355 m
Day 2
Sightseeing in Kathmandu – Afternoon free
1,355 m
Day 3
Kathmandu to Nepaljung
2,354m
Day 4
Nepaljung - Juphal - Dunai
2,796 m
Day 5
Dunai to Tarakot
2,550 m
Day 6
Tarakot to Khanigoan
2,540 m
Day 7
Khanigoan to Chheur
3,610 m
Day 8
Chheur to Sishul Khola
3,770 m
Day 9
Sishul Khola to Do Tarap
4,080 m
Day 10
Do Tarap (Acclimatization Day)
4,080 m
Day 11
Do Tarap to Tok Khyu High Camp
4,390 m
Day 12
Tok Khyu High Camp-Numa la Pass- Pelungtang
5,318 m
Day 13
Pelungtang to Dajok Tang
3,800 m
Day 14
Dajok Tang to Phoksundo Lake
3,730 m
Day 15
Phoksundo Lake to Renje
3,010 m
Day 16
Renje to Chepka
2,670 m
Day 17
Chepka to Juphal
2,354 m
Day 18
Juphal to Nepaljung
2,354 m
Day 19
Nepaljung to Kathmandu
1,355 m
Day 20
At Leisure in Kathmandu
1,355 m
Day 21
End of Trip - Flight back Home
1,355 m
 
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