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advice for my trekking, storage and the rest of my stay

Perth, Australia
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advice for my trekking, storage and the rest of my stay

hi guys my names Kurt, I'm from Perth Australia, this i probably going to be a long post/questions, so sorry in advance.

so I'm planning to go to Nepal starting in December of 2016 (i will be traveling alone), i want to start my trip with 6 weeks of volunteering at an orphanage, for this part of my trip i am basically organized and know what i need and how it will work, but after this leg i want to do the trek to base camp, and some other sight seeing. The way i was thinking of working it was booking a hotel from mid January to mid to late February, in Kathmandu. probably somewhere cheap but decent, from Kathmandu i have heard i will be able to meet with and find a good guide and porter, although im not sure how exactly to find them? I am hoping to spend the first week, if not less, doing this, then doing the trek, leaving some of my extra belongings, which i dont require on the trek, in my hotel (if there is a cheaper or easier way of holding my extra stuff while i do the trek that someone knows of please do advise me of this).

After i complete the trek i have allowed an extra week and a bit in Nepal, firstly in case there are delays in organizing, getting to, during, or getting back from the trek. Secondly, with this time i am hoping to do a little more sight seeing, recovering, and things along those lines, I'm interested in seeing the more cultural, religious and beautiful sides of Nepal, any suggestions would be amazing :) i was just planning on staying at the same hotel which i left my baggage at during the trek (I have not decided on a specific hotel, but am thinking somewhere in Kathmandu)

Basically i was just wondering what peoples thoughts or suggested changes are, to this plan, I've been doing constant research the last few days and have been interested in doing this for years. i am running on a relatively tight schedule when I'm there (if you can call 11 weeks tight, but i cant go over that due to university commitments), and have a relatively small but healthy budget (after things like the volunteering, trek, hotel and flights) but dont really have a problem going over the budget to make the holiday a once in a lifetime trip.

thanks in advance to anyone who can help :)

Eau Claire...
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356 posts
7 reviews
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1. Re: advice for my trekking, storage and the rest of my stay

Here are some suggestions...

1) Book your first hotel night in advance and then book the rest in person. You will typically get a better rate when booking in person and there are tons of hotels within walking distance of each other in Thamel.

2) You will have no problem planning your trek once you reach Nepal. You will find a plethora of agencies and guides in and around Thamel. Shop around to get the best rate.

3) Most hotels that I have enciuntered will store your items for free while you are on your trek if you are staying with them after the trek. This is by far the easiest and cheapest way to store your stuff.

4) Make sure to vet the orphanage you are volunteering at ahead of time. Orphanage scams are frequent throughout Nepal. They prey on well meaning Wesrern volunteers and take yiur money with no intention of ever helping any children.

5) Some must see sites in and around Kathmandu include...

The Three Durbar Squares (Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur)

The Monkey Temple

The Boudha Stuppa

Pashaputinath

Thaamel, Garden of Dreams, etc.

Depending on time, you could also travel to Chitwan or Pokhara.

Cumbria
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5,716 posts
43 reviews
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2. Re: advice for my trekking, storage and the rest of my stay

Hi Kurt

Probably the first thing to mention is to take great care when selecting where you do your volunteering and perhaps read the straight talking article on this subject at www.just-one.org/your-chance/volunteering/

Other than that, your plan seams basically sound, Choosing a trekking operator is probably the next most important decision that you will make after sorting out your volunteering placement as a Good one will rely make your trip, where as a bad one could easily ruin it

TA doesn’t accept reviews on Trekking Operators in Nepal but have gotten around the rules by having their services listed on impropriate boards such as “Day Tours” and “Kathmandu Attractions” – Many of these reviews should be treated with a certain amount of suspicion as they are often posted by one time posters - I no longer give out details of the agent that I have used for the last 21 years and 10 trips to Nepal as some posters object as they see it as unfairly promoting one company but DE Alanyeti has put together a list of recommended operators and I am sure he will share this with you if you drop him a line

I also recommend you thoroughly research any recommendations that you are given by using Google search using inverted comers. So something like “XXXXXX Treks Nepal” and see what turns up – Both good and bad feedback should be available on nearly all the local Nepali companies and No Feedback at all should be viewed with the upmost of suspicion !!

It sounds like you will have plenty of time for to sort your trek out when you are in Kathmandu, so other than contacting a few agencies in advance to see what they are offering, I wouldn’t do too much else in advance as you will always get a better price when dealing face to face + once you have decided on your exact route (You might want to walk in from Jiri or Tumlingtar, or add a side trip such as Gokyo), you can then discuss this with the agency that you have chosen

When hiring out “Staff” the secret of a successful trek is to set the ground rules Before setting off and these rules should include

1) Always interview your “Staff” Before you go trekking with them, Preferably get them to give you a walking tour around Kathmandu, Then they are away from the office, will be able to talk freely and you will be in a better position to judge their ability to communicate, character and if you are going to be able to get on well enough with them on your trek.

2)Ask if he has already trekked the route you are going on and how many times

3) Tell them that You Always retain the final say where you will stay and where and when you will eat.

Personally I am Happy to look at places recommended by my “Staff” (As I am aware that some places look after Nepali’s a lot better than others, better accommodation as well as better / cheaper food for them + if they get a little kick-back then as long as I am happy with the standard as well as the price that I am paying this doesn’t bother me)

4) I also mention to them that as long as I am happy with their services then they will get a Good Tip – I think this clears the air and gives your “Staff” that extra incentive to ensure that you are well looked after.

5) The agent that I use provides all his “Staff” with a mobile phone – I also think this is an excellent idea so that if there is a problem then (providing you have a phone Signal) these can be Quickly sorted out.

6) Before I start a trek is to have a rough schedule, then I know approximately how many days I will be trekking for, to this I usually add one buffer day, so If all goes according to plan I am usually back from my trek one day ahead, With this the agent that is use I can claim one days fees back, but in reality, as I have always been happy with my treks, I have never done this, but have ensured that my “Staff” are still paid the extra day.

Another system that the agent I use has is that if you want to extend your trek, if it takes longer than originally anticipated or if for what ]ever reason you are delayed then you can pay your “Staff” direct. This works well for everyone as the “Staff” in actual fact get more money as there is no agents commission deducted and as the agent has already had his cut he is (Or should be) happy as well.

7) It is also worth making 100% sure that your “Staff” are insured and that the agent is making sure that their clothing is up to the standard for the area / season you are trekking in.

It may sound like a bit of a list – But personally I think it is well worth that little extra effort at the beginning of your trek to help minimise potential unforeseen problems later :-)

Nearly all the backpackers hotel offer free luggage storage and having used these facilities many times over the years without problems, I don’t think you have anything to worry about there.

Good Luck and Happy Trekking

Rob

Travel Pages including Nepal blog http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/50192/

Perth, Australia
10 posts
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3. Re: advice for my trekking, storage and the rest of my stay

thank you so much for your reply, has put my mind at ease with a few things :)

i have heard that about some orphanages that a friend volunteered at a few years ago, im in contact with him now as to where he ended up going that was supposedly a very legitimate place, however this is still the major thing i am researching as i dont want to end up funding something corrupt

some of those places sound devine, i will absolutely have a look into them, thanks again :)

Perth, Australia
10 posts
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4. Re: advice for my trekking, storage and the rest of my stay

wow thanks for that list Rob, ive read many of those things around the place but having it all in that list is amazing and should make things much easier :)

as i outlined in my previous reply, i am aware of the troubles of finding a reputable place to do my volunteering and am concentrating a lot of effort into my research

i hope you dont mind me keeping that list somewhere handy so i can reread and memorize it so i know what to do when im in nepal

thanks a bunch for your detailed reply Rob, much appreciated

Perth, Australia
10 posts
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5. Re: advice for my trekking, storage and the rest of my stay

another question i would like to add, what kind of prices would u say to expect per night for in "in person" booking, your experiences would be fine, im not looking for anything expensive as i am on a relatively small budget but just to get a ball park figure ?

Eau Claire...
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356 posts
7 reviews
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6. Re: advice for my trekking, storage and the rest of my stay

The prices paid in person depend on the hotel. My two friends stayed in a very basic hotel in Thamel - the two double beds used up 80% of the floor space, the bathroom was tiny, there was an older tv and one light worked during power outages. They paid 600 rupees for the double room per night.

I stayed at a nicer hotel - the room was about 3x as large as the above room and contained a queen bed, a sitting area with a sofa, coffee table and flat screen tv and a large dresser. The power worked fully during outages and I reveived breakfast in the hotels restaurant. I paid 1800 rupees per night.

Just remember to bargain - the hotels first offer will not be their best!

Cumbria
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5,716 posts
43 reviews
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7. Re: advice for my trekking, storage and the rest of my stay

Basic Backpacker hotels start at around $10 per night for a room, but if you are prepared to go up to around $20 per night, you get a Lot more – So it really does depend on your budget.

The cheaper places tend to be very noisy, have rock-hard beds and little or no hot water, the slightly more expensive places tend to offer hot water (At least at certain times of day depending on load shedding and if it has been sunny) more comfortable, better furnished rooms, sometimes a breakfast is included and also sometimes a free airport pick-up.

One thing to be careful of when negotiating is to make sure that the price that you agree to includes all the taxes, VAT and Service charges as these can add more than 25% to your bill !!

Good Luck and Happy Safe Travels

Rob

Surrey.
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1,973 posts
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8. Re: advice for my trekking, storage and the rest of my stay

Roger Ray, who posts on here and whom I met a couple of times on my most visit to Nepal (Dec 2015 - Feb 2016), was paying NR400 per night for a room just north of Thamel. I did not see the room or hotel, so cannot comment on quality etc. I think he is trekking at present, or in a village, so he will probably not be contactable.

Also some people were saying that there are a sort of new breed of "hostel" for budget travellers starting to appear in Ktm - again I have no personal knowledge, but it sounded as if they were very competive, and good places to meet fellow travellers/trekkers.

9. Re: advice for my trekking, storage and the rest of my stay

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