Nepal is 5 hours 45 minutes ahead of GMT and 15 minutes ahead of Indian standard time.
India’s northward thrust has created three distinct regions in Nepal: the fertile lowland Terai (Nepal’s breadbasket); the forested Middle Hills (with terraced fields and hilltop villages) and the northern High Himalaya boasting eight of the world’s 14 x 8 000m peaks.
Climate and vegetation ranges from humid sub-tropical to alpine sub-zero regions. There is a unique mix of flora and fauna with the meeting of the subtropical Indian and alpine Asian species mixing in the microclimates of the different zones. 118 ecosystems have been identified in the 147 181km area (just larger than New Zealand’s South Island.) Many of the flowering plants now common in your gardens were discovered and exported from this region.
The most popular species are the rhododendrons which flower in April-May and the many orchids that grow in the lush mixed forests. The dominant Sal forests in the lowlands provide excellent wood for building and furniture.
The Terai still contains pockets of tropical forest, now in reserves (Chitwan or Bardia). Animals such as tiger, rhino, elephant, wild buffalo, crocodiles; smaller species and birds may be seen: on elephant rides.
The Middle Hills and Alpine zones are home to black bears, tahrs, bharal (blue sheep) and the elusive snow leopard. Yaks cannot survive below ~3 500m and thrive in the high regions. Yak-cow crosses produce dzopkyo that can tolerate greater altitude extremes. Both, and water buffalo, are used draught and pack animals. Donkeys and horses are also used in many regions.
Nepal will offer you the world’s most thrilling scenery, friendly people and warm hearted adventures.
Discover with us the diversity of our landmarks, our people and our hospitality. The scale and grandeur of our open spaces will free your spirit; let your minds soar with lofty ideas and take home lifelong memories – and plans for your next trek.
The main road structure is south of the mountain chain and runs to the east, west and south with only a few roads penetrating the northern valleys. Ancient mountain trails link the myriad villages and all goods are carried by porters or pack animals. Only prayer and water driven wheels are seen on trekking regions trails. Between villages, water, wind and birdsong punctuates the silence.
Current statistics show a population of 29 000 000; growing at around 2%/year (34% <15, 61% from 15-64, 5% >64). Some 50 ethnic groups or sub-groups speak almost as many languages or dialects; but most speak at least some Nepali. 81% are Hindu, 9% Buddhist, 4, 5% Muslim and 1, 4% Christian.
The majority of Hindus live south of the high hills and mountains and include Brahmins (the priestly caste), Chhetri (entrepreneurs and farmers), Newars (noted for the fine architecture and wood carving in the Kathmandu Valley). The large Magar group (farmers and builders) are spread across Nepal: they practise Hinduism or Buddhism.
The Buddhist groups speak Tibeto-Burman languages, and migrated from Tibet over the centuries. They live on higher land than the Hindu communities. They practise various forms of Buddhism. The Dolpopas are sheep, goat and yak herders who trade with Tibet: as do the Lobas of Mustang. Gurungs live in the Annapurna and Manaslu regions (Gurkha soldiers, pastoralists and farmers). The Tamangs farm north of Kathmandu. The Sherpas live in the Khumbu, Solu and Helambu districts (now famed for their skill and involvement as mountaineers and hoteliers in the Everest region during the last century). The Rais and Limbus live in eastern Nepal.
No matter where you are, the people of Nepal will offer you a warm and genuine welcome.
Nepal’s Trekking regions are all to the north of the country, many of them bordering on Tibet.
To assist with conservation and the preservation of flora and fauna an element of control was deemed necessary within these regions. Thus the National Parks, Conservation Regions and Restricted Regions were developed. Three are ‘doubly protected’. The restricted regions were set up to protect the unique Tibetan Cultures. Oversight is enhanced by the use of local Village Councils for the promotion of health, education, forest and wildlife, land use and litter control.
In the restricted regions, permits are only issued for professionally guided treks and with a minimum of two people. Permits to trek in these regions are expensive: but they offer some of the most thrilling (and “trekker free”) trekking in Nepal.
Friendly villagers along the main trekking routes have built Teahouses on their properties for trekkers. They are simple, clean, offer good food and assure you of a warm welcome. Along the more popular routes, “luxury accommodation” is increasingly available.
Printed menus are often the same for all lodges along a trail. Creative cooks add spice and variety to your choices. Meals are always freshly made: making lunch stops a leisurely affair!
Breakfasts may comprise cereals, porridge, eggs (not bacon), Naan or Tibetan bread with honey or jam, tea or coffee
Lunch and dinner dishes will include the local Dal Bhat (rice and lentil soup with curried vegetables or occasionally chicken and spicy pickles), soups, pizzas and pastas, breads.
We will also provide fruit and snacks on a daily basis.
Double rooms will have twin beds (with a sheet, pillow; and usually a duvet on request). Squat toilets may be in or outside the building. Washing facilities can be rudimentary and hot showers are not always available. On the more popular routes, the teahouses and their facilities are likely to be better. The higher you trek, the less chance of hot water (from solar power or porter-carried-gas, as wood is unavailable). A request for a bowl of hot water is nearly always possible.
During each of our treks we offer full board, tea, coffee, fruit, snacks and safe drinking water.
Camping expeditions will include a chef, additional porters or a donkey team and will be fully equipped with “Four Seasons” quality tents, mattresses, a kitchen and a toilet tent (over holes dug for daily use). [Toilets can invariably be used in villages (or behind bushes – away from trails and water sources.)]
Full camping is essential in Upper Dolpo; and for a few nights on the lower Dolpo, Makalu and Kangchenjunga Treks.