Annapurna Circuit


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Annapurna Circuit

  1. 1. ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT TREKExperience a wild spectrum of cultures, alpine pastures, forests, waterfalls, hot springs, glaciers, Tibetan settlements, apple orchards, lakes, and the mammoth Annapurna Massif. The trail loops around Annapurna Massif for magnificent up- close views from every angle Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu, transfer to hotel, and sightseeing Day 2: Drive from Kathmandu to Besi Sahar Day 3: Trek from Besi Sahar to Ngadi Day 4: Trek from Ngadi to Jagat Day 5: Trek from Jagat to Dharapani Day 6: Trek from Dharapani to Chame Day 7: Trek from Chame to Pisang Days 8: Trek from Pisang to Manang Day 9: An essential acclimatization day Day 10: Trek from Manang to Ledar Day 11: Trek from Letdar to Thorong Phedi Day 12: Trek from Thorong Phedi to Thorong La to Muktinath Day 13: Trek from Muktinath to Jomsom Day 14: Fly to Pokhara Day 15: Drive to Kathmandu Day 16: Free day in Kathmandu Day 17: Fly home
  2. 2. Wild spectrum of cultures, terrains, and inspiring scenery Annapurna Massif Glacial Himalayan plateau The Annapurna Circuit Trek The Annapurna Circuit, known to locals as the “Goddess of the Harvests”, boasts a wild spectrum of cultures, terrains, and inspiring scenery. You will trek through alpine pastures, forests, and Tibetan villages. You will visit waterfalls, glaciers, lakes, apple orchards, and soak your tired muscles in natural hot springs. However this is nothing compared to getting up close to the mammoth mountain range of Annapurna Massif. Your trek will loop around the Annapurna Massif by crossing a high altitude pass of Throung La at 5416m that touches the Tibetan plateau. The Annapurna Massif is often considered the most amazing mountain range in the Himalayas. With seven peaks in the area between 6000m and 8000m, including Annapurna I which is the tenth highest mountain in the world, its an awe inspiring place, the views are just incredible. The trail goes through the Annapurna conservation area and at it centre is the glacial plateau surrounded by mountains. The snow-capped peak, remote villages, isolated monasteries, and the diversity of cultures and scenery make this trek one of the most enjoyable and popular treks in the Himalayas.  The Annapurna Region The Annapurna Mountain Region is Nepal’s most popular trekking destination. It boasts the magnificent Annapurna Massif (a huge mountain range containing six peaks over 7200m, including the 10th largest mountain in the world) and the incredible Annapurna Sanctuary. With mind-blowing views of snow-capped mountains, glaciers, alpine forests, hot springs, and farmed terraces, the Annapurna region may be the trek you have always wished for. The small mountain villages have friendly inhabitants and provide a wealth of impressive accommodations in their local teahouses. These teahouses also serve food and refreshments to passing trekkers during the day. The Annapurna Region provides the world’s best treks in terms of scenery and diversity of terrain. Fixed monthly departures dates in October to May, or select your own departure date
  3. 3. Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu, transfer to hotel, and sightseeing (1350m) When you arrive in Kathmandu, you will be collected from the airport and transported to your hotel. If you arrive early in the day, you can explore the city, rest in your hotel, or indulge in the tasty cuisines served up by the abundance of appetising restaurants and cafes that cater to Western tastes. There is also a wonderful array of artisan shops selling everything from masala teas to luxurious pashminas to traditional Buddhist tankas (paintings that represent the images and stories of the Buddha). Kathmandu is a chaotic, yet charming city that can be an experience in itself. Many tourists become simply enthralled while wandering its labyrinthian streets and watching its unique city life unravel before them. In the evening there is a group welcome dinner of traditional Nepalese food. Day 2: Drive Kathmandu to Besi Sahar (823m) in 6 to 7 hours. Drive from Kathmandu (1750m) to Besi Sahar (823m) for 6-7 hours on the Kathmandu-Pokhara Highway. On route to Pokhara, we will stop for lunch and have the opportunity to try dahl baht, a Nepalese staple meal that consists of lentil soup, rice, pickled vegetables, and sometimes meat. Afterwards you can sip on a flavourful cup of Nepalese tea, which is milky, sweet, and slightly spicy. Day 3 Trek from Besi Sahar to Ngadi (860m) in 5 to 6 hours We trek along the riverbank and pass through rice paddy fields and Hindu villages. The trail then follows the river and we will pass a waterfall fueled by melting Himalayan snow. Continuing along the river, we will arrive at Ngadi. Day 4: Trek from Ngadi to Jagat (1400m) in 5 hours Cross the suspension bridge and follow the trail through scrub forests until you arrive at Lampatta, a Manangi village where you will see many Tibetan-styled prayer flags. Following the trail, we will then pass through Bahundanda village, descend to the river, cross the river, and trek further downhill to Jagat, an old customs post on the Tibetan trade route. Day 5: Trek from Jagat to Dharapani (2590m): 7.5 hours We follow the meandering trail that crosses a suspension bridge and continues upwards through a forest to the small village of Chamje (1430m). The trail continues to Tal, which has breath-taking views of the valleys that surround the village. Following the river, we will then reach the village of Dharapani at 1943m. After breakfast, we will trek to Tatopani, which boasts relaxing, natural hot springs (make sure you bring your swimming gear). After a few days of trekking you will certainly appreciate soaking your muscles in the warm Himalayan mineral water. Day 6: Trek from Dharapani to Chame (2713m) in 5 hours We continue up the Manang Valley on a rocky trail to Bagarchap, where we will have wonderful views of Manaslu and Itinerary
  4. 4. of Annapurna II. Continuing to ascend through forests of pine and oak, we will arrive at Danaque (2210m). The trail then descends though fir and pine-forested ridges to Koto and then to Chame (2713m), the administrative headquarters of the Manang district. This remote location is the home of the Manangi people who have traded salt and yaks across this region for centuries. From Chame, we will have distant views of Lamjung, Annapurna II and Annapurna IV, which will provide a wonderful end to a long day of trekking. Day 7: Trek from Chame to Pisang (3185m) in 5 hours We follow the river and trek through apple orchards and arrive at Bhratang, an old Khampa settlement. The trail cuts through a steep and narrow valley surrounded by a thick, deep forest where impressive views of Annapurna II can be seen. As the forest gives way, we cross the river and are rewarded by Paungda Danda, a 1500m rock wall that reaches towards the gods. The surrounding prayer flags highlight its spiritual significance. We continue uphill and reach Pisang. Day 8: Trek from Pisang to Manang (3530m) in 8 hours The uphill trek provides very rewarding views of the Himalayas. On route you will trek though the villages of Ghyaru and Ngawal, which are culturally interesting as the residents are of Tibetan origin. The alternative option is to follow the other trail to Manang. The surrounding environment becomes increasingly barren until we reach Braga, a beautiful village with a prominent ancient gompa. Trekking a little further, we will pass mini inscribed walls and reach Manang, another Tibetan-style village. Looking towards the upper Manang Valley you can see Annapurna II, III and IV, Gangapurna and the Glacier Dome. Looking west reveals Thorong La and Thorungtse and the peaks that separate Tibet from Nepal. A less rewarding but shorter trek option is also available and this takes 5-6 hours. Day 9: An essential acclimatization day We will spend a second night at Manang, which is a great place to acclimatise. Sleeping in Manang for a second night will improve your performance at higher altitudes, which is needed when crossing the high altitude pass of Thorung-La. During the day, you can admire the views and relax, explore the area around the village, or take a short day hike. Day 10: Trek from Manang to Ledar (4250m) in 4 hours Well-rested, we climb up the valley and will find ourselves trekking through alpine landscapes. We will have impressive panoramic views of Gangapurna and Annapurna III. Day 11: Trek from Letdar to Thorong Phedi (4700m) in 3 hours Today is a short trekking day, but our trail ascends steeply and takes us to high altitude terrain. The trails continue on a narrow, firm passage that gives way to a scree slope (small stones that move when you trek on them) and descends to Thorong Phedi. Day 12: Trek from Thorong Phedi to Thorong La (5415m) to Muktinath (3802m) in 8 hours
  5. 5. Today is a very early and tiring day. We will cross the high altitude pass called Thorong La and descend to Muktinath. Following a windy trail, the trek to Thorong La will take around 4 hours and the high altitude will make it a strenuous morning. The panoramic Himalayan views of snow-capped peaks stretching to Tibet are simply mind-blowing and we will have great views of the Annapurna Range to the south. After crossing the pass, we will start the long descent to Muktinath, which has wonderful views of Dhaulagiri and Tukuche. Muktinath is religiously significant for both Hindus and Buddhists and is a place of pilgrimage. You will see gompas, pagoda-style temples, and religious and culturally important architecture. Day 13: Trek from Muktinath to Jomsom (2713m) in 5 hours Today is a relatively easy day of trekking. From Muktinath we pass through a barren landscape with snow-capped mountains in the distance and follow the gradually descending trail with inspiring scenery to Jomsom. Day 14: Fly from Jomsom to Pokhara (2560m) Pokhara is a lovely lakeside town that has an ideal climate and is the launching point for trekking in Annapurna. It has a slow and relaxed atmosphere, an abundance of tourist shops selling artisan products and trekking equipment, and many delightful restaurants and cafes. You will have the option to go kayaking on the lake, take a yoga class, ride a bicycle, or just relax and explore the town. Many trekkers pass away the hours refueling and in the restaurants and cafes! Day 15: Drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu We will arrive in Kathmandu around mid-afternoon. Kathmandu is a chaotic, yet charming city that can be an experience in itself. Many tourists become simply enthralled while wandering its labyrinthian streets and watching its unique city life unravel before them. Day 16: Free day in Kathmandu Day 17: Fly home
  6. 6. What is included in the trip? Airport transfers - collection and drop off Trekking permits All accommodations Support staff - guide and porters Welcome Dinner Rooms are based on 2 people sharing a twin room. If you are a solo traveller you will be matched with another solo traveller of the same gender. In the tea houses in the mountains occasionally the rooms are based on an occupancy of 3. This is determined by the tea house and the rooms available. If required a singles supplement can be paid so that you have your own room in Kathmandu. What is not included in the trip? Visa for Nepal International flights Personal travel insurance Food - please budget £18 per day Equipment such as a rucksack, boots, and a sleeping bag Temperature and sleeping bags? As the temperature gets as cold as -7 degree Celsius at night in high altitude, a season 3 or 4 sleeping bag is recommended. Season 1 = +5 degrees Celsius Season 2 = 0 degrees Celsius Season 3= -5 degrees Celsius Season 4 = -10 degrees Celsius Season 5 = -15 degrees Celsius Do not worry about the cold, in the day at the highest altitude; temperatures can get up to 15 to 20 degrees Celsius. Fitness levels and altitude The maximum altitude of 5416m and the trekking duration of 17 days is what makes the Annapurna Base Camp Trek classification strenuous. The good news is that unlike the Everest Base Camp Trek, the altitude increases gradually and you only spend 2 nights above 4000m, therefore you are much less likely to suffer from any altitude sickness related symptoms. How you will cope with high altitude is largely determined by genetics, therefore a trekker with the same fitness level as another trekker may find the trek less demanding. The trek requires a reasonable degree of fitness as you will be walking on average 6 hours per days. A moderately fit person who can manage a long and hard day’s walk (5 to 6 hours) will be suitable for the Annapurna Circuit Trek. To combat the possibility of developing altitude sickness symptoms, our porters will be carrying your heavy items, we will have frequent breaks, and we recommend taking anti-altitude sickness tablets called Diamox or Acetazolamide (generic equivalent). Diamox, widely used by trekkers, helps the body to adjust to increased levels of carbon dioxide due to the higher altitude. As recommended by the NHS, a dosage of 125mg to 250mg twice daily starting two days before the trek Information
  7. 7. is generally appropriate. Once you have reached the highest altitude, you should continue the dosage for 3 more days. As the maximum altitude of the trek is 4380m you could alternatively start taking Diamox when initially feel any minor physical discomfort associated with altitude sickness such as a headache. Diamox can be easily purchased in Kathmandu and we can take you to the pharmacy when you arrive. Alternatively you can get Diamox from your doctor, or at the Nomad travel store in the UK. It is often cheaper to purchase Diamox or Acetazolamide in Kathmandu. Individuals worried about their physical capacity due to chronic illness or how about taking Diamox should consult their doctor. FAQs How do I get a visa for Nepal? Almost all tourists can obtain a visa on arrival at the International Airport in Kathmandu (there is only one) or at all major international border crossings into Nepal. You will need to take 2 passport photos with you and your passport must have a minimum validity of six months. It is possible to buy your photos at the airport in Kathmandu, but it is recommended that you bring them with you from home. Most treks require a 30 day visa, however if you are trekking to Annapurna Poon Hill or Lantang and Gosaikund Lake you only require a 15 day visa. If you plan to stay longer than the duration of the standard trek, please factor the extra days in when obtaining a visa. Countries that are not entitled to visas on arrival are: Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Cameroon, Somalia, Liberia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Palestine, and Afghanistan cannot receive visas on arrival. If you are a citizen of one of these countries, please contact your local Nepalese embassy. For the latest list of prices please see the Nepalese Governments website: What is the best way to take money? Please take at least £20 per day cash plus £35 for an entry visa to Nepal (or the equivalent value in USD’s, Euro’s, or any major currency) or more in cash to Nepal as occasionally bank cards do not work in the many ATM’s provided by Standard Charter and the local banks. The problem is that generally the card provider stops the payment in case of fraud and you will need to call your bank to resolve this. It is recommended that you buy something at the airport in your country so that the bank knows you are leaving the country as this reduces the risk of your card not working. As some tourists arrive late, and we need to leave early the following day, arriving with the recommended cash ensures that you have adequate funds when trekking. There is a money changer at the international airport but the exchange rate is not very good. It is better to change money in Kathmandu and our local staff will help you do this. When trekking please take money in local currency for the whole trip as it will be difficult to change money along the way. What happens when I arrive at Kathmandu airport? You will be collected at Kathmandu airport by our trekking liaison manager who will be holding a large sign saying “Experience the Himalayas” and they will be wearing a polo shirt / fleece with our company logo on it. From the airport you will then be transported to your hotel and in the evening our trekking liaison manager will collect the trekking group from the hotel and take you for a welcome dinner of traditional Nepalese food. At dinner you will be introduced to your guide by the trekking liaison manager who will explain what to expect when trekking, outline the itinerary, and answer any questions that you may have. If you have any problems, such as forgetting any trekking items or having an illness, please bring this to the attention of the trekking liaison manager who will help you solve your problems. As members of your trekking group will arrive at different times during the day, Day 1 will be a free day where you can explore Kathmandu or simply relax in the hotel. Do I need adventure travel Insurance? It is important that you have adequate travel insurance that covers helicopter airlifts whilst trekking. The need for a helicopter is unlikely, but the mountains are remote and not accessible by car. It is essential that you get insurance for the altitude of your trek as some companies only cover treks to only 2000m or 4000m.
  8. 8. Companies such as Insure and Go, Virgin Money, The Post office, True Traveller (you have to add the adventure pack option) currently cover the altitudes of all our treks. Columbus Adventure Travel Insurance also provides insurance from residents in countries all over the world. Please note that it is your responsibility to check that you have adequate insurance cover. What should I pack and how will the porter carry my things? The nights are very cold at high altitude, so please make sure you have adequate warm clothing. List of essential things to bring: Light and warm clothing - it is best to use many layers and it is recommended to take 4 t-shirts, 2 jumpers / long sleeve tops, 2 pairs of trousers. You can often wash and dry clothes in the mountains if required. Waterproof jacket with a zipin fleece or down jacket / 2 fleeces and a waterproof layer. Suncream: 30+ SPF Walking boots / shoes and socks - boots are recommended Water bottle Trekking pole(s) Warm and light-weight sleeping bag - sea season rating requirement Towel (preferably quick-dry) Plastic bag to separate any wet or dirty clothes from the clean ones Head lamp/ torch and batteries (you will need a European 220-volt, two-pin adapter) Sun hat Woolly hat Gloves - fleece gloves will be sufficient Shorts (it is often very warm in the day) below 3000m Small rucksack for the things that you will carry during the day, for example water and your camera. A waterproof cover is also recommended. A duffle bag / rucksack for the things that the porter will carry for you. If you are taking a suitcase to Nepal we can arrange a with a duffle bag for you. If you have a rucksack, a waterproof cover is also recomended. Sunglasses Toiletries Chloride pump, or iodine / chloride tablets for treating local water. Vitamin pills such as Berroca for flavouring treated water (recommended to use a quarter of a tablet per litre) Medicines: Recommended - Ibuprofen / aspirin etc. - Antibiotics (you can buy these in the pharmacy in Kathmandu or request them from your doctor before you go) - Laxatives - Anti-diarrheal medication - Plasters - General cold / flu medicine - Diamox for treks over 3300m - see altitude sickness section List of optional equipment: Bandana - due to the thin dry air, some trekkers use a bandana as if you put this over your mouth the air you inhale is moist and does not give you a sore throat. Hand sanitizer Waterproof trousers Medicines that you may wish to consider - Anti-fungal cream - Nausea / vomiting medication such as Maxolom or Stemetil Gator - this will keep your neck warm Swim suit for hot springs (Annapurna Poon Hill and Annapurna Base Camp trek) Granola bars / power food (please remember that your weight limit is 12kg) Comfortable shoes for the evening
  9. 9. Buying things in Nepal With the exception of good walking shoes and boots, you can easily purchase trekking equipment in Nepal. There are numerous shops selling this type of merchandise at a low price. However you may find it more convenient to bring all the things you need with you. Leaving some of your items in Kathmandu It is normal to leave non-valuable items such as clothes and books in Kathmandu at your hotel. You never need to take everything trekking and there is a 12kg limit that the porter will carry for you. If you want to leave you possessions in the bag / rucksack / suitcase that you came with, we can lend you a duffel bag to take on your trek (your porter will carry this) How will my porter carry my things? You need to put your possessions in a rucksack / duffel bag and the porter will put these in his basket and carry them. It is helpful if you do not put things that you need during the day in the bag that the porter will carry as you will not be walking with your porter at all times. Can I drink the tap water? Tap water is not safe to drink in the mountains. To help prevent contamination of the environment, we discourage tourists from drinking from plastic bottles especially when in the mountains. Non-plastic bottle options include: 1) Drinking boiled water from teahouses. 2) Drinking ginger and lemon tea to reduce the need for water consumption. 3) Purifying tap/river water using a chloride pump, iodine, or chloride tablets. The taste of the tablets is not appetising, so it is recommendable to use a dissolvable vitamin tablet to add flavour. Standard vaccinations Generally recommended vaccinations for Nepal are Hepatitis A and Typhoid. For further advice please consult your doctor. How much weight can the porters carry? Our porters will carry up to 12kgs of weight for each trekker. This is included in the price of each trek. We plan for 1 porter for 2 trekkers in accordance to the guidelines set out by the International Porter Protection Group. If you would like more weight to be carried, please let us know. In general 12kg is more than sufficient. Washing your clothes Washing clothes in the cities Your hotel can arrange for your clothes to be washed for you.Alternatively, you can wander around Thamel and find many signs for laundrettes that can wash and dry your clothes in the same day at half the price. All services use machines. Washing clothes at the teahouses Please note that you can wash your socks and t-shirts in the teahouses. Clothes generally dry overnight if you hang them near the fire on the washing lines. If they are still wet in he morning, you can lay them out in the sun when you are having lunch. It is surprising how little clothing you actually need. If you intend to wash your trousers, it is advisable to take microfibre trousers. Internet access In Kathmandu and Pokhara, many restaurants offer free internet and many internet cafes also exist in these cities. Some small internet cafes do exist in the mountains of large villages, but the connection is generally very slow. In Kathmandu there will be internet access at your hotel. Do I need a trekking permit? All treks require a trekking permit which will be are arranged for you by Experience the Himalayas prior to your arrival in Nepal. All you have to do is provide 2 passport photos to the Kathmandu staff who will meet you at the airport.
  10. 10. How old does a trekker have to be to go trekking? All trekkers under 18 must be accompanied by a friend / family member who is over 18 years of age. • Moderate to strenous treks: minimum age is 14 • Easy treks: minimum age is 12
  11. 11. Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), occurs when your body cannot obtain sufficient amounts of oxygen from the air that you breathe to allow normal bodily functions.As the altitude increases, the percentage of oxygen in the air reduces, making any physical problems one may be experiencing even more severe. Altitude sickness can affect anyone and there are no specific factors such as age, sex, or fitness level that enable you to know if you are likely to suffer. Most trekkers can go up to 2500m to 3000m with little or no problems. If you have experienced altitude sickness previously, then under similar conditions you are likely to experience altitude sickness again. Every year trekkers spoil their holiday because they do not listen to their bodies. With a sensible approach, trekking at higher altitudes is not dangerous and is not uncomfortable as altitude sickness is largely preventable. If you experience any physical discomforts that you think could be related to altitude sickness, please inform your guide. Our guides have experience with altitude sickness, and it is important that you listen to their advice so that we can minimise any symptoms. SYMPTOMS OF ALTITUDE SICKNESS Mild and common symptoms include headaches (also a symptom of dehydration), low appetite, and restless sleep. More moderate symptoms include vomiting, fatigue, and diarrhoea. Many compare altitude sickness to the sensations of having a hangover. Severe symptoms include blue lips and fingernails, severe difficulty breathing, poor coordination, fatigue, and drowsiness. PREVENTING AND TREATING ALTITUDE SICKNESS Symptoms often manifest themselves six to ten hours after ascent and generally subside in one to two days, but they occasionally develop into more serious conditions. If you begin to show symptoms of moderate altitude sickness, do not go higher until symptoms decrease and consider reducing your altitude. If you ascend with moderate symptoms, your problems will remain and are likely to become more severe. Acclimatisation days The body takes time to acclimatise and get used to the low levels of oxygen in the air. We build acclimatisation days into our treks so that on certain days you will be allowed to just rest or trek in the surrounding area and at the same elevation. We also sleep in the same tea lodge, and thus altitude, for a second night. This gives your body time to get used to the thinner air. Avoiding strenuous activity Strenuous activity induces altitude sickness. Therefore, if you have symptoms that cause you to experience discomfort, we recommend that you minimise your strenuous activity. Make sure that you minimise the weight in your backpack (the porters will be able to take this for you), and do not participate in optional side treks to glaciers, for example. Stay hydrated Stay hydrated and do not drink alcohol. Alcohol causes dehydration and exacerbates symptoms of AMS. Remember to consume sufficient water and salt via food or rehydration powder. For homemade rehydration drinks, we recommend Sprite and salt as both are readily available in the mountains. If you have a cold take decongestion medicine. Having a cold and being congested makes breathing more difficult and having symptoms of altitude sickness more likely. Please take anti-congestion cold or flu medicine. Medicine: Diamox or Acetazolamide Diamox or Acetazolamide (generic equivalent) tablets are widely used by trekkers. They help the body to adjust to increased levels of carbon dioxide due to the higher altitude. As recommended by the NHS, a dosage of 125mg to 250mg twice daily starting two days before the trek is generally appropriate. Once you have reached your highest altitude, you should continue the dosage for 3 days. ALTITUDE SICKNESS
  12. 12. For low altitude treks such as the Poon Hill Trek, Diamox is not required. For the Everest Base Camp Trek, it is highly recommended that you take Diamox as per the instructions above. For other treks around 4000m altitude, you should either take Diamox as recommended above or when you believe you sense any possible minor altitude sickness symptoms. Diamox can be easily purchased in Kathmandu and we can take you to the pharmacy when you arrive. Alternatively you can get Diamox from your doctor, or at the Nomad travel store in the UK. It is often cheaper and easier to purchase Diamox or Acetazolamide in Kathmandu. Medical access and air ambulances The Himalayan Rescue Association provides medical clinics with highly experienced doctors that specialise in altitude sickness and general injuries, as well as providing general medical care to the local community. Clinic locations are: 1) Everest Base Camp - open during the climbing season of April and May. 2) Pheriche - a town on the Everest Base Camp trail; open during the trekking season. 3) Manang - a town on the Mustang trail; open during the trekking season. Depending on the location, a doctor can also visit a sick or injured trekker, if he or she is unable to visit the clinic. For severe cases, an air ambulance will take trekkers to a hospital in Kathmandu where they will receive all the necessary care and attention required for their recovery. It is important to ensure that all trekkers have travel insurance that covers air ambulances. Small pharmacies exist in many areas. Access to basic medicine is available, especially if you are struggling with altitude sickness and are not taking Diamox or Acetazolamide.
  13. 13. Religion Hinduism and Buddhism are the two principal religions. The two have co-existed throughout the ages and many Hindu temples are located in the same areas as Buddhist shrines. Hindu and Buddhist worshippers, however, may regard the same god with different names while performing religious rites. Brief Introduction to Nepal’s Political History Nepal was established when the Shah, Prithvi Narayan from the Gorkha province, had an expansionary vision and conquered all the Kingdoms in the Kathmandu Valley by 1769. Prithvi Narayan moved his capital to Kathmandu, and this was the start of the Shah dynasty. During the mid-19th century, Jung BahadurRana became Nepal’s first prime minister and wielded absolute power, relegating the Shah King to a mere figurehead. The hereditary reign of the Ranas lasted for 104 years. The Ranas were overthrown in a democracy movement of the early 1950s with support the monarch of Nepal, King Tribhuvan, reinstating the Shah Dynasty. In early 1959, Tribhuvan’s son, King Mahendra, issued a new constitution. As a result, the first democratic elections for a national assembly were held. Unfortunately, King Mahendra changed his mind in 1960 and dissolved Parliament, dismissing the first democratic government. In 1990, the public outcry mounted against King Birendra and in May 1991, Nepal held its first parliamentary elections. In February 1996, one of the Communist parties (Maoist wing) went underground to wage a people’s war against the monarchy and the elected government. On June 1, 2001, a horrific tragedy wiped out the entire royal family along with many of their close relatives. With only King Birendra’s brother, Gyanendra, and his family surviving, he was crowned the King. King Gyanendra tolerated the elected government for only a short while and then dismissed Parliament to usurp absolute power. In April 2006, strikes and street protests in Kathmandu led to a 19-day curfew and the political parties joined forces with the Maoist rebels to bring pressure on the monarch. Eventually, King Gyanendra realized it was futile to hold on to power and relented. He agreed to reinstate parliament, but the political parties and a majority of the general public had had enough of dynastic rule and its abuse of power. On May 28, 2008, a newly elected Constituent Assembly declared Nepal a Federal Democratic Republic, abolishing the 240 year-old monarchy. Nepal today has a President as Head of State and a Prime Minister heading the Nepal Government. About Nepal
  14. 14. Map of central Kathmandu 1) Everest Steak House Everest Steak House is an old fashioned restaurant that has been operating for decades. It serves amazing steak (over 30 types) that has been imported from Calcutta, India and which is cooked to your liking. For those staying at the Nirvana Garden Hotel, this is a great option as it is just across the road. As expected, the wine is not of high quality, so it may be best to stick to the beers or spirits on offer. 2) Nirvana Garden Hotel Nirvana Garden Hotel is located in a tranquil oasis right in the heart of Thamel, the tourist area of Kathmandu. Nirvana Garden Hotel is known for its location, comfort, peace and quiet, and large garden. Wi-fi is free, but can be slow at peak times. Breakfast is very good, but the numerous surrounding restaurants generally offer tastier alternatives for lunch and dinner. 3) Nepalese Kitchen A traditional Nepalese restaurant that serves, alongside other dishes, a daily 3-course Dal Batt set menu (pickled vegetables, white rice, lentil soup, curried potatoes, and curried meat) that is of the highest quality. There is a large outdoor seating area, so this option is particularly nice on a warm evening. The momos (Tibetan style dumplings) are also rather tasty and are highly recommended. 4) RoadhouseCafe An upmarket, popular, and high-quality cafe that sells salads, soups, desserts, and espresso coffees. Pizzas are cooked in a real wood-fired oven. During busy periods, the service may not always be the best. 5) Supermarket 6) Hot Breads/Curry Kitchen Downstairs, the Hot Breads bakery sells cakes, sandwiches, bread rolls, pizza slices, and pastries. You can eat your goods upstairs on the terrace, which also serves as the Curry Kitchen restaurant selling Indian food, Nepalese food, and Buffalo steak. Curry Kitchen is well known for its clay oven curries, naan breads, and masala chai tea (a milky, spiced, and sweet tea). The buffalo steak is worth a try as well. Kathmandu Guide
  15. 15. 7) Supermarket & ATM 8) Or2k (vegetarian) This popular Israeli-run vegetarian restaurant is our current favourite for its fresh and light Middle Eastern dishes. The menu spreads to crêpes, soups, zucchini pie, coconut tofu and ziva(pastry fingers filled with cheese). The mood is bright and buzzing. All seating is on cushions on the floor, so you must remove your shoes and make sure you’re wearing a clean pair of socks. A small stand at street level serves takeaway falafel wraps (Rs 110). 9) Pumpernickel Bakery Head to the Pumpernickel Bakery for some of the best coffee and bread in Kathmandu. This German bakery sells succulent sandwiches and breads, and uses fresh and creamy butter. The omelette sandwich is a different and popular treat. 10) Fire and Ice (Italian) This immensely popular and upmarket restaurant is a real authentic Italian pizzeria that serves incredible pizza, coffee, tiramisu, and foreign beer. Typical pasta dishes, such as penne, lasagne, and spaghetti are also served here. 11) Tibetan Nepali Kitchen A small family run local restaurant offering authentic Nepalese and Tibetan food.
  16. 16. Kathmandu main attractions and entrance prices (December 2012) PashupatinathTemple(B) Rs 550 BoudhanathStupa (C) Rs 150 Monkey Temple (D) Rs 250 Basantapur Durbar Square(E) Rs 750 We propose the following day itinerary: 1) Morning visit to PashupatinathTemple (point B on map above) a. Budget Rs 500 for a taxi from Thamel. b. The distance is 4.8km. 2) Next to BoudhanathStupa (point C on map above) a. Budget Rs 250 for a taxi from PashupatinathTemple. b. The distance is 2.1Km. 3) Lunch around BoudhanathStupa in one of the restaurants. 4) Next to Monkey Temple (also known as Swayanabath, point D on map above) a. Budget Rs 1000 b. The distance is 12.4Km. 5) Next to Durbar square (point E on the map above) a. Budget Rs400 b. The distance is 3.1km 6) Back to Thamel / your hotel a. Budget 250 rupees b. The distance is 1.3km. Kathmandu Sightseeing
  17. 17. Thamel Thamel is where your hotel is based. It boasts a wide range of artisan shops, tasty restaurants selling international cuisine, mountaineering gear shops, foreign money exchange booths, pubs, clubs, and nightlife. The concentration of narrow streets that are lined with everything desired by a tourist make Thamel a tourist mecca and haven. Pashupatinath Temple Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the God of destruction, the Pashupatinath Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu and is situated next to the holy Bagmati River. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world come to pay homage to this temple, which is also known as ‘The Temple of Living Beings’. Religious ceremonies take place at the temple, and there are daily cremations of the deceased on the Ghats of the riverbank. The burned bodies are then placed in the river so that the soul can have the chance to break the cycle of reincarnation and become enlightened. Pashupatinath Temple is a must see sight in Nepal. It is easy reached by a 30 minute taxi ride from Thamel for XXX rupees. The entrance fees are 500 rupees. At the temple you will have an option to get a local guide if desired. Monkey Temple The Monkey temple is also known as SwayanabathStupa. It is located on a hill on the western edge of Kathmandu and is visible from miles away. The SwayambhunathStupa is the oldest and most impactful holy shrine in the Kathmandu Valley. As the name suggests, there are many macaque monkeys that reside there, making the temple even more intriguing. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its accreditation is well deserved. The stupa’s white-washed dome is stunning in its size and perfect symmetry. The Buddhist religious monument consists of a hemispherical base and a square top with a pagoda-style roof. According to legend, a miraculous lotus planted by a past Buddha blossomed from the lake that once covered Kathmandu Valley. Saints, sages, and divinities traveled to the lake to venerate this miraculous light for its power in granting enlightenment. The Great Bodhisattva Manjushri, the embodiment of enlightened wisdom, flew across the mountains of China and Tibet upon his blue lion to worship the lotus. Impressed by the radiant light, he cut a gorge in the mountains surrounding the lake to increase accessibility by mankind. According to the legend, the drained lake is what we know now as the Katmandu Valley. A short walk into the nearby streets takes you past ornate and seemingly ancient buildings. The surrounding streets allow you to imagine what it was like 100 years ago in Kathmandu.
  18. 18. Durbar Square The Kathmandu Durbar Square holds the palaces of the Malla and Shah kings who once ruled over Nepal. The entire palace complex is named after a monkey god, Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Ram. One can see a huge stone statue of Hanuman painted in red right next to the main entrance (the golden gate) of the palace. Hanuman is regarded as a powerful protector of the entire Durbar Square. BoudhanathStupa  The huge stupa of Boudhanath is the largest stupa in Nepal and one of the largest in the world. It is the religious centre for Nepal’s considerable population of Tibetan refugees, and in 1979 Boudhanath became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The five Buddhas in the stupa’s architecture personify the five elements of existence: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. In Buddhism, these 5 great elements are regarded as categories of the sensory experiences of life. There are 29 or more monasteries & nunneries around Boudhanath. Many ordinary Nepalis walk daily in a clockwise direction three or more times around the stupa while repeating the mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’. Throughout the day, pilgrims can be seen circling the stupa and chanting mantras. It is especially impressive at night when pilgrims burn butter lamps, which glow bright against the darkness. Some of the important monuments to be seen here are:  1) Taleju Temple - tallest of all the structures built by King MahendraMalla in 1549 A.D. 2) Jagannath Temple - built in the 16th century and known for its fascinating, erotic figures carved in the wooden structures. 3) KalBhairav - one of the largest stone idols in Kathmandu representing the terrifying aspects of Shiva. 4) Statue of King PratapMalla - in praying gesture towards DiguTaleju, the royal family deity located opposite to it. 5) KumariGhar - 17th century Kumari temple, an example of the highly developed Nepalese temple craft. Yoga class (multiple styles) and or group meditation Many yoga styles are taught at the school:
  19. 19.    YOUR PASSPORT TO A BROADER HORIZON Trek into the heart of the Himalayas and experience the world’s best trekking. With mind- blowing views, snow-capped peaks, Buddhist monasteries, and the traditional way of life of the remote mountain villages, you are certain to have an unforgettable experience. Follow in the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary and take on the world’s tallest mountain, visit Tibetan settlements along the Tibetan border, or trek in the incredible Annapurnas! We offer treks for all levels as well as yoga, meditation, and volunteering options. (+44) 0845 680 2304 Experience the Himalayas! Mind-blowing views Amazing trekking Mount Everest Buddhist monasteries An epic adventure