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                Exclusive Nepal & Bhutan

Customised Himalayan travel without the price tag

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Outside UK Tel: +44 15395 67118

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Snow Cat Travel

snowcat-photo-logo-square-no-text Bodnath, Kathmandu, Nepal

Answering your questions and helping create the perfect Nepal or Bhutan experience for you go 'hand in hand' with one another. So, please do contact us whatever questions you may have about Nepal or Bhutan and how to create your ideal Himalayan adventure. It's what we do. Perhaps the question we've been asked the most over the years is...."am I asking a stupid question?" The answer is a definite "absolutely not!" So.....please.....ask away. We really would prefer it if you ask us rather than not.

 

However, we've created a list of FAQ's below to help you.

 

 

Seriously, do please at least scroll to the bottom and read our Reality Check section. It's very important.

 

How does your tailor-made service work?

Well, tailor-made means just that, a truly personal, bespoke service to create the holiday you really want. There are lots of varied itineraries throughout our website with the intention of inspiring you. Of course you can always choose an 'off the shelf' itinerary, but that isn't their real purpose. Chances are that there'll be things to do, places to visit, accommodations to stay at and a whole host of things that may appeal to you and with our expertise and knowledge we'll combine all things you want into a holiday that is designed just for you. We're not here to talk you into something you don't want, we're here to listen to your desires and turn those into reality. Generally speaking we can start with the proverbial 'blank sheet of paper' and then after chatting with you will present you with a basic outline itinerary and preliminary costing. We'll then chat through this with you and make any adjustments that are necessary until it is exactly what you want. For ideas why not start with our Inspiration section and for some interesting and downright wacky ideas visit our "unique ideas" section too.

 

Financial Protection

For your own peace of mind and financial protection we recommend that you purchase travel insurance that provides you with not only comprehensive cover for cancellation, but also for end supplier financial failure too. Please see the Travel Insurance Section further below. If paying by credit card, then your card services provider may also include financial protection for you too. Please check with your card provider.

 

What about a packing list?

Well, we don't usually patronise you and tell you how many pairs of socks and undies and things like that you should take. Seriously, we will provide you with a suggested packing list  and just as your holiday is tailor-made, so will be your recommended packing list. Naturally, we are always happy to advise on matters such as clothing, footwear, etc. Dependent upon your particular chosen holiday there may be baggage restrictions (e.g. on trek, using internal flights), but we will tell you about this where it is applicable, as well as left luggage opportunities too.

 

What about travel insurance?

Yes, this is absolutely essential and conditional that you have adequate travel insurance. You will be asked to produce your travel insurance documents upon arrival  to our representative. If you haven't taken out travel insurance then sorry, you will not be able to partake in your holiday and will not be refunded. This apart, it's just not worth the risk not to have travel insurance. We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance before, or as soon as you have booked your holiday with us. It is essential that the travel insurance you purchase covers everyone in your party for the activities involved, as well as the maximum altitudes involved. Your travel insurance should be for travel to Nepal or Bhutan respectively  (usually classed as 'rest of the world') and provide you with comprehensive cancellation cover. We strongly recommend that for your financial protection your travel insurance provides you with cover for end supplier failure.We advise you to ensure that your travel insurance also covers you for emergency helicopter evacuation and repatriation. Should your guide need to summon a helicopter (for example) for an emergency rescue as there is no such thing in Nepal & Bhutan as an official Helivac rescue service, in essence it is a private helicopter that is used. Our team will (because they have a copy of your insurance details) advise the helicopter company of your travel insurance details. Other wise (and bluntly speaking ) the helicopter will not come.

 

Are Nepal & Bhutan safe?

The Nepalese & Bhutanese are amongst the friendliest and most hospitable people in the world. All the same travel involves risk. Check out our "Know Before You Go-Travel Advice" section.

 

What's included in our holiday?

Well, as your holiday is tailor-made it's up to you what is included. As a general rule we suggest that if you are spending time in Kathmandu or Pokhara in particular it's a good idea that lunches and dinners aren't included. There are so many choices in both cities to suit taste and budget we find most people prefer not to be restricted to eating at their hotel. In most other locations other than where you are over-nighthting there usually isn't a choice other than your accommodation. So, here we usually would recommend we include all meals. On trek it really is a good idea to include all your meals. You may find otherwise you're having to carry large amounts of Nepalese bank notes, and may struggle getting change for large notes. Or worse, run out of food money altogether. In Bhutan the minimum daily tariff package imposed on all visitors to Bhutan includes many services including meals and accommodation. See more here

 

Do we need a visa for Bhutan or Nepal?

Yes for both. For Nepal you arrange your visa (easiest to do upon arrival). For Bhutan we must obtain your visa. You cannot obtain a Bhutan visa independently. Please see our Visa section.

 

What about money?

You can only get this in Nepal or Bhutan.  See our  Country Facts & General Information Section.

 

How much money will we need?

Depends on your chosen holiday to the greater extent. If (for example) you're on trek and all your meals etc are included, then here you don't need a great deal. There won't be much to spend money on! You'd possibly budget on £5-£7 a day if you're buying mineral water, soft drinks, the odd beer etc. If you're in Kathmandu and Pokhara for several days (again for example) and eating out etc and going mad in the shops then you'll need a lot more. We can give you further advice on spending money once your tailor-made holiday has been determined.

 

What about tips for staff?

Always an emotive topic this one. Firstly let us stress that all staff working as part of your holiday are paid properly. i.e. the going rate for the work they do. In the case of porters for example there are (thankfully) nowadays legal rates. None of the staff working for you are paid on a "basic rate and hope you get a big tip" basis. That's self-defeating in the long run. Our staff are very much the key to the enjoyment of your holiday and when you meet them you'll see they have been working happily for us for many years. So, our recommendation is by all means give a tip to our staff, but only if you have received good service. However, we're certain you will receive exceptional service.  We know our staff work for you in a cheerful and exceptional manner. They also take great pride in what they do. Nothing ever seems to be too much trouble, except when it comes to saying 'no'. So, how much to tip? Well, there's a hierachical sort of thing goes on, and other factors too e.g. how many days and so on. Best you ask us about tipping so we can advise according to your particular holiday. You can after all tip too much, and in the long run that's not good for anyone, especially the people travelling next with the person you've just given the equivalent of a average Nepalese or Bhutanese house too.

 

Internal Flights

Your holiday may include internal flights  and these are booked by us.

 

Please be aware that baggage restrictions apply on all internal flights in Nepal and Bhutan. For internal flights in Bhutan as well as International flights to/from Paro -7KG Hand Baggage and 30KG Hold Baggage

 

For non-mountainous flights e.g. Pokhara, Biratnagar, Bharatpur

5kg Hand Baggage and 15KG Hold Baggage

 

For flights into mountainous regions e.g. Lukla, Jomsom, Juphal, Taplejung

5kg Hand Baggage and 10kg Hold Baggage

 

Any excess baggage charges must be paid for by yourself. Internal flights in Nepal are well below the gloval safety average.

 

Do you organise our International Flights?

No. You would book your own flights enabling you to take advantage of the best online fares. We do recommend that we book your Paro flights for Bhutan. See International Flights

 

When should we book our International Flights

You should not book or make any arrangments in respect of international travel until we have confirmed your booking.

 

When should we go

That largely depends on what you're hoping to do. See our "When to Go-Climate Information" section.

 

What's the weather like?

The basic principle being the higher you go, the colder it gets. Nepal and Bhutan experience the monsoon rains during the summer months, but it can and does rain outwith this period also. The Himalayas create their own, often localised weather, so you must always be prepared for (what we call)  bad weather, including thunderstorms, tempertaures below freezing and snow fall at higher elevations. See our "When to Go-Climate Information" section.

 

What health risks are there?

Legally speaking only a qualified medical professional can advise on this. So, we recommend you consult with your doctor as to the latest recommended vaccinations and other medical precautions. One common question that pops up is with regard to malaria, as it's not unreasonable to expect your doctor to  not be wholly familiar with the geography.  There is a malarial risk in the Terai region (this includes Chitwan for example).

The Himalayas, Kathmandu, Pokhara etc are malaria free. So, if your holiday is (say) mostly in the mountains, but then incorporates a jungle safari in Chitwan, then you should really take malaria precautions to be on the safe side. See our "Travel Health" section. Trips to Bhutan are not considered to have a malarial risk.

 

How fit and healthy do I need to be?

That depends on what activities you wish for. We can't tell you whether you're fit enough. But, we can tell you what is involved in a particular activity, and this is a tailor-made holiday service so if we are aware of your physical fitness and abilities we can design for this accordingly. You must let us know at the outset if you have a pre-existing medical condition, and you must also consult with your doctor as to whether the holiday is suitable for you from a medical perspective if you have a pre-existing medical condition. We also recommend that before you depart on your holiday you have a check up both with your GP and dentist. See our "Important Information on altitude, trekking and other physical actvities" section.

 

What about altitude?

Literally thousands and thousands of people each year go trekking, or engage in other physical actvities at high altitudes in the Himalayas. The human body is quite capable of adjusting to altitude if allowed to acclimatize properly. See our "Important Information on altitude, trekking and other physical actvities" section.

 

Food and Dietary requirements

Vegetarians will have no difficulties. Nepal is mostly a Hindu country, so being vegetarian is the norm for the the locals. The Nepalese staple 'Dal Bhat' is entirely vegetarian (and very tasty too). No two Dal Bhats are the same! Carnivores won't be disappointed either. No beef usually. Instead there's buffalo and yak and chicken of course. In fact for both, you'll find the Nepalese are great cooks and as a general rule you will be able to enjoy a wide variety of meals, from local to international. In Kathmandu and Pokhara there's almost every type of eatery imaginable. In Bhutan meat is more commonly featured in meals, as well as chillies....lots of chillies! But, spice is toned way down for foreigners unless you want it local strength! However, if you're travelling to more remote areas it can be very difficult if you have other special dietary requirements. Talk to us if you have special dietary requirements and we'll do our best to advise, but we must stress that we cannot guarantee that your requirements will be met.

 

How do we book?

Only when you're completely happy with the holiday itinerary we've prepared for you. Then we would ask you to pay a deposit of 10% of the total holiday cost and complete a booking form (which we'll send you). The deposit is non-refundable so do make sure you have travel insurance in place for this. Your final balance is then payable no later than 8 weeks before departure. We do need you to complete and sign a booking form too before we can confirm your holiday. See also our "Booking Terms & Conditions".

 

Do you tell us about things like culture, customs, laws etc?

We'd recommend (and you probably were going to anyway) buy a guide book about Nepal or Bhutan. That's the best way to learn about many aspects of either country. Insight Guides produce excellent guide books on both Nepal and Bhutan, available as both a hard copy and ebook.

 

 

IMPORTANT- REALITY CHECK

 

Sorry, this is the bit where we all have to remove the rose tinted spectacles and confront some of the realities involved. This applies whether you are booking the highest possible luxury holiday, or trekking in isolated, remote parts of the Himalayas. Outside of your luxury accommodation that reality exists and can't be avoided.

 

We must stress that you really should visit the FCO website too for "matter of fact"  but important information, as well as the latest updates or the government advice on travel from your country of residence.You're thinking of going to a country that is most definitely an adventurous destination. This means that sometimes not everything goes according to plan, or works as it should. The country remains one of the poorest in the world. It has few major roads, and those are often uncomfortable, and journey times can be very unreliable. The general standard of driving is far from that in developed countries. It can be down right atrocious. Power cuts can be a regular occurrence (daily). Many places have generators to cope with power cuts, others don't. Even the most luxurious of accommodations may suffer from a lack of water and plumbing problems. Simply put, the entire general infrastructure of both Neapl and Bhutanis far from the standard and quality you're used to in the UK, Europe and North America. Do not expect the same levels of emergency health care  and services or safety standards either. This also means that any itinerary we prepare for you and is subsequently booked cannot be guaranteed. There are so many things we cannot have control of. This may mean your planned itinerary may have enforced changes before or during the course of the holiday itself. We know its not ideal, but we will always do our best to minimise any disruption outwith our control.

 

We would respectfully suggest that you need to take two essential things with you.

 

1. A sense of adventure.

2. A sense of humour.

 

Both go a long way if things don't go according to plan, and there's always a chance that might happen. We find it beneficial to visit with an acceptance that you are not here to change Nepal or Bhutan, but to change yourself.

 

Essentially, if you're expecting things to be like the UK, USA or other Western European countries in terms of standards, safety and everything to happen like clockwork all the time, it's probably a good idea not to visit.

Majik Wolf                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Site still under construction

 

Got a question? 

e-mail sales@snowcattravel.com , or call us on +44 15395 67118 to discuss YOUR HIMALAYAN holiday

Important Stuff & FAQ

From the UK Tel: 01539 567118

Snow Cat Travel

WARNING:High risk of Inspiration