Planning Nepal

Wow, this time next month I will be in Kathmandu.Thought I would take this moment to write a little about the planning I have been up to.When I say planning, I mean ‘planning‘ as opposed to ‘booking‘ so if you are looking for price quotes for the different legs of the trip: browse away now.

I have booked a hotel for the first few nights and thatís about it.We shopped around a lot for different places around Kathmandu and settled on the famous Kathmandu Guesthouse.Its right in the middle of the Thamel district, itís pretty cheap, they will pick us up from the airport and it just seems a safe bet for the first night or so.If we are not impressed we will just find a new place.The Thamel district is the trekkers/backpackers hub of Kathmandu, and is abundant with hostels, guesthouses and hotels.†† We can organise it when we get there.


In fact, “when we get there” is becoming an oft uttered phrase in this planning process.I would love to arrive in Kathmandu knowing that every connected journey was booked and paid in full, but it doesn’t seem worth the peace of mind.Despite the internet being a wonderful place, it is highly likely that any price you are quoted by online organisers will be higher than those available in town.Every experienced traveler I speak is adamant that I can save myself a packet by putting the credit card away and just getting the business done in Kathmandu.So yes, all I have under my belt so far is a one way ticket to
Nepal and a few nights at a Hotel.


What Needs Doing?

There are 2 things we definitely need to get organised in Kathmandu: a China Visa and the travel to

China VISA

As I mentioned in my previous post on Permits and Visas I can†only organise my China VISA in
Kathmandu.Any China VISA organised beforehand will become void upon entry into Nepal.This should be fairly effortless.One can either visit the Chinese embassy in person or pass it off to an agent to get done for you as part of a deal.It’s a flat rate (though you will probably pay an extra fee if you book it through an agency) and takes 2-3 working days.Be careful to watch out for Chinese National Holidays, because they obviously won’t be processing orders on those days.I land on May 1st, the biggest holiday in the Chinese calendar.Typical.


Travel to Tibet & the Tibet Travel Permit

When you book an overland trip to Lhasa you are usually paying for a driver, guide and mode of transport for a set period of time. As such, that cost is split between the number of travelers, the number of which will depend on the mode of transport.Obviously, the price depends on the length of the trip.Several packaged itineraries are offered from Kathmandu to Lhasa ranging between 5 – 15 days.Of course, if you have the money to spend you can just go on for as long as you want, you will pay for the driver/guide and jeep per day.Most agencies offer a jeep service, which means the price can be split between up to 4 passengers.Tap a few keywords into Google you will find dozens of quotes and itineraries for this route.Walk the streets of Kathmandu and you will probably find plenty as well.Another advantage to waiting until you are in Kathmandu is that if you are alone, you may be able to find travel buddies to qualify you as a group, or to help split the cost.As for us two; we may just hire a jeep for the two of us and enjoy the extra space if we can afford it.


In addition to the travel, most organisers will also be able to book a Tibet Travel permit for you too.As I mentioned in my post on Permits and VISAs, you need to be traveling as a ‘group’ to qualify for a Tibet Travel Permit (and that 2 people constitute a group), so having a jeep booked for 2 or more bodies is one way of ensuring that you are granted a permit.


Let’s just hope it works out that way.

I am also looking to book a trip down to the Chitwan
National Park for a couple of our days in Nepal but I will save that for another post.


Tick tock, tick tock.Not long now…


Photo by Flickr User Tempo


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