Do-it-yourself trips to Nepal

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of June 5-11, 1997
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Do-it-yourself trips to Nepal

Do-it-yourself trips to Nepal
Question: I've been to Nepal on a guided trek before; I would like to go again but on more of a "do-it-yourself"-type trek. Will any of the outfitters help with some of the details like flights, rooms in Kathmandu, etc.?

Fairbanks, AK
[email protected]

Rocky landscapes await the do-it-yourself vacationer in Nepal
Adventure Adviser: If you're not planning to use the outfitter's services, don't ask them for help. They may answer some questions, but are in business to make money. Besides, Nepal is Americanized enough so that making your own reservations shouldn't be difficult. In fact, you'll probably get a much better deal if you do it yourself.

Before you do anything, invest in a Lonely Planet Guide to Nepal. (If your local bookstore doesn't have one, call 510-893-8555.) Call a local travel agent for your plane reservations, and tell them to route you through Bangkok. This is usually the least expensive and most efficient way to get to Kathmandu. Because you've already been to Nepal, you'll be somewhat familiar with the territory so you can probably find your way to a number of great resources in Kathmandu, including Pilgrims Book House (244-040; Box 3872, Thamal), where you can pick up a variety of maps and books, as well as local knowledge from the expats who hang out there.

For hotels, try the Kathmandu Guest House (011-977-1-413-632). This hotel was established in 1968 to provide budget accommodations for trekkers, and is still one of the best-quality bargains in Kathmandu. Other options are the ultra-exclusive Yak & Yeti Hotel (248-999), and Shangri-La (412-999); both are a bit more expensive — approximately $100-$130 per night. Any of these hotels will be able to hook you up with a local outfitter.

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