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Nepal on a Shoestring Tour

Had a worry free amazing experience from the time we booked the trip till we arrived back home. Definitely recommend using them.

David, Jan 2018

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Nepal on a Shoestring OVERVIEW


8 days

Kathmandu to Kathmandu


Country(ies): Nepal

Tour type: Shoestring

Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 18

Accommodation: 2 to 3-star hotels


Transport: Local tourist coach & 4x4 jeep

Highlights: Streets & temples of Kathmandu, Trisuli rafting option, Chitwan wildlife safaris, lakeside town of Pokhara, Sarangkot walk and mountain views

This 8-day tour of Nepal gives travellers a great introduction to their time in Nepal. We include an arrival airport transfer, a hotel in the tourist district of Thamel in Kathmandu, a walking tour to get a feel for the city, several iconic Hindu & Buddhist temples and stupas, public coach travel between cities for added local flavor and lower cost, wildlife safaris in Chitwan National Park including an elephant ride, jungle walk, boat trip, village walk, and time in the lakeside town of Pokhara at the foot of the Annapurna mountain range. The tour finishes in back in Kathmandu, where a range of additional options can be added for people wanting to do more. These can be booked in advance or while in Nepal.

Private tour option

If our scheduled departure dates don't work for you, or you would prefer not to travel with a group, then we can also run this tour privately for you. Please contact us for more information and prices.


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Day 1 Arrive into Kathmandu

We greet you on your arrival in Kathmandu airport today and transfer you to your hotel in the Thamel tourist disctrict of the city. Our rep will help you settle in and familiarise you with the local area before the rest of your day is free. In the evening our rep will take you on an evening walk through Thamel to check out the numerous bars, restaurants and nightlife on offer. You may have your first taste of Nepal's traditional dish tonight - Dal Bhat (rice and lentil curry).


Kathmandu hotel




Single room supplement (NPSHSH)
Extra day in Kathmandu - pre-tour

Day 2 Kathmandu city tour

Our tour starts with a guided walk from our hotel in Thamel through small back streets full of numerous tiny shops, workshops, temples, and stupas to Durbar Square with its array of wooden and stone carved temples and palaces. You'll really get a feel for the bustle and chaos that is Kathmandu. After lunch at a rooftop restaurant overlooking Durbar Square, we visit the important and contrasting pilgrimage sites of Bouthanath Buddhist stupa and Pasupatinath Hindu temple. Boudhanath has a serene calm to it with many monasteries surrounding it and peaceful music playing. Pasupatinath however is more chaotic but equally important religiously and you will see the riverside ghats where bodies are cremated amidst prayers and rituals.


Kathmandu hotel




Everest Mountain Flight

Day 3 Local transfer to Chitwan National Park

We leave the Kathmandu Valley today and take the tourist bus out on the main road to India through steep sided hills and valleys. You may well see white water rafters on the Trisuli River far below you. After a break and a total drive of 6-7 hours you arrive in the plains that border India and we take a local transfer to our lodge at Chitwan National Park. After settling in we take a village walk to learn more about the typical rural village life of the local Tharu people.


Chitwan hotel


Breakfast, Dinner



Day 4 Chitwan National Park wildlife safari

We spend today exploring Chitwan National Park in search of, amongst others, tigers, rhino and wild elephant. In the morning we'll take a walk through the jungle and enjoy a canoe trip. Later on in the afternoon we take an elephant safari into the park. You may also get a chance to bathe with the elephants in the river!


Chitwan hotel


Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner



Day 5 Chitwan to Pokhara

This morning we have a walk dedicated to bird watching, or you can take another elephant safari into the park (at extra cost) before taking a tourist bus to the lakeside town of Pokhara which sits at the foot of the mighty Annapurna range of mountains. After settling into our hotel, the rest of the day is free to relax and explore this picturesque lakeside town. Our rep will take you on a walk through the Lakeside area which teems with trekking equipment shops, restaurants and bars.


Pokhara hotel





Day 6 Sarangkot walk and free time

We get up early this morning and take a taxi up to the top of the nearby viewpoint at the top of Sarangkot hill. Here you can get fantastic morning views of the Annapurna mountain range which may inspire you for some trekking to come. We walk downhill back to Pokhara for a couple of hours, stopping at tea shops and enjoying the views. The rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy Pokhara, perhaps taking a rowing boat out on the lake or enjoying an optional sightseeing tour.


Pokhara hotel





Day 7 Pokhara, return to Kathmandu

If you wish, you can finish the tour in Pokhara today (discounts apply). Our local rep will then be available to help you with any further activities you may like to do, whether this be to do some trekking in the mountains, try some fun white water rafting or just chill out some more in Pokhara.

Alternatively, the main tour itinerary returns to Kathmandu on the public tourist coach today (approx. 7 hours driving). Your last night is then free to enjoy the bars and restaurants and shops in Thamel before the tour ends tomorrow.


Kathmandu hotel





Day 8 Kathmandu, tour ends, transfer to airport for departure

Your tour ends after breakfast this morning, and your time is free until we transfer you to the airport for your departure flight. If you will be staying on in Nepal, then our local rep will be happy to help you with information, advice and any onward arrangements.







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  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary in clean and friendly hotels and lodges around the 2-star level
  • All transfers, including 24-hour airport arrival transfer service vehicle transport 
  • All transport including public tourist coach from Kathmandu to Chitwan to Pokhara to Kathmandu, and local transport including jeeps (and elephants) in Chitwan
  • Services of a local escort throughout the tour
  • Specialist city guides and wildlife safari guides in Kathmandu and Chitwan.
  • All national park entry and activity fees
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary (7 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners)
  • All entrance fees to sites visited in the itinerary

  • International flights (available on request)
  • Visa fees (available on arrival for most nationalities)
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tips for guides, drivers & tour leader
  • Any other items not mentioned above


Dates and Prices

This tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year, and we can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.

Start Date
End Date
Price (P/P)
Offer price


The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.

Hotel Moonlight


Hotel Moonlight is located on the edge of Thamel, less than 1.2 miles from Kathmandu Mall and Times Square Mall. It offers a rooftop terrace with lovely views of Kathmandu.

Local rating

Our rating

Hotel Moonlight is located on the edge of Thamel, less than 1.2 miles from Kathmandu Mall and Times Square Mall. It offers a rooftop terrace with lovely views of Kathmandu.

The colourful rooms at Moonlight Hotel offer a choice of air conditioning or a fan. Each room has a TV, a small seating area, and a laptop-sized safe. The private bathroom is fitted with a bathtub and shower.

The hotel provides free Wi-Fi and free airport pick-up. A tour desk offers travel assistance and car or motorbike rental. Staff can also assist with currency exchange and laundry services.

Open 24 hours daily, the restaurant and bar serves local and international dishes. Guests can also order room service.

Hotel Moonlight is 20 minutes' drive from Tribhuvan International Airport. Royal Palace Museum is just a 5-minute drive away.

Thamel is a great choice for travellers interested in shopping, sightseeing and food.

Hotel Orchid


Offering a tranquil escape, Hotel Orchid is a 5-minute walk to Fewa Lake and offers views of the Himalayas and Peace Pagoda. It offers a roof-top garden restaurant, 24-hour room service, and modern rooms with free Wi-Fi.

Local rating

Our rating

Offering a tranquil escape, Hotel Orchid is a 5-minute walk to Fewa Lake and offers views of the Himalayas and Peace Pagoda. It offers a roof-top garden restaurant, 24-hour room service, and modern rooms with free Wi-Fi.

Rooms feature wooden flooring and come equipped with a 24-inch TV, desk and en suite bathroom with a bathtub.

Guests can enjoy trekking in Annapurna, which is an hour's drive away and boating in Fewa Lake. Pokhara Tourist Bus Stand is a 15-minute drive away and Pokhara Airport is 1.2 miles from Hotel Orchid. Kathmandu is 124.3 miles away.

Guest services include laundry and ticketing. A transfer service from the airport to the hotel can be arranged upon request. The roof-top garden restaurant serves Asian and Western dishes and offers views of the surrounding area.

Hotel Mona Lisa


Hotel Monalisa Chitwan is situated in Chitwan and is close to the area's popular attractions. It provides comfortable rooms, designed to suit the requirements of any guest.

Local rating

Our rating

Hotel Monalisa Chitwan is situated in Chitwan and is close to the area's popular attractions. It provides comfortable rooms, designed to suit the requirements of any guest. The hotel houses both a restaurant and a bar where guests can unwind of an evening with a meal and a drink. For guests who enjoy exploring local dining options, there is a great selection within walking distance.


Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination you‘re visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.

All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.

Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.

Single room supplement (NPSHSH)

Min numbers: 1 person

This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. If you are solo traveller and don't book this option then you should expect to share a same sex twin/triple room with another traveller.

Price from
per person

This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. If you are a single traveller and don't add this option then we will arrange a same sex room share for you in a twin or triple room. If a room share is not available then you do not need to pay the single supplement.

Extra day in Kathmandu - pre-tour

Min numbers: 1 person

This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Price from
per person

This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Everest Mountain Flight

Min numbers: 1 person

This short but spectacular flight takes you from Kathmandu up towards Everest and the surrounding high peaks and Tibetan plateau. The planes have larger than normal clear windows, and window seats are guaranteed.

Price from
per person

This short but spectacular flight takes you from Kathmandu up towards and around Everest and the surrounding high peaks and Tibetan plateau. The planes have good sized clear windows, and window seats are guaranteed. The flight takes around 1 hour and we aim to book one of the first flights of the morning when the views tend to be better and the flights are less liable to delays or cancellations. Transfers to and from your hotel are included. If the flight does not run due to poor weather, we will aim to reschedule it for later in your tour. If that is not possible then you will be refunded.

Bardia National Park Extension

Min numbers: 1 person

4-day/3-night package to Bardia National Park, one of Nepal's best national parks and perhaps the best place in Nepal to catch a glimpse of the elusive Bengal tiger. Includes return flights, accommodation, meals and park activities.

Price from
per person

Day 1
pm - Arrive in the lodge sometime today. In the afternoon discover Tharu life and culture with a guided walk from the lodge through neighbouring villages and farmland.
Meals - Dinner

Day 2
am & pm - Full day guided Jungle Walk taking in various areas in the park and targeting different species. Packed lunch included.
Meals - Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 3
am - Morning 1-hour Elephant Safari into the park. pm - Guided Jeep Safari, visiting areas of the park you didn't reach during the jungle walk.
Meals - Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 4
am - Early morning bird watching walk outside the park followed by free time to relax or explore the surrounding village. pm - Departure from Bardia. Various transfer options available.
Meals - Breakfast


  • Return flights between Kathmandu and Nepalganj
  • Airport/hotel transfers in Kathmandu
  • Nepalganj-Bardia transfers
  • 3 nights accom
  • All meals
  • All park activities

Note: Prices are based on a minimum of 2 people

Trisuli white water rafting

Min numbers: 1 person

This option provides an exciting day of white water rafting on the Trisuli river and takes place on Day 3 of the tour (en-route from Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park).

Price from
per person

This option provides an exciting day of white water rafting on the Trisuli river and takes place on the day featuring your travel from Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park. You'll start with some initial skills training and practice manoevering the boat as a team with your rafting guides. Then it is on to some exciting rapids as you head further downstream - around 4 hours rafting in total. The section of the Trisuli we will take is a pool drop river with some great rapids with long flat sections inbetween. The larger rapids are grade III-IV for most of the year, but more extreme (IV+) during the monsoon months of June to September). No previous experience is necessary, but during the monsoon season we'll choose a section of river appropriate to your experience and the current river conditions. All rafting equipment is included (life jackets, helmets, paddles, wetsuits (winter months) camera barrels & dry bags, first aid kit, safety kayaker). Lunch is included on the banks of the river, and after finishing the rafting you'll be transferred on to Chitwan (approx. 1 hour) to rejoin the rest of the group.

Pokhara early finish discount

Min numbers: 1 person

If you wish you may finish the tour in Pokhara instead of returning to Kathmandu. This can work well if you are planning some trekking, rafting or other activities in the Annapurnas and around Pokhara.

Price from
per person

If you wish you may finish the tour in Pokhara instead of returning to Kathmandu. This can work well if you are planning some trekking, rafting or other activities in the Annapurnas and around Pokhara. We will be happy to help with any onward activities, or you can make your own arrangements independently.

Tour Notes

The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.

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  1. Accommodation

We use comfortable but simple hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara (approx. 2 star), while at Chitwan National Park, we use safari lodges with comfortable clean rooms and en-suite bathrooms. We normally use hotels and lodges in and around the village of Sauraha on the edge of the park, which increases the number of activities you can do while at the park. Accommodation is on a sharing basis in twin or triple rooms.  Single travellers can opt to pay a single room supplement to guarantee a single room throughout the tour. The hotels listed below are given as a guide and different properties of a similar standard may be used on some dates.

Kathmandu – Hotel Moonlight or Pilgrims Hotel
Pokhara – Hotel Orchid or Hotel Lake Star or Hotel Grand Holiday
Chitwan – Hotel Monalisa or Chitwan Safari Club or Chitwan Village Resort or Rhino Lodge

  2. Transport

We use public tourist buses for the journey from Kathmandu to Chitwan and Chitwan to Pokhara.  A variety of transport including jeeps, elephants & canoes is used when you visit Chitwan.

  3. Transfers

The tour includes a 24-hour airport arrival transfer from Kathmandu airport to your hotel, and all other transfers.

  4. International Flights

We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to suggest flights to go with the tour. Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from.

Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour.

Most of our Nepal tours start and finish at Kathmandu airport (KTM).

On tours that combine Nepal with Tibet, and/or Bhutan, any international flights connecting these countries may be included in the price of your tour or we may ask you to purchase them individually. If we arrange the flights then e-tickets will be sent to you in advance but will also be available in Kathmandu before you travel to the airport for the flight.

  5. Internal Flights

Please note that all Nepalese airlines operating domestic routes in the country are currently on the European Commission's list of airlines banned in the EU. This includes those running Everest viewing flights and flights to Lukla for the start of the Everest Base Camp trek.

Along with these Everest flights we may offer some other domestic flights on some of our tours, either as part of the itinerary or as an upgrade in place of a land transfer. Where this is the case we are careful to select airlines that have a good current reputation in Nepal.

  6. Group Size/Tour Leaders/Guides

We are committed to being a small group operator, as we feel this gives everyone in the group the best chance to get to know their fellow travellers and to hear and make the most of their guide. There’s no point in us providing great guides if you’ve got to peer over 30-40 shoulders to see them! So, we set our Nepal group departures to have a maximum of 18 travellers.

Fully trained English-speaking Nepalese trekking and rafting guides are provided where required,  and many of our travellers consider them a highlight of their tour. We also provide a fully trained English-speaking guide for any sightseeing tours. A tour leader (often also a trekking guide) will accompany you throughout the trip.

At Encounters Travel we only use local Nepali guides and reps. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing.

  7. Rafting

It is a popular myth that white-water rafting is only for the young and super fit. However, you must be a competent swimmer and be unafraid of the water and to this end we are unable to accept bookings from non-swimmers. So, whether you are male or female, young or old, if you are prepared to honestly assess your physical abilities and accept the challenge then rafting is right for you.

You need to bring swimming gear, some trainers or sandals you don’t mind getting wet, and a towel. We will provide wetsuits, and all the rafting equipment. All the Nepalese rafting guides we use are fully trained and experienced on the river, and we carry a first aid kit and use safety kayakers.

This tour offers optional white water rafting on the Trisuli River on the day that you travel from Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park. There are Class II, III and IV rapids (Grades run from I to V), and you only need to be relatively fit.  You don’t need any previous rafting experience, and the start of your time on the river will be spent learning the skills and teamwork required. We consider the Trisuli river ideal for beginner rafters.

Class II: mild rapids, suitable for children and anyone seeking an enjoyable experience
Class III: larger rapids, requiring a little more skill but with little real danger
Class IV: powerful rapids, needing more advanced techniques

You can also choose to finish the tour in Pokhara and add a multi-day rafting trip on the Kali Gandaki or Seti rivers, or add an extension from Kathmandu at the end to raft on the exciting Bhote Khosi river.

  8. Entrance Fees

All your entry fees and permits are included (to cover entry into the trekking conservation areas, and sites on the city tour).

In Chitwan, all National Park activity costs are included, to cover one of each of the following:  Jungle Walk, Village Walk, River canoe trip, Elephant Ride.

  9. Health and Vaccinations

You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions. In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:

Nepal: Additional vaccinations: Diptheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Bhutan: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.

Tibet: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.

Malaria: Vaccinations are not available against Malaria, which is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that can be very serious and sometimes fatal. You should avoid mosquito bites by covering up bare skin with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers and applying insect repellents to exposed skin. When necessary, sleep under a mosquito net. Mosquitoes are most active during and after sunset. You should consult with your GP/medical practitioner/travel clinic about the most appropriate malaria prophylactic medication to take for the regions you are visiting. In general the lowland regions Bhutan are considered malarial zones, while higher altitudes including central Bhutan including Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Bumthang are not. Nepal is considered mainly low risk with prophylactics not normally required.

Yellow Fever: This disease is spread by infected mosquitoes that bite during the day. A Yellow Fever Certificate of vacinnation may be required as a condition of entry depending on which country you are arriving from, or that you have travelled or transitted through recently (including connecting flights with stopovers of over 12 hours). You can view a World Health Organisation map of areas where the virus is present in monkeys and therefore a potential risk to humans. Please ensure you have this certificate with you and to hand if necessary. Please inform us of any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma and any prescription medicine you may be taking. We also need to know about any food allergies or physical disabilities that you may have.

  10. Passports and Visas - Nepal

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.

Many nationals can obtain their Nepalese visa in Kathmandu airport upon arrival (including UK, EU, US, CA, AU, NZ, SA citizens). The costs for a multiple entry visa are currently:
- up to 15 days - US$ 25
- 16 to 30 days - US$ 40
- 31 to 90 days - US$ 100

The visa is obtained in the immigration area at the point where your passport is stamped. Forms to fill in are available in this immigration hall and may also be given out on your flight (if so, do fill them in before you land as it will reduce your queuing time). You will also need to fill in an arrivals card. Once your paperwork is completed, head to the immigration desk and hand over your forms, 2 passport photos, visa fee and passport. The visa fees are set in US Dollars, but you can also pay in other currencies, but don't rely on getting given change.

Passport Photos: You will need two passport photos for your Nepal visa if you are obtaining it on arrival. If you are doing any trekking, rafting or visiting a National Park (i.e. nearly all of our tours), you must bring with you several passport photos, as some of the permits we need to get require these. Please bring at least 4 passport photos with you - they will always come in useful later if you don't need them all.

  11. Time

The time in India and Sri Lanka is GMT plus 5 1/2 hours.

The time in Nepal is GMT plus 5 3/4 hours.

The time in Bhutan is GMT plus 6 hours.

The time in Tibet is GMT plus 8 hours.

Daylight saving adjustments are not applied.

  12. Voltage
Sockets are mainly two round pronged and 230 volts (Type C,D,M). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don't have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are sometimes available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already but cannot be guaranteed.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.

  13. Money
The local currency in Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee (NRs). There are a banks and several ATMs in Kathmandu where you can use a debit/credit card to withdraw cash (Visa, Mastercard), but these are not generally available out of Kathmandu or Pokhara. There are numerous money change shops in the main towns. Travellers cheques can be changed in some banks in Kathmandu and Pokhara, but not elsewhere.
You should ensure you have all the Nepalese rupees you think you will need before you leave for any trekking or visiting any more remote areas (including Bardia National Park). Try to obtain as many small denomination notes as possible, as higher value notes can be very hard to change in remote areas. You can pay with US Dollars cash in some places but should not rely on this.

  14. What to take

Luggage: Whatever you're doing in Nepal, Tibet or Bhutan, you'll find that large rigid wheeled suitcases are cumbersome - you may be able to wheel them inside the airport and your hotel, but due to the condition of roads and pavements that's often about it. As many of our tours involve a degree of adventurous activity, we strongly advise you to bring a more practical bag for these i.e. a rucksack or holdall. These are easier for both your porters, and yourself to carry around. Suitcases are OK for our cultural tours in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan though, but please aim to bring small or medium sized ones rather than very large. If you are trekking or rafting, or doing a lot of travel throughout the country, then as little as possible is the basic message. A rucksack or holdall (50-70 liter approx.) for your main luggage, and a daypack for you to use during the day should be plenty. While rafting we only take essential kit on board the rafts, and your main luggage will travel by bus to the take-out point. While trekking your porters (Nepal) or ponies (Bhutan) will carry your main luggage, leaving you with just a daypack with things you'll need during the day. You can also leave some luggage locked safely in the pre-trek hotel if you wish. We recommend that couples plan to leave one main bag behind, and pool their remaining luggage in their other bag for the porter to carry.

Luggage limits: Most international airlines allow 20-23kg per person of hold luggage. Domestic flights often have smaller allowances around 15kg. As airline rules vary we recommend that you take no more than 20kg of luggage if your tour just includes international flights, and no more than 15kg if there are any domestic flights included in your itinerary. Please ask us for details if you are unsure. Any excess baggage fees will be your responsibility to cover. Most airlines allow between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage so we suggest that you take no more than 5kg unless you have confirmed that your airline(s) will allow more than this.

If you are trekking with us, we ask that you keep the weight of your main bag that the porter will carry to a maximum of 12.5kg. This then allows the porter to carry up to 2 bags, and a maximum of 25kg (the International Porter Protection group's advised limit for Nepal is 30kg, which then leaves a little more weight for their own kit). This weight allowance includes your sleeping bag if you are hiring it from us and not carrying it with you to Nepal
If you are doing an Everest trek and flying from Kathmandu to Lukla, then flight luggage limits are 10kg for your main bag and 5kg for hand luggage - total 15kg. You can re-arrange that after you arrive in Lukla. Please keep to these limits as while you can pay for extra weight, it may be held back until the next flight which may then be delayed or cancelled.
Treks in Bhutan follow the same weight limits for your ponies.
You may leave other luggage securely locked in your hotel during the trek. If you are travelling as a couple then we suggest you leave one main bag in Kathmandu and share the other main bag that the porter will then carry.

Clothing & Climate: Nepal and Bhutan have a climate that ranges widely depending on when you visit, and where you are visiting.
- Autumn - late Sep-Nov: The weather is good and very warm, with lots of sunshine, getting quite hot during the day in lowland regions. It will still be cold at night at higher altitudes if you are trekking. Shorts & T-shirts are fine while you are walking, but you should still bring warmer clothes for the evenings. There is a good chance of rain in September and early October, so bring a waterproof.
- Winter - Dec-Feb: It will be pleasant in lowland regions with very little rain, but will be cooler at night. Long trousers and shirts are advised during the day, and you will need warm clothes in the evenings. If you are trekking, then it will be cold during the day, and extremely cold at night, particularly at higher altitudes. Several warm layers are recommended so you can regulate your comfort as you walk, including a waterproof, even if only to protect from cold winds. We include thick down jackets in our optional trekking packs for comfort in the evenings at higher altitudes.
- Spring - Mar-May: The weather is very pleasant during the spring, and again shorts & t-shirts are fine while you are walking. There is a higher chance of rain as the season progresses, so a thin waterproof is recommended in case. It gets very hot and humid in the lowlands from May onwards.
- Monsoon - Jun-mid Sep: It will be hot and sticky during these months, with lots of rain, so come prepared accordingly if you are visiting during these months - gaiters are highly recommended if you are trekking to keep out leeches.

A huge variety of cheap trekking gear is available in Kathmandu (fleeces, waterproofs etc.) and buying some here can save you carrying it with you, and support the local economy. However, you should definitely bring your own walking boots.

Modesty rates highly in Nepal and Bhutan especially for women, so please ensure all clothes are loose fitting and not too revealing. You'll find the Bhutanese dress fairly smartly or in national dress, so you will stand out even more if you look scruffy.

Whilst rafting:

On the raft: Shorts, Tevas (sandals) or trainers, baseball style cap to keep the sun off your face, sunglasses with a strap to keep them on your head, swimwear, sarong for women, sun-cream, lip balm, water bottle, several t-shirts.
Note: All footwear on a raft should be rubber soled, and of the type that will not come off easily.
Off the raft:
Long trousers, warm sleeping bag (provided, but you may want to bring a sheet sleeping bag as well), petzel type head torch, warm jacket/fleece, dry shoes, boots, warm socks, towel, warm long sleeved shirt, toiletries.
Cameras: You can take cameras on the raft, and we endeavour to keep that sort of kit dry in waterproof bags. But there is always an element of risk of getting the camera wet.
What you shouldn't take on the raft: All the rest of your kit and you're your valuables. We will make arrangements for their transport to your take-out point.

Whilst trekking:

Suggested Clothing and equipment: Strong hiking boots or walking shoes that you have broken in; Good sized rucksack or holdall; 3 to 4-season sleeping bag (only if you want to use your own rather than the one provided in our optional trekking pack); silk or cotton sleeping bag liner; lightweight waterproof and windproof jacket; (waterproof gaiters, waterproof over trousers - these are only necessary on some treks in some seasons - contact us for further info if required); 3 or 4 t-shirts; small day pack; several pairs of light socks; 2 pairs of heavier woollen socks; underwear including thermals; warm hat and gloves; swimwear; pair of lightweight trousers; pair of shorts; 1 fleece or warm jumper and 1 sweatshirt. Also, sunglasses, torch and batteries, toiletries (include a lighter to burn toilet paper), bring biodegradable shampoo & soap, towel, blister kit, money belt and any personal medication you might require. Remember, Lots of layers are the key to staying warm and comfortable. Also, keeping your feet comfortable and healthy makes a huge difference to how you enjoy your trek. So, bring waterproof boots/walking shoes and plenty of pairs of socks so you can change them regularly.
Day Packs and Main luggage: You will want a sturdy and comfortable daypack to carry your day-to-day items with you while you are walking (clothes you may change in and out of regularly, drinks, snacks, camera). You will also need a sturdy holdall or backpack for your main luggage. Your porters or ponies will carry this for you, so suitcases are not appropriate. They may leave earlier than you, and may not walk with you throughout the entire day, so bear in mind that you won't have access to this luggage all the time - you need to ensure you are carrying everything you require during the days walk in your daypack. You can leave luggage behind in storage at your hotel so you don't need to take everything with you on the trek.

Whilst in the game parks:

You should bring long trousers and long-sleeved shirts for jungle walks and travel within the park. Please ensure these are of drab colours to avoid drawing attention. Sunglasses and sun-hats are advisable for hot and bright days. Mosquito repellent is highly recommended. Binoculars are extremely useful at any of Nepal's National Parks, and are not generally available for hire locally. Don't forget fast film for those jungle shots and moving animals/birds. A good cleaning kit is essential as these items are unavailable once at the park. It is also better to take quality film, either from home or Kathmandu into the parks, and to ensure you have a spare fully charged battery and memory card.

All tours: We recommend that you bring a sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a basic first aid kit, toiletries, money belt, small torch, camera & charger.

  15. Dates & Prices

We run regular small-group departures on this tour starting on a Sunday throughout the year. All departures are guaranteed to run. Departure dates and prices are listed on our website and on a separate dates & prices sheet available on request.

  16. Booking & Payment

If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.

  17. Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...

You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK  to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.

Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.

If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.

If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.

IMPORTANT:  We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour.  If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.

  18. Financial Security

We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
Financial failure insurance is also provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of your tour.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.

  19. Responsible Tourism

It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.

  • Don't prejudge: Things in different countries will almost certainly be different. That doesn't make them worse or inferior, just different.
  • Communicate: Don't expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don't worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
  • Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning and fans when you leave the hotel room and don't waste water. Remove superfluous packaging. Many countries have far less efficient waste disposal systems than ours. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home.
  • Don't litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you're travelling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to add to the environment's stress. Many of the countries we visit have a tough challenge dealing with rubbish and waste. Please consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can (e.g. water bottles).
  • Choose environmentally friendly products: By using environmentally friendly (bio degradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help reduce pollution.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in these countries, you should also comply with the local customs. If you are friendly and well mannered, the locals will reciprocate and it will only enhance your experience. It's important to follow dress and behaviour guidelines especially when visiting religious or sacred sites (your tour leader will advise you how best to do this).
  • If a client commits an illegal act the client may be excluded from the tour and Encounters Travel shall cease to have responsibility to/for them. No refund will be given for any unused services.

All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).

  20. Follow Us Online

You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')

  21. Before you travel

It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.

General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.

You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.

Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.

'Travel Aware' campaign

  22. Tipping

While an accepted part of the culture and customs in Nepal, tipping is always optional, and any amounts paid should reflect excellent service. Tipping in Tibet and Bhutan is less prevalent though it is still normal practice to tip your guide and driver at the end of the tour.

We support and follow international guidelines for the employment of any trekking porters we use, including those of the IPPG (International Porter Protection Group). We therefore pay all our porters a higher than average wage, but an additional tip is still normal practice at the end of your trek.

It is normal and accepted for people to tip differently, and you should not feel under any pressure to tip any particular amount. We are often asked for advice on common amounts however, and suggest that you consider around US$ 5-10 per person per day for guides, US$ 3-7 p/p/day for assistant guides or tour leaders, and US$ 2-5 p/p/day for porters and drivers.

Haggling or bargaining is also prevalent throughout Nepal and Tibet, particularly in Kathmandu, and is still done in markets in Bhutan though to a lesser extent in other shops. More often than not the start price is at least double the actual price the vendor will be happy to accept. Do not take offence, but be prepared to bargain if you want to, consider your budget (and what you'd be happy to pay for things at home), pay fairly and enjoy this as part of the experience. Note: if you do offer a price, then you are expected to purchase – do not start bargaining unless you really want to buy.

While you are out in rural/hill areas, we recommend that you should stick to published price lists and pay fair prices for local food, accommodation and services, as this aids local economies (bear in mind that when you are trekking, nearly everything you eat or buy will have been carried there by porters or donkeys).


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Nepal on a Shoestring & Country Reviews

Product Reviews

Posted 19th of Dec 2017

Very good value for money.

Product Reviews

Posted 9th of Jun 2017

I enjoyed the trip. Only issue is that the tour guide changed a part of the trip because he didn't want us to do something. Not the fault of encounters. But otherwise the trip was great. I would like to say that travelling from Fez to Marrakech should be on a plane or train. Driving was too long and wasted a day.

Product Reviews

Posted 16th of Apr 2016

The driver and guide on our tour were both excellent and my whole party very much enjoy the tour. The hotels are not very central which particularly in Marrakesh made free time sightseeing especially at night less appealing. That would be my suggestion to make it perfect but it was excellent overall.

Product Reviews

Posted 8th of Feb 2016

Most of the included meals were hotel meals and were quite bland. Breakfasts were good, dinners were not. Especially considering this was Morocco which is know for its flavorful cuisine. I would have liked more of the meals included to be at local establishments. I ended up eating out and paying for most of the "included" meals instead of eating the inclusive fare, just to have a good meal. For me the food is an important element of travel.

Product Reviews

Posted 7th of Feb 2016

Felt rushed at times

Product Reviews

Posted 6th of Feb 2016


Product Reviews

Posted 4th of Feb 2016


Product Reviews

Posted 9th of Jan 2016

wonderful and knowledgable tour guide. We saw all we wanted to see and the hotels were great.

Product Reviews

Posted 14th of Aug 2015

Hotels were all very nice with friendly helpful staff, our guide communicated well with us informing us of pick up and drop off times etc, The tour was well planned out, The tour guide was very knowlegable, and did well at communicating in 3 different languages to our group. It was a good way of seeing many different places in Morocco that we would not have seen had we not done the tour