Griffon: Nepal tours Information
Custom Adventure Travel tours to Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan

Nepal Essential Information


This page provides important information to help you plan and prepare for your journey. Please contact us with any questions or quries to help plan your trip.

FACTS ABOUT NEPAL

Area: 147,181 sq. km
Geography: Situated between China in the North and India in the South
Capital: Kathmandu
Population: 23.2 Million
Language: Nepali is the National Language, plus 70 local dialects are spoken
Currency: Nepalese Rupees
Political System: Multi - Party Democracy
Climate: Nepal has four major seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer (Monsoon), Fall
Winter: December to February
Spring: March to May
Summer: June to September
Autumn: October to November
People: Nepal has more than 61 Ethnic groups (the most famous being the Sherpas)

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TRIP DIFFICULTY RATINGS Anyone who is in good health and mentally prepared can travel in Asia and undertake our easy cultural trips. Some treks however are more strenuous and entail many days at higher altitude. Please read the trip notes carefully and pay heed to our trip gradings. If you are not sure about your suitability for a trip, contact us for advice.

  • EASY: These trips involve softer adventure and no strenuous activities. We do some gentle hiking and the ocassional optional hill climb to get a good view or visit a monastery. Accomodation usually has a 4 or 5 star option if you choose.

  • MODERATE: The trip is venturesome simply because it is in Asia, but your tour will not involve strenuous physical activity. Moderate walking will be involved but these tours are suitable for anyone active and in decent health. Roads can be rough with high altitude passess and accomodation on some nights may not have hot running water.

  • ADVENTUROUS: A reasonably good level of fitness is required. Accomodation often includes camping. The comforts of hotels and restaurants may not be available for extended periods. trekking may not be involved but the stages will not be long and the duration not more than a few days. Long driving days on rough roads over high altitude passes are common and there will be several nights in basic accomodation without running water.

  • CHALLENGING: A high level of fitness is required and some pre-trip training should be undertaken. Trekking days may be long on difficult paths at high altitude. Mountaineering will be straight forward and under close supervision of guides. Rafting and kayaking may involve long physical days on difficult whitewater. These trips often involve camping for extended periods and the comforts of hotels and restaurants may not be available.

  • EXPERT: A specific skill is required such as kayaking or mountaineering. (with significant prior experience necessary) These trips will require working together as a team to meet a difficult goal such as a first descent of a river on an extended kayaking expedition. A high level of physical and psychological stamina is required and prior experience must be discussed with the trip leader.

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ACCOMODATION AND FOOD: These days a wide range of accomodation and food is available in Kathmandu. Some of Kathmandu's restaurants are outstanding. We generally use the Shankar Hotel for our guests, a wonderfully quaint old Rana Palace with a quiet garden and swimming pool. When camping our cooks prepare a tasty range of fusion cooking high in crbohydrates for energy on the trail. If you are doing a lodge based trip you'll be quite surprised at the range of food that is now offered especially in the more developed Khumbu or Annapurna Regions.

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WHEN TO GO: WEATHER

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

cool & dry

warm, dry & hazy

monsoon

warm, dry & clear

cool & dry

The trekking season extends from late September until the end of May. During the monsoon (June to September), trails are very wet and the clouds obscure views, making trekking unsuitable (unless you plan to trek in drier Upper Mustang, or Upper Dolpo).

The most popular time to trek or climb is in Autumn (October and November) after the monsoon. The air has been washed crystal clear by the rains, the weather is more stable and daytime temperatures are warmer nights are cool, and skies often clear. In these ideal conditions, Kathmandu and the trekking trails can become quite crowded.

If you are going up to very high altitudes, you may not want to plan your trek for the heart of Winter (December to February). Night temperatures can be bitterly cold up high. But conditions are still pleasant on the lower trails, with crisp days and clear skies, and less trekkers about!

In the Spring (March to late May), expect warmer day temperatures, but hazy visibility and cloud cover are also more likely, especially in the afternoons. However, it is the season when the spectacular wildflowers blossom, including the wonderful rhododendrons.

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HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS: We recommend that you visit your doctor or health-care provider well in advance of your departure date to get up to date health information. Many cities have specialized travel clinics which specialize in vaccintations and providing travel related health information. Your doctor or health-care provider will determine what you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities. To have the most benefit, see a health-care provider at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for your vaccines to take effect. Even if you have less than 4 weeks before you leave, you should still see a health-care provider for needed vaccines, other medications and information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while traveling.

For more detailed health information CLICK HERE

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GETTING TO NEPAL: Kathmandu is the main gate-way to Nepal and is accessed easily by a number of major air routes with key gateways being Bangkok and Delhi. We handle all domestic/internal transport including domestic flights but we do not book international flights so it is your reponsibility to make your own international bookings when undertaking a trip with us.

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TRAVEL INSURANCE: Insurance is compulsory on all Griffon Expedition's trips. Your policy must cover accidents, medical expenses, and emergency evacuation including helicopter rescue, air ambulance, and personal liability. We also recommend your insurance policy covers cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. You are required to carry proof of insurance with you, and to produce it if requested by Griffon Expedition's employees or agents. For our climbing and mountaineering trips, you must be covered for mountaineering activities (use of ropes and ice axe, etc). Please note that most standard travel insurance policies DO NOT cover you for mountaineering activities. We can recommend an international company that does cover mountaineering. If you arrive at the beginnig of the trip without proof of adequate insurance we reserve the right to deny your particpation on the trip with no refund.

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VISAS AND PERMITS Nepali visas can be obtained prior to leaving home, or upon arrival. To obtain your visa upon arrival in Nepal you will need a valid passport ( at least 6 months), two passport size photos and the visa fee (US $30 for 60 days single entry and US $80 for 60 days multiple entrys) payble by cash (bring exact change and be prepared to queue on arrival). Trekking, mountaineer and/or restricted area permits will be arranged by Griffon in Kathmandu.

If you are travelling to Tibet, India or Bhutan (and your trip starts and finishes in Nepal) you should obtain a multiple entry Nepal visa.

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COSTS AND PRICING: For our listed fixed departures we post the price and full inclusions and what is not included. This price may change based on external influences such as domestic flight prices and fuel costs. For customized trips we will create a suggested itinerary and quote based on your suggestions/interests and time available.

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HOW TO BOOK A TRIP:

Contact us by email or through our online "Trip Inquiry Form": Provide us with us much detail as possible about your travel plans.
Will respond with a sample itinerary and quote (if it is customized trip). Once we finalise the trip details we forward an invoice by email

To confirm your trip you must:

  • Download Relevant documents from the side bar on this page
  • Make a $500/person deposit to secure a reservation
  • Email us the bank form as proof of transaction
  • You will recieve a reciept from us and invoice for the outstanding balance
  • Pay the balance no later than 40 days prior to departure
  • Once again we forward receipt for full payment along with detailed trip notes for your trip
  • Forward a small but readable jpg format image of your passport information page
  • Please ensure you also forward your international flight information which you have booked yourself

We do not make any service confirmations until a deposit is made. We recommend paying well in advance to ensure the best hotel bookings, the best staff available and to ensure external price chances (such as domestic flights etc)

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TREKKING TRIP SELECTION: Anyone with a reasonable level of fitness can join one of our treks. However, for your own enjoyment, it is important that you read our trek descriptions. We give each of our treks a rating (See: Trip Difficulty Ratings). These indicate the effort and challenge level based on the length of time walking each day, the difficulty of terrain covered and the altitude reached. Please select the grade of trek you feel comfortable with.

Whatever your choice, the more physical preparation you do, the more you will enjoy your trip.

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PHYSICAL PREPARATION: Being physically prepared for your trip is essentail - Take regular exercise, and include some day trips where you walk for the suggested maximum number of hours for your intended trek. Wear the gear that you plan to take, so that you know you will be comfortable in it. In particular, break in any new equipment (boots and pack, for example) before you come.

For treks rated Challenging (Mountaineering) or Expert, we advise that your level of fitness should be high. You should be involved in regular aerobic exercise - for example, swimming, cycling, running, or uphill walking carrying a load on your back. Stamina is a key aspect - both physical and mental. Remember that altitude is a significant factor, and a slow but steady pace is the best way to succeed in the mountains. Even if you are a super-fit athlete, don't expect to be able to perform as you would at sea level!

Please contact us personally if you require further advice about choosing or preparing for your trip.

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INTRO TO HIMALAYAN MOUNTAINEERING: Reaching the top of a mountain is challenging and demanding. Thin air above 4000m makes breathing difficult. The body must be given time to acclimatize before ascending higher. Weather conditions can be unpredictable and snow conditions treacherous. Concentration, caution, determination and a high level of fitness are required.

However, standing on top of a summit and surveying the world at your feet is an exhilarating experience and an immensely satisfying achievement - something to be very proud of.

We offer you the chance to climb and learn with expert guides who have the experience, local knowledge and mountaineering skills to make such an endeavour feasible to those with a high level of motivation and a good level of fitness. Prior mountaineering experience is not a requirement, as your guide will instruct you in the use of basic equipment and climbing techniques necessary to make your ascent safe. However, we strongly advise that you prepare yourself physically and mentally before undertaking such an adventure. Aerobic exercise such as running, cycling and swimming, and uphill walking carrying a load, are all great ways to condition yourself for the rigours of mountaineering.

Before you undertake a mountaineering expedition we strongly recommend that you gain some experience at altitude by doing other treks such as to Everest Base Camp or similar.

Our climbing trips involve an extended trek into your base camp, ascending and travelling on a glacier (where sometimes a high camp must be established), then launching a summit attempt. You will be issued with equipment additional to your normal trek pack: crampons, harness, carabiners & prussics or jumars, and an ice axe. You are required to equip yourself with clothing suitable for serious high altitude conditions (including plastic boots - we can help you hire these in Kathmandu) and also to bring a pack of about 50 litre capacity (rather than just a small day pack), so that you can help carry equipment up to high camp.

At Griffon we take your safety very seriously. A portable altitude chamber, medical oxygen, Satellite phone for emergency contact and comprehensive first aid kit is carried on every climbing trip, along with guides who know how to use it! We also want to maximize your chance of success, and our itineraries are designed to allow sufficient time for proper altitude acclimatization.


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