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Nepal + Trekking Questions

San Jose, California
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Nepal + Trekking Questions

I will be going to Nepal June/July (yes, it’s monsoon season) to trek and travel. Some questions that I have:

1) What are some of the better ways/products to repel mosquitos? I am always the first to get bit and the one with the most bites at the end of a trip. I will be taking Malarone for precautionary measures.

2) Would it be smart to convert $US to NPR before leaving the US or is it better to convert at the aiport in KTM? Advantages/disadvantages?

3) Trekking to Gosaikund can reach 4-5k meters. Would you suggest taking measures to acclimatize or taking Diamox (Acute Mountain Sickness medication)?

4) Are there any areas that are typically inaccessible during the monsoon (washed out roads, trails, etc.)?

Thank you,

Kevin

USA-Oregon
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1. Re: Nepal + Trekking Questions

can help you with #1

- I use sawyer products. They have clothing treatment and I like too the creams they have, as they are not greasy, and proven (to me) to be very efficient.

I hate commercial plugs, but there is no way around...sorry if I offended anyone or broke TA rules.

...and while I am on it, check at REI - they do have other options.

DO READ/RESEARCH about the chemicals used in these products. Deet is the one we love to hate - but works. Others do present their own/simlar problems too; literaly one can say, choose your poison...

Yes, did try the "green" versions - simply put, don'r work well, but don't kill you slowly either

Denmark
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2. Re: Nepal + Trekking Questions

Q1: Regarding your questions about Malaria...read this:

ciwec-clinic.com/health-information/…

Q2: I dont think you can exchange into NPR before arrival. Read this thread:

tripadvisor.com/…40966578

Q3: Acclimatizing is a must,when trekking.

Q4: Contact a decent trekking agency and let them suggest which treks that are doable in June/July. If you don't know any agencies, you can PM me and I will recommend the one we always use.

Sheffield, United...
Destination Expert
for Nepal
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3. Re: Nepal + Trekking Questions

Hi

1) Can't help.

2) The Nepali rupee is not an openly traded currency and it's not allowed to be taken out of the country. Your options to exchange in the US will be limited.

Airport rates are not very goo; in short change a little there and the rest in KTM. Lots om licensed money exchangers where it is possible to negotiate a marginally better rate if changing a large amount. Banks offer the best rates but involve a little more bureaucracy.

3) I haven't used diamox, preferring to acclimatise naturally. Which route are you taking and how much time do you have? The answers might help to assess what the risk is. The HRA has lots of good info:

http://www.himalayanrescue.org/hra/index.php

4) It's possible for any road to be blocked during the monsoon including the Syabrubesi and Malemchi routes. Difficult to predict.

Enjoy the trek.

scoodly

Settle, United...
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4. Re: Nepal + Trekking Questions

Mosquitoes are not a problem in the trekking areas

"Malaria advice for travelers to Nepal from CIWEC Clinic, Travel Medicine Center, Lazimpat, Kathmandu, Nepal

Although there are reports of about 5000 malaria cases with 10 deaths per year among the Nepalese, the risk for the average tourist or expatriate seems very low in Nepal. In the 26 year history of the CIWEC Clinic taking care of travelers and expatriates, there have only been 2 cases of Vivax malaria that may have been acquired from within Nepal. We believe that there is no malaria risk in Kathmandu, Pokhara or the mountain trekking areas."

You can't get Nepalese Rupees outside Nepal (nor can you exchange them outside: it's an interesting balancing act during your last few days there - having sufficient rupees, but not too many)

We crossed the Laurebina La last year with no great altitude problems by following a fairly gentle ascent itinerary:

By road to Thulo Bharku, trek to Brabal (it was meant to be to Thulo Syabru, but owing to a late start we got no further than Brabal)

Trek through Thulo Syabru to the Hilltop Lodge on the ridge above

Very short day to Sing Gompa, then lounge around for acclimatisation

Trek to Laurebinayak

Trek to Gosainkund

Cross the pass, and descend to Phedi.

By taking it in these short days we avoided problems

San Jose, California
2 posts
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5. Re: Nepal + Trekking Questions

I guess I'll have to fill my wallet up with some $$ before I take off.

As of now, I'm planning on trekking Helambu/Langtang region. Starting in Sundarijal and heading up toward Gosaikund, without a definitive destination yet (7-10 days trekking). Any acclimatizing advice for this trek would be greatly appreciated. I was wondering if I should bring Diamox as a precautionary measure. At that altitude I'm hoping I don't need it.

Has anyone been to the southern regions where there is a Malaria risk, during June/July (Chitwan, Bardia, Lumbini)? How bad is it?

Edited: 25 May 2012, 09:20
Sheffield, United...
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6. Re: Nepal + Trekking Questions

Hi

The route from the south is straightforward;from Sundarijal the trail climbs, with plenty of descent as well, to Tharepati at 3600m. From there the trail is 'Nepali level' to the next lodges at Ghopte (about 3500m) where many agency itineraries stay. However, there is now a good lodge at Phedi, again at c. 3500m, which is a better starting point to get to the pass and on to Goisainkund in a shorter day..

Gosainkund is a little below 4400 so pushes the safe acclimatisation limit. I would suggest an extra night to acclimatise at Phedi to reduce the risk. The shorter day from Phedi also gives more time and energy to continue down to Laurebina La (aboout 4000m) should there be AMS issues.

Altitudes from memory. Good luck.

scoodly

Settle, United...
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7. Re: Nepal + Trekking Questions

I've only done this route from the north, and therefore coming down, but we did on the way discuss the possibility of doing it from the south, and made the following observations.

1. It's a drag up the concrete steps for the middle section of the ascent from Sundarijal to Chispani (though the views once you reach the ridge are great conpensation). Not an over-long day, but personally I don't think it's worth pushing on to Patibhanjyang - didn't seem as very pleasant village

2. To Kutumsang. Steep descent to Patibhanjyang, then gentle ascent followed by much steeper climb

3. Possibly, as Tharepati is at 3400 metres and there may be a need for acclimatisation, it might be worth taking two days over this section, stopping on day 3 at the lodge on the saddle above (before) Mangengoth, then day 4 either to Tharepati, or on to Ghopte or even to Phedi

There's not really an obvious interesting spot for an additional night. Nowhere that would be a fascinating place for a gentle acclimatisation day, so you'd have to see how you were going, and if necessary resign yourself to taking au unthrilling day chilling out at Phedi, or (safer ?) taking short days and stopping at either Tharepati or Ghopte

5 (or 6) It's a long, remorseless climb on a none-too-good trail from Phediup to the summit of the Laurebina La, but it's worth it for the magical scenery over the pass as you descend towards Gosainkund.

I think, by the way, that scoodly probably means Laurebinayak rather than Laurebina La when he says "to continue down to Laurebina La (about 4000m) should there be AMS issues"

From Gosainkund you can make Dunche in 2 days, stopping either at Sing Gompa (a couple of good lodges) or at Phulung Danda, an hour or so beyond (2 basic, but adequate lodges). Then it's just the interesting (!) bus journey back.

Alternatively you can re-trace your steps from Gosainkund, and return south(probably one day to Gopte, then on to Tharepati). From Tharepati take a short day down to Melachigaon. From there you can reach Timbu in a day, and a bus back to Kathmandu the following morning.

You shouldn't need Diamox - instead listen to your body, and take an extra day if there are any signs of difficulties with altitude.

In terms of malaria risk, again quoting from CIWEC

"Chitwan, although it lies in the Terai, has a very low malaria risk. As a result of this, we recommend mosquito precautions but generally do not recommend any malaria medication prophylaxis for short visits to Chitwan national park even in the monsoon season."

Edited: 25 May 2012, 10:53
France
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for Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, Jomsom, Mustang Region, Namche Bazaar, Sagarmatha National Park, Annapurna Region
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8. Re: Nepal + Trekking Questions

Lots of good information already provided by travel experts; here is my own advices:

1, I can not help on this case too. Personally, it would sound funny but I use my mobile phone as mosquito repellent. It is a program that says "ultrasonic sounds produce noises so high-pitched that they are undetectable to the human ear. This application provides that sound and do several things to repel insects. First, the sound that mimic predators, which scare away insects." So if you use smartphones you can try to find a program for your phone to avoid mosquitoes. It's working for me actually.

2, It's better to convert US$ in Nepal [I am not sure if you can exchange to NPR in US]. US$ is very strong in Nepal at the moment, it's about 1 US$ = US$ 88 - 89.

3, Acclimatization is important than taking Diamox. Diamox can not be used as prevention. Do acclimatization for a day in Lauribinak or Sing Gompa and I guess you will be OK. My personal advice is don't take Diamox before you get AMS.

4, You will probably find some landslides during monsoon. Last year there was a serious landslide in Langtang Trekking route which killed 2 foreigners [Not sure if it was exactly 2 or not]. I am not frightening but be aware and cautioned on your trek.

All the best!

Sheffield, United...
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9. Re: Nepal + Trekking Questions

Yak indeed Alan - thanks.

Agree that places where an acclimatisation day is needed are not that interesting. One option is to hike straight up the ridge from Tharepati; plenty of height can be gained but try not to repeat James Scott's adventure.

scoodly

10. Re: Nepal + Trekking Questions

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