The Himalayan specialist. We are justifiably proud of our unrivalled record of taking groups into all parts of the Himalaya; very often this involves securing permits to new areas, retracing routes used by famous explorers, and being the first to enter hitherto unknown regions. During our 20 years we have become the leading operator of Bhutan treks, having pioneered most of the trekking routes in the kingdom. In 1993 our mountaineering department, now a separate company called Jagged Globe, based in Sheffield, was the first in the UK to guide clients to the summit of Everest. We eat, breathe and live trekking, and as such have accumulated a huge fund of experience in most other mountain ranges around the world. These are exciting times at HK as we develop our treks worldwide. Over the next few years we will be researching many more innovative ideas. Emphasis on quality We use some of the best airlines, and 3- or 4-star hotels in the main cities, chosen for character. We use large, well-established, reputable in-country operators who have excellent equipment and well-trained staff. We use private transport to reach roadheads. Small group travel For the majority of our treks we have a maximum group size of 12, plus leader. Financial security We are a fully bonded company and the holidays and flights in this brochure are ATOL Protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 2973. ‘Land only’ holidays are covered by a bond secured with the AITO Trust. We are also members of AITO and bound by their quality charter. (See back cover.) International Porter Protection Group Our Sherpas and porters are central to the success of our trekking adventures. We support the IPPG and adhere to its principles of porter protection. The environment We care about the mountains and adhere to the Himalayan Tourist Code as produced by Tourism Concern. In 1999 we came top in a VSO survey of 50 UK tour operators and have been awarded AITO’s 3-star rating for Responsible Tourism. Niki Morgan is our Responsible Tourism Manager. Surcharges We do not charge extra for ‘meal packages’ or for ‘local charges’. We do, however, reserve the right to surcharge in the case of dramatic currency rate movements or for large increases in air fares. We would only do this in extreme cases. Competitive, value for money prices We are not in the business of cutting the itinerary and services to the bone. Our well-thought-out treks do, however, offer fantastic value for money. When you ring Himalayan Kingdoms you speak to a human being not a machine. You can also speak personally to someone who has direct knowledge of the region you are interested in. Steven Berry Managing Director Born in Shillong, just south of the Bhutanese border, Steve has returned to the Himalaya many times as leader of numerous treks and expeditions. These include the first British ascent of Nun Kun in Kashmir and attempts on Cho Oyu in Nepal and Gangkar Punsum in Bhutan. His book, The Thunder Dragon Kingdom is an account of Britain’s first climbing expedition to Bhutan. Jane Wilding PA to Steven Berry Jane is kept very busy in the office, but enjoys walking and cycling National Trails and Paths whenever she has a chance. Clive Hughes Flights Department Assistant (not in photo) Climber, musician and volunteer assistant to Shiva Charity, Clive joins us as a part-time Flights Assistant. He once worked for the Rolling Stones! Seraphina Berry Reservations Assistant Steve’s wife handles all of our incoming bookings and insurance matters. She has also travelled extensively throughout Asia, and has led treks in Bhutan, Tibet, Northern India, Ladakh and Nepal where she instigated our now popular Family Trek. Steve Harbert General Manager Steve spent many years working for several of our main competitors before moving down to live in Bristol. He probably holds the record in the office for the number of countries visited. Niki Morgan Operations Manager Niki’s passions are rock-climbing, running and travel. A few years ago she took part in the Everest Marathon and most weekends she is to be found half way up some cliff or other. She has now led treks for HK to Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Zanskar and Kazakhstan and has done reconnaissance trips in Northern India, Turkey, Norway, China, Patagonia, Mera Peak and Island Peak. Ann Sainsbury Operations Manager Ann first travelled overland to Nepal in 1977 to escape a proper job in London. Since then she has trekked in the Himalaya almost every year, as well as leading treks to places as far apart as the Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru, and Pindos Mountains, Greece, with 12 ascents of Kilimanjaro thrown in for good measure. Linda Denniff Operations Assistant (not in photo) Linda gives invaluable assistance to the Operations Managers, as well as looking after our kit hire department. absolute convert to trekking, she has even taken her family trekking in Nepal. Carol Dawson Operations Assistant Carol has worked at HK for 7 years and working part-time gives her flexibility to pursue her love of travel. She become the company ‘Jill of all trades’, helping out in areas from crashed computers to updating itineraries. Victoria Tudor Operations Assistant (not in photo) Vikki comes to us from Rednock School, Dursley, for whom have organised trips. At the age of 19 she has already travelled and worked in India. Jude Limburn Turner Marketing Manager Jude is now using her 8 years experience as a Commercial Manager with British Airways to manage HK’s marketing department. She is also busy with our HK Discovery Expeditions (see page 72). Jude has travelled the world over and trekked extensively in the Himalaya, but her first true love remains the mountains and people of Nepal. Kirsty Parsons Marketing & Reservations Assistant Kirsty so enjoyed her trek to Everest Base Camp as a client Himalayan Kingdoms that she applied to work for company full time. Christine Andrews Book-keeper Our scuba-diving book-keeper and financial wizard! Malcolm Rutter Flights Manager Malcolm has worked for thirty five years in the travel business including senior positions at British Airways, Qantas Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Air Lanka, Brymon Airways and was even Station Controller at Bristol Airport for some time. He travelled the world including virtually all the countries which we operate. Back row: Seraphina Berry, Niki Morgan, Chris Andrews, Jane Wilding, Malcolm Rutter, Ann Sainsbury Front row: Carol Dawson, Jude Limburn Turner, Steve Berry, Kirsty Parsons, Steve Harbert Experienced office staff tel: 0845 330 8579 (local call rate, UK only) international tel: +44 1453 844 400 www.himalayankingdoms.com Why choose Himalayan Kingdoms?
8 tel: 0845 330 8579 (local call rate, UK only) international tel: +44 1453 844 400 www.himalayankingdoms.com Himalayan hideaway… In Nepal on the more popular treks, enterprising villagers have built tea house lodges. In recent years, the standards of food and accommodation have improved enormously. Many would vie in character and comfort with the equivalent European alpine huts. Most now provide twin-bedded rooms. We offer a selection of Tea House Treks, run to a high level of service using the very best lodges available. We carry bed sheets and pillow cases and in addition provide four-season sleeping bags for those cold nights at high lodges. On all our Tea House Treks, all meals are included and we supply supplementary snack food and drinks. We further cover the cost of four hot showers on trek. Through using these lodges, you will have the closest possible contact with the Nepalese people. TEA HOUSES IN NEPAL It sits in two acres of land on the edge of the protected National Park, looking down into the Kathmandu Valley. The cottage sleeps six people comfortably in three separate rooms. Modern flush toilet and shower. Staff are on hand to cook all meals, and keep house. They will also take you on walks in the surrounding villages and into the National Park free of charge (although you will have to pay the park entrance fee). A car and driver are available by the day. Price for cottage: £40 per person per night, full board Minimum: 2 persons Maximum: 6 persons Airport transfers: £10 per person each way, including porterage to the cottage Car & driver: £45 per vehicle per day, includes petrol. Kathmandu Valley only …IN THE KATHMANDU FOOTHILLS This pretty, tastefully decorated cottage is owned by an ex-pat friend of ours. Uma Paro Sitting atop a hill in 38 acres of parkland and commanding panoramic views of the Paro Valley, Como Hotels and Resorts’ Uma Paro consists of 9 Superior rooms, 9 Deluxe rooms, 2 Suites, 8 one-bed villas, and 1 two-bed villa. The main hotel belonged to a Bhutanese nobleman and is built using traditional Bhutanese materials and design. Villas are secluded separately in the grounds. There is an indoor swimming pool, hot stone baths, saunas and steam rooms. Upgrades from £155 per person, twin sharing, high season, all meals and taxes included. Amankora Located at the far end of Paro Valley and near the ruined fortress of Drugyel Dzong, Amankora is conceived as a Bhutanese village. 24 wood-panelled suites are contained in buildings with natural rammed-earth walls. With their kingsize beds, traditional bukhari wood-burning stoves, and terrazzo baths, they are open-plan luxury. Amankora enjoys views of Bhutan’s second highest peak, Chomolhari. Peace and tranquillity prevail. Upgrades from £270 per person, twin sharing, high season, all meals and taxes included. Other Aman lodges are now open in Bhutan. Contact our office for information. New luxury resorts in Bhutan During 2004/2005 two stylish, but wholly different properties, opened in Paro. We have established excellent contacts with both hotels and can upgrade you for one or more nights, subject to availability (see below). Included in our special rates are all meals, all government taxes, and transfers. This applies to both properties. We know that our choice of hotel in capital cities is one of the most important elements in the enjoyment of your holiday. Our policy is to choose hotels of character in main cities and to use the best hotels available in small towns or villages. You will find, therefore, that we often use colonial-style hotels, or boutique hotels, rather than modern concrete and glass. We normally provide bed and breakfast accommodation in the main cities and full board out in the sticks. The hotels you will be using and your meal plan are spelt out in detail on the Detailed Day-by-Day Itinerary for your chosen trek/tour. Dwarika’s Hotel ..... Walking into Dwarika’s is like walking into an ancient Nepalese palace. The hotel has won numerous Heritage awards, and its water spout fountain was inaugurated by HRH Prince Charles on 8th February 1998. The courtyards, with their terracotta work and intricately carved antique doors and windows, lead finally to a very special outdoor swimming pool. A lovely fragrance of lemon grass lingers subtly in its elegant halls, instantly refreshing the weary traveller! The Shangri-La Hotel .... All our Tea House Treks now stay at the Shangri-La. This 95- room property sits in the heart of the diplomatic enclave, a stone’s throw from the British Embassy, and 7km from the airport. The prize-winning garden, and swimming pool built in traditional royal style, are absolutely delightful. It has a range of restaurants, and the rooms are spacious and well-equipped. For many, many years it has held the reputation of being one of the very best hotels in Kathmandu. Hotels in Kathmandu All our brochure treks for Nepal, and those transiting through Kathmandu on their way to Tibet and Bhutan, use one or other of the two hotels below. We judge these two properties to be the best two hotels in Kathmandu. Hotels we use worldwide