2 tel: 0845 330 8579 (local call rate, UK only) international tel: +44 1453 844 400 www.himalayankingdoms.com …a trekking holiday? Our small group adventure walking holidays range from easy treks in the lower foothills right through to long distance hikes into very remote regions. There are jungle treks where you will meet colourful hill tribes, classic circuits of some of the world’s highest peaks, pilgrim trails to holy mountains, base camp treks and paths crossing glaciers. Some are designed to suit families, a few are planned to spread over Christmas and the New Year. We offer treks under canvas, ‘tea house’ treks, itineraries that use hotels and luxury lodges as bases, even a few in South East Asia that make ‘homestays’ with village families. On world classic routes we provide many extras and vary the routes for added interest – on some of the really remote expeditions you might meet locals who have never seen a westerner before! Our treks are led by experienced European leaders, or increasingly, by well-trained local guides or Sherpas (see opposite page). On average trekking involves 5–8 hours hiking per day, including a lunch stop somewhere on the trail. A common misconception is that if you are a slow walker you may hold people back – not so! During the day group members often ‘string out’ and there will usually be an hour or two between the first to arrive in camp and the last. You walk at your own pace and stop when you feel like it. There will always be local staff at the front and rear ensuring no-one gets lost. …a cultural tour? Our adventurous cultural tours are not ‘tourist trap’ experiences. We have set out to provide hotels and lodges of comfort and character, expert Leaders and/or guides, and itineraries to get you under the skin of the exciting, remote countries we are specialists in. They will give you good exercise, and include any of the following – gentle walks to visit hill tribe villages, exploration of temple complexes, game-viewing and bird-watching, attending festivals, mountain flights, city tours, visits to floating villages and dramatic journeys by either mountain road, first class rail, or river cruise boats. You will experience unique customs, deeply rooted religions and open-hearted, colourful peoples. We take you to many places where mass tourism has not spoilt the atmosphere. How many people, for instance, have even heard of The Plain of Jars in Laos, let alone visited it? What is… …a trekking peak? Essentially, our trekking peaks allow you to climb to your chosen summit and back in a day from Base Camp/High Camp. The highest is Mera Peak, 6,476m/21,246ft and the lowest Mount Olympus at 2,917m/9,570ft. The routes we use are chosen for their objective safety and sometimes involve easy angled snow slopes, straightforward ridges and occasionally minor scrambling. They will all be led by European Leaders chosen for their breadth of mountaineering experience, backed up by our usual teams of Sherpas, cooks and local guides. You will trek/climb carrying only a day sack. On all these expeditions we have carefully designed interesting treks to provide proper acclimatisation. In the main cities we provide 4-Star hotels. For the higher, more remote peaks we will provide a Sat Phone and Gamow Bag. These treks are open to fit, determined walkers who have previously undertaken “Strenuous” treks; previous mountaineering experience is an advantage but not essential. Please note that we will vet your hill walking/mountaineering experience before accepting you onto the trip. On some trips you may use crampons and an ice axe, ropes will be used for glacier travel, and you may camp on snow. These trekking peaks are all fine objectives in their own right from which you will return with a high sense of achievement. …an overlanding tour? The majority of companies offering overlanding tours use converted trucks, taking upwards of 20 people, who are ‘roughing it’, and are aimed at the young backpacking traveller. We aim to offer a wholly different type of overlanding! Our Toyota Land Cruisers have been modified for expedition travel, and give greater freedom and comfort than a truck. We provide an experienced western European Leader/Driver Guide. They are equipped for camping in the wild, but when overnighting in cities we use 3- or 4-star hotels of quality and character, and the best available hotels in small towns (see page 71 for more details). Considerable research has gone into designing itineraries that give you plenty of time to explore on foot the places of interest that you will pass through. The aim is to take you to see the very best landscapes, the most interesting ancient cities and ruins, and sample some off-road adventure. Please see page 6 for an explanation of the Grades used on Himalayan Kingdoms’ treks Who travels with us? Here are some statistics based on 2007 trek and tour bookings: Age 00–19 years 2% 20–29 years 3% 30–39 years 9% 40–49 years 17% 50–59 years 26% 60–69 28% Over 70 5% Sex Male 56% Female 44% Marital Status Single 39% Attached 61% Grades Tours 6% Expedition grade 3% Strenuous 25% Vigorous/Strenuous 11% Vigorous 10% Moderate/Vigorous 17% Moderate 6% Gentle/Moderate 6% Gentle 16% See also Things You Need to Knowon page 72 • A European leader, Sherpa leader or Sirdar, or an In-Country leader. The type of leader is specified in the information box for each trek/expedition/tour • Economy class return air fares from the UK • UK Departure Tax • All internal flights and hotel/airport transfers • Good standard hotel accommodation (usually 4 star) in main cities, on a bed and breakfast basis • Best available hotels in outlying towns, usually on full board • All road transport by private vehicles • All camping facilities and all meals on trek • Camp staff to carry out all camp work • Costs of all porterage and their insurance • Sightseeing where specified • A free high-quality Himalayan Kingdoms kit bag The price does not include • Travel insurance, (see back cover) • Visa fees • Lunch and evening meals in major cities • Airport departure taxes, except UK Departure Tax • Bar bills and laundry • Optional trips • Tips The price includes
tel: 0845 330 8579 (local call rate, UK only) international tel: +44 1453 844 400 www.himalayankingdoms.com Trek & tour leadership An experienced leader accompanies every one of our holidays. The leader’s role is to liaise between the party members and their support crew, i.e. drivers, camp staff and porters, and to handle all airport/hotel check-ins, and to ensure you enjoy your holiday to the full. All our leaders carry a first aid kit. Exactly what type of Leader your trek/tour has is detailed in the information box for your specific trek/tour. European Leaders For some of the longer, more demanding treks into very remote regions, or in destinations with limited tourist infrastructure, we will appoint a European leader – usually to work alongside a local guide. Our European leaders have bags of trekking experience and are chosen for their outgoing natures. Sometimes these leaders will have particular expertise in the region through which you will travel. For instance, Catherine Darjaa speaks fluent Mongolian, Bob Heffill is a Japanese interpreter, and Hugh Thomson is of course a world-renowned explorer of forgotten Inca sites. On our Trekking Peak expeditions your leader will be a highly experienced mountaineer, with experience of the Greater Ranges. Sherpa Leader or Sirdar On world-famous routes, such as Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit, or on well-known trails in Nepal, Bhutan and India with relatively few practical problems, and for Tea House Treks, we use professionally trained Sherpas or Sirdars. A number of our Sherpas are Everest summiteers in their own right! Also in the Annapurna region one of our Sherpas is KC Bhuwan, winner of the inaugural ‘Wanderlust’ Paul Morrison Guide Award. We are fully confident in their ability to lead these routes competently. By travelling with local crews you will experience more of Asia in the raw. In-Country Leader In particular countries where we are confident that the local guides are professionally trained and competent, speak good English, and are highly experienced, we will appoint such an incountry leader in preference to a European leader. Please look at the information box for your specific trek/tour to check whether you will have a European or local leader. Accommodation In the specific trek/tour information boxes we detail how many nights you will be spending in hotels, or lodges, in a “tea house”, in a village house, or under canvas. Also our detailed Day-by- Day Itineraries give a description of the hotels you may be staying in (see also page 8). Hotels and Family Inns In main cities, we use mainly 4-star hotels chosen for their character and ambience; these will be booked on a bed and breakfast basis. Where we can, we like to use colonial-style hotels or properties that reflect the character of the country. In Japan, for instance, our two treks use traditional ryokan or minshuku family inns where real Japanese food is served and one of the highlights is sleeping on futons. In small towns out in the sticks, we use the best hotels available and very often these will be on a full board basis. Lodges On our gentle trekking routes in Nepal, Sikkim, Northern India, Bhutan, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Peru and Argentina, our itineraries use “Lodges” at the end of each day’s hiking. For example, our Gentle Trekking and Luxury Lodges Treks in the Annapurna Foothills utilise the beautiful lodges built by Ker & Downey. All lodges have en-suite bathrooms with flush loos and electricity. Tea Houses On the most popular trekking routes in Nepal, enterprising villagers have built tea house lodges. In recent years the standards of food and lodging these tea houses provide has improved enormously. Most now offer twin-bedded rooms, some are equipped with solar-powered showers and many would vie in character and comfort with the alpine huts we use on our mountain treks in Europe, although in European huts, accommodation is usually dormitory-style. Mountain Huts/Pensions Swiss Alpine huts are rightly famous the world over! On our Tour de Mont Blanc, we use those that have a custodian and provide catering. Sleeping arrangements are usually dormitorystyle and plentiful blankets are supplied (sheet inner required). The mountain huts in Greece are comparable. In some mountain areas we occasionally use small family-run pensions up in the mountains. Village Houses In Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, our Hill Tribe treks overnight in village houses. This is usually in the form of a separate dormitory, though you might find you are sleeping with the family or on the verandah! Camping To visit some of the most magnificent mountain and wilderness landscapes of the world, camping is of course the only practical option. When camping with Himalayan Kingdoms you’ll sleep in a good-sized dome or A-frame tent, and be provided with a dining tent, toilet tent and kitchen tent. We also provide tables, chairs/stools, light, sleeping mats and all crockery and cutlery. Exact information on what type of accommodation you will be using on your trekking or touring holiday is specified in the individual information boxes, and also described in detail on the Day-by-Day Itineraries. Porters and baggage Everyone travelling with Himalayan Kingdoms is provided with a free, high-quality kit bag for use on their trip. Even if you are not trekking these kit bags are perfect for stowing on planes, loading onto jeeps, and the general wear and tear associated with adventure travel. On all treks and tours involving overnight trekking (with the exception of Mount Olympus and Torres del Paine Circuit) your kit will be transported for you, leaving you to carry just your day sack. Your kit bag, along with the tents, food and camping gear will be carried on trek by jeep, mule, horse, yak and/or porters. Where porters or animals are used for load carrying, we adhere to the relevant national guidelines and are active supporters of the International Porters’ Protection Group (www.ippg.net). Full guidance on what to take and the weight allowances for each trek or tour are included in the information we provide when you book. Look out for these symbols! Plane symbol International return economy flights are included in your price. ’Join in-country’ symbol For all treks where a low-cost airline operates to the main destination city, we only give a land only price. We are happy to arrange a scheduled flight if this is your preferred option. Full details of how to join the tour are spelt out in your Dossier. Sleeping bag and liner symbol On some of our Classic treks we provide good quality feather down sleeping bags at no extra charge. Satellite phones For some of our remotest treks a satellite phone will be carried by the trek leader, strictly for use only in medical emergency situations. Ice axe and crampon symbol This simply denotes that elementary use of ice axe crampons for crossing glaciers or easy snow slopes will necessary. Prior experience is useful but not necessarily essential as your leader will give you basic instruction. may also be required to carry a climbing harness where safety rope may be used. Rucksack symbol On these treks, you will be required to carry a change of clothes, toiletries, an inner sheet sleeping bag and a packed lunch, besides the usual contents of your day sack. We recommend restrict this to no more than 10kg. Full details of what you be expected to carry are detailed in the Detailed Day-by- Itinerary and Trek Dossier. We feel strongly that our clients should be able to see clearly what the hotel and lodge accommodation is, what the sleeping arrangements are on trek, what kind of leader there will be, which airline you are flying with, and what is included in the price (see opposite, and page 72). Therefore each trek has an information box that gives you a complete picture. Please also ask us for the detailed Day-by-Day Itineraries. Call our office on 0845 330 8579 or download the itineraries quickly and easily from www.himalayankingdoms.com Our styles of trekking and touring Hotels in Kathmandu Dwarika’s Hotel .... The Shangri-La Hotel ... Find out more about these and other hotels we stay in worldwide on page 8.