The needs of our guests are at the forefront of all the experiences we offer. We strive to build the adventure of a lifetime for our guests. Your safety, the guides, the pacing and even the food are critical considerations. Please read below for an outline of policies and procedures to help you prepare for an incredible once-in-a-lifetime adventure with Smiling Buddha Trekking and Cultural Tours.

We recommend thorough research for first-time guests as they prepare to embark upon one of the most remarkable experiences they’re ever likely to enjoy. Here, we’ve included some links to some helpful articles as well as a packing list, visa information and an overview of items included (and not included) for Smiling Buddha treks.

Generally, there are two optimal seasons for Nepal trekking, spring (February to May) and autumn (September to December). Although there are many beautiful places to visit in the winter, staying below 3,000 metres in elevation is essential. Summer is monsoon season and it tends to rain most days, so the best trekking during this time is in the Mustang region where there is very little rain. Mustang is Himalayan desert, and during the summer it becomes beautifully green.
 
PACKING LIST

To make your trek as safe, enjoyable and comfortable as possible, we recommend that you bring the following list of supplies:

HIKING SUPPLIES:

– Info bracelet (Road ID)
– Credit card / USD cash
– Compass
– Appropriate light pack
– Rain cover for pack
– Puffy down jacket
– Rain gear – Jacket & pants
– Sun hat
– Sunglasses (UV Protection)
– Camera with full battery (plus extra battery/memory)
– Camera case
– Gloves – 2 pairs (light cycling gloves for poles & warm/waterproof)
– Warm ski-type beanie
– Hiking poles
– Space blanket
– Lip balm
– Throat Lozenges
– Sunscreen
– Insect Repellent
– Ibuprophen
– Hand sanitizer or towelettes
– Emergency TP
– Water bladder – 3 litre
– Water filtration pump
– Clip to attach camera to pack
– Head light – plus extra batteries
– First aid kit – plus Mole skin
– Small face towel with clip for pack (sweat)
– Whistle
– Food / snacks (Nutrition Bars 2 per day)

Optional

– Spot GPS
– GPS with maps
– Topo maps

AND DON’T FORGET:

– Passport
– Hiking pants with detachable legs
– Underwear (2 for 6 day trek or 4 for 15 day trek)
– T-shirts: 2-4
– Casual pants for after hike
– Warm thermal top and bottom
– Ear plugs for sleeping with group
– iPod with ear buds/Optional
– Phone with movies / ibooks (optional)
– Toiletry bag with tooth brush and basics
– Eye drops
– Sleeping bag ( Good to -15º)
– Inflatable pillow (Suggest Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow – large)
– Comfortable shoes
– Flip flops for showers
– Electrolyte tabs (Camelback elixir – raspberry lime)
– Charging cables – phone, ipod, camera
– Adapter for electrical sockets
– Micro pikers

INCLUDES
All Treks Include:

– Arrival: Airport pick up and drop by car / Hotel. Departure: Hotel / Return to Airport
– 2 guests share a room in a three-star hotel in Kathmandu; Breakfast included
– Guided city tour in Kathmandu in private vehicle
– All standard meals during the trek (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
– Private rooms double occupancy
– Licensed, professional English-speaking guide
– Local staff and porters to carry your luggage during the trek (One porter for every two guests)
– Food, accommodation, salary, insurance, equipment and medicine for all staff
– Everest National Park permits and TIMS permits for trekking
– Down jacket and sleeping bag by Ace the Himalaya (To be returned upon completion of trek)
– Sightseeing/Monument entrance fees for Kathmandu
– Farewell dinner in Nepali Restaurant with cultural show on second to last day
– All our government taxes, vat, tourist service charges
– Official expenses

Treks Do Not Include:

– Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu
– Additional night(s) in Katmandu (necessary for the Annapurna Trek)
– Travel insurance which covers emergency rescue and evacuation
– International airfare and airport departure tax
– Nepal Entry Visa
– Personal expenses (phone calls, laundry, bar bills, battery recharge, extra porters, bottled or boiled water, soft drinks)
– Personal trekking equipment (See the trekking equipment section)
– Tips for guides, porters and drivers (Tipping is expected)
– International airfare to/from Kathmandu
– Additional nights in Kathmandu, and any expenses of a purely personal nature
– Emergency rescue evacuation if needed
– Sightseeing and entrance fees in Kathmandu to any temples or monasteries
– Alcoholic beverages
– Any others expenses which are not mentioned in the ‘All Treks Includes’ section

VISA INFO

Visas can be obtained upon your arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. A tourist Visa for 30 days is currently $40 USF or equivalent foreign currency. Please bring 2 copies of your passport photos they are required to obtain the visa. For an online Visa Application form please visit here  http://www.online.nepalimmigration.gov.np/tourist-visa

For Free Visa: A free Visa (good for 30 days) is available only for SAARC countries. However, for extension of visa for SAARC nationals, the rule is as same other countries. Indian nationals do not require visa to enter into Nepal.

Visa Extension: Tourists can stay for a maximum of 150 days in a visa year (Jan 1 to Dec 31) extending the visa at the rate of $2USD per day. However, a minimum amount of $30USD has to be paid for a period of 15 days or less.CUSTOM FORMALITIES

Any visitor bringing in more than $5,000USD or equivalent amount in any other currency/currencies must declare the currency/currencies at the Customs Office in the Airport.CUSTOMS
All baggage must be declared and cleared through the customs on arrival at the entry point. Personal effects are permitted free entry. Passengers arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) without any dutiable goods can proceed through the Green Channel for quick clearance without a baggage check. If you are carrying dutiable articles, you have to pass through the Red Channel for detailed customs clearance.

WHY BOOK WITH US?

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    Safety is of the Utmost Importance

    Your safety is of the utmost importance to us. Therefore, when it comes to keeping the overhead of our trips low, safety is one thing which we simply do not compromise. Our guides are selected based on their technical proficiency, proven safety records, impeccable judgment, their friendly demeanour and their ability to provide helpful and knowledgeable instructions. These guides are highly-qualified professionals knowledgable in first -aid and personal safety equipment. We also make sure that first aid kits are available on all trips and happily provide oxygen cylinders and PAC Bags upon request (not included). Furthermore, Smiling Buddha itineraries are ideally designed to give you enough time for acclimatization. We take great care to maximize your Nepal experience.

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    Meals and Accommodation

    We ensure that local and nutritious meals are provided at each stop along your trek. Meals will be provided by reputable teahouses providing quality food while catering to any allergies or food intolerances you may have. All food is hygienically prepared. Accommodations during the trek are provided by teahouses in the mountain villages and hotels or Bed and Breakfasts in larger cities.

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    The Trekking Experience

    The day is designed to make the hike both challenging and enjoyable for all guests. Early morning tea followed by packing and breakfast starts the day, followed by a morning walk. During the walk, our guides will point out local flora, fauna and other items of interest as guests begin to enjoy each others company and the guides become more like friends. Budding friendships abound!After a few hours of hiking, we will stop for lunch around noon and take a break for relaxing, reading, exploration or to enjoy games. Once the afternoon hike is complete, we will arrive at our destination around 4 pm. Guests take advantage of this time to unwind, bond with your travel companions or engage in additional activities if desired. Reflect on your journey as you witness the sunset from the unique vantage points offered by different mountain vistas on the trek. Dinner is normally served at approximately 7:30pm and guests are free to enjoy the evenings as they please.

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    The Staff

    Smiling Buddha Trekking and Cultural Tours is a company that seeks to employ only the most competent and experienced group leaders and guides for our clients. Each guide must be able to offer knowledge of the environment, scenery, points of interest and the best vantage points to ensure maximum enjoyment of your experience. Each guide has completed our Trek Leader and guide courses including basic first-aid, mountaineering, eco-trekking training and more to ensure that they are highly-versed in all aspects of trekking, climbing, nature, safety and conservation. Our guides are highly dedicated to providing you with the best experience possible and as well, providing authentic, local knowledge to further enhance your Nepal experience.

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    Booking

    We require a 30% deposit for the trek to ensure that all paperwork, flights, trekking permits and accommodations are ready for your arrival in Nepal. The balance of the payment is paid upon arrival to Kathmandu in US currency, please. Euros, British Pounds, and credit card payment is accepted but is subject to a 4% Nepalese banking transaction fee. Upon booking, we request the following information to secure flights, accommodation and trekking permits. For all members of your party we will require Full Name (as per their passport), Mailing Address, Gender, Nationality, Passport Number, and an E-mail Address. Please Contact Us for further information as needed.

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    Environmental Considerations

    Protecting the Nepal’s delicate environment is critical for all travellers. Environmental preservation is crucial to the sustainability of the Himalayas and we ask that guests” Take Only Photos and Leave Only Footprints” during their trips. We provide accommodation in eco-conscious teahouses that minimize waste while ensuring proper disposal of all non-biodegradable substances.

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    Providing Value

    Smiling Buddha Trekking seeks to minimize unnecessary overhead expenses to ensure that our customers are getting the very best value for every dollar spent. We strive to exceed expectations without hidden fees or extra costs. We provide high quality equipment, service and hospitality at competitive prices to ensure the very best value possible.

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    Social Responsibility

    Although we are primarily a trekking and travel company, we value our culture and aim to further the development of Nepalese people and education. We ask that all our guests respect the beautiful scenery and culture of Nepal to ensure its preservation. We are committed to helping to educate less fortunate Nepali children and offer a volunteer adventure travel option to meet this educational goal. If guests choose there is always opportunities to help with our program.

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    Smiling Buddha Gives Back!

    Tourism is a primary source of income of the Nepalese economy. As an organization actively participated in this industry, Smiling Buddha strives to not only provide incredible experiences to our guests, but to also to contribute to our country and culture. Our teams are involved in community work while seeking to aid less fortunate and assist education development in poverty stricken rural area.

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    Activities and Services

    Smiling Buddha provides many experiences and services such as trekking, mountain expeditions, peak climbing, tours, hiking in Nepal, jungle safaris, white water rafting, city sightseeing, agro tours, cultural tours, pilgrimage tours, eco tours, village tours, bird watching, adventure sports, cycling, mountain flights, yoga, ayurveda & spa, bungee jumping, volunteering, photography expeditions, additional accommodations , meeting/ conference management, Tibet and Bhutan tours and so much more!