Mar 29 – Apr 6, 2021 Deluxe Small-Group to the Roof of the World!
One spot open for woman, call 770-432-8225 for details and to book.
Waitlist Here – Postponed from 2020 – waitlist because some people may drop off
Namaste! Join us on our epic AFS journey to the Top of the World for some of the most astonishing scenery imaginable in a land above the clouds! Nepal is a stunning mountain kingdom that straddles the mighty Himalayas, boasting the world’s highest snow peaks and deepest lush valleys. See some of the greenest nature reserves, laced with crystal rivers and exotic culture. This is a land of monasteries, holy temples, Sherpas, yaks, yetis, wild ellies and Bengal tigers. This trip is Travel Nirvana.
Sacred sites and mountain highs – Immerse yourself in a fascinating tapestry of Hindi, Buddhist and tribal cultures as we mingle with monks and visit the Children’s Village in Old Kathmandu. Experience sensory overload with the bustling energy of Durbar Square along with 5thCentury temples and monasteries which lend the best Instagramable photos. The absolute highlight is when a helicopter whisks us up to Everest for a Champagne Breakfast Above the Clouds. Breathtaking panoramas await as we’re surrounded by the snowcapped jewels that are the Himalayas.
Jungle adventure – We then fly south to the Royal Chitwan National Park, a World Heritage Site, for a 3-day glorious recess to play. Our jungle resort is the astonishing new Taj Meghauli Serai Resort, where you will be pampered beyond belief. With just 16 luxury rooms, the Taj is sought after by the most high-end tour operators, but we’ve been able to secure our spot here and the exclusive safari lodge will be ours! The Taj is where “Chilling is Thrilling” with gourmet meals, elegant spa treatments and dozens of cool amenities. Enjoy your Jeep Safaris in search of tigers, one horned rhinos, canoes through jungle waterways and so much more! You will play with the resident ellies who are as coddled as you will be – perhaps more. Experience a total ethical interaction with these happy, pampered pachyderms who love their baths and jungle walks. And for an adrenaline rush, we enjoy Whitewater Rafting down the thrilling Trisuli River.
You may find cheap Nepal tours but beware here. We want to WOW you with AHA! moments found nowhere else with the best guides and this level of luxury. April is the perfect time to go – before monsoon season and great mountain visibility. Our past groups just loved Nepal but we raised the bar even higher with this time. It truly is beyond your wildest dreams. Join me and make this once in a lifetime vacay a reality! Testimonial – “I want to thank you, Suzy, for putting this incredible trip together. Our hotels were absolutely first class and it was jam-packed with so much culture, history and fun activities! This Nepal Adventure exceeded my expectations!” – Carole Daniel
Our Glorious AFS Itinerary
Waitlist Here – Postponed from 2020 – waitlist because some people may drop off
Mar 29 – Depart USA. (Detailed Trip Tips found in its own tab on this page.)
Mar 30 – Welcome to Kathmandu Nepal B (meals)
Touch down in the storied city of Kathmandu and get our first glimpse of the snowcapped Himalayas! This legendary former Royal Capital of the Kingdom of Nepal is located deep in Kathmandu Valley, a place that served as the crossroads for the ancient civilizations of Asia. A vibrant city bursting with color and culture, Kathmandu is the center of Nepal’s history, art and economy. This is home to an inexhaustible number of palaces, golden pagodas, temples and monuments which pay homage to countless deities. It’s also a buzzing capital were daily life unfolds out in the open for great photo ops.
Our home for the next two nights is the Shambala Kathmandu. Located near embassy row, it is a modern Tibetan style boutique hotel with views of the mountains and plenty of shops and restaurants nearby.
International flights arrive in the morning, so we should be to the hotel by late morning. Check-in is officially 2pm. We have the day to relax in the hotel or explore. In the evening, we will meet our escort who will be our guide for our trip
Overnight: Shambala Kathmandu – 2 Nights. Tibetan themed boutique hotel on Embassy Rd with spa and gorgeous rooftop poo.
Much of the day is spent exploring the incomparable Kathmandu in a half day tour. We start with fabulous Kathmandu Durbar Square, one of three royal palace squares in the valley. Here, we will visit the Hanuman Dhoka Palace Complex where the Shah (Gurkha) Dynasty and later the Rana maharajas resided. The 16thcentury complex still plays a major role in Nepalese royal activities. This is where important ceremonies take place such as the coronations for Nepalese monarchs.
The complex includes the King Tribuhuwan Memorial Museum (dedicated to the monarch who opened Nepal to the outside world) and the Mahendra Museam (dedicated to Tribuhuwan’s son). We have the opportunity to visit the palace’s State rooms and the one of Nepal’s best known curiosities – the Kumari Chowk. Kumari Chowk is home to a living goddess called Raj Kumari. This young girl is believed to be the human incarnation of the demon-slaying Hindu mother goddess, Durba. Raj Kumari is chosen from girls as young as 5 years old through an ancient and mystical selection process and serves until she reaches puberty. Worshipped during religious festivals, she makes some public appearances for a fee paid to her guards but photographing her is prohibited.
Later, we enjoy peace, prayers and indescribable panoramic views as we visit the Swayambhunath Stupa.Known as the “Monkey Temple, Swayambhunath is the oldest of its kind in Nepal and sits high on a hill above Kathmandu. Legend has it that the glory of Kathmandu Valley had its beginnings at this spot. This is considered one of the country’s holiest spots, drawing Buddhists and Hindus alike.
In the afternoon, we’ll pay a visit to the respected SOS Children’s Village in Old Kathmandu. The complex houses and schools both orphans and children whom their parents cannot afford to raise. After the devastating earthquake of 2015, one million of 27 million Nepalese children were left orphaned. You will be amazed at the spirit and smiles of these children. If you are inclined, it is always nice to bring small things like crayons or even candy to give to the children. www.sosnepal.org.np (Note, visit based on conditions of director that week. Another orphanage may be substituted.).
This evening, we enjoy our official Welcome Dinner at the Shambala to get to know our new family of travel lovers.
Overnight: Shambala Kathmandu 2 Nights
April 1 – Into Thin Air on Top of the World B
It’s an early morning for us as we set out for the fabled Mt. Everest and a meal of a lifetime! Helicopters with experienced pilots will whisk us high into the Himalayas to Kongde where we have a luxurious hot breakfast, complete with champagne, at the Top of the World over 4250 m. Served up by sherpas at almost 14,000 feet, our breathtaking views are the stunning snowcapped peaks of Mount Everest and the rest of the Himalayas. It’s about a 4-5 hour journey. Photograph Everest glowing her first light of sun in the shadows on holy mountains. TripAdvisor rates 5 stars.
Heading back to Kat, we stop in Lalitpur to explore Patan Durbar Square. Like its counterpart in Kathmandu, is an enchanting mélange of palace buildings, artistic courtyards and graceful pagoda temples. Listed as a World Heritage Site, the former royal palace complex is the center of Patan’s religious and social life. One remarkable monument here is a 17th century temple dedicated to the Hindu God Krishna – Krishna Mandir built entirely of stone with rare stone carvings on its walls depicting the epic wars from Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The rest of the afternoon is free to rest or explore Kathmadu. Perhaps go shopping in the Thamel district for some cool prayer flags and wheels, carvings and paintings. Ask your guide or just google Things to do Kathmandu and you’ll countless thrills.
Overnight at hotel Shambala
April 2 – Fly Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park B
After breakfast, we take a short flight from Kathmandu to Bharatpur where we trade the mountains for the lush jungles of Chitwan. Almost the entire region is covered with flowering trees called Chitwan Sal and riverine forests. A UNESCO Site, Chitwan National Park is Nepal’s first and most famous National Park. Once a popular hunting area, it is now committed to conservation and home to an astounding array of exotic animals. Chitwan is a heaven for wildlife enthusiasts. It is renowned for tigers, one-horned rhinoceros, crocodiles, a host of other wildlife, more than 450 species of birds and over 45 species of amphibians and reptiles.
We will be staying in the mind-blowing new resort, the Taj Meghauili Serai. Tucked away along the scenic banks of the Rapti River, this extraordinary jungle retreat will pamper you to no end. While the Taj can arrange a host of excursions for your free time, you may not want to leave. The main guest areas offer uninhibited views of the river, while a spacious lounge boasts a warm fireplace and as well as a bar. A sparkling swimming offers a refreshing respite in between activities. There are viewing decks overlooking the river which are made for the guests to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. You’ll want to park yourself here for sunset which is something you do not want to miss.
Your afternoon and evening are yours to enjoy these wonderous surroundings. Your guide will direct you or google “things to do Katmandu” and you’ll find countless fun activates.
Overnight at Hotel Taj Meghauli Serai, Chitwan (3 nights)
April 3 – Chitwan Jungle Safari B
We start the morning with a Jeep safari through Chitwan’s landscape, passing through the towering, dense canopied Sal forests, lush grasslands and oxbow lakes. Our guides are trained naturalists and experienced trackers from the local community. We’ll be on the lookout for the elusive tiger or the majestic migrant bird species like Great Hornbill, Ruddy Shelduck, Pied Kingfisher and Red Headed Trogon. There’s one-horned Rhinoceros who are the stars of Chitwan and can usually spotted in open woods and grasslands. The Gharial crocodiles are highly endangered and the park authorities run a breeding center for these unusual looking creatures that can be visited while out on a safari drive.
We’ll return to the lodge for a break and then in the afternoon to get up close and personal with the most pampered elephants you have ever seen. These pachyderms live on the Taj property and live a life of luxury after being rescued. You’ll get to know these gentle giants by bathing, feeding and humanely riding, if you choose. Enjoy a walk into the jungle with them. They love the attention! You’ll learn just what great memories they really have. If you come back in a few years, they’ll recognize you!
Your evening is your own to take advantage of the amenities at the Taj.
Overnight at Hotel Taj Meghauli Serai, Chitwan (3 nights)
April 4 – Free Day in Chitwan B
You have a whole day to enjoy this special place. The hotel can help arrange a number of activities including a walking safari with a naturalist or perhaps a canoe trip down the picturesque Rapti river enjoying beautiful views of the Himalayan foothills and spot innumerable rhinoceroses, gharials and birdlife. They can even arrange a visit to a local Tharu village to see the authentic way of life of the locals.
Or you could choose to just relax and enjoy this gorgeous property. The hotel can arrange spa treatments in your room.
Overnight at Hotel Taj Meghauli Serai, Chitwan
April 5 – Whitewater rafting & Katmandu B D
We make our way back to Katmandu overland to take in some of the stunning scenery and a little adventure – White water rafting! No experience necessary, these are just class 2 and 3 rapids along the scenic Trisuli River. The river runs from Kathmandu towards Chitwan and this 3 hour adventure gives you a river’s edge view of terraced rice fields and dramatic granite gorges. Exhilarating and downright fun, there is no better way to see the gorge.
We’ll also stop by the sacred temple known as the “Goddess of the Wishes,” Manakamana temple. Home to the Hindu Goddess Bhagwati, the temple is located high on the mountain, so we’ll take a Cable Car to visit. In addition to being a beautifully ornate temple on its own, the views are spectacular.
We’ll be back in Kathmandu in late afternoon. Tonight, we’ll enjoy their famous local Newari dishes with our AFS Farewell Dinner.
April 6- Head home B
It’s time to say farewell. We’ll check out of the hotel after breakfast and make our way to the airport for our flights back to the U.S.
Based on 22 participants. Don’t delay, book now.
Waitlist Here – Postponed from 2020 – waitlist because some people will drop off
Land Price $ 2998 + $80 internal air
Based upon 20 participants
Air is so easy USA to Kat. If demand, we can present group air later.
- Land prices per person twin share. Trip price based on a minimum number of participants.
- Single rooms limited with $ supplement. Cost varies. Email us for availability. AFS will find you a roommate.
- The earliest we present group air is 10 months prior. We’ll send email to ask who wants it. A minimum number of 12 is needed.
- Please review AFS Terms and Conditions, Heading Abroad with AFS, Covid Policy. Travel insurance is important nowadays. It’s rare, but we reserve the right to modify schedules, tour and hotels.
- Read Trip Tips on its own tab next itinerary for latest details.
Group Air -In emailed Trip Tips when offered.
Hotel Shambala Kathmandu, Nepal http://www.shambalahotel.com/home
Hotel Taj Meghauli Serai, Chitwan https://www.tajhotels.com/en-in/taj/meghauli-serai-chitwan-national-park/
Standing on the banks of the river Rapti, Meghauli Serai overlooks a vast expanse of rippling waters and the core of Chitwan National Park. This 30 room lodge is designed to showcase the spectacular wilderness and rooms as well as guest areas afford uninterrupted views of the jungle. The main lounge with an imposing chandelier made with 10,000 Nepalese hand painted beads. The lodge embraces local décor and aesthetics with an abundant use of local art and artefacts. The large Newari door leading to the lobby has been procured from a local Tharu village. A large infinity pool with a viewing deck and a ‘machan’ over the river for private dining and wildlife viewing add to the charm of this jungle lodge at Chitwan.
- All prices are per person twin share. Single rooms limited per group and a single supplement applies. Cost set by hotel/cruiseline and vary considerably. AFS will find you a roommate match. All hotel rooms are “run of house.”
- Please review AFS Terms and Conditions as well as Heading Abroad with AFS.
- Land – Price based on a minimum number of trip participants, as well as local currency exchange rates which can fluctuate.
- We write our itineraries over a year in advance. Though unlikely, we always reserve the right to modify schedules, tours and hotels if necessary.
- Group air – Airlines may add surcharges to offset fuel inflation or taxes. The total ticket cost is not final until we receive your final payment and the group is ticketed. If doing own air, airport transfer may or may not be included depending on your air schedule. Do not buy air until the group air is set or we advise – though unlikely, airlines, times and dates can change!
AFS Trip Tips Nepal
Updates will be posted here. If you want a paper copy, copy and paste this into a document and print.
Prepare to be thrilled by our Nepal adventure of a lifetime. I chose to lead this one for the diversity of crazy KAT with the jungles of Chitwan. Together, we’ll get breathtaking photos – not just of Everest – but also while playing with our resident ellies. It’s epic fun in the lap of luxury.
We have a wonderful group of 26 solo travel lovers. I know most of you and can guarantee there will be a lot of laughter. There is a special welcome to a few of our AFS newbies. This trip sold out in 3 days so you, my friends, are the fortunate ones and I can’t wait to meet you. After final payments are in, we will send you contact information, room lists, and access to your private Facebook Group Page.
- Sample – best to depart Mar 28.
- Mar 29 QR JFK-Doha TBA
- Mar 39 Doha-KTM TBA
- APR 6 QR KTM – Doha TBA
- APR 7 Doha-JFK TBA
YOUR GTL – SUZY DAVIS
As a former flight attendant of 14 years with free travel, Suzy has logged over 100 different countries in her 6 tattered passports. She founded AFS in 1989 to share these places with others. For the first 10 years, she led ALL solo travel tours but now leads four or five each year. Her favorite group leads are to places outside the boundaries of normal comfort zones where one wouldn’t travel alone because she loves all the challenges. As a cultural ambassador, Suzy is fearless and loves to connect her groups with locals. Her enthusiasm, travel wisdom, and patience are extraordinary.
She says, “I deeply care that my tribe blends well and that each member is having Large Fun. My head is always churning with intuitive preemptive thoughts and communicating these to our local guides. I make sure there is downtime for relaxation and provide suggestions for activities outside our itinerary.”
Suzy is a former Miss Wisconsin and teacher with a passion for Travel Writing. In her free time, she does site inspections and travel shows abroad for future trip ideas. At home, she loves cooking foreign dishes and loving on her dog, Gracie. (Read more in her President’s Letter.) “At the end of trips, it is music to my ears when I get to hear – “Suzy, this solo vacation exceeded my wildest expectations!”
– Your fearless GTL (gracious trip leader – not a guide, but liaison between our guides and group to ensure things run smoothly)
- Read the revised Heading Abroad with AFS, especially if you are new to AFS!
- Ensure your passport is valid 6 months after return date with two blank pages. We recommend renewing your passport well ahead of any planned international travel. Take a photo of your passport to store in the cloud or bring a copy.
- To speed through US Customs, download Mobile Passport. Look in your App Store for details.
- Notify bank and cc companies of travel dates so they don’t block charges.
Fitness level– 2 (No trouble walking.)
Air – Since this is a small group, we won’t offer group air because a minimum of twelve travelers is needed to secure the trip. These days, everyone seems to be finding best airfares from their hometown by using search engines. We love GoogleFlights.com. Round trip air from the USA to Kathmandu is so easy and prices are great. Airlines to consider: Turkish, Qatar, Emirates, Korean (most flights), or good rates are also found on China Eastern, China Southern, Air India, and Cathay Pacific.
If you need help getting your own air, call our friend Rizwana who’s an air expert. Call or text here at (734) 752-9331. Give her your exact airdates, destination, passport name and details with birthdate.
Without Group Air no arrival transfer – Fewer people booking our group air nowadays because they find better rates on own direct from their hometown or use points. When everyone flies on own they arrive at scattered times making it impossible to provide a group transfer on arrival. Therefore you’ll need to consider Uber or sharing taxi ride with a group member. Here is a great planning resource – www.taxifarefinder.com.
We will have a single return airport transfer at the end of the trip at a time that will accommodate most schedules. If your time doesn’t work out, you’ll need to make your private transfer or taxi.
Doing Own Air– You may arrange your own air from your hometown. We like Google Flights and Skyscanner. We highly recommend that you not rush to buy air until a Group Air is set (when offered). If your arrival or departure times do not align with Group Air times, you’ll need to arrange your own airport/hotel transfers.
If you need help getting your own air, call our friend Rizwana who’s an air expert. Call or text here at (734) 752-9331. Give her your exact airdates, destination, passport name and details with birthdate.
If you go early and check in AFS hotel before group arrives, it’s your responsibility to change rooms with your roommate if necessary day one when trip begins.
Meet Up with Group – On Day 1 APRIL 4, A time will be set to meet the group in the hotel for a briefing. More on this later.
Baggage – Think light to ease your burden, not like you’re fleeing your homeland. You change hotel properties several times. 1 carry-on & 1 medium suitcase not to exceed 45lbs – weigh on a bathroom scale. This weight limit is for our porterage and luggage vans. If you overpack with adding side trips planned pre -or post-trip, plan where to stow excess luggage. You may be responsible for any overage charges. The new hard cases are difficult to fit in coach storage. Be sure to attach ID to both bags. Leave space for great souvenirs.
Packing –Google weather in April in Kathmandu a week prior to departure – it should be in the 65-85 degree temps range. Read Packing 101 in Heading Abroad with AFS at https://headingabroadwithafs.tumblr.com.
This trip is so easy. Nothing special is needed. Simply pack summer clothing with a light jacket for nights and long flights and EVEREST!…We will be provided blankets for our breakfast on the roof of the world.
Pack an umbrella, daypack, wide-brim hat, sunscreen, comfy sneakers, swimsuit, and wet shoes for rafting; consider children’s gifts for our orphanage visit; (ladies, bring a scarf for temples). More on this closer to departure.
Electric –Don’t forget a portable backup charger, cords, gadgets, etc. Cell phones and tablets do not need a converter; you only need an adapter plug Type 3D prong. AFSers often leave charger cords in the room, so be sure to double-check before check out. All properties have hairdryers.
Money Matters You need some cash for personal tipping, meals, and shopping. $300 should suffice. Change on arrival at airport, bank, or hotels. Or withdraw from an ATM. Note independent ATMs are risky due to skimmer scams. Avoid using ATM unless it’s an emergency. If you must use an ATM, the safest ones are at the airport and banks. Always shield your pin number when entering.
Credit cards are far safer than your debit card. I know $300 cash is plenty of money for a week for me. I convert half of it upon entry. I use my credit card for most purchases. Many cards now offer no foreign transaction fees.
Currency Exchange Rate: $1 USD = 114 Nepalese Rupees. Follow the link below to create a conversion cheat sheet:
Gratuities (Prepaid): It’s protocol to tip our local guides, assistants, porters, drivers, and ground staff. Guidelines have increased globally, but around $10 to $15 per day should cover all for the trip. An $85 total will be added to your invoice. Please understand that this is only the suggested minimum. For ease of distribution, your GTL will tip the different ground services for the entire group each day.
Tipping on own: If service is stellar, feel free to give more directly. All we tourists leave behind is our reputation. I carry a personal stash of US ones in an envelope to draw from as needed. Bell staff/porters – AFSers roll bags to the room. If you use a porter, please tip $2. Restaurants, 10%. For group lunches or dinners, please leave a dollar or two for the wait staff. An article link about tipping when traveling is below:
Communication – Internet is available. Cell/smartphone – be sure to check with your provider for rates and coverage for international phone plans before departure. Roaming rates (used by Facebook and other apps) are expensive. To reach home – Text, iMessage, What’sApp, and Facebook messaging while using Wi-Fi are best! I don’t know anyone who makes calls home nowadays. Stay off of public Wi-Fi without using VPN if possible. If you do so, never open attachments or view financial or personal account information.
Want affordable data in many countries abroad? We’ve been using Skyroam. All the data you want Bluetooth access to your devices is for just $10 a day. See https://www.skyroam.com for details.
Be Smart: “Avoiding Hackers on Vacation”. Experts say! … Thieves not only want your money, but your hard-earned Frequent Flyer Points! Change passwords often. Check device security settings before you leave for your trip. Back up, update, and encrypt your devices and data using a virtual VPN. It’s worth the cost. In the hotel room, hide iPads or laptops to avoid “evil maids” that want to clone your tech.
Retail Therapy Even non-shoppers will find themselves tempted by the local goodies. Our past groups came back with the coolest stuff spinning their prayer wheels. Consider fine pashmina, stone and bead jewelry, tea and spices, intricate thangkas paintings, singing bowls, incense, dolls, trekking clothes, rice paper, and endless choices.
Photography Before taking pictures of locals, know it is polite to first ask.
Your AFS private Facebook Group Page is a great way to share your best shots with one another. AFS loves photos with group participants (not typical churches, monuments or any shot that looks like you pulled it off the net, etc.) for our website. The best photos are ones that include a group member with local, children, animals, or iconic sites in the same frame!
Websites of Interest
Cuisines Nepalese cuisines are fabulous!…Organic, fresh, and tasty with an Indian influence. Momo dumplings, dal, thukpa, and chataamari are some of the country’s main dishes. Nepalase beers and teas are great. The most popular alcoholic drink is Raksi (akin to tequila).
Accommodations Please see the itinerary Hotel tab for details.
- Kat – Shambala Kathmandu: http://www.shambalahotel.com
- Chitwan – Hotel Taj Meghauli Serai: https://www.tajhotels.com/en-in/taj/meghauli-serai-chitwan-national-park/
Roomies – Single supplements have significantly increased – if available at all. Save money and buy yourself an awesome local gift. We all live alone, but save money when traveling by rooming together. Suzy spends a lot of time on roommate matching. 99% of our clients are wonderful and you’re only in your room to sleep at night anyway.
If you know you snore, please buy a mouth guard ($25 to $50). Below is the best example of a product that works well. Walgreens, Amazon, CVS have different types.
About Everest Apr 6 – We do the safest standard tour that is the least likely to get canceled due to weather up to Kongde Ri at 14,000 ft. (Normal prices are astronomical but it’s included in our tour and it’s rated five stars!) The helicopter company wants you to have evac insurance.
Thank you for the email and we understand your concern regarding group doing the EBC even before the actual trip as this is one of the highlight point of the tour.
As part of the group tour, the Helicopter will take the group from Kathmandu to Kongde Yeti Mountain home venue ( at an altitude of 4350 Metre ) for breakfast, helicopters might take a short stop at Lukla for fuelling purpose ( if refueling required ).
Please find below the fly route to Kongde as follows :
- PHASE 1: FLY KTM – KONGDE
- PHASE 2: Ground time 45 Minutes at Kongde.
- PHASE 3: FLY BACK KONGDE – KTM
In case of flying to Kalapatthar, this is a further distance flying beyond Kongde and the option for breakfast is not much. Considering all aspects and every condition we had thought best to organize this breakfast experience of Everest at Kongde where .group could see the Himalayan mountain view in this breakfast venue. Also till Kongde normally this altitude is comfortable to most guests but beyond Kongde flying up to Kalapatthar or Everest Base camp is much higher altitude so for this higher altitude sometimes guests could feel mountain sickness etc.
Please find below a few important prior information and evacuation procedure etc. by the Helicopter company as follows :
NOTE: Regarding the Insurance, Helicopter agency policy covers Passenger liability insurance only. We would request to have your own travel insurance since the trip is on the altitude of 4350 Meter.
Kathmandu to Kongde to Kathmandu covers your trip only and not any evacuation and rescue. Therefore we strongly recommend having travel insurance as the trip will be in the mountainous region, there might be chances of altitude sickness or any other health issue because extra charter flight might be costly. Travel insurance which covers trip cancellation or trip interruption can help you recover the extra cost for such unforeseen situations.
Weather in the mountains is changing and unpredictable, Please be flexible for your dates. Depart time will depend upon morning temperature and wind on the very same day.
Leisure Time – For your free time, it’s best to arrive and ask our local expert guides for suggestions. We notice that many newer clients pre-plan many activities on the AFS trip well before they arrive, often with disappointing results. Our daily itineraries are pretty full. Expert travelers revel in the element of surprise in a new destination and allow the wind to blow them where it will. Use Google Maps on your phone to find everything nearby. For free days, we like to use www.Viator.com.
Amending tour pre -or post-trip or arranging private tours on free time; we also see others on Facebook urging others to join them to countries around our trip. Stopovers are great to add, but understand AFS has nothing to do with this. AFS is not responsible for these trips that may not be up to AFS standards.
Emergency Contact – This will be emailed with final docs.
Your guide can handle a call home for a True Emergency. Do not expect to use your trip leader’s cell phone. You’ll need to use your own cell phone.
Cancellation Penalty At booking, we sent you our terms and conditions. Open this link to review our terms again: https://www.afstravelers.com/terms-and-conditions/.
Optional Travel Insurance If you want travel insurance and have a pre-existing condition (elderly parent, medical, etc.), you must purchase insurance within 21 days of deposit to be covered.
Read Travel Insurance 101 for details at: http://travelinsurance101.tumblr.com*. Click to follow this link to purchase travel insurance online: https://www.adventuresforsinglesinc.com/need-travel-insurance.* Phone them at 888-885-7233 and give code “ADVGA02”*. If all else fails, upon your request, I will email the form to you.
Travel Psychology 101 Prepare for your departure joyfully with no contempt before investigation upon arrival. Please understand that whenever you travel, things are not like at home. Things may not go exactly as planned. If changes occur, embrace them with serendipity. Who knows? – The unexpected may prove to be a better experience. Great trips work best for those with an open mind, flexible attitude, and an adventurous spirit. Adapt and go with the flow with a laid-back attitude. Be spontaneous. Be tolerant of foreign cultures in respecting their centuries of traditions. Embrace the differences. Be polite to the locals knowing that kindness begets kindness (This goes for your roommate, too; we all live on our own, but share when traveling together). Be curious, not shy. Smile – locals will sense your energy. Our common goal is to experience different cultures, make new friends, get great photos, have large fun, and return home safely with memories worthy of recollection. The best spirit of an Explorer requires the openness of a child. – Suzy
“When traveling, remember that a foreign country isn’t designed to make you comfortable. It’s designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clinton Fadiman
More Cool Stuff
Kathmandu is an incredibly diverse historic city with breathtaking Newari architecture, centuries old Hindu and Buddhist religious sites along with dedicated tourist-friendly accommodations and restaurants. Stepping into Kathmandu is like stepping into another world that everybody should experience at least once in their lifetime.
Kathmandu is a city where ancient traditions rub shoulders with the latest technology. The grandeur of the past enchants the visitor whose gaze may linger on an exquisitely carved wooden window frame, an 18th century bronze sculpture or a spiritually uplifting stupa. Kathmandu, the largest city of Nepal, is the political as well as cultural capital of the country.
Retaining its ancient traditions, Kathmandu is blessed by Living Goddess Kumari and is enriched by endless ceremonial processions and events that take to the streets every now and then with throngs of devotees seeking joy in spiritual celebrations. These religious festivals are steeped in legends and are quite a spectacle with chariot processions and masked dancers often possessed by the spirits of deities.
CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK
In the southern region of Nepal, the jungles of Chitwan National Park await you with wildlife experiences like no other. Track wild royal Bengal tigers and watch one-horned rhinos bathe in rivers alongside the great Asiatic elephants. If you want to quench your thirst for nature, Chitwan National Park is where you should go.
Witness wilderness in its real form, and do it in style like the Maharajas on elephant back to spot rhinos and deer, or go for a jeep safari in the depths of the forest to catch a glimpse of the elusive Bengal tiger.
Another exciting adventure is to go canoeing in the marshy Terai river amongst dozens of marsh mugger crocodiles basking in the sun, waiting for their prey to fall in their mouths.
You can also spend some calming animal time visiting the elephant and gharial breeding centers, a perfect way to educate your kids about the animals and their life cycle.
Temple etiquette — Follow link https://etiquettetemple.tumblr.com/
Elephant Ethics –
Nature’s most intelligent, sensitive, social and perceptive creatures; an elephant never forgets! They have been observed recognizing human voices that they have not heard in two decades. They use tools – with trunks, they use logs to test electric fences and sticks to rub off ticks. Abandoned orphans are adopted and wounded are cared for by other outside herds. Elephants mourn their dead. A calf that dies will be carried by the family herd for days. Vigils are held as they bury the body in leaves. They listen for seismic waves in the earth with their trunks, the tip has the highest concentration of unique nerve endings, found in no other animal. Elephants LOVE to play! Found items are used as toys.
These are some of a gazillion reasons why I love Ellies! Sadly, things have changed in our world with them and after a year of intense research, I feel impelled to reveal here the brutal truth about elephants used for tourist entertainment. I warn you that it is graphic so you may want to end here. Or, perhaps, read more at: Elephant Foundation, SSC Asia Elephant Group, IUCN, WAP, Wildlife SOS, WARPS, or GTAEF all wonderful elephant protection agencies.
Why do we insist on riding and trekking? Because we have no clue on the dirty secrets how many elephants are tamed. Handlers (mahouts) tell us it’s for good. It pays for their food. ”Working helps feed the animals (Tuskers need 400 pounds of fodder a day) and tourism is the only option.” Most carry nails hidden in their hands to jab the animal to move. New camps in Asia open every day – nany with no shade, vet care, minimum water, and some even drugged – all for the sake of dollars.
There’s good news ahead and some good sanctuaries exist! In India, visit Wildlife SOS in Agra to learn of new humane laws. In Thailand, 1700 pachyderms are used to entertain visitors at 118 venues. Imagine, only 6% are humane! Anantarra is excellent. Many Mahouts truly care for and love their charges. The Thai government is now training them on how to improve welfare for all.
In Chiang Mai, the most revered ENP (Elephant Nature Park), the only refuge doing a “Pamper a Pachyderm” fun program. It is set on a 250 acre sanctuary for free roaming as well as 300 rescued, friendly dogs. Go to the website to read more about how the founder, Lek, loves her animals. She’s been honored with awards, has a degree in veterinary science, and is a hero in advocating rights for elephants all over Thailand. Some excellent new camps just opened throughout Asia.
For years I have been on the proverbial fence but have come to conclude that future AFS trips will only support wildlife camps that are confirmed humane. It’s all good. You will still delight in ellie interactions! Please pass this on to others so we can educate the world and keep elephants happy in their natural environment.
If you ride, ask yourself 5 questions.
- Are they chained before/after riding? Find another place to ride.
- Look for fresh cuts. If operator uses hooks, skip it.
- Ellies must have access to mud to protect their skin from sunburn and bites. How is their access to mud and water?
- Ride only on elephant, not on a heavy bench.
- Are they allowed to have other elephant friends? This is necessary for their social wellbeing. If you see them swaying or rocking in chains, it’s a sign of deep emotional distress.
Many would argue that every elephant should be wild and free. But even if you turned every elephant currently in captivity loose, there would be nowhere safe for all of them to go. Their natural habitats have been mostly destroyed; some captive elephants carry diseases that could harm wild populations; and besides, not all elephants get along—even in the jungle. Quarrels between three-ton beasts can be fatal. So it’s a sad reality that thousands of elephants live in captivity. Furthermore, a single elephant consumes 550 pounds of food a day and costs around $18,000 a year to support. Something has to pay their way and that something, for now anyway, is still tourism.
So what’s a conscientious traveler to do?
Start by choosing a camp that has been certified by the local government (in Thailand, that would be the Ministry of Tourism and Sports) and then drill deep on its policies and practices. Any camp worth its salt will be happy to answer questions. Ask how the camp acquires its elephants and what its policy is on breeding. (The last thing the world needs right now is more elephants being born into captivity.) Ask about the camp’s working conditions: Does it give the elephants ample forest time? Are they able to socialize in natural friendship groups and be away from humans? Is the camp providing enough food, water, shade, and exercise? Does the camp employ its own veterinarian or have an alliance with local camps to employ a specialist vet, or does it rely on free government vet care despite making a profit on tourism? And always inquire about the camp’s policies on training: Is it using positive reinforcement to control the elephants, and, if so, how does that work? If the camp claims it has a “no hooks, no chains” policy, ask how the mahouts control the elephants. If they say it’s through verbal commands, or simply “love,” ask how the camp handles potential emergencies that may arise—like when the elephant gets spooked by a snake or a bee or a drone. If it doesn’t have a good answer, you may be putting both yourself and the elephant in danger.