How do I sign up for a trip?

Reserving a trip is easy. Send us a note or call us at the shop during business hours at 734-997-7229 or contact us directly:  Pem Dorjee Sherpa at 303-834-5512, info@imperialexpedition.com.  Once we have received your information we will send the trip application.  Please complete and return these forms with your deposit of $500 for each person which is applied toward the cost of your trip.  If you are signing up within 45 days of the trip’s departure, full payment is required.  We recommend that you sign up as early as possible.  The trip deposit is fully refundable up until 90 days before departure, so there is no risk in reserving your space early.  All prices quoted are in US dollars and are subject to change.  All payments must be made in US dollars.  We accept Visa®, MasterCard®, American Express® as well as personal checks or PayPal. We are also open to creating trips on a first-come-first-serve basis.  If there is a trip that you have an interest in any particular dates that you have in mind, we will organize a trip just for you.  And unless you want a private tour for just you and your friends, we will work to promote your trip in an effort to find fellow travelers for you.

 

Once you have paid the deposit, with your input we will finalize your itinerary and send information about health, culture, packing lists, and more to help you get ready.  We can also help you find international flights to your destination.  Full payment will be due about a month before departure.  We will ask for a copy of your passport, a medical form, release of liability form, acknowledgment of terms and conditions, a copy of your flights, emergency evacuation insurance, etc.  We will be available by phone, email and in person to answer questions and help you organize all the details of your trip.  We will pick you up at the airport and make all local arrangements abroad so that you can get the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

How fit do I need to be to trek in the Himalayas?

You should be moderately fit, exercise regularly and enjoy active vacations and walking and hiking in mountainous terrain.  For the Everest base camp trek, you should be able to run for an hour without stopping at any speed and still feel good to continue – OR – walk for 5-6 hours in a day with rests.  Trekking is an endurance sport.  Mostly you need a good attitude, which will go a long way toward the success of reaching your goal.

When is the best time to trek and climb in Himalayas?

  • Fall (September-November):  Fall is considered the best time for trekking in Nepal.  The weather is excellent at this time, allowing for clear blue skies and tantalizing mountain views.  Temperatures are moderate.  Occasional short storms may bring snow to higher altitudes.

  • Winter (December-February):  Winter brings heavy snowfall mostly at higher altitudes.  This can be a good time for cultural tours and trekking at lower elevations.

  • Spring (March-May):  Spring is a good time for trekking and climbing in Nepal and Tibet. The rhododendrons, the national flower of Nepal, make the hillsides a colorful paradise during the spring.  It is mildly warm at lower elevations and at higher elevations the mountain views are excellent while the temperature is quite moderate.  If you trek to Everest base camp in the spring, you will have the opportunity to meet world-renowned climbers, as several Everest expeditions will be assembled at base camp.

  • Summer/Monsoon (June-August):  The monsoon during the summer months can make travel in Nepal wet, muddy, warm and often humid.  Strong monsoon rains don’t usually last long, and often end with large and wonderful rainbows.  However, the streets in Kathmandu can be muddy and landslides sometimes occur in the mountains.  It is recommended to carry insect repellent when trekking during these months.

What sort of experience do your guides have?

Our guides are dependable, competent and highly qualified with more than ten years of trekking experience, leading trips, treks, climbs and expeditions in the Himalayas.  Our guides speak English and the local language.  We are trained in first aid and CPR.  Having grown up in a village in Nepal, Pem Dorjee Sherpa is well acquainted with the mountains, the culture, and traditions of the Himalayas. He has also climbed Mt. Everest twice.  With a degree in South Asian studies, Heather O’Neal, is an expert in the region.  She has also had Wilderness First Responder and EMT training.  Most importantly, our guides are friendly and enjoyable and are passionate about sharing the rich cultures, their traditions and the natural beauty of Nepal.

What is the routine on the trek?

Most trekkers normally start their day early around 7:30 to 8:30 am after a hot breakfast.  The morning sun offers nice mountain views.  You will carry a light pack for your camera, water, a jacket, and a wind layer.  Around noon we will reach the lunch stop where we will spend time drinking tea, resting and having lunch.  After lunch, we normally walk 2 to 3 more hours before arriving where we will stop for the evening.  Here at the lodge we will have hot tea and relax the rest of the day.  Our day ends with dinner and then off to bed in single or double rooms in the trekking lodge.

What type of shoes or boots should I wear?

The proper footwear depends on the trek and on the trekker.  Most hikes can be done in comfortable running shoes while longer more strenuous treks may require sturdy but lightweight hiking boots.  It is best if you purchase shoes and boots long before arriving in Nepal.  We advise that you wear your boots prior to the trek to break them in – in order to prevent blisters, which can be debilitating on the trail.

How big will the group be?

We try to bring together a small group of like-minded people.  Our trekking groups are generally from 6 to a maximum of 12 members, although we can accommodate smaller groups and solo trekkers as well.

Do you arrange private or family treks?

Yes, if you would like to travel independently or with friends, family or colleagues, you are invited to choose the trip that best suits your group and the trip dates according to your schedule.  We are happy to consider any number of trekkers.  Our maximum is not more than 50 at a time.  The cost per person for private trips is negotiated on the basis of group size, trek area, and duration.

How long do we walk each day?

Our trips are classified into three categories according to the level of difficulty.  Easy adventure treks are about a week to 10 days in duration.  They generally don’t go above 13,000 feet (4,000m).  You can expect to be hiking/walking for around 4-5 hours a day.  Moderate to fairly challenging treks are longer treks that go into high mountain country above 13,000 feet (4,000m).  Physically these trips are more demanding and tiring and may involve 6-8 hours of trekking along rocky trails in high Himalayan terrain.  Strenuous treks are longer treks that go beyond the normal activities of trekkers and tourists.  These include ice climbing and mountaineering expeditions.  Physically challenging, these trips may involve 7-9 hours trekking in a day and are likely to include unfavorable weather conditions and strenuous activities.  Some level of experience may be required for these trips.

What type of food is served during a trek?

In general while trekking breakfast may include a choice of porridge, muesli, omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread.  Lunch and dinner are generally pasta, potatoes or rice with or without cooked veggies and/or egg.  Meat is also available, however, it is recommended to adopt a vegetarian diet.  As long as the meat is stored and cooked properly, meat dishes are also safe.  Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are available at all meals.  Your guide will do his/her best to make sure all food is well cooked.  At some restaurants in Kathmandu, the vegetables are soaked in iodine and thus fresh salads are safe to eat.  While trekking it is best to avoid raw vegetables unless you can peel them yourself.  The rule is:  cooked, peeled, boiled – or forget it!  During the trek, you can choose what you like from the menu in the lodge.  There will also be plenty of snacks available such as biscuits, popcorn, candy bars, and soft drinks.  In some areas, you will find fresh fruit in season.

What if I have to cancel?

If you decide to cancel your trip, the following fees apply and are due to Imperial Expedition prior to departure when we receive written notice of your cancellation. Cancellation Fee Schedule for tours and treks:

  • 90-81 days prior to departure You forfeit half the deposit
  • 80-60 days prior to departure You forfeit the deposit
  • 59-31 days prior to departure You forfeit 50% of the total amount
  • 30 or fewer days prior to departure You forfeit the entire cost of the trip

Cancellation Fee Schedule for Climbing Trips and Expeditions:

  • 180-150 days prior to departure You forfeit
  • 149-89 days prior to departure You forfeit 50% of the total amount
  • 90 or fewer days prior to departure You forfeit the entire cost of the trip

What are the overnight accommodations like?

In cities, you will be staying in hotels and guesthouses that are similar to those in the US with private bathrooms, showers, TV, phone, AC, etc.  If you prefer luxury hotels we can make those arrangements as well.  While trekking in the mountains the accommodations will depend on whether you are camping or teahouse trekking.  If you are on a camping trek, then you will be sleeping in tents.  The trekking lodges or teahouses are simple shelters.  There is no central heat.  In the dining room where meals are served, there is often a wood burning stove that heats that room only.  The guest rooms are not heated so you will need a good quality sleeping bag, which can be rented in Kathmandu.  The guest rooms are usually small and sleep one or two trekkers.  The walls are thin so ear\plugs are a good idea for light sleepers.  The bathrooms are down the hall or outside.  Nowadays, there are also a few ‘luxury’ establishments along the popular trekking routes.  If you are interested to upgrade, let us know and we can make those arrangements. 

What happens in case of emergency?

In the case of a serious illness or a life-threatening emergency during your trek, a helicopter rescue will be initiated.  You are responsible for all the expenses incurred in such an evacuation.  It is required that you have insurance that covers emergency helicopter evacuation throughout your trip.  However unlikely, we are prepared for emergencies, and your guide will respond quickly to get any necessary medical help.  We aim to avoid such circumstances with education and a large dose of preventative medicine.

Can I get Nepal visa on arrival?

Yes! Nepal visa is easily available upon arrival in the entry places. Make the process easier by downloading & completing the application form, having the correct USD cash and two passport photographs.

Visa FacilityDurationFee

Multiple entry15 daysUS$ 25 or equivalent Nepali currency

Multiple entry30 daysUS$ 40 or equivalent Nepali currency

Multiple entry90 daysUS$ 100 or equivalent Nepali currency
 

Custom Declaration on Kathmandu,Nepal Arrival (For Foreign Nationals)

1. Travelers are required to declare goods in excess of permitted personal effects
and duty exempted consumable goods and restricted/prohibited goods and commercial
goods at the red channel. Travelers possessing such goods may use the green channel.
2. Export or import of narcotics, arms and explosives, wildlife and its products and
commercial goods are restricted/prohibited. Attempt to import or export of such goods
may lead to confiscation of goods, penalty, and arrest resulting prosecution.
3. Travelers are required to declare foreign currency at the red channel if the sum exceeds
US$2000 or equivalent.
4. Permitted used personal effects are as follows in condition to return back at the time
of departure:
1. Binocular one set.
2. Video Camera and still camera one set each.
3. Portable music system one set recorded media 10 pcs.
4. Cloths and goods of day-to-day use.
5. Perambulator and tricycle one set each.
6. Bicycle one set.
7. Watch one piece.
8. Cellular mobile phone one set
9. Professional hand tools one set for professional personnel.
5. Duty exempted consumable goods are as follows:
1. Whiskey/wine not exceeding 1.15 liters or beer up to 12 cans.
2. Cigarettes 200 sticks, cigar 50 sticks, tobacco 250 grams.
3. Camera film up to 15 pcs and movie film 12 reels.
4. Readymade and can foods not exceeding NRs.1000.00.
5. Medicine not exceeding Nrs.1000.00.
6. Fresh fruits not exceeding NRs.1000.00

 

Is it possible to deviate from the itinerary?

Our specific itineraries are custom crafted with you in mind.  Once we agree on a plan, we can always make minor changes and adjustments while en route.  The itinerary acts as a general plan for the trip.  However, there are often local events, festivals or happenings that may capture our attention.  As long as everyone in the group agrees on these changes, that is fine.  Major changes to the itinerary may be made if there are political or environmental concerns.  Your guide will help to make any necessary adjustments.  Our trips are adventures that may take you into remote regions where unforeseen circumstances may contribute to the need for a change in the itinerary.

Any suggestions on what to do and what not to do with respect to the Nepalese culture?

Nepal has many diverse ethnic groups, traditions, and religions.  There are numerous cultural practices that may appear unusual to a person on his/her first visit to the country.

  • The most common greeting in Nepal is “Namaste” and is performed by placing the palms together and bowing as if praying.
  • Before entering a Nepalese home, temple or monastery remember to remove your shoes and place them neatly side-by-side.
  • Be careful not to use your spoon, fork or hands to touch another person’s food, plate, cooking utensils or even the serving dish.  Do not eat from other people’s plates and do not drink from other people’s water bottles or glasses.  This is considered to be impure by the Nepalese.
  • Never touch anything with your feet.  The feet and the floor are considered dirty.
  • While traveling, dress appropriately.  Women should avoid short skirts and sleeveless shirts.
  • Seek permission before entering a Hindu temple.  Many Hindu temples do not allow non-Hindus to enter.
  • Leather is prohibited inside temples because cows are considered sacred and are not used for slaughter.
  • Walking around temples or Buddhist stupas is traditionally done clockwise.
  • Be sure to ask before taking photographs of the locals.  Some people believe part of the soul is taken when a picture is snapped.
  • Public displays of affection between a man and a woman are frowned upon and are not generally accepted.
  • When the Nepalese shake their head from left to right, they may mean, “Yes”.
  • Develop a genuine interest in Nepal and meet and talk to the Nepalese people.  Do your best to respect their local customs and traditions.

Payment methods

For your convenience, we have different methods of payments as mentioned below. You can choose any of these methods:

 

1. Bank Transfer (ask for account info) 

 

2. Mail a check made out to 'Imperial Expedition' to:

    218 S. Main St.

    Ann Arbor, MI. 48104

 

3.  You can also pay by credit card, however, there is an additional 3% processing fee.

What about transferring trips?

Tours and trekking trips may be transferred to the next year or to another date, however, the transfer must be made 90 days or more prior to departure.  Otherwise, if the transfer is made 90 days or fewer prior to departure, you must pay the cancellation fees as outlined above.  There are no fees for transferring trips more than 90 days prior to departure.  However, for climbing trips and expeditions, if you would like to transfer your trip to the next year or to different dates, there is an automatic transfer fee of $1,000 that must be paid to Imperial Expedition.

Should I purchase trip cancellation insurance?

If you must cancel your trip due to illness, injury or death of yourself or an immediate family member, trip cancellation insurance protects all your deposits and payments for both air and land costs.  It is recommended that you buy trip cancellation insurance but not required.

What if Of Global Interest cancels my trip?

Imperial Expedition reserves the right to cancel all or a portion of a trip due to political or environmental circumstances, which may hinder trip operations or for any other reasons beyond our control.  In the event of such a cancellation, we will give a full refund for the cost of the trip.  However, Imperial Expedition is not responsible for additional expenses incurred by you in preparing for the trip, visa fees, gear, insurance or medical expenses prior to the trip.  If international air tickets have been purchased, the airline’s refund policy applies.

Is airfare included in the price of the trip?

Our prices are land costs only.  International airfare is an additional expense.  If you need help booking your tickets, please let us know.

What other expenses should I consider?

Medical advice and inoculations, health and travel insurance, travel and trekking gear, international airfare, Nepali visas, airport tax, spending money and most meals are not included in the cost of your trip.

How much should I budget for tipping?

Your support team will work hard to please you during your trip.  They will appreciate receiving a tip at the end of their service.  The amount you give depends on you and your appreciation of their work.  We recommend giving from $100 – $200 total in tips to your porters. We are always available to answer your questions.

Electricity in Nepal

Residential electrical outlets in some countries including the United States use 110-120 volts of electricity and accept very specific shaped plugs. Many other countries including Nepal use other voltages, 220-240 volts to power their appliances, as well as different plugs. If you try to plug an American appliance such as a shaver or hair dryer into an outlet of a different voltage, you may destroy the appliance and cause yourself injury. There are a few things you should know about other countries (here Nepal) before you travel.

Contact Us

We are always available to answer your questions.  Please let us know what’s on your mind.  Good communication is important for a safe and fulfilling trip!  Send us a note or call us directly:

Name:  Pem Dorjee Sherpa

Phone:  303-834-5512

Email:  info@imperialexpedition.com

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