Trekking Styles - Tented and Teahouse
Friends in High Places strives to give you the very best in personal services. Our staff are highly trained, and they all have the Nepalese gift of a warm smile and generous hospitality. You are likely to make at least one lifelong friend.
We use top quality equipment on tented treks, and choose the best available accomodations for you on teahouse treks. Because our crews know the routes and the people well, we can get that choice camping spot, and we know which lodges serve the best food. [See below for an explanation of the difference between tented and teahouse treks.]
Treks are all-inclusive. The price we quote includes all equipment, supplies, meals, lodging, staff, and transportation. There are no extras, though we don't generally include alcohol or "junk food". On some routes you will be able to purchase beer, Coke, chocolate bars, and the like.
We normally include hotel accomodations in your program, because we can make the reservations easily and almost always get you a below-tarrif price for your room(s). Of course we meet you on arrival and take you to your hotel, and we take you to the airport and assist with check-in.
We're delighted to assist with all other arrangements, for a jungle safari or whitewater rafting, sightseeing, mountain flight, or shopping. We take the word "friends" in our name seriously, and we're happy to anything we can to make your visit to Nepal very special.
What a Day on a Tented Trek is Like
About 7:00 am a knock comes on your tent pole. "Good morning Sir, good morning Madam. Bed Tea!" And with that one of your camp Sherpas sets up your tea while you rub your eyes. Drink the tea and poke your head out of your tent. We use modern, oversized dome tents so you and your tentmate will have plenty of room. Head for the toilet tent, and then to the big dining tent for a great spread at breakfast. The food on a tented trek is excellent, and our cooks take pride in producing an amazing variety from their kitchen. We carry light folding camp tables and chairs along - it's really very comfortable! You get a big basin of hot water for washup, and the Sherpas disassemble the camp amazingly quickly. Everything is loaded onto pack animals and/or porters. It makes for quite a sight, with more than a dozen porters, the kitchen crew, your Sherpas and Guide all loaded up!
And you're off! The kitchen leaves early to get lunch started before you arrive at the mid day stop. Usually the porters get underway before you too, so the evening camp will be ready. You and your Guide generally walk together, and he will explain the countryside, the people and their villages, and answer your questions. With a party of more than 2 or 3 people, one of the Sherpas will also walk along with the members. (Safety First!)
What you see and the terrain through which you pass will vary a lot. All our routes combine spectacular countryside, breathtaking mountains, and a chance to meet the local people and see how they live.
The morning walk is three to four hours long. In some parts of the country the trails are difficult; but they are mostly good. There is a lot of local traffic everywhere except in the high Himalaya, so these trails are the roads and the lifeblood of the Nepalese. Where the trail is steep you will often find stone steps to help. Trekking in Nepal consists of a lot of up and down, and you are at higher altitude on average than when hiking in the US. Otherwise, the physical demands are similar. And since, by Himalayan custom, your heavy gear is carried by a porter, you need carry only a daypack with your camera, water bottle, wallet, and a jacket. (Feeling a bit odd about having someone carry your things? Please don't. Portering is a hard job but an honest one. We pay well for good porters, and you are helping them support their families by giving them work.)
Lunch is another feast - different every day, but always hot and cold food and plenty of choice. Fresh fruit where available. Here and at every stop we'll refresh your water bottle with boiled and filtered water. Some people treat it further with iodine, but that's not necessary - we're very careful with the water. Because every trip with us is a custom trip, you get a lot of say in all the meals. That's just one of the advantages of skipping the big group treks!
Some people like to rest after lunch, and others like to get going right away. We're flexible. The afternoon walk is often shorter than the morning, particularly if the evening camp is especially interesting. There's always time to stop for a break or a pot of tea, or to look over a village or climb a ridge. If you find you want to go further than your itinerary states, or if you think we've made the days a bit long, just talk to your Guide, and he'll adjust the next day's itinerary. That flexibility is another benefit of custom arrangements.
When you arrive at the evening camp, your tents will usually be ready for you. Settle in, and explore the area or just relax. You can hang out in your tent or gather in the dining tent. Many people bring books or cards and other games, and the crew will be happy to teach you Nepalese games too. After dinner relax in the good company and that wonderful, peaceful frame of mind that trekking brings. You're ready for your tent and foam mattress, and a good night's sleep.
For Individuals and Small Parties, teahouse treks are perfect. One or two people traveling alone find teahouses homey and comfortable.
For Budget Travlers a teahouse trek gets you into the mountains at lowest cost. Trekking with just a guide and porters, you travel light and inexpensively.
For Meeting Lots of People, teahouses are great. Each is run by a Nepali family; and you, the family, other trekkers, and guides take your meals in the teahouses' main halls.
What a Day on a Teahouse Trek is Like
On a teahouse trek you travel with only your Guide and porters. Instead of staying in a tented camp, you sleep and eat in village lodges set up by local people to cater to trekkers. These lodges are plain, but usually have separate rooms and doors with locks. All have platform beds with foam mattresses for your sleeping bag. Your meals are taken in a common room, which also serves as conversation area. The guests will be western and asian trekkers of all nationalities, and their Nepalese guides. Often the innkeeper's family is the staff, mixing with the guests as they take meal orders and bring tea and food.
The menu in the lodges offers basic Nepalese Dal Bhat - rice and lentil curry with local vegetables - and often a surprising mix of western dishes, prepared from basic ingredients. On our trips you have full freedom to select from the menu - we encourage you to eat a lot and experiment! Noodle soup and a pot of lemon tea makes a great pick-me-up at the end of the day.
The lodges have basic outhouses and running water, and you can get hot water for washing by asking. Some lodges have solar heated showers. The water is rarely "hot", but it still feels pretty good. Count on bringing your own toilet paper.
Teahouse trekking isn't available everywhere. In many parts of the country there isn't enough trekker traffic to support teahouses, and in those out-of-the way places you'll need a tented trek. But in most parts of the Annapurna, Everest and Langtang regions, teahouses are plentiful.
What Kathmandu Hotels Are Like
We use a range of hotels, from beautiful and high-service to clean and basic. All are chosen for value, and we can accomodate your wishes. Most of our groups stay at a small hotel, five minutes from the old city and the Thamel district, where shops and restaurants cater to travelers. It has a small rooftop garden, all the modern conveniences, and a friendly staff, but is not expensive.
You Are Important to Us
Let us show you the fabulous Himalayan Kingdom, tailored to fit your interests and schedule. All at a great price. And all with our personal service. You are not just another "file" to us. We want to make you our firends and will treat you that way.