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Fri 28 Oct - Sat 05 Nov 2016

OVERVIEW

What to expect

ITINERARY

What you will do

COSTS

Ways to pay

ESSENTIAL INFO

All you need to know

Everything you need to know

This page provides you with a variety of information about the challenge that you might find useful.

Level of Difficulty

Money

Visa

Vaccinations

Flights

Insurance

Group Size

Leadership

Climate

What happens if bad weather causes delays to my internal flights?

Terrain

Luggage allowance and valuables

Responsible Tourism

Typical day

Accommodation

Food & Drink

Clothing and equipment

Toilets

Phone and WiFi

Safety

Emergencies

Training

Training weekends

Level of Difficulty

The Poon Hill Himalayan Trek challenge is graded as “challenging” due to the terrain, high altitude, and basic facilities. A good level of fitness is required for this challenge. This challenge will be prefect for anyone who leads a fairly active and moderately healthy lifestyle should be able to complete the trek as long as they train regularly over a period of at least three months leading up to it, so as to build up stamina and endurance. Don’t forget that the temperature and the altitudes will be very different from the UK and that you will be exercising constantly for a number of days

  • You will be trekking for up to7 hours on 4 days consecutively.
  • You will be camping for 5 nights consecutively.
  • It is very common for flights to be delayed due to bad weather conditions
  • he facilities in general are basic

Money

Currency: Nepal uses the Nepalese rupee.  This is a closed currency which means that you will not be able to find Nepalese rupees outside of Nepal. For up to date currency exchange, go to www.xe.com. Please note that British Pounds, Euros and USD dollars can be exchange at Kathmandu airport and in the city.

Credit Cards: Accepted in all major hotels, banks and stores in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Make sure you know your pin number before leaving home.

ATMs: Please note that ATMs are not always available and that when they are they do not always work. It is generally easier to visit a bank, but your local guide will advise.

How much to bring: You will not need a large amount of money during this trip and other than at the start and end of the challenge, you will be in the mountains away from any foreign exchanges or banks. You will only need money for tips, additional food & drink, gifts & souvenirs, departure tax and for any other additional activities that you wish to do. On average we recommend around £250 and a credit card for emergencies as mentioned above.

Tipping: Tipping is personal and at your sole discretion. You should only tip if you feel that you have received good service. We recommend approx. US$10 per person per challenge day and this should be given to the expedition leader/sherpa guide at the end of the trip who will advise you how to distribute it among the support team at your final celebration in Pokhara. NB: you may be approached by local porters at the airport. Their tips are not included; if you agree for them to take your bags to the transfer vehicle, please be prepared to tip them a small, nominal amount ($1). However, our team will be there to help you with baggage.

Visa

You must hold a full ten-year passport with at least six months to run from the end of your expedition. Airlines may not carry passengers holding passports with less than 6 months validity. We will provide you with a visa application form or you can download one from the embassy website - www.nepembassy.org.uk/visa_information.html. The validity of visa dates is counted from the date of arrival in Nepal.  You should apply about 12 weeks before departure for a single-entry tourist visa. Do not apply too early otherwise it will run out before you leave for Nepal. It is valid for six months from the date of issue. The visa is valid for 60 days on entry and costs £20. Also see Travel Tips & your visa letter 3 months prior to departure.

Vaccinations

For up to date vaccination information please check the NHS Government website ‘Fit for Travel’ at: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspxb.  Malaria precautions are essential in all areas below 1200m, all year round. The risk in Kathmandu and mountainous areas of similar or greater altitude is very small. Check with your doctor or nurse about suitable anti-malarial tablets.

Flights

You will be making a return journey from London Heathrow indirectly to Kathmandu, Nepal. The flight takes approximately 16 hours. A copy of your e-tickets will be issued to you upon departure at the airport along with your luggage labels and a Charity Challenge t-shirt.

Insurance

It is a condition of booking that you have a suitable travel insurance policy whilst participating on the challenge. We have a special policy which covers among other things, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, cancellation and curtailment of the challenge, and more specifically for the adventurous activities undertaken on this challenge. If you have your own travel insurance policy, you must ensure that it provides at least the same level of cover as our recommended policy, including protecting the charity in the event of your cancellation 56 days or less prior to departure. If you choose not to purchase our recommended policy when you book we will send you a disclaimer which you should complete and return.

For more general travel insurance questions, please refer to our main FAQs page.

Group Size

Each Group is intended to be a minimum of 16 people in order to run and a maximum of approximately 30 people. We will be able to run this challenge for 10 to 15 people by charging a small group supplement of £75 which will be added to your final balance invoice (self-funders) or charged to your charity (minimum sponsorship or flexi).

Leadership

We employ a number of first aid qualified challenge leaders, all of whom speak fluent English. They will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group.

Climate

Luckily, the area where our Poonhil Himalayan Trek is set is the best area for trekking all year round. The area receives little rainfall during monsoon season due to shelter provided by the Annapurna mountain range. During the day temperatures is warm especially if the sun is out, but at night it will always be below zero. You must be prepared for the worst, as mountain weather conditions can be extremely unpredictable.

What happens if bad weather causes delays to my internal flights?

Your challenge begins and ends with internal flights between Kathmandu and Pokhara, which can occasionally be delayed due to bad weather, sometimes for several days. To allow for such delays at the start of the challenge, we have a contingency plan in which we will merge days 6 and 7 into one longer day. However, you may lose your free day in Kathmandu at the end, should the flights are delayed more than one day and we would need to transfer you to Pokhara by road, and the days of trekking may vary slightly from the printed itinerary. Your challenge leader will have the final say over how any delay impacts the order of the itinerary based on the time available, the strength of the group, weather conditions on the mountain and so on. If your flight back from Pokhara to Kathmandu at the end of the itinerary is delayed, we will aim to get you back to Kathmandu as soon as flights are operational. However, this may mean that you miss your international connection and we will do everything we can to help you reschedule your flight at the earliest possible time. However, we recommend that you avoid making any important arrangements which cannot be amended or postponed for a few days after the scheduled return date to allow for this rare eventuality. In such rare circumstances, Charity Challenge will organise and cover the cost of the first two days of additional accommodation and meals in Kathmandu while you wait for the flights to be rescheduled. After this, we will continue to make all of the necessary accommodation and logistical arrangements for you, but the cost of accommodation and meals (approx. $100 / £60 per additional night) will need to be settled by you locally.

Terrain

The terrain is mountainous, with several though uphill sections. The itinerary is built up in a way that we have allowed plenty of time for you to acclimatize to the altitude.

Luggage allowance and valuables

As no formal clothes are needed, luggage should be kept to the absolute minimum – details on what to pack are provided in your Kit List. Your rucksack (suitcases are not appropriate) must not exceed 15kgs in weight (due to restrictions on what your mountain porters can carry). You can leave any gear you wish to in your hotel in Kathmandu while you trek. While trekking, yaks will transport your personal kit to the next camp, meaning that you will only have to carry a daypack.

Responsible Tourism

At Charity Challenge we are committed to sustainable and responsible tourism, and work closely with bodies such as the International Porter Protection Group and Climate Care to ensure that our challenges benefit the local environments and communities in which they take place. We ensure that all rubbish is disposed of responsibly, and following local guidelines on cultural and environmental protection and respect, we aim to limit our impact on the natural environment. In addition to taking these practical steps to ensure that our challenges are sustainable, we also make a contribution each year to a number of local community projects, so as to give something back directly to the communities that we visit. Since 2000 we have donated almost £200,000 to such projects, supporting a range of initiatives, including schooling for children in Africa, shelter for street children in Brazil, and Orang-utan conservation in Indonesia. We recommend that any gifts brought over for children are given to the UK challenge leader and distributed where needed by them and our local Ground Agent. If you wish to do more, you should consider buying drinks, postcards and souvenirs from the local vendors. For many, it is their sole source of income. For more information, please visit our Responsible Tourism section.

Typical day

During the trekking days we rise early and pack up camp before breakfast, then trek carrying only daypacks for 5-7 hours. There will be a picnic lunch on route and plenty of time to stop and view the remarkable scenery. The trek zone is remote and rare flora and fauna will be seen. The evenings are spent in beautifully located camps, where the food and facilities are fairly simple. Please note the flight to Pokhara can be subject to delay or cancellation due to weather conditions. The itinerary is put together in a way so that if your flight were delayed for up to two days, you should still be able to complete the challenge. If flights are unable to take off after three days, we would implement an alternative trekking itinerary.

Accommodation

The hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara will be three stars and located at the centre of town. Rooms are usually en-suite. During the trek and outside Kathmandu, you will camp in two person tents. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with, please let Charity Challenge know in advance.

Food & Drink

The food in Kathmandu is varied. During the trek the food will be cooked on kerosene stoves by our kitchen team and will be simple. Most of the food will be carried from Kathmandu. Only seasonal vegetables and fresh meats are bought along the way where available. Boiled drinking water will be provided 3 times per day. Please let Charity Challenge know prior to departure if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies.

Clothing and equipment

Good quality, durable kit could mean the difference between a fantastic challenge experience and an uncomfortable one. For this challenge, waterproof, well-worn in boots will be indispensable, particularly coupled with some really good quality walking socks. You don’t need a clean pair every day, but enough to make sure you have dry socks each morning. The benefits of a comfortable day sack cannot be underestimated, so make sure that you train with this. Other essentials are high quality Gore-Tex waterproof and windproof jackets and trousers, technical/wicking t-shirts rather than cotton shirts, and a down jacket for the evenings in camp and your summit day/night. A full kit list for this challenge can be found here and once you book you will have access to kit discounts with our partners The Outdoor Shop, Outdoorhire and Cotswold Outdoor.

Toilets

A toilet tent will be provided but do bear in mind that toilet facilities will be of the ‘squat and drop’ variety. Toilet paper is also provided. Bowls of water will be provided for washing. Please note that due to the wilderness environment, the facilities will be somewhat spartan.

Phone and WiFi

Apart from Kathmandu, there will be very limited phone and internet reception.

Safety

Charity Challenge considers the safety of all of its participants and staff to be a top priority, and as such we have set up one of the most advanced and thorough safety management systems in the industry. In a nutshell, Our Challenge Safe brand formalises our ethos when it comes to safety, and brings together the procedures and risk management strategies that we use to audit all aspects of our challenges, from vehicles to accommodation to the activity itself. Your welfare is paramount!

In terms of your Poonhil Himalayan Trek, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • You will be trekking for up to7 horas on 4 days consecutively.
  • You will be camping for 5 nights consecutively.
  • It is very common for flights to be delayed due to bad weather conditions
  • The facilities in general are basic

Emergencies

The event is not run as a race and there is always a large discrepancy in people’s walking ability, which is allowed for. There will be a staff member at the back of the group at all times to ensure that you are not left behind and can take things at your own pace. If we find that somebody is unable to walk at all, then we can transport them from one location to the next by horse or with the help of our staff, but only as a final option (due to often poor weather conditions this can be difficult). Contact will be maintained between guides and the support team allowing for emergency evacuation if necessary.

Training

This challenge is graded ‘moderate’, which means that a good level of fitness is required. Anyone who leads a fairly active and moderately healthy lifestyle should be able to complete the trek, as long as they train regularly over a period of at least three months leading up to it. Don’t forget that the temperature and the altitudes are different from the UK. Walking up hills and climbing stairs are both ways to condition your lower body. Begin slowly, without the weight of a pack, eventually adding weight as you increase your training pace. Take long hikes (6-8 hours) with a weighted pack, up and down hills or on small mountains (weigh your pack with water containers and pour out the water before your descent to minimise knee stress).

Training weekends

We offer superb training weekends across various locations in the UK, from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. These training weekends not only help you become physically prepared for the challenge, but our experienced instructors and leaders will talk you through your clothing and equipment, camp craft, health and wellbeing, trekking skills (walking on different terrain/at altitude/at night/using walking poles), teamwork on expedition and many more themes designed to make you get the most out of your challenge. The weekends are great ways for you to get out into the mountains of the UK, while also meeting other Charity Challengers and sharing your experiences. To read more about our training weekends, please click here.

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We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6546. Many of the flight-inclusive challenges on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. This ATOL protection only covers challenges that include flights booked by Charity Challenge and that originate in the UK. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate

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