Fri 16 Mar - Sun 25 Mar 2018

In association with Kantar in aid of Unicef

Kantar

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

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 Great Himalayan Trek challenge is graded as Challenging. This is the perfect challenge for participants who are of an adventurous spirit and an open mind, and would like to part in a strenuous challenge and are hoping to push themselves out of their comfort zone. You can tell your supporters that during the challenge you will be:

  • Trekking an average of 15km-20km per day.
  • Going to high altitude, and reaching a maximum altitude of 3000 meters above sea level.
  • Trekking through unique remote areas in which you will see no other tourists or trekkers
  • Staying in lodges with very basic facilities, or camping

Money

Currency: The currency is the Rupee, abbreviated as Rs, and this is known as a 'closed currency', meaning that it cannot be imported into or exported out of the country. For up to date currency exchange, go to http://www.xe.com.

Credit Cards: A growing number of hotels, restaurants and shops in the major cities are beginning to accept credit cards, the well-known and more accepted ones being American Express, Access/MasterCard, Diners Club and Visas. However, credit cards are not the most convenient form of payment or cash withdrawal.

ATMs: Please note that ATMs are not always available and that when they are they do not always work. It is best to ensure that you have enough cash with you prior to starting the challenge.

How much to bring: You will not need large amounts of money during this challenge, and other than at the start and end of the trip, 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, and for any other additional activities that you may wish to do. On average, we recommend around £200 in cash, plus a credit card for emergencies. Keep in mind that you will not be able to buy Rupees before entering India, and so you are advised to take a sufficient amount of cash that you can change at the airport or in Delhi. The Indian Exchanges generally provide the fastest service.

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 challenge leader at the end of the challenge who will distribute it among the support team, including guides, assistant guides, cooks, and porters.

Visa

You must hold a full ten-year passport with at least six months to run from the end of your challenge, and at least one blank page for your visa and entry/exit stamps.
All foreign nationals require a visa to enter India. Please note that British Citizens are now eligible to get an online visa before arrival to India.

Important note: British passport holders of Pakistani origin may have difficulty in obtaining a visa for India. If the visa is granted it will certainly take much longer than for other UK nationals, and there is a chance that you may not receive it in time to depart on your challenge. Unfortunately Charity Challenge's cancellation terms will apply in all circumstances.

Vaccinations

It may be necessary to take precautions against malaria in Delhi. This includes wearing long-sleeved shirts, long trousers and socks at dawn and dusk. You should also wear plenty of insect repellent. Please seek advice from your medical practitioner or travel nurse to ascertain what vaccinations you will need.

Flights

This challenge is ground-only. You are responsible for booking your own flights to and from Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India and covering any taxes. The airport code is DEL.

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 10 people in order to run and a maximum of approximately 30 people, on account of the wilderness environment in which this challenge takes place and the unique mountain accommodation used during the trek.

Leadership

Charity Challenge employ a number of first aid qualified challenge leaders, and a tour leader who will speak fluent English. The tour leader will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group.

Climate

March/April – In the Himalayas, the temperatures in the day can vary; minimum is probably around 7c and maximum 28c, with an average of 22c. It is likely to drop below 0c in the evenings, however, so you should come fully prepared for cold nights. You will have campfires and eat inside the dining tent. As a general rule it is t-shirt weather in the day and fleece & jacket weather at night. In Delhi it will be humid and around 28-30c, but remember to bring appropriate attire for visiting religious sites.

Terrain

The terrain is mountainous throughout, and you will be trekking on mountain paths. Taking on some treks locally will be excellent training for this terrain. Expect cold weather and basic conditions.

Luggage allowance and valuables

Try to keep luggage to an absolute minimum – details of what to pack are provided in your kit list. Your rucksack/holdall (suitcases are not appropriate) must not exceed the maximum weight limit of the airline you are flying with (usually 20kg, however do check this with the airline or contact our flights team if in doubt). Each trekking day, your personal kit will be transported to the next stop by a support vehicle. You will carry a daypack for your daily needs such as sun cream, lunch, water, camera and lightweight waterproofs.

We will do everything to provide adequate safety for the group and security for your possessions. The general rule is that if you don’t need it, don’t bring it. This includes jewellery, necklaces, rings and even watches.

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 pages, where you will be able to view a list of the projects that we currently support.

Typical day

You will wake early (around sunrise) in time for a light breakfast. Walking days will last 5–8 hours. Trekking on your challenge will take place on mountain paths.  Most days will involve around 1-3 steep ascents and descents with time to stop and take it at your own pace. Packed lunch will be provided and usually served around noon. You will arrive at camp before sunset in order to wash before it gets dark. Supper will be prepared and we can relax as the stars come out.

Accommodation

While trekking you will be staying in two-person tents and lodge accommodation. At the beginning and end of the challenge, you will be staying in slightly more comfortable hotel accommodation. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with please let Charity Challenge know in advance.

Food & Drink

You will be served a variety of European and Indian food. All meals are healthy, nourishing and plentiful. Homemade cake, cocoa, tea or coffee will be served before bed.  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, and technical/wicking t-shirts rather than cotton shirts. Walking poles are also recommended, as a preventative as well as for anyone with any pre-existing leg injuries or niggles. A full kit list for this challenge can be found here. If you are based in the UK, you will have access to kit discounts with our partners at The Outdoor Shop, Outdoorhire and Cotswold Outdoor.

Toilets

At every campsite, a dug-in toilet will be improvised in a separate tent. This will be located at some distance from the campsite. Please bring anti-bacterial hand gel and spare tissues. During the trekking days, toilet facilities will be limited to the great outdoors!

Phone and WiFi

Apart from in Delhi, the internet and phone reception will be limited throughout the challenge. You will not have WiFi in the basic accommodation during the trekking days, and phone reception on the mountain will be sporadic at best. You should look on this challenge as an opportunity to get away from the stresses of daily life!

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 Great Himalayan Trek challenge, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • You will be trekking to high altitude, which has its own risks
  • You will be taking an overnight train in 4 berth public carriages to get to Dharamsala and back to Delhi.
  • When temperatures are hot, the risks of become dehydrated and succombing to sunstroke are very high. You should be drinking over 2L of water per day during the trekking and using sunscreen continuously.

Emergencies

The event is not run as a race and there is always a large discrepancy in people’s walking abilities. This 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. In the event of an emergency on your trek, all guides and leaders are maintaining contact via radio.

Training

Training and fitness are definitely required. Please remember that the temperature and altitudes may be different from your home environment. Anyone who leads a fairly active and moderately healthy lifestyle should be OK as long as they train regularly over a period of at least three months leading up to the expedition. Don’t forget that the temperature and the altitudes are different from the UK. While strength is important, endurance training should be your primary focus. 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 a long hike (6-8 hours) several times 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, including dates and prices, check out our dedicated page.

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ATOL protected

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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