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India to Nepal in October?
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By J. Fox
From Black Hawk, CO
Sep 4, 2013
Me too!

Just found out I get an all expense paid (+ per diem) work trip to India in October of 2014. That will most likely be my only ever opportunity to see that part of the world. Therefore, I thought I'd spend a few extra days and head up north to see the Himalaya.

But, I haven't the first clue on where or how to investigate anything about doing something like this. Where should I start?

Is going into Nepal from India easy? How is traveling through India for a westerner like myself? Safe? Should I use a guide? I don't really plan in climbing, but trekking to the Chomolungma area or Makalu area would be cool. How's the weather up there in October?

The conference is in Hyderabad India, so it's something like 1,700 km to Nepal! Thanks in advance for any helpful info/tips/advice. I do appreciate it.


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By Dylan Cousins
Sep 4, 2013

Depends on the rules of your work Visa. The India tourist visa won't let you back in for two months once you leave the country so be sure to check what the rules are for a work Visa. Flying out of Kathmandu is significantly (~2x) more expensive thasn flying from Delhi, Colcutta, or Mumbai.

If you stay in India:

Take a plane from Hyderabad as far north as is reasonable (likely Delhi). Travel to either Rishikesh in Uttrakhand or Manali in Himachal Pradesh. There are numerous guides in either town that will be willing to take you into the hills.

-OR-

Fly to Ladakh and trek around there then fly back out to a major Indian city. It's supposed to be amazing. Might want to check the security situation there, though. I recently read something about India/Pakistan firing at each other.

P.S. I'll sell you my Lonely Planet guide for India on the cheap if you want.


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By Erik W
From Bay Area, CA
Sep 4, 2013
North face of Ama Dablam - taken on approach to Kongma La.

Nice gig, Jeff. Definitely get up to the Himalaya if you can. I can't talk at all about the Indian Himalaya areas, but I can def share some beta for the Khumbu (if that's still an option given points Dylan brought up... although if you tag Nepal on the end of your trip, I doubt you'll have a problem if connecting through Delhi).

The Khumbu is super easy to get into and out of, and for trekking around. Tea houses are plentiful, food is cheap... all the standard jazz (they even have 3G service along the valley now).

But really, you need to climb something while there (c'mon, it's the Himalaya). The Nepalese 'Trekking Peaks' are cheap to get permit slots for (about $50-$100 to tag onto someone else's permit), and you won't need much in terms of gear. Check out Pokalde (5806m) or Kongma Tse (5849m). There will be snow on these, so crampons and an ice axe are good to have, but they are easy walk ups with some 4th class if you choose... or spicier if you chose (you can buy a cheapy/crappy axe and strap-on 'pons in Namche Bazaar if you need to). Also will need to avoid the glacier on Kongma Tse, but that's doable. Each peak is doable from tea houses in Loboche (4940m) (long day). I'd recommend to acclimatize first via hikes up to Kala Patthar or over to Gokyo to ensure the day is fast and you can enjoy it all. I have a good friend that can tell you about the treks around Gokyo if you'd like.

I'm heading back over there in November/December next year and will likely get permits for one of the above peaks for acclimatization. We'll either get our own full permit and sell unused spots or we'll jump on somebody else's, either way give me a ping next summer and we can likely add you. Previously, folks could be on the same permit even if not on the mtn at the same time... as I recall there's a 60d window for the permits. I'm sure this is still the case, but I'll be double checking after the new year.

Any other logistical details, don't hesitate to email.


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Sep 4, 2013

This is from 20 yrs. ago, so caveat emptor. When traveling between the two countries, I took a plane from Kathmandu to Varanasi, which saved a 20 hr. bus ride. I'm sure Delhi to KTM would be easier. Do square away the visa issue though. Visas are a true pain to acquire overseas, unless you want a glimpse of Third World bureaucracy that you will never forget.

October is actually prime trekking season. Not too cold yet and the haze that obscures many a view earlier in the season is gone thanks to the recent monsoon season. I did the Annapurna Circuit when I was there, but would recommend against that now that most of the trail was turned into a dirt road that you'll have to share with trucks and motorbikes. That trek will never be the same, not even remotely. Everest Base Camp and area, however, seems to hold the same appeal.

The only place where I think guides might be handy is to score a flight in and out of Lukla (you can probably buy the tickets independently, but independent travels are usually the ones bumped when flights get cancelled because of weather) or if you wanted to trek into Mustang. For the latter, you would fly in Jomson on the Annapurna trek and then hike north toward Tibet, but you do need a guide. I still kick myself for not doing it when I was there. I had a buddy who did a covert ascent of Island Peak with a guide, who sounded memorable. Have fun.


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Sep 4, 2013
Sure, I can belay

I find the Lonely Planet forums friendly and helpful for general travel and trekking questions, although not much depth for mountaineering.

www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/index.jspa


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Sep 5, 2013

Lonely Planet isn't a bad suggestion. Lots of good current information is often shared on those boards. Also keep in mind that India has some terrific peaks and trekking, though, being in the southern part of India, you are probably as close to Nepal as you are to the northern region of India, where the peaks are.

Depending on how much time you have, you may also consider touring around India a bit. You aren't too far from Goa, and both Rajastan and Uttar Pradesh have more than their fair share of World Heritage sites. Though it may sound touristy to some, a visit to the Taj Mahal should be on anyone's list. I may never get back to that part of the world again (though I'm hoping), so I am very glad I took in those sites while I was there.


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By J. Fox
From Black Hawk, CO
Sep 5, 2013
Me too!

Thanks everyone, this helps. Looking forward to this trip.

Erik, good to hear from you again, and thanks for the offer! Yeah, I would absolutely love to climb something, but didn't know if it would be possible that time of year, or how to do it. Though, a quick read told me that Oct/Nov are great times to be in the Himalaya!

I'll definitely get a hold of you next summer or sooner to hash out details as the time approaches. Again, thanks for the info!

Being that Hyderabad is ~1,700 km from Kathmandu, would it be advisable to fly instead of taking a bus? How are flights between those places? I envision a prop plane with goats and chickens strapped to the top!


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By kevin trieu
Sep 15, 2013

Going to Nepal from India is very easy. Flight from Hyperadad to Delhi will be around $30 and from Delhi to Kathmandu is around $100 with Indigo. Only the upper class Indians fly so don't worry about chickens and goats on your plane. You don't want to ride a bus in India. There's the train option if you want to see more of the country. There are millions of western tourists in India. Most Indians speak English.

Visa on arrival at the Kathmandu Tribuhan International Airport. Takes a few minutes. Bring USD. $90 for three months and goes down according to amount of time you want to stay.

Last I heard there are no two-month delay to get back into India. Check with the Lonely Planet Forum or an official source.

Trekking in the Chomolungma (Everest Region) is easy. You might want a guide if you don't have the experience or want to deal with permits/logistics. Makalu is more remote and you will need camping gear further away from the lower valley but will be less crowded. The Everest region is a zoo. The views are stunning, however. There are teahouses/lodges throughout the Everest region. October is peak trekking season.

I just spent 3 months in India and 7 months in Nepal so email me if you have other questions.


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By harrymcsween
Jan 19, 2014

J. Fox,
I have spent some time in Leh and it is wonderful! In my travel experience in India you would not need a guide unless you wanted some directed trips up in Leh. There are tons of stellar guide companies up there, many whom I have worked and trained with.
I have some friends (westerners) who live in Leh with their children, so it's not that dangerous; stuff has been "heated" up there for a long time, but not much has gone down.
Let me know if there is anything specific you are wanting to do in Leh and I can try to hook you up with some friends of mine. There are really cool historic and monastery tours as well as some fantastic trekking. I mean, the town sits in a valley, the bottom of which is 11,500 feet and the tops of the mountains around it are near 20,000.
If you go in the beginning of October you will have a better time than the end of October.


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