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Nepal

5 Reasons Why Nepal Should Be Your Next Big Adventure

Nepal is truly world class destination -- it’s home to the eight highest peaks in the world, crystal clear glacial lakes, and enough adventure to keep any adrenaline junky busy for a lifetime. The bucket-list topper has long attracted avid adventurists from all over the globe to witness its other worldly views, however, traveling to Nepal doesn't have feel like a distant dream anymore. Here are a few reasons why...

 

IT'S INCREDIBLY AFFORDABLE

Along with Nepal's mind-blowing views comes affordable trekking options. Some top adventure destinations can become costly due to increasing government fees or pricey food and drink. In Nepal, costs can be kelp low by working with operators who employ local guides and utilize local establishments. Not only will you get to learn so much more about local culture firsthand, you're supporting the local economy through sustainable and responsible tourism practices.

Make sure you stay in mountain lodges, or "Tea Houses," for a true Nepali trekking experience. They provide delicious meals, tea (of course!), and local hospitality all for the right price.

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THE FRIENDLY AND SPIRITUAL CULTURE

The people of Nepal are some of the most happy and accommodating that you'll ever meet. They are rich in hospitality and eager to share the values they live by. During your trip, you will be immersed in new colorful culture filled with art, traditions, festivals, lifestyle, and a rich history. Its wealth of religion is shared between 125 ethnic and cast groups as well as 123 dialects and languages. There is no shortage of world heritage sites that can be visited including stupas, temples, and ancient cities. Some favorites include:

  • Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha.

  • Patan, known as the fine arts capital of Nepal. It's filled with century old temples, narrow walkways, and unique art

  • Bhaktapur. Here you can learn wood carving and pottery as well as witness Changu Narayan, the oldest temple in Nepal.


IT’S TEEMING WITH WILDLIFE

Travel southwest of Kathmandu to Chitwan National Park to see some of the best wildlife viewing Nepal has to offer. The area is a huge draw of nature enthusiasts from all over the world thanks to the 200+ species of birds and 43 mammal species throughout the region.

Take a jeep or elephant safari to spot rhinos, elephants, musk deer, crocodiles, and a Bengal tiger if you’re really lucky.

This subtropical and forested climate is home to the indigenous Tharu people who have lived in and around Chitwan for centuries. Don't forget to venture into town to chat with the locals and explore all that Chitwan has to offer.

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IT'S BEING AFFECTED BY CLIMATE CHANGE

As global temperatures continue to rise, glaciers recede and valleys change shape. Like the rest of the world’s wild places, the Himalayan Mountains are experiencing these changes at an increasing rate.

With rapidly changing temps, Nepal's hiking seasons are shifting as well. While some hiking seasons are longer in certain regions, others are much shorter do due warmer or erratic weather.

There's no telling what the future has in store, but experiencing Nepal in all of its snow-capped brilliance should be part of yours.


THERE'S UNLIMITED MOUNTAIN ADVENTURE

There's a reason National Geographic named Nepal the best destination for Adventure Tourism in 2008–it’s every mountain enthusiast's dream. Luckily OneSeed shares in that dream with you, and that’s why we offer multiple adventures which will have you hiking or biking above the clouds. 

Is Mount Everest on your bucket list? Check out our 19 day Everest Base Camp trip for only $1,990. Along your trek, meet like-minded travelers during your stays in Tea-houses where you can relax, eat delicious food, and play games–including a friendly game of spoons with your guides.

Want to take your adventure to new heights? Try paragliding in Pokhara before or after your trek for an unforgettable view of the Annapurna Region.

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Tea Houses in Nepal: Everything You Need to Know About Accommodations on the Trail

If you're heading to Nepal for a trekking expedition, expect to stay in the basic lodges that have sprung up along all the popular trekking routes in the Everest, Langtang, and Annapurna regions. Known to travelers as “tea houses,” these mountain shelters are a welcome sight after a tough day of trekking. But what exactly is a “tea house”...?

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Tea houses are accommodations along trekking routes in Nepal that offer basic lodging and meals. Many Sherpas in the Everest region own and operate tea houses along Everest’s trekking routes. To the west, the Annapurna region is protected in a vast conservation area managed by the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC). Tea houses in the Annapurna are monitored by the NTNC and must meet specific requirements including fixed pricing, standard menus, and limits on how many tea houses can be built along specific routes.

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In lower elevations, tea houses may be multi-story concrete buildings with private rooms and attached western style bathrooms. The further you hike up, the more basic the accommodations get. Base camp may include a dorm style shared room, boiling water (because it’s all frozen!), and a game of cards by solar light to conserve energy.  

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Dining / Communal Area

Every tea house has one large communal dining area with a wood burning stove in the center. It’s a great spot to meet other trekkers, swap stories, warm up, and sip tea while you watch the sunset over the mountains. Domestic tourism has skyrocketed in the past 6-7 years, and the growing number of Nepali trekkers coupled with an influx of international travelers can lead to overcrowding in the high seasons. At higher lodges, some travelers may sleep in the community room on extra cots or even tables if all the rooms are full.

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Private and Shared Rooms

Most tea houses more than a days walk from a town have a similar setup; two to three twin beds in every room, one overhead light (that works sometimes), a window and personal lock and key for your door. The beds are generally comfortable with a foam pad, pillow, and a blanket. We always ask travelers to bring a sleeping bag to ensure that you stay warm enough at night, and there is no guarantee of cleanliness when it comes to shared beds and sheets. A sleeping bag, or at least a liner in the warm months, is always a good idea. A solid pair of earplugs will also help ensure a good night’s sleep.

We always try to reserve single rooms for travelers who request it. At times, the trail gets so crowded that trekkers may be asked to share rooms to save space. While not ideal, it’s just a fact on the trail as tea houses are limited and everyone needs a place to sleep!

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Toilets and Showers

Tea houses will either have western style (sit down) toilets or the more traditional squat toilets found across Nepal. You never know which on you’re going to get, but the higher up you trek, it’s more likely to be the latter. Make sure to bring enough toilet paper for your entire trek and always have hand sanitizer nearby.

As for showers, they’re generally only available at the lower elevation tea houses and hot water is not always a guarantee. Wet wipes are your friend!

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Electricity and Wi-Fi

Many of Nepal’s tea houses are run on solar power, providing a renewable and clean way to keep the lights on. Sometimes the power needs to be conserved, especially if it’s cloudy during the day, so expect for some power outages or afternoons where the lights won’t turn on until there’s enough energy to get everyone through the night. The electricity can also be disrupted by bad weather and wind.

Some tea houses do have wifi for a small fee. Expect slow, dial-up-like speeds. Outlets are also available at the larger, concrete tea houses near towns, but just like the lights, may not always be running with electricity during the day. Expect limited to no power the higher up you go, although some tea house owners will let you use their power strip for $1-2/hr. If it’s a huge concern, bring an extra battery pack or small solar charger.

 

Food and Drinks

Tea, tea, and more tea! The name isn’t misleading. Often the first thing you’ll be greeted with at a tea house is a warm cup of black tea with sugar. If you’re hiking in the rain, snow, or wind it’s the perfect way to relax.

Meals are often cooked over a fire in the kitchen by the owners. While much of the food is delicious, especially the Nepali staples like momos and dal bhat, the quality of the Western style dishes will vary greatly. Here’s a typical list of what you can expect to order in a tea house:

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Breakfast:

  • Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, & juice
  • Eggs any style
  • Ham/bacon/sausage (if available)
  • Toast with butter/jam/honey
  • Chapati, Tibetan bread, muesli porridge
  • Hash brown potatoes
  • Pancakes/crepes

 

Lunch & Dinner:

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  • Pasta & noodles: chow mein, noodle soup, spaghetti, fried rice
  • Momos, dal bhat, pakauda
  • Popcorn, chips, potatoes
  • Spring rolls
  • Pizza
  • Sandwiches & soup
  • Dessert (rice pudding, chocolate pudding, apple or banana fritters)

 

 

Definitely help yourself to the generous portions of dal bhat, Nepal’s local dish that literally means “lentils and rice.” Mostly vegetarian, but sometimes served with meat on request, this dish is a daily staple across Nepal.

If the tea house is under staffed, or there are an abundance of trekkers, guides and porters will often hop in the kitchen to lend a hand.

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Helpful Tips

Tea houses are a unique part of your trekking experience in Nepal and add to the warm and inviting hospitality found throughout this amazing country. Here are a few extra tips for prepping for your tea house stay:

  • Have some extra rupees on hand to purchase candy bars, beer, or other snacks.
  • The plywood walls separating rooms are very thin - a good pair or two of earplugs can do wonders.
  • Fleece pants and comfy sandals are key for post-hike relaxation.
  • Portable solar lights can provide some extra light if the electricity goes out (or if you forget a headlamp).
  • Cards and books are a great way to pass the time, and don’t forget to play a friendly game of spoons with your guides! Just keep an eye on the spoons, until you realize, there is no spoon….
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🎥 Footage from local tea houses along the Mardi Himal trek in the Annapurna region:

A Note on Solo Traveler Fees

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We know solo traveler fees are a bummer and trust us, we don't like charging them either. We require the extra fee because it's the best possible way to provide a fair price to all clients. The solo traveler fee covers the increased cost of hotel stay (single vs. double rooms), ground transportation, and the additional guides, porters or cooks needed while on the trail.

The good news? The solo room fee guarantees your very own single/private room while in your host city.

The other good news? We offer a "match pool" so clients have the opportunity to connect and match with other solo travelers of the same gender. Let us know if you're interested and we'll be sure to make the introduction if there's another solo traveler looking to be matched! Simply email go@oneseedexpeditions.com and we'll take it from there. If there isn't a match, you'll receive an invoice with your single supplement fee 60 days prior to your expedition. 

You can find your specific single supplement fee by visiting your expedition page on our website.

Training for Your Trek: Quick Tips to Get Ready for the Trail

A frequently asked question here at OneSeed is usually along the lines of, "I'm hiking how much?? How do I train for this??" On a OneSeed trek, you'll be pushing your body to the limit as you hike through some of the most awe-inspiring places in the world. We've included some tips below on how to train for what will be an adventure of a lifetime!

Apparel and Footwear: Before you start training, invest in a solid pair of hiking boots and gym shoes. If your feet are tired and blistered, it will affect the rest of your body and increase the risk for injury. Make it a priority to break in your boots - wear them while you work out or even just walking around the neighborhood!

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Sweat!: You want to feel confident going into your expedition so start elevating your heart rate and building muscle! Find a work out routine that works for YOU and stick with it. If you don't like running, don't run, BUT find an activity that makes you sweat and tone. Hiking, running, biking and swimming are all great cardio-boosters but try interval training with activities like yoga and weight-lifting classes as well. Be sure you incorporate squats and lunges into your workouts so you build your leg muscles for the long hikes you'll be accomplishing on the trail. Lastly, don't forget to Stretch! Yoga and pilates classes are the best way to stretch out sore muscles and prevent injuries. 

Hydrate and Fuel: With all of this training, you'll be burning tons of calories! Be sure you're fueling your body with foods that help it perform at it's best and keep you feeling good. Incorporate healthy grains like quinoa, brown rice and wild rice, nuts like almonds and walnuts, fish, lean meats, fruits and vegetables into your diet on a daily basis. And don't forget about water! When you're dehydrated, you feel more fatigued than you actually are, making it easier to trip on the trail and cause injuries. Make it a goal to drink at least 64 oz. of water each day (that's two Nalgenes!) and start each meal with a glass of water.

Get High: Gearing up for a trip above 10,000ft? The higher up in elevation you can train, the better. If you live close to the mountains, push yourself on some high-elevation hikes and train your lungs to adjust to the lack of oxygen. If you don't live in an area where high-altitude trails are available, not to fear! All of our treks factor in rest days in order to acclimate to higher elevation. If you're feeling fatigued on the trail, go slow and take frequent breaks as your body adjusts to the altitude.

See you on the trail!

 

 

Quick Tips for Eating on the Trail

When trekking in a remote area, there are certain expectations that will help you make the most of the meals on the trail. Here’s a quick list of things to know about trail food to help you prepare for your expedition.

1) Carbs, Carbs, Carbs. In most of the areas where we travel, the diet is rich in carbs. When you spend 3-10 hours a day hiking, you need carbs for energy, so embrace it! Nepal is known for its dal bhat, Peru for its 3,800 types of potatoes, and Chile is the second largest bread consumer per capita in the world. But guess what? They all make really delicious carbs, so dig in!

2) Eat like a local. They best way to order off the menu in a foreign country is to mimic what the locals are doing. If you’re staying at a teahouse in the Langtang region, ordering a pizza might not be the best option. Pizza with yak cheese isn’t going to taste like is does from your local pizza shop in NYC. Look around you to learn about the delicious local dishes and try sticking to them. It’s a great way to fully immerse yourself in the country in which you’re traveling. What if you’re craving some comforting American food? It will be there for you to eat the day you get back!

3) Bring reserves. While trekking on OneSeed trips, you’ll be fed three large meals a day but some trekkers like to have power bars or granola bars to munch on while hiking. You can always bring a few just in case you need some extra fuel. (*Note: Customs rarely lets you bring nuts, seeds, or fruit into a foreign country)

4) Be adventurous. Some of the countries where we travel have exotic local dishes that you don’t find everywhere. Push your tastebuds to the limit with new flavors. Try the tongue in Chile or the spicy pickle in Nepal because you never know what you might like.

Food is an essential part of any culture. Be prepared to try new things and expand your tastebuds’ comfort zone. Bon Appétit!

7 Tips to Prepare for Your Trek

Always be prepared! The scout’s motto is simple, but true. Being well prepared for your trek will make your time much more enjoyable, and you can focus on the wonders around you rather than your blistered feet! Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your trek.

1.  Buy appropriate footwear and break your boots in.

  • Visit an outdoor retailer and do research to buy the appropriate pair of hiking boots for your feet.
  • Break them in! Showing up with brand new boots for a multi-day trek is an invitation for blisters and pain. Walk the dog in your boots, do yard work in your boots, take them hiking! You want your boots to feel nice and comfy when you arrive.
  • Buy good quality socks (non-cotton, moisture wicking socks such as Smartwool, Thorlos, Darn Tough, Woolrich etc…)
  • Remember: Your feet are your best friend. Happy feet, happy camper!

2.  Get out hiking. Regularly!

  • Start slowly and build your intensity, difficulty, and length of hikes. It is much better to start slowly and increase the difficulty gradually over several months than to wait to the last few weeks.
  • Wear what you will be wearing on the trail, especially if they are new items, so you know how they feel and can adjust anything that is irritating or doesn’t work. This includes your boots and the pack you will be carrying on the trail.
  • Go with a partner or a group. You won’t be able to cheat and going with someone else provides motivation and fun!
  • Cross train too (Bike, swim, run, yoga, stairs, etc). Different types of exercise work different muscle groups and will help condition your body. Strengthening your body can help prevent injuries on the trail.

3.  Learn about the OneSeed Fund

  • 10% of the revenue from your expedition will be loaned to local entrepreneurs via the OneSeed Fund.
  • The loans are extended by our partner microfinance institutions across many different industries such as agriculture, retail, food services and more.
  • Want to learn more about microfinance? Click here.

4.  Don’t bank on your bank.

  • Call your bank ahead of time to let them know about your travel plans.
  • Sometimes, when banks see a charge in a foreign country, they assume it was theft and freeze your account.
  • While you’re on the phone with your bank, ask them about international ATM fees.
  • Be sure to have back-up alternatives such as cash, traveler’s check, and credit cards.
  • Having copies of credit cards and passport information is a great safety net.

5.  Health, safety, and more.

  • Visit the CDC website or contact a local travel medicine office with any questions about immunizations or vaccines.
  • If you have any concerns about your health, contact your physician before you start a training program.
  • Learn more about tips to keep your belongings safe while traveling here.

6.  Insure Your Trip.

  • All OneSeed trips include medical and evacuation insurance for all travelers. This covers you from the moment your expedition begins.
  • We also strongly urge you to purchase the optional cancellation and interruption insurance. This third party insurance covers any injuries, illnesses, or other unforeseeable events between now and your expedition.
  • You never know what life has in store so it is better to prepare ahead of time!

7.  Pack light and early.

  •  Take a look at our packing list now and start to get an idea of what gear you have and what you will need to purchase. Waiting until the last minute is a recipe for disaster!
  • Outdoor gear can be quite expensive. Don’t forget that you can borrow from a friend, rent from various outdoor stores, or look online for items on sale.
  • That being said, don’t skimp! Making sure your clothes are built to last is important as you will be hiking outside in the elements for many days on end.
  • To lighten your load, bring travel-sized toiletries.
  • Ziplock bags make for inexpensive, weightless, water-resistant organizers for loose items.
  • Don’t forget to bring an extra outfit for the city. You can leave any extra gear at our partner lodge before the trek.

Happy trekking!

नेपाली: A Guide to Nepali Language

Worried about the language barrier? Don’t sweat it! All our guides speak English and Nepali and can help you find anything you need. But if you’re ready to take on a challenge, here is a crash course on the languages of Nepal as well as a few phrases that you can put to use.

Nepal is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world. There are 126 languages spoken across Nepal, which is about the size of Arkansas. The official language is Nepali, which is spoken by about 2/3 of the population.

Devanagari

The written language is called Devanagari. It is one of the most common scripts because it is also the written language for Hindi and is used across India. Like English, Devanagari is written left to right but rather than individual letters, it utilizes consonant-vowel units (e.x. प = pa).

A List of Useful Phrases in Nepali

  • Hello/Goodbye – “Namaste”: This literally means “God is in you” and is typically said with the hands in prayer position and the head bowed forward

  • Thank You – “Dhanyabaad”

  • My name is – “Mero naam   (insert name)   ho”

  • How are you/How are things? (informal) – “thik chha?”

  • I am well/Things are good – “thik chha”

  • See you again – “pheri bhetaula”

  • I don’t understand – “maile bujhina”

  • I’m full – “pugyo”: It is considered rude for a guest to leave hungry so use this when you have had enough

Afraid you might pronounce something wrong? Try it! People will be excited that you are making an effort and willing to overlook it when your grammar isn’t perfect.

Shuba-yatra! (Have a good trip!)