Custom, low-cost adventures in Nepal, India and Bhutan

Friends in High Places is different from other trekking agencies. Instead of selling fixed tours or grouping you with strangers, we work with you to create the Himalayan adventure of your dreams - and your budget. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and tell us about your expectations and hopes, and what you dream might be possible. Send along your questions too. Talking together by email or Skype allows us to build tours and treks based on what excites you.

Do you know what country or countries you want to visit?
If not, read short summaries About the Countries. The summaries each link to more description and the various adventures in each country.  Combine countries as you like; flights are short and convenient.

What will be your main activity?
If you aren't sure, look at the country pages for Nepal, BhutanIndia and Tibet. We can arrange almost anything, so if you don't see an activity listed, please ask.

How much time can you spend, and what time of year?
Short visits to the Himalayas are wonderful, but most visitors spend two weeks or more.  We help you make the most of your time with a personal itinerary.  Prime seasons in Nepal and Bhutan are fall and spring.  Winter visits to both are great if you do not intend to trek to high altitude (it's very cold up high in winter).  Tibet high season is April through October; the remaining months are very cold.  The best time for sightseeing in India is October through April. See more about the area's Geography and Climate.

What other activities?
There is so much here: think about adding an extra activity like staying in a Nepali village, visiting a buddhist monastery, whitewater Rafting, elephant-back Safaris, a visit to Lhasa or the Taj Mahal, Hang Gliding and Ultralight FlightsMountain Biking, Bungy Jump, Zip Lining, and more.

Are you traveling solo or with others?
Both are great!  Solo travelers and small parties are welcome.  Some activities, like rafting, need more than one person, so we'll match you up.  In Tibet "independent" travel is not allowed, so you will need to join a small group. (Or better yet, assemble a group of friends!) In Bhutan smaller parties pay a surcharge but are welcome.  

We offer all the options.  A party of four or more people is free from any constraints in all countries.  

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let us help you plan! It's what we do best. 

Pilgrimages to the Himalayas

Trekking in the Himalayas is less than 50 years old: An ex-Gurkha officer, Col. Jimmy Roberts, led the first trekking groups in 1965. But pilgrims have been coming to the mountains for at least 3000 years.

For Hindus, Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Janaki Mandir in Janakpur, Manakamana Temple in central Nepal (now with cable-car service to the hilltop!), and Muktinath high above the Kali Gandaki river are all prime destinations. The Kathmandu Valley has many other tirthas of prominance as well for the pilgrim. 

Guides fluent in English and Hindi can enhance your visit and add cultural sightseeing if you wish.

Nepal offers something for every Buddhist too. The Himalayas are predominantly Mahayana tradition, but there are also many Theravada teachers and programs in Kathmandu and Lumbini. And the Kathmandu Valley developed its own Buddhist tradition, different from both of the great schools. Come and see.

Pilgrimages for Buddhists include Lumbini - Birthplace of the Buddha, and Devdaha, birthplace of his mother, Mayadevi. In Kathmandu there are is Boudhanath StupaSwayambhunath Temple Complex, other stupas built in the 5th century, and a hermitage cave used by Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava).

Guides fluent in English and Mandarin Chinese are available, and we can arrange retreats, meditation lessons, and teachings from high lamas.

Pilgrims visiting Bhutan can walk up to the Tiger's Nest built by Guru Rimpoche with the assistance of a flying tiger which he rode to the site. 

Across the country are other sites holied by his presence and signs left for posterity.

And on a hilltop near Thimphu there is a 169 foot / 51.5 meter tall statue of Buddha Dordenma looking over the valley below.

Bhutanese Buddhists mostly follow the Drukpa School, though there are important Nyingmapa establishments as well. Because the population is overwhelmingly Buddhist, the faith permeates every aspect of Bhutanese culture.

Whether pilgrimage is the sole reason for visiting or if you want to include other activities, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. us and let us help plan. It's what we do best.

Friends in High Places Worldwide References

 

I just dropped my son off at school and ran into my friend. I no more than said hello and asked how the trip was and she broke down in tears. Thank you for making their journey as memorable as you made ours. Nancy Lou Zimmerman, Singapore

Finally I am again in my normal routine, after experiencing one of my most exiting things I've ever done. Believe me I am already planning my next one, maybe for October. Modesto Penaherrera, Ecuador

Thanks so much for a fabulous trip. My mother and sister are pretty envious and are considering booking separate trips for April and/or May. Somil Hwang, USA

I have done six fantastic treks with Friends in High Places and would never use any other company. Each trek was to a different area, but equally magnificent, as was the professionalism and service provided by the company. FiHP guides are friendly, courteous and attentive, with a knowledge of the areas second to none. I started trekking as a client, I returned as a friend, and ever since have felt part of the FiHP family. Helen Marsden, Australia 

It was the trip of a lifetime. I've already sent an interested party to your website for more details. With much appreciation for your incredible hospitality, professionalism, and warmth. Gordon Hardy, USA

We are thrilled our friends are coming to Nepal with you. We have the most fantastic memories from our 2 weeks with your company! Judy Harrington, New Zealand

Every step in the process of planning our trip to Nepal --- from arrival to departure -- was expertly organized. I would recommend your agency to anyone and can certify the high degree of professionalism demonstrated by your staff. Thanks again for opening the doors for us in Nepal. We will have a lifetime of fond memories of this incomprable experience. Philip Eliasoph, USA

Friends in High Places are extremely well-organized, always available, efficient, friendly and arranged everything. My personal guide on the trek was extremely knowlegeable, friendly, and knew everyone everywhere we went. I also had a wonderful porter to carry my things so I had absolutely nothing to do but have a great time. Melissa Zickwolff, USA

It is realy a great pleasure for us, if we remember us our Kanchenjunga Trek. It was wonderful, we loved very much. Robert Broger, Switzerland

Nepal was truly the highlight of our trip, you guys did a GREAT job -- having traveled a fair amount through various parts of the world, I can say that you really made a quick and enjoyable trip possible. Your flexibility in scheduling was also perfect for us. Hung Fan, USA

Friends in High Places - Terms and Conditions for Nepal travel

What's included on a trek and what's not included

The following things are included unless otherwise stated in your quote
* transportation to and from trek;
* English-speaking Sherpa guide;
* porter(s);
* meals (On a teahouse trek you choose from the lodge menus, on a camping trek your cook prepares all meals);
* accommodations in teahouses or tented camp; and
* permits, fees, and taxes.

Not included unless specifically stated in your quote:
* expenses due to weather or medical problems, acts of god;
* alcohol and beverages;
* junk-food-type snacks; and
* obvious personal expenses like phone calls, souvenirs, laundry, and tipping.
* At times on trek there may be deluxe teahouse rooms available for US$10-15 extra per night.
* Once you arrive there can be no refund for activities you cannot or choose not to participate in.
* visa fees for Nepal and international airport taxes collected inside the secure area are not included.

Hotel booking, sightseeing, rafting, jungle safaris and other activities

These activities are booked for you by us an agent. We shall not be in any way responsible or liable for any accident, damages, loss, delay, international flight cancellation/delays, or inconvenience in connection with the travel facilities provided. All bookings are accepted and executed with utmost care, but we cannot be responsible for any change or deviation on account of factors beyond our control. We reserve the right to modify any arrangements or to cancel the same without prior notice by providing a refund.

Hotel bookings are for double occupancy. A supplement will apply for a single room. If your hotel reservations include breakfast (most do, except for the budget tier) it will be stated in your quote. Unless otherwise stated, no other meals in Kathmandu or other cities and towns are included.

Sightseeing will include a car, driver, professional guide, and entry fees unless otherwise stated in your quote.

Rafting and jungle safaris are normally quoted with all meals, activities and equipment, permits, and transportation included unless otherwise stated in your quote.

Never included with any activity unless specifically stated in your quote:
* expenses due to weather or medical problems, acts of god;
* alcohol and beverages;
* junk-food-type snacks; and
* obvious personal expenses like phone calls, souvenirs, laundry, and tipping.
* Once you arrive there can be no refund for activities you cannot or choose not to participate in.
* visa fees for Nepal and international airport taxes collected inside the secure area are not included.

Insurance, medical emergencies, medical proxy

We strongly recommend that you take out travel insuramce for your trip to the Himalayas and subcontinent. Evacuation from a remote area and/or repatriation home for medical care is very expensive and not covered by your tour price, and there will be no refunds for trip interruption, delays or expenses due to weather, medical problems or Acts of God. If you take out travel insurance promptly after making your deposit payment, many carriers will waive the normal exclusion for pre-existing conditions.

Serious accidents or medical problems while traveling are rare, but the remoteness of the Himalayan area and the time difference between visitors' homes and South Asia can complicate handling them. Please consider giving us temporary medical proxy to act in an emergency to protect your health and safety. We will always try to contact your designated emergency contact(s) and your insurer first if you give us that information.

Payments and deposits: how, when and refund policy

When you confirm your trip with us you will send us a deposit. Deposit may be made by post with a US Dollar-denominated personal or bank check, by bank transfer, or online using a credit card at 3 percent surcharge.

The balance is payable 60 days prior to departure by one of the above methods OR on arrival in Kathmandu in US Dollar-denominated travelers' checks or cash in US Dollars, UK Pounds or Euros. (Currencies other than the one quoted to you will be converted at current exchange rates in Nepal on that day.)

Deposits are not refundable but can be applied to another program or other dates with us if your cancellation is caused by medical issues involving you, a travel companion or immediate family member. Advance payments other than deposit are refundable or may be applied as credit if i) cancellation is received more than 30 days prior or ii) cancellation is due to medical issues involving you, a travel companion or immediate family member.

Any expenses we cannot recover due to late cancellation will be charged against any refund or credit due. There are normally no such costs up to 7 days prior to your arrival.

Our liability for delays and changes in the program

We will do everything we can to make your experience in Nepal wonderful. But we can't take responsibility for unavoidable circumstances and acts of god, political unrest, flight cancellations or delays, or medical problems. We will always try to rearrange the program to accommodate these things, but any extra cost will be your responsibility. Please see the section about insurance.

The itinerary we prepare with you is a plan, not an inflexible rule. We may need to change something, and you may also want to make adjustments as you go. If changes you make cost more, we'll expect you to bear that cost. If we have to make changes, we'll provide equivalent or better value, or refund the difference in cost if we can't make other arrangements.

What we will ask from you

* to have visas, travel documents and, if necessary, passport photos as required. Any delay or loss from not having these things will be your responsibility;
* to be well prepared before your trip and to have appropriate clothing and equipment for your program;
* to give us information necessary for making reservations and completing government paperwork;
* to make deposit and final payment in a timely manner as described above;
* to sign a mildly-worded liability disclaimer, to agree to these terms and conditions, and to consider giving us temporary medical proxy;
* to cooperate with our staff and other members of the group in a positive way; and
* to tell us immediately if something isn't as you expect or want, to let us try to correct the matter while it's minor.

Friends in High Places Terms and Conditions for Bhutan travel

What's included in a Bhutan visit and what's not included

The following things are included unless otherwise stated in your quote
* all domestic transportation (domestic airfare may be at extra cost);
* Licensed English-speaking professional guide;
* luggage assistance;
* all meals;
* all accommodations in standard hotels; and
* all activities mentioned in the quoted itinerary * permits, fees, and taxes.

Not included unless specifically stated in your quote:
* expenses due to weather or medical problems, acts of god;
* alcohol and bottled beverages;
* junk-food-type snacks; and
* obvious personal expenses like phone calls, souvenirs, laundry, and tipping.
* At times there may be deluxe accommodations available at extra charge.
* Once you arrive there can be no refund for activities you cannot or choose not to participate in.

Notes

These activities are booked for you by us an agent. We shall not be in any way responsible or liable for any accident, damages, loss, delay, international flight cancellation/delays, or inconvenience in connection with the travel facilities provided. All bookings are accepted and executed with utmost care, but we cannot be responsible for any change or deviation on account of factors beyond our control. We reserve the right to modify any arrangements or to cancel the same without prior notice by providing a refund.

Hotel bookings are for double occupancy. A supplement will apply for a single room.

Sightseeing will include a car, driver, professional guide, and entry fees unless otherwise stated in your quote.

Insurance, medical emergencies, medical proxy

We strongly recommend that you take out travel insuramce for your trip to the Himalayas and subcontinent. Evacuation from a remote area and/or repatriation home for medical care is very expensive and not covered by your tour price, and there will be no refunds for trip interruption, delays or expenses due to weather, medical problems or Acts of God. If you take out travel insurance promptly after making your deposit payment, many carriers will waive the normal exclusion for pre-existing conditions.

Serious accidents or medical problems while traveling are rare, but the remoteness of the Himalayan area and the time difference between visitors' homes and South Asia can complicate handling them. Please consider giving us temporary medical proxy to act in an emergency to protect your health and safety. We will always try to contact your designated emergency contact(s) and your insurer first if you give us that information.

Payments and deposits: how, when and refund policy

When you confirm your trip with us you will send us a deposit. Deposit may be made by post with a US Dollar-denominated personal or bank check, by bank transfer, or online using a credit card.

The balance is payable 90 days prior to departure by bank transfer or other agreed method.

Deposits are not refundable but can be applied to another program or other dates with us if your cancellation is caused by medical issues involving you, a travel companion or immediate family member. Advance payments other than deposit are refundable or may be applied as credit if cancellation is received more than 90 days prior. See the section above about insurance.

Any expenses we cannot recover due to late cancellation will be charged against any refund or credit due.

Our liability for delays and changes in the program

We and our Bhutanese partner will do everything we can to make your experience in Bhutan wonderful. But we can't take responsibility for unavoidable circumstances, weather and acts of god, flight cancellations or delays, or medical problems. We will always try to rearrange the program to accommodate these things, but any extra cost will be your responsibility. Please see the section about insurance.

The itinerary we prepare with you is a plan, not an inflexible rule. We may need to change something, and you may also want to make adjustments as you go. If changes you make cost more, we'll expect you to bear that cost. If we have to make changes, we'll provide equivalent or better value, or refund the difference in cost if we can't make other arrangements.

What we will ask from you

* to have visas, travel documents and, if necessary, passport photos as required. Any delay or loss from not having these things will be your responsibility;
* to be well prepared before your trip and to have appropriate clothing and equipment for your program;
* to give us information necessary for making reservations and completing government paperwork;
* to make deposit and final payment in a timely manner as described above;
* to sign a mildly-worded liability disclaimer, to agree to these terms and conditions, and to consider giving us temporary medical proxy;
* to cooperate with our staff and other members of the group in a positive way; and
* to tell us immediately if something isn't as you expect or want, to let us try to correct the matter while it's minor.

Terms and Conditions for travel in Tibet and India

For travel outside Nepal booked by us, we act as an agent and shall not be in any way responsible or liable for any accident, damages, loss, delay, flight cancellation or delays, or inconvenience in connection with the travel facilities provided. All bookings are accepted and executed with utmost care, but we cannot be responsible for any change or deviation on account of factors beyond our control. We reserve the right to modify any arrangements or to cancel the same without prior notice by providing a refund.

Please review your trip quotation for details of travel in these other countries. GENERALLY, Tibet and India travel includes activities, transportation and hotels but not meals.

Never included unless specifically stated in your quote:
* expenses due to weather or medical problems, acts of god;
* alcohol and beverages;
* junk-food-type snacks; and
* obvious personal expenses like phone calls, souvenirs, laundry, and tipping.
* Once you arrive there can be no refund for activities you cannot or choose not to participate in.
* visa fees and international airport taxes collected inside the secure area are not included.

The terms and conditions for Nepal above are GENERALLY applicable in Tibet and India, with the following exceptions:
* Pre-payment will be necessary, and refunds and credits may be more difficult and time consuming.
* There may be cancellation costs even within the 30-day-prior window.
* Your flexibility to make changes to the program once in progress may be limited, particularly in Tibet where tourism is government controlled.