Food and Water
Water supplies in Nepal all have to be assumed to be contaminated - there is no safe drinking water from taps or streams. Bottled water, called mineral water here, is safe, as are soft drinks, beer, tea and coffee. Ice in the best hotels and restaurants in Kathmandu is probably safe, but be skeptical about ice elsewhere. On trek we will have boiled water for you, and you can purify water from local sources.
The water rule goes for all food items which have not been cooked and which may have been washed in contaminated water. You should avoid raw fruits and vegetables except those which you can peel. Oranges, for example, are perfectly safe, but grapes are not. You should be suspicious of salads and garnishes everywhere. All cooked food is safe, provided it is still hot.
Part of the fun of traveling is eating, and so don't let these warnings scare you too much. Be very careful about the water, and eat whatever looks interesting.
Apply for your Nepal visa no earlier than 15 days before arrival online here. There are also kiosks at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu if you did not apply in advance.
Visas can be extended in Kathmandu easily. Just remember to take care of this, if necessary, before you go on trek.
The Nepalese government issues Trekker Information Management permits for all trekkers and restricted area trekking permits for some routes. Police checkposts throughout the country check these permits periodically. When you travel with Friends in High Places, we get your permits for you and pre-pay National Park and Conservation Area permits and fees. All you need do is remember to bring passport-sized photos with you or (better) send us a digital photo by email.
Travel by taxicab is cheap and easy in Kathmandu city. If you are going out of town consider paying the cab driver to wait, as return taxis are less easy to find.
Taxicabs have black license plates. They all have meters, but at night or very busy times you may find the meter is "broken". Then you will have to bargain. In these situations the asking fare will be at least twice the meter rate, so do the best you can. If you have to bargain, you are better off setting the price before getting into the taxi. No tip is expected, but it's nice to round the fare up if the ride was good.
International Air Flight Reconfirmation
We'll take your homeward-bound tickets and reconfirm the flights while you are on trek. This is particularly important in Kathmandu, where outbound flights are heavily booked and many airlines require a reconfirmation stamp or sticker on the ticket itself at check-in time.
You should exchange currency at banks, your hotel, or legitimate currency changing shops only, and get an exchange receipt. You may be asked to show all your receipts in order to reconvert rupees into dollars when you leave the country.
ATM machines in Kathmandu and Pokhara accept most foreign debit and credit cards but charge a fee of US$ 4-5 each time. Since the maximum withdrawal at most machines is about US$ 100, the fees can add up quickly. If you are comfortable carrying cash you can save quite a bit of money that way.