I (and others I know) had good experiences of treks organised by Kit Spencer through his Summit Trekking organisation (also owns the Summit Hotel in Kathmandu)...
however, the website looks out of date so perhaps they aren't operating anymore???
We have done two trips with exodus PEru and Jebel Sahro with exodus. No problems with either. To be honest though they are just money handlers and bookers. They rely 100% on the local agents to do everything. If you can find who they use and find out if they are good then book direct you will get the same package. The difficulty is finding the ground agent. I Know Himalayan Expeditions do / did work for KE and Classic Journeys in the past but dont know who they use now.
Be aware of flight costs to KAthmandu, they are gooing through the roof, we have just been asked for a substantial amount more money for a trip we are planning for April, this appears to be the norm at the moment. A friend has just been quoted £900 for November.
Why not just cut out ALL the middlemen, buy a guidebook and "do it yourself". Jon gives you some help here:
Independent Trekking In Nepal
I did the Annapurna Circuit independently three months ago. Very easy. Spent about £12/day whilst trakking and nearly half of that was on beer. Permit cost about £15 and that was it. Plus the cost of getting to Nepal, of course.
If the cost of flying to Kathmandu is getting silly, you could always fly to Delhi, then take a train to Gorahkpur, and then local transport to Kathmandu (this is what I did, except I went to Pokhara). Main drawback of doing this is getting an Indian visa, which is now a bit of a pain in the butt.
I'd second that. I went on one trek organised by Summit (above) and then did the Annapurna 'under my own steam', crossing overland from India. Summit was very well organised and provided a complete service, but there's something a little more rewarding about working it out with the locals. In fact we shared the cost of a guide between six of us and he helped fix us up with the tea houses and added a lot to the whole experience.
I can't see much point in organising it through a middleman in the UK, but it seems that Exodus has been used and appreciated by many above so if you prefer the simplicity then you pays your money and takes your choice...
My friend has used Exodus on at least 5 occasions and like Dorian has gone back to them time after time. So that speaks for itself.
I first did the Everest base camp trek with a company called Travel bag 10 years ago. They were cheaper than Exodus by several hundred pounds, but they were excellent. Like all of them, they used a local trekking company. Mine was called Ammadablam tours? Or something along those lines. Interestingly enough, I did see the Exodus company doing the same trek. The only difference I saw was the company Exodus was using had one English guide. Where as we had all Nepalese.
I understand how both Dave and John feel and I agree it is much more rewarding to do the treks on your own. Since the Everest trek, I have trekked independantly in Nepal ever since.
However, I think it all depends on time and money. And what Phil values the most. If time is short and money not an issue, then the trekking company in the UK probably is the best bet.
One thing I would say Phil, is book the flight on your own in the UK. I think the new Indian company JET AIRWAYS will probably do the cheapest flights to Katmandu. Check out there Website for dates. I think they will be hard to beat. And they are a superb Airline apparently. I`m flying with them next week.
Enjoy the trek, you will love it I`m sure.
By the way Dave...nice to hear you mention Gorakpor. However, that overland journey is pretty hard work by any ones standard. I have had to do it several times and it hasn`t got any easier. But it is certainly the cheapest and fun way. Though I`m not sure that I would recommend it.
I know what you mean about the jeep. I got a front seat last year...thank God!
I'd not normally book with an agent - but it does cut out a lot of time spent organising something in a place you may have no prior knowledge of. And walking with a group of like minded people is fun. Plus you can expect to paired up with a reliable local guide (as opposed to some dodgy charlaton who gets your business from the street in Kathmandu). There's pros and cons to both.
When you book a trip with a company such as Exodus ask them some questions like - who will actually be looking after me incountry? If they tell you it's a highly trained and qualified guide (as they will) - ask where the guide is from and who has qualified that guide. Often the local guides are excellent - but do they carry a decent medical kit, do they know who you're insured with, (does the company check that your travel insurance is adequate!?), what will happen if you're ill ... and so on.
Local guides should always be employed, and they are well trained for doing their job - but if things go awry I know that I'd want a westerner with the local guide to work as a team in looking after me.
Also if you're going above the snow line - will you be provided with crampons and axe? If so will anyone brief you before or on the trip as to how to use them?
Do shop around! But - Nepal - great place - have a great trip!
I'm looking to make the same trip this year and have also been checking out the various companies offerings. Exodus and The Adventure Company look good.
Lots of useful comments anyway. Although I usually prefer independent travel, an organised trip seems best for my first trip to the area.
Hi Phil & every body in this page,
you guys seems like playing in this room,just acting like talking yourself,& exaggerating about Exodus & Adventure !!!
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