Family hiking trip in himalayas, Nepal - Oct 22 - Oct 31, 2017
No trip halfway around the world could ever be perfect. If you want perfect, maybe go to Monaco, not Nepal. I started working online with Kimkim in the early spring of 2017 to book a trip for my family to Nepal with no prior knowledge of where to go or how to get it done. The Kimkim website first impressed me with the large number of trekking options available. It was a bit overwhelming to the Nepal novice, but as I exchanged information with Mads at Kimkim, he patiently helped me come up with an itinerary. My family of 5 wanted to combine trekking and sightseeing during our trip. All of us are in reasonably good physical condition, but we came with no real experience with hardcore trekking, mountain climbing, high altitude activities, etc. Kimkim built a trip plan that took all of this into account, along with our preferences for lodging along the way.
We just got back from our trip and all of us agree that Kimkim delivered on everything we asked for. To start with, the guides assigned to our family were outstanding. These were some very smart, impressive people. They taught us a lot about Nepal and made a huge difference in overall experience. Every step of the way, the local people assigned to my family were attentive, patient and friendly. We really couldn’t have asked for more.
I’ll be honest, the trekking was close to the limits of what we could handle, but that is not a complaint. We expected hiking around Nepal to be physically demanding and strenuous and it most certainly was. If you’re not in good physical condition, you need to be very thoughtful about signing up for this type of activity. The trekking route we took in the Khumbu region was physically challenging, often dangerous and busy with other people (and animals) headed in both directions. We loved every minute of it. A fascinating, beautiful place. My aching knees (get trekking poles) and altitude-induced headaches were a small price to pay for the experience. At the end of our 5 day trekking schedule, we were tired, sore, cold and sorry that it was over. I would have gladly gone on for another 5 days (assuming my knees held up). Great, great, great experience.
Back in Kathmandu, our guide took us to more amazing places than I can remember to wrap up our trip. It really was an almost perfect combination of trekking and cultural experience. I give Kimkim full credit for putting it all together for us.
It seems trivial to bitch about anything after such a great experience, but if you need proof I’m not an employee of the company, here is our list of grievances:
- We weren’t fully prepared for the possibility of flight delays getting out of Kathmandu into the mountains. It’s not that Kimkim didn’t warn us, we just didn’t pay much attention. We spent the better part of a day waiting for a flight because of bad weather. That was not fun. If I had it to do over again, I would either add another day or two to the trip to allow for this possibility or talk to Kimkim about hiring a helicopter to ensure you’ll get to your destination on time. Lesson learned.
- There’s no heat and often no hot water in the sleeping rooms, even in the more upscale lodges we booked. You realize pretty quickly that this is not unusual for Nepal. Bring the warm clothes Kimkim suggests and you’ll be fine. It wasn’t a big deal for me, but other members of the family were a bit more put off by this. You won’t always be comfortable, so just be prepared (thermal underwear helps a lot).
- Electricity is not easy to deliver to many places in Nepal, so it is generally dimly lit and downright dark in most of the place you’ll go. Bring your own lighting for reading if you think this will bother you.
- If a lodge advertises they have Wi-Fi Internet service, it doesn’t mean much. They may not have it at all or it may not be working when you arrive. You may go for several days without being able to contact friends and family back home. Just be prepared for this and unplug from the grid for a few days. Character-building.
- Walking around Kathmandu is stressful. Some fun-loving Nepali decided it would be fun to run his motorcycle up the back of my leg a few times to mess with the tourist. I was not amused, but I kept myself under control (barely) and let him pass. You’ll need to be prepared for the chaos and traffic jams in Kathmandu and embrace them as part of the overall experience. There’s no avoiding it and it’s not a reason to stay in your hotel. Just get your game face on.
A few other comments: The food was great, we didn’t get sick, the people were generally very friendly and courteous, the airport is a bit of a hot mess and the prices are all cheap to very reasonable.
If you’re thinking of going to Nepal for the first time, all I can suggest is get yourself in good shape, practice being patient, bring all the cash you think you’ll need with you (don’t rely on ATM machines, credit cards generally worked fine) and use Kimkim to book your trip. They did a fantastic job for us and we can recommend them without any reservations.
Great trip and once-in-a-lifetime experience. Thank you Mads, Pasang, Rajive and Raj. I hope to book another trip with you someday in the future.