When I decided to go on a trek to Nepal, I came on to Trip advisor and looked up the highest rated companies. The reviews here were very helpful as travelers gave detailed accounts of their treks and it was easy to see who was offering the type of service and trek that I wanted.
I emailed about 10 of the top rated companies with my questions, and waited to see who got back to me. A lot of the companies were very helpful in their response - but based on their friendliness, professionalism, swift replies, good English, excellent pricing and flexibility, I choose Outfitter Nepal - and I am so glad I did. We did a 7 day trek in the Annapurna region AND HAD THE EXPERIENCE OF OUR LIVES! They are such a wonderful company.
I did all that hard work and research so you don't have to! I'll tell you about Outfitters so you have a traveler’s assurance that they are the crowd for you! As a point of interest I wouldn't recommend mailing 10 companies with a general enquiry - some of them will stalk you for months to try and get you to book with them!
Obviously for travelers from different countries (my travel companion is from England, I'm from Ireland) who have never been to Nepal before, it's hard to know where to start to begin planning your trip. After my initial mail to Outfitters, here is a list of all the excellent things they did which helped make this trip easy and unforgettable:
- Replied to every mail swiftly, clearly and with all the answers to my stupid questions!
- Sent us a choice of treks and lots of ideas to help us decide what we want.
- Offered us a 5% discount on their already competitive rates.
- Sent us a list of all the clothes/ equipment we would need.
- Sent us a detailed breakdown of our costs and everything included and excluded
- Sent us a list of things they would provide for free like sleeping bags and coats etc
- Picked us up from the airport (for free) to welcome us and bring us to our hotel
- Brought us into the office in our first day in Kathmandu to talk us through every aspect of our trip and make sure we were happy with it
- Gave us advice and recommendations of things we could do before and after our trek
- Changed details of our trek for us when we had specific requests (like getting a private car to Pokhara instead of the tourist bus) NOTE TO TRAVELLERS: for the extra 120 USD I would *really* recommend you do this! It is so comfortable and luxurious and takes 6 hours with a break instead of 8 on the dodgy bus!
- Provided us with incredibly lovely staff at every juncture: 2 drivers, 1 porter and 1 guide who were all excellent, more about that later
- Had booked us into all the nicest tea houses along the way
- Checked and double checked our itinerary so that we were on the same page about everything - and always stuck to it so that if we thought we were being met by a driver at a certain time, they were always there, on time.
- Sent our guide to our hotel to meet us the day before our trek so we were comfortable with him
- Offered to take us out for dinner after our trek (unfortunately I had to decline due to a tummy bug)
- Came to our hotel the morning we left to put us in a car to the airport (for free) and to check I was feeling better, etc.
Honestly, as an impartial traveler who had never heard of this company until I found them on Trip advisor, I can't imagine a nicer, kinder, more professional or knowledgeable group of guys. We were two women travelling and trekking alone which I felt a little apprehensive about, but we were looked after at every turn, as well as given all the independence we wanted! I wouldn't bother writing such a long and detailed review if I didn't mean it - BOOK WITH OUTFITTER!
Now, a word about our guide Prakash and our porter Sankar.
I think because Outfitter Nepal knows the business and industry so well, they know how important it is to have good staff. As well as the loveliness of Arjun and the others in the office, our guide and porter made the trip for us. We couldn't have been luckier.
Prakash was friendly, fun, sweet, professional, clever, great English, kind - he honestly was a very special guy and a great guide. He took his position of responsibility very seriously and looked after us better than I ever could have expected. Sankar didn't speak much English but he was always obliging and smiley and carried an extra bag on his already huge load the day I got a bit sick. Here's a quick list of the quality of service we got from Prakash.
- Every day he would tell us of our route and schedule in advance and check it was okay with us.
- At every meal, in every tea house, he would bring us our menus, take our order and then bring us our food.
- In the evenings he would give us mini lessons about the mountains (if we wanted! It wasn't forced on us!) where we would learn things like out of the 14 highest mountains in the world 8 (or maybe 9?!) are in Nepal!
- He would go at our pace every day and never complain we were stopping too much.
- He taught us trekking songs as we walked! (Again only if we were interested, it wasn't forced on us!)
- He played cards or connect four with us in the evenings, translated if we wanted to talk to other people etc.
- When I got sick he was kind, sweet and understanding - and immediately adjusted our itinerary so we could rest for one day.
- He would phone ahead from the mountain (if he could get network!) to make sure there was a bed for us in the best tea houses.
- He would answer all our questions about life and customs in Nepal so we could better understand the c
- He talked and made friends with lots of people along the way, even helped strangers as he helped us, and generally made our days better by being so cheerful and flexible all the time.
- Now, very quickly here is a list of things I wish someone had told me before we went trekking in Nepal:
Book with Outfitter Nepal, they're the best!