Below are answers to RPN's most frequently asked questions about ecotrips.
Q. What makes RPN's ecotrips so great?
RPN specializes in red panda conservation travel. We believe that small groups are best for authentic wildlife viewing, providing meaningful nature experiences, and getting to know rural communities. Our small-groups have a minimum size of 2 and a maximum of 8. RPN's ecotrips are not the same old homogenous tours offered by most companies as we offer rare visits and wildlife experiences that are out of reach for the typical traveler. When trip participants return home they had a life experience, have a stronger connection with the natural world, and a deeper desire to protect it.
Q. What's the activity level on an ecotrip?
An RPN ecotrip is not your typical tour, it requires a moderate level of physical fitness, a desire for experiential learning, and a passion for exploring.
- RPN's trips include staying in hotels, home stays, and field explorations.
- Hiking can include distances of 8km-13km (5-8 miles) and require 5 to 7 hours of activity per day. Hikes will include frequent stops while tracking pandas.
- On some days there might be elevation gains of 3,000 feet.
- elevations on a trip can be as low as 91 m (300 ft) while traveling through low lands to reach mountainous areas, but the majority of your time will be spent between 2000 m (6,500 ft) to 3636 m (11,900 ft).
- Temperatures can range from 34 degrees C (94 F) to -8 degrees C (17 F) depending on location and the time of year.
- There might be times where you have limited access to electricity and bathrooms will be rustic (squat toilets).
- You might be eating and interacting with locals.
Q. Who are the trip leaders?
RPN understands that a successful ecotrip is dependant upon the experienced guide. Our guides are local conservationists and professional eco trip leaders who are passionate about red pandas and the communities involved in conservation. Guides are excited to share their knowledge and help others experience Nepal. RPN's trip leaders are well familiar with RPN's conservation program and trained in first aid.
Q: Can I join an ecotrip part-time?
At this time RPN does not allow participants to join an ecotrip on a part-time basis. RPN's ecotrips are not step-on/step-off tours, they are immersive experiences that advances red panda conservation, supports local communities, and encourages education for participants.
Q. Is there an age limit on an RPN ecotrip?
RPN requires that travelers be 16 years and older at the time of the trip.
Q. Are any vaccines required to travel to Nepal?
Generally no, but for the latest information visit cdc.gov/travel.
Q. Is crime a problem?
Major crimes against tourist are rare, though smaller crimes like pickpocketing can be problematic is some locations, especially in urban areas. RPN recommends that you carry a money belt and to keep valuables (passport, credit cards, etc) on you at all times.
Q. Can I drink the water in Nepal?
RPN provides travelers with ample supplies of bottled water throughout the duration of your trip. If you wish to bring a water filter for personal use please contact your local outdoor retailer.
Q. Can RPN accomodate vegetarian and vegan diets?
RPN can accomodate vegetarian and vegan diets, just let us know when you make your reservation.
Q. Will I get altitude sickness?
We recognize trip elevations might be higher than travelers are accustomed to and some might experience signs of altitude sickness. Our trip leaders do everything they can to avoid altitude sickness such as ensuring you are well hydrated and well rested, elevation changes are slow to allow for acclimatization.
Q. How much money should I bring with me on the trip?
We suggest having some spending money for gifts or souvenirs.
Q. What kind of visa do I need?
You will need a Nepal tourist visa. This can be purchased at the Kathmandu airport when you arrive. The cost is approximately $40 USD, this amount can fluxuate without notice.
Q. What is the currency and can I get local currency?
The currency of Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee. Rupees can be exchanged at the airport in Kathmandu and at ATMs and money exchangers near the hotel.
Q. How should I pack?
We ask that you pack light and only bring the essentials. You can view RPN's Gear & Equipment List here.
Q. What kind of luggage should I bring?
We recommend that you bring an 80-100 Lt backpack and a 30 Lt daypack to carry a camera, binoculars, water bottle, and extra clothing. Your packs should include a rain cover. Please do not bring a suitcase.
Q. Is there a weight limit for my gear?
Airlines flying in Nepal generally have a luggage weight limit of 20 kg (44 pounds) with a hand carry with 5 kg (11 pounds) weight.
Q. When should I arrive in/depart from Kathmandu?
Ideally, you’d arrive in the morning or early afternoon of the first trip date as it’ll give you some time to get settled in before the meet n’ greet group dinner. Arriving that evening is fine too. If you find that it is easier to arrive a day or two early that also works and we can help you book a hotel room for the extra nights (not included in cost). You will want to depart KTM the day after the ecotrip dates end.
Q. What kind of electrical adapter should I bring so I can charge my phone/camera/laptop?
We recommend “Type C” for electrical adapters though both C & D are used in Nepal.
- Adapter for “Type D ” Indian BS-546
- Adapter for “Type C” European CEE 7/16 Europlug
Q: Third-party travel & tour inquiries
RPN is a mission-based organization committed to the conservation of wild red pandas and their habitat through the education and empowerment of local communities. While we manage our ecotrip operations in-house, we recognize that others might be able to help advance our mission. RPN is open to ideas from quality tour operators and non-profit travel organizations with a strong record in sustainable operations, experiential learning, and a commitment to conservation travel. If you believe your business or organization can enhance RPN's ecotrips or operations, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.