FAQ for Tibet

QUESTIONS PERTAINING TO PERMIT 

1. Do I need a Chinese tourist VISA to enter China and Tibet?
Singaporeans do not require a visa for China (including Tibet) for up to 15 days. For nationalities of other countries, please refer to the link here: https://www.visaforchina.org/SGP_EN/generalinformation/visaknowledge/258911.shtml

2. What travel documents do I need to visit Tibet?
To visit Tibet, you need to have a valid passport, a Chinese tourist VISA and a Tibet Travel Permit. You can apply for the Chinese tourist VISA by yourself via the Chinese VISA Application Center in your home country (http://www.visaforchina.com.sg/). As for the Tibet Travel Permit, only a travel agency can arrange this for you as part of an organized tour. Certain areas of Tibet (for example Gyanste, Shigatse, Everest Basecamp etc.) also require an additional permit called Aliens’ Travel Permit which can be easily applied by the guide at the Public Security Bureau when you arrive in Lhasa. When you book the tour with us, we will obtain the Tibet Travel Permit for you. You just need to email us the scanned copies of your passports and Chinese tourist VISA and we will take care of the rest for you.

3. What exactly is the Tibet Travel Permit?
In addition to a Chinese tourist VISA, all foreigners travelling to any part of Tibet must also have a Tibet Travel Permit (TTP). The TTP is issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau (a Chinese government agency) in Lhasa. The first page lists your itinerary, travel destination and travel dates within Tibet while the second page lists the travellers’ particulars (name, gender, date of birth, nationality, passport number, profession). TTP is only valid for the duration of your stay in Tibet. You will be asked to show the TTP during your flight or train check-in. During your travel, you might also be asked to present the TTP at the various security checkpoints within Tibet.

4. How do I collect the TTP before taking the flight or train?
If you are taking a flight from China into Tibet, you should have the original TTP in order to board the flight. Our local representative in China will send the original TTP via EMS (Epress Mail Service) registered mail to your hotel in China. The delivery time takes about 24-72 hours. You can collect the mail from the hotel reception when you check-in. If you do not have a long layover in China, we will arrange a dispatcher to deliver the TTP to you at the airport. If you are taking the train into Tibet, you just need to have a copy (not original) of the TTP. We will email you a copy of the TTP which you need to print out and bring along to check-in at the train station.

5. Are there any restrictions on group size and nationality?
As of 2016, there is no restriction on number of travellers in a group and nationality. You can travel alone in Tibet with the company of a local tour guide and driver (for travel outside Lhasa) as long as you have all the valid travel documents (passport, VISA and TTB). However it will be very pricey to travel alone in Tibet. For cost saving, you might want to get some friends to form a private group or join an existing open group tour.

6. Is it possible to travel free and easy in Tibet?
No one is allowed to travel free and easy in Tibet. Everyone has to be accompanied by a local tour guide in a private or open group tour. Other than a tour guide, you will also need to have a private vehicle and a driver (not the same person as the guide) if you are visiting areas outside Lhasa.

7. What is the difference between private group tour and open group tour?
For private group tour, you will form your own group with your friends or family with no other strangers. There is no minimum or maximum size limit for private group tour. However the package price per is generally lower for bigger group size. You will have the flexibility to decide on the details of the itinerary like places of interest to visit, tour commencement date and duration etc. For open group tour, you will be part of an existing group with guaranteed departure date. Your fellow travel companions could be from any countries in the world. All open group tours have fixed itineraries and departure dates which usually cannot be changed. All our open group tours have a maximum group size of only 9 pax. There is no minimum group size, the tour will still proceed at the stated price even if only 1-2 people sign up for the open group tour.

8. What is the latest time we have to confirm our trip?
During the peak travelling season from June to October, you should try to confirm the trip with us no later than 2 months before your trip commencement date. Outside the peak travelling season when travel resources are not so tight, it should be fine to confirm the trip at least 1 month before commencement date.

QUESTIONS PERTAINING TO TRANSPORT

1. What are the main gateway cities to Tibet?
Chengdu is the main gateway city to fly into Lhasa. You can also fly into Lhasa from other cities like Chongqing, Xian and Shanghai. However flying from Chengdu (approx. 2 hrs) will be the most convenient as there are more than a dozen flights per day connecting Chengdu and Lhasa (more than 30 flights a day). A number of airlines like SilkAir, Air China and Sichuan Airlines fly direct (approx. 4.5 hrs) from Singapore to Chengdu.

If you have more time and do not mind long distance train ride, you can consider taking a train into Lhasa. The 1956 km Qinghai-Tibet Railway link, which passes through some of the best sceneries in Qinghai and Tibet, begins in Xining and ends in Lhasa. Other than Xining, you can also board the train in other cities (which also connect to the Qinghai-Tibet Railway) like Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. However, in terms of ease of securing tickets, travelling time and scenery, Xining is widely considered to be the best place to start your train journey to Lhasa (approx. 22 hrs).

2. How do I collect the air ticket or train ticket if I book the tour with you?
For air travel, we will email the e-ticket to you, which together with the TTP, are the only documents you need to exchange for the boarding pass at the airport. For train travel, we will arrange for the train tickets to be delivered to your hotel in China. If you do not have a long layover in China, we will arrange a dispatcher to deliver the train ticket to you at the train station.

3. Is it difficult to secure the train ticket to Tibet?
Train tickets to Tibet are in very high demand and is extremely difficult to acquire them yourselves without going through a travel agency. First there are limited trains to Tibet and each train has only two soft-sleeper coaches and eight hard-sleeper coaches which translates to a total of 64 soft-sleeper berths and 480 hard-sleeper berths. A few hundreds sleepers is really negligible considering that thousands of visitors enter Tibet each day. Secondly, most of the available slots, especially soft sleepers, are reserved for officials from government and its related organizations. Thirdly, the tickets are always and quickly snatched up by numerous travel agencies and ticket-dealing agents the moment they are released for sales. Due to this market’s dynamics, train ticket to Tibet invariably comes with a high surcharge usually at least RMB 300 more than its face value. The average prices of one way train tickets (before surcharge) from Xining to Lhasa are around RMB 450-500 and RMB 750-800 for hard-sleeper and soft-sleeper respectively. Train tickets are released for sales 60 days ahead of departure date. To increase your chance of getting train ticket, we strongly encourage you to confirm the trip with us at least 2 months in advance.

4. What if we do not manage to secure the train tickets?
If you do not manage to get the train tickets, you will have to travel by air. There are more than 30 flights a day between Chengdu and Lhasa so getting a seat on the plant should not be much of a problem (provided you confirm the trip in advance). Nevertheless, we will try our very best to secure the train tickets for you if you would like to travel by train.

5. How much is the airfare from Chengdu to Lhasa?
The average airfare for a one way flight from Chengdu to Lhasa is about RMB 1600-1700. We do not impose any surcharge for flight booking.

6. What are the coach classes available on the train?
There are three coach classes on the train; soft seat, hard sleeper and soft sleeper. Soft seat is just a normal seating coach where passengers sit next to one another. Most of the local Tibetans and Chinese (except for the more affluent ones) travel in this class. The soft seat coach is usually crowded with passengers and their luggages, so travelling in this class will not be so comfortable. In hard sleeper, there are 6 sleeping berths to a cabin: an upper, middle and lower berths on each side of the cabin. In soft sleeper, there are 4 sleeping berths to a cabin; an upper and lower berths on each side of the cabin. The cushion used in soft sleeper is softer than that used in the hard sleeper, but the hard sleepers are reasonably well padded and comfortable enough for a good sleep. Soft sleeper is about 50% more expensive than hard sleeper, therefore if you can consider hard sleeper if you are tight on budget.

7. Are there meals provided on the train?
Meals are not included in the package but there is a restaurant in the train where you can purchase your meals. The restaurant usually serves egg, bread and milk for breakfasts and an assortment of Chinese and Tibetan dishes with rice or noodles for lunch and dinner.

8. Is boiled water available on the train?
Boiled water is available for free on the train.

9. Are there shower facilities in the train?
Shower is not available in the train so you have to wait till you arrive in Lhasa.

10. What time should i arrive at the train station?
You should arrive at the train station at least 2 hrs before the train departure time for the check-in process.

11. Are foreigners allowed to take public transport in Tibet 
It is perfectly fine for foreigners to take public transport like buses and taxi within Lhasa (with the exception of train station and airport transfers). Public transport is relatively cheap and readily available within Lhasa. However, outside of Lhasa, all foreigners must travel together with their with their driver and tour guide in private vehicle.

QUESTIONS PERTAINING TO ACCOMMODATIONS AND MONEY

1. What are the accommodations in Tibet like?
There is a wide range of accommodations in Lhasa, ranging from luxury 5-star international hotels like Saint Regis, Shangri-La and Sheraton to locally owned and managed standard 3-star hotels. Choice of accommodation outside of Lhasa is limited and will be simpler, but it is still relatively easy to find private room accommodations with attached toilets and hot showers. At the Everest Base Camp area, the only accommodations available are the EBC tent guesthouse and the Rongbuk Monastery Guesthouse; both of which are without attached toilets and hot showers.

2. What are the food options in Tibet?
Lhasa has a good selection of restaurants ranging from Italian, American to Indian. There are also some fast food restaurants in Lhasa. Outside Lhasa, most of the restaurants and eateries serve only Chinese or Tibetan dishes. Traditional Tibetan food is pretty basic and consists mainly of barley, meat and dairy products. The most common dishes are Tsampa (roasted barley), Balep (Tibetan bread), momos (steamed dumplings filled with meat or vegetables), and Thukpa (noodle soup). Meat dishes are likely to be yakgoat, or mutton, often dried or cooked in a spicy stew with potatoes. Yak yoghurtbutter, and cheese are also frequently eaten.

3. What is the approximate cost of a meal in Tibet?
A simple Tibetan or Chinese meal costs about RMB 15-20 per pax while dining at a restaurant serving international cuisine will cost about RMB 50-75 per pax.

4. What is the currency of Tibet?
As in the rest of China, the Chinese Yuan (RMB) is the legal currency in Tibet.

5. Are there any Automated Teller Machine (ATM) in Tibet?
International access ATMs dispensing RMB can be found in Lhasa and Shigatse but not in other smaller cities or towns. However, we would not recommend you to rely on ATM for your cash withdrawal as ATM breakdown is not uncommon in Tibet and the exchange rate may not be good.

6. Is credit card acceptable in Tibet?
Major Credit cards like Visa, MasterCard and JCB are accepted in most upscale shops and restaurants in Lhasa and Shigatse but not in other smaller cities or towns.

7. Is it customary to tip while traveling in Tibet?
Tipping is not an established practice in China. You will not be expected to tip service staff who provide only one time short service like taxi driver, waiter, hotel porter etc. However as a token of appreciation, we do encourage you to tip service staffs like guide and driver who provide round the clock services especially for good services. A good ball park figure would be about RMB 50-80 per day for a guide and RMB 30-60 per day for a driver for the whole group.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

1. When is the best time to visit Tibet?

Tibet can be visited any time of the year, though depending on your interests, certain times may be better than others. Most people visit Tibet during the summer and autumn months from June to early October as the weather is more soothing. This is also the peak period where prices are higher and availability of train tickets can be a challenge. The rainy season is from July to August but this is also the time when the mountains are lush and filled with blooms of wildflowers. The plus side is: it usually only rains at night rather than in the day. The winter months from November to February are the coldest with night temperatures hitting sub-zero. However, the skies are exceptionally clear, giving spectacular views of the Himalayas. There are also lesser tourists thus the travelling cost is lower.

2. When should I avoid visiting Tibet?
Due to concerns of political protest, the Chinese government closes Tibet to foreign visitors every year from mid February to end March. Tibet will be also be crowded with Chinese tourists during the Golden Week holidays which fall on 1st week of May and 1st week of October.

3. What is High Altitude Sickness?
High altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness is an illness that can affect mountain climbers, hikers or travellers at high altitudes, usually above 2400m. It is caused by reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at high altitudes. Any travellers who flies or buses into Lhasa, where elevation is around 3600m, is likely to experience some symptoms of high altitude sickness. Symptoms from mild to moderate altitude sickness may include dizziness, fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, nausea. Altitude sickness can further progress to high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) or high altitude cerebral edema (HACE), which is potentially fatal.

4. How do I prevent high altitude sickness?
The best way to prevent altitude sickness is to ascend gradually so that your body can become acclimatized to the changing altitude. If you fly into Lhasa, take it easy for the first 2 days in order to get acclimatized to the high altitude in Tibet. For more info on high altitude sickness; its symptoms, prevention and treatment, refer to the link here: http://www.traveldoctor.co.uk/altitude.htm

5. Is travel insurance provided in the package?
Travel insurance is not included in the package. We strongly recommend you to procure your own travel insurance before embarking on the Tibet trip. You may also procure travel insurance through us: http://iwannatravel.com.sg/aigtravelguard. For more information, please refer to the brochure (http://iwannatravel.com.sg/downloads/AIG_TravelGuard_Brochure.pdf) and policy wordings (http://iwannatravel.com.sg/downloads/AIG_TravelGuard_PolicyWording.pdf

6. What do I need to pack for the Tibet trip?
Warm clothings will be needed even in summer as the night temperature can get pretty cold. Sunglasses and sunscreen will be needed to block off the harsh sun rays at the high altitude. As a lot of walking will be expected, you will need a good pair of comfortable covered shoes. High altitude sickness medication is also recommended especially for people who have not travelled to high altitude places before. A detailed packing list will be provided to you upon trip confirmation.

Posted in FAQ

FAQ for North Korea

6 Sep 2017 – In view of the recent developments at North Korea and in line with MFA’s travel advisory, we will be suspending all tours to North Korea until further notice.

1. When is the best time to visit North Korea?
North Korea can now be visited all year round. For moderate weather, August to November and March to June would be the recommended months.  Most visitors, however, try to coincide their visits with national holidays or celebrations.

2. Do I need a VISA to visit North Korea?
A VISA is required to visit North Korea except if you are traveling on a Malaysian passport or a member of the Singaporean Business Association. As these rules change from time to time, check with us before the trip. We can help travellers organise the VISA. All we need is a filled up application form and a clear coloured soft copy of your passport. You need not submit your physical passport to us.

3. Is visiting North Korea safe?
Despite what has been portrayed in the media, North Korea is probably one of the safest countries to visit with one of the lowest crime rates. Even during times of international political tensions, tourism remains unaffected. Tourists are warmly welcomed and well taken care of. As long as you listened to the guides, you would be fine. Take the chance to get to know the country and you will be surprised!

4. What is the time difference between North Korea and Singapore?
North Korea’s on UTC +8:30, 30 minutes faster compared to Singapore. This means when it is 11am in Singapore, it is 1130am in North Korea. China has the same timezone as Singapore.

5. What vaccination is required for North Korea?
As far as we are aware, no vaccination is necessary. But it is always a good idea to seek advice from your doctor.

6. What currency should I bring to North Korea?
You should bring EUR and RMB as prices are usually set in both currencies. We suggest bringing a mixture of both and use one which is more favourable for the purchase. Credit cards and ATM cash withdrawal will not be available.

7. How much money should I bring to North Korea?
You will not be expected to spend much money. For the average traveller, EUR 300 or RMB equivalent will be enough for expenses such as tips, drinks and souvenirs.

8. What is the tipping culture in North Korea?
Yes, tipping is expected for your North Korean guides and driver. We recommend giving a gift when you first arrive at your hotel during the sit-down with your guides. Suitable gifts will be cigarettes and liquor for male guides and chocolates and perfume for female guides. A suitable place to buy these gifts will be from Beijing airport. This gesture helps to pave the way for your trip and your guides will more likely try their best to accommodate to the group’s request. At the end of the trip, a cash tip of around EUR 7 per day to the shared by the guides and driver will be much appreciated. As with any service industry, these tips will greatly help to supplement their income.  Tips to service staff at the hotels and restaurants are generally not necessary. Of course, if you are feeling generous, it doesn’t hurt to give a small tip.

9. What plugs and voltages do North Korea uses?
Please see http://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/north-korea/. Most hotels will be able to provide adaptors for you. However, it is definitely more convenient to bring your own international travel adaptor.

10. Can I bring my mobile phone, tablet and laptop into North Korea?
Tourists are now allowed to bring all these into North Korea. But do note that tourists will not be able to buy a local sim card. Limited international calls and internet access can be had at certain hotels. For internet access, many sites are restricted and connection is not the most reliable.

11. Is there any dress code in North Korea?
Jeans used to be frowned upon in North Korea. But these days, you can basically dress in any way as long as it is not disrespectful. However, if you are visiting Kumsusan Palace of the Sun (Mausoleum), please dress in smart casual. Pants with shirt or blouse with covered shoes will be appropriate.

12. Which nationalities are not allowed into North Korea?
South Koreans traveling on a Korea (ROK, South Korea) passport are restricted from visiting DPRK. Americans are no longer allowed to visit DPRK. Japanese passport holders are allowed into North Korea but as there is a monopoly agreement between KITC and Chugai Travel, Japanese has to travel via Chugai Travel based in Japan.

13. How advance should I book a trip to North Korea
We need at least 2 months notice to apply for visa and submit the necessary documentations.

14. Where does the tour starts?
The tour starts and end at Beijing. Beijing is the most convenient place because of the frequent flights to Pyongyang and overnight train option. Customers would have to arrange their flight and visa arrangements (double entry) to Beijing.  Be sure to arrive a day before the trip for pre-trip briefing and in case of travel delays.

Posted in FAQ

Open Trip Calendar

Featured

If you are keen in seeking new adventures, open to new experiences, making new friends, welcome to join in our open trips! We will be updating the calendar throughout the year, so do check back regularly to join in our activities. If you have any fun or interesting ideas, do drop us a note as well! We are always keen to explore new places!

See you in one of our trips soon!

Check out our Open Trip Calendar here: http://iwannatravel.com.sg/events/

 

Upcoming Open Trip: Taiwan Xueshan (Snow Mountain) Climb

Open Trip Dates: 20th-22nd Feb 2016                                     

Standing at a towering height of 3,886m, Xue Shan (雪山), which literally means Snow Mountain in English, is the second highest mountain in Taiwan. It is also the highest point of the Syue Mountain Range, which stretches northeast to southeast across Taiwan. This magnificent peak is located in the Shei-Pa National Park (雪霸国家公园) which is also home to 50 other mountains above 3000 meters. The trail goes through a variety of interesting ecosystems ranging from sub-tropical forests, grassland, cypress and cedar forests to the alpine shrubland. Snow, rarely seen in the other parts of Taiwan, is conversely commonly seen on this mountain in the winter months. With its whole peak beautifully covered in ablanket of snow – reminiscence Of Swiss Alps, this setting provides avid hikers a good opportunity to experience snow trekking on crampons. At the summit, the 360 degree panorama view at the summit with the morning sun rising from a sea of clouds and casting its first rays on the snowly landscape is a sight to behold.

Detailed Itinerary: http://iwannatravel.com.sg/2d2n-xue-shan-snow-mountain-climb

Meeting Venue: Taipei Main Station

Trekking Duration: 2D2N

Expected Group Size: 6 Pax

Price: SGD550 Per Pax

Package Includes:

  • All land transport from Taipei to Xue Shan National Park and back
  • One night accommodation in  homestay in Nan Shan Village
  • One night accommodation in  369 Cabin
  • Park entrance fee and climbing permit
  • Local trekking guide
  • 2 x breakfast, 1 x lunch and 1 x dinner

Package Excludes:

  • Return international air tickets
  • Travel insurance
  • All meals not indicated in above
  • Porters to carry personal belonging
  • All expenses of a personal nature

Packing List: Provided upon booking confirmation.

More Questions? Read through our Xueshan frequently asked questions (FAQ) and get them answered!

Due to the small group size, registration confirmation will be on a first come first served basis.

Contact us to register your interest today!

Guide to Gunungs in Indonesia

Featured

Here is a guide to the Gunungs in Indonesia that iwannatravel currently offers. We do note that this is only a small percent of the many many mountains in Indonesia, but do check back regularly as we strive to add in new destinations and options for you.

Name of Gunung Hiking Time** Level
Gunung Bintan 2-3 Hours Beginner
Gunung Bromo 3-4 Hours Beginner
Kawah Ijen 4-6 Hours Beginner
Gunung Batur 4-5 Hours Beginner
Gunung Sibayak 4-5 Hours Beginner
Gunung Sinabung 7-8 Hours Beginner
Gunung Gede & Gunung Pangrango 2 Days 1 Night Intermediate
Gunung Inerie 8-10 Hours Intermediate
Gunung Agung 10-12 Hours Intermediate
Gunung Kerinci 2 Days 1 Night Intermediate
Gunung Rinjani 3 Days 2 Nights Advanced
Gunung Semeru 3 Days 2 Nights Advanced

** Estimate based on a average hiker who exercises regularly (e.g.: able to jog 4 km within 30 mins)

 

Legend:
Green: Beginner
Yellow: Intermediate
Red: Advanced

Check out our list of Gunungs In West Malaysia as well!

FAQ for Goechala

1. When is the best time for the Goechala Trek?
The best time to go for the Goechala Trek is the summer period – from April to June, when the weather is cool with beautiful flowers such as Rhododendrons in full bloom, and the autumn period – from mid-September to early November, when the clear skies offer good views of the mountain ranges and their peaks.

2. Where is the gateway to the Goechala Trek?
The trailhead of the Goechala Trek is in the Sikkim town of Yuksom which is an 8 hr drive from Bagdogra Airport. Bagdogra is accessible via a 1 hr domestic flight from Kolkata City via Indigo Airline, SpiceJet or Jet Airways.

3. What is the temperature like in the mountains?
In autumn, the temperatures in the day vary between 13°C to 20°C while the temperatures at night may vary between 2°C to 7°C. For campsites at higher altitudes (like Thangsing and Lamuney), it is possible for the temperature at night to drop below freezing point.

4. What is the level of difficulty for this trek?
This is a challenging trek due to its high altitude and cold weather. You should be of reasonable fitness (a good guideline is able to run 4km within 30 min) towards the expedition date. It is not necessary to have experience in high altitude trekking but some experience in long hours of trekking (7-9 hrs trekking for consecutive days) is preferable. Please do not underestimate the difficulty of the trek.

5. How many hours do we trek each days?
In this 11D10N Goechela Trekking Program, there are 8 consecutive days of trekking altogether. The average trekking duration is about 6-8 hours daily. However, on certain days (Day 02: YUKSOM–TSHOKA, Day10: LAMUNEY–GOECHALA–THANGSING), you will have to trek for up to 10 hours a day. (Timings are estimated and depend on the individual trekker’s physical stamina, acclimatization level and actual ground conditions). The average trekking distance is about 10km per day.

6. What is acute mountain sickness (AMS) and will I experience it during the trek?
Acute mountain sickness (AMS) occurs at high altitudes of 2500m or more. As you will be trekking above 3000m on most days, reaching up to an altitude of around 4800m (at Goechala Pass), AMS is a real and possible condition that you may experience. To prepare yourself, please understand its symptoms, prevention and treatment from the link here: http://www.traveldoctor.co.uk/altitude.htm.

7. What clothes should l wear for the trek?
A dri- fit synthetic material shirt (can be either short or long sleeve) as the base layer, a good quality fleece jacket/woollen pull-over as the middle layer and a wind- proof down jacket as the outer layer. A waterproof and windproof trekking pants is preferable. Other accessories include woollen socks, waterproof winter gloves, scarf and beanie. A pair of Long Johns for additional cold protection at night will be useful.

8. What types of footwear are recommended for the trek?
A pair of trekking shoes (that you have worn before) with good traction. Mid or high-cut shoes are preferred over low-cut ones for better ankle grips and to prevent loose soils from getting into the shoes.

9. Do I need a trekking stick for the trek?
A pair of hiking stick is highly recommended for this long distance trekking.

10. What is the accommodation like on the Goechala trek?
You will be camping in tent with winter sleeping bag and sleeping mat provided.

11. How much drinking water will be provided during the trek?
Each person will be allocated 2-3 litres of drinking water (boiled water) for each day of the trek. You will have to opportunity to top up water into your water bottle/bag during meal or rest breaks.

12. What kind of meals are provided during the trek?
Breakfast: Toast with jam, scramble egg, pancake, cereal, mashed potatoes, cereal etc.
Lunch and Dinner: Salad, sandwich, momos, noodles, rice, Dal bhat, variety of vegetables and some meat dishes. Coffee, tea and biscuits will be served in between meals too. You can also have a chance to taste locally brewed millet beer in the village.

13. Can the guides and helpers speak English?
Our guides and guide assistants are conversant in English but the chef, horse-man and yak-man can only understand simple English.

14. What are the permits required for the Geochala Trek?
Two different permits are required; Sikkim Inner Line Permit and Trekking Permit.

Sikkim Inner Line Permit – All foreigners entering Sikkim have to obtain the Inner Line Permit (aka Restricted Area Permit; the whole state of Sikkim is considered a restricted area by the Indian Government). The permit can be applied on the spot at the Sikkim Tourism Office in Siliguri (about an hour drive from Bagdogra Airport). This permit must be applied for in person; i.e. you cannot rely on 3rd party (travel agency etc.) to apply on your behalf. Documents required for the permit application are 2 x recent passport size photo, 1 x passport photocopy and 1 x Indian VISA photocopy.

Trekking Permit – A trekking permit is required for trekking in any of the national parks in Sikkim. Iwannatravel will be able to apply for this permit in advance for you. Documents required for the permit application are clear scanned copy of recent passport size photo (high resolution JPEG Format), clear scanned copy of passport and clear scanned copy of Indian VISA.

15. What is the make-up of the trekking entourage?
The entourage for a group of 4-6 trekkers usually consists of a guide, a guide assistant, a chef, 2 chef assistants, 1-2 yak men and/or horse-men for managing the pack animals (either dzos or horses).

16. How much tips is appropriate for the guide and helpers (guide assistants, chef, chef assistant, horse-man, yak-man)?
Tipping is highly encouraged especially for good services. There is no minimum tipping amount; actual amount to tip is based on your own discretion. A decent figure would be around 3000 INR to the guide and around 1500 INR to each helper for the whole group.

17. Are there any specific requirement for luggage?
Please do not bring along any hard case luggage as it is very difficult to pack/secure hard case luggage onto the pack animals. Recommended bag types would be backpacks or duffle bags.

18. What happens if I get injured during the trek?
The mountain guides possess basic first aid skills and will be able to handle non-critical illness or injury. However, due to the rugged terrain, remoteness of the trekking route and infrastructure inadequacy in the region, prompt and reliable emergency recuse might not be readily available. Therefore it is of utmost important for the trekkers to be well trained and prepared for this trek, listen to the guide’s instruction, always stay together as a group and do not stray off from the designated trekking route. Listen to your own body and its signals; do not feel shy to voice out to the guide and your buddies if you do not feel well. Prevention is better than cure.

19. Is travel insurance provided in the package?
Travel insurance is not included in the package. We strongly recommend you to procure your own travel insurance (with emergency medical evacuation coverage) before embarking on the Goechala trek.

20. Do I need any specialized equipment for the trek?
This is a relatively straightforward trek along well defined path with no technical climbing skills required. Except for a set of winter wear, a good pair trekking shoes, a headlamp and trekking sticks, you do not need other specialized equipment for this trek. Upon booking confirmation, a detailed packing list will be provided to prepare you for your trip.

21. Do I need to hire additional porters to carry my luggage?
All the communal items (tents, sleeping bags, cooking utensils etc.) and personal luggage will be carried by pack animals (yaks and/or horses). This portage service is included in the package price. You do not need to hire additional porters to carry your personal luggage. However, you are expected to carry your own daypack (of 3-5 kg) which should contain only essential personal stuffs like medications, water, camera, valuables, poncho, windbreaker etc.

22. How do we apply for Indian VISA?
Indian VISA can be applied directly online via https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
For more info, please refer to the section “e-Tourist VISA” in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_India

23. What type of accommodation will we be staying in Yuksom and Darjeeling?
In Yuksom, we will arrange for Hotel Red Palace or similar http://www.hotelredpalace.com/
In Darjeeling, we will arrange for Grace Inn Hotel or similar http://graceinn.co.in/
Both hotels are clean and comfortable 3-star hotels with good online reviews in TripAdvisor.

Customized Retreats

Whether you are planning for a family gathering, an office retreat, a school trip, a club event or looking for special getaways, we are able to customize trips to meet your requirements on any dates that you prefer!

Whatever your objectives are – to foster family ties, reward or motivate staffs for their hard work, team building, church retreat or club excursion, we have countless of fun itineraries ready for you.

Our Specialities: No Frills, No Hidden Costs, and most importantly, Reasonably Priced retreats that are more value for money than anything similar you could find elsewhere.

We can customize day trips, multi-day trips, and incorporate outdoor activities that encourage team bonding like horse riding, go-karting, leisure hiking, firefly cruise, farm visits, etc.

Whether you are a nature lover, an outdoor enthusiast or adrenaline seekers, we will be able to put together a retreat that suits you and your family, friends or colleagues.

Gather more people (the more the merrier), and let us help to plan and create your memorable trip for you!

Our Past Corporate/Organisation Clients:

Advanced Holdings Ltd
Ang Partners
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Baxter Singapore
Boys Scouts of America (Stamford American International School)
Changi Airports International
Development Bank of Singapore
DSO National laboratories
Easmed Pte Ltd
Economic Development Board
Hock Chuan Heng Trading Co.
Kellogg Brown & Root
Keppel Land
MSIG
NTU Sport Club
NTU MAE Alumina
NUS ODAC Club
NUS Rover Club
NUS-Mountaineering Club
NUS-YALE College
Prison Sports & Recreation Club
SGAG Media
Singapore Institute of Management
St Andrew’s City Church
Super Bean International
TNT Surveillance Pte Ltd
Tampines Central Community Sports Club
Warren Golf & Country Club
Yarrow Medical Holdings Pte Ltd
YCH Group Pte Ltd

Contact us today to find out more!

31 Jan 2015 – 2D1N Mount Lambak Night Adventure Climb + Zenxin Organic Farm Visit in Kluang [Completed]

Date: Saturday, 31st Jan – 1st Feb 2015

Meeting Point: 3pm at taxi stand outside Marsiling MRT

Mount Lambak (or Gunung Lambak) stands at 510 metres tall and requires about 4 hours of hiking from the mountain base to the summit and back, making it a suitable mountain for beginners.

Calling out to all the night owls, hikers who are planning to go for sunrise summit climbs in Mount Rinjani / Mount Kinabalu as well as all nature- lovers, this climb has been specially organized with you in mind. This is a great opportunity for you to experience climbing in the night, where you can train your eyes to get used to the minimal lighting available (relying solely on your trusty headlights and moonlight), and more importantly, grow confidence in hiking in the dark.

Located at Kluang town in the Johor state, Malaysia, it is about three hours drive from Singapore, we will first head for dinner and have an early rest at Merdeka Hotel or similar. The night climb will begin at 3am, where we will target to reach the summit at 6am, in time for the day break. Watch the forest come abuzz with life as you hike down, retracing your steps and appreciating the difference in the lighting. We will enjoy our breakfast at the famous Kluang Rail Coffeeshop, before heading back to the hotel for a shower and rest. The afternoon will be spent at the Zenxin Organic Farm before heading back to Singapore.

I_Lambak_06

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Guide to Gunungs in West Malaysia

Featured

Gunung, the Malay word for Mountain, are aplenty in West Malaysia, and the wide range of options available serve as an excellent weekend getaway or a training ground for hikers based in Singapore.

Here is a guide to the Gunungs in West Malaysia that iwannatravel currently offers. We do note that this is only a small percent of the many many mountains in West Malaysia, but do check back regularly as we strive to add in new destinations and options for you.

Name of Gunung Hiking Time** Level
Gunung Pulai 3-4 Hours Beginner
Gunung Arong 2-3 Hours Beginner
Gunung Lambak 4-5 Hours Beginner
Gunung Panti 4-5 Hours Beginner
Gunung Datuk 5-6 Hours Intermediate
Gunung Angsi 7-8 Hours Intermediate
Gunung Belumut 8-9 Hours Intermediate
Gunung Irau 7-8 Hours Intermediate
Gunung Nuang 10-11 Hours Intermediate
Gunung Ledang 9-10 Hours Intermediate
Gunung Stong Multiple Days Advanced

** Estimate based on a average hiker who exercises regularly (e.g.: able to jog 4 km within 30 mins)

Legend:
Green: Beginner
Yellow: Intermediate
Red: Advanced

Check out our list of Gunungs In Indonesia as well!