Here is a bit of practical information regarding your visit to Nepal and Annapurna Yoga Retreats. We have plenty more information we can send you, but didn’t want to overwhelm you here. If you have any further questions, just ask, and we will clarify as best we can.
- Visas for Nepal
- Getting to the retreat at Kalopani village
- Internet and telephones
- Money exchange
Some good places to stay
Visas for Nepal are available on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport. A single entry visa for 30 days costs USD 40, for 90 days USD 100, this can be paid in any major currency. Your passport must be valid for six months and a full page is needed for the visa. A passport photo is also needed so please remember to bring this along with you.
For more information on visas visit:
Regarding flights to Nepal, they can be quite fully booked in spring as it is also trekking season so, if possible, try to book in advance.
For more about getting to and from Nepal visit:
Kalopani village lies within the Annapurna Conservation area. To enter this area for the yoga retreat or any trekking you may be doing, an ACAP, Annapurna Conservation Area Permit, will be needed. There are ACAP Offices in both Pokhara and Kathmandu (see addresses below), permits are issued immediately and the cost is Rs 2000 (about USD 23), two passport photos will also be needed. On the ACAP form please mark off the Annapurna Circuit Trek, the trekking route that Kalopani village lies on. If you are doing any personal trekking mark off the additional routes as well.
For some of the trekking routes a TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System) card may also be needed. Rules regarding TIMS cards tend to change, so it is best to ask about this at the ACAP Office.
Below are the addresses of the two ACAP offices, they are not far from the tourist centres and are well known to the taxi drivers.
Pokhara Office Damside
Open: 10am-5pm Sun-Fri, 10am-3.30pm Sat
Kathmandu Office Pradashanti Marg, Kathmandu
Open: 9am-5pm Sun-Fri, 9am-2pm Sat
For more about ACAP visit: http://www.visitnepal.com/acap/
The easiest way to get to the Annapurna region is via Pokhara. To get from Kathmandu to Pokhara one can either take the tourist bus (five hours, Rs 450 to 600, about USD 6) or you can fly (30 mins, about USD 100 one way). The tourist buses are comfortable and tickets can be bought at any travel agent in Kathmandu, usually even the day before travelling. There are a number of flights between Pokhara and Kathmandu every day, these can be booked with local, overseas or on-line travel and trekking agencies.
From Pokhara there are a number of possibilities to reach Kalopani. Which one you choose depends largely on what you would most enjoy seeing in the region and the time you have available. Below is a short guide to the various options.
The Annapurna region offers some of the loveliest trekking in the world. The location of Annapurna Yoga retreats offers a unique opportunity to combine the retreat with some personal trekking.
To reach the starting point of the Annapurna treks one can take busses, jeeps or a taxi from Pokhara. From there the beauty of the Annapurnas can be explored in the most memorable of ways, on foot. Kalopani lies on the Annapurna Circuit Trek, however, all of the Annapurna routes - the Circuit, the Sanctuary and the Short Treks - can be linked up to it.
For more information on the treks in this region click on our Trekking in & out section at the top of the page.
If you are not walking to Kalopani, flying is by far the easiest option. There are daily flights from Pokhara to Jomsom and vice-versa. The flights cost about USD 100 one way and take about half an hour. These flights can be quite fully booked in trekking season, so try to book at least three weeks in advance. All mountain flights leave quite early in the morning, when the weather is at its best.
Jomsom is a village about two hours drive from Kalopani. If you are flying into Jomsom on the morning that the retreat begins a jeep will be arranged to pick you up. If you have your flight out the day after the end of the retreat, a jeep will be arranged to take you to Jomsom airport. If you are arriving or leaving from Jomsom at any other date there are also regular public buses and shared jeeps that run between Kalopani village and Jomsom.
Alternatively, if you are flying but have a few extra days, the two-day walk between Kalopani and Jomsom is truly beautiful. From Jomsom one can also continue up to Muktinath, one of the holiest sites in Nepal, and then walk back down to Jomsom again. This walk follows the ancient and spectacular pilgrimage trail, taking you to the very edge of Upper Mustang, it takes an additional three to four days but, if possible, should not be missed.
Due to the small size of aeroplanes used for mountain flights baggage allowance is 15kg, no excess baggage is allowed. These flights also depend on clear weather so it is best to leave at least a three-day gap between your mountain flight and any international flights that you might have.
If you would like to book a flight for Jomsom but do not know who to contact, a very helpful travel agent in Kathmandu is Pupil Travel and Tours, http://www.pupiltravel.com/. You can write to the Managing Director, Mr. Baburam Rasaili, at info[at]pupiltravel[dot]com or pupiltravel[at]yahoo[dot]com If needed they can book the Jomsom flights for you and you can pay when you arrive in Kathmandu.
Bus and jeep from Pokhara to Kalopani
This is another possibility for reaching Kalopani, however it is a rather long trip (two days) and public buses and jeeps in Nepal tend to be cramped and uncomfortable.
To get from Pokhara to Kalopani one would first need to take a bus to Beni (about 6 hours, Rs 300), and from there a bus or shared jeep up to Tatopani (Rs 300, about two hours). Tatopani is a good place to spend a night and relax in the natural hot springs. From Tatopani a bus or shared jeep can be taken to Ghasa ( Rs 400, about two hours) and from Ghasa a final bus will take you to Kalopani (Rs 150, about 45 mins).
Alternatively, it is a lovely two day walk from Tatopani to Kalopani.
For more on domestic flights and travel in Nepal visit:
Officially you do not require any immunisations to enter Nepal, however it is a good idea to read up on suggested vaccinations and see what feels appropriate for you. In Nepal travellers frequently fall ill from the food and water. The golden rule regarding food is: if you can’t cook it, peel it or boil it, don’t eat it. Water should be bottled or boiled.
Please read up a little on vaccinations and health in Nepal. Some good web-sites to consult are:
Please be aware that Annapurna Yoga Retreats does not have any form of insurance that can provide medical assistance for participants on retreat, we ask that you take this into consideration and ensure that you can cover your own medical expenses if needed. Because of the rather remote location of Kalopani village we would be most at ease if everyone on retreat had private travel-insurance and that their insurance policy covers emergency repatriation and helicopter evacuation (helicopter evacuation can cost between US $2,500 - 3,000). When travelling in Nepal, it is always a good idea to double check that helicopter evacuation is indeed covered by your policy as many areas of Nepal are remote and difficult to access.
Internet is available, although a little slow, at Kalopani guesthouse. If you are doing some trekking, internet is also available on most trekking routes.
International and local telephone calls can be made all along the trekking routes, and in Kalopani village, wherever one sees an STD/ISD sign.
Mobile SIM cards can only be purchased by Nepalese citizens. However, we do have mobile phones on retreat and our contact numbers (see our contacts page) can be given to friends and family if they have an urgent need to contact you.
It is recommended to bring all the money you may need in the mountains with you in Nepalese rupees. In Jomsom some banks do exchange foreign currency and travellers cheques, there is even an ATM when electricity is working, however it is best to keep this as a back up option. Along the Annapurna trails some places do exchange money, but the exchange rate is usually far from good.
Spring is one of the best times to visit the Annapurna region. The weather is mild and the sky, especially in the mornings, is very clear. May is often the hottest month of the year and here, high in the mountains, the warmth is most welcome. From April until the end of May, temperatures in the day tend to be warm, between 20 to 25°C, and in the evenings it is a little cooler, about 10 to 15 °C. In May, there can at times be a short shower of rain in the afternoons as monsoon weather slowly approaches.
Often when arriving in a new country it can be a bit daunting to find a comfortable place to stay when you don't yet know your way around. These are places we have enjoyed staying at in both Kathmandu and Pokhara. They are all fairly reasonably priced guest houses or hotels, well situated and comfortable with friendly and helpful management and staff.
The Sacred Valley Inn at Kathmandu: http://www.sacredvalleyinn.com/
This is a very centrally located guest house/hotel in Thamel. It is one of the most enjoyable places I have found to stay in Kathmandu, with a rooftop restaurant, comfortable, modern rooms and bathrooms and a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere for Kathmandu. They also have a guest house in Pokhara.
Nanohana Lodge in Pokhara. The upstairs rooms in this guest house are the rooms I would ask for, they are very airy and light with lovely mountain views. Nanohana Lodge is well located as it is fairly close to the Lakeside but still in a quiet and peaceful area. You can e-mail the owner Mr. Kul Bahadur Acharya at: nanohana_lodge[at]hotmail[dot]com or telephone him at: Tel.: +977 9856020499 or +977 61 464478
A truly wonderful place to spend some time while in Pokhara is the Castle Resort. It is on the hillside above Pokhara, out of the hustle and bustle yet only a few minutes walk from the Lakeside. This place has a real holiday feel to it. It is a little pricier than many places in Pokhara but well worth it. It has wonderful gardens, a swimming pool, a great restaurant, cosy bungalows with views over the lake and a warm and friendly atmosphere. It is run by Joe and Sofia Hammond. http://www.pokharacastle.com/