Ecotrip FAQs

Explore red panda country with confidence on a Red Panda Network Ecotrip. Learn more about booking, what to expect on your trip, and more.

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Booking & Payment

When do I need to pay my ecotrip fee?

You must pay the minimum $500 deposit at the time of your reservation to hold your spot.

The remainder of the fee must be payed 60 days prior to departure at the latest.

All payments must be made via our Ecotrips Payment Form

Can I reschedule my trip after I pay the deposit?

You may transfer one time to another trip without penalty by notifying us 90 days or more prior to departure. After that time, you are subject to cancellation fees, listed under our cancellation policy.

Your deposit is fully transferable if you transfer to another trip or put your deposit ($500) on hold for a future trip before your final payment is due.

Can I travel solo to an RPN ecotrip?

RPN encourages single travelers to join us. Single room accommodations are available without a surcharge.

Can I travel with my friends and/or family?

Bring a friend or family member on your trip and they will qualify for a 10% discount on the trip price. We encourage groups of 2 or more as this guarantees the trip will happen as scheduled.

Is there an age limit for attending an RPN ecotrip?

Yes, all participants must be 16 years or older by the start of the trip.

What is RPN's cancellation policy?

Your deposit is fully refundable up to 15 days after you book. This only applies to deposits made a minimum of 15 days or more before your final payment is due  -- 60 days before departure. 90 days before departure, 90% of the program fee is refundable; 60 days before is 50% refundable; and 30 days before the trip is nonrefundable. Any refunds or transfers to other departures will be on a per-case basis.

Will RPN change or cancel my trip?

Red Panda Network reserves the right to cancel any trip due to inadequate enrollment or other causes that make the trip unfeasible to operate. Our trips require a minimum of two ecotrippers to run, so if no one else enrolls for your trip we reserve the right to cancel it and transfer you to a different date. If this happens we will inform you 45 days prior to departure, and we will offer a full refund or offer an alternate trip. RPN is not responsible for additional expenses incurred by members preparing or the trip (e.g. non-refundable advance purchase airfare, etc.).

In the unlikely event RPN needs to change an itinerary we will make reasonable efforts to substitute comparable accommodations. Should RPN be required to cancel a trip due to unforeseen circumstances, travelers will be granted a trip credit up to the amount paid, but RPN is not liable for accompanying purchase (gear, airline tickets, etc)

Cost: RPN makes every effort to keep our costs reasonable; however, cost increases due to foreign currency fluctuations, acts of God, etc. might raise prices. if this occurs we will notify you before the final payment. We will not increase prices after the final payment has been made.

Preparation - Documents & Money

Do I need a passport to travel to Nepal?

Yes, you will most likely need a passport to enter Nepal, but visit your country's Consular department for up-to-date passport and visa requirements. 

If you have less than 6 months remaining on your passport you will not be able to enter Nepal.

For more information for US citizens visit: travel.state.gov

What kind of visa do I need to enter Nepal?
  • You will need a tourist visa for Nepal. Learn more about Visa's at Nepal's Dept. of Immigration website.
    • You can purchase a Visa upon your arrival at Kathmandu airport (the cost is approximately $30 USD and you are required to bring two passport-sized photographs), though RPN does not suggest this method.
    • RPN recommends completing an online application for the Nepal Tourist Visa prior to your arrival.
How do I get a tourist visa?
  1. Go to: The Nepal Application for a Tourist Visa form. (Direct Link: http://online.nepalimmigration.gov.np/tourist-visa) Note: Complete the form no more than 15-days prior to your arrival. So, if your plane arrives on the 15th of the month, you can obtain your Visa beginning on the 1st. On the 16th, your online application will no longer be available.
  2. Make sure the page is titled, "Application for Tourist Visa."
  3. Complete your name, address information, etc. You will also need to provide your passport number and email address.
  4. Upload a recent digital passport photo, size: 1.5 inches (3.8cm) x 1.5 inches (3.8 cm).
  5. The form will give you the option to select "Hotel" or "Other," please select "Other."
  6. Complete the form to the best of your ability.  For the "Address in Nepal" section, enter RPN's office address in the following fields:

    House Number: 198
    Street Name: Dashrath Chand Marg
    Ward No: 4
    VDC/Municipality: Kathmandu Metropolitan
    District: Kathmandu

  7. Submit the form. You will be emailed a receipt with a barcode. BRING THIS WITH YOU as it will be needed to complete your Visa application for entering Nepal. It is suggested to bring cash to pay for the Visa (approximately $30 USD), though other payment methods are accepted.
Do I need travel insurance?

Though not required, RPN strongly encourages purchasing travel insurance to cover the cost of cancellation fees, airfare, and other nonrefundable expenses.

What vaccinations do I need?

RPN will be requiring participants to show proof they have the COVID-19 vaccination. Proof of vaccination is a requirement for entry into Nepal.

For the latest U.S. information visit the U.S. Embassy in Nepal webpage.

RPN suggests having both physical and digital copies of your proof of vaccination. For the physical copies, print out 2 copies and to carry one with you at all times, for the second, keep this in your luggage. Also, take a photo with your phone to keep this as a digital backup, or make sure your digital vaccination certificate is easily accessible on your phone.  If you decide to bring any original physical copies, RPN suggests having the additional backups mentioned above.

Generally, no other vaccinations are required to enter Nepal, but for the latest information visit the Nepal CDC webpage.

Should I bring additional money with me?
  • Travel, food, and accommodations are all covered in your trip cost (during the trip dates).
  • If you wish to have some money to spend on souvenirs, gift, or shopping you can convert money at the Kathmandu airport or obtain Rupees at ATMs near the hotel.
  • You will need $40 USD to pay for your tourist visa when you arrive at the airport.
  • Currency exchanges are located at the Kathmandu airport and local banks.
  • The currency of Nepal is the Nepalese Rupees are found in denominations of 1000, 500, 100, 50, 25, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins for rupees in amounts of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 are available.
What is the local currency and where can I exchange?

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.

Getting To and From Nepal

Which airport and airline should I use?
  • The starting point of our trips is the "TIA" Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu where a local driver will pick you up.
  • RPN works with local airlines in Nepal.
  • Many air carriers have unknown safety and maintenance records.
  • RPN is not liable for incidents involving airline safety, risk, delays or accidents involving injury or death.
  • Please read any conditions on your airline tickets.
When should I arrive in/depart from Nepal?
  • You should arrive in Kathmandu on the first day of your trip dates and depart the day after the final trip date (for example if your trip dates are Nov 21st – Dec 2nd then you would arrive on Nov 21st and depart on Dec 3rd).
  • 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-and-greet group dinner. Arriving that evening is fine, too. 
  • If you need to arrive early or depart late we can help you book a hotel for the extra nights (cost not included in price).
  • We CANNOT accommodate arrivals after the first trip date or departures that are before the final trip date.
  • RPN is not liable for if you miss any portion of your trip as a result of your late arrival, for whatever reason, at the starting point of the trip.
Can I arrive late or join an ecotrip part-time?

Participants are not able 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. 

RPN understands that air travel can be impacted by weather or unexpected delays. If your arrival in Kathmandu is delayed and you miss the first day of the trip, it is relatively easy to re-join the group. However, day 3 and on, we will be in the field and any expenses related to catching up to the program, transportation, accommodation, and meal expenses are the responsibility of the traveler. We strongly suggest purchasing travel insurance in the event of unforeseeable travel changes.

Packing & Gear

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. Do not bring a suitcase.

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.

Your luggage and larger packs will be transported by porters and jeep, which you will be able to leave behind (at the homestay/hotel/jeep) while you are hiking.

What gear should I bring?

We recommend packing lightly and only bringing the essentials. Be prepared to hike and for a variety of weather conditions. In order to obtain maximum comfort with minimum weight please bring versatile layers to create the right blend of insulation, ventilation, and weather protection. Lessen the possibility of hypothermia and avoid cotton-based clothing.

You can review the RPN Gear Checklist for more detailed information.

What type of adapters do I need for my electronics chargers?

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
Can I bring my drone?

No, drones are not permitted on RPN trips.

What to Expect on Your Ecotrip

What is included in my ecotrip?
  • Accommodations
  • Meals from dinner on day 1 through dinner on the final day
  • RPN professional guides
  • Transportation during the trip
  • Permits and park fees on the trip
  • Gratuities
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.

Where will I stay during my trip?

You will stay at homestays, hotels, and rustic teahouses. The homestays are welcoming, comfortable, and allow you to learn about Nepali culture from local people. Homestay, hotel, and teahouse personnel are trained in effective sanitation and food safety standards.

What's the activity level of the ecotrips?

Trip participants have the responsibility to select a trip appropriate to their abilities and interest; a moderate level of physical ability is needed on all of RPN's trips.

  • Our trips involve half to full-day hikes (5-7 hours) at distances of 8-13km (5-8 miles) during most days through broadleaf forests and on steep trails.
  • There might be significant elevation gains of up to 3,000 feet.
  • The lowest altitude you’ll experience is 91m and the highest is 3,636m, 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 will be eating and interacting with locals.

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.

What will the weather be like?

This trip involved treking through the Himalayan Cloud Forest, so be prepared for rainy and wet conditions. The average seasonal temperatures are:

Kathmandu: November/December 15°C / 8°C. March/April/May 28°C / 15°C
In the field: November/December 24°C / -8°C. March/April/May 34°C / -8°

Will I see a wild red panda or other wildlife?

RPN's programs specialize in tracking wild red pandas and every effort is made to plan itineraries where wildlife exists. You will be guided by RPN experts who frequently track, research, and work alongside red pandas and other wildlife in the Broadleaf Forest. However, it is not always possible to determine their precise locations which might impact the number of occurrences for spotting.

Who are the trip leaders and guides?

RPN's guides are local conservationists and professional ecotrip leaders who are passionate about red pandas and the communities that support them. Guides are excited to share their knowledge and help others experience Nepal from a local, sustainable perspective. RPN’s trip leaders are trained in first aid and they carry a group first-aid kit for your safety.

What will we eat and can RPN accomodate food preferences?

Travelers will be eating in restaurants, hotels, and homestay facilities. Homestay personnel are trained in effective sanitation and food safety standards.

RPN can accommodate meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans, just let us know if you have a preference when you make your reservation.

Can I drink the water in Nepal?

Whenever traveling to a new country, water safety is an important consideration. 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 feel free to do so.

Do I need to bring cash for gratuities?

No, gatuities are included in the price of your trip.

Is wifi and cell service available?

At the beginning and end of the ecotrip, WiFi is available at the hotel and cell reception is generally reliable.
In the field, the phone service (Nepal Telecom and NCell) is available with 4G internet services but this might not be available all the time.

Can I smoke on an ecotrip?

Trip participants may not smoke in areas where others are affected (such as vehicles, public areas, households) or when encountering wildlife. This includes the use of vaporizers or electronic cigarettes.

Is crime a problem?

Major crimes against tourist are rare, though smaller crimes like pick-pocketing 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.

Legal & Miscellaneous

Medical & Health
  • It is vital that persons with health or medical problems make them known to RPN well before departure.
  • For up-to-date vaccine information, visit cdc.gov/travel.
  • Trip members are responsible for understanding their conditions stated in the Trip Itinerary.
  • The trip leader has the right to disqualify anyone during the trip if he or she feels the participant is mentally or physically incapable or if the member's participation will jeopardize the individual or the group.
Photography & Videography

RPN occasionally takes photos or video of our trips for promotional use, participants grant this use without payment or compensation. Additionally, should participants take pictures during their trip and choose to share them with RPN, they grant permission for the use of these photos without payment or compensation. When able, we will always credit the photographer in our promotional posts including your photography.

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: info@redpandanetwork.org.

Limitations of Liability

In consideration of Red Panda Network, Inc., a nonprofit public benefit corporation (“Red Panda Network”), allowing me to attend and participate in Red Panda Network sponsored events held at Red Panda Network and third-party venues (“Red Panda Network Events”).

I agree to the following terms and conditions (“ Agreement ”):

  1. Release and Waiver.

    Red Panda Network (RPN) seeks to select reliable suppliers and contractors to provide air and other transportation, hotels, guides, and other travel-related services. We do not assume responsibility, directly or indirectly, for any loss, damage, or injury to property or person in connection with trip services. Each participant agrees not to hold RPN, its board, employees, partners and representatives liable, in the absence of their own gross negligence, for any loss or injury, expense or damage that results directly or indirectly from any act or omission to any person or firm that is to, or does provide, goods or services in connection with the trip, or any available optional excursion.

    With limited exceptions, RPN and its officers, directors, employees, shareholders and affiliates (collectively RPN) do not own, operate, or control any entity that provides, or is to provide any goods or services for your trip or expedition, including, without limitation, own or control any lodging facilities, airline, bus, vessel or other transportation companies, food service providers, local ground operators, outfitters or guides, travel operators, equipment suppliers, organizers of optional excursions, entertainment providers, etc., including, without limitation, various entities that may utilize the RPN name or logos. RPN is not responsible for any negligent or willful act, or failure to act, of any such person or entity, or of any other third party not under RPN’s control. Without limitation, is not liable for any direct, indirect, consequential or incidental damage; injury, loss, or damage to person or property, illness, death, delay, inconvenience or irregularity of any kind in connection with the trip or expedition that may be occasioned by or resulting from any act or omission beyond its control, including, but not limited to, any willful or negligent act, failure to act or breach of contract of any third party, acts of God, force majeure, acts of war or civil unrest, acts of government, insurrection or revolt, strikes or other labor activities, criminal or terrorist activities of any kind or the threat thereof, climate conditions, high altitude, overbooking or downgrading of accommodations or structural or other defective conditions in hotels or other lodging facilities, the operation of and/or mechanical or other failure of any means of transportation or for any failure of any transportation mechanism to arrive or depart in a timely or safe manner, dangers associated with or bites from animals, pests or insects, marine life or vegetation of any sort, dangers incident to any recreational activities, epidemics or the threat thereof, sanitation problems, including, without limitation, risks associated with food or impure water, lack of access to or quality of medical care, difficulty in evacuation in case of a medical or other emergency, stolen, lost, or misplaced luggage or property, theft or break-ins into vehicles, lodging rooms or elsewhere, or for any other action or omissions of third parties, or conditions beyond the control of RPN.

    Participant grants RPN express permission to take photographic and video images of participants on its trips for promotional and commercial use, and to use participant’s images or likeness in its promotional materials without compensation topthe participant. RPN reserves the right to accept or reject any person as a trip participant, for any reason. The provisions listed on this website are not intended to in any way limit, modify, or alter RPN’s Terms and Conditions.
  2. Assumption of Risk

    I acknowledge that I am aware of the inherent risks involved with participating in Red Panda Network Events and I voluntarily assume all such risks associated with my participation in Red Panda Network Events.
  3. Other.

    I agree that this Agreement is intended to be as broad and inclusive as permitted by the laws of the State of California and that this Agreement shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of the State of California. I understand and agree that any dispute arising under this Agreement will be brought exclusively in the state or federal courts within Santa Clara County, California and I consent to the exclusive personal jurisdiction and venue therein. I agree that in the event that any clause or provision of this Agreement shall be held invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, the invalidity of such clause or provision shall not otherwise affect the remaining provisions of this Agreement, which shall continue to be enforceable.

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