Natasha Conlon and Family
4 persons (2 Adults and 2 Children)
With two young children (6 and 10 years old) the potential for a seven day trek in Nepal to go seriously wrong is fairly high. However, with Swiss-Nepal family organising the trek, our holiday in Nepal turned out to be a great outdoor adventure that our family will remember fondly for a long time.
The fact that Stephan, a Swiss national and one of the two owners of Swiss Family Treks, has lived in Nepal for many years and has four children of his own means that guests get a service which is perfect for families with young children. He and his partner's Nepalese national, backgrounds mean that they understand the needs and expectations of Western families travelling in Nepal and are able to offer a fun, safe, and exciting outdoor experience in Nepal.
We undertook a six day trek, starting near Pokhara across the Annupurna mountain range (4-7 hours trekking each day) followed by two days of water rafting on the Trishuli river. Stephan and his team allocated a terrific guide (excellent English and a very patient and flexible attitude) along with two porters who were also very capable and strong! My wife and I wanted to carry our own backpacks, and initially thought that a guide plus two porters was overkill. However, when my wife came down with a fever, she had to hand her back pack to one of the porters, and we were grateful that we had the extra person to help carry the load. We thought that the 6 year old might struggle with the trek and would need a bit of carrying herself, but she turned into quite the trooper and walked every inch of the way.
With two young children, one of my wife's main concerns was safety; our porter had been trained in basic first aid and was very conscious of safety during the trek. He stayed with us, never walking ahead. My wife quizzed him, and he explained what they would do in the event of an emergency (broken bone, altitude sickness, etc). Moreover, the group that Swiss Family Treks organized to take us rafting was again very safety conscious, and at one point had us leave the raft to walk around a particularly dangerous set of rapids.
Another great thing about Swiss Family Treks was the routes they chose were “spot-on” for our abilities, and I got the sense that they knew the mountain passes inside out and could vary the route accordingly. They also picked excellent spots for lunch and for the overnight stays. This is a real advantage; spending time trying to pick a good lunch option or a good overnight place (from all tea houses on offer) is really ‘pot luck’ for most travellers, and one is bound to make some bad choices. With Swiss Family Treks, the places chosen were universally the best on offer as far as we could tell (although I hope the team does review new options that arise, and continue to evaluate existing places).
All of this made everything so much smoother and gave us the ability to just relax and not worry about logistics at all during the trek. We could take our ease and mentally relax without having to organise anything (we have enough organising to do at home and in our day-jobs!). One might do this experience somewhat cheaper, but for the extra cost involved, choosing Swiss-Nepal family was more than well worth it. A brilliant team and a great overall experience.
The Green bus service to Pokhara is really good by the way, if you don’t like flying on those tiny airplanes. The green-line bus driver was punctual and safe and not taking the crazy risks that everybody else is taking. Better than a car and ten times cheaper.