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Why Mandala Adventures

We love to customize Asian travel. Our affection for the countries and peoples of Asia informs our work. Explore the artistry and spirit that have defined us since 2000.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn from our experience. We’ve been serving travelers since 2000, so we’ve heard lots of questions and we’ve provided lots of answers. Here are the most helpful ones.

Booking Information

Soon your eyes will be dazzled by Asia. First, read the Terms & Conditions for your Mandala Adventure’s trip. An Asian expedition is a big investment and it’s important that you read the “user’s manual.”

Travelers’ Health

Traveling to remote and parts of Asia requires advance planning. Read our experience-based medical and immunization suggestions, then pop a first aid kit in your gear bag.

Visa Information

Before the wonder begins, things must be in order. Will you need a visa? Do you arrange for it now or will you get it at your destination? We’ve done the homework for you.

Travel Conditions

We consult with experts to ensure your safety. In preparation for your trip, read current global travel advisories and Counselor Information Sheets from the U.S. State Department.

You probably have many questions as you plan and prepare for your trip with Mandala Adventures.  We have assembled a handful of most commonly asked questions.  You can ask us additional questions by emailing us at info@mandalaadventures.com or give us a call at 1-801-823-1551.  We look forward to speaking with you!

Will I get to meet the local people?

Along the way, you will encounter shop and restaurant owners, traders, porters, farmers,  schoolteachers, and curious children. Some will speak English — others will not.  But their desire to interact is often as strong as yours, resulting in creative efforts at communication.  Many people bring Polaroid or digital cameras; others bring photos of home, family and friends or a collection of postcards from their home state.  These make particularly good points of contact with both adults and children.

Who will be leading the trip?

Some of our scheduled adventures, which reach critical mass, will be lead by seasoned trip leaders in concert with local guide(s)(See trip details for specific information). Mandala Adventure’s trip leaders combine a love and knowledge of Asian culture with an understanding of the logistical quirks to ensure a seamless journey.

Custom trips are usually led by a member of our esteemed panel of local guides.  In the event a scheduled trip does not reach “critical mass,” the trip will be led by one of our guides who have received the highest marks.

Mandala Adventure’s emphasizes a relaxed and personal relationship between clients and field staff. The trip is structured to allow you, your guides and any additional support staff the opportunity to get acquainted and to develop greater appreciation and understanding of your similarities and differences between their culture and yours.  Many travelers find the relationship they develop with staff members to be among the highlights of the trip, providing an unexpected wealth of insight into the local culture.

Trip leaders and local Guides, who lead our trekking departures, have been trained in mountain safety and first aid procedures.

Can I book a private trip and/or customize an existing, published itinerary?

Absolutely! In fact, about half our business consists of private and/or custom trips for individuals, couples, families and small groups of friends. If you are seeking to create your own departure – or if our published catalogue trips do not fit your schedule, Mandala Adventures can prepare a customized, private expedition for you. You can book an entire catalogue trip departure just for your group of friends or family or organize a study trip for a special interest group and we’ll find experts in your area of interest.  The possibilities are endless and we are here to make sure that your idea is realized just the way you have envisioned it.

How big are Mandala Adventure groups?

On our classic departures, we limit group size to a maximum of 15 for overland cultural trips and 12 for most trekking trips. Most trips will run with as few as two members.

Special/Custom group departures may vary from these parameters.

You will only need to acquire visas for the countries that you will actually be entering. If you are not sure which countries you will enter on your trip, refer to your Mandala Adventures itinerary or call our office to confirm. Some countries allow you to obtain the visa upon arrival at the airport or border; others require that you get it in advance.

To save time upon arrival, you may want to obtain visas in advance even for countries that allow you to obtain it upon arrival. Mandala Adventures strongly suggests using a visa service to obtain visas in advance, as navigating the application process directly through an embassy or consulate can be complicated. We recommend Zierer Visa Service (ZVS) as our customers have found them to be reliable, convenient and reasonably priced. For detailed visa requirements and to download application forms, visit the Zierer Visa Service website through the link below. Or call Zierer toll-free at 1-866-788-1100.

http://www.zvs.com/

Sending your passport to any consulate or embassy can be risky. If you choose to obtain visa(s) in advance on your own, make sure you send your passport via FedEx, UPS or USPS Express Mail along with a completed air bill for return. Many countries require that your passport be valid for an additional six months after departure, so double check your expiration date in case you need to renew your passport before obtaining your visa(s). The US State Department also provides up-to-date travel and visa information at www.state.gov.

Some Special Notes About Certain Visas

Nepal

This visa can be obtained in advance or upon arrival at the International Airport in Kathmandu (you will need to bring one passport-size photo). If you will be leaving and re-entering Nepal you will need a multiple-entry visa.

Tibet

You will need a Chinese visa and an Alien Travel Permit (ATP) for Tibet.

IF YOU WILL BE ENTERING TIBET FROM NEPAL, DO NOT obtain the Chinese visa in advance. Our staff in Nepal will secure both the special group Chinese visa and the permit for you when you arrive in Kathmandu. You will need to bring one passport-size photo with you.

IF YOU WILL BE ENTERING TIBET FROM MAINLAND CHINA (Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, etc.), you will need to obtain a Chinese visa in advance. In this case, make sure you DO NOT state on your visa application that you plan to visit Tibet, or else you may not be allowed to go there. Instead just list a few major destinations in mainland China (Beijing, Shanghai, etc.). Our staff in China will arrange the special Tibet permit. Please note, you will need to obtain a transit visa for China even if you are just switching planes in Beijing.

Bhutan

Bhutanese visas are ONLY available upon arrival and Mandala Adventures’s local staff in Bhutan will arrange it for you. You will need to bring one passport-size photo with you.

Book Your Trip Now!

Call us toll-free at 801-523-1551 or register on-line here to reserve your spot. A credit card deposit of $500 per person secures your reservation and marks the first step on your adventure. Travel agents are welcome.

Reservation Center

Mandala Adventures’ Reservation Center can be reached toll-free at 801-523-1551 Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Rocky Mountain Time). A complete staff voice mail directory is available after hours, and we are on-call 24 hours a day by phone and e-mail.

Our website http://www.mandalaadventures.com is always available with additional and up-to-date information about Mandala Adventures’s programs. You can also book your trip on-line and complete all forms pertaining to your reservation through your own secure Mandala Adventures account.

Our general e-mail address is info@mandalaadventures.com or you can contact each employee using his or her first name @mandalaadventures.com.

Getting Started

Once you’re ready to book your trip, give us a call to reserve your spot and make your deposit by credit card. Next, you can fill out a Trip Application on-line at mandalaadventures.com (click on “Member Login” to create a username and password for secure access to your account). If you are unable to complete the application through our website, we can provide a hard copy.

Pre-Trip Planning Documents

You are required to read, sign and return to our office the Acknowledgement and Assumption of All Risks & Release of Liability form. This can be printed off our web site, signed and returned to us via snail mail or by fax at 801-823-1551. If you are not able to print this form from our web site, inform your Mandala Adventures representative and we will mail you a copy.

After you have made the deposit and filled out the Trip Application, we will mail you an invoice, and a travel insurance application. The travel insurance application and information can also be accessed at travelinsure.com

Payment

Mandala Adventures accepts deposits made by Visa, American Express, MasterCard and PayPal. Deposits, final payments and payments for airline tickets can be made by credit card or personal check payable to Mandala Adventures. Airfare is due at the time that tickets are issued. A second deposit of $500.00 is payable 120 days prior to departure, and you full balance is due 75 days prior to your trip start date. For reservations made less than 75 days before the trip start date, full payment is due at the time of booking. If your balance is not received when due, Mandala Adventures will treat your reservation as canceled with appropriate cancellation fees applying. Payment of your deposit for a Mandala Adventures trip constitutes your agreement to Mandala Adventures’s Terms and Conditions.

Trip Physicians

We seek the participation of physicians. If your specialty is family, internal, orthopedic, or emergency medicine, you are especially qualified to accompany remote trips. A discount of 20-50% is provided, depending on the trip and/or enrollment. Please call us for specific details.

Custom Trips

If you are seeking to create your own departure, or if our published trip departures do not fit your schedule, Mandala Adventures can prepare a private expedition for you. However, since we demand quality in the field and operate in some very remote locations, we may also insist that a Mandala Adventures expedition manager escort your trip. Having said that, you should know that the creation of a custom trip is time consuming and often times more expensive than scheduled departures.

Mandala Adventures charges a non-refundable, up-front fee of $50/hour ($200 minimum) to develop your custom itinerary. This fee will be applied toward your group’s final balance. Once your itinerary has been developed, Mandala Adventures’s standard deposit, booking and cancellation procedures apply.

Single Travelers

Land cost is based on double occupancy. If you are traveling alone or with an odd-numbered group of friends, you will be charged a fee to cover the cost of your single accommodations (approximately $200-$600 depending on the trip). If you wish to share hotel accommodations with another member of your group, and if we can match you with another single traveler, we’ll refund your Single Supplement fee. However, if you prefer single accommodations, let us know on your Trip Application. If you decide upon arrival to opt for single accommodations, you will be charged $100 in addition to all the costs associated with single accommodations.

Airline Ticketing

We strongly recommend that you let our International Airline Department handle your flight arrangements. We have many years of experience arranging air travel to Asia and to the most remote areas of the world.

We can also simplify your arrangements by coordinating your air and land reservations at the same time. Mandala Adventures is a consolidator for Singapore Airlines — rated the world’s best airline by Conde Nast Traveler — and we have competitive contracted airfares with more than 24 carriers serving our destinations such as Cathay Pacific, United, and Northwest. We have built strong relationships with top-fleet international airlines serving our markets and destinations. Tickets are normally issued by the airlines 30-60 days in advance. All airfare is subject to change without notice until tickets are issued.

If you choose to book your airfare directly with an airline, use another travel agency, or use frequent flyer awards, it is your responsibility to make sure that all flights coincide with the trip itinerary and to inform us of your flight schedule at least 60 days prior to your departure so we can handle your airport-to-hotel transfers and accommodation arrangements. Otherwise, you may forfeit your airport transfers.

Final Documents

We will send your Final Documents by Federal Express two to three weeks prior to your departure. These documents will include your airline tickets (when applicable), information about your group, emergency contact numbers, hotel contact information, a final trip itinerary, and luggage tags.

Land Cost and Tier Pricing

The land costs in this catalog are based on enrollment of 10 to 15 full-paying trip members. Because various fixed costs make it more expensive to operate a trip with fewer members, we operate our trips with a “tier pricing” system to avoid canceling trips with lower enrollment. Trips will be operated with fewer than ten members at an additional tier price. All participants are initially invoiced at the 4-member tier. Tier adjustments will be made on the 90-day invoice according to actual trip enrollment at that time.

Office staff, trip physicians, or guests of Mandala Adventures such as writers, photographers, and trip leaders-in-training, do not factor in tier pricing. If you’re not familiar with tier pricing or if you would like to know the various tiers or enrollment status for a particular trip, please call us.

Land cost reflects the number of days in-country. While some companies include the days of your overseas flight in their land cost, our land cost reflects an itinerary starting the date of arrival and terminating on the date of departure.

Land cost includes double hotel accommodations, airport transfers, luggage porterage, sightseeing and meals as outlined in the trip itinerary, permits and entrance fees, a Mandala Adventures guide, trip research and development, and documentation. On trekking or other active outdoor adventures that involve camping, land cost also includes guides, full kitchen with private cook and staff, tented sleeping accommodations, porters/pack animals, and group camping equipment.

Mandala Adventures does have one- to three-person tier pricing, available upon request in the case that you should prefer a trip of that size, or on the rare occasion that your trip has fewer than four members.

Land cost does not include international airfare; stopover hotels; domestic airfare on certain specified trips; passport and visa fees; insurance; airport and departure taxes; single accommodation supplement; personal gear and clothing; laundry charges; room service; phone calls; any additional snacks or food outside of regular meals; soft drinks and alcoholic beverages; medical treatment (immunizations and/or emergency medical evacuation); customary gratuities for guides and staff members; excess baggage charges; and expenses incurred due to delays resulting from road conditions, flight delays, weather, government intervention, and/or illness and which are beyond the control of Mandala Adventures and/or its ground operators, outfitters, and agents.

Mandala Adventures is not responsible for any expense not listed as included in a trip; any that are indicated as “not included,” “optional” or “on your own”; or expenses arising from the delay or extension of a tour due to weather, political disputes, sickness, failure of public transportation, flight changes or cancellations, missed connections, or any other cause beyond our control.

Land and air costs quoted in this or any other material provided by Mandala Adventures or any of its representatives are accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of publishing. Costs may increase even after you have made reservations due to factors beyond our control (i.e. severe inflation, fluctuating exchange rates, political factors). In this event, your final payment invoice will reflect all changes. Therefore, all prices are subject to change without notice. Itemization of costs will not be provided.

Cancelled Trips

In the event that a trip has fewer participants than our published minimum, group members who have already made deposits will be given options that may include: operating the trip with fewer participants at a higher price; the chance to transfer to another departure or different program without penalty; or to receive a full refund of all monies paid to our office. The refund of payments received is the extent of our liability in this case. Trip cancellation due to insufficient sign-up normally occurs 30-45 days prior to the scheduled departure.

Should logistical problems, political circumstances, natural disasters and/or other events and situations occur that may impede the normal, safe operation of a tour, Mandala Adventures may offer an alternative adventure in a different region or country or cancel the departure. In the case that a tour is canceled for the reasons stated above, we will refund all monies not advanced to our suppliers and will use our best efforts to recover and refund the remaining balance as promptly as possible. Mandala Adventures reserves the right to cancel any trip for any reason at any time.

Payment, Transfer, and Cancellation Policy

The following payment schedule is required for your participation with Mandala Adventures:

$500.00 deposit at time of reservation
$500.00 payable 120 days prior to departure
Balance 75 days prior to departure

If you must cancel your participation on a trip, for any reason, payments made to Mandala Adventures will be returned, less a cancellation fee computed according to the schedule below based on the date our office receives written notice of your cancellation. Payment of your deposit for a Mandala Adventures trip constitutes your agreement to Mandala Adventures’s Terms and Conditions. Our Transfer and Cancellation Policies apply in every instance. There will be no exception for any reason. We strongly recommend that you purchase Trip Cancellation Insurance.

CANCELLATION FEE SCHEDULE

Scheduled Departures from Mandala Adventures Website

Minimum Fee (non-refundable) = $250*
46-90 days prior to departure = 50% of land cost
45 days or less = 100% of land cost

*Minimum fee for cancellation of a custom or chartered trip is the full deposit.

Once the trip has started, no refunds will be made for unused trip arrangements for any reason whatsoever. There will be no refund given for unused hotel rooms, transportation, meals, sightseeing, trek days or any other charges once the trip begins. Land Cost is quoted as a package and credits are not given for services not used.

You may voluntarily transfer from one Mandala Adventures expedition to another up to 91 days before the departure date of the original tour, at no charge. Transfers made 90 days or closer to departure are considered a cancellation of the original trip and are subject to our cancellation fees applied to the Land Cost of the original program. In the event that a trip is canceled due to insufficient sign-up, participants may transfer to an alternative departure or tour with no administrative fees charged.

Traveler’s Insurance

Mandala Adventures strongly recommends that you purchase trip cancellation insurance for the full amount of the land cost of your trip. Insurance should cover the following: 1) All deposits and payments should you need to cancel your trip prior to departure because of a covered personal or family illness; 2) Emergency medical, evacuation and assistance (minimum to $25,000; available up to $100,000); 3) Payments in the event of early return or interruption due to a covered reason.

Emergencies may arise, and it is always best to be prepared. In the event you fail to obtain insurance for any reason, you will be required to pay all costs of rescue and/or medical services that may be incurred on your behalf. Mandala Adventures has worked with Travel Insurance Services for over a decade. We will send you their brochure and application with your invoice, or you can purchase their coverage online anytime at travelinsure.com.

Service Charges

Although Mandala Adventures is pleased to assist clients with itinerary changes after booking land and air arrangements, we must assess a service charge of $50 per change due to staff time and overseas communication expenses. Travelers who book within 30 days of departure or travelers living outside North America will be assessed additional shipping charges for your travel documents.

Medical Issues

It is your responsibility to assess your own health and fitness as they pertain to your ability to participate in a Mandala Adventures trip. Many of our trips are physically demanding, and any international travel involves some inherent health risks. It is understood that the employees of Mandala Adventures are not medical professionals, and that we have no expertise or responsibility regarding what medications or inoculations are necessary for your safe participation in the trip you have chosen. It is your responsibility to consult a physician prior to your trip regarding recommended medications, inoculations and/or precautions you should take prior to departure. We also encourage you to consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov/travel regarding their most up-to-date medical recommendations for the areas in which you will be traveling.

For all trips that include camping, a basic first-aid kit will be furnished. However, we assume no liability regarding the contents of this kit, nor for the provision of first-aid by our guides and staff, or any medical care provided by local physicians, hospitals or emergency care facilities in conjunction with any of our tours. Trip members are responsible for bringing a sufficient supply of their own personal medications.

Mandala Adventures reserves the right to decline to accept or retain any person(s) for any reason whatsoever, and local guides or trip leaders are authorized to disqualify any member from the trip, at any time, if he or she determines it necessary for the safety and/or well-being of the group, or if the participant in question is physically unfit for the rigors of the program. Under such circumstances, refunds for unused services will not be made, nor are any expenses involved in your early departure from the trip covered in your Land Cost.

Smoking Policy

For your safety as well as that of your companions, smoking is not permitted in buses or cars, in cabins on chartered yachts or cruise ships, and at most jungle lodges, nor is smoking allowed inside tents while camping. Stops will be made on overland segments during which smoking will be allowed outside of the vehicle.

Responsibilities of Expedition Participants

It is your responsibility to obtain the proper equipment, first aid supplies, antibiotics and medicines as outlined in the Expedition Planning Guide. We want you to be prepared! If you have any questions, put us to the test!

Your expedition may be physically intense. It is your responsibility to make sure that your current level of fitness is adequate and that you are prepared for remote travel away from modern medical facilities. It is your responsibility to determine your level of fitness and to know what you’re getting into — some treks are tougher than others!

It is your responsibility to make sure that you receive all pertinent trip information. If you are coordinating a small group for your family and/or friends, it is your responsibility to pass the information along to the other members of your group and act as Mandala Adventures’s representative. If you have questions that have not been answered, be sure to call Mandala Adventures or ask your Expedition Leader. We will send you as much information as we can, but there are always questions that can’t be anticipated.

It is your responsibility to follow the instructions of your Expedition Leader and to empower him/her to be the best they can be. You have a role in making your expedition safe and fulfilling. If you feel uncomfortable with any element of your trip, make sure we have your immediate feedback.

Your expedition will travel within fragile ecosystems and among indigenous cultures. You are required to act respectfully toward the people and natural environments where we travel.

Acknowledgment of Risks

There are many inherent dangers in the types of activities that you will encounter on your Expedition. These risks may result in serious injury or death, and include but are not limited to the following: 1) Falls; 2) Cold weather-related conditions including hypothermia, frostnip and frostbite which may result in loss of limbs, digits, and/or permanent scarring; 3) Heat-related sicknesses including heat exhaustion and heat stroke; 4) Altitude-related illnesses including acute mountain sickness, pulmonary edema, cerebral edema and/or retinal hemorrhage; 5) “Acts of nature” which may include avalanche, rock fall, crevasse fall, inclement weather, varied or severe wind, temperature or weather conditions; 6) Drowning, river crossing, fordings, or travel including travel to or from the activity; 7) Risk associated with crossing, climbing or down-climbing rock, snow and/or ice; 8) Equipment failure; 9) Modes of transport, which in certain areas may not be up to North American or European safety standards; 10) Injury or illness from animal or insect bites or tainted food or water; 11) Fatigue, chill and/or dizziness which may diminish my/our reaction time.

There are foreseeable and unforeseeable events that can contribute to the unpredictability of any activity. Personal property may be damaged or lost or you may suffer an accident or disease in remote places where there are no available medical facilities.

Responsibility Clause

Mandala Adventures Corporation, its employees, shareholders, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, successors, agents, and assigns (collectively, “Mandala Adventures”) do not own or operate any entity which is to or does provide goods or services for your trip including, for example, lodging facilities, airline, vessel or other transportation companies, sightseeing companies, local ground operators, providers or organizers of optional excursions, food service providers, etc. All such persons and entities are independent contractors. As a result, Mandala Adventures is not liable for any such person or entity, or of any third party. Circumstances may arise which would cause some activities to be cut short or eliminated altogether without reimbursement or refund to you. Such circumstances include weather conditions, earthquakes and other acts of nature, wars, acts of U.S. or foreign governments, injuries or other medical problems that you or other members of your group may sustain, and decisions of Mandala Adventures or its group leaders, in their sole discretion, that you or other members of your group are incapable of safely meeting the requirements or rigors of any activity. Mandala Adventures makes no guarantees with respect to climbing/mountaineering objectives, attendance at any festival/event advertised or with any Expedition Leader/guide advertised. To the extent possible, Mandala Adventures and its Expedition Leaders and staff may elect alternate or optional activities to replace terminated activities. However, none of the eventualities described above will give you a right to a refund or other form of reimbursement.

Arbitration Clause

Any controversy or claim arising out of or relating in any way to these Terms and Conditions, to this Tour Agreement, to the brochure, or any other information relating in any way to the trip, or to the trip itself, shall be settled solely and exclusively by binding arbitration in Salt Lake City, Utah in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association then existent.

Upon payment of deposit to Mandala Adventures, the depositor agrees to be bound by the foregoing Terms & Conditions.

Word of Mouth

If you would like to speak with someone who has traveled with us before, please let us know. People love to talk about their Mandala Adventures experiences with other travelers and we can supply you with names and numbers of past clients.

Suggestions?

We are dedicated to providing safe, fun, high-quality adventures throughout the world — no small task indeed. And we are perpetually committed to raising our standards. We are always looking for feedback from our clients and/or potential clients.

Consult with your personal physician about your physical ability to complete the trip you are enrolled in and the recommended immunizations you will need.

After that, follow the common-sense precautions outlined below. While Mandala Adventures will take every precaution once you arrive at your destination to maintain hygienic and healthy practices, you need to take ultimate responsibility for your own health and well-being before you depart and after you arrive.

Mandala Adventures’s Traveler’s Health primer has been reviewed by Rob Ripley M.D. who serves in the Emergency Department at Harbor View Hospital in Seattle and Peter Hackett M.D., the director of the Emergency Department at Telluride Hospital in Telluride, Colorado. Dr. Hackett is an acknowledged expert on Acute Mountain Sickness and is the author of the book Mountain Sickness: Prevention, Recognition & Treatment.Both emergency physicians have served at the Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA) clinic in Pheriche, Nepal at 13,976 ft. Although both doctors have reviewed this information, neither they nor Mandala Adventures assume any responsibility for your physical condition and medical treatments. Additional medical information can be found on the website of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta at www.cdc.gov

Physical Qualifications

Anyone in reasonably good health is able to travel in Asia. Be sure to check the difficulty rating of your trip to make sure you qualify. If you’re not sure, check with your physician. Our mountain treks much more physically demanding than our cultural tours, but they are still designed for anyone who is reasonably fit and active. To ascertain your level of fitness (especially for treks) take the Harvard Step Test online at http://www.brianmac.demon.co.uk/havard.htm

Pre-Trip Conditioning

The better shape you are in, the more you will enjoy your trip. While much of the travel is by vehicle, there is a considerable amount of walking in cities, villages, museums and monasteries. Consult your doctor if you have any questions about exercise. If you are going on a Mandala Adventures trek, we recommend regular aerobic exercise sessions during the weeks prior to your trip. If you supplement these workouts with long training walks during the weekends you’ll be better prepared for your trip. Sustained aerobic exercise may involve cycling, swimming, running, dancing or any other activity which builds heart and lung capacity. Try to build increased activity into your daily life: walk up stairs whenever possible, and walk or bicycle to work. In addition to cardiovascular workouts, you may want to concentrate on strengthening quadriceps (THIGH) muscles, helping you prevent knee problems.

Medical Examination & Insurance

We strongly recommend getting a medical examination. Discuss the extent of your adventure with your physician and some of the potential health problems that could arise. The physical exam should be conducted more thoroughly than a routine checkup. Be sure any abnormalities, chronic problems or special medications are noted. This may be helpful to your trip leader if you begin to exhibit any symptoms during the trip. We also recommend that you visit your dentist prior to your Asia trip departure date.

Recommended Immunizations

Although proof of various immunizations is not required for entry into Mandala Adventures’s destination countries, we strongly recommend that you get all major vaccinations appropriate for the areas you will visit. Begin your series of immunizations early.

For the most up-to-date information on recommended immunizations for each country/region, visit the US Centers for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov

Your Public Health Department can often give you the best practical and current information on immunizations and prevention, and many can administer vaccinations. Keep in mind that some shots may be given simultaneously, but shots within a series (like TwinRix, the Hepatitis A & B combo vaccine) must be administered several weeks or even months apart. Allow at least eight weeks for the entire process. It is useful to record your past immunizations and the date you received them on the official yellow immunization card obtained from your place of immunization. Vaccinations are not cheap, so be sure to check with your health insurance provider about which ones they will cover, if any.

Note: The following immunizations are typically recommended for travel to Asia, but be sure to check with your physician and/or the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov for the most current recommendations.

  • Hepatitis A & B – TwinRix vaccine covers Hep A & B together; Havrix is the vaccine for Hep A only.
  • Thyphoid – oral or injection
  • Tetanus-diphtheria – booster needed every ten years
  • Polio – booster as adult

Your Personal Medical Kit

Aside from any prescription medications you ordinarily take, we strongly recommend you take responsibility for bringing your own medical kit. Here are some items you’ll want to include:

  • Moleskin, adhesive bandages, gauze, tape, and other products (Spenco “Second Skin” is good) to treat blisters and sore spots
  • 3” Ace bandages
  • Antibiotic ointment (such as Neosporin)
  • Hand sanitizer (such as Purell)
  • Lomotil or Immodium for emergency treatment of diarrhea
  • Pepto-Bismol (tablets are best) or other indigestion/antiacid remedy
  • Mild laxative
  • Cold medication (such as Actifed), decongestant (such as Sudafed) and/or antihistamine (such as Benadryl).
  • Cough drops or sore throat lozenges
  • Aspirin, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, or Ketoprofen
  • Natural Tears or other eye drops (such as Visine)
  • Motion sickness pills (for long drives)
  • Anbesol (to relieve minor toochache)

Recommended Prescriptions

Speak with your doctor about prescriptions. The following have proven useful in relieving a variety of symptoms. Speak to your physician about your particular requirements.

Ciprofloxin: (therapeutic) Works dramatically to limit the symptoms and duration of suspected bacterial diarrhea and also works well for urinary tract infections.

Azithromycin or Clarithromycin: (therapeutic) Penicillin-related antibiotics for treatment of suspected internal ear infections, sinus infections, or urinary tract infections. People allergic to penicillin must not use it. Potential side effects: include rash and diarrhea.

Lomotil: (symptomatic) A prescription drug closely related to Immodium, which is available over-the-counter. These are derived from narcotics that paralyze the bowel for the symptomatic relief of diarrhea. Should not be used casually, but can be quite useful for bus or airplane travel. Do not use in the presence of fever or bloody stool unless you are also taking the appropriate antibiotic. Potential side effects: constipation.

Tinidazole or Metronidazole: (therapeutic) An antibiotic effective against giardia and amoebae. It can be used to treat a suspected infection. The potential side effects are fatigue, queasiness, and a metallic taste in your mouth (Tinidazole is not available in North America, and can be found only in Asia.) Metronidazole, a related antibiotic, can be obtained in the United States. Alcohol should not be used with either medication.

Ambien or other sleep aid: International travel can wreak havoc with your sleep schedule, so having a few sleeping pills on hand may help on long plane rides and for adjusting to a new time zone for the first night or two. Sleep aids can be addictive so use them sparingly.

Melatonin is a natural supplement that can hasten sleep and ease jet lag, without the hazards or side effects of prescription sleeping pills. Please note – it is not recommended to take any sleeping aid while on a high altitude trek.

High Altitude

If you’re going to be traveling to high altitude––in Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Ladakh, and Pakistan––visit the appropriate page here:

  • Nepal
  • Tibet
  • Bhutan
  • Ladakh
  • Pakistan

Malaria

The risk of malaria may be high in parts of Southeast and South Asia. See your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug. For details concerning risk and preventive medications visit www.cdc.gov.

Water, Food and Stomachs

Unpurified water or contaminated food can cause stomach problems and diarrhea. This risk can be minimized if you follow a few basic precautions. The Centers for Disease Control website located at www.cdc.gov is a good resource for additional traveling advice.

Drink only bottled water

Bottled soft drinks, beer and liquor are safe; although beer and liquor dehydrates the body. Drinking tea is generally safe since it has been boiled.

  1. Avoid local home-brewed liquor. Alcohol itself does not kill all nasties. These are not boiled or distilled. It may be suspect. (Of course, the benefits could outweigh the risks. You may decide occasionally to sample a bit.).
  2. Wash your hands frequently with soap and sanitized water, or a waterless hand sanitizer
  3. In the cities, eat at tourist hotels or restaurants. Do not eat food from street vendors. On the trail, you can trust the meals the staff prepares.
  4. Avoid food that is not freshly cooked and may have been contaminated by flies or dust.
  5. Wash, dry and peel fruits; avoid uncooked vegetables and salads.

Drinking Water Precautions

Drink only boiled, bottled or treated water. Never drink tap water. Don’t even use it for brushing your teeth! To be absolutely safe, avoid the water (and ice) served in restaurants and hotels and stick to bottled water, which is available in cities for a modest charge. Have the vendor crack the seal on commercial bottled water while you watch.

On trek, our kitchen staff will both filter and boil drinking water and water for meal preparation.

Though not necessary, you may decide to carry your own means of water treatment (filter or iodine).If you elect to treat your own water, we highly recommend doing extensive research on the latest water treatment technology online or at your local outdoor retailer.

Common Illnesses

Upset stomach and diarrhea are probably the most common problems encountered in Asia, and may appear in varying degrees of severity. Mild diarrhea is often caused by unfamiliar organisms entering the digestive tract. Medication is unnecessary. Replace lost fluids and minerals such as sodium and potassium to avoid dehydration. Eat a mild diet, drink caffeine-free beverages that are in factory-sealed containers and avoid dairy products. For mild cases of non-bloody diarrhea, Pepto Bismol may decrease the symptoms but should be limited to 48 hours at most. More severe diarrhea — three or more loose or bloody stools in an eight-hour period possibly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, cramps and fever — is most often caused by bacteria. Antibiotics are effective. See “Recommended Prescriptions” above and speak with your doctor.

Respiratory infections are not uncommon at high altitude. Cold, dry mountain air can aggravate coughs and colds. We suggest you bring non-prescription medications if you will be traveling in the Himalaya.

Medical Care and Emergencies

Make sure you purchase trip evacuation insurance to cover the costs associated with early trip termination and/or emergency evacuation.

We are passionate about Adventure Travel in Asia. We have made it our life’s work to become experts on travel throughout the Far East’s many fascinating lands. We believe in providing amazing life experiences for our customers in a way that respects the peoples, ecosystems, and economies of the countries we visit.

We rely primarily on word of mouth from our community of customers to spread the word about us. We feel that advertising is mainly hyperbole – it doesn’t show what’s in a company’s heart. So now, we invite you to read about Mandala Adventures and what makes us different.

We are tenacious

We’ve been in business for nearly 6 years, exploring the far flung corners of Asia with the belief that intimate, small-scale trips can be delivered in a careful and responsible way. We started this enterprise with an idea that was born on a trek in the Nepal Himalaya in 2002 and today we operate in 13 Asian countries. The travel industry is highly competitive and it hasn’t always been easy; but we are proud of our accomplishments and especially the life-altering experiences we create for each of our guests.

In 2004, the year we started Mandala Adventures, we couldn’t afford a catalog, and the internet didn’t yet exist. We were determined to share our intimate knowledge of the Himalaya and Tibet, so we used the telephone. From our home office in Salt Lake City, we set out to develop friendships with each of our prospective customers by phone since most of our guests live on the East and West Coasts. This friendly approach allows us to deliver highly personal service about one of the world’s most superb destinations. Although we have expanded to more destinations and we now have a beautiful catalog along with a finely-tuned web site, we still rely on this practice we developed early on: We use the telephone to build relationships.

The fact that we might give you a call surprises some people. While most folks are delighted to hear from us, some are caught off-guard, surprised that there are human beings behind our web site. We not only love to reach out and develop friendships with our customers, we want to know what you’re looking for in your travel plans and how we might help craft your dream Asian experience.

One more thing about being tenacious. Sometimes we all need a little inspiration to get us off the couch. Our enthusiasm is contagious. Our determined spirit inspires people to join our interesting and vibrant group of fellow travelers, which in turn keeps costs down and attracts the best and brightest expedition managers in the business.

Our company delivers

We create our life-changing trips in concert with nearly a dozen field offices in Asia where, together, we tend to every detail. Mandala Adventures’s trips engage you with the complex cultures of Asia effectively and honestly. We know that we fulfill––and exceed––our customers’ expectations because they tell us in their letters, emails and phone calls.

Obviously, many trips could be arranged through determined research and myriad emails and long distance phone calls to Asia; yet the majority of our past guests were already experienced Asia-hands when they called us. Many guests come to us with well developed acumen about Asian geography and how the cultures and travel logistics work. Still, they choose to use Mandala Adventures. Perhaps these people know that putting together all the details of a seamless Asian adventure is an art form. We have worked many years to develop our high level of expertise. Like we have for so many experienced travelers, let us handle everything for you. We will connect you with the land, the peoples, the history and the cultures you seek to visit. And, our strong connections prevent you from being stuck in, say, Urumqi and losing precious hours—or even days—from your hard-earned vacation.

We believe in Right Livelihood with all our heart

The ancient ethic of Right Livelihood says that our spiritual development is enhanced by choosing an honest occupation that honors other people and the natural world. To us, it means conducting business in a forthright way, treating people fairly, caring for the earth’s resources and being responsible for our actions.
We believe that corporate America has the responsibility to a triple bottom line: community and the environment are as important as money. That said, our employees enjoy health insurance, a retirement plan, personal days off, travel on company junkets and a civilized work-week.

Founder and owner Taylor Warnick works in the business every day. We are a collaborative group of passionate people. We strive each day to make the right decisions. We take responsibility for our choices, which inspires us to live an engaged, exciting and creative life.

We are interdependent

We depend on you to travel with us. And you depend on us to make your trip relevant, operating with our overseas partners with respect and integrity. In a world where accountability is a withering concept, we embrace and salute transparency. We want you to know about us. We are proud of what we do and how we do it.

It may seem odd for a small, privately held corporation that markets itself on the internet and produces travel experiences in the obscure corners of Asia to speak this way, but we love to share our story

Explore our web site, read our catalog, scrutinize our itineraries, contact our past guests–– and then give us a call. Make an informed choice before you travel. Whether you go with us or one of our esteemed competitors, we implore you to travel to Asia to discover for yourself what this remarkable continent with 60% of the world’s land mass and humanity has contributed to our world’s history and offers to the future of our planet.

On that note, please tell your family and friends about Mandala Adventures; help us spread the word. From all of us, many thanks.

An unforgettable journey back in time beckons in the realm of Mandala Adventures as we guide you into the ageless Himalaya. We are a unique travel service and outfitter of treks and overland journeys in Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Indiaand Southeast Asia. Be one of the select few who join us this year on an extraordinary journey to the heart of the Himalaya.

Mandala Adventure’s has assembled a superb team of individuals who work the desks at World Headquarters in Salt Lake City. Let us brag about our exceptional people.

Taylor Warnick

President/Founder

After spending several years in the adventure travel space leading the sales efforts for an Asian Travel company, Taylor has set his sights on delivering a first class experience for those souls looking for adventure. Taylor brings with him to Mandala Adventures an extensive sales and management background covering both the adventure travel and high-tech marketplaces. Taylor drives the vision of Mandala Adventures.

The Utah native earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Utah in political science. He has lived on both coasts (San Francisco and Maryland) and on two continents, spending his youth in Europe while his father served in the U.S. Foreign Service. Currently living in Salt Lake City, Taylor continues to find adventure in the rugged country around the Wasatch Front.

John Collins

Controller

A son of the Rocky Mountains, John is a fourth generation Montanan. His family still ranches on the family homestead in Montana’s Crazy Mountains, located in the Yellowstone River drainage. Occasionally, John finds himself there on horseback assisting with the annual roundup.

Angela Warnick

Expedition Services Manager

Angela has lived in and absorbed languages, cultures, sights and sounds throughout the world. She is fluent in Indonesian, Mandarin and Fukian.

Jason Belzer

Expedition Consultant

Coming from a family of travelers and outdoorsmen, Jason was bound to make a living in the travel industry. He is a mountain guide by trade and has led groups on adventures to Mexico, South America, Europe, and the red rock deserts of Southern Utah. During his early years of seeking “wide open spaces”, Jason moved to Utah to finish his degree in Tourism and Recreation, and was first employed at Mandala Adventures as the office mail boy. Since then, Jason has been experiencing life and has come full circle to become apart of the Mandala Adventures family once again.

Glen Cabal

Expedition Consultant

After receiving his M.B.A. from the American Graduate School of International Management in Arizona where he also studied Japanese, he moved to San Francisco, working in the International Shipping arena and relishing the diverse cultural influences of the city by the bay. His interest in Asian culture drew him to Japan where he resided in Tokyo teaching Spanish and English. Ira has also studied French, Portuguese and German.

Cel Nelson

International Air Desk Manager

Cel (pronounced “seal” which is short of Cecelia) began her career in travel management 25 years ago, and has done everything from management to booking leisure, corporate and group travel. She telecommutes to Snow Lion from her home in Golden, Colorado where she lives with her husband and two teenage boys. Connected to Mandala Adventures via the magic of technology, she manages contract and published airfares to a variety of far-flung Asian gateways for Mandala Adventures travelers.

Designing trips that flow smoothly through Nepal is an art. After 18 years of specialization and experience in travel through this exciting country, we understand how to weave your expectations and dreams into the actual intricacies of permits, flights, visas and hotel reservations. When you call the Mandala Adventures office, we will assist you in choosing the trip that matches your schedule, budget and interests. Then we set the wheels in motion to land you in one of most highly sought-after destinations in Asia.

Members of our Salt Lake City staff come from diverse backgrounds, but share key interests. We all settled in this city as an attractive compromise between living in an urban environment and enjoying easy access to some of North America’s best skiing, fishing, mountain biking, and hiking. The mountainous landscape surrounding the Salt Lake valley reminds us daily of Nepal’s high ranges and plateaus.

Together, we continually build on our knowledge of all-things-Nepalese through an ongoing training program which includes study, reading, motion pictures, food tasting, cooking, local culture, and periodic travel abroad.

Those familiar with Asia will tell you that it is a place full of amazing cultures and wondrous sites. It is also a destination full of exciting adventures. The countries are many and the activities endless… Travel Without Limits!

Nepal

Nepal is the ultimate destination for those craving the solitude of high mountains, the beauty of windswept plains and the experience of far-off culture. While Nepal is home to eight of the world’s tallest mountains and some of the most remote places on the planet, it is also a rich fusion of cultures, religions and ways of life. Here ancient Hindu rituals survive harmoniously with tranquil Buddhist monasteries and bucolic yak herder bands. Away from the towns and villages, the quietude of the 11,000 foot high Tibetan Plateau is contrasted with the subtropical jungle lowlands at only 2500 feet, and above them all tower the mighty peaks of the Himalaya at over 29,000 feet. Nepal truly is an island of adventure and wonder.

Everest Trekking

To behold Mt. Everest is to stand within the circumference of a great gravity, and join in a tradition of adventure that has drawn explorers and dreamers for centuries. A mountain possessed of an unsurpassed majesty, it’s Nature’s signature piece. This special trekking trip features ten days in the Everest region, an in-depth survey of Sherpa culture, the entrancing Mani Rimdu festival, and cultural highlights of Kathmandu. We employ state-of-the-art, ecologically-sound trekking and camping practices, and our friendly Sherpa guides are experts in mountain safety, camp hygiene and high-altitude feasts.

India

Sable-eyed women gaze at you from beneath curving folds of crimson and gold–embroidered silk. They stand framed within the window of a palace they inhabit with 800 million fellow residents. It is an immense edifice with annexes built over the millenia by a lustrous succession of proprietors. The fragrances of sandalwood, incense, curry and blossoms perfume its halls; hallowed waters cascade from the uphill side to merge in the ocean waves lapping the foundation. Celebration and worship take place every day within its precinct. Young and old, rich and poor co-exist in its latticework of activity and dreams. Mandala Adventures opens the gateway to India and helps you feel at home in this teeming domain where sensation and encounter are not confined by the imaginable.

Southeast Asia

Peace settled some 30 years ago on the Indochinese peninsula, and now no trace of the enemy remains upon the countenance of its people. Memorials commemorate decades of struggle, memories no doubt continue to surface, yet the Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians today welcome the American visitor with genuine grace and friendliness. We in turn are grateful for the hospitality that greets Mandala Adventures guests into these lands where natural beauty, vibrant daily life and the magnificent monuments of a more distant past beckon to be experienced. Alongside the earthiness of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, Thailand entices with refined style and sensuality. Enter contemporary Southeast Asia and experience the soothing grace of its renewed serenity.

Tibet

Thanks to 21st-century media and air travel, the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism guide the spiritual practice of millions worldwide. One can attend talks and rites by the Dalai Lama, and a host of other revered Tibetan monks on every inhabited continent. Conversely, awareness of Tibetan Buddhism inspires many to explore its homeland. Since Mandala Adventures founding in 2002, “The Roof of the World” has consistently proven one of our most popular destinations. Guests return home in awe of the land’s natural beauty and the hospitality of a people perpetually tested by the rugged politics and elements that surround them. Whether you travel to understand better its inhabitants and their beliefs or to walk the pilgrimage routes around its sacred peaks, there are endless pathways toward the divine in Tibet.

Vietnam

Vietnam is famous to most Americans as the theater of a war long past. Now savvy travelers come to savor the many alluring qualities it possesses, such as superb natural scenery (some say the most gorgeous in all of Southeast Asia), friendly local people, ancient Buddhist culture, French-fusion architecture and food so good it’s worth a trip just to try the banh khoai. Emerging from its years of isolation, Vietnam is changing dramatically as it races to catch up with the outside world. If you want to enjoy its intact traditional culture we suggest that you travel soon.

China

As mysterious and inscrutable to the visitor as the characters of its complex language, China tantalizes us with splendid relics of its long history; with a natural beauty ranging from alpine to florid rainforest to eerily eroded desert; with dozens of ethnic peoples whose distinct identities have evolved through invasion and revolution. Where does one even start to comprehend the immensity of China? Mandala Adventures begins in the present, landing you midstream in a country whose enterprising people seek personal expression and the daily comforts of the 21st century, where ancient gifts of artistry, innovation and commercial savvy have re-surfaced to propel a new era of Chinese prominence. And from here we journey back toward its many sources, both man-made and nature-sprung, which augment the powerful current of China.

Cambodia

Atop any traveler’s wish list are the World Heritage ruins at Angkor. This Indiana Jonesesque city of temples is one of the most remarkable destinations on Earth. Journey further afield to gaze upon an endless sea of emerald rice fields, or discover virtually unexplored areas just newly opened to travelers. Enjoy the fascinating capital once known as the “Paris of the East,” and get to know the gracious and hospitable people.

Bhutan

With its beauty and mystery, Bhutan presents travelers with experiences found nowhere else on Earth. Their celebrations awaken travelers to the vibrant culture found in the treasure named Bhutan. Bhutan’s fragile and delicate eco-system has been preserved for visitors to appreciate and stand in awe.

In the local dialect, the name Bhutan means “Land of the Thunder Dragon.” You will find the dragon more peaceful than thunderous, however. This sparsely populated kingdom offers much to enchant the foreign visitor: charming, hospitable residents; the devout practice of Tibetan Buddhism; magnificent mountains; and a unique architectural style found nowhere else in the Himalaya. Strict laws enacted to protect indigenous cultural traditions and mitigate the influence of foreign visitors have made Bhutan one of the preeminent destinations in Asia. When you travel overland or trek with Mandala Adventures in Bhutan, you will understand the pride and determination of its citizens in maintaining the sanctity of their Shangri-la.

Laos

Less than a decade ago, Laos was largely unknown to Western travelers. Since the Lao People’s Democratic Republic reluctantly reopened its doors in the 1990s, a steady flow of visitors has trickled into this old-fashioned country. Visitors to this least populated Southeast Asian country will be rewarded with sights of a rugged natural landscape and ethnically diverse people where not much changed since French explorers set foot here more than a century ago. Laos’s life-line is the Mekong River, which runs the length of the landlocked country and in places serves as a boundary with Thailand and Burma. Set on a broad curve of the Mekong, Vientiane is perhaps Indochina’s most modest capital city. To the north, Louang Prabang was once the heart and soul of the ancient kingdom of Lane Xang and today it is Laos’s most enticing destination, with a spellbinding panoply of gilded temples and weathered shops. In between, Vang Viang is set in a spectacular landscape of rice paddies and karsts. Further south, near the former royal seat of Champasak, lie the ruins of Wat Phou, one of the most important Khmer temples outside Cambodia. South again, the countless river islands of Si Phan Don lie scattered across the Mekong, boasting scores of traditional fishing communities and the chance to spot the rare Irawaddy dolphin.

Mongolia

Mighty powers have ruled the vast expanses of Mongolia, from the homegrown empire of Genghis Khan, to the Chinese and in the 20th century, the Soviets. Yet none have subjugated its wilderness or the nomadic spirit of the earthbound people who still roam the steppes, deserts, forests and mountain ranges in concert with the seasons. Mandala Adventures will transport you out to camel encampments on the Gobi, the alpine meadow settlements of the Kazakh, the secluded woodland enclaves of the Tsaatan. Your outlook adjusts to the extremity of distance, your pulse to the steady motion of undisturbed nature. Travel in Mongolia is an encounter with a land resistant to the passing whim of human forces, and with a people who cherish the freedom of life in the open.

Indonesia

Paradise is otherwise known as Bali, a brilliant island of colorful traditions, sculpted rice terraces, balmy breezes and sandy beaches lapped by translucent waves. Although its idyllic reputation was temporarily rattled by a bombing incident in 2002, such a rare and uncharacteristic event does not stir the depths of this devout and peaceful Hindu culture. For the ultimate relaxing vacation of luxury and invigorating outdoor activity, Bali is not to be outdone.

Mandala Adventures will gladly extend your sojourn in the south seas with extensions to the neighboring islands of Lombok and Java, the former a less developed version of Bali and the latter, location of Borobudur, a massive 1200-year-old Buddhist holy site that ranks alongside Cambodia’s Angkor Wat in grandeur.

Ladakh

It has been said that the word Ladakh, means “Land of Light” because its clear and rarified air electrifies sunlight. Once an independent Buddhist kingdom, Ladakh has been part of both Tibet and Kashmir; the latter finally ended its independence and, in the long run, made it part of British India. The kingdom’s former empire is now divided between India, Pakistan and the People’s Republic of China. Nevertheless, Ladakh is one of the least populated districts in India. Renowned for it’s remote and rugged mountain beauty and Tibetan Buddhist culture which has been allowed to flourish under British and Indian rule. Sometimes called “Little Tibet,” Leh Palace, a miniature version of the Potala in Lhasa, towers above the capital city of Leh. Ladakh is the highest inhabited plateau in the world, much of it being above 10,000 feet. It straddles the Himalaya and Karakoram mountain ranges and the upper Indus River, which flows into Ladakh from nearby Mount Kailas in western Tibet. Ladakh consists of a number of distinct areas: the fairly populous main Indus River Valley, the more remote Zanskar to the south, and the Nubra Valley to the north of the Khardung La, the highest motorable pass in the world at 18, 380 feet. On a clear day, K2 is visible from Ladakh’s high passes.

Custom Travel

Over half of our business comes from guests who request a private, custom-designed adventure. These have ranged from a three-month trans-Himalayan trek to a three-day getaway in Hanoi following a business meeting in Hong Kong, to a corporate study tour to Dharamsala.