“Sorry for the long review, but it needs some length to properly explain our experience. The service from this company began very badly, but ended well. If ever there was an argument for using an established, reputable company to enable problems to be resolved this is it, but our experience also reinforces the reality that an individual guide has the potential to make or break a trip, even if they work for a reputable company.
Our early morning transfer to the Kathmandu airport from the trek company’s guest house arrived very late and the guide did not accompany us. We waited outside the terminal for the guide who arrived with our tickets, but too late for the flight. The guide was belligerent with the airline staff and unapologetic to us. He seemed so “out of it” (for reasons unknown to us) that we called the trek company owner and asked for another guide because we were concerned about why he was in that state and what the repercussions could be for our trek. Setting aside the obvious problems with the first guide, this is where having an experienced trekking company was advantageous as they were able to quickly provide a new guide who ultimately helped make the trek a good experience.
Unfortunately, the flight we missed because of the first guide turned out to be the only flight of the day due to whether conditions in Lukla. Nepal Alternative Treks gave us that night’s accommodation in their guest house and arranged flight tickets for the next day. Concerned about getting to Lukla, and after discussions with the company, we ended up going by helicopter after paying a supplement.
The new guide, Amar, was excellent. He was pleasant, helpful, and service-oriented, thus the overall rating of 4. The trek itself was beautiful and a great experience.
With 20/20 hindsight, if we did another trek with any company, we would ask for more information about the accommodations. We do not know if it would even have been possible for the Gokyo trek, but it would have been FAR more pleasant if we had stayed in rooms with attached toilets. Going down cold hallways at night to find the toilet already in use was not fun. We did have attached toilets for two nights and wondered if that would have been possible other nights, perhaps for a supplement. Having said that, we would still have done and enjoyed the trek if none of the accommodations had attached toilets. In fact, we didn’t expect to have any, but two nights with that luxury emphasized the huge difference, perhaps even more so because we are in our 60’s.
One additional point is that we had arranged with the trekking company for some car transfers to and from accommodations in Pokhara and also Nagarkot. We did this thinking that an established company would have relationships with good, reliable drivers, but the transfers were all late and/or the driver clearly had very little idea about getting to our destinations. In one case we even went a significant distance in the wrong direction on a very busy one-way road in Kathmandu before other motorists were able to bring this to the attention of our driver. In the future, we would probably just use a trekking company for trekking services.”