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Purify my Water, Money matters & SIM card ( Ncell)

Shah Alam, Malaysia
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90 posts
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Purify my Water, Money matters & SIM card ( Ncell)

WIll be heading to Nepal in a few days time. I have a few questions

1. Any advice on water quality issue? my main concern is when I am at trekking track, is having a water filter tube is good enough? Although I would prefer boiling my water supply, but I am thinking how practical is that & (this sounds silly but can be possible), do i have to pay even just to boil water?

2. Any advise on things that i should be cautious about then changing money in Nepal? Because when I remember that when I was in Bali, I was being cautioned about some 'dirty practice' by some money changers there by two concern Balinese.

3. I read on tourist guide book that i need photo as well as a photocopy of my passport when buying prepaid SIM card. Is that true? Roughly how much (in USD) do i have to pay for the SIM card & does the SIM comes with pre loaded credit?

France
Destination Expert
for Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, Jomsom, Mustang Region, Namche Bazaar, Sagarmatha National Park, Annapurna Region
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1. Re: Purify my Water, Money matters & SIM card ( Ncell)

01, Depends on where you are planning to Trek. In Annapurna Region there are some treks where Safe Drinking Facilities are available in cheap prices. But if you are trekking in other regions or don't mind using purification tablets then that probably is the better option for you. If your filer purifies the water [I mean if it kills the germs] then that should be fine. The water generally is clear and feels like ready to drink but it's not safe without purification. Be aware that Nepali people directly drink from the tap but you can not.

02, Do not change inside the airport unless you really need to. You will get poor rate comparing to Thamel. In Thamel you will get better rates than in the airport. Carry enough money [Nepali currency] on the trek but you can use your own currency [Like Euro, US$, Pounds etc] in need. In Nepal money changers have exchange rates posted publicly.

03, You will need photocopy of your passport and photo to obtain a Sim Card and thats true. There is both Ncell and Nepal Telecom Sim buying counter in the airport but I haven't bought with them. Ncell Sim Card in the market is less than 1.5 US$ with NPR 50 balance. Should be about the same inside Airport too. Someone will post about it for you.

Good Luck!

Sheffield, United...
Destination Expert
for Nepal
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2. Re: Purify my Water, Money matters & SIM card ( Ncell)

Hi

1) There are a number of methods to obtain afe water:

Filters: I used one when trekking in 2010 and was OK; I started using a similar one in 2010 but was ill - this started in KTM so I'm reluctant to blame the filter. There are many different ones available and not all are capable of adequately purifying ground water in Nepal. It will be worth checking its specifiactions before using it.

Boiling water: in the main trekking areas (Annapurna, Everest and Langtang) it is common for the lodges to boil water to drink. The vast majority of lodges will charge for this because of the fuel used. Boiling your own is possible but it is not as convenient, I suggest. I haven't seen people boiling their own water at lodges and maybe this is because lodge keepers might not a fire risk that they have no control of so require people to do this outside.

Chemical purification is another method and useful as a back up anyway.

Bottled water is an environmental and the most expensive source of safe (debatable) water.

Water in KTM requires similar precautions; do not use untreated tap water for brushing teeth, for example.

2) Changing money is a straightforward process but caution is still needed. The two main options: money changers and banks. Plenty of money changers in tourist area of KTM and Pokhara (for example) and it's a case of walking in and making the exchange; the rate of exchange will be posted outside; decide how much you want to exchange, work out how many rupees you should get (calculator on your phone), check how much they will give you corresponds with your amount (if it doesn't then walk away), finally, check the amount you are given at the counter. The majority of money changers will be honest; they are licensed businesses with premises rather than a guy on the corner.

The banks can be a little more bureaucratic and take a little longer but I would still take the same precautions.

3) No experience.

Goood luck.

scoodly

Shah Alam, Malaysia
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90 posts
30 reviews
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3. Re: Purify my Water, Money matters & SIM card ( Ncell)

Thank you so much for the replies. I really appreciated it.

Looks like I might need to get a chemical water purification then. Although my current water filter claimed to be able to kill bacteria, but i purely feel it's a marketing gimmick.

How much is the Safe Drinking facilities? any idea how much the guest house owner going to charge for boiled water? Would really appreciate this reply because I need to work out on my budget. I wouldn't want to change too much money & be a walking ATM machine. hahaha!

Is it alright to refuse porter service if I am able to carry my own backpack? it's a pretty small bag & not much weight. I am not obliged to take up their service right?

Sheffield, United...
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for Nepal
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4. Re: Purify my Water, Money matters & SIM card ( Ncell)

Hi

Chemical purification might be the cheapest way to get safe drinking water depending on the particular chemical or brand. The cheapest in Nepal is Lugol's solution of iodine. Iodine does not prevent giardia and can be messy (tablets deal with this but are more expensive). Chlorine dioxide gets everything (I think) but was not that easy to find at a reasonable price when I looked in Thamel last spring. I don't know how much the safe water stations in Annapurna are - best guess is 40 - 50 rupees per litre but others will have better information. These are only in the Annapurna area and they are not everywhere so you would need other sources.

I suggest doing your own research about water safety too; check with a good travel physician for example.

It's difficult to say how much the guest houses charge for water because it varies with altitude/distance from the trail head and because they charge on a different basis. Some charge per small pot, medium pot etc while others charge per litre or half litre and these measurements are approximate! into-thin-air has linked to photographs of menus on his blog and these might show examples of prices. Budget is important to you and, assuming your filter is good enough (perhaps state which one it is?) will be the cheapest (you have already bought it), next cheapest is chemical treatment (maybe best to buy chlorine dioxide at home) then boiled water.

Hiring a porter is entirely your own choice not the agents. On the main trekking trails you are not obliged to take up any service from an agent - it is both allowed and possible to trek independently and arrange it yourself. More specific - and therefore useful - advice depends on which trek will do.

scoodly

Aus
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142 posts
16 reviews
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5. Re: Purify my Water, Money matters & SIM card ( Ncell)

Have a look at a "steripen" for water purification. They use UV light to purify. Nicer alternative that iodine or other chemicals, though Im taking some iodine in case of steripen failure.

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Purify my Water, Money matters & SIM card ( Ncell)

I've used mix of boiled water and Aquatabs this time ( been in Nepal/ Bhutan 5 weeks) & haven't had any problems. Don't recall how much the Aquatabs were, but don't think very expensive. I bought them in Australia.

Last year I used a Strripen & had some problems with it - and got sick. Tried it again this year, some intermittent problems, so three it in the bottom of my bag to take back to the retailer - don't think I'd bother with one again. They can chew batteries, like everything else, weigh more than tablets & are fairly expensive to buy. About US 60 here in KTM I think.

That said, a good friend & tour leader who treks all over the world constantly, swears by her old model that she's had for years.

Sydney,Australia
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7. Re: Purify my Water, Money matters & SIM card ( Ncell)

Use a local water purifying solution called Piyush, costs Npr 30.

Cumbria
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4,876 posts
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8. Re: Purify my Water, Money matters & SIM card ( Ncell)

Lots of excellent info already posted and only a few snippets to add.

1) I have only just returned from my 10th trip to Nepal – This time trekking Mardi Himal in the Annapurna’s – Bottled water has been banned here for a long time (And I agree with this ban as it reduces plastic waste in the mountains) – So I again used Boiled Water and had No Issues – Boiled water is available for sale in lodges, prices go up as you get higher, but averages out between $1 and $2 per litre

2) I have Never had any issues with money changing

3) I use an N-Cell SIM - These are only about $2 and then I charge the phone with around about another $6 and this does me for a 6 week trip making the occasional phone call to Europe and a lot of local calls.

The only thing to be aware of is the Micro-SIMS aren’t available so make sure your phone uses the full size SIM – There are “Machines” that cut the centre out of the full sized SIMS for use in Smart-Phones but this sounds a bit iffy and therefore I can’t guarantee that it works ;-)

Nepal has a cracking network coverage and even in most trekking areas you can get a signal – In fact a much better coverage than my native Cumbria, UK

Good Luck

Rob

San Francisco
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9. Re: Purify my Water, Money matters & SIM card ( Ncell)

Are iodine tablets sufficient as a backup in case there is no boiling water? Or should I bring chlorine dioxide tablets instead?

Sheffield, United...
Destination Expert
for Nepal
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10. Re: Purify my Water, Money matters & SIM card ( Ncell)

Hi

Iodine is a popular back up treatment (available cheaply in KTM) but, as I understand it, cryptosporidium is not killed (and some say it does not get Giardia. Iodine is banned in the EU for water treatment, but I don't think the US or other places have. I think, Chlorine dioxiide does get crypto and giardia according to the UK Fit for Travel site:

fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/advice-for-travel…

I had a quick look on the US CDC website but couldn't find a single page for water treatment options for travellers...

scoodly