Epic Everest Base Camp Trek
Base. Camp. Two little syllables that conjure up dreams as massive as the Himalayas themselves. This 15-day trekking tour is your chance to make these dreams come true, to challenge yourself and discover both the world’s most famous mountains and your own potential. Walk among giants of nature and leave the Wi-Fi and Netflix behind for card games in tiny teahouses, Sherpa stories and watching the sunrise over Everest. Because group dynamic is crucial on a trek like this, we’ve made a trip just for people who want to hike with other 18 to 29s. Plus, our commitment to the rights and fair treatment of porters and trekking guides means you can hike with a clear conscience knowing you’re doing the trek of a lifetime the ethical way. ALTERNATE ITINERARY: In case of weather conditions leading to cancellations or delays in included flights, this trip will operate on an alternate itinerary. Please see day 1 of the itinerary for more details.
Ages: 18 - 29
Theme: 18 to 29s, Walking & Trekking
Accommodation: Hotel/Guesthouse (2 nights), Tea House/Trekking Lodge (12 nights)
Namaste! Welcome to Kathmandu, the colourful capital of Nepal where ornately carved balconies mingle with beautiful shrines and temples. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 4 pm today. If you arrive with time to spare, maybe check out the storied stupas and pagodas of Swayambhunath (AKA the 'monkey temple') or take a walk around the local Durbar Square. If you’ve got limited time in the city, consider an immersive Urban Adventure like Cook in Kathmandu, a community farm-to-table cooking class with the Seven Women social enterprise. ALTERNATIVE ITINERARY DUE TO FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS: Weather conditions in the Himalayas can change rapidly, which can result in the need for changes to be made to our intended itineraries. Flights throughout Nepal – particularly in high mountain areas – are often delayed or cancelled due to poor weather conditions. Flights between Kathmandu and Lukla are particularly prone to these delays which has the potential to vary the itinerary of our tour departures. Our contingency plans in case of bad weather preventing the fixed wing aircraft flight from Kathmandu to Lukla are as follows: Day 2 – We will attempt to board our booked fixed-wing plane as per the itinerary. If this flight is cancelled, we will return to our hotel in Kathmandu for an additional night. Day 3 – We will again attempt to board our booked fixed-wing plane. If this flight is cancelled we will endeavour to charter a helicopter to transport the group, provided helicopters are available and weather does not prevent them from flying to Lukla. Travellers will need to use their emergency fund to cover the cost of the chartered helicopter. The exact cost will depend on how many travellers are in your group and could be up to US 500. If we reach Lukla on day 3 by either fixed wing aircraft or helicopter we will then follow the same itinerary to Everest Base Camp but descend over one less day in order to take our return flight from Lukla on day 14. Day 4 – If both fixed-wing planes and helicopters are unable to reach Lukla on the morning of day 3, then on day 4 we will travel by road to Phaplu (an approximately 9-hour drive by private vehicle) and then trek to Tengboche on the Everest Base Camp route via Lukla. While we will not be able to reach Base Camp itself on this altered itinerary, but our travellers have still found it a highly enjoyable trek with superb views of the ranges and Everest itself. We also advise allowing a few extra days in Kathmandu at the end of your trip should your return flights from Lukla be delayed due to weather conditions.
Early this morning you’ll jump on a plane for a quick journey from Kathmandu to Lukla (approximately 45 minutes). This ain’t no regular flight though – you’ll be flying parallel to the giants of the Himalayas and, if the weather’s good, make sure to grab a seat on the left and stick your face up against the window for amazing views of the mountains bordering Nepal and China. Touch down on an airstrip built by Sir Edmund Hillary and the Sherpas in the mid-1960s. Then it’s time to meet your porters and take some time to warm up with an exploration of the village of Lukla. After a safety talk, gear up and begin your trek to Phakding. You’ll descend towards the milky white waters of the Dudh Kosi River, where you will join the main trail to Namche Bazaar, located just above Chaunrikharka. The walk is easy and after passing through the small village of Ghat, it’s only a short walk to Phakding. Overall trekking time today is approximately 3 hours.
Trek around 6 hours to Namche Bazaar, where you’ll spend a couple of days acclimatising to the altitude. Here, you’ll also get your first look at Everest itself – yeah, no big deal! From Phakding, cross the river and head up the valley, following in the footsteps of the porters loaded with supplies for Namche Bazaar. The trail, lined with blue pine forest, follows the river valley and is especially spectacular in spring when the rhododendron flowers are bright in bloom. Cross the Dudh Kosi River at Benkar, and look way up above 6000 metres/19,700 feet to see the peaks of snow-capped Kusum Kanguru and Thamserku. Press on to Monjo, a good place to break for lunch. From here the walk starts to get a little tougher, with a steep ascent to Namche Bazaar. Enter into the national park, cross the river through the village of Jorsale, and then continue upstream. Cross another spectacular suspension bridge and begin the ascent to Namche Bazaar. Get your camera out as now there will be your first glimpse of the peaks of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Taweche. Namche will be your last chance to check your equipment and hire any additional gear for the high altitudes from Dingboche onwards. Namche Bazaar is also the last chance for a hot shower, to enjoy the local nightlife or take to the pool hall and video parlours.
Stay at Namche Bazaar for another night so you can properly acclimatise to the altitude. One of the best ways to do this is to take strenuous walk up to a high altitude then come back down to sleep. Remember, it doesn't matter how fit you are, anyone can be affected by altitude, so have a chat to your doctor before you leave to talk about the symptoms and what to expect. So there’s an optional walk above the Bhote Khola River Valley towards Thami. Taking a walk to see both the sunrise and sunset views from the national park headquarters above the village is also a great option. This stunning vista includes a super panorama of the Khumbu peaks and great views of Everest. The national park headquarters are home to interesting displays about Sherpa lifestyle and culture, and the local flora and fauna. Rugs, clothing, salt and dried meat all do a roaring trade in the village centre, so haggle for any extra supplies you might need. Dried goat meat, anyone?
You might come to appreciate the term ‘short walking day’. Today will be just that on the way to Khumjung, the largest village in the region. Stop by the National Park Museum, a walk along the route marked by well-laid stone steps to the Everest View Hotel (at one time said to be the highest hotel in the world), and a visit to a hospital built by Sir Edmund Hilary. Continue the ascent alongside Everest panoramas of towering Himalayan snow peaks. Perhaps visit the nearby small hospital run by Sir Edmund Hillary’s Himalayan Trust. Through a maze of narrow lanes you’ll reach the oldest monastery in the Everest region. For a small donation, the resident monk will proudly show a Yeti skull that is kept securely locked inside the monastery – yep, a yeti! Tonight you’ll stay in a lodge in Khumjung and dream of snow monsters.
Hit the Everest trail again and keep your eyes peeled for the Danphe pheasant (pretty bird) and Himalayan tahr (goat-like thing). Push on to super-chill Thyangboche. As far as monasteries go, this one takes the cake. If you don't feel a sense of calm sitting at 3,867 metres/12,867 feet in Nepal's spiritual centre of Tibetan Buddhism while looking at Mt Everest, then you might be a robot. Perhaps stop off for a hard-earned coffee and cake from the Khumjung bakery. Rejoin the trail to Everest, keeping eyes peeled for Danphe Pheasant and Himalayan Thar. Enjoy views of Kantega, Ama Dablam and Everest. Stay overnight at Thyangboche.
Everest is so close you could touch it. We know you're excited but pace yourself because altitude sickness can sneak up when you least expect it. Climb above the tree-line and gradually climb to the village of Pangboche, and indulge in lunch where the peak of Ama Dablam dominates the skyline. Follow the trail high above the Imja Khola, passing the tea houses at Orsho, before again crossing the Imja Khola and old glacial moraines to a lodge in Dingboche. Here you’ll find a beautiful patchwork of small fields enclosed by stone walls. These walls protect crops of barley and potatoes from the cold winds. The scenery is once again spectacular and although Everest will be hidden behind the Lhotse-Nuptse Ridge, the huge peaks that tower above the eastern end of the valley are more than worthy. If the weather’s right, then there will be ridiculously gorgeous sunsets illuminating the peaks – Ama Dablam, the south face of Lhotse to the north, and also Island Peak in the centre of the valley.
Today is another acclimatisation day, and you’ll stay in Dingboche for another night. There are a few different trails that you can hike, with day hikes to Ama Dablam base camp, Nagarjun Hill or Chukkhung. Ama Dablam is a peak that dominates the route towards Everest base camp, and it’s an opportunity to get off the main trail and explore a quieter area in the Khumbu below one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Nagarjun Hill (5100 metres/16,730 feet) offers amazing views of Makalu, Island Peak and Ama Dablam. The Chukkhung (4750 metres/15,580 feet) walk might be a short one, but it’s the views of surrounding peaks and snowy terrain that’ll have you short of breath.
You’re almost there. Look out for expedition groups on their way to the summit. They're the rock stars of the climbing world (without all the groupies). From Dingboche, ascend the small ridge behind the village above the Pheriche valley. From the stupa at the top, Taweche and Cholatse (6440 metres/21,128 feet) make for a pretty striking scene; they seem to lean forwards from across the valley in the west. To the north, Lobuje Peak (6119 metres/20,075 feet) and the snowfields of the Cho La are the kings of the skyline. The walking will now be fairly flat on wide-open fields, but remember that there’s no rush – take your time and ensure you’re well hydrated. Late in the morning you will cross the Khumbu Khola at Dughla and take a light lunch at the foot of the huge terminal moraines (stuff pushed along by the glacier) of the Khumbu Glacier flowing off Everest. In the afternoon, there will be a solid and quite steep climb on a rocky trail to the top of the moraines. On the crest of the ridge, you’ll pass a line of memorial cairns (stacks of stones), built in memory of the Sherpas and climbers who have died on various Everest expeditions over the last fifty or so years. From here the view is downright spectacular once again, with Pumori (7145 metres/23,440 feet), Lingtren (6697 metres/21,970 feet), Khumbutse (6623 metres/21,730 feet), and across the border in Tibet, Changtse (7550 metres/24,770 feet), surrounding you. Then follow the valley stream to the lodge at Lobuje, arriving early afternoon. No doubt you’ll be tired today, but remember that the big one is happening tomorrow – Everest Base Camp.
This is it people, the BIG day of Everest Base Camp. First, you’ll trek to Gorak Shep (where you’ll start the round trip to Base Camp). From Lobuje, follow the broad valley that runs parallel to Khumbu Glacier, with a gradual ascent enabling you to build the slow, steady rhythm required when walking at high altitude. When you reach the moraines of Changri Nup Glacier, you will make a series of small ascents and descents over a rocky trail lined with cairns that eventually leads to the surprising glacial sands of Gorak Shep (5160 metres/16,930 feet) – reached after about three hours of walking. Now’s the time to grab a quick bite, gear up appropriately, and then head off towards Everest Base Camp. The trek to the base camp can be achieved in around three hours, and if trekking in the popular climbing period of March to May, you will almost certainly encounter yaks and porters supplying food and equipment to expeditions here. From Everest Base Camp you will not get views of Mount Everest, but you are able to see glorious glaciers, lakes, caves, and the notorious Everest Ice Fall that flows from the Western Cwm. It's regarded as technically the hardest and most dangerous section of the mountain. Then you’ll return from Base Camp to Gorak Shep,
Wake really early for the trek to Kala Patar, where you’ll experience sensational sunrise views from this amazing vantage point. Don’t be surprised if you get a little tear in your eye when you soak up the views of Everest. Embrace that emotion and spend as long as you like here to savour this extra special moment. To get there from the lodge the ascent is quite steep, so start very slowly and try to ascend at a steady rhythmic pace. Kala Patar is the rocky hilltop below Pumori. It’s a tough walk because of the altitude, but the view from the top will surpass your wildest imagination. It will probably take a good hour and a half to reach the summit from Gorak Shep, although lower viewpoints can provide views that are almost as good. Pumori, Nuptse, Changtse, Ama Dablam, Taweche, Kantega and Everest – they’re all here. About three kilometres away and some 200 metres below, the area of the Everest Base Camp can be seen in a bowl at the bottom of the Khumbu Ice Fall. Then it’s all downhill from here – the descent to Gorak Shep is easy, then you’ll cross the Khumbu Khola and head down the valley below Cholatse to Pheriche. Cross the Khumbu Khola River and ascend a short steep trail to the top of a small ridge for great views of Imja Valley, Ama Dablam and Kantega. Descend down to the small settlement at Orsho for the night.
Cross the suspension bridge over the Imja Khola River, where there’ll be great views of the Imja Valley, Ama Dablam and Kantega. Re-trace your steps to Debuche and Thyangboche, then descend steeply through beautiful forest of juniper, rhododendron, and fir to Phunkitenga. Then cross the Dudh Kosi River and ascend to Trashinga. From here the trail contours high above the valley through Shanasa and on to Namche Bazaar, where you’ll spend the night.
You’ve done it, your last day of trekking! Set off on the last, steady 5 hours of the trek. Descend steeply down to the large suspension bridge over the Dudh Kosi River. You’ll follow the trail through Jorsale and back to Monjo. Walk via Benkar through blue pine and rhododendron forest, with great views of Kusum Kangaru, through Phakding, then it’s only a short walk in the valley before making the final climb up to the airstrip at Lukla, where you’ll say goodbye to your Sherpa crew. Get together with the rest of your group and pool your tips if you haven't already. Celebrate with a hot shower, a sleep, or with a few drinks with your group. You earned it – you conquered Everest!
Take the short flight from Lukla to Kathmandu this morning (approximately 45 minutes). Return to your accommodation and then enjoy some free time during the afternoon for further sightseeing or shopping. This evening it’s time to celebrate with a tongba (hot millet beer) and a plate of ziva (pastry fingers filled with cheese), while you relax your weary but incredibly toned legs. You don't need to carbo load anymore. But surely another plate of pasta couldn't hurt?
The trip ends this morning, but there's plenty more to see in Kathmandu for those who wish to stay on.
Phone: 977 14267358
Phone: 977 14267358
TREKKING AT HIGH ALTITUDES (over 3500m)
This trip includes strenuous trekking at altitudes of over 3500m. We take this activity very seriously, which is why we have one of the best safety records for tour operators in this region in our over 30 years of operating treks in the region. You will need to be in great health and have excellent fitness to attempt this trip, as well as be committed to train to ensure you are suitably physically prepared for the challenge. Please have a read of this training manual to help you prepare for your trek. http://www.intrepidtravel.be/sites/intrepid/files/teal/Intrepid_Trekking-Training-Manual.pdf
1. This trip starts in Kathmandu with an important welcome meeting on day 1 at 4 pm. This allows you extra time to purchase/hire required gear in Kathmandu.
2. Due to the demands of travelling at high altitudes (up to 5545 metres/18192 feet). A Passenger Self Assessment Form is required for this trip.
3. A sleeping bag is required for this trip. Please bring your own or hire one in Kathmandu.
4. Single Supplement is for hotel nights only – it does not include Trekking Lodges due to the limited number of rooms available.
5. Please bring two passport sized photos to your joining meeting for your trekking permits.
6. In case of weather conditions leading to cancellations or delays in flights, this trip will operate on an alternate itinerary. Please see day 1 of the itinerary for more details.
7. You must bring an emergency fund of USD 500 in cash with you on this trip, which you may need to use in case of delayed or cancelled flights.
From 1 October 2019 – 31 December 2019, all flights to/from Lukla will arrive/depart from Ramechhap (also known as Manthali) Airport due to congestion at Kahtmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM). Manthali Airport is located 130 kilometres (an approximately 5-hour drive) from Kathmandu. This decision was made by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. Please note that during other peak travel times Lukla flights may be affected as well. Please note that during other peak travel times Lukla flights may be affected as well.
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
STRIKES: Demonstrations and protests are common in Nepal, with strikes regularly occurring that may result in curfews or roadblocks being enforced at short notice. At these times, businesses may close and vehicles may not be allowed on the roads. You should avoid any demonstrations or political gatherings and follow local advice, including that of your leader in the event of any disruptions. PETTY THEFT & CRIME: Pickpocketing and other petty theft is common, especially in places where tourists or foreigners frequent. Take care when walking around at night. Avoid walking on your own and don’t carry large sums of cash. Keep valuables in a hotel safe if possible. Bars and restaurants now close at midnight as part of a government crackdown on illegal activities. Foreigners remaining in bars and clubs after hours have been detained by the police. Police have increased their presence in Thamel and Durbar Marg, popular tourist districts in Kathmandu, in an effort to reduce crime in these areas. You should seek out police if you have been robbed or affected by any crime. ALTITUDE: Altitude sickness is a risk, including on the Annapurna, Langtang and Everest Base Camp treks. Please make sure you familiarise yourself with signs and symptoms before you depart and monitor your own health during your trek. INSURANCE: Make sure your insurance covers you for your intended activities, including travel and trekking above 3000m if this is included on your itinerary, mountain rescue services and helicopter evacuation costs. FESTIVALS: Travelling in Nepal during Holi Festival (1-2 March 2018, 20-21 March 2019, 9-10 March 2020), can at times be dangerous due to revellers consuming intoxicating substances. The day is often associated with physical violence and danger. Your leader will advise you and your group on what places to avoid on this day and it may even be necessary for us to alter your itinerary for the day to avoid putting you or your group leader in high risk situation. Travelling during the Hindu festival Diwali (7 November 2018, 27 October 2019, 14 November 2020) can also be dangerous. During this time there are many displays of fireworks in the streets. It can be very noisy for several days and there is also a lot of pollution caused by the fireworks. As there are no restrictions on buying fireworks there are often injuries caused by people exploding them inappropriately. During this festival your leader may be required to alter your itinerary to avoid any dangerous areas to avoid putting the group at risk. INTERNAL FLIGHTS: There have been a number of air accidents in Nepal. We only use airlines that have passed strict safety audits for included internal flights in Nepal, including Buddha Air, Yeti Air & Tara Air.
Hotels in Kathmandu generally have excellent WiFi connections. Most hotels offer free WiFi in public areas, with some also offering in room WIFI, sometimes for an additional fee. While trekking WiFi may be available in tea houses and lodges for a small cost. The higher you go the more the use of WiFi and internet will cost, and likely the slower the speed. Your tour leader will be able to offer some advice on communications in remote areas of the country. Please note that most teahouses do not have electrical outlets in rooms to charge devices but are shared in the main dining area, for an additional fee. Past travellers have found portable solar chargers to be very useful.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.
All foreign nationals (except Indian passport holders) require a visa to enter Nepal. Visas are obtainable from embassies abroad, land borders (including borders with India & Tibet) and on arrival at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport.
Getting a visa at the airport or land borders can sometimes take time due to long queues. There have been instances when travellers are asked to show proof of exit from the country, ie flight tickets. You may also need to provide two passport photos and the following fees in US dollars (subject to change, cash only). Other currencies are also accepted although rates may differ. The following costs were correct at time of writing:
- Multi entry visa valid for 15 days - US$30
- Multi entry visa valid for 30 days - US$50
- Multi entry visa valid for 90 days - US$125
Your visa application form may require you to state the dates on which you enter and exit that country. Please note we suggest you list your date of entry a few days before, and date of exit a few days after your intended dates in case you encounter any delays or problems en route. To help calculate the exact dates of these crossings we have found the website www.timeanddate.com to be very useful.
Why we love it
It’s not (just) about the mountains. Hike past everything from alpine lakes and glacial plains to frothy rivers and valleys covered in pink blossoms, depending on the season.
A Base Camp trek is the bonding experience of a lifetime and this trip gives you the chance to do it with like-minded travellers of a similar age.
Get your first glimpse of the mighty Himalayan range on the included flight from Kathmandu to Lukla – the famous airport in the sky.
Hike with an experienced and passionate English-speaking local leader as well as a team of guides and porters who will introduce you to incredible Sherpa culture.
We partner with local mountaineering and porter welfare programs, so you can trek easier knowing that while our porters are taking care of you, there’s someone looking out for them.
Read our comprehensive guide on trekking in the Everest region here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/theme/walking/everest-base-camp-trek
Is this trip right for you
The weather can be unpredictable in the Himalayas and every year a significant number of trips have flights to or from Lukla delayed or cancelled due to weather conditions. See day 1 of the itinerary for the alternative plans should this happen on your trip.
Hiking the Himalayas is no walk in the park. But seriously, this trip includes 12 days of trekking for up to eight hours per day, reaching altitudes of over 5500 metres. Depending on the time of year, the weather can be harsh. Ask anyone who has done it and they will say the rewards are worth it, but we can’t stress enough that you must be in excellent health to participate. Think you’re up for it? Find our step-by-step training guide here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/trekking-training-guide-tips/.
The trekking lodges, known as teahouses, that we stay in on the trek are very simple with only basic facilities. Access to electricity points for charging devices will cost extra. Wi-Fi is available at some locations, but connections may be poor.
The scenery and conditions vary between seasons. Please carefully consider the time of the year you wish to trek in and consult this packing guide https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/packing-guide-for-trekking-in-nepal/.
The Everest Base Camp trek is a very popular route and you will encounter many other trekkers and groups on the trail and at the teahouses. If you are after a trek that sees less travellers and spends more time trekking through communities rather than on a more established route, see our Tamang Heritage & Langtang Valley Trek (HNXV).
This trip includes one or more overnight stays over 3500 metres (11500 ft) where there is a genuine risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). If left untreated AMS can be life-threatening. While the vast majority will only feel discomfort, it is not uncommon for a small number of people to need extra care which will be provided by our leaders and local staff. All our trips that spend time at high altitude follow our standard altitude safety measures. A number of medical conditions and medications can also reduce your body's ability to acclimatise, and thus will affect your performance at altitude and make you more susceptible to AMS. If you are worried about any pre-existing condition (e.g. heart problems), or unsure of your physical ability, you must seek medical advice prior to booking. You may also wish to discuss medication such as Diamox that may help aid acclimatisation. Read more about AMS here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/altitude-sickness
All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Air quality in Nepal can be poor, especially in winter. Some towns, including Kathmandu, experience very high levels of seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution. Seek medical advice if you're concerned about the effects of air pollution.
Travellers to altitudes higher than 2,500m are at risk of altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS). This can be life threatening and affect anyone, even people who are very physically fit. There is a higher risk for those who have had altitude sickness before, who exercise or drink alcohol before adjusting to the altitude, or who have health problems that affect breathing. If your tour travels to high altitude, see your doctor for advice specific to you and your situation before you depart. It is important to be aware of the normal altitude symptoms that you may encounter BUT NOT worry about:
- Periods of sleeplessness
- Occasional loss of appetite
- Vivid, wild dreams at around 2500-3800m in altitude
- Unexpected momentary shortness of breath, day and night
- Periodic breathing that wakes you occasionally
- Blocked nose
- Dry cough
- Mild headache
If you are feeling nauseous, dizzy or experience other symptoms, please be sure to let your group leader know immediately so that we can monitor your condition.
Please be aware that should your group leader deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time, they will arrange for you to descend to a lower attitude.
Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/altitude-sickness
On some days this trip may ascend faster than commonly published recommended ascent rates at altitude. However, based upon an assessment by our external safety and medical advisors, and in conjunction with our own risk assessments we consider that the ascent rate is acceptable due to the additional safety measures that are in place for our customers. If you have concerns about this, please speak to your booking representative.
All our leaders in the Himalayas are trained in the use of a PAC bag (Portable Altitude Chamber) and this is carried on all trips which go above 4,200m. The PAC bag is used in an emergency only to treat altitude sickness in the mountains. A First Aid kit is carried with the group and all our leaders are First Aid trained. Please ensure that your travel insurance policy does cover you up to the maximum altitude on this trip, and includes helicopter evacuation. Please take proof of this with you on the trip, as you will need to show it to the leader.
Malaria is a risk in some areas of Nepal including Chitwan National Park. Dengue fever and Japanese
encephalitis also occur, including on occasion in Kathmandu. Protect yourself against insect bites by wearing adequate protection, including repellent.
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND TREATMENT:
Medical facilities in Nepal are very limited, particularly outside Kathmandu. In Kathmandu, treatment at international-standard clinics is expensive and up-front payment for services is generally required. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment, including evacuation by helicopter.
Food and dietary requirements
FOOD IN NEPAL:
We do not include meals while trekking, allowing you to choose what you want to eat and when. We know from experience that the altitude and physical exercise can meal trekker's appetites differ quite widely. The menus in the teahouses are varied, ranging from traditional Nepalese dhal bhat to pizza and apple pie. Vegetarians are well catered for in Nepal. How much you need to spend per day will vary, but it could be anything up to US$60 per day for meals, snacks and drinks. Prices tend to get higher the higher you go on trek in response to the difficulty of getting supplies to the teahouses.
In Kathmandu and Pokhara there are plenty of restaurants and cafes for all tastes and budgets. For a glimpse at what traditional Nepali cuisine entails, check out our guide here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/guide-to-nepali-cuisine/
ALCOHOL & CAFFEINE:
Alcohol and trekking don't mix. We highly recommend that you limit your alcohol consumption in Kathmandu prior to your trip. Celebrate your achievements after your trek. Both alcohol and caffeine increase dehydration. Limit your intake of both when hiking at high altitudes.
The official currency of Nepal is the Nepali rupee (NPR). Its symbol is often displayed as Rs. USD are also widely accepted in Nepal. ATMs can only be found in Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Bhaktapur. Make sure you carry sufficient cash to cover your needs when travelling outside of these cities. Money exchange facilities are available in Kathmandu, Namche, Pokhara, Chitwan (only outside the park) and Bhaktapur. Credit cards are not widely accepted.
The Government of Nepal has banned the import, export and use of 500 and 1000 Indian rupee notes in Nepal. You should ensure you are not carrying these notes on arrival in Nepal as they will be confiscated and you may be fined.
Please note that most establishments in Asia will not accept foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded and they can be very difficult to exchange or extra fees added when exchanging at banks. Please ensure that you have new, clean notes.
Before departing on a trek, make sure you have enough Nepalese currency to purchase meals and drinks, in the smaller denominations where possible, as there are no ATMs and larger notes (such as 1000R) can be difficult to change.
When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).
We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.
The recommended amounts are listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however the local currency is needed in the countries you are visiting.
As a result of customer feedback, we recommend you allow a figure of between US$500 and US$540 for your food, drinks (including water for the trek) and snacks. In addition you should carry sufficient funds for extra sightseeing and optional activities. On average people spend approximately US$40 on extra sightseeing. Shopping is a personal thing that, again, varies enormously. On average, people spend between US$50 to US$100 on jewellery and other souvenirs.
Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.
All our crew (leaders, assistant guides and porters) are provided wages / beneficiaries as per the labor law of Nepal. However, if you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many of our destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Hotel porters: NPR 50 is adequate for porters that assist you with bags to your room.
Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise 5-10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$2-3per person, per day for local guides. (Including city tour guides, jungle guides, rafting guides, assistant trek guides)
Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a porter in addition to your leader. We suggest US$2-3 per person, per day, per porter.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of US$2-3per person, per day is generally appropriate.
Local transport: For a city tour we suggest US$2 per person, per day.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$3-5per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
NOTE: Please don't tip with coins or notes of or less than NPR1NPR 20, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances. As well as your underwear, toothbrush and other items you always need to pack for travel, below are some items that you specifically need for this trip. Intrepid provide an individual duffel bag to carry your trekking gear. The weight limit per person is 10kg each. Porters carry two bags each as well as a their own backpack. Porters weight limit is 25kg each. Please keep the weight and bulk of your trek bag to a minimum by bringing clothes made from lightweight material. Don't pack too much clothing; one or two changes will be all you need. However, as the weather conditions in the Himalayas are often unpredictable, be prepared for all eventualities, be it rain, unseasonable cold or heat. For the trek all of your gear should be packed into plastic bags to protect it from the weather - dry clothes are essential for your comfort. Your trek leader will assist you in packing your kitbag and can advise what to bring and what can be left behind in Kathmandu. Day pack - Your day pack must have the capacity for the items you will be carrying on a day's walk: rain jacket, spare trousers, warm clothing, water bottles, camera equipment, washing items and other personal effects. A hip/waist strap provides additional comfort. You should consider day packs of at least a 30 to 40 litre capacity. You only need to carry your day pack when trekking each day. ESSENTIAL TREKKING EQUIPMENT Trekking boots (broken in) Gaiters (for winter departures Dec-Feb only - can be hired in Kathmandu if required) Waterproof 3/4 season jacket and trousers (can be hired/purchased in Kathmandu if required) Camp footwear (ie sneakers, thongs or booties) Several pairs of high quality hiking socks T-Shirts - highly recommended are synthetic t-shirt styles that wick away moisture Thermal underwear/layers Down jacket (can be hired/purchased in Kathmandu if required) Warm mid layers (fleece/micro fibre) Trousers - lightweight, loose fitting, trekking trousers (can be purchased in Kathmandu) Shorts or skirt for summer Tracksuit or fleece pants for even Sleeveless fleece and extra layers for winter departures (Dec-Feb) Warm hat & sun hat Scarf/neck warmer Gloves and mitts - waterproof and warm. Sunglasses with UV protection Head torch (w spare batteries) Sunscreen and lip balm Light weight towel or sarong Personal first aid kit Biodegradable wet wipes/toilet paper Hand sanitizer gel Trail mix/nuts/muesli bars (bring zip lock bags from home) OPTIONAL GEAR Pocket knife Insect repellent Ear plugs Walking poles Extra zip lock bags Hot water bottle (winter months) SLEEPING BAG & INNER SHEET A good quality, warm sleeping bag is essential while trekking as only blankets are provided at tea houses. Please note that sleeping bags, are readily available to buy or hire in both Kathmandu at very reasonable rates. Your group leader can assist you in hiring gear after your joining meeting. If you plan to hire a sleeping bag we recommend that you bring an inner sleep sheet, which adds another layer of warmth. In winter a thermal inner sleep sheet is warmer. If you bring your own sleeping bag, please think about the time of year of your trek. We recommend a four season bag with a rating to around -10c. In Winter (Dec-Feb) a five seasons bag is recommended. WATER BOTTLES It is essential to bring 2 x 1lt water bottles to refill along the way. While trekking, boiled or safe drinking water is available to purchase in tea houses. However, you should also carry a water purification method. Options include: - purification tablets available from camping stores or pharmacies eg. Micropur. - 2% tincture of iodine, available from pharmacies, used at 4 drops per litre of water and left for at least 20 minutes - longer in very cold weather. CASH: Before departing on your trek, make sure you have enough Nepalese currency to purchase meals and drinks during the trek - in the smaller denominations where possible, there are no ATM's and it can be harder to change a NPR1000 note. OTHER GUIDES & FURTHER TRAVEL: For other guides to packing for treks: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/packing-guide-for-trekking-in-nepal/ If you are spending further time in the region, please see some ideas for regular travelling gear to pack. https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list
For further advice on what to pack, see our Everest Base Camp packing guide here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/everest-base-camp-packing-guide/
Climate and seasonal
ALTERNATIVE ITINERARY DUE TO FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS:
Weather conditions in the Himalayas can change rapidly, which frequently results in the need for changes to be made to our intended itineraries. Flights throughout Nepal, particularly in high mountain areas, can be delayed or cancelled due to poor weather conditions. Flights between Kathmandu and Lukla are particularly prone to these delays which has the potential to vary the itinerary of all departures in the Everest region. Our contingency plans in case of bad weather preventing the fixed wing aircraft flight from Kathmandu to Lukla are as follows:
Day 2 - We will attempt to board our booked fixed wing flight as per the itinerary. If this flight is cancelled we will return to our hotel in Kathmandu for an additional night.
Day 3 - We will again attempt to board our booked fixed wing flight. If this flight is cancelled but helicopters are available and permitted to fly to Lukla we will use our best endeavours to charter a helicopter to transport the group. Travellers will need to use their emergency fund to cover the cost of this chartered helicopter. The exact cost will depend on how many travellers are in your group and could be up to US$500. If we reach Lukla on Day 3 by either fixed wing aircraft or helicopter we will then follow the same itinerary to Everest Base Camp, but descend over one less day in order to take our return flight from Lukla on Day 14.
Day 4 - If no flights (either plane or helicopter) are possible on the morning of Day 3, then on Day 4 we will travel by road to Phaplu (approximately 9 hours drive by private vehicle) and then trek to Tengboche on the Everest Base Camp route, via Lukla. While we will not be able to reach Base Camp itself on this altered itinerary our travellers have still found it a highly enjoyable trek with superb views of the Everest ranges including Everest itself.
We also advise allowing a few extra days in Kathmandu at the end of your trip should your return flights from Lukla be delayed due to weather conditions.
Nepal's climate varies greatly depending on the season:
JUN - SEP: the monsoon rains (mostly at night) bring landslides in regional areas. Cloud cover often obscures mountain views with rain, mud and leeches deterring most trekkers at this time of year. Treks running in September can be hot and very humid at lower altitudes. See what it's like to trek during monsoon here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/nepal-during-monsoon-season/
MAR - APR: Spring brings warm weather and spectacular rhododendron blooms. A popular time to visit and one of the peak times to trek.
OCT - NOV: Clear skies and warm days make autumn the peak season.
DEC - FEB: Winter brings cold temperatures and snow to the mountains. Good trekking, but remember to rug up.
A couple of rules
Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.
Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.
The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.
By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.
If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency please contact our local office in Kathmandu:
For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/
GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
Intrepid’s Local Operator: +977 980 112 3617
Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.
Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:
ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING:
While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including World Animal Protection advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link:
Our porters are valued members of our trekking teams. We operate our treks according to standards that provide respectful, safe and fair working conditions not only in Nepal, but on all our trips globally. For more information on porter welfare, see https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/porter-policy
Dress codes are quite relaxed in tourist areas of Kathmandu and Pokhara, but much more conservative in other parts of the country. Remove shoes before entering certain temples and holy places and be aware that non-Hindus may not be permitted at some religious sites. Dress modestly, take care not to offend and ask your leader if you are unsure if something is appropriate.
Accommodation at local lodges - better known as teahouses - are simple but comfortable. Toilets and washing facilities are shared and rudimentary, and the food is plain and filling. In a teahouse, travellers are provided with small twin share rooms with twin beds, mattresses and pillows. At times, in high seasons, and in places where there are limited number of teahouses, travellers may have to make do with dormitories. In some places, teahouses don't have access to electricity, depending on solar powered lighting instead. In more remote regions, teahouses don't have running water and toilets can mean just a hole in the ground. Hot shower facilities are available in some teahouses for a price but occasionally a hot shower means a bucket of hot water, enough to wash your body. Electricity to charge devices as well as WiFi is usually for an additional fee when available.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.
A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
Hotel/Guesthouse (2 nights),Tea House/Trekking Lodge (12 nights)
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