Everest Base Camp & Annapurna Circuit Trek
Experience the high mountains of Nepal on this challenging trekking adventure. Conquer Everest's Base Camp, a holy grail for mountaineers, and complete the arduous Annapurna Circuit. Take in stunning scenery and soak up the rich cultures and traditions of this beautiful country, exploring tiny villages and meeting friendly locals along the way. Ever dreamed of seeing the wind-swept peak of Everest, of traversing high passes and crossing blue-white glaciers, of meeting holy men and taking in nature at its grandest? This trip has it all. ALTERNATE ITINERARY: In case of weather conditions leading to cancellations or delays of included flights, this trip will operate on an alternate itinerary. Please see Day 1 of the itinerary for more details.
Ages: 16 - 99
Theme: Walking & Trekking
Accommodation: Guesthouse (5 nights), Teahouse (22 nights), Hotel (2 nights)
Namaste! Welcome to Nepal. Please arrive by 2pm on Day 1 as we will have an important group briefing. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where and when this important meeting will take place. Please ask a member of reception for this information. Kathmandu, the colourful capital of Nepal, is a fascinating blend of traditional architecture and symbols of the 20th Century. Its rich artistic and cultural heritage is evident where ornately carved balconies mingle with beautiful shrines and temples. If you arrive early we recommend you check out Durbar Square with it's temples, markets and busy atmosphere. It is also worth the climb to visit the Swayambhunath - the 'monkey temple'. Explore the network of street markets and alley bazaars and Pashupatinath. For those with a few extra days in Kathmandu, the neighbouring towns of Patan and Bhaktapur are well worth a visit. 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.
Sitting at 8848 m Mt Everest, the highest peak in the world, is one of the greatest trekking destinations. Locally known as Sagarmatha, the mountain has long been revered as the home of the gods. First conquered by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, Everest has traditionally been the ultimate goal for mountaineers. On this trip you will take on the challenge of reaching the mountaineer's base camp and gain an insight into the world famous Sherpa culture. You will cross glaciers and broad plains, traverse valleys and climb high passes to reach the picturesque Everest Base Camp. Our accommodation comprises small, basic teahouses along the track. These basic but cosy remote houses are operated by the mountain Nepalese to cater for trekkers and also offer simple yet filling and delicious meals to sustain our efforts. This is a challenging trip and involves difficult trekking at high altitudes but the whole experience is simply awe-inspiring! This is a trek that requires an excellent level of fitness as there are plenty of ascents and descents and the walking is very strenuous. The weather can be harsh in December and January, with a combination of snow and frosts. This trip includes one or more overnight stays over 3500 metres/11500ft, where there is a genuine risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). If left untreated AMS can be life-threatening. We would expect the majority of a group to notice the effects of being at high altitude, and while most 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 or 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. Please note that while we endeavour to assist all our clients in achieving their goals, there may be times your leader makes the decision to either delay or stop your ascent based on your medical conditions and AMS symptoms. This trip is lead by an experienced English speaking local guide and two assistants who help with the daily logistics. Though you are expected to help carry your gear, there are porters provided to assist. The itinerary is subject to change due to weather conditions or any other factors outside of Intrepid's control. On occasion due to weather conditions we are unable to fly to Lukla as planned and alternative plans will be put in place. Today we have a very early (approx. 6.30 am) flight from Kathmandu to Lukla (45 minutes). If the weather is good, the views of the Himalayas from the small plane are amazing! After breakfast in Lukla (2840 m), a short safety talk and an introduction to our porters, we gear up and commence our trek. Today is a fairly gentle introduction, following the milk-white Dudh Kosi River approximately three-hours to Phakding (2610 m). Overall altitude gain today between places we sleep is -190m.
Today you’ll trek around 7 hours to Namche Bazaar, where you’ll spend a couple of days acclimatising to the altitude. You’ll also get your first look at Everest itself. From Phakding you’ll 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 6,000 metres to see the peaks of snow-capped Kusum Kanguru (6369m) and Thamserku (6623m). Press on to Monjo (2835m), 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 (2805m) 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 to enjoy the local nightlife or take to the pool hall and video parlours.
You’ll stay at Namche Bazaar for another night so that 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 – so there’s an optional walk above the Bhote Khola River Valley towards Thami (3810m). 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. Namche gained its importance during the period when Tibetan salt was traded for the lowland grains of Nepal. Rugs, clothing, salt and dried meat still all do a roaring trade in the village centre, so haggle for any extra supplies you might need.
Today we trek for about 6-7 hours to cover the 9 km from Namche Bazaar to Phortse Gaon. This route offers amazing insight into the life and culture of the sherpas, and that night we stay in a village that is home to a number of sherpas who have reached Everest's summit. Looking out from Phortse Gaon, the views of Amadablam are great. Overall altitude gain between places we sleep is 370m.
Climb above the tree-line and trek approximately six hours covering the distance of 8 kms to Dingboche. Overall altitude gain between places we sleep is 600m.
Today is another acclimatisation day. Staying the night in Dingboche we take day hikes to Amadablam base camp, Nagarjun Hill or Chukkhung.
The trek to Lobuche is about five hours and covers 7 km, bringing us close to our ultimate goal! Overall altitude gain between places we sleep is 490m.
From Lobuche we trek to the Everest Base Camp and then back down to our lodge at Gorakshep (5140 m). Here we have astonishing views over the Himalayas. Overall altitude gain between places we sleep is 240m.
Today we witness some of the Himalayas most recognisable sights. We make an early start to avoid the early morning clouds and trek to Kala Pattar (5545 m) to witness the best views of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and other surrounding peaks. It's a tough walking day (approx. 7 hours), and depending on how the group feels, your leader will decide where you spend the night
Trek to Tengboche (approx. 4 hours), for excellent views of Amadablam and a visit to the Tengboche Monastery and the Sherpa Heritage Foundation.
Trek downhill and out of the national park to the small settlement of Monjo (approx. 5 hours)
This morning we descend to Lukla for the night before flying back to Kathmandu.
Weather permitting we take a short early morning fight from Lukla to Kathmandu on day 14 (approx 45 minutes). We'll return to the Kathmandu Guest House and have free time during the afternoon for further sightseeing or shopping. Shop in some of Kathmandu's many markets for clothing, embroidery, carpets or ceramics. If shopping is not your thing, take a trip over the Bagmati River to the adjacent city of Patan, with its abundance of temples and monasteries. We enjoy a final night together, reliving the trek and our extraordinary achievements. Note - If there is bad weather or low cloud conditions our flight back to Kathmandu may not go, giving us an extra day in Lukla to relax or do a day walk. In this case, we will return to Kathmandu by late morning on day 15 and the trip will end with an arrival transfer back to our hotel.
Day 15 is departure day and we say 'Namaste' for memories that will last a lifetime. There are no activities planned for today and you are able to depart the hotel at any time. Check out time from the hotel is at 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel. At the end of your tour please consider donating to the KEEP Porters Clothing Bank. As you will have come to realise on your tour, porters play a vital role in the tourism industry enabling tourists to visit Nepal’s most picturesque and difficult terrain. The majority are subsistence farmers who travel from lower areas of Nepal to the higher elevated trekking routes to find employment. Contrary to the belief that porters are well-adjusted to the cold and altitude of the Himalayas, every year many porters suffer from a variety of illnesses such as altitude sickness, snow blindness, hypothermia and frostbite and some even die as a result. The Clothing Bank was set up in 2009 to provide ill-prepared porters with better clothing suitable for trekking in a mountain environment and reduce the number of unnecessary illnesses and fatalities which occur each year. Usually donations of used jackets and trousers/pants from Westerners do not fit Nepali porters who tend to be smaller. However donations of other clothing items such as socks, boots, sunglasses, warm gloves and sleeping bags are always welcome. Your leader can ensure that your donation is passed on.
You'll have the briefing for your next trek at 2pm today.
This morning, drive to Besisahar (approximately 5.5 hours) to immediately immerse yourself in the spectacular mountain wilderness that encompasses the Annapurna Range. At 8,091 m, Annapurna 1 is one of the highest mountains in the world. Its surrounding sister mountains are equally imposing, creating magnificent panoramas from any viewpoint. After lunch you’ll begin your trek straight away, heading to Ngadi. Throughout this trip’s trekking you’ll come across isolated mountain communities, each with different ancestral customs and traditions, meaning a visually and culturally memorable expedition. You’ll meet warm and welcoming locals herding yaks and goats on the grassy pastures and visit their monasteries and temples, pass waterfalls of melted snow, cross icy rivers, walk along broad plains and hike up high mountain passes. When you arrive in Besisahar, hit the trail that takes you through Besisahar bazaar leading downstream, followed by the climb up the rocky steps. There are several ups and downs as the trail makes its way through sub-tropical forests and rice paddies of Sera. Further along, traverse a suspension bridge across Khudi Khola and arrive at Bhulbule. Resume on the trail that traverses the Marshyangdi River on a long suspension bridge as Bhulbule is left behind. Once the Ngadi River is crossed, the trail gently leads upwards through scrub forests and across landslides for a short distance, which then leads to few teashops and cold-drink stalls located opposite the rice paddies of Lampata, eventually leading to Bahundanda (hill of the Brahmins), an attractive village in the saddle of a long ridge.
Dazzling cascades en route as the trail makes a way through a deep wooded canyon with few stretches steep climb.
Trek continues through the deep wooded canyon embellished by stunning waterfalls as you venture into the Manang district. Much of the trail ascends throughout the day.
Marking the end of the great Marsyangdi gorge, make a steep climb to Timang, then the trail settles into gentler slopes as the vegetation transforms from dense pine forests to drier slopes. The district headquarters of Manang, Chame, is the largest settlement after Besisahar.
A slew of breathtaking scenery this day as the trail goes through a deep gorge, then past the great sweeping slope of Paungi Danda. Mostly easy walk with few ascending stretches of trail.
Trek the northern trail via upper Pisang and Ghyaru, an area renowned for its spectacular views. It is now drier and you are sure to come across local farmers herding yaks. (Tip: Tibetan yaks take a special interest in people wearing red!).
Spend a day here to acclimatise to the altitude by doing some high climbing then return to the lower altitude of Manang to sleep. Manang, a village of about 500 flat-roofed houses offers excellent views of Annapurna II, Annapurna III, Gangapurna and Chulu East.
Covering approximately 7 kilometres, steadily climb into the alpine region, taking around five hours.
Due to the altitude, take the next section of the climb at a leisurely pace, which means we'll have time to admire the magnificent views from this part of the route. Once at Phedi, there will be plenty of time to rest and acclimatise to the higher elevations ready for the next part of the climb where we will encounter the Thorung La Pass, the highest point on this Annapurna Explorer.
Setting off very early to cross the Thorung La Pass (5,416 m), the trail is steep but easy to follow. After between four to six hours climbing, reach the Pass's peak, adorned with prayer flags, a traditional stupa (chorten) and stone cairns built by travellers. Stop to admire the stunning views and marvel at how far you've climbed. Further along, the trail descends steeply proceeding towards Chabarbu. From here on, the trail crosses meadows, drops into a deep ravine, climbs out and follows a wide trail into Muktinath, a pilgrimage site held in great reverence by both Hindus and Buddhists.
Veer off the main trekking trail to make a side trip to an ancient village of Purang. Further up from the village, continue to take the less frequented route going past another village with a medieval feel to it, Jhong. From Jhong, descend to the Jhing Khola (river) following the course which you emerge on to Kagbeni. From Kagbeni, rejoin the Annapurna circuit route to make a gradual descent through scenic, desert-like terrain, past charming villages and following the windy riverbed to Jomsom. Total walking time today approximately 7 hours.
Early morning flight to Pokhara (approximately 20 minutes). Toast your achievement over a celebratory dinner in the character-filled Nepalese town of Pokhara (827 m). Pokhara is a peaceful lakeside location which rests beneath the snow-capped peaks of the Annapurna Range. Sip on a cold brew and gaze up at the dramatic pass that you have just conquered. There are plenty of lakeside cafes where you can enjoy international cuisine, while the main street is full of shops and stalls selling a wide range of Nepali and Tibetan souvenirs. Pokhara is part of a once vibrant trade route extending between India and Tibet. This is the land of Magars and Gurungs, hardworking farmers and valorous warriors who have earned worldwide fame as Gurkha soldiers. The Thakalis, another important ethnic group here, are known for their entrepreneurship. Take time to wander around the town and get to know its friendly residents. Your simple hotel in Pokhara is set 100 m back from Fewa Lake and with a back-drop of Machhapuchhare (Fishtail mountain) rising beyond. It has twin-bedded rooms with attached bath and a hot shower facility.
Enjoy a free day in Pokhara to unwind, relax, and give those muscles a rest after all that trekking. Your leader can advise you of sightseeing opportunities. It is worth taking a boat for a row out on the lake, especially if the weather's fine. The lakeside area has great shopping opportunities and internet cafes. Pokhara has an interesting old area as well as an elaborate Hindu temple and a Buddhist monastery. Perhaps visit the Peace Pagoda, where spectacular views of the mountains await. You can see the Annapurnas from here, and the famous fishtail peak, Machhapuchhare, and back across to Pokhara. You will also visit the fascinating International Mountain Museum to learn some amazing tales of past climbing expeditions.
Return to Kathmandu by tourist bus (approx. 7 hours including stops) for further sightseeing or for some last minute shopping for friends and family at home. The options are plentiful – Kathmandu has many markets where Nepali specialties include clothes, embroidery, carpets and ceramics. On arrival in Kathmandu, check back into your hotel.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the hotel at any time. Check out time from the hotel is at 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel. Check out the range of Urban Adventures in Kathmandu if you've got some more time here.
Phone: +9771 4700105
Phone: +9771 4700105
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 on Day 1 at 2pm.
2. Due to the demands of travelling at high altitudes a Passenger Self Assessment Form is required for this trip.
3. A single supplement is available on this trip and is applicable only to nights spent in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
4. You may be asked to provide 4 passport size photographs for your trekking permit..
5. 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.
6. You must bring an emergency fund of 500 USD in cash with you on this trip, which you may need to use in case of delayed or cancelled flights.
7. There is a dirt road that stretches from Muktinath to Jomsom and Tatpaoni (Days 14-17). When weather conditions allow, we use an alternate track for this portion of the trek to avoid the road as much as possible.
8. As this is a combination trip, the composition of your group as well as the group leader may change on Day 16.
CHANGES FOR 2020
In 2020 this trip will finish in Pokhara
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
This trip combines two of the world’s great classic treks. Experience breathtaking scenery and the comradery of trekking with a small group as you challenge yourself to reach new heights.
Get your first glimpses of the might Himalayan range on the included flight from Kathmandu to Lukla – surely one of the most dramatically located airports anywhere.
Compare and contrast the terrain of both the Everest and Annapurna ranges. Here's how they match up: intrepidtravel.com/adventures/annapurna-vs-everest/
You’ll be accompanied by an experienced trek leader along with assistant guides and porters, who will not only give you all the support and guidance you need along the way, but also introduce you to the rich local Sherpa culture.
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 intrepidtravel.com/au/porter-policy
Have the opportunity to support our partnership with Seven Women by taking part in Urban Adventures in Kathmandu before or after your trek – an organisation that socially and economically empowers marginalised women through literacy programs, skills training and income generation. Donations through The Intrepid Foundation are matched dollar for dollar: theintrepidfoundation.org/seven-women
After testing your body and mind, take a few days to unwind and reminisce among the temples and pagodas of Pokhara and Kathmandu
Is this trip right for you
This trip involves a 12 day trek to Everest Base Camp at high altitude followed by an 11 day trek in the Annapurnas at high altitude (both up to and above 5000 metres). We can’t underestimate how important it is to be in excellent fitness and health, which means training in the lead up to your trip in order to be best prepared. Here's a guide for how to prepare: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/trekking-training-guide-tips/
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. Thorong La pass is occasionally closed in winter months due to heavy snowfall.
The trekking lodges, known as teahouses, that we stay in on the trek are very simple with only basic facilities. Hot water may not always be available and may cost extra, as will access to electricity points for charging devices. Wifi is available at some locations, but connections may be poor.
What you need to take will vary depending on the season you are trekking in and it’s important to be prepared. See some tips for what to pack here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/packing-guide-for-trekking-in-nepal/ and here https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/everest-base-camp-packing-guide/
The Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit treks are very popular routes and you will encounter many other trekkers and groups on your trip as you trek 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).
Some travellers enjoy Pokhara so much that they decide they want to stay extra days rather than continuing with the group to Kathmandu. Others decide that they would prefer to fly from Pokhara to Kathmandu to conclude the trip instead of travelling overland. You are welcome to sign off the trip to do either of these, however we aren't able to reimburse any unused services or cover the cost of alternate onward travel arrangements.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Suggested budget for meals not included: USD$850
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 Intrepid 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:
Your Group Leader: You should consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$3-4 per 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.
Other Trekking crew ( Assistant Guides and Porters): Throughout your trip you may at times have a porter carrying your luggage and assistant guide/s in addition to your leader. We suggest US$4 each traveller per day which will be distributed among all porters and assistant guides. The Group leader is not responsible for distributing the tipping to the trekking crew but will assist you and make appropriate recommendations after the trek.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$2-3 per person, per day for local guides. (Including city tour guides, jungle guides, rafting guides, assistant trek guides)
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$2-3 per person, per day is generally appropriate.
Local transport: For a city tour we suggest US$2 per person, per day.
Hotel porters: NPR50-100 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.
NOTE: Please don't tip with coins or notes of or less than NPR50, 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:
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.
Guesthouse (6 nights),Teahouse (22 nights),Hotel (2 nights)