Annapurna & Everest Trip Notes

Go trekking in Nepal on an adventure around Annapurna and Everest. Explore the Nepalese Himalayas as you conquer Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna Circuit.

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Last Modified: 01 Oct 2014
Annapurna & Everest
Trip code: HNXGC
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
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.
UPDATE - ANNAPURNA BLIZZARDS & AVALANCHE
Over 30 people have died as a result of heavy snowfall in the Annapurna region and north Dolpa district since 14 October. The weather is improving, but conditions at high altitude remain hazardous and light snow is forecast for the Dhaulagiri, Annapurna, Manaslu and Jomsom regions. Our local partners in Nepal have confirmed that all Intrepid travellers are safe and accounted for.
Our HNXC141005 trip was due to be near to the area where the worst blizzards occurred, however had already descended to a lower altitude when the weather began to worsen and so were unaffected and able to continue on to Pokhara.
HNXC141008 is currently in Manang in the acclimatisation phase of their trek. They will ascend to higher altitudes only if the local conditions are safe and based on advice from the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal, otherwise they will trek from Manang back to Pokhara.
The local authorities continue to advise against trekking in the area around Thorang-La pass on the Annapurna circuit because of heavy snow. We are currently working on rerouted itineraries for upcoming Annapurna trips and communicate any changes as soon as possible.
Updated 20th October 2014
Table of Contents
StyleGroup sizeEmergency contact
ThemesYour fellow travellersEmergency funds
MapSingle travellersVisas
ItineraryAccommodationIssues on your trip
We also recommendMeals introductionWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerMealsSafety
Culture shock rating TransportTravel insurance
Physical ratingJoining point Responsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining point descriptionA couple of rules
Optional activitiesJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsCarbon offset
TippingFinish point Feedback
Departure taxFinish point description
Important notesFinish point instructions
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Themes
Walking
Map
Annapurna & Everest
Itinerary
Day 1 Kathmandu
Namaste! Welcome to Nepal.
Please arrive by 14:00 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. It is also recommended that you have lunch beforehand, as we will be heading out after the meeting to visit Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP), an Intrepid Foundation project.
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.
After our welcome meeting we'll visit KEEP's Traveller' Information Centre in the heart of Thamel, an organisation that advocates and promotes ‘minimum impact’ trekking by working with visitors, the tourism industry and the local community. As well as watching a presentation on their fantastic work, you'll have a chance to purchase eco-friendly trekker's items such as water purification tablets or have a coffee or snack at their Green Cafe with all profits going to KEEP's projects, including the Intrepid Foundation supported Porters Clothing Bank.
For more information on KEEP and other Intrepid Foundation projects in Nepal, visit our website: www.theintrepidfoundation.org
ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
Before your trip: Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.
During your trip: While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. 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:
http://d3oxn90f3yphmd.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/file_attach/52735_product_altitude-sickness.pdf
Included Activities
  • Kathmandu - Visit by KEEP
Optional Activities
  • Kathmandu - Durbar Square - NPR750
  • Kathmandu - Swayambhunath Temple - NPR200
  • Kathmandu - Bodhnath Stupa - NPR200
  • Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple - NPR1000
  • Kathmandu - Day trip to Bhaktapur - NPR1500
  • Kathmandu - Day trip to Patan - NPR500
  • Kathmandu - Everest scenic flight - USD210
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Days 2-13 Everest Base Camp
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.
Details of the trip, which are subject to change due to weather conditions or any other factors outside of Intrepid's control, are as follows (please note all trekking times are approximate):
Day 2 - Phakding (2610 m)
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.
Overall Altitude gain between places we sleep is -190m
Day 3 - Namche Bazaar (3440 m)
Today we trek 9 km to Namche (approx. 6 hours), the administrative centre of the Khumbu region. This 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, yummy feast, to enjoy the local nightlife or to take to the pool hall and video parlours.
Overall Altitude gain between places we sleep is 830m
Day 4 - Namche Bazaar
Today is an acclimatisation day where we will also visit the local museum and surrounding villages. The best way to acclimatise is to do a 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.
Day 5 - Phortse Gaon (3810 m)
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
Day 6 - Dingboche (4410 m)
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
Day 7 - Dingboche (4410 m)
Today is another acclimatisation day. Staying the night in Dingboche we take day hikes to Amadablam base camp, Nagarjun Hill or Chukkhung.
Day 8 - Lobuche (4900 m)
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
Day 9 - Everest Base Camp (5364 m)
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
Day 10 - Kala Pattar/Pheriche or Orsho
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.
Day 11 - Tengboche (3840 m)
Trek to Tengboche (approx. 4 hours), for excellent views of Amadablam and a visit to the Tengboche Monastery and the Sherpa Heritage Foundation.
Day 12 - Monjo (2860 m)
Trek downhill and out of the national park to the small settlement of Monjo (approx. 5 hours)
Day 13 - Lukla
This morning we descend to Lukla for the night before flying back to Kathmandu.
Included Activities
  • Porter for trekking days
  • Everest Base Camp trek
  • Return flight Kathmandu to Lukla
  • Kala Patar trek
Accommodation
Teahouse (12 nts)
Days 14-16 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.
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.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Day 17 Bandipur
Leaving Kathmandu, we head for Bandipur, first by local bus and then by Jeep; stopping along the way at Dumre (approx.5 hours). Located high on a ridge (1,000 m) above the road to Pokhara lies this little-known Newari trading village.
At the eastern part of the town is the pagoda-roofed Bindabasini temple which acts as the abode of the goddess Durga, Bandipur's guardian deity. The rich wooden carvings and detailed brass-work that adorn the temple are replicas of those found in the many old pagoda structures of the Kathmandu Valley.
Bandipur is still not in many travellers 'to visit' list, so the likelihood of meeting fellow travellers is still very minimal. The views are stupendous, as is the warm local welcome. There is a terrace opposite the hotel in the main street from where you can view the other side of the valley and watch the goings on of the village - a great place to enjoy an afternoon drink. In front of the guesthouse is a café and bar serving simple, delicious meals from locally sourced organic ingredients.
Be prepared for simple lodgings and food, but more importantly the genuine friendliness of the locals and the simply stunning views of the Annapurna and Manaslu mountain ranges - the hallmark of this region. Bandipur is a basic village but the surrounding countryside makes for great walks and all the locals will want to talk to you and guide you on your way.
Our accommodation for the night is a restored village mansion in the heart of the old bazaar. The rooms here are simple but cosy in traditional style with dim lighting, old wooden doors and thick brick walls. The timber and red brick building with carved beams and staircases has pleasant twin and double rooms in traditional style with separate shared facilities (towels provided, separate ladies'/gents' blocks). The facilities might be simple, but the staff are extremely friendly and helpful and the Nepalese feel of the place has been retained so it's a favourite of many of our travellers.
Included Activities
  • Bandipur - Guided walk
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Days 18-34 Annapurna Circuit
We begin our trek from Besi Sahar at the end of bumpy Dumre Road. For almost three weeks we immerse ourselves 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. Throughout the trek we come across isolated mountain communities, each with different ancestral customs and traditions, resulting in not only a visually superb expedition but also a culturally rich one. We meet warm and welcoming locals herding yaks and goats on the grassy pastures and visit their monasteries and temples. We pass waterfalls of melted snow, cross icy rivers, walk along broad plains and hike up high mountain passes. The trekking is challenging, averaging 6-7 hours walking a day, often at high altitude. The highest point we reach is the 5,416 m Thorung Pass.
Given the dangers of altitude sickness, it is imperative that we take at least eleven days to ascend to this height. A couple of days are also allowed for rest and acclimatisation. Please note that the following itinerary can vary due to unforseen circumstances including weather conditions or bandhs (strikes) called by the political parties. All trekking times are approximate.
Day 3 - Khudi/Bulbule (840 m) (approx. 3 hours)
Set-off to Besisahar after breakfast (50 kms/3 hrs). Start off the trek through the bazaar leading down the stream, climbing up the steps and making a way through forests and rice fields to arrive at Bulbule.
Day 4 - Bahun Danda (1,310 m) (approx. 4 hours)
A gentle day's walk, if not for the heat, penetrating deep into picteresque mountain countryside with sub-tropical forests, rice fields and Gurung villages. Steep climb at the fag end to reach Bahundanda.
Day 5 - Chamje (1,430 m) (approx. 7 hours)
Few dazzling cascades en route as the trail makes a way through a deep wooded canyon; no definitive mountain views, with villages few and far between, and some steep stretches.
Day 6 - Bagarchap (2,160 m) (approx. 7 hours)
The 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.
Day 7 - Chame (2,710 m) (approx. 6 hours)
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.
Day 8 - Pisang (3,300 m) (approx. 5 hours)
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
Day 9 - Manang (3,540 m) (approx. 6 hours)
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!).
Day 10 - Manang (3,540 m)
We 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.
Day 11 - Manang to Yak Kharka (4,018 m) (approx. 5 hours)
Covering approximately 7 km, we steadily climb into the alpine region, taking around five hours.
Day 12 - Phedi (4,450 m) (approx. 5 hours)
Due to the altitude, we'll 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 the Annapurna Circuit.
Day 13 - Trek to Muktinath (3,800 m) (approx. 8-9 hours)
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 we'll 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.
Day 14 - Trek to Kagbeni (2,800 m) (approx 3.5 hours)
We make a late morning start from Muktinath to let you get some much deserved rest and for time to visit Muktinath's temple complex.
Day 15 - Trek to Tukuche (2,590 m) (approx. 6.5 hours)
Trek to Tukuche taking the recently discovered route through Thini, without crossing over Kali Gandaki river to Jomsom and bypassing the motor track, and via Dumba Lake to Chhairo and Chokhepani before crossing the riverbed to Tukuche. In times of Kali Gandaki gaining in breadth and volume, we cross the trail bridge mid-way between Chhairo and Chokhepani to emerge on the motor track on the western bank of the river, following which we reach Tukuche in 45 mins.
Day 16 - Trek to Ghasa (2,010 m) (approx. 6 hours)
Back down to the riverbed and across Kali Gandaki on make-shift wooden bridges to get on the trail that goes along the riverbed to Kokethanti. Diverting away from the mainstream trail, ascend to Titi Lake and later passing via Kunju descend to the next village, Chhayo, to cross the trail bridge which puts you on the motor track for the brief while before crossing another trail bridge on to the off-road to Ghasa. In case the swollen Kali Gandaki doesn't allow you to get take the way through riverbed, you'll have to walk on the motor track up to the trail bridge to Kokethanti.
Day 17 - Trek to Tatopani (1,160 m) (approx. 5 hours)
On the motor track to start off with, shortly take the old walking trail through a village to cross the trail bridge to the high route above Kali Gandaki to Tal Bagar and then the knee-jerking descent to Kopchepani. Take the rising trail to Bhalebas, again to descend down to the river and follow the eastern flank of the river, with numerous minor ups and downs, to cross the trail bridge over Misti river and walk through lower Najing village past powerhouse to meet another trail bridge that puts you on the motor track for a brief while to Tatopani. Spend some time to relax much used muscles in the hot springs.
Day 18 - Trek to Ghorepani (2,785 m) (approx. 8 hours)
Ghorepani, also known as Poon Hill, is a traditional stopping place for horses, mules and ponies that carry loads between Pokhara and Jomsom. The settlement forms the crossroads between various trekking routes and has become a favourite stop for travellers looking to have a quick drink or two at one of the many inns in the area.
Day 19 - Trek to Birethanti (1,025 m) (approx. 7 hours)
For those wanting to, there's an optional early morning climb up to Poon Hill (3,195 m) to watch the glittering views of Dhaulagiri and the entire Annapurna Range in the gorgeous dawn pink light. Climb down in time for a good cup of tea and breakfast at the teahouse. Setting off on the trail, the path today is fairly easy-paced and descends via a winding stone staircase through the surrounding dense forest to the town of Ulleri. After passing another vertical section down to Hille next to the Bhurungdi River we then continue alongside the river to our penultimate destination - Birethanti.
Our accomodation along the way is at local lodges, better known as teahouses, where accommodation is comfortable without being luxurious, toilets and washing facilities are shared and rudimentary, and the food is plain and filling. In a teahouse, we are provided with small private rooms with twin beds, mattresses and pillows. At times, in high seasons, and in places where there are a limited number of teahouses, we may have some nights in dormitories. In some places, teahouses don't have access to electricity and depend on solar powered lighting. In remoter regions, teahouses don't have running water and toilets can mean just a hole in the ground. Hot shower facilities are available in the majority of the teahouses for a price although in most of the places, a hot shower just means a bucket of hot water!
Included Activities
  • Annapurna Circuit trek
  • Porter for trekking days
  • Besi Sahar
  • Muktinath
Accommodation
Teahouse (17 nts)
Day 35 Pokhara
Early morning flight to Pokhara (20mins approx)
we toast our 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.
Our simple hotel in Pokhara is set 100m 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.
Optional Activities
  • Pokhara - Boating on Phewa Lake - entrance fee only - NPR700
  • Pokhara - International Mountaineering Museum - NPR500
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Days 36-37 Kathmandu
We 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 we'll check back into the Kathmandu Guest House.
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.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
    We also recommend
    If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
    • Annapurna Circuit (HNXC)
    • Everest Base Camp (HNXE)
    Itinerary disclaimer
    Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
    Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
    Culture shock rating

    The comforts of home are more of a rarity. English isn't common and the food will be quite different to home. It's important to observe some of the local customs to not cause offence. Many of the locals’ standard of living may be confronting.
    Physical rating

    Our highest physical rating. Get ready for a heart-pumping adventure with plenty of challenges and some extreme conditions. You'll be required to be seriously fit for this trip as difficult activities are included.
    For the trek on this trip the general rule is you will need to be very fit and the more preparation you have done for it, the more you will enjoy it. You will be walking at altitudes of up to approximately 5545 metres above sea level and it will be demanding trekking. You will be walking with your day pack, with the possibility of extreme variations in temperature. We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the months before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Doing mountain walks or climbing long stair cases with a pack is good preparation (try putting a few bricks in your pack for real training). Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trek to its fullest.
    Included activities
    Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
    Optional activities
    A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and 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 it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
    Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
    Spending money
    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
    Tipping
    NEPAL:
    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:
    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.
    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)
    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$2-3 per 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$3-5 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.
    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.
    Departure tax
    A departure tax of NPR200 each way for the flight to and from Lukla is NOT included. All international departure taxes should be included in your flight ticket.
    Important notes
    EXTREME WEATHER:
    Weather conditions in the Himalayas can change rapidly and our group leader may be forced to change the trip itinerary accordingly. During the winter months from November to January, flights across Nepal, particularly in high mountain areas, can be delayed due to poor weather conditions. In November 2010 flights from Lukla were delayed for over one week. Travel in rural areas during Monsoon Season (June - September) can be hazardous, with rains causing flooding and landslides that can cut off regions for days at a time. Travellers need to be prepared for all weather conditions and changes in planned itineraries if necessary.
    NEPAL STRIKES:
    Kathmandu Valley-wide transport bandhs (strikes) can be called at very short notice. When these bandhs are in place the Nepal Tourism Board and the Nepal Tourist Police in conjunction with the Himalayan Rescue Association run Shuttle Bus Services between various hotels in Kathmandu and the domestic and international airports; this service costs 300 rupees person.
    Group size
    Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
    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. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
    Single travellers
    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 Trip Notes. 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.
    Accommodation
    Teahouse (29 nts), Guesthouse (6 nts)
    Meals introduction
    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
    Meals
    No meals included
    Budget for meals not included:
    USD 720.00
    Transport
    Minibus, Bus, Plane
    For all flights to/from Lukla a maximum of 10kg of check-in luggage and 5kg of carry-on hand luggage per person is included with your flight ticket. Excess baggage (up to 5kg per person only) will be charged at NPR120 per person at your own expense.
    Joining point
    Kathmandu Guest House
    Chaksibari Marga
    Thamel
    Kathmandu
    NEPAL
    Phone: +977 14700632
    Joining point description
    The first ever hotel in Thamel, and used to be a 'Rana' mansion. It is located right in the centre of Kathmandu and boasts a famous garden, courtyard restaurant and 24hr security including CCTV. Please note, as the name suggests, this is a guest house with over 100 rooms, rather than a hotel and the rooms are generally small and basic.
    www.ktmgh.com/
    Joining point instructions
    There are two pre-paid taxi booths inside the terminal, one on each side as you exit the baggage claim area. They have fixed rates of NPR600 to anywhere in the Thamel area from 6am-8pm and NPR800 from 8pm-6am. Otherwise you will need to bargain hard from the taxi rank outside of the airport - aim for NPR500. The drive into Thamel takes 30 to 40mins dependant on the traffic.
    Alternatively Intrepid offer a pre-arranged transfer service option. Enquire with your agent and advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip departure. If you have purchased an arrival transfer you will be met after exiting customs outside. Look for our representative holding a sign with your name on it. If you have any trouble locating your transfer rep, or if your flight is going to be delayed, please call the following numbers:
    +977 980 106 8827 (Balaram)
    +977 980 105 9148 (Dil)
    Normal check in time at the hotel is after 12:00.
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
    Please also make sure have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
    Finish point
    Kathmandu Guest House
    Chaksibari Marga
    Thamel
    Kathmandu
    NEPAL
    Phone: +977 14700632
    Finish point description
    The first ever hotel in Thamel, and used to be a 'Rana' mansion. It is located right in the centre of Kathmandu and boasts a famous garden, courtyard restaurant and 24hr security including CCTV. Please note, as the name suggests, this is a guest house with over 100 rooms, rather than a hotel and the rooms are generally small and basic.
    www.ktmgh.com/
    Finish point instructions
    A taxi to the airport will cost about NPR600 from 6am-8pm and NRP800 from 8pm-6am. Hotel reception or your leader can help you organise a taxi.
    Alternatively Intrepid offer a pre-booked transfer service - enquire at the time of booking.
    Normal check out time is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
    Emergency contact
    In the case of genuine crisis or emergency in Nepal, we can be reached by telephone on the following numbers:
    Balaram +977 9801 068 827
    Niraj: +977 9801 023 167
    Dil: +977 980 1059 148
    For further contact details please visit:
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
    Visas
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    NEPAL:
    All foreign nationals (except Indians) require a visa to enter Nepal. Visas are obtainable from embassies abroad on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport and at some land borders (including borders with India and Tibet).
    Getting a visa at the airport can sometimes take time due to long queues. There have been instances when passengers were asked to show return flight tickets. You will also need to provide two passport photos and the following fees in US dollars cash. 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$25
    - Multi entry visa valid for 30 days - US$40
    - Multi entry visa valid for 90 days - US$100
    Please note if you are staying in Nepal for less than 24 hours while in transit a transit visa can be issued on presentation of your international flight ticket, there is a nominal charge of US$5 and one photo is required.
    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.
    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.
    What to take
    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes).
    Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
    You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
    PACKING, PACK WEIGHT, DAY PACK & PORTERS
    Please keep the weight and bulk of your main pack 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 from the weather - dry clothes are essential for your comfort.
    A medium size, comfortable day-pack is required for you to carry personal personal items such as camera, water bottle, valuables, sunscreen, hat etc...
    Intrepid provide porters to assist with carrying your main pack, and you will be expected to carry your day pack. Please keep your main pack luggage to a minimum - baggage to be carried by a porter can NOT exceed 12kgs per person.
    SLEEPING BAG & INNER SHEET:
    A 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 and Pokhara at very reasonable rates. Most items can be hired for no more than US$2 per day. Your group leader can assist you in hiring gear. If you plan to hire a sleeping bag we recommend that you bring an inner sleeping sheet, which adds another layer of warmth. Please note for camping treks you need to either bring or hire a 4 season sleeping bag.
    TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT:
    It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary to store your luggage separately (and unattended) from the group. The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas. If your bag does not fit in these areas then often the only place to put it is on your bed or seat. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.
    Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage for included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.
    LEFT LUGGAGE AT HOTEL:
    Please note you do not need to take all your gear with you while trekking - we can leave luggage behind at the hotel and collect it at the end of the trek.
    CASH:
    Before departing on your trek, make sure you have enough Nepalese currency to purchase meals and drinks during the trek - in the smallest denominations possible, as there are no ATM's and no one out there is going to be able to change a NPR500 note!
    WATER BOTTLE:
    Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
    While trekking, boiled or safe water is available for drinking. 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.
    Safety
    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. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
    We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air 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, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group 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 group 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:
    INTERNAL FLIGHTS:
    There have been a number of recent air accidents in Nepal. We only use airlines that have passed strict safety audits for internal flights on this trip, including Buddha Air, Yeti Air & Tara Air. EU clients please see our safety page for important information regarding internal flights in Nepal.
    ACCLIMATISATION AND ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
    Altitude sickness has the potential to affect all trekkers from 2500m and higher. We ascend slowly and give our bodies plenty of time to adjust to the smaller quantities of oxygen in the air. However 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
    - Your nose becomes bunged up
    - Dry cough develops
    - Mild headache
    If you are feeling nauseous and dizzy be sure to let your group leader know so that we can monitor your condition.
    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
    SEAT BELTS:
    Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
    HERITAGE HOTELS:
    On this trip you will be staying in some heritage hotels and traditional guesthouses, and these are one of the charms of this trip, but occasionally staircases, balconies and passages etc don't always comply with western safety standards. Please don't expect elevators in these properties as they are preserved to their original state.
    FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
    Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
    BALCONIES:
    Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
    FESTIVALS:
    Travelling in India and Nepal whilst the Holi festival is on (a lunar festival but generally held in March every year), can at times be dangerous - a lot of locals participate in consumption of intoxicating substances. The day has been associated with physical violence and danger. Your leader will be advising 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 our group leader in high risk situation.
    Travel insurance
    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 trip until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by our local representative.
    If you have credit card insurance our local representative will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact telephone number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    Please ensure that your policy does cover you up to the maximum altitude on this trip, and includes helicopter evacuation. Proof of this must be taken with you on the trip, as you will need to show it to the leader.
    Responsible Travel
    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
    LOCAL DRESS:
    Dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees by wearing sleeves and long trousers. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in areas of predominantly hot climate. In many rural areas women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.
    A couple of rules
    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
    The Intrepid Foundation
    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
    Carbon offset
    Carbon Offset C02-e 266.00 kgs per pax.
    Feedback
    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.
    Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.