Last Modified: 08 Nov 2013
Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Lakes
Trip code: HZXE
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2013
Embark on a trek that takes a very different route to Everest Base Camp - via the breathtaking Gokyo Lakes. Fly from Kathmandu to Lukla before taking in spectacular mountain views while trekking to Nepalese villages, through rhododendron forests, up rocky slopes, along view-rich switchbacks and to the spectacular Gokyo Lakes, which are well off the tourist trail. Ascend Gokyo Ri for incredible views, conquer Cho La Pass and climb up the side of Khumbu Glacier to make it to the ultimate goal - reaching Everest Base Camp.
The operator for this trip is our experienced sister company Exodus. Your group will therefore be a mixture of Intrepid booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers.
Table of Contents
- 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.
Day 1 Kathmandu
Namaste! Welcome to Nepal.
Your trip normally begins at the hotel in the evening of day 1. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the final joining instructions - sent approximately two weeks before departure. These instructions will also include information about where and what time to meet the group.
Kathmandu is a mixture of ancient architecture and modern development and, with its rich artistic and cultural heritage, it remains the legendary destination it has been for decades. Crowded markets and bazaars are the centre of Nepali life and the narrow streets are home to holy men, monks, bicycles, incense, goats and sacred cows.
The following day there will be a full trek briefing. The rest of the day is free for sightseeing. You may wish to visit Durbar Square in the heart of the city where the old Royal Palace with its intricate wood carving is located. Outside is Kumari Chowk, home of the Kumari, a the young girl who is revered as a living goddess. The whole area is a maze of temples and images. Leading away from the square in all directions are narrow alleys full of the most amazing variety of shops and stalls. Alternatively you may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambhunath, one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world at Bodnath, or the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath. A range of city sightseeing tours can be booked locally.
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Itinerary
- Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple - NPR1000
- Kathmandu - Swayambhunath Temple - NPR200
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 3 Phakding
We fly to the mountain airstrip of Lukla (2,800 m) and set off on the first short leg of our trek, heading northwards up the valley of the Dudh Kosi (Milk River). We descend from the small plateau down into the forested valley. The trail crosses several tributary streams and we have some tantalising views before reaching the small settlement of Phakding (2,652 m) where we spend the night.
Teahouse (1 nt)
Days 4-5 Namche Bazaar
Today we follow the Dudh Kosi north. Heading out of Phakding, we first cross to the west bank, climbing high above the river, and walk through magnificent forests of rhododendron, giant fir, and magnolia trees. After Jorsale (2,800 m), the trail climbs over a spur and alongside a dropping moss-grown cliff, crosses the Bhote Kosi, and we start the steep climb to Namche Bazaar.
About 300 m up the ascent we should have our first glimpse of the summit of Everest appearing behind the great ridge of Nuptse-Lhotse. Another 300 m of climbing brings us to Namche Bazaar, the administrative centre of the Khumbu region, headquarters for the Mount Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park, a prosperous Sherpa village and an important trading centre.
The following day is spent acclimatising to the altitude. We trek to Thamo, a quiet side valley on the way to Tibet. We may well see Tibetan traders with their herds of yak bringing goods from Tibet to trade in Namche. There is also time to visit the Everest National Park Museum and a Sherpa Cultural Centre. From the museum, on a clear day, we can see Everest in the distance, just visible behind the great bulk of Nuptse.
- Everest National Park Museum
Teahouse (2 nts)
Day 6 Kyanjuma
Today we climb steeply out of Namche to the Everest View Hotel. This spectacularly situated hotel has wonderful views of Everest and Ama Dablam and is an ideal place for a tea break. We then continue the trek to the villages of Kunde and Khumjung, set below Khumbile, to rocky peak sacred to all Sherpas.
In Kunde we can visit the Edmund Hillary Hospital, and in Khumjung we can see the Edmund Hillary School. There should also be time to visit the Khumjung Monastery, where for a small donation we will be shown the only yeti skull in the world.
We then descend to the main trail and continue to Kyanjuma where we spend the night.
Teahouse (1 nt)
Day 7 Dole
At Kyanjuma we turn off the main trail and begin climbing to the Mong La, marked by a chorten on the top of a ridge at 3,972 m. This ridge descends from Khumbila, the abode of the patron god of all Sherpas. From the ridge, the trail descends in a series of switchbacks towards the Dudh Kosi. At Phortse Tenga the trail starts to climb steeply out of the valley and we enter the rhododendron forests, which give way to juniper and conifers higher up the valley. We pass through many kharkas, summer settlements used by the Sherpas to graze their yaks, before coming to Dole (4,040 m) where we have magnificent views of Khumbila and Tawoche.
Teahouse (1 nt)
Day 8 Machhermo
Today we have a short walk. From Dole the trail is steep in places as it passes through Lhabarma and Luza along the side of the valley, high above the river and through scrub junipers until we cross the sandy spurs to Machhermo (4,410 m). It was here in 1974 that a yeti was reported to have attacked a Sherpa and killed 3 yaks.
We should get to Machhermo by lunchtime, and in the afternoon there is time for an acclimatisation walk up onto the ridge behind the lodge for amazing views of Tramserku.
Teahouse (1 nt)
Day 9 Gokyo
We begin today by climbing a ridge for an excellent view down the valley to Kangtaiga and also up towards Cho Oyu (8,153 m). The valley here widens as the trail passes through Pangkha and then descends to the riverbank before beginning the steep climb onto the terminal moraine of the Ngozumpo Glacier. We pass the first of the lakes at Gokyo where a family of Brahminy ducks resides and then follow the level trail to the summer houses and walled meadows of Gokyo (4,750 m). Gokyo is a small settlement of lodges on the shores of a blue lake. In the afternoon we can walk up the hill behind camp for incredible views of the Ngozumpo Glacier.
Teahouse (1 nt)
Day 10 Gokyo Ri/Tangnak
We have a very early start this morning for the ascent of Gokyo Ri (5,360 m), a small peak above Gokyo village. As we climb the views become even more fantastic and from the top we can see four of the seven highest peaks in the Nepal Himalaya - Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu. Stretching out for miles below us is the longest glacier in Nepal - the Ngozumpo Glacier - which tumbles down from the slopes of Cho Oyu. One of the best all-round views in Nepal, the climb is well worth the effort.
We return to Gokyo for lunch and then mid-afternoon we retrace our steps to the second lake and climb to the crest of the moraine overlooking the Ngozumpo Glacier. The route across the glacier is well marked with cairns and takes us to the eastern side of the Gokyo Valley.
We stay tonight at Tangnak (4,700 m) at the foot of the Cho La Pass.
Teahouse (1 nt)
Day 11 Dzongla
We have an early start today for a very long day across the Cho La (5,330 m). We climb up from Tangnak for about 90 minutes to a col. Ahead we can see the Cho La in the distance. We descend to a large boulder field where we rest before tackling the final part of the climb to the pass. The last two hours are very steep and rocky, and involve some scrambling as we zig-zag up to the top. The upper part of the route can be covered in snow and ice, particularly after November. Finally we reach the glaciated top, from where there are excellent views, including an unusual aspect of Ama Dablam.
The descent is steep and involves the crossing of a small glacier (usually snow covered) which is fairly straightforward. After a scramble down onto the glacier we follow a trail across the snow and down a rocky gully to the pastures below. The trail becomes more defined as we approach Dzongla (4,830 m) where we stay the night.
Teahouse (1 nt)
Day 12 Lobuje
Today's an easier day, as we begin with a continuation of our descent. A short ascent then brings us to the foot of Awi Peak, which we contour round on a wonderful high trail with great views of Chalotse and Tawoche across the valley. We finally descend to join the main trail again just below Lobuje (4,930 m) where we spend the night. The sunset on Nuptse from the ridge across from the lodge is not to be missed.
Teahouse (1 nt)
Day 13 Everest Base Camp/Gorak Shep
We are now surrounded by giant Himalayan peaks - Everest, Nuptse, Lingtren, Khumbutse and Pumori tower above us. Today is long and hard as we visit Everest Base Camp. The trail from Lobuje climbs steadily by the side of the Khumbu Glacier and, after crossing glacier rubble, we arrive at Gorak Shep (5,180 m), a summer yak-herder settlement at the foot of Kala Pattar. After a short break and snack we set off for Base Camp. The trail heads along the crest of the moraine at first and then drops onto the Khumbu Glacier itself, where we get magnificent close-up views of the great Khumbu Icefall as it tumbles down from Everest. In the spring season we may see expedition teams as they prepare for an ascent.
Following our visit we retrace our steps to Gorak Shep for the night.
Teahouse (1 nt)
Day 14 Kala Pattar/Pheriche
Another long day today as we ascend the small peak of Kala Pattar (black rock) at 5,545 m. It is a steep two-hour climb to the summit but the effort is well worth it as we can appreciate the most magnificent view of the Khumbu Glacier and, above all, a close-up sight of the world's highest mountain which the Nepalese call Sagarmatha - Head of the Waters - and the Sherpas Chomolungma - Mother of the World.
We return to Gorak Shep and descend past Lobuje to Pheriche.
Please note that the exact order in which we trek up Kala Pattar and visit Everest Base Camp will depend on the weather and how the group is acclimatising. Both days are long and hard due to the high altitude.
Teahouse (1 nt)
Day 15 Kyanjuma
Today we descend the Pheriche valley with spectacular views along the way of Ama Dablam. We join the main Imja Khola Valley, which we follow down to Pangboche, with superb views looking back to the great ridge of Lhotse-Nuptse. Pangboche, at 3,985 m, is the highest permanent settlement on the approach to Everest.
Dropping down to the rushing Imja Khola, we then walk through rhododendron forests to Thyangboche at 3,867 m. From here we have a great panorama of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse and Ama Dablam. Descending from Thyangboche we cross the river at Phunki Tenga and climb up to Kyanjuma where we spend the night. On occasion we might walk further to Namche Bazaar for the night.
Teahouse (1 nt)
Day 16 Phakding
Today we take an easy trail which contours around the hillsides back to Namche Bazaar. From here we drop down to the river and retrace our path through Monzo to Phakding.
Teahouse (1 nt)
Day 17 Lukla
We continue retracing our steps southwards, with a final climb to the airstrip at Lukla.
Teahouse (1 nt)
Day 18 Kathmandu
Today we fly back to Kathmandu from Lukla. The rest of the day, and the following day, are free to spend at your leisure.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 19 Itinerary
Hotel (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
- HZXE Single Supplement (HZXE)
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.
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.
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.
This is a challenging trek with 15 days walking. The maximum altitude we reach is 5545 metres, with the average being 4100 metres. For those confident of their physical fitness and who have trekked at altituded above 3000 metres previously, this is a challenging walk to the Everest region with a chance to ascend Gokyo Ri and Kala Pattar from where we get superb close up views of the highest mountains in the world. Most of the walking is at relatively high altitude. We have included a number of acclimatisation days to maximise the chances of achieving success in climbing Gokyo Ri, Kala Pattar and reaching Base Camp. Although daytime temperatures can be very pleasant, many of the nights will be close to or below freezing, and at Gokyo and around the Base Camp area it can be well below freezing especially on the winter departures. Most of the walking is on well-established trails, but there may be snow and ice at the highest part of the trek on any departure. The challenging crossing of the Cho La involves a very steep ascent and descent on rocky trails which can be icy. At the top there is always ice and snow.
This trip is for experienced trekkers. You should have previous experience trekking at altitude.
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.
The official currency of Nepal is the Nepali Rupee (NPR).
ATMs can only be found in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Bhaktapur. Money exchange facilities are available in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan (only outside the park) and Bhaktapur.
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.
While travellers' cheques have security advantages exchanging them can be a lengthy process, commissions can be high (up to 10%) and they can be difficult to change in rural areas, on weekends and public holidays. If you choose to bring travellers' cheques, make sure they are a major brand and major currency.
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.
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.
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: NPR20-30 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$1-2 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$1-2 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$1-2 per person, per day is generally appropriate.
Local transport: For a city tour we suggest US$1 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$2-3 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 NPR1, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, Exodus.
The minimum age for this trip is 18 years old and bookings for minors, even if accompanied by a parent, cannot be accepted.
Snap bandhs (strikes) can occur at any time in Nepal with very little notice, resulting in your itinerary having to be revised. Although we will endeavour to minimise any additional costs incurred there may be occasions where the traveller will need to cover trip changes, including flights, of which you will need to use your emergency funds and then claim the money on your travel insurance.
Weather conditions in the Himalayas can change rapidly and our group leader may be forced to change the trip itinerary accordingly. The months of January and February may see the base camp component of the trip delayed or even cancelled due to the inclement weather. Alternative itineraries will apply if this is the case. Travellers need to be prepared for all weather conditions. For more information please read the 'What to Take' section of these Trip Notes.
Please note adverse weather conditions at Lukla airport may occasionally mean that your flight to/from Kathmandu cannot operate. Please bear this in mind when making comparisons between companies offering this trip. We build in additional days into the itinerary to accommodate this however, very rarely persistent adverse weather could mean that the start of your trek or your return to Kathmandu is delayed. Ultimately any prolonged delay of your return to Kathmandu may result in missing your intended international flight. In these circumstances we cannot be held responsible for you missing onward travel arrangements.
Maximum of 16 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:
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 room (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.
Teahouse (15 nts), Hotel (4 nts)
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, passengers 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, passengers 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 in most of the places, a hot shower means a bucket of hot water, barely enough to wash your body.
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
Breakfast is included in Kathmandu only. We do not include food on trek allowing you to choose what you want to eat and when. The menus in the teahouses are varied, ranging from traditional Nepalese dhal bhat to pizza and apple pie. Please note imported food and drink in the Everest region is very expensive.
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.
There will be a local leader and drivers and local guides where needed. Groups of seven or more will have an Exodus leader. Smaller groups may be led by a highly competent English speaking Nepali sirdar. The leaders are assisted by additional guides and as many porters and/or animals as necessary to carry the kitbags. All your main gear is carried for you and you only have to carry whatever you require for that day's trek. We also have a representative in Kathmandu who will look after your transfers to and from the airport and will be around to answer other questions you may have about your trek
Hotel Royal Singi
Lal Durbar Kamaladi
Phone: 00977 14424190
Fax: 00977 14424189
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact section below for who to contact depending upon your starting location.
Hotel Royal Singi
Lal Durbar Kamaladi
Phone: 00977 14424190
Fax: 00977 14424189
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 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.
Australia: Yes - on arrival
Belgium: Yes - on arrival
Canada: Yes - on arrival
Germany: Yes - on arrival
Ireland: Yes - on arrival
Netherlands: Yes - on arrival
New Zealand: Yes - on arrival
South Africa: Yes - on arrival
Switzerland: Yes - on arrival
United Kingdom: Yes - on arrival
USA: Yes - on arrival
Visas are obtainable from embassies abroad or on arrival at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport. If getting the visa at the airport be prepared for 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 only: 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 two photos are required.
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), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
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.
We 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 12 kg per person. Any baggage
not required on trek can be left at the hotel in Kathmandu.
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.
TREKKING CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT:
- 4 season sleeping bag (with liner for December, January and February departures)
- 4 season jacket
- Walking boots (make sure they are worn in)
- Waterproof jacket and trousers
- Runners/sneakers for the evening
- Warm hat and scarf
- Dust mask
- Warm gloves
- Several pairs of walking socks
- Tracksuit or thermals for the evening
- Warm mid-layer (eg a fleece)
- Light to mid weight trousers
- Sun hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and lip balm with sun protection
- Day pack
- Head torch
- Water bottle (minimum 1 litre)
- Plastic bags (eg bin liners) to line day pack and for keeping clothing dry in your kitbag
- Toilet paper
- Personal first aid kit
- 2 passport photos for your trekking permit
Trekking poles are optional.
Crossing the Cho La involves around 2 hours walking across a glacier and sometimes the ascent and descent of the pass is slippery. Many trekkers and porters cross this pass in normal 3 season boots. However you may like to bring a pair of instep crampons, Yaktrax or Spikeys to put on the sole of your boots in case of ice.
Please bring bio degradable soaps and shampoos which do not pollute the rivers.
All Intrepid 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 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 and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
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 acclimatizing 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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 group 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.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
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:
ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING:
During your visit there may be opportunities to ride elephants and see them perform. While we believe it's important to give our travellers a choice and respect each individual's decision, we recommend that Intrepid travellers bypass this activity. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA), advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link:
Please note that many Nepalis follow a traditional style of dress. We suggest you dress conservatively and advise against wearing sleeveless tops. Although shorts are acceptable on trek, they should be modest and reach the knees. For women, a skirt or trousers are preferable.
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.
Responsible Travel projects
Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Nepal include:
* The Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP) promotes positive impact tourism and minimum impact trekking through information services for travellers and locals. They also provide vocational training in hospitality, ecotourism, conservation, first aid and English to ensure the future ecological and cultural prosperity of Nepal.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We realise that our partner company may ask you to complete paper or online feedback following your trip, however we would also like to know what you thought and encourage you to submit your feedback to us too. This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.