Everest & Gokyo Lakes Trip Notes

Experience the incredible terrain of Nepal on the ultimate adventure trek – Mount Everest Base Camp. It’s a tough hike, but the breathtaking scenery – especially the Gokyo Lakes – and the feeling of achievement are more than enough reward.

    • 20
    • HNXL
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $1,955
      CAD $2,075
      AUD $2,155
      EUR €1,500
      GBP £1,290
      NZD $2,540
      ZAR R19,605
      CHF FR1,850
      *
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    • Walking
    • Comfort
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There is a later version of this trip also available for travel from Jun 1, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015. View later Everest & Gokyo Lakes.
Print Version
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2014
Everest & Gokyo Lakes
Trip code: HNXL
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 May 2015
This is an unforgettable expedition into the most mountainous corner of the world. First conquered by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, Everest has traditionally been the ultimate goal for mountaineers. Today hard-core trekkers seek the challenge of reaching the mountaineer's Base Camp. Flying into Lukla, explore the mountains and valleys around the towering peak, rest in Nepalese teahouses, explore the stunning Gokyo Lakes region, learn about the traditions and cultures of the famous Sherpa and spend time in exotic Kathmandu.
This trip is run by our experienced sister company Peregrine Adventures. Your group is therefore likely to be a mixture of Intrepid passengers and other like-minded international travellers.
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesVisas
ThemesGroup sizeIssues on your trip
MapYour fellow travellersWhat to take
ItinerarySingle travellersHealth
We also recommendAccommodationSafety
Itinerary disclaimerMeals introductionTravel insurance
Culture shock rating MealsResponsible Travel
Physical ratingTransportA couple of rules
Included activitiesGroup leaderThe Intrepid Foundation
Optional activitiesJoining point Responsible Travel projects
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsCarbon offset
Spending moneyFinish point Feedback
TippingEmergency contact
Departure taxEmergency funds
Style
Comfort
  • Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Themes
Walking
Map

Itinerary
Days 1-2 Kathmandu
Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Our airport representative will be waiting outside the airport terminal a few metres from the exit door.
The drive from the airport to the hotel is around 20 minutes. A briefing given by our group leader is scheduled for the late afternoon. He will discuss our trekking program and co-ordinate any last minute arrangements. The evening is free, but usually our tour leader will organise an evening meal (optional) at one of Kathmandu’s fine Nepalese restaurants. Alternatively you can enjoy a dinner at the hotel.
In the morning of Day 2 we explore Kathmandu on an organised sightseeing tour. We visit Bodhnath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world, where we observe Buddhist monks in prayer in the monasteries surrounding the stupa. The rest of our time in Kathmandu is free for further sightseeing and exploration. In the late afternoon you will be issued with your Trek Pack and departure information for the next morning.
The Trek Pack is valued at over US$500 and includes a kitbag designed with porter comfort in mind, high quality sleeping bag designed for sub-zero temperatures, inner sheet and high-altitude jacket.
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
  • Activity
  • Kathmandu - Bodhnath Stupa
  • Kathmandu - Guided city tour
  • Nepal Trek Pack (kitbag, sleeping bag, inner sheet & jacket)
Accommodation
Shangri La Hotel or similar (2 nts)
Day 3 Phakding
In the early morning we take the spectacular flight from Kathmandu to Lukla (2827m), flying parallel to giant Himalayan mountains bordering Nepal and China (Tibet).
The flight time is about 40 minutes and we land at an airstrip built by Sir Edmund Hillary and the Sherpas in the mid-1960s. After landing we have time to explore the village while our Sherpa crew sort and load our trekking equipment. In the afternoon we begin our trek by descending towards the Dudh Kosi River where we join the main trail to Namche Bazaar, located just above Chaunrikharka (2713m).
The walking is easy and after passing through the small village of Ghat (2550m), it is a short walk to Phakding (approx 3 hours).
Included Activities
  • Return flight Kathmandu to Lukla
  • Porter for trekking days
Accommodation
Lodge (1 nt)
Days 4-5 Namche Bazaar
From Phakding we cross the river and head up the valley today, following porters from the south that are ferrying supplies to Namche Bazaar. The trail keeps close to the river valley and is lined with beautiful blue pine and rhododendron forest that is very spectacular in the spring months, when the flowers are in bloom. We cross the Dudh Kosi River at Benkar, where there are tantalising glimpses of the snow-capped peaks of Kusum Kanguru (6369m) and Thamserku (6623m). From here it is only a short walk to Monjo (2835m), where we arrive in time for lunch.
In the afternoon the walking is a little tougher and includes the steep ascent to Namche Bazaar. In total we trek for 7 hours today. From Monjo it is a short walk to the entrance of the national park, before we cross the Dudh Kosi River to Jorsale (2805m). The trek continues upstream on generally flat terrain, crossing back to the right bank to the confluence of the Bhote Kosi and Dudh Kosi Rivers, where we start the steep climb to Namche Bazaar. After crossing a large and stable suspension bridge high above the river, we slowly ascend at a steady pace. There are some fantastic photographic opportunities as the peaks of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Taweche (6542m) come into view for the first time.
We remain at Namche Bazaar for a second night to allow for proper acclimatisation to the altitude. Namche is a prosperous village situated in a large protected hollow. It gained its importance during the period when Tibetan salt was traded for the lowland grains of Nepal. Today a limited amount of trade still exists at Namche and Tibetans are often seen in the village trading rugs and Chinese-made goods, clothing, salt and dried meat. It is recommended that you take the opportunity to see both the sunrise and sunset views from the national park headquarters above the village. The stunning vista includes a superb panorama of the Khumbu peaks and great views of Everest. After breakfast, a variety of options exists. Perhaps a walk towards Thami (3810m) above the beautiful Bhote Khola River Valley or a visit to the national park headquarters to see the interesting displays of Sherpa lifestyle and culture. There is also a mountaineering display and information on the park’s flora and fauna. Your guides are on hand to offer advice and escort you on walks.
Accommodation
Lodge (2 nts)
Day 6 Mongla
Trek approx 4 hours today. From Namche, we ascend to the airstrip at Shyanboche and then to a lunch spot in Khumjung - the largest village in the region. Towering above Khumjung is the sacred rocky peak of Khumbilya (5761m). It is the home of the guardian goddess of the region, often depicted in religious paintings (or thangkas) as a white-faced figure on a white horse. The trail contours around Khumbilya's lower slopes, passing through beautiful birch forest and then climbing on to treeless, grassy slopes to a stupa on top of a rocky ridge (3992m). Once again the views of the surrounding mountains are magnificent. Phortse can be seen across the valley - a picturesque village set in a patchwork of stone-walled fields. We overnight at the cluster of lodges on the saddle, known as Mongla.
Accommodation
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 7 Gokyo Valley
Todays trekking will be for around 4 hours. From the stupa we descend 300 metres on a series of switchback trails to the Dudh Kosi River at Phortse Bridge. The trail to Gokyo is deceptive and we can ascend too quickly if we do not plan our trekking days sensibly. So, in the interests of acclimatisation, we take three days to reach Gokyo. Leaving Phortse Bridge, we ascend steeply at first and then contour high above the valley, enjoying excellent views of Kantega, Thamserku and Ama Dablam (6856m). About an hour's walk from Phortse Bridge, we gain our first views of the mammoth Cho-Oyo (8153m) at the head of the valley. We are now trekking beyond the tree line and pass some imposing waterfalls en route to the yak herding settlements of Tongba (4015m) and Gyele (4050m). From here it is a short distance to Dole (4084m), where we spend the night.
After lunch we can explore the upper Dole Valley, returning via a high ridge above the lodge to enjoy fantastic views of Cho-Oyo and Gyachung Kang (7922m) to the north, and Taweche (6542m) and Cholatse (6440m) across the valley to the east. We are now at higher altitudes and it is important to take notice of our trek leader’s advice and recommendations regarding rest and fluid intake.
Accommodation
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 8 Machhermo
Today is another short day (approx 3 hours trekking time) starting with a climb out of the small Dole Valley before ascending more gradually up the Dudh Kosi Valley, high above the river. The walk is easy though we will feel the effects of altitude on even the smallest hill. The barren alpine scenery with only small clusters of scrub juniper is a stark contrast to the snowy white peaks and deep blue skies. After two hours we arrive at Luza (4360m) and, after a further hour's walk, we reach our lodge at Machhermo (4465m) where we spend the evening. After lunch there is an option of taking an excursion across rocky moraines to the base of Kyajo Ri (6168m) and Machhermo Peak (6073m). However, keep an eye open for the yeti! It was here in 1974 that three yaks were killed and a Sherpa girl injured when trying to fight off a hairy, ape-like intruder!
Accommodation
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 9 Gokyo
A short, steep climb leads from the Machhermo Valley on to the steep grassy slopes of the Dudh Kosi Valley. Keep an eye open for the colourful Tibetan snow cocks, often found in this area. The valley widens as we pass through Pangka (4390m) and on to the jumbled, terminal moraines of Ngozumpa Glacier, the largest in Nepal and the source of the Dudh Kosi River. Climbing steeply over a rocky trail we keep to the western side of the glacier to reach a small lake at the head of a wide valley and then pass a larger lake at Longponga (4690m), before following the lateral moraines to the third lake at Gokyo (4750m). Gokyo consists of a number of stone dwellings surrounded by stone-walled yak pastures. Total walking time today will be around 3 1/2 hours. Our lodge is located close to the lake and, if there are no clouds around, the sunroom can be distinctly warm in the afternoon. For those feeling energetic, it is worth ascending to the ridge at the back of Gokyo for views down to the mighty Ngozumpa Glacier.
Accommodation
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 10 Machhermo
We rise early for an ascent of Gokyo Peak (5360m) - a straight-forward but steep climb and tiring due to the altitude. The walk up will take just over two hours and the reward is one of the best panoramas in the Khumbu. From the rocky summit, four 8000-metre peaks can be seen - Everest (8848m), Cho-Oyo (8153m), Lhotse (8511m) and Makalu (8481m). Countless other towering snow-capped peaks and rock spires fill the horizons including Gyachung Kang (7922m) to the east of Cho-Oyo, Cholatse (6440m), Taweche (6542m) and Kangchung (6103m). In addition, there’s a bird's eye view of the Gokyo lakes and the huge creaking Ngozumpa Glacier, now cutting halfway across the world and snaking its way down the valley far beneath. We descend back to Gokyo for a late breakfast and then retrace our steps back to the snout of the glacier and continue down the valley back to Machhermo. It is surprising how easily and quickly we cover the return route, now that we are well acclimatised.
Included Activities
  • Gokyo - Ascent of Gokyo Peak
Accommodation
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 11 Phortse
A leisurely start to the day takes us down valley to Dole, where we enter forest to continue the descent to Phortse Bridge. Keep an eye open for musk deer, which are often seen on this section of the trail. Here we take lunch and branch off the main trail to Namche to cross the Dudh Kosi and ascend to the village of Phortse. Phortse is one of the more traditional Sherpa villages in the Khumbu region, but surprisingly few trekkers stop here on their Everest trek. The dramatic mountain views and peace and quiet of this village are sure to be one of the highlights of our trek, which will total around 5 hours.
Accommodation
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 12 Dingboche
Our morning's walk first heads across a ridge and then descends on an exposed trail to the Imja Khola. Keep an eye open for Himalayan tahr - these mountain goats are often seen on the crags high above the trail. We meet the trail coming from Thyangboche by the suspension bridge and from here we gradually ascend to the village of Pangboche, where the peak of Ama Dablam dominates the skyline. We take lunch here and have the opportunity of seeing the beautiful monastery that once housed a legendary yeti scalp. After lunch our route follows the trail high above the Imja Khola, passing the tea houses at Orsho, before again crossing the Imja Khola and old glacial moraines to our lodge in the settlement of Dingboche. Here we find a beautiful patchwork of small fields enclosed by stone walls protecting the crops of barley and potatoes from the cold winds. The scenery is once again spectacular and although Everest has disappeared behind the Lhotse-Nuptse Ridge, the huge peaks that tower above the eastern end of the valley are ample compensation. We are now almost completely above the tree-line. In clear conditions, look out for spectacular sunsets here and on Ama Dablam, the south face of Lhotse to the north, and also Island Peak in the centre of the valley.
(Trekking: approx 6 hours)
Accommodation
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 13 Lobuje
In the morning we ascend the small ridge behind the village above the Pheriche valley. From the chorten at the top, Taweche and Cholatse (6440m) make for a striking scene, as they seem to lean forwards from across the valley in the west. To the north, Lobuje Peak (6119m) and the snowfields of the Cho La dominate the skyline. The walking is now generally fairly flat on wide-open fields but do take your time and ensure you are well hydrated. Late in the morning we cross the Khumbu Khola at Dughla (4620m) and take a light lunch at the foot of the huge terminal moraines of the Khumbu Glacier flowing off Everest. In the afternoon, there is a solid and quite steep climb on a rocky trail to the top of the moraines. On the crest of the ridge, you pass a line of memorial cairns, built in memory of the Sherpas and climbers who have died on various Everest expeditions over the last fifty or so years. From here the view is spectacular, Pumori (7145m), Lingtren (6697m), Khumbutse (6623m), and across the border in Tibet, Changtse (7550m) are seen at the head of the valley, whilst Everest is hidden behind the towering walls of Nuptse and Lhotse. We then follow the valley stream to our lodge at Lobuje, arriving early afternoon. Today is a tiring day but the fantastic scenery makes it all very worthwhile. In addition, our time spent at higher altitude in the Gokyo area will doubtless have helped our acclimatisation process.
Accommodation
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 14 Gorak Shep (5160m) - Everest Base Camp
As the trek to Gorak Shep is relatively short, we have the opportunity for a leisurely breakfast before beginning the day’s walk. From Lobuje we follow the broad valley that runs parallel to Khumbu Glacier. A gradual ascent enables us to build the slow, steady rhythm required when walking at high altitude. When we reach the moraines of Changri Nup Glacier, we make a series of small ascents and descents over a rocky trail lined with cairns that leads eventually to the surprising glacial sands of Gorak Shep (5160m) - reached after about three hours of walking. After a quick bite we gear up accordingly to head off towards the Everest Base Camp. The trek to the base camp can be achieved in around three hours and if trekking in the popular climbing period of March to May, we will almost certainly encounter yaks and porters supplying food and equipment to expeditions here. From Everest Base Camp we do not get views of Mount Everest, but we are able to see the notorious Everest Ice Fall that flows from the Western Cwm, which is regarded as technically the hardest and most dangerous section of the mountain. The return journey from the Base Camp to Gorak Shep takes the same amount of time. We have an early dinner so that we are able to get up early the next day for awe-inspiring views of the Himalayan giants from Kala Patar.
(Trekking: approx 3 hours to Gorak Shep, 5 hours round trip to Everest Base Camp)
Included Activities
  • Everest Base Camp trek
Accommodation
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 15 Kala Patar - Pheriche
We wake up early the next day for the trek to Kala Patar (5545m) to experience sensational sunrise views from this amazing vantage point. From the lodge the ascent is quite steep, so start very slowly and try to ascend at a steady rhythmic pace. Kala Patar is the rocky hilltop below Pumori. It is a tough walk because of the altitude, but the view from the top surpasses the wildest imagination. It will probably take a good hour and a half to reach the summit from Gorak Shep, although lower viewpoints can provide views that are almost as good. Pumori, Nuptse, Changtse, Ama Dablam, Taweche, Kantega and Everest, the highest mountain in the world, surround us. About three kilometres away and some 200 metres below, the area of the Everest Base Camp can be seen in a bowl at the bottom of the Khumbu Ice Fall. For many trekkers, reaching Kala Patar is a very emotional experience and it is worthwhile spending as long as you wish in order to savour this special moment. The descent back down to Gorak Shep is easy and once back at the lodge we have a quick drink and head off to the rooms to pack our kit bags whilst breakfast is being prepared. After breakfast we set off to Lobuche and Thugla, where we stop for lunch. After lunch we cross the Khumbu Khola and head down the valley below Cholatse to Pheriche, where we stop for the night.
(Trekking: approx 8 hours)
Included Activities
  • Kala Patar trek
Accommodation
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 16 Namche Bazaar
From Pheriche we will cross the Khumbu Khola River and ascend a short steep trail to the top of a small ridge for great views of Imja Valley, Ama Dablam and Kantega.We will then descend to the small settlements at Orsho and Shomare before passing through Lower Pangboche to reach the suspension bridge over the Imja Khola River to ascend back to Thyangboche for lunch.
According to legend, Lama Sange Dorjee, who came from Tibet’s Rongphu Monastery, founded Thyangboche Monastery in the 17th century. Thyangboche was destroyed by an earthquake in 1933, rebuilt and again badly damaged by a fire in 1989. Construction of the present monastery was completed in 1992.
We spend a bit of time after lunch visiting the monastery and the nearby museum. There is a small entrance fee for the museum and a small donation to the monastery is appreciated.
In the afternoon we descend steeply through beautiful forest of juniper, rhododendron and fir to Phunkitenga. After a welcome break and perhaps a cup of tea, cross the Dudh Kosi River and ascend to Trashinga. From here the trail contours high above the valley through Shanasa and on to Namche Bazaar, where we spend the night.
(Trekking: approximately 7 hours)
Accommodation
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 17 Phakding
We enjoy a leisurely departure from Namche Bazaar with a final opportunity to visit the shops in the bazaar before we descend steeply down to the large suspension bridge over the Dudh Kosi River. We follow the trail through Jorsale and back to Monjo, where we take lunch. In the afternoon it is a short walk via Benkar through blue pine and rhododendron forest, with great views of Kusum Kangaru, back to our lodge in Phakding.
(Trekking: approx 4 hours)
Accommodation
Lodge (1 nt)
Day 18 Lukla
Our last day of trekking, where it is only a short walk in the valley before making the final climb up to the airstrip at Lukla. We have lunch at the lodge and the afternoon is free to wander around, relax, or perhaps enjoy a hot shower!
In the evening you will enjoy a farewell dinner, followed by a few celebratory drinks and dancing with our Sherpa companions.
(Trekking: approximately 3½ hours)
Accommodation
Lodge (1 nt)
Days 19-20 Kathmandu
Rise early in the morning today for our flight back to Kathmandu. On arrival in Kathmandu we will be met and transferred back to the starting hotel. The rest of the day is free to do some souvenir shopping or further sightseeing.
Located in the south of the city, Patan is also worth a visit with its own Durbar Square full of historic structures and statues of past kings.
Our final night in Kathmandu offers us the chance to go out on the town and enjoy a final dinner (optional) with our travelling companions and new-found friends.
Our trip comes to an end today after breakfast. Your leader will be on hand to advise and assist with your onward travel arrangements. A departure transfer to the airport is not included. Kathmandu has so much to offer and occasionally flights from Lukla can be delayed, so we recommend that you consider booking pre-tour or post-tour accommodation and a departure transfer before you commence your travels.
Accommodation
Shangri La Hotel or similar (1 nt)
  • HNXL EBC & Gokyo - Single Supplement (HNXL)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Annapurna Circuit (HNXC)
  • Annapurna Sanctuary (HNXS)
  • Annapurna Dhaulagiri (HNXD)
  • Annapurna Sanctuary (HNXS)
  • Annapurna Explorer (HNXR)
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.
Money Exchange
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.
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
PASSPORT-SIZED PHOTOS:
Please bring 2 passport size photographs for your trekking permit to the group meeting.
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.
AGE RESTRICTIONS:
Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 16.
Group size
Maximum of 14 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
Lodge (16 nts), Shangri La Hotel or similar (3 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.
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
3 Breakfasts
Budget for meals not included:
USD 765.00
Transport
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.
Group leader
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Joining point
Shangri La Hotel
Lazimpat Road
Lazimpat
Kathmandu
44600
NEPAL
Phone: +977 14412999
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
Shangri La Hotel
Lazimpat Road
Lazimpat
Kathmandu
44600
NEPAL
Phone: +977 14412999
Emergency contact
In the case of genuine crisis or emergency in Nepal, our local partners Mountain Guides can be reached by telephone on the following numbers:
Local Contact Number: +977 9862 853 740
After Hours Emergency:+977 9818 287 669
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.
TREKKING EQUIPMENT
For all trekking tours you will need the following items:
- Thermals to wear underneath your normal clothing
- Warm, waterproof and windproof jackets and pants
- Thermal lined gloves
- A warm hat (and perhaps a sun hat)
- Good walking boots/shoes with ankle support that are well broken-in (this means worn frequently prior to travel because new boots invariably equal blisters and discomfort).
- Down jacket
Please note all the equipment above, as well as sleeping bags and packs of different sizes, are available to hire on the ground in both Kathmandu or Pokhara. Keep in mind that this can depend on availability and the standard of equipment can vary. Many passengers prefer to bring everything themselves. We do not recommend hiring boots.
Remember to also bring a mixture of t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, warm sweaters, good socks, trousers (lightweight cargo trousers are better than jeans) for layering and for the lower altitudes, and make note of which season you are travelling in.
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.
Health
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.
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 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:
http://d3oxn90f3yphmd.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/file_attach/52735_product_altitude-sickness.pdf
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.
TRAINING FOR A TREK
Before deciding whether or not you want to travel on this trip, please have a read of the training for a trek document.
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.
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.
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 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:
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:
Responsible Travel projects
Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Nepal include:
* Kathmandu Environmental Education Program (KEEP)
KEEP advocates and promotes ‘minimum impact’ trekking by working with visitors, the tourism industry and the local community. KEEP offers training on nature conservation to the local Nepalese, as well as basic and intermediate English for trekking guides and lodge owners, first aid training, eco-trekking workshops and courses on ecological thinking and Positive Impact Tourism. Your support through The Intrepid Foundation will support the purchase of clothing and equipment for the Porters Clothing Bank, and the conduct of porters’ awareness workshops. www.keepnepal.org
*just-one
just-one targets disadvantaged children living in dangerous and vulnerable situations on the streets and provides them with training and educational opportunities that bring greater economic security to themselves and their families. Your support through The Intrepid Foundation will assist them in developing their current facilities to include an activity centre and library at their rehab home, and help them build capacity to reach an even greater number of disadvantaged children.
www.just-one.org
*Prisoner's Assistance (PA) Nepal
Prisoner’s Assistance (PA) Nepal helps to equip children of prisoners with self-sustaining life skills and education, moving them out of prisons and into the community. Your support through The Intrepid Foundation will help increase the capacity PA Nepal to support more prisoners’ children.
www.panepal.org
For more information on our projects in Nepal, or to make a donation, visit: www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/?projectcountry=nepal
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 129.00 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.