PDI
On Top of the World

This document contains essential information that you need to prepare for, as well as information you will need during your holiday with us.

We ask that you read it carefully and that you take the document with you on your holiday. It contains information on visas, vaccinations, spending money, etc, as well as a detailed, day by day itinerary of your trip.

your-trip

Nuts and Bolts

Experienced local tour guide, trekking staff and porters, first-aid kit, transportation, twin-share accommodation.

Summary of accommodation, transport & meals

Transport

  • Bus
  • Plane

Accommodation

  • 2 nights Hotels/guesthouses
  • 16 nights Trekking lodge

not-included

International flights, arrival and departure transfers, airport/departure taxes, visas, pre or post tour accommodation, all other meals, optional tours sightseeing or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, fully comprehensive travel insurance (obligatory on all trips and must include helicopter evacuation and repatriation), tips, items of a personal nature, laundry, cost of showers on trek (if available) and flights unless specified.

optional-extras

  • Kathmandu - Bhaktapur entrance
    US$15
  • Kathmandu - Half Day tour to Bhaktapur & Patan
    US$40 approx
  • Kathmandu - Mt Everest scenic flight - including transfers
    approx US$185
  • Kathmandu - Patan entrance
    US$7
  • Kathmandu - Taxi to Bodnath Stupa
  • Namche - Sherpa House Museum
    US$2 ( small donation also appreciated)

preparing-to-travel

Visas and Permits

Nepal

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. All foreign nationals (except Indians) require a visa to enter Nepal. Visas are obtainable from embassies abroad, the International airport, or on arrival at the India / Nepal border. 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 approximate 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 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.

government-travel-advice

Many governments publish up-to-date travel advice for countries around the world. Information is gleaned from both local and international sources as well as ‘friendly’ governments, and the notices are often on the cautious side. Sometimes there will be conflicting information. For example, the Australian, UK and Canadian governments may agree on the nature of the advice; however, frequently they do not. And sometimes the views expressed by a particular government can be coloured by political considerations. We will monitor these travel advisories closely and may alter itineraries or cancel trips as a result. However, it is also your responsibility to stay informed and form a balanced view. We recommend that you visit the websites or contact the departments listed below. Unless otherwise stated, it is not normally the intention of the relevant government travel advice to dissuade you from travelling. Rather, it is to inform you of where and when you should exercise caution to avoid problems. Please also note that, as a responsible tour operator, we maintain constant links with our ground operators and your safety - at all times - is our paramount concern. You can check your government's latest travel advice at one of the links below:

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
U.S. Department of State New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Medical---prep

We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations. In some places anti-malaria medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow yourself plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental check up is also highly recommended

Vaccinations

Vaccinations may be required or recommended for this trip so you should consult with your travel doctor to obtain the latest up-to-date information. It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain any vaccinations or preventative medicines for the countries you are visiting – or any which may be required by your home country upon your return.

For travellers from Australia and New Zealand, we recommend the Travel Doctor-TMVC clinics (see www.traveldoctor.com.au or phone 1300 658 844 for an appointment in Australia). Travellers from countries other than Australia and New Zealand should contact similar organisations or their travel doctor for advice. General health and vaccination information is available to all travellers at
www.traveldoctor.com.au/travelreport. Some vaccines require more than one dose, so arrange for your visit at least 4-6 weeks before you travel.

copies-of-key-docs

We recommend that you photocopy the main pages of your passport, your airline ticket, itinerary, insurance policy, traveller’s cheques and credit card. Keep one set of photocopies with you, separate from the originals. Leave one set of copies at home with family or friends. It is also worth taking some extra passport photos with you in case of additional visas, permits or other unforeseen paperwork.

preparing-to-travel

We operate lodge-based trekking on the popular trails in the Everest region and in the part of the Annapurna area of Nepal.

Lodge-based Trekking

Our lodge-based treks travel into the popular Everest and Annapurna regions where you will not get completely off the beaten track. Good campsites in the villages are now harder to find as bigger and better lodge accommodation is being constructed. We do not think it justifiable and sensible to operate these itineraries as camping tours. You will generally sleep in twin-share rooms, on beds, which have comfortable foam mattresses and pillows. Most people use sleeping bags for warmth, comfort and hygiene.Many lodges now have electricity although the supply can be intermittent. Very occasionally lodges with dormitory-style accommodation have to be used at higher altitudes. Some lodges may have rather basic hot showers available (through solar heating) for a fee, but we cannot give any guarantees. In the colder months, especially at higher altitudes, we find that few people are predisposed to take showers. The cost of hot showers (usually about 200 Rupees) is not included in your trip costs and is payable to the lodge operator. It is also important that you are aware that toilet facilities in our standard lodges are often basic, consisting of Asian-style “squat” loos rather than Western-style sit-down flush toilets.

The Trekking Day & the Trekking Team

The Group Leader

A group leader will accompany every trek. The trek leader's main function is to look after the welfare of group members. Our leaders are all experienced trekkers chosen not only for their knowledge of the Himalaya, but perhaps more importantly, for their "people skills". They are there to ensure you have a safe, informed and enjoyable trek. They are English-speaking and all our current leaders hold internationally recognised first-aid certificates.

Trekking Guides (Sherpas)

Under the supervision of the Sirdar, the trekking guides accompany the group during the day to ensure you are following the right path and to assist you where required. In camp they attend to a variety of duties which include setting up and breaking camp, helping at meal times, etc. The guide ratio is usually one to every three trekkers. Do not feel obliged to keep in a group all the time. You may wish to linger through a particularly beautiful rhododendron forest, visit a village school or move off the trail to bird-watch; please do so. We wish you to have as much freedom and flexibility as possible, but please do advise the guides of your whereabouts. Our guides have a basic knowledge of the English language - and will be happy to try to teach you a few words of the local one.

The Nike and Porters/Yaks or Ponies

The Nike is the foreman of the porter group. Our porters have enjoyed many years working with our groups. Locally based near the starting point of our treks, they are responsible for the carrying of the equipment and food. A tough job but one always done with a smile. All our porters are supplied with additional equipment and clothing by us to ensure they are adequately protected on our treks. On some treks we use yaks or ponies to transport equipment instead of porters.

The Trekking Group

Our trekking groups are truly international. You can expect people from Australia, New Zealand, America, U.K., Canada and Europe to be in your group. Ours are small group tours with an average of 10 members per group, with a usual maximum of 14 or 15 members (12 on climbing expeditions). Group members may vary considerably in age, profession and background.

The Trekking Day

The day usually begins between 6.30 a.m. and 7.30 a.m. About half an hour later, after you have packed all your gear into your kitbag, breakfast will be ready. While you are eating, the crew members will make up the loads for the porters. You will often be on the trail by 7.30 a.m., though at higher altitudes the start is usually later, as we wait for the sun to warm the air a little.

There is plenty of interest along the trail and there is no need to rush. Become aware of all that is around you, and become involved. The day has been planned so that you have plenty of time. The porters will not be in a hurry with their loads, and theirs is a good pace to judge yours by. Faster walkers keep an eye on the guides so that you do not overshoot lunch and overnight stops!

At a suitable spot, about 11.30 a.m., we stop for lunch for a couple of hours. This is a good time to relax and rest - or even wash some socks, etc., so that they can dry during the afternoon walk (relatively easy at lower altitudes, progressively harder higher up). Sterilised water is provided for washing your hands prior to all meals.

The afternoon walk follows a similar pattern to the morning; it is often shorter and your lodge is usually reached between 3 and 4pm. There is plenty of time to relax or explore the surrounding area until the evening meal is served about 6.30pm. After dinner there is time to chat, read or perhaps enjoy a game of cards with our crew. Most members are asleep by 9pm. This comfortable living pattern is amazingly refreshing, and there are those who class trekking as a therapeutic experience!

The Trekking Menu

While in lodges, menus are a mixture of local, Asian and western cuisine. There is a wide range of food available, and consequently, we do not include meals while trekking. 'Set meals' have limited range we prefer to give you the choice. The emphasis is on a healthy variety, with many meals given a local touch. Breakfast options consist of porridge or muesli, with local-style breads, then eggs, jam, peanut butter, tea, coffee, and hot chocolate. For lunch, most prefer a lighter meal, maybe a fresh salad with tinned fish and cheese, followed by fresh or tinned fruit with cordial juice and tea. For dinner, if you're hungry a three-course meal with soup, a main course of rice, dhal, vegetables, a mild curry, followed by chocolate cake, tea, coffee or hot chocolate will round off a great day. All meals are cooked on kerosene stoves and are prepared to strict hygienic standards.

fitness

A reasonable level of fitness is required for this trekking holiday and you should be in good health. You can expect to trek for up to six hours per day whilst on trek, sometimes on tracks which are fairly steep. Physical preparation, particularly walking on hills and stairs, before your trek will be a definite advantage.

Acclimatisation to high altitudes (generally for trips over 3500 metres)

We take this very seriously, which is why we have one of the best safety records in the Himalaya. We have over 30 years of experience in the region and our success rates on high altitude treks are very high. Our itineraries allow for a safe approach to high altitudes, following the guidelines set out by the Himalayan Rescue Association. We even carry Portable Altitude Chambers (PAC bags) for your safety and peace of mind on all treks proceeding above 4000 metres.

Our leaders are highly experienced mountain guides. Please follow their instructions very carefully as you ascend to high altitudes: walking slowly rather than hurrying, wearing sunglasses during the day, maintaining a high level of (non-alcoholic!) fluid consumption, not sleeping during the day, wearing adequate warm clothing are all factors of importance. Your leader will brief you fully on these considerations prior to the start of your trek.

In addition, if you are taking any medications with you which may have been suggested as an aid to acclimatisation - Diamox is quite commonly suggested - it is vital that you advise your leader in Kathmandu before you leave for the start of the trek. He will then discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of taking this medication, and in particular when you should consider starting it and the duration for which it should be taken. Be aware that many trekkers have no need for such medication.

what-to-take

General Packing List

PLEASE NOTE THAT CURRENTLY, THE LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS FOR FLIGHTS TO LUKLA ARE: CHECK-IN 10KGS, CARRY-ON 5KGS.  YOUR LEADER WILL ASSIST WITH YOUR BAG PACKING TO ENSURE THAT THE REQUIREMENTS ARE MET (E.G. WEARING HEAVY ITEMS ON THE FLIGHT), BUT IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOU PACK LIGHT!  OF COURSE SURPLUS CLOTHING AND GEAR CAN BE LEFT IN STORAGE AT YOUR HOTEL IN KATHMANDU.

Your day pack is carry-on and the kitbag you are supplied with is the check-in.  Your day pack need only be about 30 litres.

General items: the following items are a suggested ‘general’ list of items. A trek-specific list is below:

  • Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts, Trip Notes
  • Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets
  • Spare passport photos
  • Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card
  • Money belt
  • Small padlocks
  • Small first-aid kit
  • Daypack for use on day or overnight excursions
  • Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries)
  • Electrical adapter plug
  • Toiletries/roll of toilet paper/travel wipes
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen, lip balm, sunhat and sunglasses
  • Earplugs and eye mask (for light sleepers)
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses (if required)
  • 2 strong plastic garbage bags (for laundry and in case of rain)
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Phrase book
  • Warm clothes - when travelling in cooler climates
  • Wind and waterproof jacket
  • Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes with good walking socks
  • Camera and spare film (or recharge for digital cameras)
  • Binoculars

Clothing while in town: Informal clothing is all that is required. Remember to dress in a modest fashion. Light clothing is usually all that will be required for most of the year. During the winter months, December to February, it will be chilly in the early mornings and evenings. A warm fleece or similar jacket will be required.

You will be provided with a Gecko's kitbag while on trek. About 65 litres in capacity, they are carried by porters during the day. You carry your daypack and what you need during the day. PLEASE keep the weight of your kitbag to 15kgs MAX.

Trekking Equipment: It is absolutely essential that you have the correct clothing and equipment on your trek. Be prepared at all times, whilst trekking, to experience changing weather conditions. It can rain or snow at any time during the day or trekking season.

Points to consider when making your gear selection:

  • Many of our treks proceed from warm, low altitudes to cold, high altitudes. It will be necessary for you to be able to control your comfort by adding or taking off clothing as required. It is far better to have a number of layers that can be changed with temperature variations, or when you stop for rests during the day. During the trekking day you may start walking with a light sweater and tracksuit pants. As the day progresses you may feel comfortable in T-shirt and shorts, then later on you may need to put on the tracksuit, and eventually a down jacket, warm pants, hat and gloves.
  • Be prepared at all times whilst trekking to experience changing weather conditions. A day that starts sunny and clear could become cold and windy as you gain altitude. It can rain or snow at any time during the day or trekking season. Remember, your physical comfort and well-being greatly influences your ability to appreciate the trekking environment. Hopefully you may not need all your wet or cold weather gear, but you must come prepared.
  • One set of casual clothes is all you require in the major cities and towns.
  • There is a maximum weight limit on domestic flights on Nepal of 15kg total (for flights to Lukla). Be careful with your selection of personal clothing. If possible, take clothing that is flexible in its uses. Be aware, too, that your main kit-bag will be carried by a porter during part or all of your trek (yaks or ponies are used only on a few sections); whilst Nepalese porters are capable of carrying weights that would make most trekkers blanche, this is another reason why you should carefully limit the amount of weight and clothing you bring. (For instance, instead of bringing a large container of shampoo that would last for months, decant a small amount into a small plastic container, easily obtained from any outdoor gear shop.)
  • You are limited to one kitbag (supplied by us) of luggage whilst trekking. Be aware that your sleeping bag and duvet jacket have to fit in your kit bag. This sausage-shaped zippered hold-all style bag is 80cm long x 40cm wide x 40cm deep. (It has zips down the sides for easier packing – much more convenient than the end-loading bags used by some other operators.)
  • Prior to your trek departure, personal equipment may be checked by your trek leader. Do not risk spoiling your trek or the group's by skimping on equipment or clothing selection.
  • Our hotels in the larger cities have a storage facility for luggage not required on trek. Shortly before you leave you transfer any clothing, etc., which you are not taking into your suitcase, and leave this at the hotel in a storage room while you are away. You are also given a large envelope in which you can place your passport and other valuables not required on trek, and this is then placed in a safety deposit box until your return.
  • You may wish to leave old clothing (t-shirts, socks, old jumpers, running shoes, etc.) in the country at the end of the trek. Consider donating these items to your porters - they will be very much appreciated.
  • Do not leave obtaining your equipment until the last minute. With adequate planning it may be possible to borrow some items from friends (ie. daypack, water bottle) if you do not have them already.

Please contact us if you require any assistance. The following notes are a guideline for your selection.

What you should bring on trek

Trekking Boots

Remember it is your feet that will be doing all the work. We recommend a good quality boot with a hard lug-cleated sole. Boots should be sturdy enough to tackle rough terrain For this trek a light or mid weight leather or Goretex/Cordura style is an excellent choice. Make absolutely sure that they are well broken in before leaving home.

Sleeping Bag

These can be hired in Kathmandu for a couple of dollars per day. If you bring your own, please ensure it is at least a '2 season' bag, suitable for about 0 degrees.

Sleeping Sheet

Silk liners are warm and very comfortable - definitely recommended.

Lodge Footwear

A pair of Crocs, running shoes or sandels will be very useful for wearing around the lodge after the days trekking.

Socks

Gear shops sell various styles designed for trekking. Bring at least 3 to 4 pairs.

T-Shirts

For lower altitudes and on warm days a baggy cotton T-shirt or cotton shirt is a practical item. Highly recommended are synthetic T shirt styles that wick away moisture from the body. They are particular useful above 2500m when, even on warm days, you chill quickly when stopping for rests.

Thermal Underwear

Synthetic polypropylene long johns and long sleeved vests are essential for trips departing November through March. Highly recommended for other months. They also make ideal sleeping wear.

Fleece Shirts and Jackets

A combination of a lightweight/micro fleece top with a short neck zip and a midweight fleece with a full-length zip is the best combination. If you really feel the cold, down jackets (called 'puffer jackets' in some western countries) are great and can be hired in Kathmandu.

Shorts/Skirts

It is often warm at lower altitudes, and shorts are a good option. A loose fit and modest style. A practical alternative for women is a calf-length skirt.

Trousers

Lightweight, loose fitting, trekking trousers are found in all gear shops and suited to general travel and trekking at lower altitudes. At higher altitudes you should consider a pair of trousers made from windproof ‘Schoeller’ material.

Waterproof Jacket

Quality waterproof clothing is essential. A proofed nylon or Gore-Tex jacket with hood is required. Ensure that it is about mid-thigh length, with large pockets and has a full-length zip.

Waterproof Trousers

Not essential but useful. Wind pants with zippered legs ease putting on and taking off over boots. Those items made from Gore-Tex or proofed nylon are best. Over trousers suited to this trek can be bought cheaply in Kathmandu.

Ski Hat

Hats are available in a variety of materials from wool, wool/synthetic mix and fleece.

Sun Hat

It is important to protect the face, ears and neck, as sunburn can be a problem on trek. A wide-brimmed sunhat or a "foreign legion" style peak cap are recommended. Ordinary, baseball-style, peak caps provide no protection for the ears or neck but when used with a large cotton scarf make an ideal combination for wind, sun and dust protection.

Neck Scarf or Buff

A thin, cotton neck scarf serves the dual purpose of protecting the exposed neck from the sun, and when soaked in water, cools the warm walker.

Gloves and Mitts

A pair of lightweight thermal – wear gloves and a warmer pair of fleece gloves or mitts are recommended.

Day Pack

The daypack you select must have the capacity for the items you may be carrying on a day's walk: rain jacket, trousers, warm clothing, water bottle, camera equipment, washing items and other personal effects. A hip/waist strap provides additional comfort. You should consider daypacks of at least a 30 to 40 litre capacity. Protect items from the rain by wrapping them in plastic bags.

Water Bottle

For drinking water and for use as a hot water bottle at night!. The best available water bottles are the Sigg aluminium and the Nalgene brand names. We recommend you bring a one-litre capacity bottle.

Torch (Flashlight) or Headtorch

A small, robust torch, with a spare bulb is recommended. Bring spare batteries as they are not readily available while trekking and cold conditions reduce battery life. A headtorch is the best option as this will leave your hands free. Please do not dispose of batteries on trek, at the very least take them back to the joining city, and preferably take used batteries home for disposal.

Walking Sticks

A purpose-built walking stick or ski stocks are a very useful addition to your equipment list. They are particularly useful for assistance in going up and down hill.

Sun-Glasses

It is essential that you bring sun-glasses on all treks; a neck cord or strap will reduce the risk of losing them. Bear in mind that sun-glasses and goggles are easily damaged, so if they are not supplied with a protective case, it is important to obtain one.

Sun Protection

Block-out cream and lip salve are essential. You will be exposed to the sun and drying winds for long periods at a time. Direct rays are just part of the problem: reflected rays, especially off light-coloured terrain and snow can add to the effect very significantly. Sunburn can be one of the biggest problems on trek, particularly at high altitudes: use block-out on all exposed skin and Lip Eze regularly.

Plastic Bags

Pack your clothes, sleeping bag, down jacket, etc. in plastic bags inside your kitbag/day pack. Bring a good supply. Garden strength bin liners found in supermarkets suitable. Please take your plastic bags home after use.

Penknife

Can be useful for peeling fruit etc, Ones with small scissors and tweezers are best.

Medical Kit

We suggest you bring a small medical kit with you and include the following items. Please discuss with your doctor.

Antibiotics, Lip-balm, moisturiser, sunscreen, headache tablets, antiseptic (e.g. Betadine), anti-diarrhoea tablets (for changes in diet and water), laxatives, band-aids/moleskin/dressing strips for blisters, small scissors/tweezers. Note that moleskin is particularly good for blisters and can be obtained from any pharmacy.

It is also recommended to carry a letter from your doctor explaining any less common prescribed medications that you may be carrying.

Medical---prep

It is a good idea to take a small medical kit with you, and you should consider packing the following items:

Antibiotics, Lip-balm, moisturiser, sunscreen, headache tablets, antiseptic (e.g. Betadine), anti-diarrhoea tablets (for changes in diet and water), laxatives, band-aids/moleskin/dressing strips for blisters, small scissors/tweezers. Note that moleskin is particularly good for blisters and can be obtained from any pharmacy.

It is also recommended to carry a letter from your doctor explaining any less common prescribed medications that you may be carrying.

Diarrhoea

Stomach upsets are not uncommon when travelling through new destinations (usually a 24 - 48 hour 'bug') and this may cause diarrhoea, leading to dehydration. Should you develop a stomach upset you should eat only in moderation and drink plenty of fluids. It is a good idea to carry a couple of sachets of rehydrants with you (such as Gastrolite). We also suggest that you carry one of the common anti-diarrhoea tablets such as Imodium.

Sunstroke

It can be quite easy to get sun burnt when you are not accustomed to the sun in new climates. You should take sensible precautions such as wearing a hat and using a good UV sunscreen. Finally, drink plenty of fluids - preferably water.

Water

In general, water is not safe to drink in the areas through which we travel. Bottled Water is widely available and most travellers prefer to drink this. Your guide can assist you in regards to the relative safety of tap water and the availability of bottled water on each tour. When walking, or in hot conditions, you must make a conscious effort to maintain your hydration, drinking as much water/tea as possible to offset fluid loss.

money

Currency

Nepal

The currency unit of Nepal is the Nepalese rupee (N.R). This is a different currency to the stronger Indian rupee.

Exchange rates

Check out www.xe.com for current exchange rates.

Accessing Money

Nepal

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.

 

Personal Expenses

Himalaya

You will need to take money with you to cover those meals not included in the tour cost. You will also need to budget for bottled drinking water plus such things as tips, laundry, other drinks, souvenirs and other shopping, additional sightseeing tours and activities, and possible delays. In this regard, most of our trip notes contain information about the likely cost or some of the optional tours and activities that should be available at the places you will visit during your tour. It is much better to come with more than you would expect to spend and to end the trip with a surplus, rather than being caught short! It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies which could happen en route. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the source and reimbursement will be made later by your insurance company (providing your claim falls within the scope of your policy). This is the situation where having a credit card may be useful.

Spending Money

As a result of customer feedback, we recommend you allow a figure of between US$600 and US$650 for your food, drinks and snacks.   In addition you should carry sufficient funds for extra sightseeing and optional activities. On average people spend approximately US$40 on extra sightseeing. Shopping is a personal thing that, again, varies enormously. On average, people spend between US$50 to US$100 on jewellery and other souvenirs.

Airport Taxes

Nepal

There are a plethora of taxes which apply to air travel these days. Many are now added onto the cost of your airline ticket and are effectively paid by you at the time you purchase your flights. However, there still remain some which must be paid on the spot, mainly departure taxes. The situation with departure taxes is as follows: Nepal (International Departures) NRP 1680 (approx US$30) - incl. tourism levy Nepal (Regional Departures, including to India) NRP 770 Nepal domestic flights (Kathmandu/ Lukla etc) NRP 165 payable for each flight Please note that these prices and arrangements are subject to change, at little or even no notice!

Tipping

Although the culture of tipping may not be part of your own culture, it is nonetheless part of the culture in this area of the world and it is often the way some people supplement their earnings. Tipping has become an accepted part of tourism in Asia. On our trips your tour leader can advise you on this matter; however, as a guideline we would recommend a tip of 5-10% in restaurants. The bellboys at hotels will appreciate a small tip for carrying your bags. Taxi and rickshaw drivers do not expect a tip.

Although the culture of tipping may not be part of your own culture, it is nonetheless part of the culture in this area of the world and it is often the way some people supplement their earnings. Tipping has become an accepted part of tourism in Asia. On our trips your tour leader can advise you on this matter; however, as a guideline we would recommend a tip of 5-10% in restaurants. The bellboys at hotels will appreciate a small tip for carrying your bags. Taxi and rickshaw drivers do not expect a tip. If you are unhappy with a service, of course, you are under no obligation to leave a tip. However, if the service has been satisfactory, a tip is always appreciated....with a smile!

To protect you from the sometimes seemingly endless soliciting of tips, we suggest you discuss with your tour leader about setting up a tipping kitty whereby everybody contributes an equal amount (this amount can vary from trip to trip, but a good approximate is US$3 per person per day). Your tour leader can then distribute tips along the way (except restaurant tips) to local guides and hotel porters, etc. and keeps a record of all moneys spent.

While on trek, we suggest a group tip of US$4 per person per day for your trekking crew. At the end of the trek, your trek leader will collect and distribute the group tip to all members of the trekking crew including additional guides, cooks and porters. Please note that this group tip is not designed to provide a tip for your trek leader. At the same time if you have any items of clothing, pens, etc. that you do not wish to take home with you, some members of your trekking crew will be very happy to receive these things.

Your tour leader (or trek leader) works hard to ensure you have a great trip, so please don't hold back if you would like to reward them for their services. You can tip them individually or make a group presentation at the end of the tour. The suggested amount is US$3 per person per day.

While you are travelling

On arrival

Please refer to your itinerary for the joining hotel name and address. If you have not pre-booked an arrival transfer you will find taxis available on arrival at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport. Make sure you agree to the price before you set off into town. You can expect to pay between US$12 and US$15, depending on the time you arrive.

If you have booked an airport transfer with us, please meet your transfer guide in the arrivals area as you exit from the customs hall. Your transfer guide will be holding a Gecko’s sign.

There will be a pre-departure briefing with your tour leader early evening on Day 1. Please check the noticeboard in the foyer of the joining hotel for details of this meeting and for any other messages from your leader. Please also bring your passport and travel insurance documents to the briefing.

Hotel Check In / Check Out

Generally, your room will be available on Day 1 from around midday. Sometimes it may be available mid-morning but this is in no way guaranteed. If your flight is scheduled to arrive in the early morning you may have to wait until your room becomes available. Alternatively you can book one night's 'pre-tour accommodation' which will ensure that your room is ready whenever you arrive. Rooms must generally be vacated by 12 noon on your final day unless you have made prior arrangements with the hotel Reception. If you want to keep your room for longer you may have to pay an additional charge. Most hotels have a store-room should you wish to store your luggage after check-out.

Photo etiquette

Please ask first if you want to take someone's photograph. This is just a normal courtesy and if you are refused permission please abide by that person's wishes. At certain ancient sites, and in most museums, photography (video or still) may be forbidden, or may incur an extra charge for camera-use. Do not take photos of buildings, structures and personnel of potential military significance (including airports, bridges, and police stations).

Flexibility and patience

Travelling with us can provide you with some really rewarding travel experiences. Our tours visit countries where travel modes and lifestyles are often not as sophisticated as our own. There is also a laid-back attitude amongst workers and there will often seem to be huge amounts of red tape and bureaucracy when doing the simplest things. You will enjoy your trip much more if you slip into the rhythm of local life and are prepared to take things as they come.

A word on drugs

In most countries even the smallest quantity of an illegal substance is considered a very serious offence and can carry lengthy jail terms. Avoid any contact with illegal drugs. Don’t put yourself and others at risk and never carry bags or luggage for other people. Any person found to be carrying or using illegal drugs will be asked to leave the trip immediately without the right to any refund.

Local Prices

Nepal

The amount you spend largely depends on souvenir purchases. Your essential expenses are relatively small, as the majority of costs are included in the tour price. You will need money to cover departure taxes, meals not included in the itinerary, drinks, small purchases on the program such as sweets and chocolate. Please also allow for tipping of trekking, restaurant, and hotel staff, and for souvenirs, and for emergency funds in case of delays. It is better to come with more than you would expect to spend, and to end the trip with a surplus, rather than to be caught short. Kathmandu and other Gateway City Expenses You will need money to cover departure taxes, those meals not included in the itinerary (a good three-course meal, excluding drinks, will cost anything from $US8 to $US15), drinks, perhaps the occasional taxi or rickshaw fare, plus small purchases such as soft drinks, mineral water, sweets, beer, chocolate, and you should also allow for tips to restaurant and hotel staff, plus souvenirs, and emergency funds in case of unforeseen circumstances. Trekking Expenses On trek, all payments for drinks, chocolates, biscuits, souvenirs, showers on lodge trips, and tipping will need to be made in rupees - try to carry denomination notes of 5 to 500 rupees for this purpose. Your leader will advise on actual amounts to carry at the group briefing but do always take a little extra in case of emergencies. Most trekkers on camping treks will generally spend $US3 to $10 a day on extras such as sweets, biscuits, soft drinks and beer! In addition, on occasions, a local village may be keen to stage an evening concert for your group in return for a donation of 50 or 100 rupees per trekker for the local school. We also suggest you allow the equivalent of an extra $US3 per trekker per trekking day for tipping the trekking crew. Cash for Problems and Delays We suggest that you should have a special fund with additional amounts to deal with problems which occasionally occur - including delays in Everest flights (see also the section Flights in Nepal). We suggest that you carry US$100 to US$150 for this purpose.

other-important-information

Local Emergency Contacts In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency Gecko’s Nepal office please contact +977 14371 927 during business hours or after hours on +977 9851 082 775

 

Please note that the optional Single Supplement (if you want your own room) applies ONLY to hotels.  Single rooms are not available while on trek.

INTERNAL FLIGHTS: EU clients please see our safety page for important information regarding internal flights in Nepal.

Passport Photos - please bring at least two passport size photos with you as national park permit regulations are subject to change at any time. (This is in addition to the passport photo you will require if obtaining your visa on arrival in Nepal.)

A good quality sleeping bag and down jacket are required for this trip.

Lukla flights:

Occasionally flights to and from Lukla ('gateway' to the Everest area) are delayed due to bad weather.  To allow for this, or any other delays, an extra day or two (depending on the tour) is built into your trek.

Rarely, flights are cancelled for several days in a row.  It is important to stress that this is very unusual, but many of our trekkers book an extra night in Kathmandu at the end of their adventure to allow for any such eventualities.  There is plenty to do in Kathmandu so if you're not delayed, there are countles excursions to enjoy.

 

daily-itin

On Top of the World

Trip Length

Trip Code

19 days

GIEG

 

Countries Visited

Nepal

 

Start City

End City

Kathmandu

Kathmandu

 

Day 1: Kathmandu

Or2K cafe has zucchini pie, fresh mint lemonade, falafel, free wi-fi...we think this is going to be the start of a beautiful friendship. Pop on some clean socks because you can't wear your shoes inside.

  • Pre-departure meeting at the hotel and an optional group dinner in the evening

Day 2: Phakding

After a quick flight you'll get to meet your porters. Explore the village and check out the milky white waters of the Dudh Kosi River.

  • Fly parallel to the Himalayan giants en route to Lukla
  • Land on an airstrip built by Sir Edmund Hillary and the Sherpas in the mid 1960s
  • Explore the village of Lukla
  • Begin the trek and descend to the Dudh Kosi River, en route to a lodge in Phakding

(Walking time: approx 3 hours)

Day 3-4: Namche Bazaar

We’ll stay for here a few days to acclimatise, but you'll also get your first look at Everest - so it's not a bad place to stop. Rugs, clothing, salt and dried meat all do a roaring trade in the village centre. Dried goat meat, anyone?

Day 3

  • Set off on an 8 hour trek
  • Awesome views of Kusum Kanguru and Thamserku peaks
  • Cross a suspension bridge over the Dudh Kosi River 
  • See the peaks of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Taweche
  • Stay in a village lodge in Namche
  • Haggle for Tibetan artifacts in local shops

(Walking time: approx 8 hours)

Day 4

  • Stay at Namche to allow for acclimatisation 
  • Perhaps view the sunset and sunrise, and fantastic panoramas of Everest from the national park headquarters above the village
  • Optional walk up the Bhote Khola River Valley to Thami
  • See displays of Sherpa lifestyle and culture

Day 5: Mongla

We'll stop at Khumjung for lunch (dhal bhat, noodles etc), with views of birch forests, grassy slopes, rocky ridges and across to the village of Phortse.

  • Ascend to the airstrip at Shyanboche
  • Pass through beautiful birch forest
  • Enjoy magnificent mountain views
  • Spot Phortse across the valley
  • Overnight at the cluster of lodges on the saddle, known as Mongla

(Walking time: approx 4 hours)

Day 6-7: Dole - Machhermo

Acclimatisation is a jerk. Take it easy over the new three days and don't push yourself too hard. Also, a yeti was spotted here in 1974 so be on guard.

Day 6

  • Descend to the Dudh Kosi River
  • Enjoy excellent views of Kantega, Thamserku and Ama Dablam
  • Experience first sightings of Cho Oyo
  • Pass imposing waterfalls
  • Explore the upper Dole Valley
  • Spend the night in Dole

(Walking time: approx 4 hours)

Day 7

  • Ascend gradually to the Dudh Kosi Valley
  • Reach the lodge at Machhermo
  • Keep an eye out for the yeti - it killed 3 yaks and injured a Sherpa girl in 1974

(Walking time: approx 3 hours)

Day 8-9: Gokyo

You'll need a new word to describe the colour blue after seeing the Gokyo Lakes. At Gokyo Peak we'll come face to face with four 8000-metre giants: Everest, Cho Oyo, Lhotse and Makalu.

Day 8

  • Climb from the Machhermo Valley on to the steep grassy slopes of the Dudh Kosi Valley
  • Keep an eye open for Tibetan snow cocks
  • Pass through Pangka and on to the jumbled, terminal moraines of Ngozumpa Glacier - the largest glacier in Nepal
  • Follow the lateral moraines to the third lake at Gokyo
  • Reach the lodge, located close to the lake

(Walking time: approx 3.5 hours)

Day 9

  • Early ascent of Gokyo Peak, boasting the best panoramas in the Khumbu
  • View four 8000-metre peaks - Everest, Cho Oyo, Lhotse and Makalu
  • Spot countless other towering peaks including Gyachung Kang, Cholatse, Taweche and Kangchung.
  • Bird's eye view of the Gokyo lakes and the huge creaking Ngozumpa Glacier
  • Descend back to Gokyo for a late breakfast

(Walking time: approx 4 hours)

Day 10-11: Phortse - Dingboche

Not many groups stop in Phortse, a traditional Sherpa village. It’s our little secret. You're almost completely above the tree-line now so the sunsets are pretty Instagram-worthy.

Day 10

  • Continue the descent to Phortse Bridge
  • Keep an eye open for musk deer
  • Ascend to the peaceful village of Phortse, with dramatic mountain views

(Walking time: approx 5 hours)

Day 11

  • Set off on an exposed trail to the Imja Khola
  • Keep eyes peeled for Himalayan tahr
  • Enjoy lunch in Pangboche
  • Perhaps see the monastery that once housed a legendary yeti scalp
  • Pass the Orsho tea houses
  • Cross the Imja Khola and old glacial moraines to a lodge in Dingboche
  • View huge peaks towering above the eastern end of the valley

(Walking time: approx 6 hours)

Day 12-13: Kala Patar – Everest Base Camp

From Kala Patar you can see Pumori, Nuptse, Changtse, Ama Dablam, Taweche, Kantega and Mt Everest. Don’t be surprised if you get a little tear in your eye (um, we mean a bit of dirt). The trek to Base Camp can be done in about three hours. Not bad for a day's work.

Day 12

  • From Dingboche, ascend the small ridge behind the village above Pheriche Valley
  • View the peaks of Taweche and Cholatse in the west and Lobuje in the north
  • Reach a line of memorial cairns, built in memory of Sherpas and other climbers who have died on various Everest expeditions
  • Arrive at the lodge on Lobuje

(Walking time: approx 6 hours)

Day 13

  • Head off towards Everest Base Camp
  • Encounter yaks and porters supplying food and equipment to expeditions here (March - May)
  • See the notorious Everest Ice Fall

(Walking time: approx 3 hours to Gorak Shep, 5 hours round trip to Everest Base Camp)

Day 14-15: Pheriche - Namche

It's all downhill from here. Visit Thyangboche Monastery and toast what you've just seen over a cup of steaming hot chiyaa (Nepali tea).

Day 14

  • Hike surrounded by the mountains - Pumori, Nuptse, Changtse, Ama Dablam, Taweche, Kantega and Everest - they're all here
  • Experience sunrise views from Kala Patar - easily one of the most emotional moments of the trip

(Walking time: approx 8 hours)

Day 15

  • Great views of the Imja Valley, Ama Dablam and Kantega
  • Cross the suspension bridge over the Imja Khola River
  • Visit the Thyangboche Monastery
  • Spend the night in Namche Bazaar

(Walking time: approx 7 hours)

Day 16-17: Phakding - Lukla

Our last days of trekking. Cross a big, cliched suspension bridge over the Dudh Kosi River, then celebrate with your team in Lukla.

Day 16

  • Final chance to visit the shops in Namche Bazaar
  • Experience Great views of Kusum Kangaru

(Walking time: approx 4 hours)

Day 17

  • Arrive in Lukla and enjoy free time to celebrate with the group

Day 18-19: Kathmandu

You don't need to carbo load anymore. But surely another plate of pasta at Rumdoodle couldn't hurt?

Day 18

  • Flight back to Kathmandu

Day 19

  • The trip ends this morning, but there's plenty more to see in Kathmandu for those who wish to stay on

about-this-re-departure-inf

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!

give-us-your-feedback

Your feedback is important to us and to our tour guides and helps shape the quality of our trips. It tells us what we're doing right, what you believe could be done better and what improvements you feel could help future travellers choose and enjoy Imaginative Traveller.Just go to http://on.fb.me/16wYISa for our easy to fill out form. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

Last Updated

28th March 2014

Affordable Adventures

search

230 holidays

  • info If you're searching for a trip to fit in with a larger travel schedule, or simply have an exact idea of the city advanced search
    • Activities & Interests

need help & expert advice?
01728 862231


Sign-up for our newsletter

tailor-made adventure trips

Our tailor made adventure holidays will truly inspire and delight the senses and will live in your memory for ever.

more info


Last Minute Specials -  Up to 20% Off

Join us on one of our worldwide adventures coming up over the next few months – all guaranteed to depart, all at up to 20% off.

more info