EBC Pre-Departure INFO
We’re almost there. Just 6 days to go until our September 2017 Everest Base Camp Trek gets underway. Mohan our group leader is leaving a week in advance for final preparations in Kathmandu. Months of training and hard work will soon be paying off for the 12 lucky participants in Namaste Nomad’s September 2017 Everest Base Camp Trek. Excitement is in the air!! Altho there were 11 cancelation this year surprisingly but still we manage to have 12 adventurer people in the group.
But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves just yet. We still need to remember the boring practical stuff so we’re well prepared for any surprises. Here is the real deal list of final information and checklist of everything one needs to know in advance of an Everest Base Camp Trek with Namaste Nomad.
If you’re interested in joining our next Everest Base Camp Trek click here for full info and itinerary.
While we do our best to adhere to the original awesome itinerary, some changes may occur due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time for the same reasons.
For the trek on this trip the general rule is you will need to be 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.
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.
ACCOMMODATION: Hotel (4nt), Teahouse (12nt)
Accommodation at local lodges – Teahouses- are simple but comfortable. Toilets and washing facilities are shared and rudimentary, and the food is plain and filling. In a teahouse, you are provided with small twin share rooms with twin beds, mattresses and pillows. In the more remote regions (higher up), teahouses may not have running water and toilets can mean just a hole in the ground. Hot shower facilities are available in teahouses until Namche, about half way up. After that, a hot shower can mean a bucket of hot water and there is an additional charge for this.
We include all meals on treks and two evening meals in Kathmandu. All breakfasts in Kathmandu also. On trekking we give 3 meal options daily to choose from. The menus in the teahouses are varied, ranging from traditional Nepalese dhal bhat to pizza and apple pie.
Generally you can eat very cheaply in Nepal. There is a great choice of restaurants and street stalls serving traditional and local food. In bigger restaurants in areas frequented by more tourists there is a choice between Nepalese, Indian, Chinese and Western style food. Nepal caters very well towards vegetarians and vegans with almost all restaurants having a veg section of the menu. If in doubt please check with us first.
FOOD SAFETY TIPS:
- Stick to restaurants and street stalls busy with locals
- Wash your hands before eating (most restaurants will have a hand basin or bathroom) or use a sanitising hand gel
- Give yourself a few days to get used to local food, especially spicy food.
- If in doubt, stick to the veg meal
- Avoid salads and peel fruit to avoid eating skin that may be washed in local water
- Steer clear of ice unless in higher end restaurants
- Drink more chai, eat more mo-mo’s 🙂
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.
The official currency of Nepal is the Nepali Rupee (NPR). ATMs can only be found in Kathmandu (there are no ATMS on the trek). Money exchange facilities are available in Kathmandu and you get better rates at the hotels than the airport. 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.
When it comes to spending money on the trip, everyone is different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities, laundry and tips. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need. Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier.
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. 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 and porters. 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.
Please also make sure you have access to an additional €500, to be used if unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please contact us for further information on this if you need it.
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.
Those departing from Dublin: 5pm Terminal 1, Etihad Airlines Counter Check in. Please wait here for the rest of your group to check in together. Those who have Namaste Nomad T-shirt, please wear. Those who don’t have one look for those with green Namaste Nomad t-shirt. Mohan himself will be helping co-ordinate everyone until entire the trip. 6 hours waiting period in Abu-Dabi. Lead sherpa Dawa will be at Kathmandu airport to receive the group. We will be staying at Moonlight Hotel Thamel.
All foreign nationals (except Indians) require a visa to enter Nepal. Visas are obtainable from the Airport on arrival and at some land borders (including borders with India and Tibet). Getting a visa at the airport can sometimes take time due to queues. You will also need to provide two passport photos and the following fees in US dollars cash – Multi entry visa valid for 30 days – US$40. Please also bring your completed Visa form as forwarded to you by Mohan.
PACKING, PACK WEIGHT, DAY PACK & PORTERS
Please bring a duffel bag to carry your trekking gear. The weight limit per person is 10kg each. Porters are legally limited to carrying 20kg max on trek. Please keep the weight and bulk of your trek bag to a minimum by bringing clothes made from lightweight material. Don’t pack too much clothing; one or two changes will be all you need. However, as the weather conditions in the Himalayas are often unpredictable, be prepared for all eventualities, be it rain, unseasonable cold or heat. For the trek all of your gear should be packed into plastic bags to protect it from the weather – dry clothes are essential for your comfort. A medium size, comfortable day-pack is required for you to carry personal personal items such as camera, water bottle, valuables, sunscreen, hat etc…You only need to carry your day pack.
- Trekking Boots (broken in)
- Gaiters (optional)
- Waterproof 3/4 season jacket and trousers (can be hired/purchased in Kathmandu)
- Camp Footwear (ie sneakers or booties)
- Several pairs of good quality socks
- T-Shirts – Highly recommended are synthetic T shirt styles that wick away moisture
- Thermal Underwear / layers
- Down jacket (can be hired/purchased in Kathmandu)
- Warm mid layers (fleece/micro fibre)
- Trousers – Lightweight, loose fitting, trekking trousers.
- shorts or skirt for warmer weather (not too short, respecting Nepali culture)
- Tracksuit or fleece pants for evenings.
- sleeveless fleece and extra layers for winter departures
- Warm Hat and sun Hat
- Scarf/neck warmer
- Gloves and Mitts – waterproof and warm.
- Sunglasses with UV protection
- Head Torch (spare batteries)
- Sunscreen and Lip Balm
- Light weight towel
- Personal First Aid Kit
- Biodegradable wet wipes / toilet paper
- Hand sanitiser gel
- Trail mix / nuts/ muesli bars
- Hot water bottle
DAYPACK: 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 day packs of at least a 30 to 40 litre capacity.
SLEEPING BAG & INNER SHEET
A good quality, warm sleeping bag is essential while trekking as only blankets are provided at tea houses. Please note that sleeping bags, are readily available to buy or hire in both Kathmandu at very reasonable rates.
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 chemists.
- 2% tincture of iodine, available from chemists / pharmacies, used at 4 drops per litre of water and left for at least 20 minutes – longer in very cold weather.
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.
EXTREME WEATHER AND AIRPORT CLOSURES:
Weather conditions in the Himalayas can change rapidly and our group leader may be forced to change the trip itinerary accordingly. Flights to and from Lukla can be prone to travel delays.
COMMUNICATIONS & WIFI
Hotels in Kathmandu generally have excellent wi-fi connections. Most hotels offer free wi-fi in public areas, with some also offering in room wi-fi. While trekking wi-fi may be available in tea houses and lodges and is usually chargeable for a small fee. The higher you go the more the use of wi-fi and internet. Your tour leader will offer you the best advice on communications in remote areas of the country
All Namaste Nomad 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, Namaste Nomad 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.
WARNING – HIGH ALTITUDE TRIPS (sleeping over 3500m):
This trip includes one or more overnight stays over 3500 metres/11500ft, where there is a genuine risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). If left untreated AMS can be life-threatening. We would expect the majority of a group to notice the effects of being at high altitude, and while most will only feel discomfort, it is not uncommon for a small number of people to need extra care which will be provided by our leaders and local staff. All our trips that spend time at High Altitude follow our standard altitude safety measures.
A number of medical conditions or medications can also reduce your body’s ability to acclimatise, and thus will affect your performance at altitude and make you more susceptible to AMS. If you are worried about any pre-existing condition (e.g. heart problems), or unsure of your physical ability, you must seek medical advice prior to booking. You may also wish to discuss medication such as Diamox that may help aid acclimatisation. Please note that while we endeavour to assist all our clients in achieving their goals, there may be times your leader makes the decision to either delay or stop your ascent based on your medical conditions and AMS symptoms.
On some days this trip may ascend faster than commonly published recommended ascent rates at altitude. However, based upon an assessment by our external safety and medical advisors, and in conjunction with our own risk assessments we consider that the ascent rate is acceptable due to the additional safety measures that are in place for our customers. If you have concerns about this, please talk to us.
HEALTH – NEPAL:
Medical treatment is expensive at western travellers’ clinics in Nepal. Healthcare is poor in most places outside the Kathmandu Valley. It may be difficult to get rapid helicopter evacuation if you fall ill or suffer a serious accident in a remote area of the country. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad, repatriation and evacuation by helicopter.
There have been some cases of avian influenza (bird flu) among birds and poultry in parts of the country. The risk to humans is believed to be very low, but as a precaution you should avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with birds, and make sure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.
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. 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.
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.
LOCAL DRESS – NEPAL:
Women should avoid wearing short shorts and sleeveless tops in public places where this might be seen as inappropriate. Remove shoes before entering certain holy places. Non-Hindus are not permitted in some temples.
Since Namaste Nomad began operation 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 have partnered with the West Nepal Development Trust – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in Nepal in an effective and meaningful way. You will be given the opportunity to donate any amount for flood victims Nepal this yes there was very worst flood hit the south part of Nepal and left many homeless and killed more the 100 people., to learn more about the work they are doing, and for information on how you can help, if that’s something you would like to do let us know.
ENJOY: Last but not least, enjoy!