- 19 days
About the challenge
Our route takes us via the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar through beautiful valleys, dense forests and across glacial rivers before we reach the renowned viewpoint of Kalapatar on the approach to Everest Base Camp. We also have time to explore the colourful and frenetic capital of Kathmandu. Nepal is a country in a league of its own with breathtakingly beautiful scenery, a fascinating culture and friendly people. Meeting the villagers whilst trekking through this landlocked gem of a nation is one the greatest pleasures on this challenge.
Dates & prices
|Departs||Days||Charity||Availability||Registration fee||Fundraising target||Payment option|
|08 Nov 2014||19||Open challenge||Limited||£399||+||£3700||Or||£1650||Contact office|
|21 Mar 2015||19||Open challenge||Spaces||£399||+||£3800||£1700||Book now|
|10 Oct 2015||19||Open challenge||Spaces||£399||+||£3800||£1700||Book now|
|07 Nov 2015||19||Open challenge||Spaces||£399||+||£3800||£1700||Book now|
|19 Mar 2016||19||Open challenge||Spaces||£399||+||£3950||£1750||Book now|
|08 Oct 2016||19||Open challenge||Spaces||£399||+||£3950||£1750||Book now|
|05 Nov 2016||19||Open challenge||Spaces||£399||+||£3950||£1750||Book now|
Day 1: Depart UK, fly to Kathmandu
Day 2: Kathmandu
Arrive Kathmandu, transfer to hotel in Thamel area. We have a half-day exploring the city and discovering the sights, sounds and smells! Kathmandu is a labyrinth of streets and markets, crowded with exotic produce and a mystifying blend of people. Visit the central Durbar Square, infused with a medieval atmosphere, overflowing with stupas and home to the Old Royal Palace. There is also the opportunity to hire/buy any last minute trekking equipment or haggle for your souvenirs at the many shops and stalls. Night hotel.
Day 3: Kathmandu
We take a tour around Kathmandu and take in some awe-inspiring sights, such as Bodhnath and Swayambhunath (more commonly known as the monkey-temple): Buddhist temples swathed in prayer-flags and incredibly photogenic! Temples and palaces, markets and sadhus, we will see as much as we can before returning to Thamel for our evening meal and final packing session. Night hotel.
Day 4: Kathmandu – Lukla – Phakding
Trek approx 3 hours
We take a stunning early morning flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, ‘Gateway to the Everest region,’ perched at 2840m above the Dudh Kosi or ‘River of Milk’ – so named because of the pale milky appearance of the glacier melt-water. We are now in the region of the legendary Sherpas and you will notice the difference in the faces of the people you meet here and those from the Kathmandu valley. After lunch we trek north down towards Phakding (2610m) along a meandering trail which is lined with mani stone walls, made with hundreds of stone tablets and giant carved boulders, brilliantly decorated with brightly-coloured paints. The Buddhists believe these to be sacred and so as a sign of respect to the local culture we pass them in a clockwise direction. Night teahouse.
Day 5: Phakding – Namche
Trek approx 5 – 7 hours
We head onwards and upwards as the trail starts to rise through a forest of rhododendron, magnolia and giant fir-trees. Our target this evening is Namche Bazaar (3440m), a delightful mountain village and the Sherpa ‘capital’, but first we must ascend Namche Hill; walking at a gentle but steady pace we finally arrive at the town that is itself an important meeting and trading point for the local people. Night teahouse.
Day 6: Acclimatisation Day
We take a day to rest in Namche; we can explore the markets (which sell everything a trekker could require here!) or happily laze around in the sun. It is important to note that acclimatisation is extremely important and that by using these acclimatisation days correctly we greatly improve our chances of reaching our goal of Kalapatar, which lies at an altitude of 5545m.
Days 7 – 9: Namche – Dingboche
Trek approx 3 – 6 hours daily
The trail turns northeast from Namche along a tributary valley and the mountain views start to open up, becoming more dramatic as the climb approaches the holy ground of Tyangboche, which is surrounded by a protected juniper forest. From here, on a ridge above the much-photographed gompa (monastery) is a mountain vista with few equals: Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, Kwangde and Kangtega all loom above us. When we reach the picturesque ‘summer village’ of Dingboche (4100m) it is time to take another acclimatisation day. Nights in teahouses.
Days 10 – 13: Dingboche – Kalapatar – Base Camp
Trek approx 4 – 8 hours daily
Leaving Dingboche, the trails ascend gently but still the pace is easy, it’s important not to rush in the rarefied atmosphere. We reach Lobuche (4910m), often reached by walking past frozen rivers where stone houses sit in an icy wilderness of stunning beauty. We are en route to our final destination, Everest Base Camp. Over the next two days we climb to the look-out point of Kalapatar (5545m), which fills us with a real sense of achievement as we stare in awe at the spectacular surroundings. We can then head for the renowned camp where many a climber has set off to climb the world’s highest mountain, before returning to Lobuche. Nights in teahouses.
Days 14 - 16: Lobuche – Tengboche – Lukla
Trek Approx 4 – 8 hours
We retrace the trail with comparative ease to Lukla, via Tengboche, home to Khumbu’s oldest gompa and yeti relics. Our bodies are acclimatised to the altitude and the further we descend the fitter we feel. Nights in teahouses.
Day 17: Lukla – Kathmandu
Fly from Lukla to Kathmandu, and spend the rest of the day sightseeing, exploring, shopping or just relaxing in Kathmandu’s numerous cafés and roof-top restaurants before spending the evening celebrating our achievements! Night hotel. (Dinner not included)
Day 18: Free Day in Kathmandu
Free time to explore Kathmandu before transferring to the airport for our flight back to the UK. (Lunch and Dinner not included)
Day 19: Arrive London
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
The cost includeds all accommodation as well as all flights and transfers; internal air tax; all meals except three as specified in the itinerary; any permits and entry fees to any regions and sites visited as part of the itinerary. Experienced Discover Adventure leaders and doctor (depending on final group size) are also included, along with a local support crew of local guides, porters and cooks.
It does not include personal travel insurance, airline fuel supplement if charged by the airline, (capped at £200 by Discover Adventure), entry visa, three meals as specified, tips for local crew, or international departure tax. It also does not include any entrance fees to any optional sites or attractions. Remember to allow extra for drinks, souvenirs and other personal expenses. You can buy drinks, snacks and personal items in the villages we trek through, but be warned that the further up the trail we are, the more expensive items become. Please note that costs may fluctuate and we have no control over any changes. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.
Accommodation comprises of thirteen nights in teahouses (simple but comfortable mountain lodges) and three nights in a hotel in Kathmandu. The hotel in Kathmandu is comfortable with private bathroom and hot water. The tea-houses are plain and simple and are run by individual families. The most common ‘best memory’ of a trip to Nepal is the warmth and hospitality of the local people and the evenings spent in the teahouses along the route. Please do not expect the same standards as you would in the UK!
All food is included except for three meals as detailed in itinerary. For much of the time we are trekking in a valley the local people hold sacred; no animal can be killed there for food. As such, we only have access to fresh meat at certain parts of the trek. The teahouses are safe and atmospheric places to stay in, but some have limited cooking facilities. This means that to cater for the group in a reasonable time-frame, your cook will choose relatively simple dishes. The food is full of energy and there is plenty of it, but please do not expect the variety you would have at home.
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we will be in rural areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally when we are in towns or cities and you are free to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit every budget.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are. Although our leaders are trained in expedition first-aid, they are accompanied by an expedition doctor or medic (dependent on group size), who is there to look after the well-being of the whole group and deal with any incidents. They help the leaders to ensure the trip runs smoothly and encourage you when things get tough. The number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but an average-sized group in Nepal would be led by two leaders and a doctor. At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Local Support Crew
Our local support crew is made up of local guides, drivers and cooks, and porters where appropriate. Your local guide knows the local area well, and is a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Drivers, cooks and porters do not always speak English but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely. Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! Your leader will give you an idea of appropriate guidelines. All our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the average wage in this country is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.
Your luggage and everything else we need on our trek is carried by porters and possibly yaks at times. Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft sailing bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should also bring a daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency satellite phones, extensive medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
Terrain is varied as the route lies through valleys, forest and high mountain passes; paths are generally very good. The trek is challenging mainly because of the altitude at which we are trekking – this should not be underestimated. The trip is designed so that there is plenty of time to acclimatise to the altitude but you may still feel effects such as headaches and shortness of breath when on the move. You may want to read about altitude and its effect on the body, it will help explain the need for rest days and a slow but steady pace. Because of the varied terrain and lack of accurate maps, it’s impossible to give accurate daily distances. It’s also much more useful when training to think about the hours you need to walk for and the terrain you’ll be trekking over! We are always happy to talk through the trip in more detail with you if you are worried about your fitness at any stage.
Clothing & Equipment
We are travelling through remote mountains where we could be exposed to bad weather at any time so be prepared for all weathers and temperatures. Weather conditions can change very quickly in the mountains. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
Nepal’s rainy season, or monsoon, is from mid-June to September, though there may still be intermittent rain in early October. Weather in spring and autumn is clear and dry. In the mountains temperature is influenced heavily by the altitude.
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
Passport & Visa
A valid ten-year passport is essential; it should be valid for at least six months after departure from Nepal. There are visa requirements for UK citizens; currently all visas are obtained at the airport upon entry in Kathmandu and will require US$40 in notes; we also recommend you have two passport-sized photos with you. Other nationalities should check entry requirements.
We insist that you have had a tetanus injection in the last ten years, and highly recommend protection against Polio, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. There is malaria in Nepal; you should not need prophylactics as it rarely occurs in elevations as high as Kathmandu, but it is always best to refer to your GP and travel clinic. You should always check with a GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.
For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow trekkers and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you! Our experienced tour leaders and local crew will help bridge the cultural gap; take advantage of their knowledge so you can come away with an understanding of a new culture as well as the achievement of completing a challenging trek.
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.
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