Nepal: An introduction
21st January, 2004
Total reviews: 24
At least 113
For many backpackers, Nepal is their Shangri-La. Where else can you have so many life-changing experiences on a budget of dollars per day?
Nepal is synonymous with the Himalayas, and the capital Kathmandu lies in a valley before the great mountains. As the peak of Everest is beyond the reach of the average human (it takes two weeks just to reach base camp), the most popular trek is the Annapurna Circuit (up to 18 days, departing from Pokhara) which offers spectacular scenery and experiences like drinking yak's milk tea with a Sherpa. If you're exercise-averse, try one of the mountain sightseeing flights from Kathmandu.
Of course, there's more to Nepal than mountains. Rhino sightings are practically guaranteed during elephant-back or walking safaris at Chitwan National Park, and if you're lucky you may spot a tiger. Nirvana can be found at the spectacular Tibetan stupas around Kathmandu or perhaps in the holy city of Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha.
Nepal may look small on the map, but once you see the condition of the roads you'll understand why time is a blessing. A week is just enough for a whirlwind tour of the three main sights -- Kathmandu, Chitwan and Pokhara without any extensive trekking. Domestic flights rarely cost more than US$100 and can save a lot of time (ex-Pokhara to Kathmandu, for instance, is more than eight hours by road, or a 30-minute flight).
In terms of bang for your buck, Nepal is hard to beat. By sleeping in simple guesthouses and eating dahl bhat (rice and veg curry) you can get by on $15 per day and the country's most spectacular experiences -- like waking up to a view of Mount Everest -- are free.
Just remember that Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, so don't kick up too much fuss when you're charged 20 rupees ($0.25) for a plate of momos (Tibetan dumplings) when a local pays 10.
#1 Posted: 1/2/2013 - 21:27
12th February, 2006
Total reviews: 47
I only had 9 days in Nepal, but it was enough to spend some leisurely days exploring Pokhara and the Kathmandu Valley. Between all the cool temples, mix of Nepali and Indian and Tibetan culture, affordable digs, dahl baht, tangy yak cheese, and ice cold big bottles of Tuborg, it was easily one of the best short trips I've ever made. I lived like a king on around $15 per day.
One particularly good highlight was the trip up to Nagarkot on the rim of Kathmandu Valley and waking up before dawn to watch sunrise over Everest. The UNESCO World Heritage city of Bhaktapur also stands out in my memory as particularly charming.
It's a long way to go from North America, but it was only a 3 to 4 hour flight from Bangkok, if you are in the area anyway...
#2 Posted: 1/2/2013 - 22:15
3rd February, 2013
just wondering, for someone who wants to do a base everest climb, is it better to book when you are there or plan in advance? also, how safe is it for solo female travellers?
#3 Posted: 4/2/2013 - 20:31
21st January, 2004
Total reviews: 24
At least 113
A friend of mine recently did Base Camp with her son and has written quite a bit about the experience.
More here: Everest Base camp FAQ
Hope that helps.
#4 Posted: 5/2/2013 - 20:22
15th October, 2012
There are endless agencies in Kathmandu offering treks to EBC. I did a 24 day walk there in 2011 which I did with a guide only. Get a porter, a guide is worthwhile if you do the Chola Pass into the Gokyo Valley which is more spectacular than the Khumbu Valley IMHO.
#5 Posted: 24/2/2013 - 04:36
13th November, 2009
Hi all after some general advice on the Annapurna Sanctuary trek which we are aiming to do mid March.
Have been quoted for a guide and porter and all accommodation but seems real pricey - do we really need one. We are used to UK mountain walking and would prefer to the trek on our own. Are the trails and maps easy enough to follow?
Any advice would be gratefully appreciated!
#6 Posted: 2/3/2013 - 08:33
15th October, 2012
Whilst I haven't done that particular walk, I'd be inclined to at least take a porter. The effects of altitude are debilitating to many and there's nothing worse than having a pack on when you can hardly breath. The trails will be full of people and unless you're doing a high pass, which I don't think is the case on that trek, you can do without a guide.
Not to take anything way from this website, but the following link is the definitive place to find trekking info for Nepal
#7 Posted: 5/3/2013 - 19:40
26th May, 2013
I'm planning to go to Kathmandu and Pokhara this mid January, has anyone been there at that month? I know its going to be cold, but will it still be safe and "comfortable cold"? And how's the visibility? Will I still be able to see the mountain peaks? Will the temples be open?
Also, which is better, get a packaged tour beforehand, or will I find good travel agencies offering cheap tours within Kathmandu and just shop around when I get there?
Please share your experiences and advice.
#8 Posted: 21/9/2013 - 08:45
17th May, 2013
I spent about a month in Nepal about 2 years ago. My husband and I did the Jiri walk-in/Gokyo lakes trek in everest region and also spent some time in Chitwan and pokhara. It was beautiful! We didn't hire a guide or porter, but I felt the going was pretty tough carrying my own bags especially once we hit altitude. Tough but manageable. I think going trekking, arranging things on your own upon arrival (if u have the time) is probably best. Doing a bit of research beforehand on where you wanna go and if you want a guide would be useful for negotiating a price. I can't say I would recommend going with a group.....from what i saw they were herded around like cattle and following the itinerary could be rough if you experienced any altitude sickness and needed an extra rest day. We went in high season and didn't feel it was too difficult to organize transportation, permits and the Chitwan tour on our own. If you want any more info/have more questions I'm happy to answer...even if my info is a bit dated. I could go on and on about how much I loved Nepal!
#9 Posted: 21/9/2013 - 09:52
27th February, 2014
Sharing my experience of trekking to theEverest Base Camp
It was in October of 2013 and we were planning for aholiday. It was my daughterâ€™s idea that we should go for a trekking to theEverest Base Camp. She and my wife were all excited as they like trekking and Iwas little worried as I am not of the same fitness level as theirs and I am 46years old. However, they managed to convince me and we decided to take thischallenge and go for it.
We wanted to go for the straight route from Lukla to EverestBase Camp and return. This is the most famous trekking route and considered tobe the best one. We searched and managed to get a very attractive deal for thepackage from Kathmandu to Kathmandu with porter â€“guide, all permits andaccommodation. It had cost us Indian Rupees.90, 000/- only for 3 adults (30keach).
We reached Kathmandu and our hotel was booked in the Thamelarea. We purchased some jackets, trekking poles and few other accessories. Theyare very economically priced over there and have more options to choose from.
Tomorrow our trekking expedition will start, for easierreading I will list them day wise.
Day 2- Kathmandu to Luklathen to Phakding
We took a 10 am flight to Lukla from Kathmandu. It is a veryshort journey of about 40 minutes. We were flying above mountain peaks and theviews were spectacular. The airport at Lukla is a tabletop one has small runway and which is why the small size flights fly in this area. One flightaccommodates about 16 passengers. We came out of the airport and met ourporter-guides. They were 2 of them and carried our luggage. We only kept our back-pack, water bottle andcameras, phones with us. Then we walked to Phakding, it took us 3 hours to reachover there. It was actually a very simple walk and was not difficult at all. Phakdingis at an altitude level of 2610 meters. There is a nice river flowing near thevillage. I am unable to recollect the name of the river. The area is full ofgreen mountains. We checked into a hotel at Phakding. It was a nice and smallhotel.
One can get good accommodation options in this regionthroughout the trekking route. They are small, will have a restaurant andmostly with common toilets, especially as you go higher in altitude. But thehygiene level that they maintain is remarkable and every person / guest whouses the washrooms is well mannered and the washrooms stay perfectly clean. Thereare some accommodations with all possible facility but they charge huge moneysand not worth it. One more thing, over here it is expected that you will eat atthe same hotel where you are staying. All hotels have the same verity of foodand they sell at the same price. I also found the taste of food was verysimilar. It is only fair that you have your food in the same hotel you stay asrunning this facility in one of worldâ€™s most remote areas is the only job theydo for a living. The price of food goes up as the altitude level goes up. Youwill have to pay for hot water bath and charging of mobile phones. We were using the natural stream waters andpurified them with chlorine tablets and water purifier drops. We had purchased those at Kathmandu. We didnot want to buy water bottles as they are expensive and also it does a bit ofhelp to the nature by not dumping the bottles over there.
Day 3 -Phakding toNamche Bazaar.
We started our trek early around 8 am. For the most part ofthis path, there was a river flowing down the mountain and the mountains hadthick green forests. We stopped at Monjo for rest and food. This is the lastplace where you can get food before Namche. From Monjo till Namche, the trackgoes amidst dense forest. We got a stiff incline in between Monjo and Namche,it was really a bit tough. I went slow, took my time and managed to do it. Ifyou are an overweight person like me then it is better to begin your trek earlyin the morning so you have the entire day with you to trek in your own speed. Justbefore Namche, we saw a glimpse of the Everest and Lhotse. We reached Namcheand checked into our hotel. It took me a little above than 6 hours to reachNamche. Namche is at an altitude level of 3440 meters. It is really nice placeand has everything to offer.
Day 4: Rest day atNamche Bazaar.
The day was a rest day. We had walked a bit to go themuseum. It is a nice place and saw a better view of Everest from here. We roamedaround the streets of Namche Bazaar. We went to a cafe and a restaurant. Thisday was completely for rest and acclimatization. It is very important toacclimatize in higher altitudes before you ascend further.
Day 5: Namche to Tengboche
Today, Idint have to hurry my wife and daughter to start early morning. By now, theyknow that I am slow and I really need time. We had an early breakfast and beganour trek a little before 8am. However, today I took less time to trek. Thetrail was an inclining one so it was a little tough. By now I am used to trek alittle better and managing it well. It took us 6 hours to reach Tengboche. It is at an altitude level of 3860 meters. Wewent to monastery over here, it was really beautiful and worth the visit. Wesaw Mt Everest, Lohtse and Amma Dabalam. The view of these high peaks of theworld was amazing.
Day 6: Tengboche toDingboche
This was also a similar route like yesterday, in fact thedistance is little longer than yesterday. It had taken us about 7 hours toreach Dingboche. We saw many high peaks on our way. We had crossed the Lobuche Riverand passed the famous Imja Valley. Dingboche is at an altitude level of 4360meters.
Day 7: Rest day atDingboche
It was a rest day for acclimatization. We took complete restand just stepped out to get some views. Some of the others guests in the hotelwent for some hike to see good views of the high peaks like Lhotse, Makalu andCho Yu. In fact there so many mountains and high peaks that are visible fromthe hotel.
Day 8: Dingboche toLobuche
This is the entry into glacier region. We saw many mountainslike Pumuri, Lohtse, Mahalangur and Khumbutse. It took almost 7 hours to reach Lobuche.All of these peaks are around the Mt.Everest but it is not possible to get aview of Everest from here. Lobuche is at an altitude level of 4940 meter.
Day 9: Lobuche toGorakhshep and Everest Base Camp.
This took us almost the same amount of time to reach basecamp but the excitement was high as we were going to the base camp today. Westarted at 7 am today and reached Gorakh shep a little before 11 and kept ourluggage in the hotel. We had little snacks and then trekked to Everest Base Camp.On our right were Mt.Everest and the Khumbu Glacier. It took us 2.5 hours to reach the Base Camp.We will descend to the right and come on to the Khumbu glacier, there after awalk of 200 meters and we reached the Base camp. It was crowded and there lotof Buddhist flags and flags of other countries. We spent about 30 minutes thereand took lot of photos. It was not possible to get complete view of the Everestpeak from base camp. We then returned to Gorakh shep to our Hotel. It took usthe same time to come back to Gorakhshep. While returning we got that signboard of everest camp and we had to literally wait for 10 mins for others totake photo and managed to take a photo with my family. The Base camp is at analtitude of 5364 meter and Gorakh shep is at 5170 meter.
Day 10: Gorakhshep toKalapathar and return to Lobuche
We left juts around 7am and hiked to Kala patthar. It is atan altitude of 5545 meter. It took about 3 hours to reach Kala patthar. Overhere, we got to see the Everest clearly. It offered us full view. We even sawmany mountain peaks from here. This was worth the hike. We then started our descend,we had to be careful of descend at Kala ptthar as it is little slope kind.After that it was all easy descend all the way to Lobuche. We reached in 5hours from Kala ptthar. From now on, things were easy till we reach Lukla. I amlisting the estimate of time and points covered for the remaining days of thetrek as it is the same route.
Day 11: Lobuche to Pangboche
It took us about 6 hours and we reached Pangboche, which isat an altitude level of 3930 meters.
Day 12: Pangboche to Namche
It took us 6 hours to reach Namche. I remember, we had onepatch which was a very moderate incline.
Day 13: Namche to Lukla
It took us 6 hours to reach Lukla. The hotel in Lukla wasnice.
Day 14:Lukla to Kathmandu
We got up a little late had breakfast and we then took theflight to Kathmandu at about 11am and landed at 11:45 and before 1pm we were athotel. We went to the Pashupatinath Temple, Darbar Sqaure and Evening we haddinner in Thamel at a restaurant. We did some shopping
Day 15: We checked out and took 12noon flight to Delhi fromKathmandu. It was a wonderful trip. Wewere together for 15 days amidst the nature. The experience of seeing naturefrom this close and spending such a wonderful time together with my family isreally amazing. Sharing the fear, anxiety and doing an activity with my lovedones was an experience of life time. We have gone on many vacations togetherall of it has given so many memories, but this one will remain as somethingreally special. In our busy life all of us hardly manage to spend so much timewith each other and getting that amidst the nature without any noise made itspecial. Above all, we all lost significant weight. I lost 8 KGs, now that is even more special.
#10 Posted: 27/2/2014 - 12:32
Trekking to Everest Basecamp was a life changing journey. I will return and do it all again and I would recommend anyone and everyone goes and treks through the Himalayas, even if just at lower altitudes.
If I could summarise a few key tips for the EBC trek:
1. Everything you need can be picked up in Kathmandu.
I turned up in KTM (Last week of September) with no hotel or trek booked. I had with me some basic clothes for wearing in Kathmandu, a pair of pants, my walking boots, my iPhone and a half filled 20ltr backpack.
the city lives and breathes on tourism, it's not hard to get what you need.
The taxi driver from the airport took me to an awesome and cheap hotel (Hotel Blue Horizon). PRO Tip: when the taxi driver asks you your hotel budget, go extremely low. I always say something stupid like $4 a night. Chances are they're going to take you to the same place regardless of your budget. I was paying $7 a night for my room, the guy next to me was paying $50. The room was awesome.
I spent a few days in Kathmandu exploring and found the company I wanted to book a trek through. The company organised everything - flights to Lukla (epic part of the experience), all my food, drinks and accommodation to EBC and back. They also rented me a sleeping bag and down jacket.
I bought some sunglasses, a wooly hat and a base layer in KTM.
2. Expect delays getting to Lukla Airport
I spent 8 days kicking around the hotel waiting to get on a flight to Lukla. For 5 of those days I spent 6-7 painstaking hours at Katmandu airport just in case our flight left. The planes cannot fly in bad (i.e cloudy) weather as they have no radar and it's too risky to land at Lukla as it is, without obscuring the runway with fog.
Why is it important to expect delays?
Firstly they are common. Apparently our 8 day delay was slightly out of the norm, but several-day-delays happen regularly.
If you've booked a 14 day holiday to Nepal and expect to spend 10 days trekking, a 2 day delay on either side of your trek will mean you miss your return flight back home.
This was true for a Malaysian dude staying at my hotel. He booked his return flights and the delay to Lukla left him taking a completely different tour. He had only a set amount of time off work and his return flight home was $xxx's of dollars to buy a one way, of which he couldn't afford. No basecamp for him.
3. Leave half of what you want to take at home
Somewhat a cliche travel/backpacking tip, but nonetheless the more I travel, the more I realise it's true.
I didn't have a porter. I carried my own bag. Half the clothing and gear I packed into my bag I didn't use. For the entirety of the trek I wore the same few layers of clothing. Oddly enough, though I was sweating, it must be too cold for the BO-causing-bacteria to thrive when you're up in the mountains. Even though my clothes would wet with sweat, my clothing didn't smell.
4. Wear your sunscreen
When you're up high and the air is thin, the UV from the sun is even more powerful. On Basecamp day I forgot to put my sunscreen on, I woke up with this swollen mess of a face the next day:
5. It's awesome, it's fun, but it's hard at times
If you're fat and unfit you'll find the Basecamp trek difficult. The amount of people I met en route that were struggling along was just stupid. there were so many people there who clearly should not have been there.
I found it very difficult in parts. But at the end of every day, it was WELL well worth it.
#11 Posted: 1/3/2014 - 00:00
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