Tour type: Small Group
Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 12
Accommodation: 3-star hotels & trekking lodges
Transport: A/C minibus & flight
Highlights: Kathmandu, Everest Base Camp trek, Sherpa village of Namche Bazaar, side walks from Dingboche, amazing views from Kallar Patar, friendly trekking lodges, trekking guide & porters
If getting close to the world’s highest mountain is on your travel wish list, then this Mount Everest tour in Nepal is perfect for you.
We run various treks in Nepal, but getting up close to Mount Everest is no easy feat. Plenty of preparation is required if you intend to take on the Everest base camp trek.
Even though we’re not heading to the Everest summit, the feeling of achievement is incredibly rewarding and worth it at the end though, not to mention the fantastic scenery and wondrous sights you will experience along the way.
Trekking in Nepal is on the list of many people's life goals and doing it with an organised group is the safest way to go about it.
This Mount Everest tour in Nepal starts in the capital of Kathmandu, where you will be met and taken to the first night's hotel with time to explore the historic and intriguing city before catching a flight to Lukla the next morning to begin the two week Everest base camp trek.
The trek to Base Camp is sensibly paced with a couple of acclimatisation days in Namche Bazaar and Dingboche to break it up and ensure everyone in the group is comfortable.
Each day involves climbing higher and taking in the wondrous views of the imposing Everest and snow-topped Himalayas, with evenings spent residing in friendly trekking lodges found along the way. We find that this makes trekking in Nepal a much more enjoyable and social experience than sleeping out in the cold under a tent.
After seven or eight days, depending on weather and other circumstances, a final push up the Khumbu Valley and we'll reach base camp, with the chance for an extra hike up to Kala Pattar for the best view of Mount Everest.
Then we descend back down through the mountains before flying back to Kathmandu.
You'll have a free day for visiting nearby towns such as Patan and Bhaktapur or exploring Kathmandu further, but it is worth adding an extra day or two to go rafting down the Bhote Koshi River or visit Nepal's magnificent national parks as well.
We greet you on your arrival in Kathmandu airport today and transfer you to your hotel in the Thamel tourist district of the city. Our rep will help you settle in and familiarise you with the local area.
Single room supplement (NPSGEB)
Extra day in Kathmandu - pre-tour
Your Everest tour in Nepal officially starts today. We catch the short early morning flight from Kathmandu to Lukla (2,800m) and start trekking to Phakding (2,652m). Descending out of Lukla the trail gently winds its way along the river and serves as an easy introduction to the harder days ahead. We overnight at Phakding at one of the many comfortable trekking lodges.
Trekking time: Approx. 2 1/2 hours
Phakding trekking lodge
The day starts gently as we make our way along the river to the entrance of the Sagamartha National Park, where we will obtain our trekking permits and register with the park authorities. Soon the trail starts to rise for a long climb up to Namche Bazaar (3,446m), where we stop for the night.
Trekking time: Approx. 5 hours
Namche Bazaar trekking lodge
Today is a free day in Namche Bazaar for acclimatisation - one of the most important things to do on any Everest tour in Nepal.
This colourful Sherpa town is a great place to spend time exploring. There are numerous shops and stalls selling everything from cut price trekking gear to Buddhist prayer flags. Its internet cafes, bakeries and cafes are also popular with the many visitors. Of course, if you're not too tired, there are plenty of interesting and scenic day walks you can do if wish. We overnight at a lodge in Namche Bazaar.
Namche Bazaar trekking lodge
Leaving Namche Bazaar behind our goal today is the village of Thengboche, which lies on top of the next ridge. This means we start the day with a long descent through Rhododendron forests down to the suspension bridge at Phunki Tenga (3,250m). Then we start the climb and it really is a strenuous climb, as now we have to fight against the altitude as well at the steepness of the trail. Eventually we crest the ridge and arrive at Thengboche (3,870m), from where, on a clear day, the views of Everest and Lhotse are magnificent. Thengboche is also the site of a large Buddhist monastery, which is certainly worth a visit. We overnight at a lodge in Thengboche.
Trekking time: Approx. 5 hours plus any side walks
Thengboche trekking lodge
Today's trekking takes us through beautiful Rhododendron forests as we follow the river up the Imja valley towards Dingboche. Along this stretch of the trail there is a good possibility of spotting the elusive musk deer, an endangered species indigenous to the area. Leaving the forests behind, we end the day with a steep climb up to Dingboche (4,410m). We overnight at a lodge in Dingboche.
Trekking time: Approx. 4 hours
Dingboche trekking lodge
We spend the day in Dingboche acclimatising to the high altitude. This beautiful Sherpa village is a patchwork of small fields enclosed by stonewalls and offers wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. If you don't feel like resting you can head up the valley towards Chukung for even better views. We overnight at a lodge in Dingboche.
Dingboche trekking lodge
Climbing up from Dingboche we follow the valley high up on one side until we reach Dughla (4,620m) and the entrance to the Khumbu valley. Heading up the Khumbu valley, a steep climb takes us over the Thokla Pass (4,830m) then we follow the edge of the glacial moraine onto Lobuche (4,910m). We overnight at a lodge in Lobuche.
Trekking time: Approx. 4 hours
Lobuche trekking lodge
As we continue along the Khumbu valley the unfolding mountain panoramas are quite simply breathtaking. Reaching the Lobuche Pass (5,110m) we continue onto Gorak Shep (5,140m), where we take a welcome break from the altitude before making our short but steep ascent of Kalar Pattar (5,550m). This view point is the perfect place to take in the full majesty of the surrounding mountains. We overnight at a lodge in Gorak Shep.
During this part of our Everest tour in Nepal, we keep our itinerary for today and tomorrow flexible, depending on the weather and how people are handling the altitude.
Trekking time: Approx. 2-3 hours plus 2-3 hours for Kalar Pattar
Gorak Shep trekking lodge
Today we continue up the edge of the Khumbu glacier until we finally reach Everest Base Camp (5,364m). If you're lucky and the timing is right you may see expeditions preparing to climb Mount Everest. After spending some time to enjoy the surroundings and the completion of our goal, we make our way back down to Lobuche. We overnight at a lodge in Lobuche.
Trekking time: Approx. 5-6 hours
Lobuche trekking lodge
Single room supplement (NPTMNB)
Having acclimatised well to the altitude and gained some extra fitness on the way up, the trekking feels much easier now as you descend back down the trail towards Lukla. The next three days are flexible and we'll stop at lodges en-route based on how far we feel comfortable walking each day. You'll make regular stops to look back at the high peaks you've come so close to, and the views in front of you and up the side valleys also look and feel very different in this direction.
Trekking time: Approx. 5-6 hours
Pheriche / Pangboche trekking lodge
We continue our descent today, arriving back into Namche Bazaar with its welcome shops, hot water and services. You can even access the internet again here and send messages to update friends and family back home on your progress.
Trekking time: Approx. 5-6 hours
Namche Bazaar trekking lodge
Our trek finishes today with the long walk back down from Namche Bazaar to Lukla. As a final treat, there's a steep climb up to Lukla to finish.
Trekking time: Approx. 8-9 hours
Lukla trekking lodge
This morning we catch the flight from Lukla back to Kathmandu, where we transfer you to your city centre hotel. The rest of the day is free. You can also arrange some tours with your local guide today for your free day tomorrow.
Today is kept as a free day, leaving you to enjoy Kathmandu at your leisure. There are many options available including visits to the nearby towns of Patan and Bhaktapur as well as the chance to go rafting on the Bhote Khosi River.
Note: This day is built into the itinerary in case of delays to the flight back from Lukla to Kathmandu, which do occur fairly frequently when the weather is cloudy or there are high winds.
We've reached the end of our Everest tour in Nepal. Your last day in Kathmandu is free for you to catch up on some last minute souvenir shopping and exploring before we transfer you to the airport for your flight home.
Everest Mountain Flight
Bardia National Park Extension
Trisuli white water rafting
Extra day in Kathmandu - post-tour
During busy periods, flights to Lukla may depart from Ramechhap instead of Kathmandu. This is a shorter flight, less prone to weather delays, but does require an early start and a 4-hour drive from Kathmandu to Ramechhap airport. We will advise you before departure if your flight will depart from Kathmandu or Ramechhap. If this is the case there will be an additional fee of US$50 per vehicle payable in Kathmandu for each journey.
This tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year, and we can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.
Apsara Boutique Hotel
Apsara Boutique Hotel is located in Kathmandu, 0.9 miles from Kathmandu Durbar Square. The hotel has a terrace and views of the mountains. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property.
Apsara Boutique Hotel is located in Kathmandu, 0.9 miles from Kathmandu Durbar Square. The hotel has a terrace and views of the mountains. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property.
Rooms have a flat-screen TV. Some rooms include a seating area to relax in after a busy day. A terrace or balcony are featured in certain rooms. The rooms have a private bathroom. For your comfort, you will find bath robes, slippers and free toiletries.
There is free shuttle service at the property.
Guests can enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant, followed by a drink at the bar. The property also offers room service and packed lunches.
The hotel also offers bike hire and car hire. Swayambhu is 1.3 miles from Apsara Boutique Hotel, while Pashupatinath is 2.2 miles from the property. The nearest airport is Tribhuvan Airport, 3.1 miles from the property.
Lodges & Teahouses
Trekking lodges & teahouses can range greatly, depending on the remoteness of the trek, from comfortable lodging with good facilities and amenities including WiFi and hot showers to much simpler accommodations.
For lodge-based treks, we use a variety of tLodges and Teahouses. In recent years many new lodges have sprung up and been improved and many offer quite good facilities and amenities including hot showers, WiFi and recharging points. However, in some areas the lodges can be run on a very simple basis where toilets and bucket showers are outside the main building. We can't promise that you will always have full amenities all the time, so you should understand this before embarking on these treks.
Staying in lodges gives you more comfort overnight than camping, and also allows you to meet up with and talk with other trekkers and guides at the end of the day. It also allows us to put more back into the local economies than if we were bringing everything with us.
Rooms in lodges are normally based on same sex sharing of twin rooms (though couples will be able to share). Some sheets & blankets are provided but a sleeping bag is still required. We provide the option to hire a sleeping bag in our trekking pack option, though you may still wish to bring your own inner sleeping bag liner or sleep sheet if you wish. Warm showers are available for a small fee at most lodges, though these may be bucket showers higher up. You may also need to pay a fee for WiFi access and for recharging devices.
Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination youre visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.
All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.
Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.
The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.
Please check the Single Room Supplement option for details on room sharing options and charges for solo travellers on this tour.
Hotels in Kathmandu
Breakfasts only are provided in the Kathmandu hotel. Kathmandu has a wealth of restaurants serving excellent food from all over the world, so you will never be short of ideas or places to eat within a short walk of the hotel.
Trekking with lodges
Breakfasts are included on the trek, based on breakfast items from the menu plus one drink. You may add to these if you wish, but a substantial and hearty breakfast is always provided. You will need to buy your own lunches and dinners and you’ll find that the lodges along the route provide a surprisingly good selection of food and drink. In places the menu may be limited but the food is always nourishing and wholesome. To protect the limited resources available in trekking areas (particularly with regard to fuel) we politely suggest that you either eat the same items as the guide / porters, or as the rest of your group, and that groups do not order too many different items from the menu. We suggest that you budget around US$250 to cover the cost of all the meals not included while on your trek.
Water & Drinks
It is very important that you drink lots of water and remain well hydrated during this, and any trek. We recommend you refrain from drinking much alcohol during the trek. This all helps your general wellbeing and helps prevent against the symptoms of altitude sickness. You can buy bottled water at most of the lodges along the route and tap water is also available but should be treated. Waste caused by using lots of plastic water bottles is a perenniel problem in the Himalayas and other trekking areas. We therefore recommend that you carry your own water bottle (or two) and refill it each day at the lodges you pass or from springs or streams your guide suggests are OK to use. Any water collected this way should be treated either with a water filter or with purification tablets. These are all available to buy in many trekking shops in Kathmandu if you don't want to bring them with you. You can also get cheap powdered flavourings to remove the taste of purification tablets.
We use private cars or minibuses for all the main transfers & journeys on this tour. An internal flight is used for the journeys between Kathmandu and Lukla. A variety of transport including jeeps, elephants & canoes is used if you visit Chitwan.
Note: The Kathmandu-Lukla flight is subject to delays due to bad weather. On the rare occasion that the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla be delayed by more than a day or two, an alternative trekking route will be offered, normally in the Annapurna region. We build a free day in Kathmandu into all our treks that fly back from Lukla to allow for possible delays or cancelled flights and strongly recommend that you aim for your international flights to leave in the afternoon/evening of the final day of the tour or to book flexible/changeable flights to protect against more extended delays.
This tour include a 24-hour airport arrival and departure transfer service at Kathmandu airport and all other transfers. There will be a collection of people waiting on the far side of an airport service road immediately in front of you. Please look out for an Encounters Travel signboard to find our representative. You will be pestered for tips by porters who try to carry your luggage. We suggest you either be firm and insist on carrying your own luggage, or if you want assistance, wait until you have met our representative and then let him arrange the porter for you. You will need to have some money ready for a small tip (eg. up to NRs 50 or a single US Dollar bill).
Your airport transfers are only included on the first and last day of the set tour itinerary, plus on any additional days if you book your hotel room with us. If you make your own arrangements for additional accommodation at either the beginning or the end of the tour then you will need to arrange your own airport transfers on these days.
We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to suggest flights to go with the tour. Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from.
Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour. Most of our Nepal tours start and finish at Kathmandu airport (KTM).
On tours that combine Nepal with Tibet, and/or Bhutan, the connecting flight(s) are generally not included in the price of your tour and will need to be purchased separately. Full details will be provided at the time of booking. If we arrange the flights then e-tickets will be sent to you in advance but will also be available in Kathmandu before you travel to the airport for the flight.
We do also sometimes advertise flight inclusive packages from selected airports. Where these are shown on our website, prices are correct at the time of quoting, but are subject to continued availability of the fare used. Prices will be reconfirmed at the time of booking, and we will also provide the flight times and airline details before tickets are issued.
Flight inclusive prices are based on the cheapest Economy ticket class available which is generally non-refundable and non-changeable unless the flight is cancelled for reasons such as Covid-19, in which case the airlines are more flexible. More flexible ticket options, as well as Premium Economy and Business Class tickets are available on request for an additional supplement. Any changes made to flight inclusive bookings will be subject to the airline rules on your ticket.
Please note that all Nepalese airlines operating domestic routes in the country are currently on the European Commission's list of airlines banned in the EU. This includes those running Everest viewing flights and flights to Lukla for the start of the Everest Base Camp trek.
Along with these Everest flights we may offer some other domestic flights on some of our tours, either as part of the itinerary or as an upgrade in place of a land transfer. Where this is the case we are careful to select airlines that have a good current reputation in Nepal.
We are committed to being a small group operator, as we feel this gives everyone in the group the best chance to get to know their fellow travellers and to hear and make the most of their guide. There’s no point in us providing great guides if you’ve got to peer over 30-40 shoulders to see them! We also don’t want you to feel like you’re walking up the mountains in a great long line of people. So, we set our Nepal trekking group departures to have a maximum of 12 travellers. On some dates we may run several groups alongside each other, but they will be kept independent with their own guides and porters. In these cases we may adjust the group make-up en-route based on the speed of different people’s walking. You should always be prepared to walk at the pace of the slowest member of the group. Fitness does not relate to the chance of getting altitude sickness and fast walkers may find they are among the slowest in the group at high altitude (and vice versa).
Fully trained English-speaking Nepalese trekking guides are provided on this tour and many of our travellers consider them a highlight of their tour. We also provide a fully trained English-speaking guide for any sightseeing tours. For groups of 1-6 travellers we provide one trekking guide plus porters, and for groups of 7 to 12, two guides are provided plus porters.
This is a supported trek, and we provide porters to carry your main bag. All you will need to carry is a small day-pack containing a water bottle/camera/snacks/clothes you may take on and off during the day. You can leave a bag with some of your luggage locked securely in the hotel in Kathmandu. We support and follow international guidelines for the employment of any trekking porters we use, including those of the IPPG (International Porter Protection Group). Generally we use one porter per 2 trekkers though this will vary slightly on occasion depending on the make up of the group.
At Encounters Travel we only use local Nepali guides and reps. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing.
All your entry fees and permits are included in the price of the tour to cover entry into the trekking conservation areas, and sites on any optional city tours added.
The trekking times given above are approximate, and will vary depending on your fitness, and also importantly, on the speed you want to walk. We will normally set off early in the morning, and have plenty of breaks during the day, before finishing trekking in mid-late afternoon. Some days will be longer than others, and your guide will let you know when there is a long day ahead.
Acclimatisation days are added into all our itineraries where required, and these cannot be missed out. You can however, slightly adjust the itinerary as you go along if you are struggling on a particular day, or you want to forge ahead. If travelling with a group, you should be prepared to walk at the speed of the slowest member.
We have graded this trek as: DIFFICULT:
“A serious trek, where we would expect you to have had previous trekking experience and to prepare in advance. You should be very confident of your trekking ability and be prepared to walk some long days perhaps on a steep climb (or descent). You may also have to walk difficult terrain or at high altitude for a number of days. This is definitely the kind of trek where you are more likely to experience extremes of altitude and/or weather.”
You will need to prepare in advance for this trek and we will provide you with a simple training guide. We will also ask you to complete a simple questionnaire about your fitness which will help us to advise you on how best to prepare.
Due to the nature of the trek we set a minimum age of 15 on our group departures on this tour. If you have a family with younger children then please contact us and we will be able to offer options to do the trek privately.
In theory one can trek up to Everest Base Camp all year round, if you come prepared. However, there are quite significant variations in the weather and walking conditions to consider.Winter - January-February
Spring - March-May
This is a great time to trek, with good weather, and the opportunity to see the mountain climbing expeditions at Base Camp. May tends to be the warmest month, but it can also be cloudy.
June to August - Monsoon season
The monsoon rains start around mid-June and continue through July and August. While it is certainly possible to trek during these months, we tend to avoid them because the trails particularly at lower elevations can get muddy and slippery and hiking through prolonged periods of heavy rain isn't that enjoyable. There is also a higher risk of landslides blocking the trails.
September - end of the Monsoon
The monsoon rains come to an end in September, and this can be a good month to trek. You should still expect some rain and snow, particularly in the afternoons. So, you need to come prepared with wet-weather clothing and walking boots rather than walking shoes, particularly early in the month. The trails are quieter than October & November and flights cheaper.
Peak season - October-December
October and November are peak season for trekking in Nepal, with good weather and mainly clear skies, though you will often still get some afternoon showers if the monsoon is running a bit late. This is the busiest time on the mountain and flights into Nepal also fill up and get expensive earlier. December is quieter but still a good month to travel, though it starts getting very cold as the month progresses.
The notes above are a rough guide and the weather does vary throughout the year. The monsoon rains can start earlier and also drag on into October, and cloud cover can be variable too. However, taking a balance of the numbers of people on the trails and the weather & visibility, our preferred months to trek are late September, October-November, March and April.
You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.
Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions. In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:
Nepal: Additional vaccinations: Diptheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Bhutan: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Malaria: Vaccinations are not available against Malaria, which is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that can be very serious and sometimes fatal. You should avoid mosquito bites by covering up bare skin with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers and applying insect repellents to exposed skin. When necessary, sleep under a mosquito net. Mosquitoes are most active during and after sunset. You should consult with your GP/medical practitioner/travel clinic about the most appropriate malaria prophylactic medication to take for the regions you are visiting. In general the lowland regions Bhutan are considered malarial zones, while higher altitudes including central Bhutan including Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Bumthang are not. Nepal is considered mainly low risk with prophylactics not normally required.
Yellow Fever: This disease is spread by infected mosquitoes that bite during the day. A Yellow Fever Certificate of vacinnation may be required as a condition of entry depending on which country you are arriving from, or that you have travelled or transitted through recently (including connecting flights with stopovers of over 12 hours). You can view this US CDC information about where the virus is present and follow the links to further information detailing which countries need you to have a Yellow Fever vaccination as part of their entry requirements. Please ensure you have this certificate with you and to hand if necessary. Please inform us of any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma and any prescription medicine you may be taking. We also need to know about any food allergies or physical disabilities that you may have.
Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.
Many nationals can obtain their Nepalese visa in Kathmandu airport upon arrival (including UK, EU, US, CA, AU, NZ, SA citizens). The costs for a single entry visa are currently:
- up to 15 days - US$ 25
- 16 to 30 days - US$ 40
- 31 to 90 days - US$ 100
An additional $20 fee is charged to convert these into a multiple entry visa which will be needed for any tours returning to Nepal after visiting Bhutan or Tibet.
The visa is obtained in the immigration area at the point where your passport is stamped. Forms to fill in are available in this immigration hall and may also be given out on your flight (if so, do fill them in before you land as it will reduce your queuing time). You will also need to fill in an arrivals card. Once your paperwork is completed, head to the immigration desk and hand over your forms, 2 passport photos, your visa fee and passport. The visa fees are set in US Dollars, but you can also pay in other currencies, but don't rely on getting given change.
Passport Photos: You will need two passport photos for your Nepal visa if you are obtaining it on arrival. If you are doing any trekking, rafting or visiting a National Park (i.e. on many of of our tours), you should bring extras, as some of the permits we may need to get require these. Please bring at least 4 passport photos with you - they will always come in useful later if you don't need them all.
The time in India and Sri Lanka is GMT plus 5 1/2 hours.
The time in Nepal is GMT plus 5 3/4 hours.
The time in Bhutan is GMT plus 6 hours.
The time in Tibet is GMT plus 8 hours.
Daylight saving adjustments are not applied.
The tour reaches an altitude of over 5000m and we therefore build in several acclimatisation days and plan the daily walking schedule to take account of the effects that spending time at high altitude can have on you. These acclimatisation days are compulsory; you may not miss them out and push on ahead even if you think you are feeling fine at the time or you want to shorten the tour.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) can develop at any altitude over 2000 meters. The early symptoms are headache, extreme fatigue, and loss of appetite. Some people become breathless at rest. AMS is the result of fluid accumulating in parts of the body where it does not belong: in the brain, in the lungs, or both. When mild symptoms develop, it is a signal that you must stay at that altitude or descend until symptoms have gone away. Never ascend with any symptoms of AMS!
Most people reaching altitudes above 3000m and certainly above 3500m will experience some breathlessness, mild headaches, and poor sleep patterns. Other common symptoms include lack of appetite, increased urination (though you should be drinking a lot so should expect this anyway), strange dreams, tightness in the chest and fatigue. However, few people get very severe symptoms or go on to develop acute altitude sickness (AMS) which requires medical treatment.
If you are male and/or unfit/unhealthy and/or older (60s, 70s, 80s) then you are more likely to be affected than if you are female and/or fit & healthy and/or younger. However, there is no hard and fast rule and there are plenty of exceptions to these generalisations.
To try and minimise the effects of altitude, we recommend that you:
People with serious heart disease should not visit high altitudes, and people with light heart troubles should check with their doctor and follow their advice , as should people with high or low blood pressure.
More severe symptoms that may require medical treatment or an early descent to a lower altitude include severe and persistent headaches, nausea & vomiting, disorientation and loss of co-ordination, irrational behaviour. If you do experience any of these, make sure you tell each other and your guide straight away.
Trekking and Altitude Sickness
If you are trekking with us then you should keep your guide informed at all times of any symptoms you may be developing, especially headaches and breathlessness while at rest. You may need to spend a night or two at the same altitude before continuing your trek. All our trekking tours have acclimatisation days built into the itinerary where necessary to help with this. Usually within one or two days you will feel well and can continue your trek. On private tours, your guide will adjust your itinerary to try and ensure the normal route can be achieved, though this may not always be possible. On group tours, the group may delay their ascent if the itinerary allows, or a porter or second guide may remain with you until the group descends and rejoins you, or you try and ascend to catch up later.
If you are resting at the same altitude and your symptoms are becoming worse, then it is necessary to descend. Worsening symptoms of AMS including increasing tiredness, severe headache, vomiting, and loss of coordination. These are signs of High Altitude Cerebral Edema (or HACE). HACE can lead to unconsciousness and death within 12 hours if progressive symptoms are ignored. Increasing shortness of breath, cough, and tiredness are signs of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema or HAPE. HAPE can also be rapidly fatal if ignored.
A person suffering from AMS may not have clear thinking and may have to be forced to descend. You accept that our guides have the final decision on whether you should descend and that ignoring their advice constitutes leaving the tour. Even if someone is willing to descent they should never be allowed to descend alone and one of our porters or a second guide will accompany you. Keep descending until the person shows some sign of improvement, usually after 300-500 meters of descent. Even if the diagnosis is not clear, but might be AMS, you should descend. You can always re-ascend when you feel better.
It is best to start descending while the person who is ill can still walk. In Nepal, if the person can no longer walk, a yak or horse might be obtained. Porters can often be found to carry a sick person down. Do not wait for a helicopter. If you choose to administer oxygen or medications do not delay the descent to watch for improvement.
In summary, if you are not doing well at altitude, most likely you have some mild symptoms of AMS. Rest at the same altitude until you feel well. If you are getting worse at the same altitude, descend to at least the last point at which you felt well. If you are not sure of the diagnosis, err on the side of being too cautious. Remember severe altitude sickness is entirely preventable if you follow these guidelines.
Costs for changing itineraries:
If you are not able to complete your trek or tour for any reason and choose to return back down early, then you may be liable to pay for extra accommodation and transport costs (see our booking conditions for full details). We try to be as flexible and helpful as possible in these cases, and will aim to arrange some lower altitude trekking or other tours during the time you would have spent at higher altitude. You must ensure that you have travel insurance that will cover you for any extra costs incurred due to symptoms or treatment or altitude sickness, and that your policy will cover you to the altitudes reached on your tour.
In Nepal, India and Sri Lanka, sockets are mainly two round pronged and 230 volts (Type C,D,M). In Bhutan a range of different sockets can be found, including two and three round pronged and three flat pronged (Type D,F,G).
Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don't have one already. Standard UK-European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are sometimes available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already but cannot be guaranteed.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.
Luggage: Whatever you're doing in Nepal, Tibet or Bhutan, you'll find that large rigid wheeled suitcases are cumbersome - you may be able to wheel them inside the airport and your hotel, but due to the condition of roads and pavements that's often about it. As many of our tours involve a degree of adventurous activity, we strongly advise you to bring a more practical bag for these i.e. a rucksack or holdall. These are easier for both your porters, and yourself to carry around. Suitcases are OK for our cultural tours in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan though, but please aim to bring small or medium sized ones rather than very large. If you are trekking or rafting, or doing a lot of travel throughout the country, then as little as possible is the basic message. A rucksack or holdall (50-70 liter approx.) for your main luggage, and a daypack for you to use during the day should be plenty. While rafting we only take essential kit on board the rafts, and your main luggage will travel by bus to the take-out point. While trekking your porters (Nepal) or ponies (Bhutan) will carry your main luggage, leaving you with just a daypack with things you'll need during the day. You can also leave some luggage locked safely in the pre-trek hotel if you wish. We recommend that couples plan to leave one main bag behind, and pool their remaining luggage in their other bag for the porter to carry.
Luggage limits: Most international airlines allow 20-23kg per person of hold luggage. Domestic flights often have smaller allowances around 15kg. As airline rules vary we recommend that you take no more than 20kg of luggage if your tour just includes international flights, and no more than 15kg if there are any domestic flights included in your itinerary. Please ask us for details if you are unsure. Any excess baggage fees will be your responsibility to cover. Most airlines allow between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage so we suggest that you take no more than 5kg unless you have confirmed that your airline(s) will allow more than this.
If you are trekking with us, we ask that you keep the weight of your main bag that the porter will carry to a maximum of 12.5kg. This then allows the porter to carry up to 2 bags, and a maximum of 25kg (the International Porter Protection group's advised limit for Nepal is 30kg, which then leaves a little more weight for their own kit). This weight allowance includes your sleeping bag if you are hiring it from us and not carrying it with you to Nepal
If you are doing an Everest trek and flying from Kathmandu to Lukla, then flight luggage limits are 10kg for your main bag and 5kg for hand luggage - total 15kg. You can re-arrange that after you arrive in Lukla. Please keep to these limits as while you can pay for extra weight, it may be held back until the next flight which may then be delayed or cancelled.
Treks in Bhutan follow the same weight limits for your ponies.
You may leave other luggage securely locked in your hotel during the trek. If you are travelling as a couple then we suggest you leave one main bag in Kathmandu and share the other main bag that the porter will then carry.
Clothing & Climate: Nepal and Bhutan have a climate that ranges widely depending on when you visit, and where you are visiting.
- Autumn - late Sep-Nov: The weather is good and very warm, with lots of sunshine, getting quite hot during the day in lowland regions. It will still be cold at night at higher altitudes if you are trekking. Shorts & T-shirts are fine while you are walking, but you should still bring warmer clothes for the evenings. There is a good chance of rain in September and early October, so bring a waterproof.
- Winter - Dec-Feb: It will be pleasant in lowland regions with very little rain, but will be cooler at night. Long trousers and shirts are advised during the day, and you will need warm clothes in the evenings. If you are trekking, then it will be cold during the day, and extremely cold at night, particularly at higher altitudes. Several warm layers are recommended so you can regulate your comfort as you walk, including a waterproof, even if only to protect from cold winds. We include thick down jackets in our optional trekking packs for comfort in the evenings at higher altitudes.
- Spring - Mar-May: The weather is very pleasant during the spring, and again shorts & t-shirts are fine while you are walking. There is a higher chance of rain as the season progresses, so a thin waterproof is recommended in case. It gets very hot and humid in the lowlands from May onwards.
- Monsoon - Jun-mid Sep: It will be hot and sticky during these months, with lots of rain, so come prepared accordingly if you are visiting during these months - gaiters are highly recommended if you are trekking to keep out leeches.
A huge variety of cheap trekking gear is available in Kathmandu (fleeces, waterproofs etc.) and buying some here can save you carrying it with you, and support the local economy. However, you should definitely bring your own walking boots.
Modesty rates highly in Nepal and Bhutan especially for women, so please ensure all clothes are loose fitting and not too revealing. You'll find the Bhutanese dress fairly smartly or in national dress, so you will stand out even more if you look scruffy.
On the raft: Shorts, Tevas (sandals) or trainers, baseball style cap to keep the sun off your face, sunglasses with a strap to keep them on your head, swimwear, sarong for women, sun-cream, lip balm, water bottle, several t-shirts.
Note: All footwear on a raft should be rubber soled, and of the type that will not come off easily.
Off the raft: Long trousers, warm sleeping bag (provided, but you may want to bring a sheet sleeping bag as well), petzel type head torch, warm jacket/fleece, dry shoes, boots, warm socks, towel, warm long sleeved shirt, toiletries.
Cameras: You can take cameras on the raft, and we endeavour to keep that sort of kit dry in waterproof bags. But there is always an element of risk of getting the camera wet.
What you shouldn't take on the raft: All the rest of your kit and you're your valuables. We will make arrangements for their transport to your take-out point.
Suggested Clothing and equipment: Strong hiking boots or walking shoes that you have broken in; Good sized rucksack or holdall; 3 to 4-season sleeping bag (only if you want to use your own rather than the one provided in our optional trekking pack); silk or cotton sleeping bag liner; lightweight waterproof and windproof jacket; (waterproof gaiters, waterproof over trousers - these are only necessary on some treks in some seasons - contact us for further info if required); 3 or 4 t-shirts; small day pack; several pairs of light socks; 2 pairs of heavier woollen socks; underwear including thermals; warm hat and gloves; swimwear; pair of lightweight trousers; pair of shorts; 1 fleece or warm jumper and 1 sweatshirt. Also, sunglasses, torch and batteries, toiletries (include a lighter to burn toilet paper), bring biodegradable shampoo & soap, towel, blister kit, money belt and any personal medication you might require. Remember, Lots of layers are the key to staying warm and comfortable. Also, keeping your feet comfortable and healthy makes a huge difference to how you enjoy your trek. So, bring waterproof boots/walking shoes and plenty of pairs of socks so you can change them regularly.
Day Packs and Main luggage: You will want a sturdy and comfortable daypack to carry your day-to-day items with you while you are walking (clothes you may change in and out of regularly, drinks, snacks, camera). You will also need a sturdy holdall or backpack for your main luggage. Your porters or ponies will carry this for you, so suitcases are not appropriate. They may leave earlier than you, and may not walk with you throughout the entire day, so bear in mind that you won't have access to this luggage all the time - you need to ensure you are carrying everything you require during the days walk in your daypack. You can leave luggage behind in storage at your hotel so you don't need to take everything with you on the trek.
Whilst in the game parks:
You should bring long trousers and long-sleeved shirts for jungle walks and travel within the park. Please ensure these are of drab colours to avoid drawing attention. Sunglasses and sun-hats are advisable for hot and bright days. Mosquito repellent is highly recommended. Binoculars are extremely useful at any of Nepal's National Parks, and are not generally available for hire locally. Don't forget fast film for those jungle shots and moving animals/birds. A good cleaning kit is essential as these items are unavailable once at the park. It is also better to take quality film, either from home or Kathmandu into the parks, and to ensure you have a spare fully charged battery and memory card.
All tours: We recommend that you bring a sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a basic first aid kit, toiletries, money belt, small torch, camera & charger.
We run regular small-group departures on this tour starting on a Sunday throughout the year. All departures are guaranteed to run with a minimum of 2 travellers. Departure dates and prices are listed on our website and in our brochures. Please check the website for the most up-to-date prices and any special offers available.
If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.
Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...
You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.
Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.
If your tour includes car hire, ior if you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.
If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.
IMPORTANT: We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour. If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.
Before purchasing any travel insurance, please check the coverage provided for situations related to Covid-19, and for the rules about government travel advice. Your normal policy may not be suitable. Details about our own policies cover levels are given on our website.
We are a UK registered company and are committed to providing our customers with financial protection to provide peace of mind and to allow you to book with confidence.
We have therefore partnered with Trust My Travel Ltd., which provides financial protection services to over 2000 partners around the world. Funds paid to us by our customers are protected via an Insurance policy held by Trust My Travel. Each traveller and the description of services sold is declared against Trust My Travel’s insurance policy directly against our financial failure. In the event of our insolvency, you will be refunded for any unfulfilled products and/or repatriation to the UK (where applicable). Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.
It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.
All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).
You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')
It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.
General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.
You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.
Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.
While an accepted part of the culture and customs in Nepal, tipping is always optional, and any amounts paid should reflect excellent service. Tipping in Tibet and Bhutan is less prevalent though it is still normal practice to tip your guide and driver at the end of the tour.
We support and follow international guidelines for the employment of any trekking porters we use, including those of the IPPG (International Porter Protection Group). We therefore pay all our porters a higher than average wage, but an additional tip is still normal practice at the end of your trek.
It is normal and accepted for people to tip differently, and you should not feel under any pressure to tip any particular amount. We are often asked for advice on common amounts however, and suggest that you consider around US$ 5-10 per person per day for guides, US$ 3-7 p/p/day for assistant guides or tour leaders, and US$ 2-5 p/p/day for porters and drivers.
Haggling or bargaining is also prevalent throughout Nepal and Tibet, particularly in Kathmandu, and is still done in markets in Bhutan though to a lesser extent in other shops. More often than not the start price is at least double the actual price the vendor will be happy to accept. Do not take offence, but be prepared to bargain if you want to, consider your budget (and what you'd be happy to pay for things at home), pay fairly and enjoy this as part of the experience. Note: if you do offer a price, then you are expected to purchase – do not start bargaining unless you really want to buy.
While you are out in rural/hill areas, we recommend that you should stick to published price lists and pay fair prices for local food, accommodation and services, as this aids local economies (bear in mind that when you are trekking, nearly everything you eat or buy will have been carried there by porters or donkeys).