Passports and Visas
EU, US and Canadian and other passport holders will need a visa to enter Nepal. This can be done on arrival though there can be lengthy queues. If you are applying for your visa on arrival you will need a passport sized photo and the visa fee in cash.
You can apply for your visa before leaving home at a Napali Embassy or consulate:
Your passport must have 6 months remaining validity or more at the time of entry and at least one blank visa page required for the entry visa.
The “tipping culture” is deeply entrenched in Nepal and tipping is expected by most people involved with the tourist industry. It is not mandatory but is an important source of income in Nepal.
Feedback from previous tours has led us to suggest an overall tips package for your journey where we would take care of tipping throughout which would include tips at restaurants where the meal is included, your driver, your local tour guide, porters & trek support team as well as hotel and support staff. We will include a suggested tipping amount in your pre tour email from your Tour Director.
It is essential that you have appropriate travel insurance for this trip. Travel and medical insurance must be arranged before departure. Check with your health care provider regarding the terms of your coverage (or lack of coverage) outside your country, including emergency medical evacuation. Inform them that you will be travelling to Nepal and you will be trekking at altitude. We recommend that all travelers purchase adequate trip cancellation/interruption, medical and baggage insurance—and carry the details of their coverage on tour. Please make sure you write down important information such as the insurance company’s telephone number and your policy number. Make sure your insurance includes helicopter rescue and evacuation.
The weather and visibility in Nepal in the autumn season (September, October & November) is perfect for trekking. The temperature is moderate during the day with cool mornings and evenings and cooler at altitude (We will mostly be at an altitude above 2500 meters so we must be prepared for cold weather.) Average temperatures range from 20°C (68 °F) during the day to below zero at night (32 °F and below). Typically in November you will have cold mornings and warmer days and afternoons. If you wear layers of clothing this will help you to stay warm during the cold hours and you can remove your layers as the temperature rises.
Nepal electricity is 220V/50 cycles; 120V appliances from the USA will need a transformer. Sockets usually take plugs with three round pins, sometimes the small variety, sometimes the large. Some sockets take plugs with two round pins. Local electrical shops sell cheap adapters. Blackouts (‘load shedding’) are a fact of life across Nepal, especially in Kathmandu. Power surges are also likely, so bring a voltage guard with spike suppressor (automatic cut-off switch) for your laptop. Note that power supplies to some rural areas may still be disrupted because of earthquake damage.
Nepal is famous as the world's only Hindu Kingdom. However, it is an intricate and beautiful tapestry formed by the interweaving of Hinduism, Buddhism and other beliefs. Religious tolerance and harmony such as is found in Nepal, is perhaps a unique example to the world.
Safety and Security
Use common sense and take basic safety precautions. Keep valuables locked away and don’t wear expensive watches or jewelry, flash expensive cameras, or walk in deserted areas. If in doubt, ask a guide or at your accommodation for safety guidelines.
Communications in Nepal
Telephone Service Nepal has one of the least developed telephone networks in the world but most hotels and towns do offer public telephones if you need to make a call.
Cell Phones Over the last few years the mobile/ cell phone network has improved considerably across Nepal. It is best to ask your mobile phone network provider about using your phone in Nepal.
Internet: Internet access is becoming more commonly available in Nepal but regular power cuts and infrastructure can make this difficult. Wi-Fi is available in some locations in Kathmandu. We will provide you with an emergency number so that friends and family can contact you if they need to whilst you are trekking.
Please don’t encourage begging by giving sweets or money to local people who may approach you on the street. Recognized charities often have collection boxes in hotels. We recommend that you make any donations here, where you can be assured that the funds will be properly used.
Pack Your Patience and good humour alongside your passport! Contrasts between the values and priorities of the international traveler and the local community are an interesting and illuminating part of the travel experience.
How to prepare
• The best preparation for trekking is… trekking! Getting out for hikes and short walks in your home country, even regular walks in the park if you can’t escape to the countryside much, are a good way to prepare.
• Getting used to your personal equipment, feeling that your backpack fits snugly; enjoying the re-assuring strength of a familiar pair of hiking boots; knowing what layers work best for you; what little extras to carry in your pockets… all this is invaluable.
• If you can manage some weekends away in your local national park, low hills, high mountains, anywhere where you'll be walking on rough paths and doing some good ups and downs … is good practice!
• Some fitness from running, swimming, the gym, yoga, spin classes etc is also a plus! A strong cardiovascular system is going to help you cope at altitude.
What to bring and wear
We have put together a list of clothing and equipment we recommend.
1. CLOTHING AND KIT
• We strongly recommend traveling light because of the mobile and challenging nature of the trip. Limit your luggage to one trek bag (provided) and one 25L + daypack (to carry on the trail and to keep with you on tour).
• Any extra luggage can be left at the hotel in Kathmandu (we recommend leaving a set of clean clothes at the hotel; always nice to come back to at the end of a trek!) For the flight to/from Lukla we are limited to 10kg hold luggage and 5kg hand luggage.
• Trek (duffel bag): Load this to enable your overnight and personal kit to be carried comfortably by the porters (15kg per person max). Transfer your kit to the duffel bag at the hotel before we set off and leave your travel suitcase etc. in the hotel's store with your spare / extra items in it.
2. SUGGESTED TREK / HIKING PACKING LIST
This list is provided as a simple guideline to help you plan your trip – it covers the basics and we realize you will probably have your own personal favorites to add to this.
• Pair of trekking boots with good ankle support and a VIBRAM or similar sole. TOP TIP: Wear your trekking boots on your flight to Nepal or in your hand luggage as its impossible to replace well worn-in trekking boots if your hold luggage goes missing.
• Base layers of a light, wicking material (Long & Short sleeve)
• Mid layer shirt or light fleece
• Mountain fleece / light primaloft or down jacket (often called a spring jacket)
• Waterproof jacket and trousers (lightweight)
• Trekking Socks (2-3 pairs)
• Three quarter length or full length trekking trousers (mid weight)
• Warm gloves and hat
• Good quality sunglasses (Factor 3)
• Sunblock and lip salve (Factor 50)
• Small first aid kit e.g. plasters, paracetamol, antiseptic wipes etc
• Wide necked, plastic water bottle e.g. Nalgene
• Clothes and shoes (trainers are ideal) to change into in the evenings and to wear around the village after trekking
• Flashlight, with spare batteries
• In addition it is useful to have a pair of training / approach or other comfortable shoes for walking round the city. Kathmandu's streets are very uneven and can be a challenge to walk on in work / city shoes, especially with heels!
A TYPICAL DAY ON THE TRAIL
Wake up to a hot drink brought to your room by our lovely Sherpa team. Pack your bags and get ready for the day then potter down to a leisurely breakfast. The porters will arrive as you are breakfasting to carry your trek bag up to our next overnight stop. We’ll walk for an hour or so before taking a break and of course there are lots of wonderful views, people and interesting things and photo opportunity stops along the way too. Typically we won't walk for more than 4-5 hours a day. We usually take a lunch along the route then continue on the trail to reach our next lodge so you have time enough to relax for a while. In Namche the masseur is on hand for appointments: you may like to book in for a treatment. Or you might feel like exploring the local village and hills maybe with your guide or maybe by yourself. We re-group again for drinks around the fire. We finish the day with a three course meal – local style or Western there’s plenty of variety and lots of taste! We tend to drift off to bed fairly early although a quick peak outside at the night sky, particularly higher up where the heavens are really ablaze with stars, can be a late night treat before sleep.
STAYING IN THE BEST OF HEALTH ON TRAIL
The things that we need to be vigilant about on trail in the high mountains are: exposure to the weather (effects of sun; hypothermia); gastric upsets; coughs and colds; blisters and sores and managing the adjustment to higher altitudes.
Our advice is simple: prevention is better than cure!
Here are some tips to stay well and healthy:
1. KEEP HYDRATED. DRINK PLENTY OF SAFE WATER
In the very dry air of the mountains you are losing moisture every time you breathe out as well as through your skin, much more than you would normally. Even whilst sleeping we are dehydrating. When dehydrated we feel weary and lethargic and critically we are stopping our bodies being able to adjust and acclimatize. Get hydrated, feel energized and acclimatize better and faster.
How do you know when you’re hydrated? It is not what goes in, it is what comes out. At altitude you’ll be urinating more frequently anyway (it’s a side effect of acclimatization) so you should be urinating regularly, and urine should be clear or pale. If you haven’t urinated for a couple of hours or more… you’re on the way to dehydration.
2. CLEAN HANDS!
The most common way to get bugs (bacteria, protozoa) into your system is on your hands – picking up food, touching your face, unwrapping food with dirty hands can lead to stomach upsets. Use a hand sanitizer and / or soap and water. Clean your hands immediately before eating (not when looking at menus or chatting pre meal). Don’t use towels in public washrooms. Try to avoid touching your face. And always clean hands after using the toilet.
3. WEAR A BUFF / SCARF OVER YOUR MOUTH ON HIGH TRAILS
This traps moisture and helps reduce the dryness of air you breathe in. It also keeps the dust out! Protecting your airways will reduce the likelihood of coughs and colds, particularly the dreaded Khumbu Cough. Use cough sweets or sugar free gum to keep your throat moist
4. SUNBLOCK EVERYWHERE!
The sun is particularly strong at altitude and the UVA and UVB rays will penetrate much more viciously in the thin air. Wear a good sunblock, particularly on lips. Keep covered up. Watch out for friends getting red and sore – let them know.
5. WEAR A HAT
For the same reasons as above, a sun hat is essential in the high hills.
6. STOP AND SORT IT OUT: SOCKS RUBBING A BIT
Stop and prevent that blister forming; getting a little chilly – stop and put more clothes on before you get too cold. A problem on trail will stay with you for the trek. Notice it and stop it happening.
TRIP GRADING: WHO IS THIS TRIP SUITABLE FOR?
• It is designed for those who are seeking an adventure and those who want to get a taste of the high mountain experience and to be amongst the Sherpa community.
• This is a Moderate trek: most trek days are 4-5 hours long with only a couple being a little longer; altitude gain is usually around 300-500m /day and the paths and tracks are generally wide and well-marked.
• We ask that you have a reasonable level of fitness, but you do not need to be an experienced trekker to enjoy this trip. But some trekking experience would enhance your overall experience on this adventure. Your trek guide will ensure we have a comfortable pace on the trail and you will have Sherpa support every step of the way. If you’re comfortable going on day walks in hills in your home country or maybe you swim, cycle or take a class a couple of times a week you should find this trek well within your abilities.
• Having a hot shower and many other creature comforts to look forward to makes each day’s trekking even more of a joy!
ABOUT YETI MOUNTAIN HOMES
Yeti Mountain Homes are a group of luxury lodges situated in the Khumbu / Everest region of Nepal. They are owned by a local families offering the full warmth of a traditional Sherpa welcome with the comfort of the best boutique hotels: clean linen sheets, en-suites with hot showers, cozy lounges with log fires and well-stocked bars; local and international cuisine from our talented chefs. Yeti Mountain Home lodges offer a higher-class, high mountain experience.
Have fun and enjoy this wonderful adventure!
Travelling with CPAP or other Medical Machines
Inform The Big Journey Company that you are travelling with such a device as early as possible and well before you travel. It may not be possible to accommodate such machines on a trek such as this. Also,
-Check that you have the correct electrical and voltage adapters for the country and accommodation you are visiting;
-Check with your airline that they allow your device to be carried as additional hand luggage and ensure that your device is easily accessible and properly labelled as medical machinery;
-Always carry a letter from your medical practitioner prescribing its use for you;
-Ensure you have details of your machine separately in case of the need to secure repairs/replacements whilst you are travelling;
-Check with your medical practitioner about the use of tap or bottled water in the event that distilled water cannot be sourced in the country you are travelling to.
Please note, if you require distilled or ionised water, you must inform The Big Journey Company of this at least two weeks ahead of travel so we are able to make preparations with our ground agents. There will be an additional charge for this.