Please check your visa requirement according to your nationality on the web site of your home country Nepalese embassy. Most members will need a visa to enter into Nepal. You can get it from a Nepalese embassy or directly at the airport. You can choose either duration of 15 days (30 USD), 30 days (50 USD), or 90 days (125 USD) payable in cash at the airport (other major currencies like Euros are accepted too). A passport size photograph is required for the visa application.
Visa Extension Fee
Tourist visa extension is done for a minimum of 15 days with USD 45 and USD 3 per day for additional days.In the case of delay less than 150 days additional USD 5 per day as of late fine.
The legal currency is Nepalese Rupees (Rs). You can convert currencies in many foreign exchange desks in Kathmandu or through cash dispensers (many of them in Thamel). During the trek, the only other place to have a cash dispenser is Namche Bazar. It is highly advisable to sort out cash issues in Kathmandu.
We can arrange for you to buy a cheap cell phone (around 25 USD) with a local sim card that would be much cheaper than the calls from your home country cell phone. International calls from a Nepalese number are cheap by western standards. You can also just buy a local sim card with an internet connection to replace your home sim card in your phone. However, there is limited 3G access in the Khumbu valley (Lukla, Namche Bazar, and Gorak Shep). During the trip, you can recharge your phone either by buying charging cards in village shops at extra cost or through us (we would buy the card from our office in Kathmandu and you will get the code to recharge your cell phone). The best is probably to buy enough recharge cards while you are in Kathmandu. In case of emergency and when your cell phone is not accessible, you can use the expedition satellite phone at cost.
In a Trek/Expedition, you are not going to shower every day… However, you can get a hot shower in a lodge (paying service) and at Base Camp (free of charge for the Members of our Expeditions). In between, cleaning tissues are probably the best solution. The use of hand disinfectant is recommended before any meal and after a visit to the toilets to avoid any bug which could lead to problems like gastric illnesses. At Base Camp, Members should wash their hands with a disinfectant soap before entering into the mess tents.
A medical and dental check-up is strongly recommended before coming to Nepal, particularly if you ever have health problems and/or if you are over 40 years old. In case of a problem occurring when you are in Kathmandu, there are several very good clinics with a high standard of care. On the trek, you have clinics with doctors in some villages (e.g. Namche Bazar, Pheriche). Our sherpas have a medical kit during the Trek/Expedition to assist our Members in case of injury or illness including a Gamow bag (hyperbaric chamber) /Medical Oxygen & Mask to treat cases of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).
During the trek
The trekking day starts from the early morning. Before breakfast, the member has to put his/her duffle bags outside the room in order for porters to pack the luggage for transportation to the next location on the trek. The day pack carried by the member should include 1 to 2 l of water, a Goretex jacket to have protection against wind and potential rain/snow as well as a light down jacket to stay warm against cold (and), especially during breaks and some snacks to avoid potential hypoglycaemia. A trek day usually lasts between 3 to 7 hours, sometimes with a lunch on the trail at mid-day. A Sherpa will lead the way and another Sherpa will walk with the last Member of the group. Walking slowly is a must during the trek to acclimatise well. At 4,000 m (13,100 ft), there is 40% less air than at sea level. The rule of thumb is to walk at a pace where you are not running out of breath. People in a group have a different pace for acclimatising. We understand that very well and that is why we would accommodate your pace. By the way, people leading the trek are not often the first ones at the summit of the mountain.
Buddhism in Nepal
On villages and trails, Buddhism signs are everywhere. Members of the expedition are kindly requested to respect the places and objects related to our religion. The most common signs of Buddhism that you will find are the following:
Prayer wheels – There are many prayer wheels in villages. Turning the wheel will accumulate wisdom, good karma, and will purify the bad karma). Inside the wheel, there is a paper roll with inscribed mantras. Please feel free to turn the wheels that you will see during the trek, slowly and clockwise, one to three full rotations.
Stupas – A stupa is a hemispherical monument used as a place of meditation. There are multiple stupas in the middle of the trail. The convention is to go around the stupa by the left. The same applies to rocks with mantras engraved in the middle of the trail.
Prayer flags – The prayer flag has a Tibetan origin. They can be found at the top of mountains and ridges as well as at the top of the highest parts of houses or poles. Prayers and mantras are printed on the material. The prayer flag has 5 colours with from left to right blue (sky), white (air and wind), red (fire), green (water) and yellow (earth). The belief is that the wind will disseminate goodwill and compassion all around the prayer flag. You can buy prayer flags in Kathmandu. A prayer flag should always be respected.
Life in lodges
Lodges offer accommodation and meals. They are all built on the same model: a large dining room adjacent to the kitchen and twin rooms. The room wall and floor are made most often of plywood. The bed is equipped with a mattress, sheet and blanket and electrical light (the switch is not always near the bed…). A paddle lock locks the room. Please do not forget to give back your room key when we leave in the morning! The comfort is basic but the rooms are clean. There is no heating in the rooms. Most people sleep in their Base Camp sleeping bag. Toilets are in the corridor (you have to bring your own toilet paper) as well as a basin with a mirror. Most lodges offer to pay services such as the Internet (slow and unreliable most of the time), charging batteries, hot shower and laundry. When the temperature is cold, the dining room is heated in the evening for dinner. Your Sherpas team will assist you in refilling your bottles with boiled water for the night and the day trek (no charge). You can add MicroPure tablets (or equivalent) for additional hygiene. For good acclimatisation, you should drink 3 to 4 l of water every day. During the night at the lodge, your water can freeze. To avoid this problem, you can put the bottle in your sleeping bag or use an isolating sleeve to prevent the water from freezing.
All your gear should be packed in two duffle bags not exceeding 30 kgs in total. A paddle lock is recommended to avoid an accidental opening of the zip during the transport by yak or by porters. Please beware that the bags will be heavily strapped during the transport and that can damage the contents of your bags. Also, yaks are not particularly cautious when transporting heavy charges. They can rub their backpack over tress and their teammates… All fragile items should be protected in order to avoid being damaged or take those items with you on your day-pack.
Photography / Filming
Trekking and the Expedition will offer you wonderful opportunities for amazing photos or videos. A big camera is definitely heavy to carry during the long trail and even more on the mountain. It is up to the Member to decide which camera(s) he wants to use. On the trail, if you want to take pictures or films of local people, please ask them first if they agree as a matter of respect.