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Your flights to Lukla from Kathmandu may be diverted to Ramechhap Airport. Here’s Why!

Your flights to Lukla from Kathmandu may be diverted to Ramechhap Airport. Here’s Why!

Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Everything you need to know about your trek to Annapurna Base Camp

When to go:

The two most popular trekking seasons in Nepal are before and after the monsoon season in Nepal. The monsoonal months of Nepal are June, July and August. It will rain during your trek during these months, but it is still possible to trek to Annapurna Base Camp. The months before the monsoon February, March and April are peak trekking months as are the month after the monsoon which are October and November. Most of our group treks occur during the months of April and October and this is due to optimal weather conditions.
We want our clients to have the best possible experience during their Annapurna Base Camp trek and for this reason we want to outline the pros and cons of trekking during certain months. January marks the start of the year, and this is traditionally off season in Nepal, however this is for many the best time to trek in Nepal. Clear skies and spectacular views of Mount Everest are just about guaranteed. The downside is that it is very cold at night. Daytime temperatures and comfortable but as the sun sets the temperature plummets to minus temperatures. Unlike the Everest Base Camp trek, the lodges on the Annapurna Base Camp Trek do not have any fireplaces, this means you will be relying solely on your

gear to stay warm.

The popular trekking months of February, March and April present with warmer weather and great views during the Annapurna Base Camp Trek but be prepared for busy trails and trekking lodges, especially during the month of April. This busy time can be appealing for many people but for others who enjoy a quieter trekking experience with great views we recommend the months of December and January.
The months of May and September are often recommended as good months to trek to Annapurna Base Camp but they are on the edge of both trekking seasons and this can result in rain due to the season starting or ending early. Our advice if you are planning on going during these months would be to book your trek at the start of May or the end of September. The team at Take on Nepal decided not to continue offering treks to Annapurna Base Camp during the monsoonal months of June, July and August, this was as a result of our risk assessments, the risk of landslides at that time of the year is too high.

Whatever time of the year you choose to trek to Everest Base camp it is important that you’re fully prepared for the adventure ahead of you. You will need to pack appropriately for the climate in which you will be trekking.

Nepal Language

All our team members speak English as do most people working within the tourism industry in Nepal. You will have no problems communicating in English and there is not expectation that you learn any Nepali before joining the trek. However, it’s always a sign of respect when you learn a few phrases of the language of the country you’re visiting.
If you learn some of these common phrases in Nepali, your guides will be impressed!

Money in Nepal and on the trek.

The currency of Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee, it’s highly unlikely that you will be able to transfer Australian Dollars into Nepalese Rupees until you reach Nepal. Nepal has
modern banking facilities and some of the International Banks have their own offices in Kathmandu. ATM’s are conveniently located close to your hotel in Kathmandu and credit cards are accepted in Nepal at major hotels, shops and restaurants but not on the Annapurna Base Camp Trek. You will find better exchange rates in Kathmandu outside the airport. Major banks, hotels, and the exchange counters at Tribhuvan Airport provide services for exchanging foreign currency.
We recommend you carry approx. $400 Australian Dollars with you when traveling to Nepal, this will cover your visa upon arrival and tips (our team love receiving tips in Dollars!).
When you arrive in Kathmandu we recommend you go to an ATM to withdraw Nepalese Rupees, for the trek we suggest you budget approx. $30-$50 per day for additional expenses such as chocolate, toilet paper, hot showers and device charging.

Tipping guides and porters

All of our staff members are paid higher wages than is the industry minimum, our team members are all provided with training and educational opportunities, we know our guides and porters are the backbone of our company. We know our consistently good feedback is because of the great work our team do. Tipping is a way of showing gratitude for a job well done, it is not their salary, it is a bonus on top of what the team have already earned. We also want to stress that in the unlikely event that you are unhappy with the level of service received from your team, you are not obligated to tip.
As a general rule of thumb, the average tips given to your team (guides and porters) are 10% of the cost of your trek. For example, if you paid $2,000 for your trekking experience, $200 would be a kind and respectful amount to pay to your team. If you are trekking in a group this money is divided among all of the guides and porters, if you are trekking privately the tips can be given directly to you guide and porter.

How to tip?

We like to make the tipping fun and easy, we don’t want you to feel uncomfortable about how to tip or how much you should tip, we like to be transparent about this. If you are in a group it’s normal for the tips to be pooled together on the first night at the end of your briefing dinner, the tips are handed to your lead guide who will then go on to divide the money into envelopes to be handed out on the very last day of your trek in Jinhu Dhanda. The last night is always a celebration, everyone is happy and relaxed. The envelopes with the pooled tip money is given to a nominated person in your group who then presents each of the tips to the porters and guides. It’s a gorgeous way to end the trek, it brings joy to both the givers and receivers.
If trekking privately it is normal for the tipping to happen on the last day of the trek when you are in Jinhu Dhanda, on that evening you will celebrate your trek with the team that supported you and hand the tip money directly to your team members. Many people choose to be prepared before they start the trek by ensuring they have the money ready before they leave Kathmandu.

When not to tip?

At the airport! When you are leaving the airport, look out for our staff holding the “Take on Nepal” sign, as soon as you see them, head in their direction, but DO NOT allow anyone to help with your bags. It’s common at Kathmandu airport for ‘helpers’ to approach tourists, pretend to be one of their party, and help with their bags in the expectation of a tip. Your Take on Nepal guides never ask for or expect tips. If anyone asks you for a tip or stands around you waiting for one at the airport, they are not Take on Nepal staff. Ignore them and keep moving towards whoever is holding the Take on Nepal sign.

Tipping before the trek?

Many of our trekkers have a day or two in Kathmandu before they head to the mountains. Our wonderful guides will always offer to take you on a tour of the city, this is often 4-5 hours of their time. If you choose to do this we recommend you pay for their lunch and also what would be the equivalent of one hours wage for you as a generous tip, this for most people is approx $20-$50. Keep in mind that tips make a big difference to the lives of our guides and porters, this money always goes to good use, generally towards caring for their families. Your generosity has a wonderful roll on effect in Nepal. Generous tips result in happiness all round. You will leave Nepal knowing you have rewarded the people who have made your experience what it was and your team will feel gratitude for your kindness.

Customs and Cultural Sensitivities

Affection between men and women, even married, is seldom expressed. Public kissing, hugging, and hand-holding are offensive to most Nepalese.
But it is acceptable and normal for two men to walk hand in hand.
Clothing is conservative. Men should not go bare-chested and shorts should be conservative. Women should avoid bare shoulders, halter tops, and shorts. Ties and suits are not necessary except for special occasions.
Conversations may have ‘dead’ patches. Nepalese are not uncomfortable with silence.
Cows are sacred. They go and sleep where they want.
Never step over anyone, and always move your feet let people avoid stepping over you.
Gifts are rarely given and seldom opened in front of the person who has given it.
Do not sit with the soles of your feet or shoes facing another person. Tuck your legs under or beside your body so the soles face behind you.
Your left hand is never used to pass or accept things, whether food at the table or money with a shopkeeper.
Once you’ve touched something to your lips, it’s polluted (jutho) for everyone else. When drinking from a water bottle, try not to let it touch your lips, and never eat off someone else’s plate or offer anyone food you’ve taken a bite of.
Swearing is a big NO in Nepal, your porters and guides will be offended if they hear you swearing as it is not a common practice in Nepal and is seen as a sign of disrespect.
When hiking in the Himalayas always approach any obstacles from the left-hand side, it is considered unlucky to walk around something in an anti-clockwise manner. This is derived from the Buddhist belief that we must always move forward and not move in an anti-clockwise way.

Bags for the Trek:

There are 2 elements to this, what to pack in your bags and what type of bags you need for your trek. In this blog I’m covering the bags/luggage you need for your Annapurna Base Camp Trek.
On our treks you pay for a guide and porter service, this means you only have to carry items with you that you would need during the day such as phone, water bottles, sunscreen and snacks.
You must remember when packing for your trek in Nepal that 15kg is your limit. It may not sound like a lot but it is more than enough. We don’t allow our porters to carry more than 15kg. If you have overpacked you will need to pay an additional amount of money directly to your porter.

When you arrive in Kathmandu a team member will provide you with a duffel bag, you will be asked to pack everything you need for your trek into a Take on Nepal duffel bag, your porter will be carrying this duffel bag. The items that you must not pack are the items that you will need during the day, you will be carrying these items in your own daypack. The porters walk ahead of you so you will not have access to any of your items packed into the duffel until you reach your teahouse.
The items that you will not need during the trek can be safely kept in the bags you travelled to Nepal with and then stored in the hotel. It does not matter what type of bag you travel to Nepal with, use what is comfortable and easy for you but remember this bag will not be coming on the Annapurna Trek with you. All of the hotels we use in Nepal have storage facilities. You must take your passport with you on the trek, it’s required for your national park permits.
It is important to purchase a very good quality day pack, you will be carrying it for up to 6 hours a day, you need a 25L to 35L day pack. Make sure it has good padding on the shoulders. A backpack that that clips around the waist is great as it can take some weight off your shoulders. You will carry up to 5kg in your day pack so make sure you have trained with it on and that it fits you properly. 5kg at a high altitude can sometimes feel like 10kg!

What to pack

The mistake many people make it having too much stuff. There is nothing worse than carting clothing and equipment with you for 2 weeks (at altitude) in Nepal and ultimately not having needed it. So, what to take and what not take.
This list below outlines the standard clothing we recommend you take for an Everest Base Camp Trek. This list assumes that you will spend around 14 days travelling in the mountains.

Heavy fleece long sleeve top (Polartec 300 or equivalent)
Mid weight long sleeve top
Zip-off full leg hiking pants and additional pair of hiking shorts
Stretch/lycra type full leg pants
Thermal fleece style long pants
Waterproof and windproof jacket with hood (Gore-Tex or equivalent)
Thermal long sleeve tops (2-3)
Thermal long johns (1)
2 T-shirts for hiking (polyester or equivalent with good wicking properties – NOT COTTON)
2 T-shirts for ‘after hiking’ (cotton is okay)
Heavyweight gloves or mittens with waterproof outer shell
Lightweight gloves (synthetic or poly-prop)
Warm hat / beanie and neck-warmer
Underwear (3 – 4 pairs)
Additional set of thermal underwear (good option as pyjamas)
3 – 4 pairs heavy weight woollen hiking socks
2 pairs lightweight / thin comfortable socks
1 pair of sturdy hiking boots with spare laces
Joggers or sandals for when not hiking
Down Jacket

Your Annapurna Base Camp packing list should include the following equipment:

Light weight head torch (LED)
Nalgene Water Bottle
Backpack (20-30 litres)
Sleeping Bag (can be hired in Kathmandu for approx AUD$40)
Sleeping bag inner sheet (optional but nice)
Sunglasses and sunscreen
Water filtration tablets or a Steripen
Trekking poles
Waterproof leucoplast tape or similar for preventing blisters (available at chemists)
Small personal towel
Personal toiletries (include soap for washing clothes)
Wet wipes (biodegradable) (100 plus)
First aid kit with medicines such as Diamox, Diarrhoea Stop, Vomit Stop and Antibiotics, Panadol and electrolytes
Sweets / chocolate (can buy in Kathmandu)
Toilet Paper
Lip Balm

Things you DO NOT need on your Everest Base Camp packing list include:

Dress shirts,
Dress shoes,
Dresses and hair dryers.

Power Adapter:

In Nepal the standard voltage is 230 V. The standard frequency is 50 Hz. The power sockets that are used are of type C / D / M. Below you find pictures of these power sockets and corresponding plugs.
Bring your phone chargers. Although Australian plugs are not exactly the right size or shape, they will fit in most sockets.
It would be handy to have an adapter for Kathmandu, they can be easily purchased for a couple of dollars in the shops surrounding your hotel.
You won’t require an adapter for the trek as your devices will be charged at the trekking lodge, they is a cost of approx. $3-$5 for a device to be charged.

Altitude Sickness:

You are at the lowest possible altitude when you are at sea level, the higher you go the less oxygen there is in the air and when you’re hiking at a high altitude such as the Annapurna Base Camp Trek the body can react to the lower amount of oxygen in the air. This is altitude sickness.
There are 3 different types of altitude sickness. These are:
Acute mountain sickness: This is the most common form of altitude sickness that we see people struggle with on the Himalayan mountain trails. This is also the mildest form of altitude sickness and recovery happens very quickly once the person returns to a lower altitude.
High altitude cerebral edema (HACE): This is not common at all and is an emergency situation. It is more common for mountaineers to experience this form of altitude sickness.
High altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE): This is a very dangerous type of altitude sickness which requires emergency evacuation to a hospital. It occurs when fluid starts filling the lungs. It is uncommon among hikers and tends to mostly affect mountaineers.

What are the symptoms of altitude sickness?
The main symptoms of altitude sickness are:
-Feeling light headed and dizzy. You may act and look like you’re drunk when suffering from altitude sickness.
-Loss of appetite and nausea.
-Feeling exhausted and unable to push on.
-Having difficulty sleeping at night.

How can I prevent getting altitude sickness?
You can take a few very important steps that will drastically reduce your risk of getting altitude sickness, these are:
Diamox: You must visit your doctor and request a prescription for Diamox, this medication is a preventative not a cure. It must be taken on the first day of your trek until you complete the trek. It won’t cure altitude sickness if you already have it.
Drinking water: You must drink a minimum of 4-5 litres of water a day.
Eat plenty of food high in carbohydrates, our guides will advise you on the best meal choices.
Attempt to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep every night.
Stay positive and strong both in a physical and mental capacity.
Keep a slow and steady pace, even if you’re full of energy it’s still better to maintain a steady pace.
We strongly advise you not to drink alcohol during your ascent up to Everest Base Camp, save the drinking until you are on the way down!
Garlic Soup: The Himalayan people swear by Garlic soup, it’s served at all tea houses!
What should I do if I get altitude sickness?
The steps you need to take if you get altitude sickness include:
Hiking down to a lower altitude, get some rest and see if you feel any better. Often our trekkers will feel better and then continue on with their trek the following day.

Drink plenty of water.

If symptoms persist you may need to be evacuated by helicopter to a hospital in Kathmandu, our experienced team will manage all the logistics, you just must focus on getting well.
No Vaccinations are required for entry into Nepal. Many doctors recommend hepatitis A, typhoid and meningitis inoculations. You should already have immunity to tetanus, polio, mumps and measles. Malaria tablets and injections for Japanese B encephalitis are recommended if you are planning to spend a longer period below 1,000 metres during the monsoon. Medicines are sold in small pharmacies everywhere. You will not need a prescription, but it helps if you know what you need! Rabies is a problem in Nepal. Steer clear of dogs and monkeys. If you are bitten, immediately seek treatment.
Flu is no more prevalent in Nepal than elsewhere, but you might consider getting a flu jab before you leave just to reduce the risk of spending several days sick during your holiday.

Health Precautions and Problems

More people get sick in Kathmandu than anywhere else in Nepal. Nepali food is usually fine and you can probably trust anything that’s been boiled or fried in your presence, although some people are more susceptible to meat dishes than others. All but the cheapest tourist restaurants usually have acceptable salads, fruit juices and lassis these days. Bananas are small but available everywhere. Even the poorest Nepalese attend carefully to hygiene because they cannot afford to be sick.
The pollution in Kathmandu is a surprise, and gives some people, especially asthmatics, respiratory infections within a few days of arrival. Many people wear disposable filter masks, or scarfs that cover their mouth and nose, although most people are just fine for the time they are in Kathmandu. If you are experiencing depressed respiratory function, get out of the Kathmandu valley to the pristine air of the rest of the country.
Bring a pair of thongs for showering, being comfortable in shared bathrooms and bedrooms, and avoiding scabies and hookworm. Never drink water from the shower or bathroom, and always brush your teeth with filtered water.
Meals on the Annapurna Base Camp trek
Meals are included in our all inclusive trek option but we don’t choose your food, you will decide what to eat for your breakfast, lunch and dinner from the menu in each lodge. The food options along the way are healthy, nutritious, filling and most importantly tasty!
Pringles, desserts, soft drinks, alcohol, chocolate and fruit are available to purchase along the way. This food is not included in your package, you will have to pay for these items yourself. The prices are expensive. Due to the remoteness of the region, a tube of Pringles could set you back $10.
There are some villages along the trek where you will find bakeries and little coffee shops.
Here’s a small sample of the meals that you will encounter along the way:
You will be deciding what to eat for breakfast the night before. This allows the kitchen to be prepared for the morning rush and it also means that you won’t have a long wait before heading out for your big day of trekking.
Porridge: This is an option on all menus. A filling bowl of warm oats is a great way to start your day of trekking.
Tibetan Bread: This deep fried traditional bread is delicious, it is served with Jam or Honey, a sweet start to your day.
Omelette: Eggs are full of protein and make a wonderful breakfast.

Lunch and Dinner

The lunch and dinner menu is the same on all menus but not to worry, you’ll have plenty to choose from!
MoMo’s: MoMo’s are the unofficial national dish of Nepal. Momo’s are steamed dumplings available in with or without meat.
Dahl Baht: This is the most popular dish in Nepal. The Nepalese people say “Dahl Baht Power, 24 hour!”, it’s impossible not to feel full and happy after eating Dahl Baht. This is a meal we recommend you eat once or twice a day. Dhal Baht consists of rice (as much as you can eat), lentil soup, vegetables and pickle. It’s filling, tasty and good for you. Exactly the type of food you need to get you to your next destination!
Chow Mein: This Chinese inspired dish is very popular throughout Nepal. Chow Mein is a stir fried noodle dish. With plenty of veggies mixed in, this dish is tasty and filling. A perfect lunch or dinner option.
Thukpa: Another traditional sherpa dish. This hearty soup is sure to warm and nourish your body after an active day trekking. Made with fresh noodles, vegetables and broth, this soup is truly delicious and a popular option on the trek.

Dangers and Annoyances

Nepal is one of the world’s more crime-free countries, but it would be unwise not to take a few simple precautions.
The main concern is petty theft. Store valuables in your hotel safe, close windows or grilles at night in cities to deter “fishing”, and use a money belt or pouch around your neck. Some public bus routes have reputations for baggage theft. Pickpockets (often street children) operate in crowded urban areas, especially during festivals; be vigilant.
If you’re robbed, report it as soon as possible to the police headquarters of the district in which the robbery occurred. Policemen are apt to be friendly, if not much help. For insurance purposes, go to the Interpol Section of the police headquarters in Durbar Square, Kathmandu, to fill in a report; you’ll need a copy of it to claim from your insurer once back home.

The worst trouble you’re likely to run into is one of Nepal’s all-too-common civil disturbances. Political parties, student organizations and anyone else with a gripe may call a chakka jam (traffic halt) or bandh (general strike). In either case, most shops pull down their shutters as well, and vehicles stay off the roads to avoid having their windows smashed. Demonstrations sometimes involve rock-throwing, tear gas and lathis (Asian-style police batons), but nobody is interested in you: leave the area if you anticipate political agitation. Indian-style hustle is on the rise in Kathmandu. You’ll get a dose of it at the airport or any major bus station, where hotel touts lie in wait to accost arriving tourists. They also cruise the tourist strips of Kathmandu, offering drugs, treks, and, increasingly, sex. For the most part, though, Nepali touts are less aggressive than their Indian brethren, and if you’re entering Nepal from North India, where aggressive touts have to be dealt with firmly, you should prepare to adjust your attitude. Ignore them entirely and they’re likely to ignore you. If that doesn’t work, most touts will leave you alone if asked nicely, whereas they’ll take a rude brush-off personally.

Training for the Annapurna Base Camp Trek

We constantly hear people telling us that they are not fit enough to trek to Annapurna Base Camp, and on the other side of the coin we sometimes have people join our groups who don’t believe it necessary to train for this trek, that’s a mistake. Preparing for this trek is crucial to your success and is also important to the success of the group as a whole. You don’t need to be as fit as an athlete to undertake this trek but you do need to dedicate up to 6 hours a week to training in the 3 months leading up to the trek. Below is a guide to training for this multiday, trek to Annapurna Base Camp.

Step 1: Mental preparedness

You’ve paid your deposit, you’re definitely doing this. You will ideally have somewhere between 6-12 months to prepare but at a minimum 3 months. This is something you have psyched yourself up to do, it’s been on your bucket list, you’ve seen photos of the Himalayas and you’re not putting it on hold any longer…you’re doing this!

Step 2: Self-assess your fitness level

Be realistic and honest with yourself. Can you easily run a half marathon or are you more of a couch potato? Don’t fool yourself into thinking you don’t need to prepare for this trek, you do, you owe it to yourself, your guides and porters and your fellow trekkers. Know that you need to be fit enough to walk approx. 13 km a day, and do so at altitude. This is a challenge and you need to prepare for it with the belief that you’ve got this.

Step 3: Speak to us

Everyone is different, there’s no one training plan that will work for everyone. We can discuss where you are at and where you need to be on your fitness journey. Our team can assist you in formulating the best training plan for you and will always be on hand to provide advice or support. We’ve done this trek multiple times, we know exactly how hard it is and we are not afraid to tell you what you need to do to be successful on this epic adventure

Step 4: Uphill training

Get started. To prepare your body for walking up to Annapurna Base Camp, you need to walk uphill as often as you can. Get your boots, find the closest uphill track or mountain and start going up that hill, this will allow leg muscles to strengthen. The more uphill trekking you can do the better. In the 3 months before your trek start date we recommend that you plan to walk for distances over 10 kilometres at least 2-3 times a week, these 5-6 hour walking days will prepare you physically and mentally for the trek to Everest Base Camp. Although a porter will be carrying your main pack, you will need to carry a daypack, when you are trekking at altitude, 5kg can feel like 10kg, for this reason we recommend that you load a pack up to weights above 10kg and start hiking uphill carrying this weight. This allows for resistance training, the building of muscle strength, all the while improving your overall fitness level. If you live in a city or in an area without hills or mountains, go to your closest gym and set the treadmill on an incline to provide you with training for uphill walking, this training won’t provide you with the practice of walking on rocky and unstable ground but it will improve the strength of your leg muscles.

Step 5: Cardiovascular Training (Cardio)

This training is not as fun as walking up mountains but it is just as important. Cardio training is all about increasing and decreasing your heart rate; all the while you will be developing your lung capacity. Cardio training also increases your endurance. There are many different cardio training options available, choose one that you will enjoy as you should be enjoying your training regime for Everest Base Camp. 3-4 cardio workouts every week in the 3 months leading up to the trek will hold you in good stead. A 5-10km run is great, you could also choose activities such as bike riding, dancing, swimming or even skating. If you integrate cardio workouts into your training plan you won’t find yourself puffed out on the trek. Your body will be better able to cope with the altitude.

Step 6: Strength training

If you incorporate some strength training into your training plan you will be very well prepared for the trek. Although you will need more lower body strength for the trek, upper body strength training will come in handy, as you will be carrying a daypack everyday. Strength training also has the added benefit of improving your balance and coordination, as you trek closer to base camp you will be walking over very rocky terrain, having good balance and coordination will make this element of the trek easier for you. The great thing about strength training is that it can be done at home or out in the gym and doesn’t require the same time commitment as the other elements of training. Squatting will build your leg muscles, push ups and pull ups will build up your overall strength and allow you to push on in trek for longer. Weight lifting will improve your upper body strength. Incorporating strength training into your fitness plan 1-2 times a week will go a long way to improving your overall fitness level.

Extra Tips:

Start getting used to drinking 3-4 litres of water a day, this is what you will need to do on the trek to Annapurna Base Camp, if you don’t drink enough water you are at a high risk of getting altitude sickness.
Don’t forget to stretch before and after your training session! We also recommend you do stretches on the trek to Annapurna Base Camp.
During the trek you need to consume a lot of carbohydrates, the food options on the trek are full of carb rich options and we recommend that you eat as many carbs as possible! You will lose weight on this trek, your body is burning more energy that you can consume, this is happening even when you’re resting. Be prepared and willing to eat rice, potatoes and pasta, carbs provide you with the energy you need to trek for long distances every day.
Don’t be hard on yourself, it’s ok to miss out on a week of training, your body also needs to rest. Preparing for this trek should be fun and rewarding. If it starts to feel more like a job you need to reassess your training plan and make changes.
If possible train with friends, accountability works well and it’s great to be able to motivate and support others while also receiving support.
Don’t train the week before the trek, you need to taper off to ensure your body is rested and ready for the challenge ahead.
Pace yourself when trekking. It’s not a race, there’s absolutely no reason to be pushing and rushing on the trek. Your guides will always remind you to take it slowly, enjoy your surroundings every day. Stop, rest, have a drink and move forward at a slow and steady pace.

Arriving at Kathmandu Airport

Your first view of Nepal will be from the airplane window as you land at Kathmandu airport, and it’s a view not to be missed. It takes in the mountains that surround the Kathmandu valley, the terraces used for farming that cover the hills, small villages and isolated farms, as well as the smog covered chaos that is Kathmandu.
Unfortunately, this view is only visible from one side of the aircraft, and which side depends on the approach the aircraft takes when landing. Flying in from Europe, the view was visible from the left hand side of the plane, flying in from Australia it was visible from the right. But don’t take this as gospel — the pilot may decide to change landing direction for one reason or another. The only advice I can give regarding the view is to ensure you have a Window seat, and to hope for the best regarding the landing direction. You will have views of the Langtang Himalayan Range, Gangala Himal and the Mount Everest region.
Where you sit on the plane is important for more than just the view. Passport control at Kathmandu airport is antiquated, like something from a black and white movie from the 1950s. The staff are old, the facilities are ancient, and the pace is glacial. Only a small number of international flights arrive each day, and it takes them a good hour and a half to process the visitors from each one.
Sit as close to the front of the aircraft as possible so that you are one of the first off the plane. And when you disembark, do not stop for a toilet visit until you clear passport control. That early toilet break could easily add an hour to your time standing in line.
Most airlines allow online check-in 24 hours prior to departure. You should avail of this to book a Window seat as close to the front as possible.
You will need a visa for Nepal, but this can be purchased on the ground as you approach passport control. The official link below will provide you with information on your arrival at the airport:

Make a note of the hotel you’ll be staying at in Kathmandu, as this will be required for both forms — your Take on Nepal information pack should have provided you with this.
As you disembark the aircraft, make sure you keep your boarding card, and the associated luggage sticker that is usually attached to it. Passport control often ask for your boarding card, and after you collect your baggage and head for the exit, another official may stop you to compare your luggage number/bar code with the one attached to your boarding card. Kathmandu airport is the only airport where I’ve encountered this final check.
There is a currency exchange booth to the left as you leave the baggage reclaim area. You may wish to change a small amount here, just to have some local currency in your pocket. I’d recommend changing no more than $50, as they are generally more expensive than money changers in the city.
The airport is small — tiny by international standards — smaller than a mid sized train station in many countries. This means that before you know it you’ll be outside, in the open air. In most airports, those waiting for passengers do so inside the airport — not so in Kathmandu, where they are forced to wait behind a railing immediately outside the arrivals exit.
You walk out the door and in front of you will see a line of people waiting. Some will be holding up hotel signs, some will have people’s names, others will be taxi drivers looking for fares. Ignore them all and look for the Take on Nepal sign, complete with the colourful logo you’ve seen on the website. At least two Take on Nepal guides will be there to meet you and your flight. It doesn’t matter if you arrive late, or what time of the day or night it might be — your guides will be there waiting.
As soon as you see them, head in their direction, but DO NOT allow anyone to help with your bags. It’s common at Kathmandu airport for ‘helpers’ to approach tourists, pretend to be one of their party, and help with their bags in the expectation of a tip. Your Take on Nepal guides never ask for or expect tips. If anyone asks you for a tip or stands around you waiting for one at the airport, they are not Take on Nepal staff. Ignore them and keep moving towards whoever is holding the Take on Nepal sign.
Once you’ve reached the Take on Nepal guides, they will load your baggage into a waiting vehicle for the trip to your hotel. They may wait for another passenger or two, as it’s common for more than one trekker to arrive on the same flight. The trip to the hotel is all covered as part of your package, so you should never have to pay anyone or tip anyone from when you step off the plane to when you reach your hotel room.
Once the plane has landed, make your way to the transfer bus, it’s a good idea to try and disembark the airplane as soon as possible as the transfer buses fill up and there can be a bit of a wait until the next one.
When you get off the bus walk straight to the visa application computers and complete your form
Go to the visa counter with your receipt where your visa will then be issued.
Once you obtain your visa you make your way down an elevator and through a security check, the lines here can sometimes be long, patience is required!
Once you’ve cleared security you will be in the baggage claim area, this space can be busy and unorganised. There are trolleys available for your use and there’s also a toilet in this area. Staff members offering to take your bags off the carousel and push your trolley will approach you, there’s no obligation to use this service, and if you do there is an expectation to tip that person.
Once you get your bag make sure you have your baggage tag, which you would have received in your country of departure. You may be requested to show your baggage tags as you depart the airport.
Once you exit look out for our friendly team member holding up a “Take on Nepal” sign, our team member will then travel with you to your hotel.

Accommodation on the Annapurna Base Camp Trek

On all of our treks we choose to stay in tea houses, they are in fact small lodges but have been named by the local people as tea houses as they are also used to serve trekkers tea and food. The tea houses are often compared favourably to Swiss Chalets but it would be unfair to expect the same level of service and facilities in the remote Himalayan mountains. Some companies use tents along the way, when you see the tents and experience the cold climate I can assure you that you’ll be very happy to be staying in tea houses. The trekking companies using tents do so to save money, we believe in supporting the local families who own and operate the tea houses. We love the interaction that happens between the local families and trekkers. The tea houses are an inviting sanctuary, a place to rest and reflect on the day that has just passed and to enjoy great company and a hearty meal before resting for the night. Read on for more information about what to expect of your accommodation during your Annapurna Base Camp Trek.
Dining Room:
The central meeting point of the tea house is the dining room. The dining room is where trekkers hang out after a days trekking, this is where you will have your dinner and breakfast, it’s also where you will debrief and be briefed by your guides about the following day. Many of your fondest memories of the trek will be created in these dining rooms. All of the dining rooms follow a similar style throughout the entire trek.
Be prepared for the most basic rooms you are ever likely to encounter! Always keep in mind that the bedrooms are just for sleeping, the rest of your time will be spent on the trails and in the dining rooms. The rooms are small, just big enough for 2 single beds, some larger rooms accommodate up to 6 people in one room. The beds will have sheets on them, a pillow and a blanket.  Be waned that the bedding is not changed everyday, we recommend have a little slip to go over the pillows. You will have your own down sleeping bag for the trek, and this is all you will need in the way of bedding.
There are no bathrooms as such in the tea lodges, there are toilets and then a communal sink or two outside of the toilets. For the first few days of the trek you will have flush toilets but as you gain altitude the toilet situation worsens, you may have to use squat toilets or if Western style toilets are available you will be flushing using a jug of placed in a big barrel of water next to the toilet. For trekkers trekking in the colder months, this barrel of water may freeze leaving it impossible to flush the toilet. In the interest of keeping it real, we are giving you worst case scenarios! Toilet paper is not provided in the teahouses, you will need to bring this with you. Toilet paper cannot be flushed down the toilet, you will need to place your used toilet paper in a bin next to the toilet.
The food provided by the lodge owners is amazing! You will be well fed and satisfied by the large choice of food on offer. Go to our blog on meals during the Annapurna Base Camp Trek for more in depth information on this. Pay close attention to the information on food we recommend avoiding during the trek.

Extra’s that aren’t covered but are worth paying the extra money for!

The tea house won’t provide you with hot water, before rolling your eyes remember that you will be high in the Himalayas, they boil water by either using gas bottles which have to be carried up by a porter to the lodge. However, paying approximately $4 for hot water in your bottle is well worth it. For the exact same reason you need to pay extra for a hot shower, most trekkers during the trek will take on average 2 hot showers, some people will go without for the duration, the showers are often in outhouses and in the cold climate it can become too much of a chore. After this trek you will have a whole new appreciation of hot showers. The tea houses also charge for phone and camera charging and most offer the option to purchase wi-fi. The costs of luxury items for sale in the tea houses are higher that what we are used to paying in Australia but we always recommend not to deny yourself something that will bring you happiness, Pringles taste amazing above 3000 metres!

Spectacular Views

Imagine yourself waking up to the early morning noises of trekkers waking up, dishes clanging, people preparing for their day ahead. You wiggle out of your sleeping bag, reach over to the window to wipe away the condensation and you are met with the most breathtaking view you could ever imagine, day after day! This is what will happen during this trek. Most days the clouds stand to come in at around 2-3pm, which means that you may not get a sense of what the views are going to be like the following morning. Awakening to the most breathtaking and awe inspiring views every morning is sure to guarantee you a special day ahead. Gratitude is a word we often hear during the trek, it’s these very views that give us that feeling. A cup of tea, breakfast, lunch or dinner in a cozy dining room with mind blowing views of the Himalayas will never become tiresome. After all, that’s what most people are there for these unbelievable views.

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