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TREKKING FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Essentials

Will I be able to do this?

Yes! If you are physically fit, if you love the outdoors and if you have a positive attitude, you will make it. Altitude sickness or injury can end your trek, but this only affects a small percentage of people who trek. Being amongst the tallest peaks in the world is a feeling that cannot be described in words and we recommend that you undertake some basic fitness training, prior to your departure, to ensure it is a positive experience for you.

Do I need to have a guide?

You can go it alone, but we can assure you it would be a vastly different experience. Our guides bring with them knowledge and experience; this becomes a bridge between the two cultures. You are guaranteed to learn so much more about Nepal and the terrain through which you are trekking, when you are guided. You are also providing employment to people who rely on tourism to survive, they are passionate about their work and we are sure your guide will soon become a friend to you.

I understand that my guide and porter may be female. Can you give me more information about this?

In the mountain villages of Nepal, opportunities for women are few. Many young girls have little or no education, and marriage at an early age is still common. Take on Nepal and Friends of Himalayan Children Charity have been working to change this, for many years.

As Take on Nepal has grown, we’ve begun hiring young women and girls from Batase, first to work as porters and then as guides, roles that up to now have been seen as exclusively male. For young village girls, early exposure to paid work as porters and the experience of interacting with Western women, is an eye opener. It provides them with a glimpse of other possible futures, futures far different from the lives their mothers lived and to the lives they may have thought they were going to live.

The trekking industry in Nepal is a male dominated environment. Women guides are unheard of, which is surprising when you consider that a huge proportion of Western trekkers visiting Nepal are women. Spend a few nights staying at various lodges on the trails and you will see that 60% of all trekkers are women, many coming from European countries. At Take on Nepal, we’re all about empowering women, giving the village girls the opportunities that their brothers have and opening their eyes to the possibilities of a larger world.

Can I take my children to Everest Base Camp?

It is becoming quite common for families to trek to Everest Base Camp together. Children aged 9 and upwards have trekked comfortably to Everest Base Camp and why not take your parents too! Age should not be a barrier to undertake this experience, as long as family members are fit, healthy and have a positive frame of mind, it is a possibility. We can tailor a trek specifically for the needs of your family, as we do recommend adding a few extra days on to the trek.

Do I need to undertake a training program to complete my trek?

This is highly recommended as the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy the experience. We offer a helpful training program for you, once you have booked, and we’re always on hand to answer your questions. Our team will support and encourage you throughout your trek. Our treks are paced to allow plenty of time for you to reach your daily destination. However, if you choose to undertake the trek without prior training, you will be fine, as long as you have great willpower and plenty of stamina to get you through the tough times.

Getting Organised

Do I need insurance or vaccinations?

Travel Insurance is compulsory if you wish to participate in the program. We will require a copy of the insurance certificate and you must also bring a hard copy of your insurance certificate with you to Nepal. You need to ensure that the travel insurance purchased insures for helicopter evacuation above 5500m.

Nepal does not require any vaccinations in order to enter the country. However, we strongly recommend that participants consult with a doctor before departing for Nepal, for information about immunisations and advice on how to stay healthy while traveling.

What do you recommend that I take on my trip with me?

The mistake many people make is 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. The list below outlines the standard clothing we recommend, for trekking 14 – 15 days in the mountains.

  • Heavy fleece long sleeve top
  • 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) or Down Jacket
  • Thermal long sleeve tops (2)
  • Thermal long johns (1)
  • 2 T-shirts for hiking (polyester or equivalent with good wicking properties –cotton is not recommended)
  • 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 (can double up as pyjamas)
  • 3 – 4 pairs heavy weight woolen hiking socks
  • 2 pairs lightweight / thin comfortable socks
  • 1 pair of sturdy hiking boots with spare laces
  • Joggers or sandals for the end of the day when your trek has finished.

Your packing list should include the following equipment:

  • Light weight head torch (LED)
  • Digital camera
  • Backpack (30 – 40 litres)
  • Sleeping bag inner sheet (optional but nice to have)
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Water bottle, buy in Kathmandu (1 litre capacity)
  • Trekking poles (optional)
  • Waterproof leucoplast tape or similar for preventing blisters (available at chemists)
  • Small personal towel
  • Personal toiletries (include soap for washing clothes)
  • Wet Wipes (100 plus)
  • First aid kit (Optional)
  • Sweets / chocolate (buy in Kathmandu)
  • Tissues
  • Lip Balm

If you do not already own these items, we highly recommend that you purchase or hire these items in Kathmandu. They are made to a high quality and it’s always great to support the local economy. Another option is to hire a sleeping bag and jacket at a cost of approximately AUD$50 for each item for a period of 14 days.

What items should I NOT take with me for my trek?

Jeans, Jumpers / Sweaters, Dress Shirts, Dress Shoes, Dresses or Hair Dryers.

What about entry fees into national parks and trekking permits, do you organize that?

We organise all this for you. All the costs are included in the cost of your trek.

What time of year do you recommend I undertake my trek?

All seasons have their pros and cons, but as a general rule, the best time to trek in Nepal is from February to May, when the temperature has warmed after Winter. September through to December is also a fabulous time to trek, during these months the clouds start lifting after the Monsoon rains of June and July, which often leaves you with spectacular views of the Himalayas.

Health & Safety

How do I know if I’m physically strong enough for the trek?

If you’re in doubt about whether or not you would be able to undertake the trek, we recommend that you visit your doctor for a health check. Overall good health and determination, combined with good coordination and balance, will all work in your favour.

How will I be supported if I have an injury, or if I become sick during the trek?

Your safety is our number one priority. Our professional guides are skilled and experienced when responding to emergencies. Take on Nepal have a comprehensive risk management document, that ensures most possibilities have been carefully addressed and plans put in place. Our guides are all trained in First Aid and through their experience and knowledge, know when to call a helicopter for an emergency evacuation. With Take on Nepal, you are in safe hands.

How will I adjust to the change in altitude?

At altitude, sickness can set in at any time. We pace our treks to allow your body to adjust to the change in climate and our team monitoring your wellbeing, throughout the trek. The most common form of altitude sickness is actually called “Acute Mountain Sickness” (AMS). It’s the least dangerous form and symptoms include a light headache, nausea, loss of appetite, insomnia and fatigue. In most cases, it is treatable through rest and many people make it to their destination. If your condition worsens, you will be evacuated out of the region by helicopter, to receive medical treatment at a hospital.

I’m a female, is it safe for me to travel alone?

As a female, Nepal is generally very safe. Many of our team members are female and much of our work centres around empowering young women and girls. Most, if not all of our treks, will have a female staff member on board, who will give you strength and inspiration as you trek through the mountains of Nepal.

Practicalities

What should I wear on my feet while trekking?

Make sure you wear an old, trusted pair of reliable and comfortable trekking boots or shoes. If purchasing a new pair, do so a minimum of 4 weeks prior to departure, to allow time to break them in properly. It is so important to avoid the possibility of getting blisters, something as simple as that could negatively impact on your trek. We recommend you wear woolen socks when trekking, as they keep your feet warm and dry.

How much money do you recommend I bring with me for my trek?

Your trekking fee covers most of your costs, including all of your meals, accommodation, permits and the flight in and out of Lukla (where this destination is included in your trek). However, the costs of “luxuries” are not covered (such as coffee, sweets, alcohol and other souvenirs you may wish to purchase along the way). We recommend you budget approximately $20 per day, to comfortably cover any additional expenses you may encounter.

What can I expect to happen if the flight in/out of Lukla is cancelled or delayed?

This can happen due to weather conditions. If your flight in or out of Lukla is delayed, you may end up having to wait 1-2 days for another flight. We recommend that you allow an extra couple of days, when booking your flight out of Nepal, to allow for such an occurrence. The additional time spent in Lukla or Kathmandu will be a personal expense to you, but we will be very happy to organise any logistics, such as your accommodation in Lukla or Kathmandu. Another option is to use a privately chartered helicopter. The cost for this is high, but it’s a guaranteed way to ensure you meet any deadlines you may have.

How much weight can my porter carry?

We’re different to most other trekking companies, in that our porters are often female (to empower and provide employment), and we set the limit at 15kg. Many other trekking companies use 1 porter for 2 clients, with an expectation they carry up to 40kg; we do not agree with this and do not want to place such hardships upon our team members. 10kg is plenty for your trek and you would also be carrying your personal daypack, which generally weighs 5kg.

Will I have access to the internet and other telecommunications during my trek?

You will have reliable Internet access in most places. Many lodges on the Everest Base Camp Trek have Internet access, but you must purchase usage. On other treks it varies, but overall, coverage in Nepal is reasonable but slow. Our team has access to satellite phones during treks, to call for support in the event of an emergency.

Can you provide me with more information on your terms and conditions and also information on your cancellation policy?

Yes, please famialise yourself with our detailed terms and conditions and our cancellation policy. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have. We’re always happy to help!

Everest Base Camp Trek Questions

Is it scary?

This is a difficult question to answer, as it depends on personality. Some people love the thrill of flying into Lukla and crossing high suspension bridges, but others have to overcome many fears to make this experience a reality.

From my own personal experiences, I tend to be the latter. I’m not a risk taker and I worry a lot. Having flown into Lukla airport and trekked the Everest Base Camp Trail, I can say my fears were unfounded. I enjoyed the flight and found the trek to be the most incredible experience of my life. After crossing the first suspension bridge the rest did not bother me, in fact, I started to look forward to them!

Whenever you trek with us, you will be surrounded by a team of professionals who know what to look out for and will constantly be keeping your wellbeing at the forefront of their minds. Our guides will always put your mind at ease and will act quickly in a situation where you may be feeling uncertain. You’re in safe hands!

Will I be giving back to the people of Nepal?

When you trek with us, you are most definitely helping the people of Nepal. As one of the only companies hiring young women, you will be supporting our very important work of ending early marriages and human trafficking. We pay above award wages and treat all our team members as family members, we want a happy and productive team and we believe we have achieved that.

Our team will share the culture and traditions of Nepal with you, leaving you feeling connected to not only the spectacular mountains, but also to the people of Nepal, who will leave an imprint on your heart. Take on Nepal co-founder Som Tamang, is the founder and president of the not for profit organisation, Friends of Himalayan Children Inc. (FHC). FHC works in remote villages to provide educational opportunities to thousands of children and a safe and nurturing home to 50 young children. Take on Nepal is committed to giving back to Nepal on many different levels. By choosing us as your preferred trekking company, you will be too.

What cultural traditions should I be aware of?

The most important one to be aware of, when trekking to Everest Base Camp, is the many Stupa’s. A Stupa is a Buddhist shrine. Your guide will point them out to you. You must always walk on the right side of the Stupas; in Buddhism it’s considered important to go clockwise, this relates to always moving forward in life, not having regrets or going backwards (anti-clockwise).

Nepal is a developing country, many people live in poverty. It is considered polite to finish all the food on your plate. If you are simply too full to finish your meal, please offer the food to a friend or guide.

It is considered disrespectful to shout in the mountains of the Everest region. Always use a normal speaking voice and refrain from yelling out, unless you absolutely must!

Your guide will make you aware of any other cultural traditions you need to know, during your trek. Please do not hesitate to ask your guide lots of questions. Our guides appreciate you showing an interest in their country and you will leave Nepal full of interesting information.

What training do my guides have?

All our leading guides undergo a training course to receive their license. We do not allow our clients to trek without an experienced, licensed guide leading the way. Our guides also do first aid training and will be offered every opportunity to attend mountaineering, hiking and biking courses wherever possible.

Take on Nepal believe that a well-trained team of professionals, will guarantee positive outcomes. We are also one of the only companies that fly our young trainee guides into Lukla, to begin their journey as trainee guides/porters. Most companies hire their team at Lukla as it reduces their flight expenses.

Lukla has been described as the “most dangerous airport in the world”, is this really the case?

We feel this is an unfair title. When researching statistics related to the airport, it’s easy to see why this is an exaggeration. Over the past 40 years, there has been only one fatal plane crash. During peak season, up to 30 flights take off and land to/from Lukla, on a daily basis. The airlines are very careful not to fly, unless the conditions are perfect. For this reason, we recommend you always allow a minimum of 2 days free at the end of your trek, before returning to your home country. This will ensure you do not miss your return flight.

The title “most dangerous airport” was given due to the altitude at which the planes land, the surrounding mountains and also because of the length of the runway. It is a short runway, with a steep gradient to allow for flights to land safely. We are sure that you will find it to be an exciting and exhilarating experience!

Do I need to be super fit to be reach Everest Base Camp?

No, you do not need to be super fit to undertake this trek. However, the fitter you are, the easier and more enjoyable the experience will be. To get prepared, we recommend you stick with the training plan we will provide to you, to ensure the best possible outcome for you for the trek.

We have seen people of all ages and sizes successfully reach Everest Base Camp, fitness is not dependent on size, it is strength that matters most. Strength of mind and self-belief is also another crucial factor, in achieving your goal to reach Everest Base Camp.

Are my porters treated well?

We go above and beyond to ensure our porters are treated with respect. We do not allow our male porters to carry more than 20kg and our female porters 15kg. This is much less than other companies. Our porters are paid fair wages and tips are divided evenly amongst guides and porters. We view our porters as an integral part of our team and treat them with the respect that is deserved.

How much money should I tip my guide and porter?

Although our team are paid wages for the work they do, tipping is a way of showing gratitude for a job well done. As a general rule, 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.

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.

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.

I can only get time off to do the trek in December/January. This is off season, is it too cold to trek during this time?

We understand many trekkers can only get time off work during the Christmas period, this also happens to be the off season in Nepal. From my personal experience of trekking in Nepal, I must say this is my favourite time of year to trek. Although the temperatures are lower, especially once you reach an altitude of above 4,000m, the skies are always clear and blue and the views are second to none. The trails are much quieter and the trekking lodges are less busy, which raises the level of service you receive. Also, flights in and out of Lukla are more reliable, as the weather tends to be predictably clear. Finally, and most importantly, you’re just about guaranteed a great view of Mount Everest!

If you follow our packing list, you will be warm enough at night and cool enough during the day.

Am I guaranteed to see Mount Everest?

No, it is not guaranteed that you will see Mount Everest. In fact, it’s only during certain seasons that you will see the mighty mountain and when you do see it, your view will be between cloud coverage. For your best chance of seeing Mount Everest, we recommend you trek between September and February. During the Summer monsoon months (June, July and August), it is unlikely you will see Everest, but you will certainly know you’re amongst the giant mountains of the world, and will often be walking above the clouds, an incredible feeling!

Do I need to trek in a group? I would like to undertake the trek with my partner or on my own.

Our treks can be customised for large groups, small groups, couples and also individuals. The costs outlined on our website are based around groups. If you are trekking as an individual or couple, there may be a small additional cost.

What is the food like on the Everest Base Camp Trek?

When you trek with Take on Nepal, all main meals are included in the cost of the trek. At each tea house and trekking lodge, you’ll be provided with a menu to choose your meal from. Feedback in relation to the food on the trek is always positive, the menu caters for all tastes!

It is our strong recommendation that you order the traditional Nepalese meal of Dahl Baht for at least 1 or 2 of your daily meals. Dahl Baht consists of rice, vegetable curry and lentil soup. It is a meal that will meet most of your nutritional needs, whilst also being filling and tasty. The people of Nepal have a saying “Dahl Baht Power, 24 Hour!” meaning it provide the energy required for 24 hours.

What is the accommodation like on the Everest Base Camp Trek?

Accommodation is always on a twin share basis, in cozy lodges along the trekking route. The rooms are basic, they are small with two single beds. You’re provided with a blanket and pillow, but you need to have a sleeping bag to be comfortable and warm at night.

When staying in the lodges, most of your time (other than sleeping) will be spent in the dining room. These Tibetan-style timber dining rooms are an oasis after a day of trekking. They are warm, homely and filled with happy trekkers and guides chatting contently to one another.

Is the itinerary flexible?

Yes! We’re more than happy to adjust the itinerary to make your dream trek a reality. Some people choose to have additional days trekking, while other people are short on time and the itinerary needs to be adjusted to fit in with the time frame allowed. Our expert team can provide you with advice. If you have additional days to spare, we recommend that you join one of our city tours. Kathmandu has a lot to offer!

What should I bring with me?

This is itemized on each tour page. Please note, we highly recommend that you purchase as much as you can in Kathmandu, by purchasing quality goods in Nepal, you will be supporting the local economy.

Will I have internet and mobile phone reception during the trek?

This is your choice. You will have the option of purchasing internet (Everest Link).

Are there shops for me to buy essentials during the trek?

There are small tea houses and lodges along the trails, that sell some necessities. We highly recommend that you have everything you need, before commencing the trek, that way, everything you purchase along the trail will be additional luxuries (such as fruit, biscuits, pringles and soft drink). Prices along the trail are very high and this is out of necessity. We fully encourage you to buy luxury items along the way, in order to support the local economy.

Is it possible for me to have a woman guide?

Take on Nepal are very proud to be one of the only companies hiring and training a team of women. We work alongside some of the most vulnerable women in Nepal, providing them with opportunities that are unheard of within Nepal. Our young women guides are trailblazers, paving the way for other young women who wish to break free from the cycle of early marriage and poverty.

When we first started bringing young women along as trainee guides and porters, lodge owners and trekking guides were shocked, and would sometimes disapprove of what we were doing. Attitudes are slowly shifting and now if a woman guide/porter is not working with our group, we are asked about their whereabouts.

Nepal is a male dominated country. Female education is not valued and the expectation is early and more often than not, pre-arranged marriage. Our work with young women in Nepal begins in our co-founder Som Tamang’s home village of Batase. Through the humanitarian not for profit organisation “Friends of Himalayan Children Inc.” we ensure the girls in the village are given every opportunity to attend school. We break down barriers that stop young village girls from achieving their full potential. If the girls attend school and show motivation towards work opportunities, we support them to continue their education in Kathmandu, whilst also providing employment as trainee guides and porters with Take on Nepal. Hiring young village women is something that as a company we are most proud of.

Testimonials

There is no better way to see Nepal for the first time than doing a joint Volunteering program and Everest Base Camp trek with this incredible team. To see the work and incredible effort Som and his organisation put in all year round to create what they have, is just wonderful and the sense of involvement from this experience is like no other. I felt as though I found another family in everyone I shared my time with there. I don’t think there are many programs anywhere else in the world that give you a feeling as strong as this. It really sets fire to something in you that makes you want to start doing things, helping, changing, continue to see the children grow and keep in contact with everyone who was a part of the journey. Six weeks in Nepal could not have been spent any better, apart from staying longer. From running with incredible athletes through the Nepalese hills and witnessing the most beautiful smiles I’ve ever seen every day I spent there, to trekking to the base of the highest mountain in the world with people I could trust from spending the past few weeks with, I am over the moon I chose to go with Take on Nepal. I’ll be back very soon!

Alex Aves - February 2017

Take on Nepal was a life changing experience. Som and his awesome team of guides took us to some epic places but, more than this they showed us the real nepal. From spending time with local farmers, to hanging out with the village children from Batase. It was so much more than a trail running experience. Still, the Langtang area which, is less travelled, provided days and days of challenging trails and jaw dropping scenery. If theres anything worth doing in 2018, it is going to Nepal with the 'Take on Nepal' team. Lived it. Loved it.

Joel Fitzgerald - Australia, November 2017

Our time in Nepal has been truly special. Teaming up with Take on Nepal was invaluable as Mane and Prem guided us through so many aspects of this country, of which we have only just scratched the surface! We trekked to Annapurna Base Camp sharing many stories, laughs and songs along the way. Mane and Prem were awesome throughout, including when we needed to change some plans due to illness, and even helped us to fit in a visit to Chitwan National Park in our already tight itinerary, which was incredible! We came to Nepal wanting to trek with a company that provides opportunities to locals - they know their environment and culture best after all. We are so pleased to have experienced this adventure under the wing of Take and Nepal and support all the work they do.

Jessie Anne McMath and Grace Elizabeth Manners Wood

We chose Take On Nepal after hearing about them through family. What a fantastic choice it was for our family. There has been a personal touch in all aspects of our dealing with them from early conversations, booking and then throughout our time in Nepal. We were met at the airport and efficiently taken to our Hotel. We were taken around Kathmandu and assisted with all our needs. Once we started our Everest View trekking, we were looked after brilliantly. Take On Nepal ensure that their staff get to know you, provide support and encouragement and maintain a sense of humour too. I cannot speak highly enough about the guides and porters, they are wonderful young people, eager to assist and very supportive. It was such a delight to not have to worry about bookings, meals or rest stops. Everything was organised for us and around our needs. Thank you so much for everything. We can hardly wait to join Take On Nepal again in the future and catch up with you all again.

Jeannette Albert - Australia, January 2018

What an absolutely amazing experience trekking to Everest Base Camp with Take on Nepal! It was challenging and tough – without the support, expertise and assuredness of the TON staff, our group’s trek would not have been such a success. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to get to know all the staff (guides, training guides and porters) as friends even before our trek began. After my time with TON, I would definitely return to Nepal in a heartbeat to trek more of this wonderfully beautiful country.

Jeremy Chan - Australia, March 2017

I can honestly say that trekking to Everest Base Camp was one of the most incredible things I have ever done. Before commencing the trek we were told that a successful trek to EBC is reliant on ones mental and emotional resilience. As we trekked it became increasingly obvious to me that the mental side of the Everest game was something that could only be managed through the help of the people around me. The Take On Nepal team was there for myself and the group every step of the way and the relationship and bond we shared with them was something that went above and beyond what we saw amongst other trekkers and there guides. I plan on returning to Nepal in the near future and will definitely be trekking with the TON team again.

Bree Phillips - Australia, March 2017

What can we say except WOW- what a trip!! Thank you all for organising, it was truly amazing and not a trip I will easily forget. A country whose awe inspiring landscape is as humbling as its incredible people; sure to set fire to even the most experienced adventurers’ heart. Take On Nepal offered us an in-depth look at the culture and people and were integral in making sure our experience was truly once in a lifetime. Their passion for what they do and the smiles they wear everyday left as much an impression as the striking scenery. Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park was one of the most challenging experiences and one that will stay with me always. Speaking of which, the team were absolutely amazing and have left such a special place in both mine and Gui’s hearts- their smiles are firmly imprinted in our memory’s, so again, from the bottom of my heart – Dhanyabad/ThankYou!

Danny Crutchley - UK, June 2017

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