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Thread: How easy is it to get on a trek in Kathmandu without booking in advance?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    9

    Default How easy is it to get on a trek in Kathmandu without booking in advance?

    Hi all,
    Me and my other half have got 3 weeks in Nepal slotted into our round the world trip. We want to do a trek and was thinking something like 15 days. We have heard good things about Everest base camp and Annapura. We would probably be looking to join a group and stay in guesthouses rather than camp. How easy is it to get on a trek with a reputable firm if we turn up in Kathmandu without anything planned? How much do they generally cost? We will be arriving in mid May.

    Also a couple of Q's if people would be so kind (I have spend some evenings on google trying to find answers, but its been difficult to get anything definitive)

    - We planned on carrying our backpacks on the trek (both 70L) is this the done thing? We are both of average fitness and live a health lifestyle and go to the gym regularly.

    - I read it's nescasarry to take a sleeping bag. Does this still stand if using guest houses?

    - We are going in mid May, aside decent base layers and wind stoppers etc, will cold weather clothing be necessary? How cold does it get a 5000m in mid May

    - How much cash should you take on a trek since I guess there are no ATM's once your on the trail.

    -Anyone recomend any firms? or treks?

    Any other pointers which might help newbies to this game would also be appreciated.

    Thanks a lot,
    Col.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    New Delhi, India
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: How easy is it to get on a trek in Kathmandu without booking in advance?

    Hi Col,

    1. Yes, u can land up in KTM and book ur trek. Literally, hundreds of trekking agencies. It would be better if u did some research on trekking cos, shortlisted a few and then met them face to face in KTM ... before booking.

    2. The first time I did EBC, I carried my 65L rucksack. I found that I was dead tired at the end of the day, and just wanted to crash. In my next EBC trek, we hired porters ... much easier for me and really enjoyed the trek more. U will find lots of trekkers with porters and some wiithout. I would recommend hiring a porter.

    3. Tea houses give u blankets for the nite. I normally sleep in a silk liner with the lodge's blankets. However, its recommended to carry sleeping bags ... as an emergency. If u do not want to carry sleeping bags in ur round the world tour, u can hire good clean sleeping bags in Thamel, KTM .... the shop Shona's is recommended for that.

    4. Mid May might be a showstopper. I believe, that is the start of the monsoon season. Anyway, I will prefer if someone who has actually trekked in mid May to answer this question.

    5. Budget for USD 30-50 per day per person on an average for EBC. This is for food, drinks, lodging. Obviously, the higher end figure is for good lodges with attached bathroom (at some places). Porter will cost around USD 15-20 per day all inclusive. Guide will be USD 25-30 per day. Tips extra. Pls take the cash in Nepali rupees ..... lots of paper to be carried !!!!!!

    6. Recommended agencies .... I hope someone helps u with this.

    Tips: Carry lots of anti-bacterial wipes, and clean ur hands before eating. Carry ur own toilet paper. Obviously, same holds true for feminine hygine products. Head lamp is a must for each of u. I would recommend the Trailblazer guide on Trekking in the Everest region. The tea houses are clean ... but, very basic, simple with no frills. In 15 days, u can do the EBC trek flying in/out of Lukla .... without Gokyo. Keep a couple of days margin at Luka on way back .... for bad weather which stops flights. Be prepared for the Lukla flight and landing .... there are lots of videos on youtube.

    U will luv trekking in Nepal ... and will be back for more !!!! Nepal trekking has some of the highest repeat travellers.

    cheers,
    - manish

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: How easy is it to get on a trek in Kathmandu without booking in advance?

    Hi Mannis,
    Thanks very much for your input. Very much appriciated. Let me digest it properly and I'm sure I will have some questions for you

    Intrigued about the Lukla flight!!!

    Col.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: How easy is it to get on a trek in Kathmandu without booking in advance?

    With two of you, you might consider simply getting your own guide and porter or a porter guide (a person who will guide and help carry some of your load). Porters will have little or no English, a guide should passable English and a porter guide will be somewhere in between. Trekking without a group will allow flexibility that traveling with a larger group won't and the difference in price should be minimal. If you are having an off day and want to rest, you will be happy to be able to adjust your schedule. As for socialization, there will be plenty of trekkers in the lodge each night without having to be committed to a group itinerary.

    You don't need a guide in the Everest region, but they do add a lot to the experience and be helpful in arranging flights and rooms. For that matter you can carry your own load, but unless you are extremely fit, have a lot of time to adust to the elevation or enjoy suffering, you will appreciate having a porter. For most trekkers getting their own bottom up the hills in the increasing rarefied air is hard enough without a full pack!

    A good sleeping bag is a must and a very warm coat is nearly a must. While trekking during the day will likely be very pleasant in the strong sun, it will be bitter bitter cold at night (even in your room). Having your water bottle filled with boiled water at bedtime is a great help in getting your bag warmed up and will provide your morning hydration.

    If you have prepaid an agency for food and lodging, bring enough rupees to cover the sweets, extra drinks, showers and tips. You won't give your tips until you get back to Lukla, where if necessary you'll be able to convert more currency.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: How easy is it to get on a trek in Kathmandu without booking in advance?

    Hi James,
    Thanks for your input. It's a good point about the added flexibility that traveling with just the two of us will offer. Plenty of food for thought, thanks.
    Col.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Espoo,Finland
    Posts
    618

    Default Re: How easy is it to get on a trek in Kathmandu without booking in advance?

    - We planned on carrying our backpacks on the trek (both 70L) is this the done thing? We are both of average fitness and live a health lifestyle and go to the gym regularly.
    It is perfectly fine to carry your own gear if you want to. That said, in Nepal every Nepali who can afford it hires a porter, as doing physical labor is a low caste thing. Locals might wonder why a rich westerner is carrying a load, but they are geting used to seeing it. You do not really need all that much stuff and can leave things at the hotel in Kathmandu for safekeeping. 70 liter packs are big enough, too big actually if you are sensible with you packing.

    - I read it's nescasarry to take a sleeping bag. Does this still stand if using guest houses?
    Lodges do usually have blankets, but I would rather have a sleeping bag. At above 4500m the night temperature in the lodge might easily be -10C, not nice with a dirty blanket.

    - We are going in mid May, aside decent base layers and wind stoppers etc, will cold weather clothing be necessary? How cold does it get a 5000m in mid May
    Fleece is a must, most people also take a down jacket for the evenings. Also wool mittens, cap etc. Nights can be -20C.

    - How much cash should you take on a trek since I guess there are no ATM's once your on the trail.
    Enough to pay for everything and then some. It is not possible to get more money while trekking, and exchanging money for rupees up there means 5-8% worse rates than what you get in Kathmandu. To be on the safe side calculate $30 worth of rupees per day of trekking, and then some safety reserve which you will need in Kathmandu anyway after the trek.

    -Anyone recomend any firms? or treks?
    If you want to go by yourself you need no companies or "treks". Just get the paperwork done (TIMS card & Sagarmatha national park ticket) and go. You have to buy the flight tickets form an agency, though. You should realize that the Lukla flights are not reliable in May, you might have to wait for the planes to fly for a few days each direction, especially getting back, as the monsoon is approaching.
    Last edited by Petrus; 11th May 2013 at 06:12 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: How easy is it to get on a trek in Kathmandu without booking in advance?

    Thanks Petrus. Great info you have provided.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Kathmandu,Nepal
    Posts
    111

    Default Re: How easy is it to get on a trek in Kathmandu without booking in advance?

    Hi there!
    If you carry your things then You will not need to join any agent you will just need to arrange flight ticket. it cost you around 140$ one way. its a bit tricky to get ticket because its mostly booked in advance.
    good luck

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: How easy is it to get on a trek in Kathmandu without booking in advance?

    Thanks Guide4Trek, How far in advance do the tickets need to be booked for Lukla flight?

    At this time of year, will there be any difficulty finding a bed in tea houses?

    Cheers,
    Colin.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Espoo,Finland
    Posts
    618

    Default Re: How easy is it to get on a trek in Kathmandu without booking in advance?

    You can get a ticket for the next day flight, but if they fly is another matter.

    Teahouses/lodges are mostly empty now. In 2009, a week later than now, the occupancy rate was about 15% in lower level, about 5-60% at the highest lodges.

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