We all know that Everest Base Camp Trek is an adventure that includes a fair amount of walking every day. You need to walk continuously for 6-8 hours. So, most of us are concerned about ideas and information related to walking or day time activity. But what about the nights? After a whole day of rambling through the rocky terrain and relishing the sparkling peaks, what you need the most is a bed where you can lay your head. After all an intrepid adventurer seeking some raw Himalayan adventure also needs a peaceful sleep at the end of the day. So, accommodation in Everest Base Camp Trek is a crucial matter. And the region’s remoteness adds its importance more as accommodation can be a tricky affair in high altitudes. So, it’s a very sensible thing for every trekker to know about the accommodation facilities that are available during the Trek. So, here is all you need to know about accommodation in Everest Base Camp trek.
Hotel Everest Inn Lukla
Where to Stay?
During Everest Base Camp Trek, you will find numerous teahouses, lodges and hotels that provide accommodation facilities to make your well-earned sleep comfortable. You can also go for tented camps but it’s almost outdated as there are many accommodation providers along the trail, and camping trekking is environmentally not very friendly. So, most of the trekkers choose teahouses or lodges.
Teahouses are small outlets run by local people. They provide basic facilities like room with small beds and blankets; hot shower and dining services. The facilities are basically modest.
There are also some lodges with more luxurious amenities in major stopovers like Lukla, Phakding and Namche. They provide better services like comfortable beds with electric blankets, attached washroom, hot water showers and free WiFi services.
Hotels like Everest View Resort (one of the highest hotels in the world) and Yeti Mountain Home lodges (Lukla, Phakding, Monjo, Namche, Thame and Kongde – the highest hotel) provide deluxe facilities. They have spacious rooms with en suite bathrooms, heated rooms, thermos and electric blankets etc.
Hotel Everest View (3880m)/Photo Courtesy: Hotel Everest View
A Tea House in Monjo
Basically, rooms in teahouses are small with twin beds. The bed has a mattress, bed sheet, pillow and blanket. Night are extra chilly, so always make sure to bring a sleeping bag as there is a very less chance of getting extra blanket especially during peak season. Rooms can have simple furniture like table and chairs, in some cases nothing at all. Dorm rooms are also available. In some teahouses, you can also have single rooms and en-suite rooms but in limited number. However luxury lodges and hotels, as expected of, have more spacious room, en suite bathrooms, electric blankets, heated rooms, luxury furniture etc.
Twin Room in a Tea House
Toilet and Shower
You can find western style toilets throughout the route but most of the time they are very basic. You have to arrange toilet paper by yourself and you are not supposed to flush it down the pan. You have to trash it in a bin placed next to it. As water gets frozen, toilet paper tends to block the drain. So, follow it with all honesty. Hot Shower facility is available but using it incurs an extra cost from $5 – $10 per shower. Shower room is generally a small common room with a hot water tap. In most cases, water is heated by solar power. You have to arrange toiletries and towel on your own. In deluxe room, you can also get attached shower facility. In luxury lodges and hotels, you will have 24 hour running hot shower facility.
Hotels, lodges and some teahouses (up to Namche) provide laundry facility with extra charge depending on the number and type of clothes (not exceeding $1/2 per piece). Beyond Namche, you can ask for hot water and wash yourself. This also incurs extra cost (approximately $2/3 per bucket) as in high altitude fuel is really scarce. You also need to keep in mind that days are usually not very warm and sunlight hour is short. So, while washing make sure the day is really warm and the next day is acclimatization/rest day. Beyond Dingboche (second last stopover before reaching Base Camp), normally people don’t think of washing clothes because of the freezing temperature.
Every tea house, lodge and hotel has a big dining room with a big heater in the middle of the room. The heaters are fuelled with firewood (in lower elevation) and yak dung. Such rooms are communal rooms where you eat, relax and socialize. Some dining rooms also have a television set and a bookshelf with a small collection of books. Generally people tend to spend most of their evenings in dining room as such rooms are warm and lively with full of people. Dining menu of teahouses has limited options of continental and local foods. They have breakfast and lunch/dinner menu with simple choices of beverage.
A Tea House Dining Room in Everest Region
Interior of a tea house in Pheriche
As with the other services, the price of accommodation in Everest Base Trek also depends on the altitude. As you go higher, the price also tends to be higher though the services tend to be more basic. The accommodation price is somewhere between $2 to $5 in teahouses. In teahouses, you are expected to eat where you stay. Otherwise, you may have to pay twice or thrice the price of the regular room price if you are not eating. As you won’t find fancy restaurants or many dining choices in most of the places, it’s sensible to eat where you stay. Though teahouses have budget price, the price in some luxury lodges and hotels can go as high as $200+ depending on the facilities. You can also find mid-range rooms from $20-$40. In places like Lukla, Phakding, Monjo, Namche, Syangboche, Kongde and Thame, you have the options of mid-range and high range accommodation facility.
Wifi service is available in lower altitudes. You have to pay extra charge for this service about $5 (per stay) up to Namche though you can’t be really sure about signal strength. Beyond Namche, teahouses normally don’t have WiFi facility. A better option is to use Everest Link network which works throughout the region. It has better connectivity and faster speed. You can buy the data package at approximately $2 (10GB) and $3 (30 GB) valid for 30 days. You can also use Ncell and NTC network but they don’t work properly in some places as you go higher.
Everest region has the facility of electricity powered by hydro-electricity in lower elevation and solar energy in higher elevation. So, teahouses, lodges and hotels have electricity facility. But due to remoteness and altitude, people have to use it economically. In teahouses there won’t be charging plugs in rooms. Charging facility is available in dining room (common room) with extra charge ranging from $5 to $10 (depending on the devices like mobile phones, camera battery, power bank etc.) But, most of the time such facility is fully packed. So, it is sensible to bring a fully charged power bank. Rooms, washrooms, shower and corridors are well lit. So, you won’t have much problem during night time. However, it’s better to have a head lamp or torch handy. In some teahouses, you can also get electric blanket and electric heater for a charge of about $20 per night.
Food is an extremely important part of any travelling and when it comes to high altitude adventure like Everest Base Camp Trek, its importance becomes even more prominent. Your level of performance and degree of fun during trek is highly dependent on what and how you eat. So, it’s very crucial to know about the food varieties, their availability and “do’s & don’ts” of eating during Everest Base Camp Trek. Despite being far-off region, Everest Region is more comfortable compared to other trekking regions of Nepal when it comes to food specifics. You don’t have to stress much about food but still it’s not an easy affair like the luxury you enjoy back home. Better prepared than be surprised (or shocked?)! So, here are few things you need to know about food during your Everest Base Camp Trek.
Lunch at Thukla during Everest Base Camp Trek
Where do you eat?
A Teahouse Dining Hall at Pheriche in Everest Region
It’s very rare to find fancy outlets for food and drink during the trek. However, in some busier hubs like Lukla, Phakding, Namche, you can find nice restaurants, cozy pubs and cafes with wider range of choices. Otherwise, in most of the places, you eat at the tea houses that are strewn along the trail. They provide modest food and lodging facilities (with exception of some luxury lodges that provide upscale services). Every tea house has a big dining room, most of them with a big heater in the middle to keep you warm during evenings. Normally, such rooms are more than an eating area as it also serves as a place for gathering, socializing with fellow trekkers or passing time reading books and doing other leisurely stuffs. You are normally expected by the tea house owners (a kind of de facto thing) to have breakfast and dinner at the place where you sleep. In some cases, if you don’t dine at your lodge, you may also have to pay twice thrice or maybe ten times the normal price of the room for your stay. So, it’s better to eat where you spend the night …this way you will also save yourself from the hassle of haunting an eating place at the hour when all you need is a peaceful rest. Lunch is a more flexible affair. You have lunch somewhere in the mid-way, in one of the teahouses you come across.
What is available?
A lunch platter of bread, fries, fried chicken, boiled vegetables, fried mushroom, cheese balls and momo
As expected of any remote areas with very limited option of transportation, food menu in Everest region won’t come with extremely wide varieties of options. So, you need to compromise a bit with your palate. However, tea houses have a decent range of continental and local foods. Most of the teahouses have similar menus. In breakfast, you can find items of bread, eggs, porridge, cereals like muesli and corn flakes, pan cake, hash browns, fries, chapatis etc. Lunch and dinner menu is same, in which you find items of some vegetables (limited option), spaghetti, pizza, noodles, sandwich, soup, momo etc. Fruit is rare and you don’t find any seafood in the menu. Nepali staple diet “Daal Bhaat”, which is a platter of boiled rice, curry, lentil soup and pickles is available everywhere. You can also find simple choices of hot beverages that include different types of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, hot lemon honey etc. In some places, you can also find simple dessert menu that include apple pie, chocolate roll, custard and pudding.
Daal Bhaat, a staple diet of Nepali, is a platter of rice, curry, lentil soup, pickle etc. However, it can have certain modification as in the picture- it has an omelette and no pickle.
What is the price range?
As almost every food item is generally transported from Kathmandu via planes (or from lower valleys) and carried up higher by porters, yaks and zokyos, the prices tend to be much higher than in Kathmandu. With the increase in altitude, the price also increases. In average, you will spend about $8 for a meal including hot beverage. So, for 3 meals a day, it will total about $24. You can also get snacks like chips, energy bars and chocolates. Your expense on snacks depends on how frequent nibbler you are!
Drink Menu at World’s Highest Bakery Cafe at Lobuche (Prices in Nepali Rupees)
Drink Menu at one of the teahouses in Deboche (Prices in Nepali Rupees)
Keeping yourself hydrated is quite important during the trek. Bottled water is available throughout the trail, with price ranging from $1 to $4 per bottle (1 liter). If you are travelling through a travel agency, they will arrange filtered water for you. However, in Gorak Shep (the last stopover of Everest Base Camp Trek), you have to buy bottled water as tap water is not available due to water scarcity. It’s recommended that you carry chlorine pills or sterilizing device just in case you run out of filtered water or bottled water in the middle of your way.
Food Tips during Everest Base Camp Trek:
It’s better to eat soupy foods like noodles, soups, stew etc. as they are quite good in high altitude.
Normally, the standard meal number is three (breakfast, lunch and dinner) with snacking as per your wish. So, don’t over stuff yourself while eating as it might be difficult to walk with heavy stomach. You may also feel lethargic and experience stomach cramps in heavy stomach.
Instant coffee is easily available throughout the trail. However, it is recommended to reduce your caffeine intake. You can substitute coffee with hot drinks like tea, honey lemon, hot orange, hot mango etc.
Alcohol consumption can cause serious health issues at higher altitudes. So, you should refrain from taking alcoholic drinks. Nonetheless, you can always party at the end of your trek in Lukla. So, curve your craving till then!
Due to altitude, you are less likely to feel thirsty. However, it is necessary to drink plenty of water. You should ensure 3-4 liters of liquid intake per day including water, soup and tea.
As you need a lot of energy while trekking, you should take food that are rich in carbohydrates like porridge, rice, pasta etc. But you also need to take protein giving foods like eggs, lentils etc. and vitamin giving foods like available vegetables and fruits to make your diet balanced. You can also take food supplement if it is an essential part of your diet.
Though meat has rich nutritional value, consuming meat is not recommended during the trek. Slaughtering is not allowed in the region due to religious principles. So, all the meat is transported from Kathmandu or lower altitude to Lukla and then carried by zokyos or porters to its destination without proper refrigeration. During this process, the meat loses its freshness and becomes unhygienic.
To ensure freshness of foods, eat at busy teahouses as they are more likely to have food with shorter storage life.
Avoid junk food and oily food as much as possible as it becomes difficult to digest such foods.
Carry dry fruits, nuts, energy bars and chocolates. They will constantly refill you with energy during much needed time.
Personal hygiene is quite important. Make sure you wash your hands or use sanitizers as frequently as possible. Washing your hands may not be possible all the time, so keep a hand sanitizer always handy!
Why to Visit Nepal in 2020? The answer is simple! The Shangri-la, Himalayan jewel, trekkers’ paradise – Nepal boasts a long list of eulogies in its name. Indeed Nepal, a tiny country tucked between two Asian giants China and India, defines what it means to be “Small is beautiful”. The land of contrasts and diversity, the country has world’s 8 highest mountains and world’s deepest gorge; roaring Himalayan rivers and tranquil freshwater lakes; evergreen tropical forests of Bengal Tiger and the home of Snow Leopard! The culture is as diverse as its landscape – more than 100 ethnic groups with their own religion and language coexist in this deceptively small country. You can also witness the incredible fusion of Buddhism and Hinduism, which is one of its kind, not to be found elsewhere. So, the land is simply a replica of heaven if there exists any. Now, this land of wonders is all set to welcome 20 million visitors in “Visit Nepal 2020” campaign.
The campaign is launched by Nepal Government as a part of its promotional initiative to develop Nepal as a premier destination among international travelling community. However, this is not the first time Nepal Government is promoting the country. It all began in 1998, when the country launched its first promotional campaign as Visit Nepal 1998, followed by another one in 2011 as Nepal Tourism Year. Following these years’ successes, Nepal is now anticipating the 2020 campaign with much hope and excitement. Though, Nepal has always lured travellers but Visit Nepal Year 2020 is going to be extra delightful. So, if you are new to the country, the time is not to be missed to make your debut Himalayan adventure. Or, if you have already been here, be prepared to make your trip more eventful. We have listed some of the amazing things you can do while you are in Nepal in 2020.
Though it may sound like a cliché to say that Nepal is a trekkers’ paradise, it is in fact a big truth! Mountains are dreamlike, Hills are mystifying, Valleys are enchanting, and most importantly options are plenty! What else do hungry feet need? Trekking in Nepal normally means walking from low elevated mid-hill towns, passing through lush green rolling hills and gradually gaining elevation to the Himalayan landmarks where the natural vistas are matchless. Depending on your wish and fitness level, trekking adventure of any grade and any length can be done. All you need is your willingness to meet the mountains.
If mountains bring out the best in you, or you crave for some serious alpine adventure, Nepal is by default the best destination. The wide section of 800 kilometer long Nepali Himalayan section that includes world’s 8 highest mountains offers world class mountaineering adventures. Either you are a beginner or an old hand at mountains, you have a wide range of choices from less technical 5/6000m+ (trekking peaks) to highly technical eight thousanders (expedition peaks). There are more than 300 mountains in Nepal that are open for climbing with more than 100 virgin peaks. So, the choices are endless.
It’s quite understandable that Nepal always conjures up the world of towering mountains and distant valleys in everyone’s mind. However, Nepal is not just about meeting mountains only. Beside its natural wonders, the country is also a home to more than 100 ethnic groups resulting in diverse cultural displays. The country is a proud owner of various languages, religions including the unique fusion of Buddhism and Hinduism, multiple festivals, colorful celebrations, age-old folklores and unique practices. It’s not for nothing that Nepal is called a cultural trove of South Asia! Cultural tours of ancient towns and heritage sites are a great way to experience the cultural wonders of Nepal.
Nepal’s unique topography and extreme altitudinal range from 67m in the south to 8848 m (Mt Everest) in the north caters 11 bio-climatic zones resulting in one of the world’s most treasured biodiversity. Though Nepal occupies about 0.1 % of the world’s landmass, it harbors 3.2 % and 1.1 % of the world’s known flora and fauna. This rich natural heritage is preserved in country’s 20 protected areas (10 national parks, 3 wildlife reserves, 6 conservation areas and 1 hunting reserve). So, Nepal is a paradise for wildlife lovers and bird watchers. You can do ample of activities from thrilling jungle safaris to tranquil bird watching sessions in the exotic wilderness of Nepal.
As if mountaineering, trekking, cultural tours, wildlife tours aren’t just enough! Nepal also hosts a wide variety of adventure sports ranging from extreme aerial sport like Everest Skydive to more traditional sport like mountain biking. The winding Himalayan rivers, extreme terrains, deep gorges and stupendous waterfalls just make perfect spots for adrenaline junkies and outdoor adventurers to unleash their mad monkeys. Skydiving, Bunjee Jumping, Paragliding, Ultra light flight, White Water Rafting, Mountain Biking, Canyoning, Zip Flying and Rock Climbing are very popular among adventure lovers. So, either you are a soft adventurer or an intrepid soul, Nepal has brilliant things for you!
Honey Hunter at Work (pic credit: The Guardian)
Nepal is full of surprises! You might have already seen half of the mountains but the country still has so many things to show you. There are many unique things, definitely not as bizarre as going for yeti hunting, but are still not less interesting than any trendy activities. Honey Hunting, Shamanism Tour, Photography Tour, Culinary Tour, Motor Bike Tour, Volunteering, Visiting off the beaten places, Learning Buddhism, and Yoga and Meditation Tour are just some of the unique things you can do here. It is as if you spend your entire life here and you would never be able to see everything.
The mind is everything. What you think you become. — Buddha! One of the greatest truths Buddha has spoken clearly attests the importance of our mind in our deeds. Our mind’s under working does impact hugely in whatever we do or what we make of ourselves. The prominence of mind is even more pertinent if we are undertaking an adventure in Nepal like Everest Base Camp Trekking, which can be both apprehensive and overwhelming at the same time. Normally people focus on physical fitness only when they think of such adventure, but it’s equally important, or even more, to be mentally prepared to go out of your comfort zone and push your limits.
It is generally considered that mental fortitude is something one is born with. But mental fitness is just like physical fitness that can be developed and maintained. You can adopt some strategies to rely on when you are not in your element, especially when the trek gets difficult and you start feeling your inner self shaking. Below are a few ideas that will help you before and during Everest Base Camp Trekking:
Know What You Are Doing and Why
Be clear about your adventure thoroughly. You also need to understand why you are doing this and what it means to you. Though the adventure is same, people have their own purpose of doing it. Knowing about your trip and your objective prepares you for what to expect. You will be in alignment with your convictions. This way, whatever comes next won’t be shockingly surprising to you. Do a bit of soul-searching interview with yourself. Remember you will be counting on yourself, and no one else!
Just now, we have agreed to think but it doesn’t mean you need to think it over and over. Stop over thinking! It’s ok to be excited about your trip but being anxious or obsessive will just rob you off your peace of mind and you will be tired and drained even before you start your trip. Even during the trip at the time of challenging moments like longer trails, high passes or sheer descent, stay focused and seize the moment but don’t carry the burden of challenges in your mind all the time. If you feel the strain is too much, let your mind relax and wander and think about pleasant things you have done – there is no harm in being a little escapist!
Break into Sections
Everest Base Camp trek is a long and challenging adventure, about 10 days’ trekking in the wilderness of the Himalayas. So it’s easy to feel lost or overwhelmed due to the enormity of the adventure. Breaking it into smaller phases will make things achievable. You can divide the trip into sections like pre-trekking, during trekking and post trekking, and even smaller sections while doing trekking. Just concentrate on the section you are doing that day. Like a Zen monk be “here and now”. This way, you won’t be succumbed to the pressure of the adventure.
No Short Cuts
Though slow and steady has been outdated now, it’s still the way of mountains. So, don’t attempt any quick fix as the trail is long and not easy. Don’t haste, learn the art of patience. As mountain life has its own pace, there is no sense in being carried away by your impulses and emotions. Adventure is not a race – Relax, Enjoy and Take Your Time!
Learn to Compromise
Trekking is of course a kind of “me-time” but the plain fact is it’s not an indulgence or luxury. It could be a bit easier in other parts of the world, but in the Himalayas – adventure does come with price. Terrain is rugged, temperature is extreme, region is remote and life is difficult. So, naturally facilities are basic. Accommodation is in basic teahouses with basic food and amenities. And most of the time choices are limited. For a western traveller, you really need to stretch your comfort zone. So, be prepared to have a different kind of experience.
In the land of mountains, we go by their rules. Respect the mountains and people. Be open minded and shed your judgements. Cultivate child-like curiosity. This way you can let go much of the mental strains that can be caused by new environment. The thumb rule is “Wander and Wonder” – the rest will be fine!
Everest Base Camp Trek is love at first sight! Whoever hears about it falls for it. But this beautiful package of adventure comes with some sort of challenges. That’s why whoever thinks of doing this trek asks one mandatory question “How fit do I need to be” or “What is the fitness level for Everest Base Camp Trek?”
Though the question connotes some sort of apprehension, the answer is simple “People of moderate fitness level can do it!” Ah such a relief! It is actually true that you don’t need to be super fit or in best shape with athlete physique. Everest Base Camp Trek is not technical and you don’t need previous experience in altitudes. But the “moderate level of fitness for Everest Base Camp Trek” does demand some efforts from your side. After all you are covering 120 km (round trip) gaining approximately 300 m each day in one of the most extreme terrains in the world.
So, keeping fit does help a lot. But you don’t need to freak out! Trekking in Nepal requires some sort of playful seriousness. You should be concerned but without overshadowing the fun part. In short, with right preparation, right pace and right attitude, the mountains will welcome you wholeheartedly!
Here is how you need to train yourself for Everest Base Camp Trek.
Tip 1: Walk Walk Walk
All you will be doing in the trek is hiking, not just in Everest Base Camp Trek but in every trekking in Nepal. You will be walking for 9-10 days with an average of 5-8 hours (approx. 15 km) per day. Though the distance you cover doesn’t sound very challenging but you will be basically walking uphill on rocky terrain with your each step gaining altitude. So, importance of hiking practice is not an overstatement.
Practising hiking helps you to get used to with the pace. Begin 7-8 weeks prior to the trek with about 2 hours each day and slowly increase the duration up to 5/6 hours. The best thing to do is simulation hiking in wilderness carrying some weight. This way you will know the spot in your body you need to strengthen. Don’t forget to wear the hiking boots you will be using in the trek as new shoes can give blisters. The thought of it alone can give you a nightmare! Try the boots in some steep terrain and try to find trouble spots. Lightweight boots with good ankle support, plenty of toe room for long descents, a stiff sole to lessen twisting torsion are the best.
Tip 2: Cardio Workouts
Any kind of cardio workout is good for Everest Base Camp Trek. It can be simple jogging, swimming, cycling or even treadmill walking. Or you can take help from YouTube where you can get many great ideas. Just make sure that you experience deeper breathing and light sweating during the workouts. You can do it about 30-45 minutes 2 or 3 times a week. It helps your body to work hard and adjust your pace with less oxygen. Though fitness level doesn’t determine how easily you acclimatize, cardio workouts will optimize your endurance chances. It will allow you to enjoy the views and bask in the beauty of the region rather than you bending over and struggling to catch your breath.
Tip 3: Strength Training
Trekking is simply walking, a basic natural activity humans have been doing all the time. However while trekking in Nepal, we do it in low oxygen conditions, which makes our breathing a bit harder and we get tired much faster. So, it’s highly beneficial if you increase your endurance and work on the leg muscles. Though the above mentioned tips (hiking and cardio) will help you a lot, the strength workouts will definitely improve your trekking performance. So, you can include squats, pull ups, push ups, weighted step- ups and lunges in your regular strength routine, about 30-45 minutes 2 or 3 times a week. You can schedule cardio and strength alternatively. Don’t overdo it, take your time and schedule it comfortably.
Finally, the most important tip is you should always consult your doctor before taking trekking challenges. It’s really important to know your body. Though it’s your soul that takes the pleasure of the experience, your body is going to bear the whole thrust. So, fitness for Everest Base Camp is not overrated. However, let me repeat once again, physical fitness doesn’t guarantee acclimatization but your fitness level does make the difference on how you experience your adventure. So, be fit, the rest will be fine!