Namaste Treks & Expedition Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get there?
There are many different options to get to Nepal, where the majority of our trips originate from. We are more than happy to assist you
in finding what works best for you, to include airline choice, route choice, and side trips either before or after your adventure with us.
What kind of insurance do I need?
We require that you insure yourself against potentially expensive difficulties that may arise. First, Trip Cancellation Insurance may provide financial relief should you be forced to withdraw from the program before it even happens. Next, make sure you have adequate Travel Insurance for coverage should you have a problem during the trip. Medical care and evacuation in remote locations can be expensive.
What's included in the cost of the trip?
Costs Included in Trip Fee:
Transportation to and from the airport in Kathmandu
Hotel with breakfast in Kathmandu
All group camping supplies and trek lodges
All meals while trekking/climbing
Park fees and climbing permits
Sherpas, camp staff
Radio comms and satellite telephone equipment at Base Camp
Yaks and porters
Costs Not Included in Trip Fee:
International round-trip air fare and travel expenses USA-Nepal/KTM
Meals in Kathmandu (other than breakfast)
Excess baggage charges, airport taxes and Nepal entry visas
Personal sundries and beverages (Alcohol, canned/bottled drinks to include water)
Costs incurred as a result of delays or events beyond the control of NTE
required travel insurance policy (for trip cancellation, medical treatment, evacuation etc.)
Customary but optional tips for NTE guides and staff
What immunizations will I need?
Tetanus/Diphtheria: You should already have. Do you need a booster?
Polio: You should already have. Do you need a booster?
MMR: You should already have. Do you need a booster?
Meningitis: Recommended. Consult your physician.
Hepatitis A: Recommended. Consult your physician.
Hepatitis B: Not a bad idea. Ask your physician.
Cholera: Ask your physician. Not usually recommended any more.
Typhoid: Not a bad idea to be safe.
Rabies: The new vaccine is easy. Kathmandu and Nepal have rabid animals.
Malaria: No problem in Kathmandu, since we are above the zone of malaria, but if you plan on traveling to lower elevations in Nepal, or to certain parts of Thailand before/after the trip then malaria chemoprophylaxis is highly recommended.
We recommend that you visit the local Public Health Department for the most up to date info on travel requirements, or check the Center for Disease Control Website at www.cdc.gov.
How is our relationship with the local staff?
We are proud of the relationships we have built with our local staff over many years. They do a great job, we pay and tip them well, and they enjoy working for NTE. We make sure that the NTE porters have adequate clothing, equipment, shelter, sleeping arrangements, food, cooking equipment and water. Sick or injured porters are treated as soon as possible. All loads are weighed to ensure that porters are carrying loads that don't exceed their physical ability or legal limits. Porters are paid a fair wage for their work and are paid tip money directly from the tip pool at the end of the expedition.
How much trekking or climbing experience do I need?
For the Everest area and Annapurna Treks, no previous climbing experience or technical climbing skills are required. The hiking is on well established trails, though some may be rough do to the location or topography. but the terrain does not necessitate the use of crampons or an ice ax. Trekking poles can be very useful. Some very short and relatively easy sections of rock scrambling are also encountered, requiring "using of your hands" in a couple places.
How should I train for trekking in Nepal?
Good conditioning is the primary requirement for Trekking in the Everest and Annapurna areas. These are strenuous trips. Participants must be in sound "hiking shape" and capable of traveling for a full day with a light daypack (extra layer, water, snacks, camera, etc). Do not underestimate these mountains! Follow a conditioning program that will strengthen your lungs, legs and heart. Any hiking you can do before the trip will be of the most value. At home, we recommend stair climbing, bike riding and running hills.
What type of gear will I need?
The equipment list is meant to help you compile your personal gear for your high altitude trekking trip. Most items are required, while a few are optional. Please consider each item carefully and be sure you understand the function of each piece of equipment before you substitute or delete items from your duffle. Keep in mind that this list has been carefully compiled by your NTE guides from years of experience.
What food do I need to bring?
All meals on the climb and treks are included. You will be responsible for your bottled drinks and alcoholic beverages. You may want to bring powdered drink mixes for flavor in your water bottles. You may bring a personal stash of your favorite trail and snack foods, though there are many snack items available for purchase all along the trails (candy, crackers, cookies, Pringles, etc). Not available are things like Power Bars, Gu, or electrolyte replacement drink mixes. If you have particular dietary needs, please be sure to bring what you need.
Will I need to acquire a Visa for the trip?
Advanced visas are not required for entry into Nepal, you will simply purchase your visa on arrival at the airport in Kathmandu. Visa prices depend on the duration of your stay in Nepal. A single-entry visa valid for 15/30/90 days costs US$30/50/125. The Visa fee is payable in any major currency.
How should I pack for this trip?
We recommend using your daypack as a carry-on and checking one lockable duffle bag which will have all your personal gear in it. This bag will stay at the hotel while climbing/trekking for storage of your travel clothes and things you will not need during the trek. We will provide you with a trek duffle that you will put all your trekking or climbing gear in. Porters or yaks will carry your gear during the climb. We suggest that you use a travel wallet that you can hang around your neck and place inside your shirt. This is a safer way to carry your money and travel documents. Leave expensive jewelry and watches at home. We recommend carrying a couple of extra passport photos with you, as well as a color photocopy of the first pages of your passport. Your NTE guide will collect all passports for safe keeping in Kathmandu before leaving on the trek. Carry a pen with you for completing travel forms, and get to the airport early and make sure your luggage gets checked through to the correct destination.
How much money should I bring?
As soon as you get to Kathmandu you will need your Visa fee ($100 for climbers, $40 for trekkers). We recommend $300 for the Sherpa and porter staff tip pool. In addition to your Visa and tip money, we suggest $500 more, plus a credit card. You are better to have extra cash and not need it than to need it and not have it! There are some ATM's in Kathmandu, but can be very unreliable. You can exchange money into rupees at the hotel, or there are numerous money changer shops nearby. NOTE: everybody checks your money for counterfeit and no one takes old bills (bring NEW style US bills, not old style). Merchants will often try to give you ripped bills (rupees) for change. Tell them you want an un-ripped ones, otherwise you'll have difficulty spending it. You will need spending money for beverages, snacks, laundry, showers, internet use, charging of your electronics, etc. If you have extra left over rupees at the end of the trip, exchange them back to your home currency before you leave Nepal, otherwise you will not be able to change them once you leave the country. I prefer cash, but you will probably also want to bring a credit card as well. Remember that you will likely get hit by your bank with fees on foreign credit card purchases. If you plan to use your credit card you should call your bank and let them know you will be traveling abroad, otherwise using it might trigger a fraud alert on your account which could result in your card getting turned off.
How does the tip pool work?
Your lead guide will be available at any time during the trip to collect your tip money. Most people prefer to give it to the guide right away so that they don't have to worry about it. The tip pool will be split up among all the people who work for you during your trek: The porters, trek staff, Base Camp staff, climbing Sherpas, and guides. At the end of the trek, the tip money will be presented to the staff after our final dinner on the trail.
While it's always nice to have a doctor as a participant on our trips, we cannot guarantee a doctor's presence. We ask that you carefully complete the Medical Information form included in the registration materials. We need to be informed of any allergies you may have, medicines you are currently taking and any medical conditions that could possibly effect your ability to safely participate in and complete a climbing or trekking expedition.
In addition to the first aid items listed on the equipment list, there are a few additional medications that you should consider. These should be discussed with your personal physician and some will require a prescription. We want everyone to bring some of the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin and some Immodium in case of bad traveler's diarrhea. There is the possibility of Cipro resistant diarrhea in Nepal and Tibet so you should also bring some azithromycin ("Z-pack") which will work for this and also bronchial infection. A sleeping medication can be useful for napping on the international flights and for the first few days in Nepal (due to the big time change). We do not recommend the automatic use of Diamox while climbing but you might find a small dose (125mg) useful if altitude sickness symptoms appear. Discuss this and your other medication requirements with your physician. Any medication should be used only if necessary and use should be discussed thoroughly with your physician and with your guide before you take the medication. Health issues will be discussed during the expedition and we encourage you to contact us if you have any questions before or during the trip.
What about water and hydrating during the trip?
Staying well hydrated during a high altitude trip is one of the most important things your can do for your body. Water is NOT provided to you during your trip, but it is available every where we go and stay. There are a few of choices for acquiring water. Purchasing bottled water, purchasing boiled water from a lodge kitchen, or purchasing water from a lodge that needs to be treated by purification. An effective and inexpensive method is the use of iodine crystals or tablets. These are available commercially at mountaineering stores as a product called 'Polar Pure' or 'Potable Agua'. Filters, such as the ones made by MSR or Sawyer are also good treatment options. Either can be used or both can be used in combination. On the trek our recommendation is to plan on treating your water bottle with an iodine tablet (Potable Aqua) or other purification method. Purchasing bottled water is easy and readily available. The recycling of these bottles is a work in progress.