Current as of: July 23, 2024 - 17:35

Everest & Gokyo Lakes Circuit

Everest & Gokyo Lakes Circuit Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: Nepal
  • Programmes: Walking & Trekking
  • Activity Level:

    6 out of 7 - Challenging & Tough

  • 20 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 19 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: TNE
  • Carbon Footprint: 15kg CO2e

Trip Overview

Embark on a circular trek via the Gokyo Lakes, crossing the Cho La pass to Everest Base Camp

This circular Everest Base Camp trek explores the heart of the Sherpa homeland, from Namche Bazaar to the Gokyo Valley, crossing the glaciated Cho La pass and onto the classic route to Everest Base Camp used by the great climbing parties. Allowing ample time for acclimatisation, we can explore this high mountain wilderness, the quieter Gokyo Valley plus the main Everest trails. Our goal is Everest Base Camp on the Khumbu Glacier with the chance to climb Kala Pattar (18,190ft/5,545m) for fabulous close-up views of Mount Everest.

Why trek with Exodus?

  • One of the highest staff-to-traveller ratios on the trek with one staff member to every four travellers
  • More than 30 years’ experience organising treks in Nepal
  • Carefully planned ascent rates and itineraries with built-in acclimatisation and contingency days
  • Established protocol for Lukla flight delays
  • Exodus annually commissions independent air-safety audits on domestic carriers in Nepal and only use those approved as part of the audit
  • Experienced English-speaking local leaders who are qualified in first aid and trained to recognise and deal with altitude sickness
  • All staff (leaders, guides and porters) are fully insured and paid a fair wage
  • Staff carry oxygen, a first-aid kit, and self-assessment acute mountain sickness cards, used to monitor every traveller at altitude
  • Speak to Exodus office staff who have done the trek themselves

At a Glance

  • Three nights in standard hotels and 15 nights in teahouses
  • 15 days of walking with full porterage
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus tour leader and local staff. Minimum age: 18
  • Altitude maximum: 18,190ft (5,545m); average: 13,450ft (4,100m)
  • Travel by private minibus and two domestic flights
  • Staff carry oxygen and a first-aid kit on trek
  • 16 October 2025 departure led by Valerie Parkinson, Wanderlust World Guide Awards Winner 2021

Highlights

  • Enjoy a circular trek via the quieter Gokyo Valley
  • Stay beside the azure glacial lake at Gokyo
  • Climb Gokyo Ri for magnificent views of the Himalaya including four 8,000m peaks: Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu
  • Cross the Ngozumpo Glacier and conquer the Cho La pass
  • Ascend Kala Pattar and Gokyo Ri for views of Everest and other Himalaya giants
  • Trek to Everest Base Camp and stand at the foot of the highest mountain on Earth

Is This Trip for You?

This trek is graded Activity Level 6 (Challenging & Tough) with 15 days of walking and full porterage throughout. You need only carry your daypack. For more information on our trip gradings please visit the Activity Level Guidelines page. If you have any queries about the difficulty of the trip please do not hesitate to contact us.  

Most of the walking is at relatively high altitude. The maximum altitude is 18,190ft (5,545m) with the average being 13,450ft (4,100m), please refer to the Altitude Warning within the Trip Notes. The itinerary is designed with built-in acclimatisation days to maximise the chance of successfully crossing the Cho La pass, reaching Base Camp and climbing Gokyo Ri and Kala Pattar. The reward is panoramic views spanning pristine glacial lakes, expansive glaciers and the highest mountains in the world.

Anyone attempting this trek should be confident in their physical fitness and ideally have previous experience of trekking at altitude.

This circuit is tougher than the classic Everest Base Camp trek as it involves a long, demanding crossing of the Cho La pass (17,780ft/5,420m). This entails a very steep ascent and descent on rocky trails, which can be icy; there is always ice and snow at the top as we cross a glacier. There are chains on the steep ascent up the Cho La.

Besides the pass, most of the walking is on well-established trails but there may be snow and ice at the highest points of the trek on any departure. Although daytime temperatures can be very pleasant, the nights will be cold. At Gokyo and around the Base Camp area it can be well below freezing, especially on the winter departures. In very bad conditions or after very heavy snowfall, Cho La may be impassable, in which case we take a lower route. The trail also crosses a few modern suspension bridges with mesh sides; anyone with a strong fear of heights or vertigo may find them difficult.

This trip includes domestic flights – please refer to the Transport section of the Trip Notes for information about flight safety in Nepal.

Walking hours stated within the itinerary are given as approximates only. Timings exclude lunch stops and will vary depending on the group’s pace.

To help you better prepare for your trip, please also see our Nepal Destination Guide.

Nepal flight safety

Many of our treks in Nepal use domestic flights to reach the trekking areas. The mountainous Nepalese terrain is subject to changeable weather, which makes flying conditions complex and challenging, and unfortunately there are significantly more incidents here than in other countries, including fatalities. The EU highlighted the poor safety record in Nepal in 2013 by including all Nepalese-registered airlines on the EU banned list, which prevents them from flying in EU airspace. While no Nepalese-registered airlines currently fly within the EU, the EU instigated this ban to highlight the risk of flying in Nepal to EU citizens. These airlines are unlikely to be members of any internationally recognised safety audit systems and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Nepal does not operate to the same standards as those of Western nations.

Flying within Nepal is therefore a known risk and we strongly encourage you to consider this carefully before booking. We suggest you refer to the following sources:

In response to concerns over this safety record, Exodus arranges for independent air-safety auditors to visit Nepal annually to assess the suitability of the available carriers. We then restrict our use to only those approved as part of this audit. In emergency situations, we will need to use helicopters, so we also have a list of approved helicopter carriers. Should concerns arise regarding the safety of an airline on our approved list, we remove the carrier from the list immediately, and it would only be reinstated once our air-safety auditors are confident the airline meets acceptable safety standards.

We appreciate you may have concerns about flying within Nepal, so we ask that you please consider all the information above when deciding to book this trip.

Internal flight delays

Adverse weather conditions at Lukla airport occasionally mean that flights to/from Kathmandu cannot operate. We include an additional day at the end of the itinerary to allow for this but please note that persistent bad weather may delay the start of your trek or your return to Kathmandu.

Should there be a lengthy delay at the start of a trip, we aim to provide a shortened Everest trek; however, if adverse weather conditions continue and the main objective of the trek becomes impossible to reach, an alternative trek to another region in Nepal will be offered. When fixed-wing planes are unable to fly, but helicopters to Lukla are available, clients may choose to travel by helicopter; in this event, the price per person will be approximately US$600-US$800, of which Exodus will cover half.

Should there be a significant delay at the end of your trek, we endeavour to get you on the first available fixed-wing flights to Kathmandu. If helicopters are able to fly, we will consider paying for these on a case-by-case basis to enable you to meet your international flights. In the case of persistent adverse weather, Exodus will rebook international flights for Flight Inclusive clients, but clients booking on a Land Only basis will be responsible for rebooking their onward travel and for any associated costs.

All flights to and from Lukla will no longer operate in/out of Kathmandu Airport (KTM), these flights have been transferred to operate in/out of Manthali Airport (RHP), which is in the Tamakoshi River Valley in Manthali, 82mi (132km) east of Kathmandu. The journey from Kathmandu to Manthali is a four-hour bus drive in the early morning and the return leg from Manthali to Kathmandu is usually five to six hours due to heavier traffic later in the day. The flight time between Manthali and Lukla is about 20 minutes.

It is necessary to depart your hotel in Kathmandu at approximately 3am by bus to ensure arriving in Manthali for 7am-7.30am in time for the flights to Lukla (between 8.30am-9am). Your Kathmandu hotel will provide a packed breakfast for the journey.

Group

The group will generally be between four and 16 people.

We have representatives in Kathmandu who will look after your transfers to and from the airport and will be available to answer other questions you may have about your trek. There is an Exodus desk and noticeboard in the Royal Singi Hotel in Kathmandu. The desk is manned morning and evening.

The departure starting in Kathmandu on 16 October 2025 will be led by Valerie Parkinson who has been leading treks in the Himalaya for more than 35 years. Valerie was the first British woman to summit Mount Manaslu, the eighth-highest mountain in the world. She will share her mountaineering experience, including her own Everest summit expedition and Everest North Col expedition with you along the way. Valerie won Best Tour Leader in the prestigious annual Wanderlust World Guide Awards in 2021.

All departures will have an English-speaking Nepali tour leader throughout the trip who will be assisted by Nepali trekking guides. All Exodus leaders are highly experienced and have undertaken Exodus leader training courses and wilderness first-aid training. The trekking guides are licensed by the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) and receive additional training through Exodus. The trekking guides will walk with the group, spacing themselves out to ensure the pace is appropriate for careful acclimatisation and to ensure the safety of all trekkers in the group, helping those who may need some encouragement or support.

On all our Nepal treks, there is one member of trek staff for every four clients – this ratio may change if a guide needs to stay behind with a group member. The leaders are assisted by additional guides and as many porters as necessary to carry the kitbags. All your main gear is carried for you and you only need to carry whatever you require for that day’s trek. Porters carry two client kitbags each – kitbags should be restricted to 22lb (10kg). Porters are given porter clothing for treks above 14,765ft (4,500m) – windproof jacket and trousers (pants), boots, socks, gloves, hats and sunglasses. All the trekking staff are insured by our local partner in Nepal.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 4

Max group size: 16

Itinerary

Everest & Gokyo Lakes Circuit

Land Only

  • Start City: Kathmandu
  • End City: Kathmandu

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start Kathmandu

The adventure starts in Kathmandu. On arrival, those travelling on the group flights will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel. Free arrival transfers are available for any flight, provided you have supplied Exodus with your flight details in advance and have requested a transfer.

There are no activities planned today so if making your own travel arrangements, you can arrive at any time. Upon arrival to the hotel, look out for a noticeboard in the reception area with details of where and when to meet for your welcome/trek briefing this evening.

Accommodation: Royal Singi Hotel (or similar)

Day 2
Early morning transfer to Manthali for your flight to Lukla. Trek to Phakding
Everest & Gokyo Lakes Circuit

We have a very early start this morning to drive (approximately four hours) out to Manthali Airport (RHP) where all Lukla flights now operate from. We depart our hotel at approximately 3am to ensure arriving in Manthali for in time for the first morning flights to Lukla. The hotel will provide a packed breakfast for the journey.

We fly to the mountain airstrip of Lukla (9,190ft/2,800m), and set off on the first short leg of our trek, heading north up the valley of the Dudh Kosi (Milk River). We descend from the small plateau into the forested valley. The trail offers tantalising views before reaching the settlement of Phakding, where we spend our first night.

Accommodation: Teahouse (altitude: 8,701ft/2,652m)

Distance covered: 6mi (9km)

Ascent: 1,949ft (594m); Descent: 1,280ft (390m); Activity hours: 3

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3
Follow the Dudh Kosi and ascend to Namche Bazaar
Everest & Gokyo Lakes Circuit

Heading out of Phakding, we follow the Dudh Kosi north. Today’s walk takes us through magnificent forests with glimpses of the mountains ahead. We cross the river several times by bridge as we pass through the villages of Benkar, Monzo and Jorsale. A final bridge brings us to the foot of the steep climb to Namche. Halfway up the ascent, we may get our first glimpse (cloud permitting) of the Everest summit behind the great ridge of Nuptse-Lhotse. A last 985ft (300m) climb brings us to Namche Bazaar, the Sherpa capital and the main town in the area. Namche is a prosperous Sherpa town and an important trading centre. It has a weekly market on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings, but the town always bustles with trekkers, coffee shops, bakeries and stores selling all kinds of trekking and climbing gear and Tibetan souvenirs.

Accommodation: Teahouse (altitude: 11,285ft/3,440m)

Distance covered: 8mi (13km)

Ascent: 3,478ft (1,060m); Descent: 863ft (263m); Activity hours: 6hr 30min

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4
Acclimatisation walk to Kunde and Khumjung; descend to Kyanjuma

We climb steeply out of Namche past the airstrip at Shyangboche to the Everest View Hotel, the highpoint of our day at 12,730ft (3,880m). Built by the Japanese, this spectacularly situated hotel with wonderful views of Everest and Ama Dablam is an ideal place for a tea break.

Enroute to the Everest View Hotel, you will have the option to stop off at the Sagarmatha Next experience centre and learn about the work this local organisation is doing to tackle waste pollution on the mountain trails and how you can help.

Descending through forest, we come to Khumjung, where we have lunch close to the Sir Edmund Hillary School. After, we walk up to Kunde and visit the Edmund Hillary Hospital. The twin villages of Kunde and Khumjung are below Khumbila, the rocky peak sacred to all Sherpas. For much of the walk, we have great views of Ama Dablam and other Himalaya giants. We walk back down through Khumjumg to the monastery. Sadly, it was damaged in the earthquake but is now being repaired. Inside is a small box and, after paying the entry fee (which goes towards the repairs), we will be shown the only yeti skull in the world. Descending to the main trail, we spend the night at Kyanjuma.

Accommodation: Teahouse (altitude: 11,810ft/3,600m)

Distance covered: 7mi (12km)

Ascent: 2,080ft (634m); Descent: 1,486ft (453m); Activity hours: 4

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5
Cross the Mong La into the Gokyo Valley and trek to Dole

At Kyanjuma we turn off the main trail and begin climbing to the Mong La, marked by a chorten on the top of a ridge at 3,972m. This ridge descends from Khumbila, the abode of the patron god of all Sherpas. From the ridge, the trail descends in a series of steep switchbacks towards the Dudh Kosi. At Phortse Tenga (3,600m) there are a few tea houses to choose from for our lunch stop. After lunch the trail starts to climb steeply out of the valley and we enter the rhododendron forests, which give way to juniper and conifers higher up the valley. We pass through kharkas, summer settlements used by the Sherpas to graze their yaks, before coming to Dole, where we have magnificent views of Kangtaiga and Tramserku.

Total ascent: 2,887ft (880m); total descent: 2,119ft (464m)

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 13,255ft/4040m)

Distance covered: 5mi (8km)

Ascent: 2,887ft (880m); Descent: 1,522ft (464m); Activity hours: 5hr 30min to 6hr

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6
Continue to Machhermo

A short walk today. From Dole the trail is steep in places as it passes through Lhabarma and Luza along the side of the valley, high above the river through scrub junipers until we cross the sandy spurs to Machhermo (4,410m). It was here in 1974 that a yeti was reported to have attacked a sherpa and killed three yaks! We should get to Machhermo by lunchtime and in the afternoon there is time for an acclimatisation walk up onto the ridge behind the lodge for amazing views of Tramserku.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 14,469ft/4,410m)

Distance covered: 3mi (5km)

Ascent: 1,617ft (493m); Descent: 433ft (132m); Activity hours: 4

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7
Trek to Gokyo Lake, a small settlement of lodges on the shores of a blue lake. Afternoon, optional walk up the hill behind camp for incredible views of the Ngozumpo Glacier
Everest & Gokyo Lakes Circuit

We begin today by climbing a ridge for an excellent view down the valley to Kangtaiga and Tramserku and up the valley towards Cho Oyu (8,201m). The valley now widens as the trail passes through Pangkha then descends to the riverbank before beginning the steep climb on a narrow trail onto the terminal moraine of the Ngozumpo Glacier. We pass the first of the lakes at Gokyo, called Longpongo. We then follow the almost level trail past the second lake and on to the third lake and the walled meadows and lodges of Gokyo at 4,750m. Gokyo is a small settlement of lodges on the shores of a blue lake. Look out for Brahmany Ducks swimming in the lake. We have lunch in Gokyo and in the afternoon we can walk up the hill behind the lodge for incredible views of the Ngozumpo Glacier.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 15,584ft/4,750m)

Distance covered: 5mi (8km)

Ascent: 1,608ft (490m); Descent: 381ft (116m); Activity hours: 4-5

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8
Climb Gokyo Ri
Gokyo Ri Mt Everest, Nepal

An early start this morning for the steep ascent of Gokyo Ri (17,585ft/5,360m), a small peak above Gokyo village. As we climb, the views become even more fantastic and from the top we can see four of the eight highest peaks in the Nepalese Himalaya: Cho Oyu, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu. Stretching out for miles below us is the longest glacier in Nepal – the Ngozumpo Glacier, which tumbles down from the slopes of Cho Oyu. One of the best all-round views in Nepal, the climb is well worth the effort. We return to Gokyo for lunch and the afternoon is free to relax or explore the lakeshore.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 15,584ft/4,750m)

Distance covered: 2mi (3km)

Ascent: 1,929ft (588m); Descent: 1,929ft (588m); Activity hours: 5

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 9
Walk across the Ngozumpo Glacier to Thangnak

There is time this morning to explore the area around Gokyo. The energetic can walk to the fourth lake or explore the trail to the Renzo La from where you can see Everest.

After an early lunch we set off for Thangnak. The trail starts by climbing to the crest of the moraine overlooking the Ngozumpo Glacier. The route across the glacier is well marked with cairns but we need to take care as the path is narrow and there is ice underfoot in parts. The trail climbs up and down and takes us to the eastern side of the Gokyo Valley. We stay tonight at Thangnak at the foot of the Cho La Pass.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 13,123ft/4,700m)

Distance covered: 2mi (4km)

Ascent: 568ft (173m); Descent: 820ft (250m); Activity hours: 2hr 30min to 3hr

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 10
Cross the Cho La and enter the main Khumbu Valley; trek to Dzongla

An early start for the very long day across the Cho La (5,420m), you will need to carry your micro-spikes with you today. We climb up the valley from Thangnak for about two hours to a col. Ahead we can see the Cho La in the distance. We descend to a large boulder field, which we cross on a well-defined path to the base of the steep part of the ascent. A new trail has been created up the Cho La to avoid the risk of rock fall and there are some metal chains in place to use as handrails. The last couple of hours are very steep and rocky and involve some scrambling as we zig-zag up to the top.The upper part of the route can be covered in snow and ice, particularly after November and in spring.

Finally, we reach the glaciated top, from where there are excellent views including an unusual aspect of Ama Dablam. We will need microspikes for the descent (and sometimes on the ascent) and we need to take care on the descent as it’s steep and involves the crossing of a glacier (usually snow-covered) which is fairly straightforward. After a scramble down onto the glacier, we follow a trail across the snow and down a rocky gully to the pastures below. The trail becomes more defined as we approach Dzongla, where we stay tonight.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 15,846ft/4,830m)

Distance covered: 6mi (9km)

Ascent: 2,546ft (776m); Descent: 2,070ft (631m); Activity hours: 8-9

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 11
Continue the ascent to Lobuje

An easier day ahead as leaving Dzongla we begin with a continuation of our descent. A short ascent brings us to the foot of Awi Peak, which we contour round on a wonderful high trail with great views of Chalotse and Tawoche across the valley. We finally descend to join the main trail again just below Lobuje. We spend the night at Lobuje (4,930m). The sunset on Nuptse from the ridge across from the lodge is not to be missed.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 16,175ft/4,930m)

Distance covered: 4mi (7km)

Ascent: 932ft (284m); Descent: 630ft (192m); Activity hours: 3hr 30min to 4hr

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 12
A long day to visit Everest Base Camp. Overnight at Gorak Shep
Everest & Gokyo Lakes Circuit

We are now surrounded by giant Himalayan peaks; Everest, Nuptse, Lingtren, Khumbutse and Pumori tower above us. Today is long and hard as we visit Everest Base Camp (5,364m). The trail from Lobuje climbs steadily by the side of the Khumbu Glacier, with some steep ups and downs on a rocky trail. It will take us about 3 hours to reach Gorak Shep (5,180m), a collection of lodges situated at the foot of Kala Pattar. After a short break and an early lunch, we fill our water bottles and make sure we have plenty of snacks (there are no lodges from here to Base Camp) and set off for Base Camp. The trail heads along the crest of the moraine at first with plenty of undulations, some of them quite steep. We then drop steeply down onto the Khumbu Glacier itself, where we get magnificent close-up views of the great Khumbu Icefall as it tumbles down from Everest. In the spring season we will see expedition teams as they prepare for an ascent. We retrace our steps to Gorak Shep for the night.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 16,995ft/5,180m)

Distance covered: 11mi (17km)

Ascent: 2,247ft (685m); Descent: 1,411ft (430m); Activity hours: 9-12

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 13
Climb Kala Pattar (5,545m) for classic views of Everest; descend to Pheriche

Another long day as we ascend the small peak of Kala Pattar (‘black rock’) at 18,190ft (5,545m). We set off very early before breakfast for the steep two-hour climb to the summit, but the effort is well worth it, as we appreciate the most magnificent view of the Khumbu glacier and above all a close-up sight of the world’s highest mountain which the Nepalese call Sagarmatha – Head of the Waters and the Sherpas Chomolungma – Mother of the World.

We return to Gorak Shep for a well-deserved breakfast and then head back down to Lobuje for lunch. Descending on the main trail we pass through Chukpo Lhari, where there are many memorials to those who have died on Everest. From here we drop down steeply to Dugla, a small collection of tea houses. The trail then descends to the riverbed and we have an easy walk down the valley to Pheriche.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 13,921ft/4,243m)

Distance covered: 9mi (14km)

Descent: 3,084ft (940m); Activity hours: 10-11

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 14
Trek to Thyangboche and visit the famous monastery, descent to Phungki Tenga and ascend to Kyanjuma

We descend the Pheriche Valley with spectacular views of Ama Dablam. We join the main Imja Khola Valley, which we follow down to Pangboche with superb views looking back to the great ridge of Lhotse-Nuptse. Pangboche, at 13,075ft (3,985m) is the highest permanent settlement on the approach to Everest. Dropping down to the rushing Imja Khola we then walk through rhododendron forests to Thyangboche. From here we have a fantastic panorama of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam. We have lunch here and can visit the famous monastery. After lunch the trail descends to the river at Phungki Tenga and then we have a long climb up to our lodge for the night at Kyanjuma, where there are wonderful views across the valley to Ama Dablam.

Accommodation: Teahouse (sleeping altitude: 11,811ft/3,600m)

Distance covered: 11mi (17km)

Ascent: 1,936ft (590m); Descent: 4,101ft (1,250m); Activity hours: 7hr 30min to 8hr

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 15
Trek back to Namche and further down to Monzo

This morning our walk to Namche Bazaar takes us along a beautiful undulating trail high above the Dudh Kosi. We have time in Namche and after lunch we descend through Namche Bazaar and pick up our outward trail again to Monzo, where we stay tonight.

Accommodation: Teahouse (altitude: 9,350ft/2,850m)

Distance covered: 7mi (12km)

Ascent: 984ft (300m); Descent: 3,543ft (1,080m); Activity hours: 4hr 30min to 5hr

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 16
Return to Lukla
Everest & Gokyo Lakes Circuit

We retrace our steps southwards with a final climb to the airstrip at Lukla.

Accommodation: Teahouse (altitude: 9,185ft/2,800m)

Distance covered: 8mi (13km)

Descent: 164ft (50m); Activity hours: 5

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 17
Fly to Manthali; transfer to Kathmandu

We fly back to Manthali airport on one of the first flights of the day (approximately 7-7:30am) to allow for the five to six hour bus transfer back to Kathmandu arriving in the city for mid-late afternoon.

Accommodation: Royal Singi Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 18
Free day in Kathmandu
Everest & Gokyo Lakes Circuit

Today is free for sightseeing in Kathmandu (it is also a spare day to allow for any delays in the flights to or from Lukla). You may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambunath, one of the largest Buddhist stupas in the world at Boudhanath, or the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath. We offer a full range of sightseeing tours, which can be booked and paid for locally; please ask your leader for details. Or you can simply hire a taxi from outside the hotel. The Thamel area is full of shops and restaurants and coffee shops for those who want a more relaxing day.

Accommodation: Royal Singi Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 19
End Kathmandu

The tour ends after breakfast. Catch your transfer to the airport – see the Joining Instructions for more details – and begin your return journey home.

Meals included: Breakfast

Altitude warning

This trip includes one or more nights over 11,480ft (3,500m) above sea level, where there is a genuine risk of being affected by acute mountain sickness (AMS). If left untreated, AMS can be life-threatening. We expect most clients to experience some mild symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headaches, shortness of breath while walking or sleeplessness. Our leaders are trained to identify symptoms of severe AMS and if a client requires extra care, arrangements such as rapid descent, will be made immediately.

On some days, this trip climbs faster than commonly published ascent-rate recommendations. Based upon an assessment by our external safety and medical advisors and our risk-assessment process, we consider the ascent rate acceptable due to the additional safety measures in place for our customers. All our trips operating at high altitude meet our internal altitude-safety standards, which minimise the risk of serious incidents occurring while travelling at altitude.

Several medical conditions or medications can reduce your body’s ability to acclimatise. This may affect your performance and make you more susceptible to AMS. If you are worried about any pre-existing conditions, such as heart conditions, or your overall physical ability, you must seek medical advice prior to booking. The drug Diamox (also known as acetazolamide and normally only available on prescription) has been shown to aid acclimatisation in some individuals, and therefore may reduce the risk of AMS. Clients considering using Diamox should speak to their doctor about the drug, its side-effects and a prescription. While we endeavour to assist all our clients in achieving their goals, there may be times when your leader decides to delay or stop your ascent based on your overall condition or the onset of AMS.

If you are not taking out Exodus Travel Insurance, make sure your policy covers you up to the maximum altitude on this trip (if trekking in the Himalaya your policy should also cover the use of a helicopter for emergency medical evacuation).

Ascents, descents and distances: All ascents, descents and distances listed in the daily itinerary have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders, in many cases with satellite-based mapping software. However, different GPS measuring devices can give differing results, particularly on winding paths or in mountainous terrain. Measurements stated throughout these Trips Notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter. Timings stated will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Accommodation

Hotel and Himalayan teahouses

Everest & Gokyo Lakes Circuit

We stay in teahouses for most of this adventure, a classic experience for trekkers in the Himalaya. We spend the rest of our time in hotels. Below is more information on the places we stay. 

Kathmandu: Royal Singi Hotel (nights 1 and 17-18)   

The Royal Singi, a quality three-star hotel, has been welcoming our groups for more than two decades. The name is inspired by the Snow Lion, a mythical creature in Tibetan Buddhism, which represents immense joy, positivity, delight and comfort. The hotel embraces the name with a restaurant, bar, outdoor courtyard, and complimentary wifi throughout. There’s also an Exodus desk in the lobby and an Exodus representative is usually available daily in the mornings and evenings. The Royal Singi is well located near the Thamel district, close to banks, restaurants, shops and attractions.   

Himalaya: Teahouses (nights 2-16)   

Staying in teahouses is a time-tested tradition for hikers in the Himalaya. They may be basic, but they’re a welcome sight after a day of walking among the spectacular peaks. The hub of teahouse living is the dining room, which is usually decorated with traditional rugs, sometimes with a stove or heater (some lodges charge a fee to put the heater on). Most teahouses sell snacks and other essentials such as tissues, soap and toilet paper.   

We stay in twin-share bedrooms, which come with foam mattresses, bedsheets and a pillow. Remember to bring (or hire) a sleeping bag, rooms are unheated so they can get cold at night.   

Worth knowing   

  • Some teahouses above 9,845ft (3,000m) may not be heated due to local environmental restrictions. Occasionally, kerosene burners can be used to heat common areas if requested. We recommend against using these due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Your leader will not offer this to you.   
  • Most teahouses have electricity, but it is not wholly reliable, and lighting may not be bright enough to read by – a torch (flashlight) is essential. Charging facilities are generally only available in the dining room (charged at approximately 200-500 Nepalese rupees/US$1.50-US$3.80 per hour per device). Many of the teahouses use solar power, so sometimes there is not enough electricity for charging. Many also have wifi, though it can be slow and temperamental.   
  • Most teahouses have only one or two basic toilets and sometimes these are outside the main building. Toilets are usually squat-style, although many lodges have now installed seated ones. Toilet paper is not provided, so you should bring your own or buy it locally (please dispose of it in the bin provided). If there is not a flush handle, there should be a container of water to pour down – if it is empty (or frozen), please refill it or ask the lodge to. 
  • Some teahouses have hot ‘showers’ (charged at approximately 250-500 rupees/US$1.90-US$3.80 per shower). Sometimes this is simply a bucket of hot water.   
  • Standards of cleanliness vary, especially in the peak trekking season and in winter when the water freezes at night. Please report any problems to your leader or the teahouse staff and be vigilant in your personal hygiene regime – use soap or hand gel before and after toilet breaks, snacks and mealtimes.   
  • Generally, the higher the altitude, the more basic the teahouse and the more expensive food and services.   

Extra accommodation   

If you require additional accommodation in Kathmandu, either before or after the tour, we can book this for you (subject to availability). Please enquire with your sales representative.   

Single accommodation   

If you prefer your own room, we offer a single supplement for the hotel nights in Kathmandu only (subject to availability). While in the teahouses, single rooms cannot be guaranteed so these have not been included in the single supplement price paid in advance. However, if a single room is available on arrival at a teahouse, you can pay locally on a day-by-day basis. 

Single supplement from £ 125

Food & Drink

Breakfast is included throughout the trip.

In the teahouses, breakfast will be a choice of bread (a slice of toast, chapatti or Tibetan bread), a choice of egg (boiled, fried or omelette), and a choice between either muesli or porridge each day. Hot tea/coffee is also served. On specific days, there will not be a choice for breakfast and either a trekkers breakfast (egg, hash brown, baked beans and toast) or a pancake with jam/honey will be served – these options are not available in all teahouses and so we have only included them in locations where they can be guaranteed. You may also be able to supplement your included breakfast with additional items on the teahouse menu should you wish. Additional items that are not included in the set menu should be ordered and paid for separately.

Please note, some more remote teahouses/lodges are unable to provide an extensive menu due to irregular delivery schedules and during periods of bad weather or a high volume of trekkers, there may be a more limited menu choice. Also, the higher altitude the more expenses the menus and extras generally are.

Lunch will be taken at a teahouse en route – sometimes one of your guides will go ahead with the group’s order to make it more expedient. Dinner will be in the same teahouse that you sleep at (this is custom in Nepal as teahouses base their room rate on it).

Although most lodges have almost identical menus, they are reasonably extensive and offer a varied selection, ranging from traditional Nepalese dhal bhat to pizza and apple pie. Dhal bhat is the staple diet in Nepal and comes in many different forms but generally comprises curried lentils and meat or vegetables, some rice, and a pickle/chutney. Another popular snack is momos; a type of Nepalese dumpling, fried or steamed, filled with meat or vegetables.

Meat is available in the teahouses but we advise against eating it on trek. The meat has often been carried in the heat from lower altitudes for several days before reaching the lodges and can cause stomach upsets or illness. Germs can also be spread by handling dirty money – we recommend using hand sanitiser.

If you have a gluten-free diet, we strongly recommend you bring extra food and snacks with you to supplement the food on trek as there will be little variety available for you, particularly for breakfast. Even many of the soups are powdered and contain gluten. Gluten-free breakfast options will be limited to vegetable fried rice and a choice of egg, and on specific days only, a trekkers breakfast (without the toast/with an extra egg). Breakfast options for vegans will be limited to a choice of muesli/porridge with water each day, and on specific days only, a trekkers breakfast (without the egg) or vegetable fried rice. If you are lactose intolerant, the same will apply although you will also have a choice of egg each day.

If you buy imported food and drink on trek, you will spend more than the suggested amount.

Drinking water

Staying hydrated is important when undertaking any physical activity but particularly at altitude where it is generally recommended you drink at least 100floz to 135floz (3-4 litres) per day.

We strongly encourage you not to buy bottled water on trek as this contributes to the growing problem of plastic pollution in Nepal.

The teahouses sell boiled water for approximately 150-300 rupees (US$1.80-US$3.65) per litre (the price increases the higher you trek) which should not require treating. This is also perfect for a bedtime refill as it can double up as a hot-water bottle.

Alternatively, all teahouses provide free cold water. Although this should not be drunk untreated, we recommend you bring a reusable bottle/water bladder/Camelpak (ideally two) and use an effective form of water treatment. There are a wide range of products available including Steripens or purification tablets, which are the quickest and easiest options to use on trek – we recommend talking to an outdoor retailer for the latest advice as technologies are improving all the time. Make sure to check the product’s performance in cold/freezing conditions and consider battery life (lithium batteries are best in cold conditions).

Exodus has partnered with Water-to-Go, a filtration system that eliminates more than 99.99 percent of all microbiological contaminants from any non-saltwater source – visit Water-to-Go for more information. Exodus customers can claim 15 percent off their first order and, better still, 15 percent of the purchase value will be donated to the Exodus Travels Foundation. These bottles filter the water as you drink through the spout may not be the most efficient while on the go on a trek. Please note, if the water freezes it will clog up the filter. In this event, defrost before use by sitting the filter in lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes.

Transport

For airport transfers, we use a private minibus. Flights to and from Lukla will be either in a Twin Otter or Dornier plane.

This point-to-point trekking trip requires you to walk between each overnight stay under your own steam. Other forms of transport may be available along the route (horses, 4x4s etc) but Exodus is not able to take responsibility for the safety or the cost of any transport that customers choose to take even if provided with the assistance of our leader or staff.

Nepal flight safety

Many of our treks in Nepal use domestic flights to reach the trekking areas. The mountainous Nepalese terrain is subject to changeable weather, which makes flying conditions complex and challenging, and unfortunately there are significantly more incidents here than in other countries, including fatalities. The EU highlighted the poor safety record in Nepal in 2013 by including all Nepalese-registered airlines on the EU banned list, which prevents them from flying in EU airspace. While no Nepalese-registered airlines currently fly within the EU, the EU instigated this ban to highlight the risk of flying in Nepal to EU citizens. These airlines are unlikely to be members of any internationally recognised safety audit systems and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Nepal does not operate to the same standards as those of Western nations.

Flying within Nepal is therefore a known risk, and we strongly encourage you to consider this carefully before booking. We suggest you refer to the following sources:

In response to concerns over this safety record, Exodus arranges for independent air-safety auditors to visit Nepal annually to assess the suitability of the available carriers. We then restrict our use to only those approved as part of this audit. In emergency situations, we will need to use helicopters, so we also have a list of approved helicopter carriers. Should concerns arise regarding the safety of an airline on our approved list, we will remove the carrier from the list immediately, and it would only be reinstated once our air-safety auditors are confident that the airline meets acceptable safety standards.

We appreciate that you may have concerns about flying within Nepal, so we ask that you please consider all the information above when deciding to book this holiday.

Weather & Seasonality

The main trekking season in Nepal is from mid-September to mid-May. We do not operate treks in Nepal outside these months as it is the rainy season. During the trekking season, conditions at most altitudes are generally comfortable for walking and rain or snow are occasional occurrences. Daytime temperatures will vary from 15C to 35C (59F to 95F) in the Kathmandu Valley to around 10C (50F) at 11,810ft (3,600m) and progressively lower the higher we go.

Within the trekking season, there are three further distinct seasons in the weather, each offering different advantages for trekking.

Post-monsoon/autumn (mid-September to November): This is the most popular trekking season in Nepal. Day temperatures in Kathmandu are generally above 20C (68F). On trek, temperatures will be lower although skies are usually clear and days should be sunny and mild with clear mountain views. However, at higher altitudes, the days can be cold and windy. Nights will be colder with temperatures dropping as low as -10C (14F) or lower in late November at the higher altitudes.

Winter (December to end of February): Despite the colder conditions, this is an ideal time to trek in Nepal. Skies are usually very clear, especially in December, and the mountain views are at their best. Nights will be very cold with temperatures down to -20C (-4F) but days are often pleasant and sunny. In Kathmandu, maximum daytime temperatures are 19C (66F).

Pre-monsoon/spring (March to May): Both day and night temperatures will be warmer in general but haze will often build up in the afternoons. It is very hot in the lowlands and temperatures rise to 30C (86F) in Kathmandu. Flowers bloom in this season and this is one of the reasons people chose to trek in spring.

Snow can be expected on any departure, usually at the higher altitudes. There will always be snow/ice on the top of the Cho La pass as it is a glacier.

Please remember that in any mountain area the weather is never wholly predictable and you should be prepared and equipped to deal with any differences in weather beyond the conditions described above.

Joining Instructions

Key information

Start hotel: Royal Singi Hotel, Lal Durbar, Kamaladi, Kathmandu
Phone: +977 144 24190
Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately
Airport: Kathmandu Airport (KTM)

Getting to the start hotel

The start hotel is approximately 10 minutes’ drive from the airport. Exodus provides free arrival transfers to the start hotel from the airport for all customers.

If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.

Catching your return flight

Exodus provides free departure transfers for all customers to Kathmandu Airport (KTM) from the end hotel.

Please note, unless specified otherwise, the transfers will be to the start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers should be booked with your sales representative at least two weeks before the tour starts.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Kathmandu
Location end: Kathmandu

What To Take

Essential Equipment

It is essential you have suitable clothing and equipment for your trek to protect against the elements and trail conditions. Please download our Everest region kit list for reference.

Crossing the Cho La pass involves around two hours of walking across a glacier and sometimes the ascent and descent of the pass is icy and can be slippery. You will need a pair of Yaktrax/Microspikes/Spikeys/instep crampons. Microspikes (or similar) with points are better for walking on the snow and ice than ones with spirals. These can be bought easily and cheaply in Kathmandu. If you have not purchased in advance, your Leader will have them available to purchase at your hotel during the welcome briefing (approximately 2,500 rupees/US$20/£15) or you can purchase in Namche Bazaar.

All luggage for the trek should be packed in a soft duffel bag/Exodus kitbag. Many people find it easiest to pack the duffel/kitbag inside a wheelie case which can be left at the Kathmandu hotel free of charge with anything not needed for the trek, while the duffel/kitbag will be carried by your porter on the trek.

When packing, please consider the quantities/volume of the items you bring: decant larger toiletries into small reusable bottles (do not bring full-size toiletries), take a lightweight travel towel etc. Each porter carries two kitbags; therefore, please respectfully limit your kitbag to 22lb (10kg) per person. Your Leader will weigh each bag before departing Kathmandu and may ask those with bags that are too heavy to remove non-essential items and leave them in Kathmandu. There is also a weight restriction on the flight to and from Lukla of 22lb (10kg) checked baggage plus 11lb (5kg) hand luggage. If your checked luggage exceeds this, there is an excess luggage charge (approximately 200 rupees per kilogram).

We recommend bringing at least one standard passport photo with you; although they are not currently required for your trekking permit or to obtain a visa on arrival (provided you use the electronic visa kiosks), regulations can change at short notice or the kiosks may be out of order (in which case a photo will be required).

Mosquito repellent is highly advised to carry (please refer to advice on avoiding Dengue fever in vaccination section)

Equipment hire

The following equipment can be hired through Exodus – the equipment is good quality and will keep you warm but it is bulky and you should take this into account when packing due to the porterage weight limit. Hire equipment should be requested and paid for in advance of travel but will be provided locally in Kathmandu.

Approximate hire prices are:

  • Down jacket (approximately 1.8kg): from £54 / US$69
  • Four-season sleeping bag (approximately 2.3kg): from £72 / US$92
  • Package including a down jacket and a four-season sleeping bag: from £90 / US$115

Donations for porters, children and the elderly

If while packing, you find a spare bit of space in your bag then you may be interested in donating to one of Exodus’ projects. Exodus supports a Porter Clothing Bank in Kathmandu, as well as children in local schools in Kathmandu and various villages, and an old people’s home in Kyanjin Gompa in the upper part of the Langtang Valley. If you have any old walking gear this can be donated to porters, and similarly, any warm clothing or blankets would be appreciated by the old people’s home – please leave these items with your leader or at the Exodus desk at the Royal Singi Hotel. Books, stationery, games, warm clothes/underwear etc. suitable for children aged 5-18 years should be taken to the Ambassador Garden Home in Thamel and given to Prakash Lammichanne. Contact No: +977 1 4700724.

Exodus kitbag: If you book this trip, we provide a free Exodus kitbag to pack your luggage in while on trek. Once you have booked, you will be sent instructions on how to claim your bag (they are not sent automatically). Please note, if you book less than three weeks before the departure date, we cannot guarantee your kitbag will arrive before your trip starts. If this is the case, please contact us on customerops@exodus.co.uk (or customeroperations@exodustravels.com if you’re based in the US or Canada). See www.exodus.co.uk/kitbags for full T&Cs.

Practical Information

Passport

Your passport must be valid for at least six months when you submit your application for a visa. You should also ensure your passport is up to date, is valid for the entire length of your stay and that you have completed the emergency contact details page inside your passport.

Visa

Nepal

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally need a visa to enter Nepal. Visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

You can obtain your visa in advance or on arrival. If possible, apply in advance as queues on arrival can be very long and the Immigration Department of Nepal has suspended visas on arrival for certain nationalities – please check if this applies to you with your nearest embassy or consulate.

Visa in advance: Apply for this through your local consulate or embassy. The Nepalese government has an online application system, but it is currently only accepting payments through Nepalese payment channels.

Visa on arrival: When you arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, there will be three lines. If you have already secured your visa, go straight to the Immigration line. If not:

  1. Fill in a tourist visa form at the electronic kiosks. After inserting your passport, the machine will automatically fill out an application form, take an electronic photograph of you and print a paper slip. If the machine won’t read your passport, complete the details manually using the touchscreen. We recommend taking a passport photo with you just in case.
    • This process can be completed through the online immigration portal (click ‘Visa On-Arrival’) within 14-days prior to arrival in Kathmandu, helping you to avoid lengthy queues at the kiosks when you come through immigration – ensure you print and bring the confirmation with you. If you have completed your visa on arrival form in advance, go directly to the visa fees counters with your printed confirmation and skip the kiosk queues.
  2. Proceed to the visa fees collection counter and pay the visa fee (in cash, if possible). Make sure to keep the receipt. Card payments are not always possible, so paying in cash is easiest, most currencies are accepted but US dollars are preferred.
  3. Go to the relevant immigration desk and present your tourist visa form, payment receipt and passport to obtain your 15-, 30- or 90-day visa stamp. Please check you have been given the correct visa duration.

Vaccinations and Health

Nepal

There are no required vaccinations. However, recommended vaccinations include tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, cholera, Japanese encephalitis, rabies and tuberculosis. You will also need a yellow fever vaccination certificate if you’re arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission or transiting for more than 12 hours through a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. Some travellers may also need proof of a polio vaccination. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

There is little to no risk of malaria in Nepal; therefore, antimalarial tablets are not usually advised although may be considered for certain high-risk groups. You may wish to consult your doctor or travel clinic for further advice.

Additionally, dengue fever, a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes, is a known risk in Nepal with an outbreak in September 2022. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis, so take extra precautions (such as wearing full-length trousers, long sleeves and applying insect repellent during the day, dawn and dusk) to prevent being bitten.

Most of our trips to Nepal go to high altitudes where there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please refer to the Altitude Warning within the Trip Notes for further advice on AMS.

When trekking at altitude, and particularly in cold weather, there is a higher chance of developing a cough (sometimes referred to here as the Khumbu cough) or cold symptoms. These symptoms could be a result of inhaling cold mountain air or dust (in the Everest region). You can mitigate against picking up coughs and colds by washing your hands with soap and water at available opportunities and using hand sanitiser. Also wear a buff over your neck and mouth when walking at altitude, particularly in colder weather, which will help limit cold, dry air entering your airways and keep your neck and chest warm.

Ticks are known to be present in this region and can carry lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis and other diseases. Please take care to protect yourself. You can read more about ticks here.

Local Time

Nepal's time zone: Asia/Kathmandu (UTC +05:45)

Electricity

Nepal's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins, European standard), D (three round pins) and M (three round pins) – 230V, 50Hz Mains electric 'load shedding' (planned temporary power cuts) occur regularly throughout towns and cities in Nepal. On teahouse treks, the majority of lodges now have electricity and charging facilities in the communal areas for batteries, for a fee. Battery life can be affected by cold; lithium batteries are best.

Everest & Gokyo Lakes Circuit

Money

Nepal's currency: Nepalese rupee (NPR) It is illegal to import or export rupees, but foreign currency is not limited, provided it is declared on arrival. Keep your change receipts, as you will need them if you want to change rupees back into hard currency at Kathmandu airport.

ATM Availability

There are ATMs in Kathmandu and other major towns. On the trek, there is an ATM in Namche Bazaar but it often doesn’t work so please do not rely on it. You will need to carry cash for the trek.

Please do not rely wholly on ATMs as many are broken or run out of money. Often there are ATM lounges (a small room with numerous ATMs). Some banks have a withdrawal limit equivalent to about US$125 per time; if you need to withdraw more money than this, look for another ATM with a higher limit (others have a maximum of about US$375 per time) to avoid paying the transaction fee multiple times.

Credit cards are accepted in many of the larger shops and restaurants in Kathmandu and in most lodges in Namche Bazaar but will be of no use elsewhere on the trek.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

We recommend taking your personal spending money in cash (US dollars, British pounds or euros can all be changed easily). Please note that any marked, torn or damaged notes may not be accepted. Please remember, £50 notes, Scottish or Irish currency cannot be changed in Nepal. Cash can be changed easily at the airport on arrival in Kathmandu or at money changers in the Thamel area of Kathmandu. Hotels in Nepal can also change up to US$300 per person. Please note, travellers cheques can NOT be exchanged in Nepal. Our staff will advise you about how much money to take with you on the trek.

You need to withdraw/exchange enough money in Kathmandu to last the duration of your trek – to cover meals, drinks, tipping and other incidentals. It is a good idea to carry spare cash on the trek in case of an emergency. Carrying a large amount of cash is unavoidable so we suggest splitting it up into a few different places – but remember to keep track of how much you have stashed where.

Prices of food and amenities in teahouses generally become more expensive the higher altitude/more remote you are and access to ATMs/money changes are extremely limited. Please allow 4,400 – 5,800 rupees (US$33-US44) per day for lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks, showers, toilet roll and charging on trek, and for meals not included in Kathmandu. This amount is given as a rough guideline only.

Your expenditure will be towards the top end if you buy boiled water rather than treating cold water, and depending on how many hot showers you take, if you pay to charge electrical devices, drink alcohol, use wifi on the trek and so on.

If you’d like to purchase a trekking map for 500 rupees (US$4), please speak to your Leader at the welcome briefing and he will provide the relevant map for you.

Optional excursions

A few optional tours and activities are available from Kathmandu.

Prices for a half-day sightseeing tour start at 5,300 rupees (approximately US$40) per person, based on a group of six and above. For all trips, return transport and a qualified sightseeing guide are included. The price does not include lunch or entry fees. Please enquire with your leader in Kathmandu, who can provide further information.

An optional Everest sightseeing flight is available (again, please book this locally through your leader in Kathmandu). Anyone taking an internal sightseeing flight in Nepal should pay attention to the Flying in Nepal statement.

Tipping

Tipping is customary in Nepal and is usually expected. Tipping can often be an awkward affair, especially when in an unfamiliar country where you are not sure when or how much to tip. As such, your tour leader will usually offer to arrange and look after a group tipping kitty which will be used to tip porters in hotels, local guides, assistant guides, porters, and the drivers. Your leader will suggest how much to contribute, depending on group size, but a rough guideline is provided below.

Tipping of the leader is at your discretion and separate to the amount they will suggest for the other staff. We suggest you send an envelope around the group at the end of the trip and you can put in what you like and give to the leader on the last evening.

The following are guideline amounts received by each staff member from the group as a whole…

  • Tour Leader: 40,000-45,000 rupees (usually tipped on the last night in Kathmandu)

Your trekking crew (tips are usually given on the last evening of the trek in Lukla):

  • Trekking guides: 25,000-30,000 rupees for each guide
  • Trek porters: 18,000 rupees for each porter

General tipping guidelines:

  • Drivers for seasonal departures with Manthali flights to Lukla: 1,000-1,500 rupees for each driver
  • Drivers (shorter journeys): 200-300 rupees
  • Hotel porters: 100 rupees each time for each room
  • Teahouses and lunch stops on the trek: It’s customary to round your bill up to the nearest 50 or 100 rupees
  • Restaurants: 10% of the bill for good service

To help budget for the tips, generally there will be one member of trek staff (guide/assistant) for every four clients. You will also have one porter for every two clients to carry your luggage. If you are unsure on how much to personally budget, you can check with your Leader when you arrive in Kathmandu. Please try to give all tips in local currency.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips that improve life for the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People
How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • The use of a local leader and trekking support staff (guides, porters/yak herders) means our customers will be well informed about local traditions and cultural-social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally owned hotels, teahouses and restaurants, the emphasis on eating locally produced food and support of other local enterprises.
  • Following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Exodus has been able to support Karma, our local partner’s Food Package Project in Nepal, which has distributed food parcels to those in need on the streets of Kathmandu at a time when lockdowns and a lack of tourism left many without an income.
  • It was not until 2005 that the ancient tradition of chhaupadi (banishing menstruating women and girls to huts or sheds during their period) was made illegal in Nepal. In rural parts of the country, menstruation is still a taboo subject. Since 2018, Exodus has supported the Freedom Kitbag Project, providing reusable sanitary wear and education in reproductive health to many hundreds of women and to their wider communities.
  • Exodus has had a deep connection with Nepal since the 1980s and over the years has supported, and continues to support, many Himalayan Community Projects, including an elderly person’s home, the High Altitude Workers Welfare Association, providing solar cookers, smokeless stoves and running medical camps in hard-to-reach communities, to name but a few.

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration here, including our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels.
  • By travelling in a small group and on foot for the most part, led by a local leader, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • We buy our trekking permits and pay our Sagarmatha National Park fees, the income from which helps to preserve the region.
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices with regard to working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal welfare policy can be found here.
  • The SPCC (Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee) has partnered with Sagarmatha Next to find better solutions for waste and to promote sustainable tourism in the Khumbu region. Find out more about the work they do here. We encourage all our trekkers to participate in the Carry Me Back This crowd-sourced waste removal system is a way you can do your bit for waste management.

Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments.

  • In Kathmandu, we stay at a family-run Nepali-owned hotel, rather than using a large international hotel chain, which helps reduce the carbon footprint of this trip.
  • Few crops grow nor animals graze at these altitudes, and as there are no roads to the more remote villages, food is often carried in along the trails by porters or yaks/mules, making its transportation footprint inherently low carbon. Namche Bazaar is the main trading hub in the Everest region and wares are bought and sold on market day.
  • A vegetarian diet is common in Nepal, especially in the mountains where eating meat is not generally recommended due to hygiene concerns and a lack of refrigeration facilities. The staple diet is dal baht, which comes in various forms but generally includes lentil dal, vegetable curry, and rice.
  • Exodus established the Braga Tree Nursery Initiative in the Upper Annapurna region of Nepal, in the 1980s to play a part in tackling the deforestation problem at the time, and to this day, the tree nursery sustains itself.
  • The provision of solar cookers to many villages along the popular trekking routes in Nepal has helped prevent further deforestation in the pursuit of wood used for cooking.
  • There is no mains electricity in the mountains and many of the teahouses use solar power for hot showers or lighting.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you. When trekking – biodegradable soap, shampoo and toilet paper are recommended. Keep to paths to reduce damage to plants and disturbances to wildlife.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Avoid using plastic bottles or buying mineral water and instead use refillable water bottles wherever possible. Buy boiled water or carry water purification treatment (we recommend a SteriPEN or similar type of handheld UV water purifier).
  • Try to buy locally made handicrafts but be wary of items made from wild animals eg shahtoosh shawls made from endangered Tibetan antelope.
  • If while packing, you find a spare bit of space in your bag then you may be interested in donating to one of our projects. Exodus supports a Porter Clothing Bank in Kathmandu and also distributes clothing to villages and schools.

 Cultural respect:

  • The Nepalese greeting is namasté with hands held in front of the face, the higher they are held, the more respect it exudes. Men will shake hands with men but not with women.
  • Walk in a clockwise direction around temples or monuments. Ask permission before entering places of worship and remove your shoes. Leave leather behind before entering Hindu temples.
  • Pointing your feet (the least sacred body part) at people or religious places or pointing or beckoning with a single finger is considered impolite.
  • Displays of affection should be kept at bay, and loose-fitting clothing that covers legs and shoulders is advisable, especially when visiting homes, monasteries or temples.
  • Do it like the locals! The left hand is associated with toilet duties– so eat, wipe your mouth, pass food, give and receive with your right hand. Only handle your own food and drink.
  • Ask before you photograph people. Exchanging a few words or gestures beforehand can go a long way. Offering (and actually sending) a copy via post is a great way to benefit both parties.

Important Information

Optional activities and excursions

If you would like to join an optional activity or excursion outside those listed in the itinerary, your leader may be able to assist with selecting a provider. However, Exodus has not assessed the safety standards of activities or excursions that are not listed in the Trip Notes. All optional activities or excursions are undertaken at your own risk.

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.