After arrival in the terminal there are three steps to complete before you can enter Nepal.
Step 1. Fill in arrival card,
Fill in Online ‘Tourist Visa ‘form ( you can fill it up prior to your arrival visiting our official website Department of Immigration / fill it up using Kiosk machines upon your arrival at the airport). If you fill it from the website, you will get submission Receipt with bar-code, please print it out and bring it along for acquiring visa. It works for fifteen days and becomes invalid then after. If so, you will have to fill it up again.
Step 2. Go to payment desk and pay the required amount for your visa stay (15 Days $25 USD ,30 Days $40 USD,or 90 Days $100 USD)
Step 3. Proceed to Immigration counter for passport visa and stamping.
The whole process took about an hour and there were hundreds of people before me, i managed to pay in Australian dollars $60 AUD for 30 days.
I flew Air Asia from Gold Coast Airport to KL Malaysia and overnight-ed there. Next morning I returned to Terminal two and checked in with Malindo Air, DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER GREAT CHINA AIRLINES, they are too unreliable with regularly luggage delays.
The city of temples with its population of around 2 million dates back 2000 years, and from what I’ve seen of it, not much innovation or progress has happened since lol. First impressions flying over the city after circling at 5000 feet for half an hour because of runway upgrades to bring into the current millennium, was likened to war torn Syria. Dilapidated half constructed buildings span the whole city, I don’t know if the construction will ever continue. The currency is Nepalese Rupee with an exchange rate of 80/1 for Australian dollars, and with trekking equipment stores every 10 meters you will be sure to find your bargains here. All treks to Everest Base Camp have to transition through Kathmandu, en-route to Lukla the most dangerous airstrip in the world, it’s about a 40 minute flight.
We also participated in a city tour which was quite interesting, there is a lot of history here, however with the mass destruction caused by the earthquake in 2015 many iconic landmarks have required props to still hold them up, looks dodgy and unsafe but I had a look anyway. You will be visiting 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nepal, namely; Pashupatinath, Swayambhunath, Boudhanath and the Kathmandu Durbar Square. The entrance fee will be on your own and about USD 26 should be enough to visit all 4 Sites. We met our tour co coordinator, after the city tour at their office for final briefing, equipment, introduction with my guide and final payment.
Tight Arse Tips
There are none, buy high end trekking equipment but you can buy cheap clothing in Kathmandu if you’re so inclined. Beers in pubs cost $8, and $3.00 in the supermarket, but burgers and street food is cheap and tasty.
Buy an Everestlink card for 2500NPR ($30 AUD) it’s good for 10 Gb and has a 20 day expiry. It works out cheaper n the long term as some tea houses charge 500NPR ($7.00) per day. Simply scratch the user name and password on the rear of the card and enter it into your device, NB it only connects to one device per card, so you can’t share it with your friends.
Where to stay
After the included three nights in a three star hotel, I relocated to this place that’s highly rated on Booking.com Bed and breakfast Thamel for $25 Aud per night including breakfasts, check out their reviews.
Street Vendors, love em or hate em.
Yes they annoy the shit out of everyone, the same guy approached me 5 days in a row flogging some useless trinkets, obviously suffers from amnesia lol. Same international barter rules apply…do not make eye contact and just keep walking and say nothing. The same annoying habit occurs in stores, where proprietors pounce on you the nano second you enter their store. I just ignore them, look at stuff and either buy something I need or walkout without engagement in conversation. This cute old man selling flags melted my heart so i bought one, but the rest of them flogging violins and flutes pissed me off so much i ignored them.
What to eat.
With a plethora of food options from every corner of the globe, your taste buds are in for a pampering. Food is tasty, cheap and cooked to perfection every time. We all love a garlic overloaded kebab after a few beers, and Kathmandu is no exception, they cost $4.00 each for a spicy chicken option. Burgers are also abundant, I’ve included the burger menu FYI as well. Exchange rate is 75:1
Dreads, Ink and bling.
I got my dreadlocks in Kathmandu, at the Funky Buddha Tattoo Studio, where you pay 400NPR per dread ($5.00) Easy to find on Google Maps.
There’s a trekking gear hire/buy store literally every ten metres, they ALL sell fake ripoff of North Face or other well known brands. Good quality copies so just offer them half the asking price right off the bat. I advise to hire a sleeping bag and down jacket from your tour operator, they will pay for it.
Lukla… is it the most dangerous airstrip in the world?
While we were trekking, a plane crashed into two stationary helicopters, a freak accident with no passengers. Three fatalities though made it a sad day for Nepal, check out my video on the topic.
Everest Base Camp (EBC)
Trekking Route: Lulka (2,860m) – Phakding (2,640m)- Namche Bazaar (3,438m)- Dingboche (4,260m) – Duglha (4,600m) – Lobuche(4,940m) – Gorak Shep (5,160m) – Everest Base Camp (5,364m)
Start: Lulka (2,860m)
End: EBC (5,364m)
Highest Point: EBC (5,364m)
Distance: 59km trekking
Duration: 9-10 Days
Best Time: September to November
Difficulty: Medium to difficult
Permits: Passport; Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit
Accommodation: trekking lodge; camping
With a plethora of trekking companies offering guided tours to EBC, I decided the go with Amigo Trekking because of their substantial inclusions in the 15 day package. Unlimited drinking water and five hot showers was something not many competitors offered. Admittedly the water was in the form of tap water with added chlorine drops, but it was free nonetheless, I had no issues with drinking it rather than buying bottled water, Yes I’m a tight arsed Traveller lol. Amigo also issue you with a duffel bag to keep as a souvenir, as well as a completion certificate which is given to you at the farewell dinner paid for by Amigo. Below is a link for my recommendation trek.
Here are a few do’s and Don’ts
Prepare physically by going on some local walks, EBC is 130km return with steep hills up and down.
Bring basic meds, like Panadol, Cold sore cream, Diarrhoea tabs, Diamox, anti nausea, and prescription drugs you require for the duration of the trek duration.
Bring 2 sachets per day of electrolyte powder, Gatorade or Powerade .. even though it’s cold you still sweat like a pole cats arsehole. Bring 22 sachets minimum and a belt mounted water bottle.
Have an open mind and positive attitude, I struggled with that as I wanted to quit a few times.
Bring a solar charger and high capacity power bank, I recommend the Anker 21 W solar charger and Anker 26800mah power bank, to charge your gadgets. I had a camera, GoPro, Mobile phone and iPad which all required regular charging, and I didn’t want to pay for charging at the tea houses.
Buy waterproof hiking shoes, I used Merrel Moab 2 and had dry feet even after walking in mud for 11 days and torrential rain. Buy merino socks too from Amazon.
Use the free hire option offered by Amigo for your sleeping bag and down jacket, don’t lug it from your home country.
Buy a backpack with a concave design with a mesh panel mount to allow back ventilation, mine did not have that and my back was sweaty and soaking wet every day.. Osprey Backpacks have this feature.
Walking poles are a bit of a wank in my opinion, I brought some but only used them a few days as I rather have hands free for filming and other activities.
Bring three sets of clothes and pack them in individual ziplock bags, plus bring a laundry bag for your dirty clothes.
Bring a light weight wind breaker than can double as a rain coat if possible, and a disposable plastic poncho..
Take as many rest breaks as you need, your guide will wait with you, you’re never on your own.
Bring a knee brace if you suffer from sore knees when descending.
Stock up on toilet paper while it’s cheap, at higher altitudes it’s $5 a roll.
Bring spare batteries for your gadgets with USB charging facility..
Be in a hurry, it’s not a race.
Overpack because you can only take a combined weight of 15 Kg including carry on and check in.
Be impatient walking, sometimes I had the person behind me breathing down my neck. There’s hundreds of trekkers walking the same trek daily, so respect people’s personal space.
Drink beer on the trek if possible, hangovers are tenfold at higher altitudes.
Tea Houses ? Love them or hate them..
Nightly accommodation is in the form of tea houses, they get progressively more antiquated the higher you climb. The rooms are basic without heating or private bathrooms except for Namche Bazar where the rooms we had came with hot en-suite showers and power points in the rooms. The common eating areas are cosy and homely, filled with like minded travellers from all over the world who are happy to share their adventures and knowledge, as well as play cards and just talk shit like I love to do. All menus offer western choices and big helpings to satisfy your hunger pangs after trekking all day. Three meals a day are provided with the lunch Stop is in between daily destinations, in a restaurant or eatery. The menus all have basically the same content just in a different colour font lol. You can choose anything you like off the menu, as in one main meal and a hot drink. Desserts and other drinks are at your own expense, I did buy extra pizza or Nepali breads occasionally. Coke and chocolate bars can cost up to $6.50 each at the higher altitudes over 4000m, so give them a miss or stock up at lower altitudes. Drinks stay cold without refrigeration as it’s sub zero temperature at night.
Our room always seemed to be next to the shitter, so we can hear the orchestra with every plop.
I tried to find western toilets at all times, but some places only have the squat option, and none of them flush so you have to ladle water in yourself from a drum next to the shitter…. grosse really.
Here is my travel itinerary, as you can see everything is laid out plain and simple..