The Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the most popular and spectacular mountain trek in the world, not just because it’s the route to the foot of the highest mountain on our Planet, but also because it fascinates its trekkers with amazing views while merging with the local Sherpa culture. Even if it’s a bit of a challenging route given its final altitude, anyone can do it as the pace of walking is really slow, you take time to acclimatize on the way up, and you really get to enjoy the interaction with the locals and their traditions.
If you are considering taking the route to Everest Base Camp, and you are still in doubt, contact us for a discussion so we can answer your questions and get you decided to do it. We will offer you guidance and a training plan so you can experience this trip at its fullest. But first let’s dive into the 20 tips that will make your Everest Base Camp Trek even more amazing!
Buy missing equipment in Kathmandu, Nepal
You will find anything you need in Thamel, the touristic side of Kathmandu. Sleeping bags, down jackets, layers, trekking sticks, they are all quite cheap and the quality is acceptable. You can even find original mountain brands as well, and if you ask your local Sherpa guide to help out, you can get a very good deal.
Have cash at hand, either US dollars or Nepalese rupees
Once you land in Luckla, you won’t find any ATM on the trek, and the exchange rate there is really bad, so make sure you have at least $200 at hand or the equivalent in rupees.
Bring your own preferred tea bags
Tea is more expensive than hot water on the trek, and as it gets cold during the evenings and nights, a cup of tea is always a good idea. Take a good variety of tea bags so you never get bored. Ginger tea is the local flavor, and the recommended one for altitude, but here and there you will feel the need to diversify. Having tea easily becomes the group ritual ahead of lunches and dinners, and during the evenings when you have time to kill.
Bring with you your preferred activities
During most evenings after the day trek is over, you will have a lot of time to kill. So make sure you bring some activities that will help you spend it in the most enjoyable way. Bring a journal to write down your thoughts and memories of the days, bring books/your Kindle if you like reading or small board games to play with your group.
Bring your favorite food and sweets
You will miss your home food at some point during the trek, that’s why is recommended that you bring a can of your favorite food to enjoy closer to the end of the trek when you’ll begin feeling homesick. Also, familiar sweets will help you not just with the energy level, but also with keeping up your good mood and even spreading joy. There are many kids on the way and they’ll be so happy if you share a candy with them.
Menthol candy is also a good idea especially as you’ll most probably experience throat ache because of the dust on the way.
Have altitude hydration salts
To help out with acclimatizing, you will need to drink a lot of water as you go up the trek. Adding the altitude salts to the water you drink will enhance your hydration and also make you feel less bored with the plain taste of the water you will force yourself to drink. The minerals in these salts will also supplement the ones you’ll lose by drinking so much water.
Don’t eat meat above Namche Bazaar
The locals are mostly Buddhists so they don’t eat meat. For tourists they bring the meat from afar or from a really old yak that cannot be of use anymore. This meat is carried it on top of yaks or porters for even up to 4 days, so it’s not really well kept in a fridge or so. Besides not being safe, it is usually also some old meat you will have a hard time chewing. That’s why if you really want some meat on the way, make sure you bring some from home, like packed sausages or canned meat.
Give priority to the yaks and porters, and stay on the upstream side
As the yaks and porters have a higher speed that you will have, it’s better to let them overpass you, and for your safety, always keep the upstream side in order to make sure the yaks don’t kick you off the path. There are section of the trek where it happened for people to fall off and you definitely want to avoid this.
Well-equipped medical aid kit
Some people choose to take altitude medicine like Diamox but for the Everest Base Camp Trek this is not really needed. With good hydration you will be just fine. But make sure you have Ibuprofen for headaches, muscles and joint ointment, Band-Aid and any other medicine you usually need. Our guides have a detailed medicine checklist they will share with you ahead of the trip.
Water purifier or water purifying pills
If you have a water purifier or can buy water purifying pills at a decent price, it’s worth having them with you. But bottled water can be found all the way during the trek. The only inconvenient is that the prices go up with the altitude, so if in Luckla and Namche Bazaar the water is $1 per 1l bottle, at the last stopping point in Gorakshep it reaches $4 per 1l. And you have to drink around 3-4 l/day.
Make sure you don’t forget about wet napkinsBring along a big pack of wet napkins, as showers especially above Namche Bazaar are not recommended. As the huts where we stay overnight are not heated and it’s cold inside, you can easily get ill and recover very poorly at altitude where the body is anyways under heavy stress because of the lack of oxygen. For the ladies, a tip would be to bind your hair so it won’t tangle or bother you that much for the long time it needs to go unwashed.
Pack wisely, and keep an eye on a few items
At Extreme Expedition you will receive a checklist of the most important items you must have for the trek. Double check them before leaving home, but even if you forget anything you can still shop in Kathmandu for missing items. Batteries should be kept inside your sleeping bag overnight, from the cold they will run out of power very quickly and charging them at such altitude will cost you up to $5 per hour. Take two pairs of sunglasses, as above Namche Bazaar it’s really bad without them and in case one pair breaks, there is no place to buy another pair.
Take your time
There is no need to rush on the way, and it’s even recommended that you go in a slow pace, and give your body more time to adjust with the altitude. So take your time, enjoy the view and the locals, stop and take pictures and breathe in the beauty. A guide will be first one of the group and another one will be the last one, so you can’t get lost on the way no matter the speed you have.
Best views are in the morning
Take advantage of the views you get to see in the mornings, when usually there is less cloudy and the surrounding mountain chains are the most visible. If you want to take the best photos, get ready faster in the morning and get out of the hut ahead of the departure time.
Respect the local culture
All the praying monuments and stones need to be passed on the left hand side, that is their local custom and out of respect it would be recommended for you to do so as well. Also, when taking some photos, make sure the people agree with it, some people do not want to be photographed.
4G Internet all the way up to Everest Base Camp
This will be a nice surprise, with a SIM you buy in Kathmandu for $15/10 GB, you will have 4G internet all the way up, with little exceptions in some areas, but even there you can buy local Wi-Fi. It’s good to be connected, though our recommendation is to use your phone less and enjoy the spectacular vies along the trek.
Enjoy the suspension bridges
They look scary given they’re crossing such large valleys, but we have seen a long line of yaks with heavy luggage crossing them, so don’t worry they’re safe! Enjoy the views, take pictures, they offer a way to see the world nothing else offers and they’re quite unique to that region.
Shop only when returning
You will see every extra gram in your luggage will seem even heavier with the altitude. So keep your shopping spree for the way down. In Namche Bazaar you will be able to buy some handmade giveaways, negotiate the prices and take your shopping easily down to the returning plane.
The best seats on the plane to/from Luckla
Flying into Luckla is one of the highlights of the trip. The view you get from there and the closeness to the mountain chain leave you breathless. Luckla airport is considered one of the most dangerous in the world as the runway is extremely sort and ends with a wall, so the plane breaks abruptly and turns to the right to stop and park. Still, to have the best view choose a front sear or one right in the back.
Plan for some extra days when returning from Luckla to Kathmandu
The weather is very unpredictable in Lukla, and it changes very fast, so planes can be easily cancelled or postponed if the airport visibility is low. Therefore it’s best you buy a return ticket with flexible dates and have some extra budget for potential expenses given the need for a prolonged stay. You can find as an alternative to fly out with a helicopter, but even that is not guaranteed and it can cost from $200 to $400 per person, depending on the group. But flying in a helicopter is such an amazing experience so if you get the chance to fly one, go for it and enjoy the ride!
The guides at Extreme Expeditions will be able to tell you even more tips and tricks regarding your journey to Everest Base Camp. It’s not an easy endeavor, you will be tired, you will experience headaches or even a cold, but if you think a little you realize you’re one of the lucky few that get to experience such views and get so close to the base of the highest mountain in the world! Once returned, you will be nostalgic at the experience and you might want to go back, maybe even climb one of the mountains there, such as Island Peak, a peak above 6,000 m for which your acclimatization is the Everest Base Cam Trek itself.