Nepal: Kathmandu & Everest Base Camp

A Gay Himalayan Hiking Trip

DESCRIPTION

Nepal is a gay hiker’s paradise laden with ancient kingdoms, majestic mountains, and monasteries galore. Our trip begins with two days rickshawing the busy streets of Kathmandu, before we fly over the haunting Himalayas en route to the Everest region. Over two weeks we'll grace the same trails where many of the mountain’s epic ascents begin, slumbering in the tea houses of the world's highest inhabited villages. Our big gay hike reaches its own impressive heights with a visit to Everest Base Camp (5,364m), where we can bask in the majesty of the Mother of the Universe, that epic mountain herself.

QUICK FACTS

Duration: 17 Days/16 Nights
Starts In: Kathmandu
Ends In: Kathmandu
Group Size: Min 4, Max 16
Deposit: $750 USD
Accommodation: 3-Star +, Mountain Tea Houses
Physical Rating: 4.5/5
Prices: Based on double occupancy

DEPARTURES & PRICES:

Oct. 18, 2019 to Nov. 3, 2019 - 4450.00 USD

HIGHLIGHTS

• Explore Kathmandu’s bustling Thamel neighbourhood
• Spy on monkeys at Swoyambhunath Temple
• Marvel at the stark white architecture, and sheer size, of the Boudhanath Stupa
• Wander amidst (mostly restored) teak and brick temples in Kathmandu Durbar Square
• Take a flight over Nepal's massive mountain peaks
• Watch the sun glisten off Mount Everest
• Trek to Everest Base Camp, the ultimate achievement
• Explore charming Sherpa Villages
• Stay in quaint mountain teahouses
• Discover remote monasteries

Namaste! Welcome to Nepal. Today’s agenda is limited to an essential meeting at 5PM, where you’ll meet your group leader and we’ll discuss the journey ahead. This will be followed by an optional dinner near our hotel where you can start getting to know your fellow travellers. PLEASE NOTE: travel delays are possible given the destination, so please fly in the day before if possible.

Today kicks off with a tour of Kathmandu. We’ll visit the Monkey Temple (Swoyambhunath), the sacred Hindu Pashupatinath Temple, and the Boudhanath Stupa. The afternoon includes a guided walk through Durbar Square, where one of the Kingdom’s royal palaces awaits. As Nepal was recently hit by a massive earthquake, some of these sites may remain under construction. That said, tourism dollars are vital to the reconstruction of these ancient sites, and the city remains a fascinating place to visit.

We're off to the mountain airstrip of Lukla (2,800m/9,200ft) to begin our trek through the valley of the Dudh Kosi (or 'milk river'). We’ll descend into the forest and cross several tributary streams on our way to Phakding (2,652m/8,700ft), a settlement where we’ll spend the night. Most of our tea houses feature private rooms, en-suite washrooms, and hot running water you’ll warmly relish. While the rooms aren’t heated, you’ll be given an electric blanket or a surprisingly effective hot water bottle to keep you toasty through the night. Today’s hike: about 3 hours.

This morning’s journey takes us through more magnificent forests that are ablaze with flowers every spring and fall. Prepare for several ascents and descents, but know that you’ll get your first glimpse of Mt Everest today. Once we reach Namche Bazaar (3,440m/11,300ft), there will be time to explore the town, or to kick back with local beer while soaking in the view.  Today’s hike: about 6 hours. 

After a morning hike we’ll lunch at the Everest View, once said to be the world’s highest hotel. We’ll then carry on to Tashinga (3,400m/11,100ft) for the night, a tranquil village set amidst pine forests, with breathtaking views of the Dudh Koshi Valley.  Today’s hike: about 5 hours.

Today begins with a short descent and bridge crossing, followed by a steep ascent through a shaded, cool forest. This takes us to the village of Thyangboche, from which we’ll descend to the end of the tree-line, followed by one more climb to Pangboche (3,930m/13,000ft) where we’ll spend the night. The Lama Sange Dorje (who brought Buddhism to the region) is said to have flown here from his Tibetan monastery, over the Himalayas no less. Today’s hike: about 4 hours.

Passing through yak pastures before the area’s true sparseness reveals itself, we’ll encounter few villages, the odd wildlife, and perhaps a sherpa on our way to Pheriche (4,280m/14,500ft). For the next few days, the simple tea houses will reflect our serene surroundings… allow yourself to be immersed in this Buddhist calm. Today’s hike: about 4 hours.

Today you may rest or partake in our optional (but highly recommended) acclimatization hike. We’ll either visit Nagajun Hill (5,050m,16,570ft) or Chukkhung village, soaking up views of lakes, glaciers, and famous peaks like Ama Dablam and Makalu. Today’s hike: about 5 hours.

Moving at a sensible pace, we’ll traverse ice-covered torrents to Lobuche (4,930m/16,175ft), where stone houses sit amidst a frozen wilderness of stunning beauty. Sleep well and dream about tomorrow’s ultimate goal: Everest Base Camp! Today’s hike: about 5 hours.

What a day! It’s our final assault towards Everest Base Camp (5,367m/17,600ft) – capture the moment with some selfies and share the glory with your fellow travellers. After the celebration, we’ll descend to the frozen lakebed of Gorakshep (5,160m/16,930ft), with stop at the world’s highest glacier (Khumbu). Today’s hike: about 8 hours.

Without doubt, the best place to see Everest is from Kala Patthar (5,545m/18,190ft), and we’ll be there at sunrise for a breathtaking moment that truly leaves you feeling the world at your fingertips. We’ll then revisit the sandy expanse of Gorakshep on our way back down to Pheriche (4,280m/14,500ft). Today’s hike: about 7 hours.

Today we return to Tashinga (3,400m/11,100ft) via Tengboche for lunch. It’s a gentle descent that crosses the Dudh Koshi torrent, which is fed by the Khumbu Glacier. Leaving behind alpine meadows, we’ll make our way through Deboche and Pangboche, with a chance to visit the region’s largest, most revered monastery. Today’s hike: about 6 hours.

Retracing our steps from the beginning of our journey, we’ll spend tonight in Monjo (2,700m/8,860ft) at the newest, most luxurious of our tea houses. Sit back, relax, and savour your second last night in the Everest region! Today’s hike: about 5 hours.

Our last day of hiking includes a trek back to Chaunrikhara. We’ll leave the main trail for a short climb to Lukla, where our base camp adventure began! Why not treat yourself to a beer as we revel in the glory of our time together in the Himalayas? Today’s hike: about 5 hours.

Today we fly back to Kathmandu. When we arrive we'll check into a deluxe hotel in a quieter part of Kathmandu for some well deserved R&R. The rest of your day is free to enjoy the hotel's incredible pool (designed to resemble a 12th century Malla Dynasty bath!), enjoy the stunning spa or further explore the capital city.

Today offers more free time, and flexibility should we encounter flight delays or cancellations from Lukla. However, if everything proceeds as planned, we’ll have many excursions to consider, such as a visit to the stunning town of Bhaktapur, which is hard at work recovering from the 2015 earthquake. There will also be an optional farewell dinner, followed by before drinks on the town. A second evening will be enjoyed in our hotel where you can take another dip in the pool or rest your weary legs in the library.

There are no activities planned today – this simply allows time given the possibility of flight delays or cancellations from Lukla.

• Arrival & departure transfers to/from Out Adventures’ joining/finishing point hotel
• Group leader from beginning to end of tour 
• 16 breakfasts, 12 dinners
• 3-star hotel (4 nights), simple tea houses (12 nights)

• Expert Mountain Guides during our trek to Everest Base Camp
• Guided city tour of Boudhanath, Pashupatinath, Swayambhunath, Kathmandu Durbar Square (Kathmandu) 
• Return flight from Kathmandu to Lukla

• International Airfare
• Meals & Activities not mentioned in itinerary
• Gratuities for Group Leader ($85-$170 USD)
• Travel insurance is mandatory for all travellers. Visit www.outadventures.com/insurance for more details.

• Gratuities for Mountain Crew ($100 USD)
• Gratuities for drivers, hotel staff, porters (approximately $50 USD)

OUT Adventures is all about good times with likeminded guys. Whatever's on the itinerary - from fireside camping to five-star decadence - our goal is to make the experience magical. We're also committed to supporting the communities we visit by hiring local guides, staying at locally-owned accommodations when possible, and celebrating local cuisine. It all adds up to a great way to immerse yourself in the culture.

VISAS: All foreign nationals (except Indians) require a visa to enter Nepal, which can be obtained from embassies abroad or on arrival at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan airport. Further details will be provided once your booking has been confirmed.

CULTURE SHOCK: Nepal is a developing country with infrastructure, values, customs and standards that may differ from what you have at home. Expect poor road conditions, and know that restaurants and tourist sites may be closed from time-to-time. Also, our scheduled transportation may be altered, or the itinerary changed, due to circumstances beyond our control. Having a sense of humour and being prepared to go with the flow will come in very handy on this expedition.

LOCAL LGBT SCENE: Although Nepal may seem to be a leader in the fight for LGBT rights in Asia, there is actually little here to discover in terms of organized gay life.

WEATHER: Weather conditions in the Himalayas can change rapidly, and our Group Leader may need to change our itinerary accordingly. Travellers must be prepared for all weather conditions, but we do expect it to be primarily dry, with a chance of rain, and snow at higher elevations in the evenings. In the Everest Region, you can expect daytime highs around 15°C/60°F, with evening temperatures around 0°C/32°F to 5°C/41°F.

REQUIRED VACCINATIONS: Based on entry requirements, there are no vaccinations needed to enter Nepal. To determine if you should take preventative measures to reduce the risk of illness, you should consult your doctor or a travel medical clinic, as OUT Adventures cannot provide vaccination recommendations.

ELECTRICITY: You will need an international travel plug/adapter for type C/D/M sockets. Visit http://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/nepal/ for more information.

CONNECTIVITY: Our hotel in Kathmandu will have Wi-Fi access, but it's slow. However, most cafés and restaurants offer a free connection. Our tea houses will not have Wi-Fi, but you can purchase a local SIM card, since most of the villages will have cellular reception.

DOMESTIC FLIGHTS: Please note domestic airlines in Nepal have strict luggage limits, with a maximum of 10kg for checked luggage, 5kg for hand luggage, and NO option to pay a surcharge for excess weight. However, if necessary, extra luggage can be stored at our hotel in Kathmandu. Also, due to adverse weather, flights to and from Lukla may be delayed or cancelled. If flight cancellations will gravely affect our itinerary, we may charter a helicopter charter, for which additional cost applies. If this happens, we will provide you with a support letter so you can make an insurance claim to recover the unexpected expenditure arising from conditions beyond our control (please review our Travel Insurance section below for more details).

Altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation may be felt while travelling in high altitudes. Symptoms include shortness of breath, headaches, general lethargy, and a reduced appetite. It's important that you drink plenty of water, and not overexert yourself. A comprehensive first-aid kit is carried by our support crew during treks, and senior staff are trained to prevent, detect and - if necessary - deal with AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). Contrary to what many say, AMS is not that common, at least not on well-paced treks.

For everybody's peace of mind, medical travel insurance is required on all Out Adventures tours. At a minimum, your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses, emergency repatriation and personal liability, with a minimum medical coverage of US $50,000.

For more details, visit www.outadventures.com/insurance.

All OUT Adventures are led by a gay (or gay-welcoming) guide. Whenever possible, we hire destination locals. And we can also connect you with the right people if you'd like to delve deeper into the local culture.

OUT Adventures are a great way to meet people from around the world and all walks of life. Bear in mind that everybody's there for a good time, so mutual respect will go a long way. Please be on time for any meet ups, empathetic to the needs of others, and ready to roll with whatever the adventure brings.

Although we can't tell you who your fellow travellers will be for privacy reasons, we can tell you many great friendships began with an OUT Adventure. And just because we're a gay tour operator doesn't mean we're exclusive: friends and family are always welcome to join the fun.

 

If you've never travelled on your own, it's an amazing way to get to know yourself while making new friends along the way. We can arrange for you to share a room with people in your age range at no charge, or you can pay a supplement for your own room. And if there's an odd number of solos, we'll rotate a single room on a random basis.

The itinerary is correct at time of publishing. If anything, it will only get better based on feedback from prior travellers and our own research. It's best to reference your final trip documents rather than our website in case there have been any changes that affect your departure.

Every OUT Adventure offers optional excursions that are not included in price of this trip. Please see your daily itinerary in your final pre-trip packet to see what's available.

Starting Point:
Kathmandu Guesthouse

Thamel, Kathmandu

Standard check-in time is between 2PM and 3PM. We are unable to arrange early check ins, however you are able to store your luggage and explore the central area near the hotel while you wait. If you would like a guaranteed early check-in, you will need to reserve a pre-tour night of accommodation.

If you are checking in to the hotel under your OUT Adventures reservation, a complimentary arrival transfer will be included.

Finishing Point:
Dwarika's Resort
Kathmandu

After a long week of hiking, we've booked a delux hotel to rest your weary feet. Enjoy the hotel's incredible pool, stunning spa, signature library amongst other amenities.

If you are happy with services throughout your trip, a tip is recommended. Tipping details will be provided in your final trip documentation, however we recommend budgeting about $250 USD.

The local currency is the Nepalese Rupee. Credit cards are accepted at our hotel, albeit with a small surcharge. We also recommend carrying approximately $400 USD to be used only in the case of an emergency, or if your credit/ATM cards are placed on hold.

Most OUT Adventures entail carrying your own luggage on occasion. On this adventure, you'll be limited to a maximum of 10kg/22lb in total (carry-on and checked) for the domestic flight to Lukla, and the hiking portion of the trip. During this time, you can store any larger luggage at our hotel in Kathmandu. 

The following packing list should be used as a guideline, not as gospel. Our Adventure Specialists are happy to answer any specific questions about how much, or little to bring.

Travel Documents:

  • Passport/Visas/Flight Itineraries/Travel Insurance 
  • 2 Passport/Visa Photos (1 for visa, 1 for trekking permit)
  • Trip Documents
  • Credit/ATM card
  • Cash in USD in denominations of $1, $10 & $20 
  • Yellow Fever vaccine certificate if travelling from a country with risk of Yellow Fever

General Personal Items:

  • Eye mask/Ear plugs
  • Alarm clock/watch
  • Camera, memory cards, Spare batteries
  • Smart device/charging cord
  • Portable battery/device charger
  • Travel plug/international adapter
  • Sunglasses with UV filter lenses
  • Suitcase/bag with luggage lock to store extra belongings at hotel in Kathmandu during the trek

Health/Hygene:

  • Small First aid kit including ibuprofen, acetaminophen, zinc oxide tape and small scissors, diarrhea tablets, dioralyte rehydration packs, blister pads (such as Band-aid or Dr. Scholls blister cushions)
  • Personal Medication
  • High protection sunscreen/lip balm
  • Insect repellent/bite cream/antihistamine
  • Antibacterial gel/wipes
  • Toiletries including toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, biodegradable shampoo, talcum powder & toilet paper (some of the basic tea houses will not provide any supplies)
  • Vaseline to prevent chafing skin and heel friction blisters 
  • Water purification tablets as an additional precaution

Clothing:

  • 3 sweat-wicking short-sleeved shirts
  • 2 sweat-wicking long-sleeved shirts 
  • Fleece sweater/jacket
  • Inexpensive Poncho
  • Light sweater/sweatshirt
  • 2 Pairs of lightweight zip-off pants
  • 2 Pair of lightweight shorts
  • 2 pairs of long-sleeved quick-dry thermal shirts 
  • 2 pairs of thermal quick-dry bottoms
  • Sweat-wicking underwear (briefs over boxers provide less chafing)
  • 3 pairs heavy wool socks, 2 pairs light socks

Gear (items marked with * can be rented/purchased locally, however quality can't be guaranteed):

  • Refillable water bottles (2 @ 1 litre/32 oz each)
  • 4-season sleeping bag rated for -9C/15F (required for approx 1/3 of basic tea houses - the rest will have proper bedding)*
  • Sleeping bag liner*
  • Medium Pack/Duffel Bag for your main gear. If your bag is not waterproof, you should have a waterproof cover (50-70 litres of capacity. Porters will carry this each day to the next lodge)*
  • Waterproof Day pack (25-35 litres of capacity) for anything you need access to during the day, like your camera, sunscreen, waterproof outer layer, first aid kit, water, hat, sunglasses, lip balm, etc. You will carry this bag*
  • Waterproof bag covers liners, or plastic bags to keep your belongings dry
  • Midweight down jacket*
  • Lightweight, waterproof jacket and pants and/or ponchos*
  • Waterproof, broken-in, sturdy walking/hiking boots with Gore-Tex or a similar waterproof membrane
  • Lightweight/compact running shoes or sandals for tea houses
  • Warm & weather resistant gloves*
  • Hat to prevent sunburn & cover neck and/or bandana/scarf
  • Warm hat for cold mornings
  • Bags for trash and laundry
  • Supplements/snacks/inter-meal energy supplements and recovery drink powder/portable electrolyte replacement tablets 
  • Walking sticks/poles with spare ferules/rubber tips*
  • Head lamp with spare batteries
  • Hand/toe warmers
  • Travel Pillow for basic tea houses
  • Medium-sized towel for basic tea houses

We love when groups of friends join us on an OUT Adventure, whether you're celebrating a major milestone, or you just love to travel together. However, since we have travellers that will be flying solo, or as a couple, we would love your help ensuring everybody feels welcome and has an epic time. Here are some ways you can give us a hand, while also getting to know and befriending your fellow travellers:

  • Sit with (and get to know) different people at different meals
  • Mix up walking partners on excursions
  • Invite solo travellers to join you for an optional excursion or meal
  • Enjoy inside jokes in privacy, or let the group in on the secret ;)

If you'd rather relish an exclusive escape with just your own party, we also offer private departures. This is a great way to create and manage your own holiday guest list, while possibly saving money as well. Please contact one of our Adventure Specialists if you're interested in a customized quote.

All Out Adventures guests must have a good level of health. All tours, regardless of activity level, involve uneven steps, stairs, walking tours, and you will be required to carry your own luggage from time to time. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate individuals with limited mobility unless they are willing to absorb the cost of a private guide/assistant which varies by country and is only possible on a case by case basis. It is also your responsibility to advise Out Adventures of any pre-existing medical conditions that may increase the risk of you requiring medical attention, or that may affect the normal conduct of the tour and the enjoyment of the tour by other participants.

Below is a breakdown of our Physical Rating guide.

1 - Relaxing

  • Very little or no hiking
  • Light activities such as walking, bike tours, paddling or swimming are completely optional
  • Low altitude
  • Suitable for all fitness levels

2 - Light

  • Light walking and hiking (2 hours or less per day and at low altitude)
  • Light activities such as bike tours, paddling or swimming are completely optional
  • Suitable for most fitness levels

3 - Average

  • Light walking and hiking (3 hours or less per day, rarely at high altitude)
  • Some activities such as biking, paddling or swimming. Active days are mixed with relaxed days
  • Suitable for an average fitness level

4 - Demanding

  • Walking, hiking is a component of the tour (can range from 2 hours to 6 hours per day, at various altitudes)
  • Activities such as biking, paddling or swimming may be mixed in
  • Suitable for a good fitness level

5 - Challenging

  • Walking, hiking, biking, paddling or kayaking are the vast majority of the trip (can range from 2 hours to 8 hours per day, generally at high altitude)
  • Activities will likely happen day after day with limited rest days
  • Suitable for above average fitness level