Everest base camp, day 1: To Kathmandu

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October 2014
Before I start let me tell you that this travelogue will not
give full account of the trek to Everest Base Camp. The simple reason is that I
could not complete it. It was my second attempt to reach EBC. Last year it was
the bad weather that stopped us from starting this trek. Weather was good this
year but apparently the mountains did not like us!!
Like last year, it was me and Subbu who went for the trek.
In the posts, I would like to provide information about
trekking to this place individually with relatively less money as EBC is a very
costly trip. One will be mainly spending on:
  • Air ticket from Bengaluru to Kathmandu: There is
    nothing much to do here rather than getting a good deal on flights.
  • Air ticket from Kathmandu to Lukla: Lukla is the
    starting point of the trek. The only way to reach this place is either by
    flight or foot. Flight takes 25 minutes while walking requires 7 days!! It is
    very hard to book the flight ticket online and you need to depend on Nepal
    travel agents for the same. For Indians, the return ticket costs about 11K INR.
    Nepalese get it cheaper while westerners need to shell out more money. Many
    travel agents refuse to just book the tickets. Instead, they see money in
    booking for entire trip.
  • Stay: It is a tea house trek and one can easily
    find hotels to stay at the end of the day. For NPR (Nepali Rupee) 200-300, we
    get a very decent room with common bathroom. There is a catch with the low
    price. People have to eat in their restaurants only!!
  • Food: The most expensive part of the trek.
    Expect to spend at least NPR 1500 – 2000 per day. The price increases as we
    climb up. As the area is not connected by motorable road, everything has to be
    flown in and then transported by human/animal and hence the reason of high
  • Permits: One needs permit to trek to EBC. Prices
    vary depending on whether you are travelling on your own or have a guide. More
    information on that later.
  • Guide: EBC is a busy route with proper trails. I
    do not see a need for the guide at all. But if you need, be prepared to pay for
    their flight to Lukla and then for their service on daily basis.
  • Porter: Since there is no need to carry tents
    and food items, the backpack will not be very heavy and I do not see a need of
    porter.  Having said that I did use
    porter due to my bad back. You can either hire from a travel agent in Kathmandu
    or get hire one outside Lukla airport!!
  • Water: If you plan to use bottled water, there
    are high chances that you go bankrupt!! At high altitude, one need to drink lot
    of water and a liter of bottled water costs at least NPR 150!! Tap water and stream
    water are available all along the way which can be used. We used water
    purifying tablets (Available in Kathmandu) to get rid of bacteria. It will have
    a tang of chlorine. There are handheld water purification systems like Steripen
    which do not add chlorine but we just used Chlorine.

Our travel to Kathmandu:
The Spice Jet maintained its reputation as their flights
were delayed at both Bengaluru and New Delhi!! Anyway, we reached at 6:15PM at
Kathmandu. Immigration happened in a jiffy. Just went to the counter where
there was no queue and told that we were Indians. They did not even look at our
immigration form and just asked us to continue further.
Note: Indians do not need a visa to enter Nepal. Passport is
also not mandatory. Election card is accepted.
We took a pre paid taxi to Thamel, the main tourist area of
Kathmandu. It costs NPR 700/- at the prepaid counter in the airport. We had not
booked any hotel in Kathmandu. Thamel it full of hotels catering to various
budgets. Just land in that place and choose whichever you like. But
unfortunately, driver took us to a junk hotel called Skylark. It was cheap; we
were tired so we just took it.
We just dropped our luggage in the room and went outside to
get some essential things before the shops were closed. It was the day of Ayudha
Puja and only few shops were opened. We quickly took water purifying tablets,
recharged by NCell SIM card, converted our currency to NPR and had our dinner.
Note: 1 INR = 1.6 NPR. Indian currency is widely accepted in
Nepal. But it is better to have some Nepali currency in case if someone refuses
to accept INR. Also, 500 and 1000 rupee notes are not accepted in Nepal and are
also illegal to carry. So, it makes sense to convert INR to NPR to avoid
carrying 100 rupee notes.

We were all set for the trek next day. Permits were needed
but that could be managed later. Sadly I could not sleep properly due to the
ruckus made by some Indians in the hotel.  

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