NEPAL: CHALLENGE TRIP

Overview


Join Big Heart Adventures for 20 incredible days of exploration in Nepal. Experience the endlessly fascinating ancient city of Kathmandu and challenge yourself with 16 days of stunning trekking to Gokyo Lakes, Kala Pattar & Everest Base Camp with a crossing of the immense Cho La Pass.

This journey takes you off the beaten track affording magnificent views of the world’s highest mountains while allowing you to authentically connect with Nepal.

$3,599

Secure your spot today!

$1,000 deposit.

Book Now

Small group, active, challenging trek involving hiking and camping at high to very high altitude. Comfortable hotel both before and after the trek.



Date
Start
Finish
Country


29/11/17 – 9/12/17
Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand
Bhutan


Type
Physical Rating
Group Size
Investment


Wise Woman Walking

Up to 12
$4,145 per person
Twin Share




Date  29/11/17 – 09/12/17
Start  Bangkok, Thailand
Finish  Bangkok, Thailand
Country  Bhutan

Type  Wise Woman Walking
Physical Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦
Group Size  Up to 12
Investment  $4,145 per person | twin share

Giving Back


Trekkers will raise funds for the Himalayan Development Foundation Australia’s Sponsor a Teacher project and visit Seti Devi school where projects have been funded for classroom buildings post-earthquake.
HDFA – www.hdfa.org
You can make your donations to our fundraising campaign here – thank you for your generosity!

OPPORTUNITY:
If you are a teacher or work in the health profession, HDFA are always looking for skilled volunteers to share their skills and knowledge with local professionals. Please enquire with HDFA for more details.



Inclusions



Air Travel

Economy class return international flights between Paro & Bangkok

Meals

All meals & bottled water provided as per the itinerary in Bhutan

B x 9 | L x 9 | D x 9

Transport

Minibus ground transport and airport transfers

Private guide & driver

Accommodation

6 nights accommodation

4 nights accommodation

Activities

Local Tours
Numerous Hikes & Walks
Visit Taktsang Monastery
(Tiger’s Nest)
+ MUCH MORE
See Itinerary for all the details


Itinerary

Please note itinerary can be subject to change at anytime.

You will be met and welcomed at the airport and guided through the initial culture shock of Kathmandu’s narrow, winding streets to get you settled into your cosy hotel, very close to the UNESCO world heritage listed Boudhanath Stupa, sacred to Buddhists and the centre of the Tibetan and Sherpa community in Kathmandu!

In the afternoon (depending on your arrival time) you can enjoy a bazaar walk exploring the secret alleys and courtyards of old Kathmandu that most visitors don’t get to experience. Add to this a visit to the ancient Kathmandu Durbar (palace) Square and it’s a great introduction to Kathmandu!

In the evening we can meet up with our trekking guide to go over details for the trek and check any last minute gear requirements, before a welcome dinner in a traditional Nepali restaurant.

Accommodation: Hotel Shambaling

(dinner)

A spectacular flight and landing on the tiny mountain runway brings us to the start of our trek at the village of Lukla [2800m]. After meeting the crew, we head up the Dudh Koshi Valley on a well-marked trail to our first night on trek, near the river at Monjo.

Accommodation: Local Tea House

(breakfast, lunch, dinner)

This morning when leaving Monjo we are on the trail inside the Sagarmatha National Park which was set-up in order to protect and preserve the fragile mountain environment of the Everest region. We cross the river on a suspension bridge and then ascend quite steeply to Namche. Along the way, if the weather is clear, catch our first glimpse of Mt Everest in the distance. Namche is the main trading village in the Khumbu and has a busy Saturday market – a meeting place for the Hindu traders from the lowlands and the Tibetan yak caravans that have crossed the glaciated Nangpa La.

Accommodation: Local Tea House

(breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Namche is tucked away between two ridges amidst the giant peaks of the Khumbu and has an abundance of lodges, tea shops and souvenir shops as well as a magnificent outlook. It is an ideal place to spend our rest day, which is crucial for acclimatising to the new altitude before heading on upwards to the stunning Gokyo lakes. Options for acclimatisation walks include a visit to Khunde Hospital which was set-up by Sir Edmund Hillary, or a one hour walk up to the Everest View Hotel above Namche for the sunset view of Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse and Everest. There are also good views from the National Park Centre and Museum just above the town.

Accommodation: Local Tea House

(breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Today is a spectacular day in terms of scenery as we follow the main trail north out of Namche. A short climb to a crest reveals a wonderful view towards Everest and Lhotse. We follow this main trail for a while longer, passing many traders selling Tibetan handicrafts, to a crossroads high above the Dudh Kosi. The trail to Everest drops down the hill but we turn off here and climb to cross the Mon La (‘La’ means pass) before reaching Phortse Tenga. From Phortse Tenga, the trail climbs steeply to Dole, through rhododendron and birch forest, complete with with Tolkein-like hanging moss and lichen on the trees.

Accommodation: Local Tea House

(breakfast, lunch, dinner)

From Dole we climb steadily along the side of the valley, where the rhododendron forests give way to scrub juniper as the altitude increases. The trail passes many summer settlements [yersa], which are used when yaks are taken to these pastures to graze in the summer months. Ahead of us are excellent views of Cho Oyu, while back down the valley are the peaks of Kantega and Thamserku. This is a short day and we will arrive at Machermo in time for lunch.

Accommodation: Local Tea House

(breakfast, lunch, dinner)

We are now approaching 4500m, so we will stay at Machermo for an extra day to acclimatise. There are plenty of possibilities for exploration around the camp and just above the village there is an excellent view encompassing Cho Oyu [8210m] and the mountains which flank the Ngozumpa Glacier. If you are feeling very strong it is ok to go for a walk today, otherwise we recommend you take it easy and drink lots of fluids and allow your body to adjust to the altitude.

Accommodation: Local Tea House

(breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Rested, we head for the lakes at Gokyo. We follow a very scenic path to Pangka and then descend slightly, following one of the melt-water rivers which flow down the west side of the Ngozumpa Glacier. We climb a steep rocky incline into the valley by the side of the glacier, passing the first of the holy lakes. We soon arrive at the second of the lakes, crossing the path which heads across the glacier to Cho La – our route to Lobuche and Everest, later in the trek. The third lake is known as Dudh Pokhari and on its eastern shore is the settlement of Gokyo. Walking by the side of the lake, the scenery is magnificent with the summits of Cho Oyu and Gyachung Kang reflected in its emerald green waters.

Accommodation: Local Tea House

(breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Gokyo Ri looms above the village on the northern edge of the lake and we leave camp just after first light, following a steep path up the hillside. As we climb, the summits of Everest, Lhotse and Makalu slowly come into sight and the view from the summit of Gokyo Ri itself, is one of the finest to be had in the Everest region – some say it is even better than that from Kala Pattar. For those who still have some energy, there are more good views to be had by dropping back down to the main path and following it north to the fourth and fifth of the Gokyo lakes, the latter being about three hours from Gokyo.

Accommodation: Local Tea House

(breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Fit and acclimatised, we leave Gokyo to cross the Ngozumpa Glacier. We descend to the second lake and drop down onto the glacier. The route across the glacier is marked by cairns and is generally quite well defined. We climb off the glacier by a small dwelling known as Tragnag and follow a shallow valley to our tea house by a small kharka (summer grazing pasture).

Accommodation: Local Tea House

(breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Today is a big day. An early start is necessary today, as not only do we have to cross Cho La, but we also have to make the long descent to reach Lobuche. Continuing up the valley, we cross a ridge and an old lateral moraine, before beginning the rocky scramble to the pass. From the pass there are excellent views, across to the Rolwaling Valley in the west and Ama Dablam to the south east. The descent from the pass involves the crossing of a small glacier [often snow covered] which is fairly straightforward. There are more excellent views of Ama Dablam and the forbidding north face of Cholatse as we descend to the pastures below. The way to Lobuche contours the grassy slopes above a lake, the Tshola Tsho, to join up with the main Everest trail from Pheriche and Tengboche. The trail flattens out and follows the valley on the west side of the Khumbu Glacier to Lobuche.

Accommodation: Local Tea House

(breakfast, lunch, dinner)

To reach our next objective, the peak of Kala Pattar, the trail continues to follow the valley beside the Khumbu Glacier, and offers superb views of the surrounding mountains, especially where the path is forced to rise to cross a tributary glacier. We stop for lunch at our lodge for the night, in Gorak Shep. Later in the afternoon, when the sunset colours begin to appear on Everest, we make our way to the top of one of the finest viewpoints in the Khumbu, Kala Pattar [5549m]. As the light begins to fade we stroll back to our camp at Gorak Shep and have an early night in preparation for our long day hike to Everest Base Camp the following day.

Accommodation: Local Tea House

(breakfast, lunch, dinner)

For the trek to Everest Base Camp, a very early start is required. It takes several hours on a trail across the Khumbu Glacier which weaves its way between almost translucent ice pinnacles and past seemingly bottomless crevasses. At Base Camp, there will hopefully be an expedition ‘in residence’ and there are great views up into the Khumbu Ice Fall, where there is often some climbing activity. On the return leg, we can take a higher route to get a spectacular view of the Khumbu Ice Fall and the route to the South Col. We then return to Gorak Shep.

Accommodation: Local Tea House

(breakfast, lunch, dinner)

It’s downhill most of the way today, past Lobuche to Duglha and Pheriche. The Himalayan Rescue Association have a trekkers aid post here which is interesting to visit. After lunch we head on down to the lovely twin villages of Pangboche. New Pangboche is where we’ll stay and Old Pangboche is home to the oldest monastery in the Khumbu, founded in 1667, which houses relics said to be the skull and hand of a yeti.

Accommodation: Local Tea House

(breakfast, lunch, dinner)

We continue to follow the river and, after crossing it, climb back up through birch and rhododendron forest to Tengboche and its famous monastery. There are magnificent views from here and Kwangde, Tawache, Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Kantega and Thamserku are just a few of the Himalayan giants which can be seen. From Tengboche we descend to the bridge over the Dudh Kosi at Phunki Tenga, where there are water driven prayer wheels, before making our way back to Namche.

Accommodation: Local Tea House

(breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Our final, but long day’s trekking follows the Dudh Kosi back down to Lukla. This last evening in the mountains is the ideal opportunity for a farewell party with the sherpa guides and porters, where we can sample some ‘chang’, try Sherpa dancing and look back on a truly memorable trekking experience!

Accommodation: Local Tea House

(breakfast, lunch, dinner)

This morning we enjoy a final, hearty trekking breakfast we bid farewell to the incredible vistas of the Khumbu area and take our flight back to Kathmandu. On arrival back at the domestic airport in Kathmandu, our guide will escort us back to our Kathmandu Base Camp, the cosy Shambaling Hotel. We can take the afternoon to relax, or we can take some time to settle in again and then head out to explore the incredible ancient city of Bhaktapur, about half an hour’s drive away from our hotel.

* Optional half day tour: Bhaktapur is one of the three ancient kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley (the others being Kathmandu and Patan) and is the best preserved. It is often called a “living museum” as you can see people living as they have for so long (with a few modern twists here and there), threshing grain in the city square or turning their pottery wheel and drying pots out in the sun, running errands or performing daily worship rituals in their neighbourhood temple. Your Kathmandu guide will meet you at your hotel and escort you to this fascinating city. You will have time to explore the must-see sights there as well as having plenty of time to explore the backstreets and small alleyways so you gain a true appreciation of life in this timeless city. Depending on the time your flight arrives back from Lukla (there can be delays if the weather is not favourable) you can choose to have lunch at Bhaktapur overlooking one of the ancient squares, or have lunch in the hotel or near Boudhanath Stupa, before heading out for an afternoon of exploring (if you are simply craving a good pizza after your trek, then we recommend lunch at Boudha before going out to Bhaktapur).

Accommodation: Hotel Shambaling

(breakfast)

After breakfast today, we embark on a full day of sightseeing to get to know the incredible Kathmandu Valley. Your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel and you will be chauffeured by private car to three out of an incredible seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley.

Your final exploration today takes you to Boudhanath Stupa. Here we will start by enjoying lunch overlooking the Stupa and we get to just soak up the atmosphere from our vantage point on the café terrace. After lunch we will explore and learn more about this impressive structure, one of the biggest stupas in the world. It stands with four pairs of eyes in the four cardinal directions keeping watch for righteous behaviour and human prosperity. It is built on an octagonal base inset with prayer wheels and the stupa is ringed by houses of Lamas or Buddhist priests, monasteries and shops.

Finishing off with some free time to sit and take it all in, to wander and explore, or perhaps even to check out the interesting wares in the local shops, we then head back to the hotel after a full and fantastic day!

Accommodation: Hotel Shambaling

(breakfast, lunch)

After breakfast today, you guide will meet you at your hotel and you will head out on a full day of exploring! The city of “Kathmandu” is actually made up of 3 ancient cities that lie within the valley of “Nepal” as this valley was known in ancient times – Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. Patan is located across the Bagmati River to the south of Kathmandu city. Patan is also known as Lalitpur, the city of fine arts. According to legend the founding of Patan dates back to Pre-Christian times. As opposed to the old cities of Kathmandu and Bhaktapur that were mainly influenced by the Hindu religion, Patan was for many years a major Buddhist city. It is believed that it was founded in the third century B.C. by the famous Buddhist emperor, Ashoka, who visited the town while on a pilgrimage from Northern India and built four stupas that enclosed the centre of the old town. This would make it the oldest continuing Buddhist town in the world…and in a very different style from the style of Buddhism practiced by the mix of high Himalayan cultures you see in the Boudhanath area.

After exploring Patan Durbar Square, we have lunch inside the old palace and then start our walking tour to explore the out of the way places, learning about the secret alleyways and the intricate courtyard system that make this ancient city such a unique and well planned place. Incredible, when we think of our impressions of modern Kathmandu. As they say, old is gold! This is a fascinating insight – including craftsmen busy at work creating bronze statues or copper pots, thanka painters (in the traditional Newar style, rather than the Tibetan style you will have seen at Boudhanath) focussed on the minutiae of their masterpieces, the temple of a thousand Buddhas, the Golden Temple and many ‘secret’ monasteries and temples unknown to 99% of visitors to Nepal. Perhaps most fascinating is to learn about the ancient city plan which included sophisticated features such as community water supply, emergency fire tanks, resting places, sacred places, market places (and places for ancient traders from Tibet or India to gather the latest market intelligence before hitting the local market!).

In the evening we will meet up and head into town to one of Kathmandu’s finest restaurants for a final farewell and share memories of our incredible adventure!

Accommodation: Hotel Shambaling

(breakfast, lunch, dinner)

This morning is free to relax and get packed up before taking a reflective moment with a cuppa overlooking the stupa…or you can head out and do some more exploring if you like J Please let us know if/how we can help.

When it is time, we will escort you to the airport for your flight home. We bid you farewell and look forward to seeing you in the Himalayas again soon! Or if you are staying on to volunteer, transport assistance is available. Please enquire for more information regarding volunteer packages hell@bigheartadventures.com.au

(breakfast)


Important Info


  • Non refundable deposit is $1,000pp payable within 7 days of booking, final balance due 60 days before departure.  Payment plan available, please enquire.
  • Limited Single Rooms available on request – add supplement $500 per person to twin share price.  If there is no-one to share a room with you, you will be required to pay a single supplement.  We will match you with a room mate at your request.
  • A minimum of 8 travellers are required for this trip to depart with a host.
  • Itinerary and price subject to change at any time. See full terms and conditions on our booking form.  Please note we calculate any currency conversions on the day of payment.

Fitness Requirement


A good level of fitness is required to walk at altitudes (over 300m). Completed medical forms are required when booking.
In some circumstances doctor’s medical clearance may be requested.

 

Inclusions


  • Accommodation as specified in the itinerary; based on standard rooms twin share.
  • Meals as per the itinerary
  • Boiled or filtered drinking water will be provided on demand, instead of mineral water due to environmental concerns.
  • Transportation as per detailed itinerary.
  • All transfers for tours included in Kathmandu
  • Return flights to and from Kathmandu, including airport transfers and airport taxes.
  • Guide, sherpas and porters depending on group size.
  • All crew member’s transport, equipment, insurance, meals and accommodation.
  • A first aid kit with basic supplies appropriate for the group size and trek route – if you require or are taking specific medications it is critical that you discuss this with us prior to your trip departure
  • Trekking permits and registration fees
  • A charity contribution to the Himalayan Development Foundation Australia.
  • Big Heart Adventures Bluff
  • Journal and Pen
  • Big Heart Adventures Host

Exclusions


  • International Flights to and from Bangkok
  • Items of a personal nature such as medications, phone calls, laundry, drinks, etc
  • Tipping – a guide will be provided in our pre-departure kit
  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance which is mandatory to enter Bhutan
  • Meals and drinks not stated on itinerary
  • Optional activities offered outside of the inclusions

Meet your host



CAROLYN PRIEST

Carolyn Priest is an internationally accredited Certified Law of Attraction & Vibrational Life Coach.

She first heard about Bhutan from a documentary and discovered the King of Bhutan’s philosophy of “Gross National Happiness”. Since watching that program Bhutan has enticed her with its beauty and mystery. With a passion for anything spiritual or mystical and Bhutan’s breath taking landscapes Carolyn knew that one day she would visit.

Travel is about the beautiful people you connect with, wonderful experiences and the magical journey along the way and not just about the destination. Join Carolyn for a journey to the soul in magical Bhutan.

Questions?

Book Today!


$3,599

Departure November 2018
Secure your spot today with a $1,000 deposit.

Book Now