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Holidays

Makalu to Mera Pioneering Trek

Nepal
Walk & Trek
Guided Group
TOUGH TOUGH

Pioneering trekking on an exciting high-level route through the Makalu Barun National Park

Trip Code: MTM
Holiday Grades

Our Holiday Grades Explained

To show the relative difficulty of our holidays, each trip is graded on a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most challenging. Although we have tried to make our grading system as clear as possible, it cannot take into account your personal interests, abilities or experience. If you have any questions about the nature of a particular trip or its suitability for you, please read the 'Is this holiday for you?' section or contact us.

 1 - 3 LEISURELY
1 - 3 LEISURELY

Suitable for most people in good health, holidays at this grade include only limited amounts of activity.

View leisurely holidays
4 - 6 MODERATE
4 - 6 MODERATE

Suitable for reasonably fit individuals, such as weekend walkers and cyclists. There can be the occasional more difficult day.

View moderate holidays
7 - 9 CHALLENGING
7 - 9 CHALLENGING

Physically challenging holidays, where you need to be prepared before you go.

View challenging holidays
10 - 12 TOUGH
10 - 12 TOUGH

Our toughest holidays, involving many long days, often in isolated areas. A high level of fitness and previous wilderness and mountain experience is essential.

View Tough holidays

Makalu to Mera Pioneering Trek

Highlights
  • A challenging trekking holiday through a remote and little-travelled part of Nepal
  • Rare views of Makalu and Kangchenjunga and the very impressive Chamlang
  • Wilderness camping in remote valleys, beside mountain tarns and on high ridges
  • Rope-up to cross the Mera La, high on the slopes of Nepal’s finest trekking peak
  • FREE Sleeping bag and down jacket hire is available for this holiday

At a Glance
  • Group Size 5 to 12
  • 17 days trekking
  • Max altitude - 5415 metres
  • Join In Kathmandu

Accommodation & Meals
  • All meals included
  • 3 nights Hotel with swimming pool
  • 14 nights Camping
  • 4 nights Lodge
Overview

This great trekking adventure in Nepal starts out as for the Malaku approach; heading north for several days beyond the last village at Tashigaon to the lake of Kalo Pokhari (4000m). At the heart of the Makalu Barun National Park, 3 great and almost unknown valleys run southwards from the flanks of Chamlang (7319m) and its outlying peaks and glaciers. These are the valleys of the Isuwa, Apsuwa and Sangkhuwa kholas which ultimately flow into the mighty Arun River.


Traversing the upper reaches of these valleys through a pristine Himalayan wilderness populated by blue sheep, snow leopards and bearded vultures, this ground-breaking trek crosses the Dhunga Pass (5060m) to reach the Hongu Valley below Mera Peak (6476m). Once we have left the Makalu trail, we will trek for more than a week on scant trails used only occasionally by shepherds and camp out in some of the wildest locations imaginable with superb views of Makalu, distant Kangchenjunga and a host of less well-known summits. Finally, after reaching Kongma Dingma, close beneath Chamlang’s stunning south-west face, we will put on our crampons and rope up for the crossing of the glaciated Mera La (5415m), before completing our trek out to Lukla over several days. Unique to KE, this is a challenging trekking adventure for experienced Himalayan travellers.

Is this holiday for you?

This tough trek through the Makalu Barun National Park includes the full range of Nepalese trekking conditions, from well-maintained village paths to rugged and rarely used trails over rock, scree and scrub, as well as straightforward roped-up glacier travel. There will be some long trekking days, a couple of 5000-metre pass crossings and sections of difficult and steep-sided valley with tricky an …

This tough trek through the Makalu Barun National Park includes the full range of Nepalese trekking conditions, from well-maintained village paths to rugged and rarely used trails over rock, scree and scrub, as well as straightforward roped-up glacier travel. There will be some long trekking days, a couple of 5000-metre pass crossings and sections of difficult and steep-sided valley with tricky and exposed trails and several unbridged river crossings. Although this will be the second time we have run this trip, the reconnaissance group in 2022 was forced to take a lower trail for part of the route and, therefore, the 2023 departure should be considered a partial reconnaissance. This means you must be prepared for a greater than normal degree of flexibility with regard to the distance and timings of each day’s walk and the location of each camp, which may vary as determined by the guide. This trip will suit experienced Himalayan trekkers with a good level of fitness, a head for heights, basic familiarity with the use of crampons, and most importantly, a spirit of adventure. This is a camping trek with a full Nepalese crew, 2-person tents, foam mattresses, a dining tent with a table and chairs and a toilet tent.  

Why KE?

Get off the beaten track!

This is a brilliant new route through a rugged and spectacular region which is rarely trekked. This is exploratory trekking in the style of the early Nepal expeditions and you can only do it with KE.

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Itinerary

Your holiday starts at the hotel in Kathmandu. Transfers from Kathmandu Airport are provided. Depending on your arrival time, you may have the opportunity to explore the immediate vicinity of the hotel and get acclimatised to this bustling city. Alternatively, you may prefer to recover from your journey by relaxing beside the hotel pool. Your guide will take dinner with you and will provide an informal briefing about the days ahead.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

D

In the morning we take the spectacular flight eastwards along the chain of the Himalaya to Tumlingtar. Situated on a broad flat plateau on the east bank of the Arun Khola, Tumlingtar lies at an altitude of only 457 metres so it will feel quite tropical. Given clear weather there are spectacular views of Makalu and Chamlang to the north. We set off in 4WD vehicles on a rough road through fields of rice, wheat, barley and potatoes. At the northern end of the Tumlingtar Plateau, we climb a ridge dividing the valleys of the Arun and Sabaya Kholas, to the bazaar town of Khandbari where we stop for lunch. There is a police checkpost here and the town is the administrative headquarters of the Barun National Park. There are also shops and simple lodges here and this is where the tarmac road ends. From Khandbari, the unsurfaced road continues northwards, ascending the ridge in a series of switch-backs to the small ridge-top village of Chichila (1850m). Continuing our drive, with improving views of Makalu and its satellite peaks, we finally descend to the spectacularly positioned village of Num (1505m) where our camp will already be set up. This is quite a long day of travel to access a pretty remote area. Opposite, across the Arun River, and tantalisingly close, is the village of Sedua, our halt for tomorrow.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Time

4 hrs driving

It is good today to leave all mechanical contrivances behind and set off on foot. From Num, we set off down the incredibly steep and terraced slopes towards the Arun River at just 670 metres elevation. The lower slopes of this narrow valley are densely forested and the paths are quite slippery, as this is a north-facing valley-side that never really dries out. It takes about 2 hours to descend to the suspension bridge across the torrential Arun. Carrying glacial melt-water, the Arun is an impressive river. We then start our climb away from the river, stopping off for lunch at Runruma. After lunch, a steep climb takes us up to Sedua (1530m) where we set up camp and have excellent views eastwards across forested hills to distant Kangchenjunga. Not a really long day, but steeply down and then up.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

1000 M

Descent

975 M

Time

5 - 6 hrs trekking

Distance

6 KM

One of the easiest days of the entire trek, we leave Sedua across open, terraced farmland and make an initial steep ascent before the angle of the trail eases off. Having gained a bit of height, we can now see a number of 6500 metre peaks towards the north-west which are currently obscuring our view of Makalu. The trail follows the ridge of the Chyaksa Danda, contouring around to the village of Tashigaon (2065m) one of the last settlements we will see on our walk across to Mera.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

700 M

Descent

165 M

Time

4 - 5 hrs trekking

Distance

8 KM

Still on the main trail towards Makalu Basecamp, today is a longer one with a lot of height gain. The first 3 hours of the day are spent walking through rich forest. Then, by lunchtime, we have reached more open country above the tree line and continue, largely on stone steps and through rocky outcrops, up to the ridge and the first level area since Tashigaon. We set up camp here on the pasture area known as Khongma (Kauma) Kharka (3500m) where there are now a couple of basic lodges where you may be able to buy a Coca Cola. The steady ascent to this camping place will take us 5 hours or so. Ten minutes above the lodge, there is a viewpoint for Makalu.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

1620 M

Descent

185 M

Time

7 hrs trekking

Distance

7 KM

Now up above 3500 metres (just) it is appropriate that we spend a day here to let our bodies begin the process of acclimatising to the lower levels of oxygen in the atmosphere. We are on a prominent ridge between the deep valleys of the Isuwa and Kasuwa kholas and although there are no settlements nearby to visit, this is a great place to spend a day with great views. The tip of Makalu is visible to the north along with many other smaller peaks, whilst Kanchenjunga can also be seen in the far distance to the east.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

A short day. From Kauma Kharka, we continue to follow the Makalu approach on a trail that climbs through rhododendron forest with views east to Jannu and Kanchenjunga. Arriving at a high point and clearing on the ridge at 3700 metres, there are great views of Chamlang, Makalu and Peaks 6 and 7. The rocky path then continues via a succession of false summits including the Ghungru La (4200m), before dropping down to spend the night at the splendidly-situated lake known variously as Thulo or Kalo Pokhari (4100m).

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

750 M

Descent

150 M

Time

3 - 4 hrs trekking

Distance

5 KM

Twenty minutes after leaving our camp at the lake our route turns away from the Makalu trail (which crosses the Shipton La and descends to the Barun River). We continue to follow the Kikila Danda northwards and have several hours of undulating trekking before we can set up our camp beside a small tarn, Gaira Pokhari (4250m).

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

400 M

Descent

130 M

Time

4 - 5 hrs trekking

Distance

6 KM

Continuing, we ascend to a pass at Asa Masa and cross to the south side of the ridge (Kikila Danda), whilst dropping down steeply to the Isuwa Khola. We will take it slowly on this long descent on a poor trail across open moorland and then through forest. Reaching the riverside we trek more easily upstream on a shepherds' path amongst dense, mixed forest to reach a second clearing known as Dhupi (juniper) Kharka (3395m) where we camp.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

600 M

Descent

1455 M

Time

7 - 8 hrs trekking

Distance

8 KM

Leaving camp after breakfast, we head in a north-westerly direction for an hour or so to the clearing at Tashi Jung (3640m) where there are a couple of shepherds' huts. With the valley sides rising steeply above our camp for nearly a thousand metres, this is a spectacular place and one which very few travellers have seen. Crossing to the west side of the river on a wooden bridge used by shepherds during the summer, we begin a steep ascent for an hour and a half to Rebang, a relatively level area in the middle of the steep valley side, overshadowed by the north face of a near 5000-metre peak. The path cuts across this broad platform and ascends more gently for another hour or so amongst rocky moraine to reach the ridge (northern end of the Todabu Danda). From here, we begin descending and then traverse around to our camping place beside another small pool at Parche.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

800 M

Descent

195 M

Time

6 - 7 hrs trekking

Distance

8 KM

Beyond the lake, the path undulates and ascends for several hours to reach the Tongnaphu La (4545m). Junction Camp is beyond this pass on a level area facing south. We can no longer see the big peaks to the north, but there are 2 beautiful lakes below us; Blue Lake to the south and Kal Pokhari to the south-east.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

700 M

Descent

280 M

Time

7 hrs trekking

Distance

8 KM

We can look across from our camp to the day's objective on the other side of the valley and at approximately the same level. To get there, we will follow a poor shepherd's trail which drops down into the valley before climbing up again with a fair bit of 'Nepali undulation' as we pick our way across the steep slopes. The track is not well marked and we will take our time with the Sherpas leading the way. Towards the end of the day's walk we reach the next broad ridge-top and trek across to the open pasture site at Mendaling (4630m) where we set up camp. We should be able to see the top of the prominent peak of Chamlang (7321m) rising up to the north-west.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

900 M

Descent

690 M

Time

7 hrs trekking

Distance

9 KM

Today, heading west, we have to negotiate more rugged terrain at the upper end of the valley of the Siure Khola. This small river issues from a hanging glacier on the south side of the spectacular 6200 metre-high serrated ridge of the Ekrate Danda which lies just to the south of Chamlang. To avoid having to trek on the glacier itself, we will descend steeply into the valley for about an hour, then cut across the rocky valley floor towards the next ridge, the Saune Danda. The route up to this ridge is not well-marked and for a period approaching 2 hours we are forced to make our way across a steep hillside covered with juniper bushes and with some easy scrambling. Finally, heading towards the south-east, we are able to cross this ridge-line at an unnamed pass (4680m). From here, we drop steeply down for an hour to a camping place at Digling beside the Sankhuwa Khola (4120m). In terms of its scenery and for the sheer adventure, this will be a truly memorable day.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

700 M

Descent

1210 M

Time

6 - 7 hrs trekking

Distance

8 KM

More challenging terrain and another long day as we climb up to cross the Dhunga Pass (5063m). We have an early start and take a picnic lunch with us, as we climb up almost 1000 metres to the low point on the ridge to the west. Nearing the pass the terrain becomes rockier and we have to pick a route amongst large boulders, with a bit of hands-on scrambling, to reach the permanent snow patch at the col. The pass is, in fact, rather like the Cho La on the Ultimate Everest Trek. From the pass, there are views back the way we have come to distant Kangchenjunga, whilst ahead of us we can now see Mera Peak (6476m). Beyond the pass, we descend across moraine material and scree into the scrubby forest of the upper Hongu Khola. We pass the grazing area of Keju Kharka and set up our camp beside the Hurpa Khola, a tributary of the Hongu.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

1200 M

Descent

1120 M

Time

8 - 9 hrs trekking

Distance

10 KM

Unusually this morning (for this wilderness trek) we can actually see a fairly well defined shepherds' path heading off up the valley towards the north. Before we can set foot on this trail, however, we have to take our boots off to cross the Hurpa Khola which is fed by glaciers less than 3 kilometres away. We then trek up easily beside the Hongu Khola for an hour and a half to reach a wooden bridge built and used by shepherds during the summer. Crossing to the western side of the river, we are surrounded by tall peaks on each side; the most prominent summit is Chamlang and we can also see the tip of Makalu rising above the valley side. Three hours of 'Nepali undulation' on a reasonable trail takes us to Kongma Dingma (4770m) on the west side of the Mera La where we set up our camp. There are now a couple of basic lodges here although very few trekkers now enter the upper Hongu. We are high up tonight and it will be cold after an early sunset, but we will be able enjoy the novelty of sitting indoors by the stove before retiring to our tents.

Accommodation

Camping

Meals

B L D

Ascent

800 M

Descent

230 M

Time

4 - 5 hrs trekking

Distance

6 KM

This morning we trek for around 3 hours on a good trail before we reach the snow and ice of the Mera La. Here, we will need to put on our harnesses and crampons and rope-up for the hour and a half that it will take us to cross the pass. There is usually a good trail which weaves across the snowfield, avoiding the crevassed areas. There are great views from the pass of Chamlang and Makalu. Once off the snow and ice, it's just a short trek down to Khare (5000m) where a small village has sprung up to serve the many climbers who come here each season to attempt Mera Peak. We will stay in a lodge tonight, where WiFi is usually available.

Accommodation

Lodge

Meals

B L D

Ascent

900 M

Descent

770 M

Time

5 - 6 hrs trekking

Distance

6 KM

It's a downhill trek all the way today, initially with the steep west face of Mera Peak rising up on our left hand side. The valley heads in a south-westerly direction and then due south, passing a couple of glacial lakes and several sets of prayer-walls to the lodges at Tagnag. We will have a stop for lunch at Mosum Kharka and also pay our respects at the shrine under a boulder in Gondishung. Arriving at Gotay, we will check in at one of the lodges, with the promise of beer, a hot shower, a warm dining room and WiFi.

Accommodation

Lodge

Meals

B L D

Ascent

140 M

Descent

800 M

Time

5 - 6 hrs trekking

Distance

11 KM

Less than 30 mins from Gotay, the path heads uphill on the west side of Hinku. We pass through forest and encounter a couple of small clusters of lodges. Then, zig-zagging uphill through the trees, with occasional glimpses back to Mera Peak, we pass a ridge and turn towards the west. Now out of the trees, we can look toward the south across a landscape of ever-diminishing ridges, as we lose just a bit of height, then follow a stream uphill to Thule Kharka where we once again stay in a lodge.

Accommodation

Lodge

Meals

B L D

Ascent

1090 M

Descent

450 M

Time

7 - 9 hrs trekking

Distance

10 KM

The last 300 to 400 metres of the ascent to the Zatrwa La will be our last climb of the trip, with superb views southwards across the ridge and valley landscape of Nepal's Middle Hills. From the crest of the pass we trek downhill, steeply in places, for almost 2000 metres to the welcoming lodges of Lukla.

Accommodation

Lodge

Meals

B L D

Ascent

1090 M

Descent

450 M

Time

7 - 9 hrs trekking

Distance

13 KM

We take the early morning flight to Kathmandu, check in to our hotel, and have the afternoon free for sightseeing. On this first night after our trek we will certainly have a party at one of Kathmandu's excellent restaurants.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B L D

This is an important contingency day in case of delays to the flights from Lukla. If we have experienced no delays this is another opportunity for independent exploration amongst the colourful streets and temples of Kathmandu. This evening we will have a celebratory dinner to mark the end of a most excellent trip.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B L D

Your holiday ends after breakfast. Transfers to Kathmandu Airport are provided. To extend your holiday in Nepal, why not pre-book a day's sightseeing tour in the Kathmandu Valley, or a multi-day excursion to the wildlife reserve at Chitwan. Contact our office for details.

Meals

B

Your holiday ends after breakfast. Transfers to Kathmandu Airport are provided. To extend your holiday in Nepal, why not pre-book a day's sightseeing tour in the Kathmandu Valley, or a multi-day excursion to the wildlife reserve at Chitwan. Contact our office for details.

Meals

B
Download Trip Notes
The Route
Airport Airport
Point Point
Peaks Peaks
Direction Direction
Pass Pass
Transfer
Trek
Internal Flight

Essential Information

We've compiled some of our Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this amazing trip.

  • A professional and qualified Nepalese tour leader
  • Kathmandu Airport transfers
  • Flight Kathmandu to Tumlingtar
  • Flight Lukla to Kathmandu
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary
  • Accommodation as described
  • All meals
  • Full trekking service including all equipment (excluding personal equipment)
  • Once on trek the group will be assisted by porters and a local guide
  • FREE Sleeping bag and down jacket hire is available for this holiday on request

  • Travel Insurance
  • Nepalese Visa
  • Tips for porters and other trek staff
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc.

The group will meet at the hotel in Kathmandu.

Transfers are provided from/to Kathmandu Airport for all clients arriving on Day 1 of the Land Only itinerary and departing on the last day of the Land Only itinerary.

Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

All meals included in the holiday price from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 22.

It is not recommended to drink untreated water from the taps. If you are on a trekking or cycling holiday, water is supplied to fill up your individual bottles. This will be boiled, filtered or provided in large jerry cans or 5 litre bottles. Additionally you should take purification tablets or a filter bottle (such as a Water-To-Go bottle) to treat your water when in towns or where water is not supplied. We do not encourage the purchasing of single use plastic bottles.

Our camping holidays in Nepal are accompanied by an experienced and well trained trek cook and his team of assistants. Breakfasts will include porridge or cereals and sometimes eggs, with tea, coffee and hot chocolate. Lunches are generally prepared on the trail and can include cooked or tinned vegetables, rice, chips, freshly made Tibetan bread, as well as tinned tuna, meats or cheese. On occasion this can be augmented by noodle soup. On occasion there will be a packed lunch instead. Dinners always start off with soup, followed by a locally inspired main course such as rice, dal and spicy vegetables, or a more international dish like pasta with a tomato sauce or pizza and chips. Dessert can be tinned fruit with custard or rice pudding or cake with custard. The emphasis is on providing a high-carbohydrate and largely vegetarian diet, which we have found to be easily digestible at high altitude. For the first few and last few days of the trek there will be the chance to purchase additional snacks and drinks from simple shops and tea houses. All meals while on trek and also while staying at your Kathmandu hotel are included in the trip price.

Whilst we can cater for vegetarians, albeit sometimes with a more limited choice, we cannot always provide special diets.  Due to the nature of some of the trips that we operate and the countries in which we operate them, it can be very hard (and sometimes impossible) to cater for a wide range of dietary choices and you may have to supplement your diet with food/snacks from home.  If you have specific dietary requirements please do speak to our sales team and they will be able to advise you whether or not we will be able to offer your specific choice.  Please note that we are unable to provide separate menus and cannot accept liability for any problems arising from special dietary requirements or intolerances.

During this holiday the group will spend 3 nights in Kathmandu at an excellent and centrally-located hotel such as the Shanker. On trek, the first 15 nights are full-service camping. We provide spacious 2 person tents (foam mattresses are also provided), a dining tent complete with table and chairs where you will eat your meals and relax, a kitchen tent in which the cook crew produce your meals and one (or more usually two) toilet tents. Your local crew will set up the camp each evening and take it down again in the morning. You will be served with a cup of `bed-tea` each morning and provided with a bowl of water with which to wash. Water for hand washing is also provided at each meal. On arrival into camp each afternoon hot drinks and snacks will be provided in the dining tent. For the final 4 nights on trek the group will stay in simple simple lodges where single room occupancy is not usually possible. All accommodation is arranged on a twin sharing basis. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. It is possible to hire a single tent while on trek for an additional cost. Please note single tent hire does not include single rooms in hotels. Please note also that restricted space at some of the camping places means that single tent occupancy may not be possible for all of the nights on trek. For the nights in Kathmandu single room occupancy can be arranged at supplementary cost. Additional hotel nights in Kathmandu can also be pre-booked.

Access to the high and remote areas of the Himalaya where our treks start is often only possible using internal flights. The changeable nature of mountain weather makes flying conditions complex. In addition, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal does not operate to the same standards as those of western nations and all airlines in Nepal appear on the UK Air Safety List (ASL), and are banned from operating commercial air services to, from, and within the United Kingdom. Flying in Nepal is an acknowledged risk, and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice provides further details which you can read on their website. KE is mindful of its duty of care to clients travelling with us in Nepal and we are stakeholders in an annual independent air audit of Nepal airlines undertaken by UK tour operators, most recently undertaken in February 2024. KE uses 5 airlines in Nepal which have been approved by this audit. These airlines are: Buddha Air, Summit Airlines, Shree, Tara and Yeti. We continue to cooperate with other tour operators to monitor aviation safety in Nepal and will ensure we remain a stakeholder in any further air safety audits. While we have taken appropriate action to try to minimise the risks of flying in Nepal, you should be aware that flying in mountainous terrain is not without any risk.

Please note that poor weather can cause delays on internal flights. If at the start of your holiday internal flights are cancelled for the day, you will spend an extra night near the airport (this may be at a hotel other than the group hotel). On the majority of trips there is enough flexibility in the trekking itinerary to make up 1 or possibly 2 lost days, but an alternative trek will be provided if delays to internal flights mean the original itinerary (or a shortened version of it) is no longer feasible.

For trips that end with an internal flight out of the mountains with no alternative road access, we have included 2 nights in Kathmandu as a contingency against delay. In the extremely unlikely event that a delay to your internal flight causes you to miss your homeward international flight, KE will re-book international flights for Flight Inclusive clients, but please be aware that clients booking on a Land Only basis will be responsible for re-booking their onward travel and for any associated costs. We advise you to take out suitable travel insurance and to keep your receipts, as you may subsequently be able to make a claim.

The group will be led by a professional and qualified Nepalese tour leader, assisted by an experienced team including Sherpa guides and porters.

This holiday involves going to very high altitude. During the course of your trip you will be spending at least one night above 4000 metres and/or trekking to 5000 metres or above. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude. Unless you have previous experience of trekking above 4000 metres you should consult one of our trekking experts before embarking on this holiday. On this trip we carry a portable altitude chamber (PAC-bag) and/or bottled oxygen for use in emergencies.

Approximately £150 to £200 (or equivalent in US dollars, Euros etc.) changed into local currency, should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses including porter and trek crew tips, drinks etc. It is not necessary to obtain local currency prior to departure. Sterling, US Dollars and Euros are equally acceptable for exchange in Nepal. We recommend that you carry your travel money in the form of cash, since you will exchange the majority of this on the day of your arrival in Kathmandu. If you prefer not to carry all of your spending money in cash, it is possible to withdraw money from ATMs in Kathmandu using your debit or credit card. During the trek there are few opportunities to purchase anything.

Tipping is the accepted way of saying thank you for good service. Normally the porters and any other trek staff are given their tips at the end of the trek and this is best done as a group. Your Nepali tour leader will advise the group on an appropriate level of tipping. Most groups will hand out the tips with a bit of ceremony (or sometimes a party) on the last evening, to mark the end of the holiday. As a guide, we recommend that each group member contributes around £90 (in rupees) to these tips. At the end of their trek many people also like to donate various items of equipment to the porters and trek staff who work so hard to make the trip a success. Boots, gloves, hats, scarves and even socks are always warmly received by the porters. Your tour leader will make arrangements for a fair distribution (possibly by raffle) amongst the trek crew. Please note that you will have the opportunity to tip your tour leader separately (and additionally) during dinner on the final evening of the holiday.

Your main item of luggage should be a sturdy kit bag, duffle bag or similar which will be carried during the trek by porters and should weigh no more than 15kg. If you are picking up a sleeping bag and down jacket from KE in Kathmandu, you need to factor in the weight of these items (around 3kg) and allow space in your bag for them. Your personal mountaineering equipment (boots, axe, crampons etc) will be carried separately. On arrival at Tumlingtar you will hand these items of equipment to your trek leader who will pack them in communal bags until you reach the lodge at Kongma Dingma below the Mera La. You should also take on your holiday a daypack of approximately 40 litres capacity.

For all STOL flights in Nepal, the normal allowance for hold baggage AND hand baggage combined is 15kg. But, for our climbing holidays we have arranged an allowance of 15kg hold baggage PLUS 5kg cabin baggage. You may also wish to consider wearing your heavy mountaineering boots and any heavier clothing on these flights. Please be aware that you will have to pay any charges for excess personal baggage above this allowance at check-in, and that excess baggage may have to be flown separately. It is possible to leave items not required on trek at the hotel in Kathmandu. For your international flights, please check the baggage allowance with your airline.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required, and you should have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you visit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Please ensure that you check for the latest advice before travel. For the most up to date information on entry requirements, please visit the UK Government website.

Visa Nepal

All nationalities require a visa. The visa process is partly automated and the fee is $30 for 15 days, $50 for 30 days, $125 for 90 days. The visa is FREE for children under 10 years. The visa allows multiple re-entry. Payment must be made in cash and USD, GBP or Euros are accepted.

Part of this on-arrival visa process involves filling in a ‘Tourist Visa Application Form’ and you can simplify the procedure at Kathmandu Airport by filling this form in online (within 15 days of travelling) at this link. This generates a receipt which you present (hard copy or saved on your phone) on arrival. This should allow you to go straight to the cashier to pay for your visa and has the potential to save you time in the visa queue.

Whilst these are not now needed for the visa process, we recommend that you travel with at least 2 spare passport photographs.



Trekking Permits – what do we need from you ?

Mount Everest Marathon (MEM). Everest Monasteries Trek (EVP). Ganesh Himal Panorama Trek (GHP). Lamjung Himal Trek (LHT). Middle Hills Arun River to Dudh Kosi (MHT). Shey Gompa and Inner Dolpo (DOL). Dolpo to Mugu Trek (DTM).  Around Manaslu Trek (MAN).

For each of these holidays, we need your passport details and we need to send through to Nepal ahead of your departure a scan of the information pages of your passport and a scan of a passport-style photograph of yourself. Please send these scans to us once your holiday is guaranteed.

In addition, for Conservation Area treks and other treks requiring Special Permits – DOL, DTM, MAN – you will be required on arrival in Kathmandu to provide your passport (with your visa) for presentation at the Nepal Tourism Board. Your passport will be returned to you by your tour leader at dinner.

If you have a severe allergy please inform the KE office before you travel. We will do all we can to help, but we cannot guarantee an allergy free environment on KE trips. You will need to carry your own treatment for the allergy with you, as 'adrenaline auto-injectors' are not carried as standard by KE leaders and staff. You should inform your leader on arrival of your allergy, and let them know where you keep your adrenaline pen.

Vaccinations

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella, along with hepatitis A and typhoid.

Malarial prophylaxis is not usually required for trips in the mountains, however if you are visiting rural and remote low lying areas then they might be necessary.

On holidays to more remote areas you should also have a dentist check up. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

The unit of currency in Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee.

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking or climbing trip getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. For this trip you need to be aerobically fit and also comfortable with walking up to 8 or 9 hours each day We would suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime. Regular walking in hill country is the best preparation for a trip of this nature, but running, cycling and swimming are also good for developing better stamina. Whatever your chosen method of training, before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of long walks in hilly country. For this trip it is also recommended that you gain some experience of walking on moderately angled snow slopes wearing crampons. No technical mountaineering experience is required and clients will be instructed in the basic techniques of glacier walking prior to the crossing of the Mera La.

October to November and March to May are the best times for trekking in Nepal. These months either side of the summer monsoon season are neither too hot in the foothills nor too cold in the higher elevations and they offer the best conditions for trekking. Pre-monsoon is the time to see the colourful blooms of the rhododendron at lower elevations. The post-monsoon months usually offer the clearest skies and the most settled weather. At either of these periods you will encounter a wide range of daytime temperatures during your holiday from approximately 25ºC in Kathmandu to approximately 14ºC at 3000 metres and approximately 3ºC at 5000m. The ‘real feel’ temperature in the middle of the day will be much warmer than this. At night in the rarefied air the temperatures plummet. You can expect to experience overnight temperatures below freezing above approximately 4000 metres elevation. At our highest overnight stopping places, the night time temperature could drop as low as minus 15ºC. Extended periods of rain or snow are very unlikely outside of the monsoon period but short lived storms can and do occur. It is very important that you are equipped and prepared for potentially very low temperatures.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ‘Travel Aware campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas. The 'Travel Aware' website provides a single, authoritative source of advice for all kinds of travellers and we recommend that prior to travel, all KE clients visit the official UK Government website at travelaware.campaign.gov.uk and read the FCDO Travel Advice for their chosen destination. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCDO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCDO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

KE do not encourage the use of single use plastic items. We are ensuring that our agents all over the world are working together to reduce the problem and educate those around them. We are leading by example in our KE office by reducing our plastic use.

  • Nepal Guide: Lonely Planet
  • Rough Guide to Nepal: Rough Guides
  • Trekking and Climbing in Nepal. Steve Razzetti
  • Kathmandu and the Kingdom of Nepal. Prakash Raj
  • Nepal Phrasebook. Lonely Planet

Makalu B.C. 1:90,000 Scale. MapPoint, Kathmandu.

The map covers the majority of the route from Tumlingtar as far as the crossing of the Mera La. The names of the camps that we use and of other landform features once we leave the Makalu trail are not indicated on the map.

It is an essential condition of joining a holiday with KE Adventure Travel that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation.  When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

For appropriate insurance cover we recommend Campbell Irvine Direct.  Please go to our Travel Insurance page for further information and to get a quote.

Please note that a paper copy of your travel insurance is required if you are travelling to Huaraz and the Huayhuash region.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. Use your own experience and judgement to determine what to bring with you but please ensure you have all of the mandatory items. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. Please make sure you have read the section on baggage allowance in the trip notes. It is possible to leave clothes or other items not required on trek at the group hotel.

You must bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots (minimum B1 – see notes)
  • Gaiters
  • Trekking trousers
  • Waterproof overtrousers
  • Baselayer shirts
  • Baselayer leggings
  • Casual shirt and/or T-shirts
  • Travel clothes
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Thermal gloves
  • Warm and waterproof gloves or mittens
  • Headtorch and spare batteries
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
  • Water bottles 1 Litre x 2 (we encourage re-filling water bottles rather than single use plastic)
  • Water purification tablets
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Small towel
  • Selection of dry bags (to keep your kit bag contents dry)
  • Small padlock (to lock your kit bag)
  • Daypack 40 litres
  • Sleeping bag (comfort rated -20°C)*
  • Warm jacket (down)*
  • ‘Walking’ ice axe*
  • Crampons*
  • Climbing harness*
  • Basic First Aid Kit including: antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), Diamox, painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, insect repellent (DEET), and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

The following items are optional:

  • Trekking poles (recommended)
  • Lightweight hiking boots
  • Microspikes (Kahtoola) or similar footwear traction (see notes)
  • Trainers or sandals for camp
  • Shorts
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Thermarest or similar camping mattress (a foam mattress is provided)
  • Scarf or buff
  • Swimwear
  • Camera
  • Pen-knife (remember to pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
  • Reusable cloth bag for shopping (to avoid plastic bags)

Notes ON Specialist equipment:

For this trip you will need boots capable of taking crampons securely. You will also need to bring a ‘walking’ ice axe*, crampons* and a climbing harness*. These items are required principally for the crossing of the Mera La. Microspikes (Kahtoola) or similar are easily attached to any boots and can be more useful than crampons in some icy (non-glaciated) conditions.

*FREE Gear Hire

You can reserve a sleeping bag, down jacket and climbing gear free of charge. Please make all requests at least 4 weeks prior to the trip departure date. Please note all hire / rental equipment is issued in Kathmandu. Please remember to allow room in your kit bag for these items.

Cultural Sensitivity

The Nepalese are still traditional and conservative in the way they dress. Therefore to avoid embarrassment on both sides we recommend that you respect this and do not wear revealing clothing or sleeveless tops while visiting Nepal. Shorts are acceptable, but they should reach to just above the knee and be modest and for women it is preferable to wear trousers or a long skirt.

Cotswold Outdoor Red PantonMany of the Equipment items listed above are available from Cotswold Outdoor - our 'Official Recommended Outdoor Retailer'. When you book a holiday with KE you will receive 12.5% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor and other retailers.
>> Find out more

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