Before I went to Everest base camp, I read up on the culture, read all the travel notes, watched videos about EBC and even researched about the local cuisine, plus I also spoke to people I knew who’d been.
Honestly, I thought I knew about everything there was to expect on my trip.
When I did the trek though, there was plenty of things I was surprised to find out.
Things that if I had known before, I could have been prepared for!
In this article, I list those 15 things that no one told me before I trekked to Everest base camp.
By the end of this article, you’ll know them all, and you’ll be fully ready for the epic journey ahead.
So, you ready? Good, let’s go!
The 11 Things No One Tells You About Trekking To Everest Base Camp
Tipping with coins or notes of 50 Rupees or less is considered an insult.
Yep, that’s right, tips with coins, notes of 50 Rupees or less is considered rude.
Nepal isn’t as cheap as you think and I suppose it’s the same as tipping someone about 70 cents in loose change in the US.
It’s also not advisable to tip with dirty or old ripped notes.
I found out about this cultural insult from our guide.
Make sure you have a few 100 Rupee notes on you if you want to give any small tips to anyone.
Flights From To Lucka And Back Are Usually Delayed
We were sooo lucky with our flights as we were the first out and first in the morning back.
We were still delayed by a few hours on the morning we flew out to Lukla but thank god we were first.
The sky needs to be crystal clear when flying to Lukla, so you need to wait for a clearing in the skies.
Very regularly flights get delayed by days.
If you’re with a good tour company then you usually get one of the first flights out.
If the weather is not great then only a few flights a day will happen, and if you’re not one of the first in line, then you’ll have to wait till the next day.
It goes in order, so the first booked to go out will be the first to fly even if the first flight doesn’t happen till 2 pm.
If you don’t have extra days before your flight back to your home country after you complete your 12-day trek, then you need to make sure you keep $500 by for a helicopter ride back to Kathmandu if the flights are delayed.
Otherwise, if your plane gets delayed you’ll miss your return flight home.
Just so you know November to February are considered to have the poorest flight conditions.
If you’re flying then, prepare yourself with a few days extra at the end of your trek or bring some emergency helicopter funds.
You Might As Well Not Have Internet
Once you land on the mountain, you normally have to pay for Wifi.
Some coffee houses in Namche Bazaar offer free wifi but apart from that, it’s pay to play.
And honestly a lot of the time it feels like pay with no play.
The further you go up the mountain, the more expensive the wifi gets and worse the quality.
My wifi was so bad it took nearly 2 hours to upload two photos one night to Facebook when I was at a tea house.
Any other time I tried on the trail, it was too slow even to get 1 photo up.
Facetime is probably out the question.
If you work online and want to do a little work on your laptop, then be prepared to be able to check emails and that’s about it.
To be fair, I didn’t expect to have any wifi on the mountain so I suppose being able to read a few WhatsApp message felt good.
Just don’t expect to watch Youtube or upload any videos to FB.
Yak Poo Is Fuel For The Fire
Poo is the currency of heat on the mountain.
When the Yak Poo runs out, so does the fire.
I remember sitting down in front of the yak-dung burner and hearing some man always jokingly shouting “more poo please.”
I don’t know why but I found it amusing to find out that all the burners use Yak dung to work.
I used to see men with massive sacks walking up and down the trail picking up Yak dung each day getting the supplies ready.
If you’re wondering does it smell, in all honesty, you wouldn’t even know it was Yak dung being used in the burners.
EBC Altitude Is Hardcore
I know it’s obvious that the air would be thinner.
And I don’t know what I was expecting but being at high altitude is hardcore.
It was a lot harder to get used to than I expected.
But having said that, I still managed to get used to it.
And I made it to Everest base camp and back in one piece.
It’s strange feeling being at altitude. When you walk, it feels a little like you’re taking a light jog.
You can feel your heart beating a little harder than it would usually for your walking pace.
The key to managing the EBC altitude is to walk as slow as possible.
Don’t try to be at the front or get ahead; just stay at the back and take your time.
There’s no rush,
You’ll be doing nothing much in the evenings anyway, so you might as well take your time and enjoy the scenery.
You’ll Be Using The Loo In Behind Bushes And Rocks
Honestly, I think I’d rather have a pee behind a bush than use the some of the toilets on the trek.
I’ve used some dirty toilets in my time, but the ones on the way Everest base camp were pretty bad.
Providing you don’t get the squits, then you can hold out for your number 2’s till you stop at the tea houses for lunch or stay in the evening.
A few of the people on my trip had to stop and head into some bushes for a number two 😬.
Make sure you got toilet roll in your day pack in case of any sudden emergency!
Most of the time, you’ll just need plenty of wees.
We were told to drink 4-5 liters a day when at altitude and because of that I was peeing every 5 minutes.
No one cares though, if you gotta go, you gotta go.
You’ll Be Lucky To Find A Working Cashpoint On The Mountain
To be honest, we also had trouble finding working cash points in Kathmandu on the night before we left.
Nearly everyone was out of cash.
And when we were on the mountain, they never had cash in.
I suppose it’s hard to maintain them consistently on the side of the mountain.
The easy way around this is to bring cash with you to the mountain.
Get all the money you need in Kathmandu and you won’t need to worry when you’re on mountain heading to Everest base camp.
And when you’re in Kathmandu, change your money in the morning so if there are any problems finding a place to get your money you’ll have enough time left in the day to look elsewhere.
A Hot Shower Can Mean A Bucket Of Hot Water
I only bothered to have a hot shower at Namche Bazaar because it had proper shower rooms.
You have to pay for showers wherever you are up the mountain.
Once you go past Namche Bazaar the tea houses get more rudimentary, and they use solar power to heat the water boiler, some will just heat a bucket of water up for you on the stove and you then go into the shower room to wash down.
Some of my friends did that, but most of us just waited till we got back from Everest base camp.
This is when baby wipes become your best friend. Make sure you bring a few packs!
I tell you what.
When I got back to Kathmandu, I had the longest and best shower ever!
Even Your Rooms Are Freezing At Night
I thought the rooms would be a lot warmer than they were.
The more I think about, I think I expected a little too much for these remote buildings high up the mountain.
The further you got up the mountain, the colder the rooms got.
The walls were so thin at the last couple of places we stayed at.
I think they were just made of plyboard and nothing else.
This was the warmest room we had and without a doubt the best.
It was at Phakding, the first place we stayed on our Everest base camp trek.
I think my sleeping bag wasn’t warm enough if I’m honest. I should have paid more and got something better.
You Need More Money Than You Think
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need thousands, but you need more than you probably think.
There are a few things I didn’t account for when doing Everest base camp.
- Cost of phone charging
- Cost of wifi
- $500 emergency fund (for a helicopter if flights delayed)
- The high price of snacks in the village shops
- Cost for a hot shower (hot bucket of water 🙂
Another thing was the porter and guide tip.
On our itinerary, I thought it said to tip the porters $2-3 per person per day. At 12 days that would be $24-$36.
It actually said $2-3 per person, per day, per porter in the group, plus $3-5 per person, per day for the group leader.
We had a few porters in our group plus the guide, and I think it worked out at $175ish in the end.
It was a lot more than the $24-$36 that I thought it was.
To be fair, they fully deserved it.
While we struggled going up with a light backpack on, they were doing it as well with two duffel bags on each of their backs.
There’s Not Much Snow On The Way To Everest Base Camp
Even without the snow on the way to EBC, the scenery was stunning.
However, I did expect it to be a lot snowier than it was on the way up the mountain.
We did have moments where there was light snow, but overall the path near base camp was gravel and with some boulders.
I think it might depend on what time of year you go, but either way, you’ll love what you see.
I had a friend who went at the colder part of the year, and he did get some snow downfalls, the only problem is when it snows heavy it blocks the views.
It’s best when the sky is clear then you can see the big mountain peaks in the background.
Swearing Is Quite Offensive In Nepal
I’ll be the first to admit, I have a really bad potty mouth. I do try my best to not swear around people I don’t know but they still sometimes slip out.
It turns out in Nepal swearing is not as culturally accepted as maybe it is where I’m from, but anyhow it’s best to keep the F word down to a minimum.
I don’t think anyone would say anything to you for swearing, you just might get a few surprised faces as you go up the trail.
The Lower Parts Of The Everest Base Camp Trek Are Stunning.
I thoroughly enjoyed the scenery in the early parts of the trek.
It was stunning. The forests, the flowing rivers, massive boulders and big suspension bridges with amazing views.
It was all so spectacular.
The whole trek I saw the best views I’ve ever seen but the lower part of the trek for me was my favorite.
I think it’s because lower down the Trek you see a lot more forest and beautiful nature, the further you go up the land becomes barren with less to see.
Even though the land is barren high up the EBC trek, the views of the mountains are amazing.
It doesn’t matter what part you enjoy best, as I know you’ll still love it all!
They’ve got an Irish bar On The Mountain!
Yep, they actually have a fully-fledged Irish bar.
It’s got pool tables, dartboards, and even Guinness!
You can also get food in there.
I went in there, and it was nice to go and relax after a hard days trek.
The bar has a unique name, it’s called “The Irish Pub”
Must have been hard to come up with that name 🙂
When you go to Everest base camp, be sure to make a stop and see if our AFC Bournemouth kit is still hanging on the wall!
You Need To Keep Your Power Bank Warm
If you don’t, the cold will kill the battery.
I bought a fairly decent power bank which had a solar panel on it so I used to leave it out a lot.
Turns out that wasn’t a good idea with it being quite cold.
By the end of the trek, the cold killed the battery to the point the power bank wouldn’t work.
I later found out cold isn’t good for batteries.
I would advise you to keep your power bank wrapped up or keep it in your jacket as you hike, this will keep it as warm as possible.
Also, make sure you don’t let your phone get too cold or it will keep running out of battery.
My phone kept switching off because it was getting too cold.
Now you know to them warm you shouldn’t have the same issue I had.