A Taste of Everest Photography Trek
(6 days trekking)
Max elevation: 3860m
Taste of Everest Photography Trek
A wonderful introduction into Himalayan trekking offering unforgettable views of some of the world’s highest mountains and a taste of traditional Sherpa culture. Topping out at a maximum altitude of 3860m this Himalayan trek is feasible for most fitness levels, ages and abilities and is a photographer’s delight.
Capture the culture of Nepal’s capital city of Kathmandu before flying in to the world’s most exhilarating runway at Lukla airport.
Trek in the shadows of the world’s highest and most beautiful peaks before reaching our destination of the awe inspiring Thyanggboche monastery perched on a hill with stunning views across to Mt Everest. This itinerary offers trekking and photography at its finest for all levels and abilities.
Day 1 – Join in Kathmandu
On arrival you will be met by a representative of Dreamtreks Photography and be transferred to our hotel in Kathmandu. Depending on your arrival time you’ll have the rest of the afternoon to rest and recover from the flight. Introductions and a pre-trek briefing will be given in the evening. There will be an option to head into Kathmandu for dinner with the group or to eat at the hotel.
Day 2: Explore Kathmandu
Today we explore some of Kathmandu’s famous Unesco World Heritage sites of Patan, Boudhanath and Pashupatinath. These offer us many inspiring photographic opportunities of these fascinating sites and cultures. There will be an option to head into Kathmandu for dinner with the group or to eat at the hotel. There will be opportunities to buy or hire any last minute items of trekking equipment for our journey.
Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Lukla (2800m) - Trek to Phakding (2610m) - 3 hours
After an early transfer to the airport we fly into Lukla. On this exhilarating mountain flight we’ll get our first glimpse of Everest, Ama Dablam and Nuptse, clear skies permitting. Here we’ll meet the rest of our Sherpa team of porters and local guides who will accompany us throughout the duration of the trek. Today is an easy and gentle trek to Phakding on well established paths. Our journey takes us through cool forests, past small Sherpa villages and across swaying suspension bridges high over the mighty glacier fed Dudh Kosi river thundering below. On arrival at our lodge in Phakding in the afternoon we’ll have plenty of time to explore the area and watch herds of yaks being driven through the village.
Day 4 - Phakding - Namche Bazaar (3440m) - 5.5 hours
On our first full day we trek to the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar. We continue through magnificent forested valleys of rhododendron, magnolia and fir whilst crossing the Dudh Kosi River several times before entering the Sargamartha National Park. We pass many fascinating Mani walls and huge boulders ornately carved with Buddhist prayers. After a stop for lunch we cross the most impressive suspension bridge high above the river below then face a tough 2 hour ascent into Namche. Half way up we get our first partial views of Everest. Namche Bazaar is a bustling town with a rich history as the gateway to the Khumbu for decades of ground breaking expeditions and a trading post for locals. The village has a full range of bars, internet cafes, small shops plus numerous bakeries. You may start to feel the effect of the altitude today. There are many excellent photo opportunities on today’s journey and around Namche.
Day 5 - Acclimatisation day in Namche
Today is a valuable acclimatisation day spent around Namche Bazaar at 3450m. We will acclimatise better if we remain active today. Depending on how the group is feeling we have several options. Walking to a viewpoint above the town, we’re able to get our first sighting of Everest and its surrounding peaks if it’s clear. We can also visit the local museum before heading up further, stopping at the Everest View hotel for a well-earned drink having gained around 400m of altitude. Heading back to town, we can explore the markets and relax in the local bakery where they serve some of world’s best cakes and pastries.
An alternative option for those feeling up to it is to spend the day trekking to the Sherpa villages and monasteries of Khunde & Khumjung. We pass through wonderful wind twisted Juniper bushes, carved boulders, Chortens, and grazing yaks. A visit to the Khumjung monastery with its ‘Yeti Skull’ is well worth a visit. After dark there will be an option to go out for some night photography to capture some stunning images of the beautifully lit town surrounded by soaring mountain peaks.
Day 6 - Namche - Thyangboche (3860m)
Today we ascend out of Namche and follow a high, fairly level path above the Dudh Kosi enjoying spectacular mountain views as we go. We pass various shops set up by Tibetans selling trinkets and then descend through forest of blue pine to cross the Dudh Kosi again at Phunki (3250m). We make another ascent to reach the spectacularly sited Thyangboche Monastery at 3860m from where there are magnificent views of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam and Taboche to the North and Northeast, Thamserku and Kantega to the Southeast and Kwangde to the Southwest. There will be time to visit the monastery and photograph the stunning sunset and sunrise views from here. A short walk up the hill offers an excellent vantage point for some spectacular night shots of the monastery or long exposure star trails with a Himalayan backdrop.
Day 7 – Thyangboche - Namche (3440m)
We rise early today to capture the fantastic sunrise with stunning views up and down the valley. After breakfast we retrace our steps back towards Namche. We are treated to spectacular views on our way back down the valley. There is another opportunity to explore the bustling village of Namche and more opportunities for night photography.
Day 8: Namche Bazaar to Lukla (2,800m)
Retracing our steps along the banks of the Dudh Kosi we make our final ascent back to Lukla, arriving sometime in the middle of the afternoon allowing time to relax and enjoy the feeling of having completed an epic trek around the high Himalayas. Lukla itself is a thriving community with a wonderful mix of Sherpas, yaks, trekkers and soldiers making for a fascinating place to explore and photograph at the end of the trek.
Day 9 - Fly from Lukla to Kathmandu (1345m)
Today we fly back to Kathmandu from Lukla and enjoy some last minute glimpses of the mountains. Upon arrival in Kathmandu you can rest, relax and spend the afternoon wandering round Thamel where you can buy presents, souvenirs or simply enjoy a coffee and pastry. In the afternoon there is the opportunity to visit the Swayambhunath temple also known as the ‘Monkey Temple’. Set on a hill overlooking Kathmandu this is a fantastic place for photographing locals, monkeys and the temple itself. We can stay here until after dark to give some great shots across the city at night.
Day 10 - Contingency Days
The weather in Lukla sometimes prevents flights from leaving so we always leave a spare day to allow for unexpected delays or for any acclimatization issues whilst on the trek. If we fly out of Lukla as scheduled then we can use this day for visiting Swayambhunath and Durbar Square and reviewing our stunning images from our trip.
Day 11 - Trip ends. Depart Kathmandu
Our tour ends today after breakfast and we check out of our hotel. You will be transported to the airport for your return flight home or join us on an optional extension trip.
This trip involves Adventure Travel in a remote mountain region. We make every effort to keep to the above itinerary but we cannot always guarantee it. Weather, trail conditions and the health of participants can all contribute to changes to the prescribed itinerary. Your leader will always try to ensure that we keep to the itinerary detailed but a flexible attitude is needed and appreciated if changes need to be made.
What’s not included:
In Kathmandu we use clean and comfortable 3 star hotels in the city centre. Rooms have en-suite facilities and prices are based on 2 people sharing. Single rooms are available in Kathmandu for an additional cost. Teahouses and lodges on the trek are simple but clean and comfortable. Most have rooms with twin beds (some lodges also have rooms with double beds for couples.) Some lodges, but not all, have en-suite bathrooms. We usually book twin-share bedrooms throughout this trek unless doubles are requested in advance though this can’t always be guaranteed. Beds with foam mattresses, bedsheets and a pillow are provided. Bedrooms are unheated and can get very cold at night so you will need to bring or hire a warm 3 or 4 season sleeping bag. (We recommend 4 season bags as the importance of a good warm night’s sleep cannot be underestimated). We can arrange for the hire of sleeping bags at an additional cost if necessary. The hub of the teahouse is the dining room, usually decorated with colourful traditional rugs, prayer flags, photographs and central wood burning/kerosene stove or heater. Tea houses are usually run by Sherpa families and many owners are retired high altitude Sherpas who have supported climbing teams summiting Everest.
Electrical charging facilities are available at all lodges usually only in the dining room or at the reception. Battery, phone or power bank charging costs around $2 – $5 USD per hour per device. The further up the valley we travel the more expensive luxuries such as electrical charging, toiletries, snacks and bottled water become. Many lodges offer Wi-Fi but it is generally slow and temperamental and often can’t cope with more than a few people logging into it at once. It is possible to buy an Everest Net Wi-Fi card with credit that can be used at most (but not all lodges) on route. All teahouses sell snacks, drinks, bottled water and other essentials such as tissues, soap and toilet paper. All tea houses and lodges have electricity (usually solar powered) but lighting is sometimes dim (especially in the bedrooms). A head torch is essential. Many tea houses offer solar powered hot water showers. Cost vary from lodge to lodge but are around $5 – $6US per shower.
Meals are included throughout the trip with the exception of lunches and dinners in Kathmandu. On trek the breakfast will usually be a set menu consisting of porridge, eggs and toast. Any additional items that are not included in the set menu can be ordered and paid for separately. Lunch and dinner on trek are ordered in the tea houses allowing you to choose what you want to eat. Most lodges have almost identical menus but they are reasonably extensive and offer a varied selection, ranging from traditional Nepalese Dhal Bhat, omelette, potatoes, pasta, pizza and apple pie. Meat is available in the teahouses but we generally advise against eating it on trek as it has often been carried in from lower altitudes for several days before reaching the lodges. This can cause stomach upsets or illness.
NOTE: Lunches and dinners in Kathmandu are not included.
We try and cater for vegetarian diets where possible and can assist with medically recommended diets (allergies and intolerances). Please discuss your dietary requirements with us well in advance so we can determine whether we can cater to such requirements. Please note that meal options are likely to be limited in very remote locations or may be more unavailable. There may be times when those with very specific requirements may need to provide their own food. We are unable to guarantee a peanut-free or allergen-free trip so strongly encourage that travellers with life-threatening or severe allergies take all necessary medical precautions to prepare for the possibility of exposure. Passengers must travel with all necessary medications for food allergies and be capable of self administering these medications.
There are no mandatory vaccination requirements for Nepal although recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid & Hepatitis A. We suggest that you consult your doctor or a Travel Medical specialist in order to get the most current advice regarding vaccination requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are adequately vaccinated.
We will be trekking in remote mountain areas where standards and quality of hygiene are often different to those we are used to. We advise taking some simple precautions in order to reduce the chances of becoming ill or picking up stomach upsets etc. We encourage participants to keep their hands clean whilst on the trek with the use of hand sanitising gels. We also advise against eating any street food in Kathmandu before the trek and also advise against eating any meat whilst on the trek (see reasons indicated above).
Most lodges now have Western style flushing toilets but not all. Some lodges and tea houses on route may have squat or long drop composting toilets. Toilet paper is not usually provided so you need to pack your own. All lodges sell this and prices range from around $1 – $5US per roll depending on how far along the trek we are. Do remember that all provisions are carried up the valley from Lukla by Yak or on the backs of porters so costs for these luxuries tend to increase the higher we go.
The Taste of Everest Photography Trek is a mid – high altitude multi-day trek which is possible to achieve with a moderate level of fitness. Previous trekking experience is not necessary but some endurance and stamina will help along with a positive mental attitude. Participants should be comfortable with walking around 4-6 hours per day. In order to maximise your enjoyment and potential success on this trek you should be in sound physical condition.
The trails are well trodden but undulate rising to a maximum altitude of 3860m. The trail crosses a number of modern cable suspension bridges roughly 1 meter wide and with mesh sides. Some are up to 100m long and are set quite high up above the river. These bridges are exhilarating to cross but anyone with a strong fear of heights or vertigo may find them a challenge. If in doubt of your ability we highly recommend checking with your doctor before undertaking this trek.
This is a ‘Land Only’ package meaning you are responsible for arranging your own international fights and your trip will begin on arrival at Kathmandu. If you wish to arrive before the start date of the trip we can arrange hotel accommodation in Kathmandu for you at an additional cost. The internal flight from Kathmandu – Lukla is included in the price. This service is fairly dependable but weather conditions on the mountain can sometimes result in cancelled flights. We have factored 2 contingency days into our schedule in case of flight cancellations back to Kathmandu. You should ensure that your return international flight takes this into account.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not book your flights until the trip has been confirmed by Dreamtreks Photography.
This trek reaches a maximum altitude of 3860m. Significantly lower than some of our other treks our Taste of Everest trek is a great option to consider if you are not sure how you may cope at altitude or are concerned about your level of fitness. Our itinerary has been designed to allow for excellent acclimatisation and follows the golden rule of acclimatisation: ‘Climb high, sleep low’. Symptoms of being at altitude can include tiredness, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, headaches and nausea. Altitude affects people differently and being extremely fit is no guarantee of being less likely to feel the effects. All of our Leaders are highly experienced in trekking at altitude and are all fully qualified first aiders. The leader will assess your progress as you climb and their decision is final if you need to descend or leave the trip for safety reasons.
When walking at altitude the most important thing to remember is to walk slowly. Sometimes it’s the fitter and more athletic people who run into altitude problems as they often try and ascend too quickly. As photographers we have given ourselves a slight advantage as we will be frequently stopping to take photographs along the way which will help to slow down our overall progress.
If in doubt of your ability we highly recommend checking with your doctor before undertaking this trek.
Most nationalities, including UK citizens, require a visa for entry into Nepal. Your passport should have at least 6 months validity left on it from the date of entry. For British and many other nationals you can obtain a visa in one of 2 ways:
1. On Arrival: Visitors can obtain a tourist visa on arrival at Tribhubhan International Airport (TIA), Kathmandu. The requirements on arrival are: 2 passport size photos, completed prescribed visa form available at entry point and visa fee which is currently $40 for stays up to 30 days. You can only pay in $USD and the process is usually very quick and simple. If you are not a British national please double check the requirements with the Embassy in your country.
2. Prior to Departure: Apply to the Nepalese Embassy prior to departure (http://uk.nepalembassy.gov.np/visa). Tourist visas are normally processed within 48 hours upon the submission of the visa application form to the Embassy in person, or 14 days by post. Currently the visa fee is £35 for up to 30 days. Please read all of the visa information before applying.
It is a condition of booking that you have adequate travel Insurance which covers mountain rescue, helicopter evacuation and medical expenses. We advise that you take out adequate insurance as soon as your booking has been confirmed. We will require a copy of your insurance prior to departure.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You must ensure your travel insurance covers you for trekking up to 3900m and provides helicopter rescue cover. (Some travel insurance policies will exclude this option). In the event of Helicopter rescue being necessary we will assist in arranging this but you will need to have provided us with a copy of your insurance policy. We also advise that you have adequate insurance cover for your camera equipment as most travel insurance policies impose single item limits. We can advise of a few suitable travel insurance policies to consider.
The main trekking season in Nepal is from October to December. Daytime temperatures at most altitudes are generally comfortable for walking and the sky is clear much of the time allowing for fantastic photographic opportunities. Rain and snow can occasionally appear along with cloudy or misty conditions. Daytime temperatures can vary from 15 to 30 degrees C in the Kathmandu Valley to around 10 degrees C at 3600m. As we climb higher temperatures will drop. Daytime temperatures during the first few days of the trek are very pleasant and it’s often possible to trek in T-shirts. Night time temperatures can drop very quickly as soon as the sun sets behind the mountains, especially on clear and cloudless nights. Night time temperatures can drop as low as -10 degrees C. These conditions offer us some fantastic opportunities for stunning night photography of star trails and the Milky Way with a Himalayan backdrop. As we are trekking in a mountainous environment it is never possible to predict the weather conditions as they can change suddenly. You should be suitably prepared and equipped to deal with any weather conditions beyond those indicated above.
Trekking activities do come with a risk of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.
This trip involves Adventure Travel in a remote mountain region. We make every effort to keep to the above itinerary but we cannot always guarantee it. Weather and trail conditions and the health of participants, alterations to flight schedules infrastructure and operational factors can all contribute to changes to the prescribed itinerary. Your leader will always try to ensure that we keep to the itinerary detailed but a flexible attitude is needed and appreciated if changes need to be made.
In order to ensure that you are fully prepared for your trip we suggest bringing the following essential items with you. Ideally your equipment and trekking clothing (especially walking boots) should be well worn in and familiar to you before you travel.
There will be some free time in Kathmandu at the start of the trip should you wish to buy or hire any items you might have forgotten. Items such as sleeping bags, gloves, down jackets, thermals, trekking poles etc. are all available to buy or hire in Kathmandu as well as some camera accessories. We can advise you on where to buy or hire any equipment if necessary.
We will be accompanied on the trek by a team of porters who will carry our kit bags each day. These bags will contain our spare clothing, sleeping bags and any other equipment we don’t need during the day. The porters usually walk ahead of our group so we won’t be able to access these bags until we reach our accommodation each afternoon. This trip is based on 1 porter per 2 participants.
You will need to carry your own day pack containing your camera equipment, extra layers, waterproofs and water.
Your toiletries, travel clothing, spare clean clothing and anything else that you don’t need on the trek can be securely left in a separate bag at our hotel in Kathmandu. You will therefore need to bring a bag to leave these items in.
International flight baggage weight allowances will vary depending on airline but there is a 15kg weight limit on the internal flight and on the trek itself. Your main kit bag taken on the trek must not weigh more than this. There is also a 5kg allowance for hand luggage on the internal flight so pack accordingly and as economically as possible.
Your main kit bag for the trek should be a soft duffel style bag without wheels. Suitcases or other hard or wheeled cases are not suitable for this trek and are very difficult for the porters to carry.
As photographers we appreciate that equipment weight limits are always a consideration both on flights and what we are physically able to carry. As it can sometimes be difficult to stick to these weight limits especially for smaller internal flights we do employ a few tricks of the trade. Wearing trekking boots and bulky down jackets on the internal flight saves space and weight as well as carrying your camera around your neck and perhaps sticking a lens or two into your jacket pockets.
With this type of expedition there is always a trade off in regards to what camera equipment to bring. The more equipment you bring then the heavier it is to carry and the harder and more tiring the trekking becomes.
Camera: Cameras are very much a personal choice and is dependent on individual preference, budget, and experience. Regardless of what camera you bring it is important that you are familiar with its controls, layout and menu system. Although carrying a second camera body is usually too bulky and heavy we do suggest bringing a back-up compact camera in case of equipment malfunction.
Lenses: As with cameras, these come down to personal choice and there is always a trade-off to be made. As we will be predominantly shooting landscape, travel and portrait images many photographers choose one or two zoom lenses. Something around 24-70mm is ideal for an everyday walk around lens. A longer lens e.g. 70-200mm is also nice to have but does come with size and weight issues.
Backpack & camera bag: You will need to carry a backpack large enough to accommodate both your camera equipment and day to day trekking gear. Your backpack should be comfortable allowing you to carry your equipment over rugged terrain. Backpacks with good, padded shoulder, waist and chest straps will help distribute the weight. Packs should also offer protection from wind, rain and dust. You will also need to consider what bag you’ll put your camera into whilst carrying it in your day pack. A close fitting camera bag is usually best but you may wish to experiment.
Tripod & Filters: Although not essential, bringing a tripod does open up the possibilities of night and long exposure photography. An ideal tripod needs to be light enough to carry comfortably but sufficiently robust to be used in windy conditions. In our opinion it is worth the extra weight as the photographic opportunities are so good. Filters: As with cameras and lenses, filters are a personal preference. A UV and polarising filter can be useful but bringing too many filters again comes with weight and size issues.
Accessories: Ensure that you have adequate memory cards. There are many photographic opportunities at every turn in the path. Due to the nature of this trek it is difficult to back up your memory cards en route. Bringing more lower capacity cards rather than 1 or 2 high capacity cards is one option to consider as in the event of a card failure or loss you won’t lose as many images. You may wish to bring: A supplementary hard drive and laptop in order to save and review your images whilst in Kathmandu before and after the trek but these are unlikely to be much use whilst trekking unless you are happy to carry and pay to charge them up; a remote shutter release if you plan to bring a tripod; spare batteries and/or battery charger and cable. Batteries can lose charge very quickly in cold temperatures especially during the night; lens cloth and small micro fibre towel as the trails can get very dusty; spare lens cap; camera manual; solar charger if you don’t want to pay for charging up electricals in the tea houses.
It is never possible to bring equipment for every eventuality on these treks. It is important to remember that if you bring too much kit, the effort required to carry it can spoil your trekking experience and chances of completing the trek.
On booking you will receive a full kit list in your welcome pack. We are happy to advise and suggest appropriate kit. You will need to bring the following essential items however:
- Trekking day pack and kit bag
- 3 – 4 season sleeping bag
- Sturdy walking boots
- Down jacket
- Head Torch
- Trekking poles
- Trekking clothing
- Personal medication and first aid kit
The Booking Process:
Firstly contact us by email or phone to confirm that you wish to join us on your chosen trip. We will then forward a Booking Form and will require a 10% deposit to reserve your place. Once minimum numbers have been reached and the trip has been confirmed to run we will ask you for a further 40% to fully secure your place.
DO NOT BOOK ANY INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS, INSURANCE OR VISAS UNTIL WE HAVE CONFIRMED THAT THIS TRIP WILL RUN.
We will then forward you a Welcome Pack with a detailed itinerary, kit list and other important information. At this point you will be able to book your International flights, visa and travel insurance. The balance of payment will be required no later than 90 days prior to departure. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions of booking.