For Nepal a visa is needed.
Dutch citizens can obtain their Nepal visa at the consulate on Herengracht in Amsterdam. It takes a few minutes. The application form can be downloaded beforehand.
Naya Kanga is considered a group "B" NMA trekking peak, for which a permit is needed. The royalty is $350 for up to 4 members. All royalty fees for the so called trekking peaks can be found on the website of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA).
All cargo that is sent separately must be cleared by the Nepalese customs. Therefore a packing list is required. All items should be marked consumable or re-exportable. This year we paid a flat fee of $87 for clearance, temporary storage and transport to the office of our trekking agency. It was for 38 kg only.
The unit of currency in Nepal is the rupee (NPR).
The rates below are the real time updated forex rates coming from www.exchange-rates.org.
Nowadays there are plenty ATMs in Nepal, even in the smaller towns. If you plan to bring cash then US dollars or Euros are the best options.
KLM (via Delhi, long wait, not recommended), Gulf Air, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines have connections from Amsterdam to Kathmandu. It is also possible to fly to Bangkok and then to Kathmandu. The average price in 2010 was € 800-1300.
We have used Qatar Airways. Unfortunately they forgot to bring along our baggage. But 24 hours later it did arrive at Kathmandu Airport.
We shipped excess baggage to Kathmandu by Worldwide Baggage Services (only from The Netherlands). Up to 45 kg including insurance costed us €154. Back to Amsterdam you have to use a local Nepalese company; there are plenty in Kathmandu. We paid $240, which was considerably more than the €154 we paid on the other flight. So apparently Europe is cheaper than Nepal when it comes to shipping cargo.
It is advised that excess baggage is sent to Nepal 2-3 weeks prior to the expedition to allow for sufficient time for duty clearance. This was handled by our trekking agency.
We agreed on a full service trekking which was completely handled by our Nepalese trekking agency:
We have a friend in Kathmandu who happens to own a trekking agency: Ngima Sherpa from Unlimited Sherpa Expeditions. His agency took care of all logistics.
We stayed in 2 hotels:
Altitude sickness is a complex of health problems that occur as a lack of oxygen. Usually one will not suffer from it in the lower altitudes (< 3500 m). Almost everybody will have some form of altitude sickness when climbing higher than 5000 meters. A full acclimatization needs 7 to 10 days and your body will not acclimatize fully above 5500 meters. There are three types of altitude sickness. They may occur on their own or together:
Symptoms of AMS are:
You may suffer from AMS if these three facts are all valid:
In addition, you must suffer from one of these:
These two forms of altitude sickness are potentially lethal. You may suffer from HACE if:
To be brief: if you have both AMS and suffer from typical brain disorders (that you normally do not do) you may have HACE.
You may suffer from HAPE if:
Almost everybody will suffer from some kind of headache. A minor headache, which reacts well to painkillers, is not very important. However if you develop a headache during nighttime and it does not react to painkillers, you must wonder whether it is more serious than just AMS.
Here are some tips for avoiding or minimizing the chance that you get altitude sickness:
Acetazolamide (brand name Diamox) is a well know drug for AMS. It can also be used as a 'prophylaxis'. This is only recommended if a fast altitude gain is inevitable, for instance if you fly to Lhasa without proper acclimatization.
Diamox not only helps against the symptoms of AMS, but also cures it! It help with the acclimatization process. It also seems to help against Cheyne-Stokes respiration.
Do not use sustained release Diamox!
Dosis as prophylaxis: start 24 hours before; 2 doses per day of 250 mg each. Continue taking it every day. Stop after the second or third night on altitude.
If you get the cough during descent you can try codeine. If you lungs are affected then use antibiotics.
Headache is usually a symptom of AMS. Regular painkillers can be taken, although aspirine is slightly better, because it makes your blood thinner. Aspirin may also help a little against the Cheyne-Stokes respiration.
Sleeping pills are not recommended because they lower down your respiration, which can be dangerous on high altitude. Diamox may help a little if you suffer from Cheyne-Stokes.
Zoldipem and Melatonin are the only pills that have proven to have no negative effects on respiration.
A satellite phone may be convenient. But they are expensive! Thuraya has coverage in parts of Asia (including the Himalayas) and in Europe, not in the Americas. For full world coverage you need an Iridium. The advantage of a Thuraya is that it's cheap and it's light.
We have a Thuraya SO-2510. The SO-2510 can be used as a dial-up and GmPRS modem as well.
Whenever we had time and the possibility we published our diary on our blog (only in Dutch). We used our satphone to make an internet connection. And we also used Ipadio a lot. That was a free service that records phone calls and allows others to listen to those calls using a dedicated player. Unfortunately Ipadio does not exist anymore and all our phlogs have been removed.