PICKING THE RIGHT GUIDE
There are a slew of companies that offer guide services to Everest Base Camp. Some companies are based here in the U.S. while others are based in other countries such as Australia and Canada. The choices can be overwhelming, but ultimately, it’s all a matter of what your preferences are and what works for you.
If price is no concern and you want to sign up with a reputable guide perhaps REI adventures or other reputable companies will fit the bill. I could have easily signed up with REI and be done with my decision, but I figured it would be worthwhile to research other guides.
The services offered by each company vary considerably. For instance, some companies will provide some equipment such as a sleeping bag while others just provide the guide service. In addition, the itinerary will vary, some will offer a trek to Base Camp with a 12 day round trip itinerary and some guide take up to 14 days to show you some of the surrounding areas. You have to compare apple to apples to make a fair comparison amongst the companies.
So, after researching the numerous guide companies, I choose to go with Mountain Monarch, a Nepal based trekking company that only offers trekking guides in the sub Asian continent. My decision was based on the following criteria:
- Reviews – This company received a lot of positive reviews on tripadvisor.com. I’ve contacted some of the trip advisor members who went Everest Base Camp with Mountain Monarchs and each one of them talked highly about the expertise and professionalism Mountain Monarchs provided them. Price – Nepal Based guide company, meaning that their cost of living is much lower than in the Western hemisphere. Companies based outside of Nepal couldn’t compete.
- Supplied Equipment – Mountain Monarch supplied a sleeping bag, down jacket, and availability to other supplies such as a gamow bag and medicine. For those unfamiliar, a gamow bag is a portable chamber that can stimulate the level of oxygen at lower altitudes, this obviously can be extremely useful when one falls victim to Acute Mountain Sickness(AMS).
- All Inclusive – The trip cost included meals, afternoon tea, porters, and tea house lodging during the trek while priced considerably lower than western companies and competitively amongst Nepal based companies.
After deciding on the guide company and the dates, the next is item of detail is the flight arrangements. Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal, which is served by the Tribhuvan airport. There are plenty of airlines that that fly into Kathmandu (KTM). It all depends how you want to get there. For instance, from the East Coast of North America, you can choose to transit over the Pacific or Atlantic to arrive in Nepal because the travel time will roughly be the same.
I choose to transit over the Atlantic with a stop over in Bahrain via London on Gulf Air. My flight path looks something like this:
Conversely, I could of flown over the Pacific on Japan Airlines from New York’s JFK to Tokyo’s NRT airport and connect with another Japan Airlines flight to Kathmandu for a flight path looking like:
Since I already have a trip booked to Tokyo later this fall, I felt having a stop over in Bahrain would be a better alternative than stopping over in a country I’m already planning to visit.
I’m totally pumped for this trip and been looking forward to it ever since I booked my flight and made the deposit for the guide. With all this in mind, I really wanted to read more about the trail, the intensity of the trek, and what to expect. But for some reason, there isn’t a whole lot of information website besides wikitravel.org. So, I’ll write my experiences of the trek for people those prospective people planning to go on the trek can plan accordingly.