Intrigued by the mythos of Mount Everest, but not quite ready to commit to the monumental challenge of climbing the world's highest peak? A hike to Base Camp could be just the ticket for your next bucket-list adventure. A growing number of companies lead excursions to the world-famous Base Camp, and one is offering an exclusive discount off an already incredible price to ShermansTravel readers.
Nepal-based guide Ace the Himalaya recently announced its 16-day trip from Kathmandu to Everest Base Camp, situated at a (literally) breathtaking 17,500 feet in the Himalayas in Nepal (one of our Top 10 Ecotourism Destinations), has been reduced from $1,720 to $1,600, including accommodations, transfers, and most meals. ShermansTravel readers can snag the trip for $1,200; just mention us when you're booking.
Your first question is probably the same as mine was: Why is the cost so darned low? Well, according to one of the company's U.S.-based spokespeople, there are no high operating costs or middlemen marking up the price. Company owner Prem Khatry, a former porter himself, uses a team of Nepali-based guides and staff, and the accommodations are affordable, no frills lodgings teahouses and guesthouses plus several nights spent camping.
In addition, there don't appear to be any significant restrictions on the trip, except that it must be booked by September 2011 (September and October are ideal because views of Everest are best during these months). Group size is limited to 12, and travelers are encouraged to help boost local economies (and save plenty of money in the process) by purchasing necessary gear locally.
Although challenging, the trek is well within reach for anyone in decent physical shape (training is recommended, though). The itinerary includes several days of acclimatization prior to the trek along the Khumbu Glacier to Base Camp; go any higher, and you'll need mountaineering equipment. Along with spectacular views of the Khumbu Icefall, there's also a good chance you'll see a climbing team preparing for a summit bid.
Other highlights include hikes through Sherpa-inhabited hamlets in the breathtaking Nepal countryside, visits to Hindu temples, and a stop at the oldest monastery in the region, which contains what some say is the scalp and bones of a Yeti, or abominable snowman.
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