I recently got home from a trip to Nepal to do the Ama Dablam Base Camp Trek with seven other women.
One of my friends from a group I hike with, planned on doing this trek and asked if I wanted to come along. I’ve wanted to visit Nepal for a while so I jumped at the chance, booking annual leave from work for the following year when we planned to go.
She had heard that this particular trek was the most beautiful one to do in Nepal and, not that I’ve done any others, but I’d have to agree.
Where is it located?
Ama Dablam is located in the Everest region with most of the trail being on the popular Everest route. Then with about two days walk to the top, the trail turns off on its own path and becomes less crowded.
Our destination – the beautiful Ama Dablam.
Using a tour company
My friend who organised the trip opted to use a tour company by the name of Keep Walking Nepal, and I’m so glad she did! Everything was taken care of for us and they looked after us so well. All we had to do was arrange our own flights to Kathmandu. The company picked us all up from the airport (even those who were on a different flight) and took us to our hotel which was all arranged by the company.
We had an itinerary planned for the trip that included days of leisure either side of the trek which was great for sightseeing and shopping! We had some nice dinners together before and after the trek while in Kathmandu and even had a city tour included for us.
Having almost everything taken care of for you is something I would highly recommend.
The Ama Dablam Base Camp trek is an 11-day trek and is rated at a moderate difficulty level, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. We were never really told the number of km, they just worked off time so I’m still not sure how many km the trek is all up.
Most of the days were fairly short with a couple of them done by lunchtime. We walked at a fairly slow pace and even slower on the inclines.
A snap of me with Ama Dablam in the background.
Here’s a copy of our itinerary:
- Day 1 – arrive in Kathmandu (meet and greet)
- Day 2 – sightseeing in Kathmandu
- Day 3 – fly to Lukla, trek to Phakding (approx 3- hrs)
- Day 4 – trek to Monjo (approx 3-4hrs)
- Day 5 – trek to Namche Bazaar (approx 4-5hrs)
- Day 6 – rest day at Namche Bazaar
- Day 7 – trek to Deboche via Tengboche (approx 5-6hrs)
- Day 8 – trek to Mingbo (approx 4-5hrs)
- Day 9 – trek to Ama Dablam Base Camp then to Pangboche (approx 4-5hrs)
- Day 10 – trek to Phortse (approx 3-4hrs)
- Day 11 – trek to Khumjung (approx 3-4hrs)
- Day 12 – trek to Monjo (approx 5-6hrs)
- Day 13 – trek to Lukla (approx 4-5hrs)
- Day 14 – fly to Kathmandu, rest of day at leisure
- Day 15 – trip concludes
There were a few steep accents but the guides take it really slow so that it still remains enjoyable. Of course, if you really wanted you could go ahead which is what one or two of the women in my group did on occasion.
Our group when we made it to base camp!
Fitness and preparation
To prepare for my trip, I would do laps of my local lookout. This has quite a steep but short accent so I’d do a few of them a couple of times per week. I was worried about my fitness level before my trip, but they take it quite slow that I don’t think it’s much of an issue. If you can handle the odd mountain climb at a slow pace then you’d be fine.
You will need to do some training before your hike, just so you’re in good shape.
Ama Dablam Base Camp is at 4600m so acclimatisation on the way up is required to reduce the risk of altitude sickness.
We had a rest day (even though we didn’t rest) in Namche Bazaar at 3440m high to help with acclimatisation. On our rest day, we climbed up to the Everest View Lodge at 3880m, had a drink and came back down.
You will stop along the way to help acclimatise on the trek.
After visiting my doctor and telling him where I was going, he suggested I start the Hep B shots as well as a Hep A/Typhoid combination shot. Though, it’s worth checking with your doctor as they might recommend something different for you.
As we do enter the Sagarmatha National Park I believe that you would need some sort of permit but this was all taken care of by Keep Walking Nepal.
The Lukla airport is where most people begin their Mt Everest or Ama Dablam Base Camp treks.
Costs for the trip
The price of the trek itself is $2080 USD but we were asked to put down a $500 USD deposit out of that total price to book our place.
The rest could be paid in cash when we got there. I had the remaining exchanged into US dollars so I could hand it over as soon as I got there.
My flights cost me $1087 to Kathmandu return from Adelaide flying with Cathay Pacific.
I had to renew my passport so that was another expense.
We were told to have the right cash in US dollars for our visa which was a 30-day visa costing $40 USD. We just went over the 15-day visa option as we had a couple more days either side of the trek in Kathmandu, otherwise, a 15-day visa costs $25 USD.
The rest of my trip expenses went on tipping my guides and porters (our tour company suggested $8-9 USD per person per day but more or less is up to you) and spending money. Everything over there is a lot cheaper than in Australia. If you allowed as much as you would for any other holiday, then you should have enough spending money.
The good thing about using a tour company is that the costs include almost everything.
We had a 10kg limit for stuff we didn’t want to carry with us during the day but wanted on the trek that the porters carried for us. I packed super light as I didn’t want to load my porter up with much. All I used for the trip was my day pack, so I just gave my porter a small packing cell of my clothes to carry.
Some of the other women went over their 10kg limit, so they ended up putting some things in my bag. All the weight got shared around so it ended up working out well.
As we used porters, it meant we didn’t have to carry much gear.
Gear to bring
There’s a video I made on my YouTube channel of everything I took on the trip and how I packed my pack if you want to check that out.
The following is the list we were given to use as a guide:
- Hiking boots – preferably worn in but with good grip.
- Lighter weight shoes or sandals for night/around camp.
- Fleece jacket or windbreaker
- Rain jacket or Gore-Tex jacket
- Warm hat (beanie)
- Gloves for windproofing & warmth
- Sun hat
- Hiking socks – 4 thick, 3 lighter weight pairs
- 4 or 5 Lightweight trekking shirts or t-shirts. During a trek day you will get hot so it’s good to carry a spare in your daypack.
- 1 heavier weight top – sloppy joe or heavier jumper
- 2 to 3 shorts or trekking trousers
- Underwear – 5 pairs comfortable – cotton/polyester – just be careful to avoid friction (chafing)
- Toiletries – usual essentials (include some soap) but it’s also good to bring wet wipes as they’re very useful
Our tour company provided a down sleeping bag, a down jacket, and toilet paper in a kit bag, along with the rest of your gear that the porters carry.
Spring is a great time to visit, as the weather is good and it’s not as busy.
What’s the best time of the year to go?
There are two main trekking seasons in Nepal: Spring and Autumn. Their Autumn (September to November) is the most popular trekking season as mountain views are at their best, however it is incredibly busy!
If you’re not a huge fan of snow then I’d recommend going when we went, which was late April – early May. That’s their Spring and it’s beautiful there. On our trek, we saw so many gorgeous rhododendrons (their national flower) in full bloom. It was stunning!
We went in spring, so we experienced the beautiful rhododendrons in bloom.
Let’s talk about food
It was recommended to bring any snacks we might want during the day and carry them in our day packs, however, we were fed so well that none of us really ate our snack food at all!
The snack food that I took with me consisted of mixed nuts, beef jerky, dark chocolate, lollies and Clif gel shots, which I did actually have before a couple of the big climbs to give me more energy.
We had breakfasts of pretty much whatever we wanted, whether it be toast, cereal, eggs, pancakes etc. Then we had a cooked lunch, dinner and dessert every day! We ate so much food!
The menu consisted mainly of soups, egg meals such as omelettes, pasta, and traditional dhal bhat and momos. My favourite momos were the cheese and potato. Delicious!
We took our own snacks, but we didn’t even need it as we were fed so well.
The Ama Dablam Base Camp Trek is an 11-day lodge-based trek so we stayed in lodges and tea houses.
The rooms were always twin share with about half of them having a bathroom as well. Most of the showers were free. There was only one place that charged us for a shower but as we each got a big dish of hot water in the morning we didn’t really need to pay for a shower.
The beds were always made up with a sheet and pillow and usually had a thick blanket or quilt folded up on the end. We were provided with sleeping bags and took our own sleeping bag liners but sometimes we needed the blanket or quilt on us as well.
The view from my lodge on the first day of my trip.
I didn’t want to go home!
If you’re thinking about heading over to Nepal for a trek, I strongly recommend you consider the Ama Dablam Base Camp Trek with Keep Walking Nepal.
For a whole video series on my adventure, head to my YouTube channel, where I break each day into a short video of the trip.
If you leave during April, you’ll see their beautiful flowers out in bloom everywhere and it’s not too cold. I hate the cold and even though it snowed on us one day, I still enjoyed it.
After wanting to make a visit to Nepal for some time, I would say that Ama Dablam Base Camp trek was definitely worth the journey.
Out of all the spectacular treks that Nepal is known for, which one is your favourite?
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