Can I Do The Everest Base Camp Trek During The COVID-19 Pandemic In Nepal? - Himalayan Glacier

Can I Do The Everest Base Camp Trek During The COVID-19 Pandemic In Nepal?

Can I Do The Everest Base Camp Trek During The COVID-19 Pandemic In Nepal?

Latest Update: Nepal saw its second surge in April 2021, and a second phase lockdown got imposed from 29 April 2021. So, Traveling to Nepal is restricted until further notice.

Traveling has been really hard all around the world due to the ongoing global pandemic. Many travelers had to cancel their trips, even in Nepal when the coronavirus first hit the Himalayan nation. 

But as the number of cases decreased, the Department of Tourism has published an Entry Protocol for Mountaineering Expeditions and Trekking, which allowed travelers to trek to the Himalayas in Nepal following special health and safety protocols.

The following requirements are now mandatory to trek in Everest Base Camp in Nepal.

  1. All tourists coming to Nepal for mountaineering and trekking must obtain the required visa before arriving in Nepal. In the case of countries where prior visa provision for Nepal is not currently available, you can coordinate with Himalayan Glacier to arrange prior approval to enter Nepal. For prior visa approval, we will submit all your prescribed and other relevant details to the Department of Tourism (DoT) for Expedition Teams and the Nepal Tourism Board for Trekking Tours to recommend a visa to be submitted to the Department of Immigration in advance.
  2. Tourists entering Nepal will need to present the following documents at the Nepalese Immigration Entry Point:
  • Negative COVID test within 72 hours of your departure flight or proof of COVID vaccination if you have it. A COVID test is required even if you have been vaccinated.
  • Visa or prior approval document (ref Article1) for entry into Nepal
  • A copy of the QR code generated at the airport
  • For the purpose of contact tracing, answers to the questions are as follows:
    • Hotel Name/ Tour Operators
    • Contact Details in Nepal
    • Email address

 

Safety Protocols from our part

  1. While on the expedition or trekking in Nepal, health protocols issued by the Ministry of Health and Population by the Government of Nepal will be duly followed.
  2. Our staff members at Himalayan Glacier, including our climbers, leaders, Sherpa guides, and porters, also received the COVID-19 vaccine.
  3.  We will also provide insurance coverage of a minimum of NPR 100,000.00 against COVID-19 to the Himalayan Glacier team members who will be accompanying you from Nepal before obtaining permission for expedition or trekking.
  4. Other terms and provisions to be followed by tourists in Nepal shall be as per the regular notice and updates published by the Department of Tourism. We will keep you updated on this. We will also provide you the detailed information on the entry protocols before the expedition or trekking in Nepal.

Lockdown in Nepal

During the first phase of COVID, the government of Nepal imposed a nation-wide lockdown from 24 March and lifted the lockdown on 22 July 2020. And it was followed by the operation of all domestic and international flights from 17 August 2020, and the preparations to allow foreigners to visit Nepal from mid-November by following required safety protocols has boosted the tourism industry of the sagging spirits of entrepreneurship. 

empty road during lock down
Situation of Kathmandu during the lockdown

Adding to it, the government’s decision to bring back things to normal on a gradual frame has bolstered the spirits of fellow travelers who began inquiring about travel SOPs and were keen to be out in the wilds once again. But after a few months, the Himalayan nation saw its second surge in April 2021, and a second phase lockdown got imposed from 29 April 2021.

Nepal’s tourism department under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation issued the Operational Guideline with Health Protocol for Tourism Sector, keeping in view the resumption of all domestic and international flights from 17 August 2020. 

What are the health and safety protocols or the SOPs for travelers visiting Nepal?

As stated earlier, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has issued a 53-page detailed documentation on the standard operating procedures applicable to the entire tourism fraternity. To operate the businesses in a safe manner as well as to keep an eye on the safety and well-being of the visitors, the document contains a comprehensive set of protocols to be followed, out of which I would like to point out some of them down here:

current condition of Nepal (Kathmandu) during Covid-19 (corona) pandemic
Kathmandu Valley during Lockdown
  • Clients carry their own masks to use when traveling (for Himalayan Glacier clients, we will provide masks).
  • Clients to inform their guide or leader of any symptoms of any illness.
  • Clients to possess travel medical insurance, including helicopter evacuation.
  • Clients to agree to follow the company’s health and safety protocol if any suspected case of virus transmission.
  • Clients to carry their sanitizer with them in their packs (for Himalayan Glacier clients, we will provide sanitizers).
  • It will be mandatory for trekkers to do health check-ups in the health check posts on the trekking routes.
  • Common towels for drying hands to be avoided.
  • The guides will serve snacks, meals, and tea so that clients do not share common plates and utensils.
  • The trekking packing list must possess a full medical kit, including many masks, inhalers, plastic gloves, thermometers, and sanitizer.
  • Trekkers not to hand out sweets or other items to kids or locals while trekking or at the teahouses.
  • A group of trekkers shall maintain distance from other groups and villagers.
  • Only ‘Namaste’, no hugs or handshakes with anyone at any time.

a local Nepalese child doing Namaste
A local Nepali Child doing ‘Namaste’

Himalayan Glacier staff on Everest Base Camp Trek will take extra precautions when packing goods, transportation, meals at designated places, and preparing equipment for trekkers. We will follow all the necessary guidelines that have been made compulsory for the travel and tourism industry as stated in the safety advisories issued by the government authorities.

What we would like to convey to our fellow traveler friends is that Nepal has heard that before. Right from the era of the Ebola virus to swine flu and the devastating 2015 earthquake, Nepal has seen and faced it all tactfully, and we are committed to overcoming this time too. This time, with a much more resilient arm!

What can trekkers expect during the Everest Base Camp Trek during the pandemic?

Most of us, including you, have had been locked in our homes and doing self-quarantine and indirectly supporting our governments by following their advice for several months. Many of us might have lost our jobs and faced unanticipated financial crises in the grave hour. More painfully, many of us might have lost our dear ones just because of this dreaded virus contagion, which is inexorably irreparable. However, just like an old saying, “There should be sunshine after rain,” life has to move on at its pace, and we shall definitely defeat this phase in no time soon.

everest base cam trekking group
Trek to the Everest Base Camp accompanied by guide Kami Rita Sherpa

 At this stressful moment caused by the prolonged lockdown, we understand that trekking in the natural setting and tranquil locations will heal everyone from the mental disturbance we have undergone. It is one of the best ways from several other options to stay positive and rejuvenate our lost liveliness by trekking in nature. Trekkers can expect the following in Nepal during the Everest Base Camp Trek amidst the global pandemic:

  • All flights from and to Nepal will be operated by following special health and safety protocols.
  • All visitors may need to carry a certificate confirming that they are not infected with the coronavirus.
  • All foreign visitors will be exposed to a thermal-gun temperature check on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport as well as all-important entry points of most places like hotels, banks, shopping malls, hospitals, etc. If you show any signs of being infected by the coronavirus, you will be checked by an expert medical team and advised accordingly.
  • All Himalayan Glacier staff, including mountain leaders and the whole crew, have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • You will be expected to be in regular contact with the trekking office to know ground situations, even when you are on the trip.
  • You shall do your shopping only from shops where safety guidelines are being adhered to.

How is trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal made safer during the pandemic?

The only mode of getting into Nepal from the Americas, Europe, Australia, Africa, and most Asian countries is by air unless you are already in India or Tibet and want to travel by road to Nepal. We have been following the guidelines issued by the Nepal Tourism Board and putting efforts to ensure that your travel is as safe and hassle-free as it would have been in regular times.

As per the general precaution guidelines until all international flights will jump back to normal, the social distancing protocol as issued by the World Health Organization will play a major role in containing the coronavirus. It is well known that Nepal is one such country where people greet by pressing hands, both palms touching one another, all fingers pointed upwards, and thumbs close to the chest uttering ‘Namaste’.

Tribhuwan International Airport During Pandemic; How is trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal made safer during the pandemic?
Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu During Pandemic

From your arrival at the International airport, till you finish your Everest Base Camp Trek, Himalayan Glacier will leave no stones unturned to guarantee your safety and well-being during this erratic phase of the pandemic threat. You will be subjected to temperature checks by an infrared thermal gun at every entry point, like hotels, restaurants, money exchange counters, banks, shopping malls, and local shops.

Even while you are on the trek, we will have this arrangement of checking your temperature several times a day to make sure that you are alright with your body temperature. We will make sure to keep you informed about your health condition each day until the time of your departure back home.

Sanitizers and high-quality face masks are other essential aspects that we will make sure to adhere to as per the guidelines of the Nepal Tourism Board. We will be providing you masks and hand sanitizers and keep-ready other equipment at your service as a measure of safety precaution. Cleanliness will be kept at the highest priority, and everything else, including local transportation, Lukla flights, teahouse night-stays, and meals, will be in a very organized manner.

While hiking on each particular day, we will remind you to walk, keeping a safe distance from other trekkers if you are with a group and pull up your mask whenever a person or group coming from the opposite direction is about to pass by you. We will request teahouse owners to serve your meals in your sleeping rooms against the common dining room, which was a customary rule in the past.

Why trekking to Everest Base Camp is a suitable activity during the pandemic?

Most countries have already lifted the travel restrictions and permitted travelers to begin their adventurous activities following the health and safety protocols as issued by the authorities in their home country, destination country, and the WHO and CDC. Adventure seekers can now go back for hiking, camping, or trekking in the destinations of their choice, provided that the local authorities in the countries that they would like to travel to have called off the travel restrictions.

But, why trekking to Everest Base Camp is a suitable activity during the pandemic or in the post-COVID-19 era? As a matter of fact, Nepal can be a very peaceful and mollifying destination after what we all have gone through in the past few months. With an obvious, fewer people on the trails of the Everest region, hiking in Nepal will be a boon to the frustrated souls of a desperate traveler.

Everest Base Camp Trek during the pandemic; Why trekking to Everest Base Camp is a suitable activity during the pandemic?
Everest Base Camp Trek during the pandemic

But, why trek to Everest Base Camp and not any other regions in Nepal? There is no hard and fast rule to do the Everest Base Camp Trek in the post-COVID-19 times, but being a classic trekking trail and popular amongst trekkers worldwide would undoubtedly be worth it. Those who have trekked in the past during peak seasons might have missed out on some remarkable experiences due to the overcrowding in the trails and the teahouses. This is the right moment when the trails look isolated, and you have ample time to do the things that you weren’t able to do in the past due to several reasons.

Like already stated earlier, it is not mandatory to trek in the Everest region to ease off your weary mind, but you could also do the Annapurna Base Camp Trek or the Manaslu Circuit Trek. It’s just that the former would be a better retreat in nature and a fantastic opportunity for those who avoided doing the Everest Base Camp Trek because of the overcrowded reasons.

Why should I travel to Nepal post-COVID-19 and not to other destinations?

Regardless of the destination, first and foremost, it is a better option to go for nature exploration, trekking, or hiking rather than going to activities involving mass gatherings. You might perhaps love being outdoors for a week or two after staying inside your homes for almost four months now, if not more.

Where else can it be a better option to travel if not Nepal, a country prosperous in natural splendors, including numerous mountains and the Himalayas? Nepal, no doubt, will be a healthy treat for all sorts of outdoor activities and your best bet for sure. It is not a surprise for Lonely Planet to indicate Nepal’s Everest Base Camp as one of the best places to travel during the pandemic and post COVID-19.

What are the other options for post-COVID-19 plans on Nepal travel?

It is not going to be the same as it used to be in the past. However, by saying post-COVID-19 travel plans, we intend to emphasize planning your vacation in the less crowded areas, which directly denotes being outdoors in the wilds, the hills, or the mountainous Himalayan realms.

We do not still recommend touring around the cities as yet. The crowd of people in the city areas can prove to be a menace until a vaccine is developed or the coronavirus is completely eradicated. This time we underscore travelers to take upon an exciting journey around the mountains and valleys of wonderful Nepal. The several options you can consider during your post-COVID-19 Nepal travel plans can potentially be:

Why travel with Himalayan Glacier during the pandemic and post COVID-19?

Kevin was one of our first customers to trek in Nepal after the travel restrictions were lifted. He successfully completed the Everest Base Camp trek without any casualties.

Turning back the pages of our history, it has now been almost three decades that we have been offering services to passionate adventurers and nature lovers. Our experience and expertise in most outdoor activities, especially hiking and climbing, with our efficient team members who know the industry in and out, has motivated us to strive to be the best.

We have proudly succeeded in maintaining our glorious status for years and still counting. Every unfortunate incident in the last 30 years has given us wonderful opportunities to learn and respond accordingly during unanticipated crises. This time hasn’t been any different – we have readied ourselves right from the moment of the outbreak of the alarming coronavirus.

So, can I do the Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal during the COVID-19? Yes, absolutely you can. All you need to do is get information about the travel restrictions applicable in your country. Are you permitted to fly out from your country?

If yes, then just start planning and if in a dilemma, allow us to assist you in planning your travel in Nepal – we will do the rest and try as much to please you by getting close to fulfilling your curbed desires for a long time.

 

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