Everest Questions and Answers, September 2016

What did you estimate for the trips daily expenses which we cover ourselves?

On Recce#1 our daily expenses ran to around $40USD per day, that was for average to excellent hotels, excellent food 3 times a day and fuel. The bikes we had were very frugal so I’d add another $10 per day on that. So average around $50 per day. International ATM’s are situated in most major towns, and I always carry $200 USD in good old fashioned travellers cheques (just in case – lost card/robbed wallet etc)

Do I need an international license or will my license from home cover it?

Yes you should apply for an IDP before leaving your home country. Team A can get away with country specific licenses but Team B must have IDPs. I would recommend IDP’s for all.

What are the names of the airports we will be flying into as Team B?

Lhasa Gonggar Airport Tibet

Kunming Changshui

And when should we arrive?

Team B should be in Lhasa by May 5th at the latest or even a couple of days earlier to have more time to acclimatize to the altitude. this is after a stop over/night in Kunming. Team A will arrive in Lhasa on May 5th in the afternoon.

Will we receive our Tibet permits at our hotel in Kunming? Or at the airport on May 5th? I would like to arrive in Kunming a couple days early to look around and combat some jet lag – will this work?

Permits for Team B will be given out prior to the flight to Lhasa from Kunming – the Fixer is suggesting that if possible all riders catch the same flight to Lhasa to get the permits at the same time. Although I’m going to say that could be kinda difficult with riders flying in from all over the world with different travel agendas…

As soon as you book any tickets or obtain IDPs please forward the details/copies to me.

When do you need the deposit by and how much?

A deposit of $800 USD should get to China by no later than Jan 15th 2017 to ensure we have time to file all the paperwork with the Chinese Authorities. But lets not leave it right upto the wire eh!

Copies of all documents required by the authorities should also be with us by that date.

Will the support vehicle carry our luggage?

Yes there will be a support vehicle for carrying luggage and some spares and tools and on hand if someone needs to ride in a van rather than a bike, or to rescue broken bikes, from the start of the tour for Team A and B together in Lhasa.

Which insurance would you recommend?

We use Global Rescue Evacuation insurance. Activity/Age/Location makes no difference to this policy – if you get injured outside of your home country these guys will get you back to your local hospital. Period. The Evacuation Policy does not include local medical bills of you have to spend an extended period in a local hospital. There is a link from our website – http://cambodiaexpeditions.com/insurance/

What’s the Internet like in China?

Google, Facebook, Messenger, Skype are all blocked in China (along with a lot of US based sites) and the internet in general I would best describe as ‘sketchy’ and prone to dropping out. I tried to download a computer program on my laptop in the hotel in Kunming, good old cable style. Failed. Internet is best saved for basic comms and brief emails using a smart phone. Conversely most of our main stays had wifi.

What about Mobile Phone Coverage?

SIM cards for smart phone (or even stupid phones) are cheap and readily available – although my one last time was supposed to be new but had in fact been used and prevented me from signing upto Chinas most popular messaging site ‘WeChat’ as the number was already registered to username ‘Sparkle.’ Much to the amusement of my fellow riders. Sparkle McCreadie. Yes very amusing.

What gear should I pack? Should I bring a sleeping bag?

We didn’t take or need sleeping bags on the last trip. All the hotels were very well appointed. A comprehensive Equipment List will be sent to you with the Everest Welcome Pack.

Suggested Equipment List. Sept 16

These are just a few ideas I’ve been kicking round this month.

Like the old adage goes (something) like this “there is no such thing as inappropriate climate only inappropriate clothing”

I would recommend Adventure Bike Riding Equipment useful over a range of temperatures and wet conditions.

To this end I have just purchased a all-in-one rainsuit

(http://www.sportsbikeshop.co.uk/motorcycle_parts/content_prod/70084)

to replace the last one that served me well in the mountains of Vietnam/Thailand/Laos and China. Now only in keeping the wet weather at bay but also an extra thermal layer when it got cold. And a set of plastic ‘over-mitts’ that cover your gloves (http://www.sportsbikeshop.co.uk/motorcycle_parts/content_prod/310715). On Recce#1 we also bought local hand warmers that fit over the controls on the bike like big fur lined mittens. Cheap and very effective.

Experience of riding in poor weather (coming from Wales) and in cold climates tells me – lots of thin warm layers and a layer of plastic to keep out the water.

Waterproof boots also – (https://www.formabootsusa.com/products/forma-adventure-motorcycle-boots) are the ones I’ve been using the past few years and found them very good. Along with thermal socks and thermal underwear.

With traveling at such high altitudes the weather can change very quickly – we might get lucky and the sun shines all trip. In 2009 I did a ride on the other side of the Himalayas in India and it rained for 5 days straight. Better to have it in your bag and never use it than the other way around. With the worldwide global economy in motion (and most things being made in China!) some items can be found locally – unless like me you are an unusual shape or size, like me, XXL or Extra Extra Handsome as I prefer to refer to it.

What will the highest and lowest expected temperatures be?
Highest temperature in the middle of the day 25 centigrade, lowest around 3 to 5 centigrade. Usually…

Shall I bring Dry Bags?

Always useful as protection to keep your end of the day clothes dry if you have them on your bike, or small bags for keeping your wallet and mobile phone wet free. I have to admit to having a small obsession with ‘sandwich bags’ gained from unexpected immersions and plentiful dust in Cambodia. ‘Ortlieb’ make some excellent waterproof bags also.

“Monkey will lead the Golden Army from the North, Pigsy from the South, so with luck we should be able to spring Tripitaka from Hells Dungeon before the Serpent King notices we’ve even been there. Then meet at Starbucks on Shangri-La Road for celebratory Frappicinos all round”