First up: Vaccinations
Having a bit more time than in recent years, I visited the nurse at my local GP’s back in January to work out what I’ll need for Nepal and Ladakh. Given that I’d suffered a bit with altitude sickness for the first time last summer in Peru, I wanted a prescription for some Diamox (The University of Utah is currently conducting a medical study into lower doses), and my WHO International Certificates of Vaccination log book was telling me that my Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio and Typhoid vaccinations were due to run out in 2016.
The nurse looked through my log book and gave me the current thinking on fresh jabs and boosters recommended for trekking / camping in remote areas, taking into account my habit of tripping and grazing knees/palms and/or falling over when failing to cross streams, plus what might happen if I had a serious accident (needles, blood transfusions etc).
Here’s what I’ve had / am getting:
- Hep B (Engerix B) – Accelerated vaccination schedule: 3 jabs, each one a month apart – I started in Jan and had my ‘March’ one yesterday – followed by a follow up jab 12 months later, ie March 2017. And that’ll be me vaccinated ‘for the long term’. Cost: £45
- Rabies booster (Rabipur) – I’d had parts 1, 2 and 3 of the Rabies vaccine in June 1994 before going to Bolivia. The nurse recommended a booster (more for return visits to Peru, or other places where farm dogs are fierce. Plus, monkeys.), which required a prescription. I bought the vaccine online from ChemistDirect – very efficient. Cost: £38.20 for the Rabipur + £15 for the nurse to administer it
- Diphtheria–Tetanus-Polio (Revaxis) – I’ll be getting this redone in August, 10 years since my last shot.
- Typhoid (Typhim Vi) – Another one pencilled in for August. These only last 3 years.
- Altitude Sickness (Diamox Tablets 250mg) – A two week supply, at 1/2 tablet a day, with a couple spare = a prescription for 10 tablets. We’ll be acclimatising very gradually on the Manaslu trek so these are “just-in-case” and mainly so for Ladakh. Cost: £8.20 (prescription charge) TBC – it’s a private prescription.
- Malaria and Japanese Encephalitis – I’ll be covering up, using mozzie repellant and taking Vit B tablets.
- Cholera – Val’s camp hygiene is second to none.
I also got a new-look log book. Better layout, naff cover design:
… which means that this is good news:
— FCO travel advice (@FCOtravel) March 10, 2016
… even if that sentence is a little hard to parse.
I use the Austrian Alpine Club UK for mountain rescue and medical cover, and a basic annual travel policy for everything else (travel delays, theft etc). I usually go for one of the current recommendations on MoneySavingExpert. I’ve still got my basic policy from last summer’s trip to Peru, and I’ve just renewed my membership of the AAC.
Third: Visa and Permits
30 days single entry, USD40 cash. I’m a UK passport holder, and it’s straightforward to get a visa on arrival at the airport – in fact based on the queues it looks like most people do. It looks like you need 2 passport photos too, although I’ve a recollection from last year the new “electronic system” provided that – but doesn’t do away with the need to queue to get the visa put into your passport, so it was quicker overall to have a couple of photos with you. You fill out the form in the arrivals hall (usually in the queue).
We’ll need to take 4 passport photos for trekking / park permits. I made mine using http://www.idphoto4you.com/ last time, and they worked fine for visa-on-arrival and permits.
And finally: Kit
No new purchases. It’ll be the usual kitlist-spreadsheet-to-start with, which I expect will translate into something like this –
– although there will be:
- More lightweight / long-sleeved tops because as Val says, “It’s going to be stinking hot” for the first/last few days
- Val’s PHD down jacket which she’s lending me again
- No need for the harness and Scarpa boots
- Val-supplied sleeping bags from KTM and I never did use H’s travel pillow…
- Just a couple of books and the (mandatory) Scrabble
- Different treats for Val
- A big bag of warm / waterproof clothing to donate to our trek crew.