Trek to Mount Everest and the Himalaya
The Everest Base Camp Trek leads to the foothills of the mightiest mountains in the world. You will travel from temperate regions up to snow line through rhododendron and pine forests, traversing rivers and touring Buddhist monasteries en route to a new teahouse every day. Regarded as the best view of the Himalaya, this trek traces the main route through Khumbu Valley from the Sherpa town of Namche Bazaar. Trekkers get an up-close, unobstructed view of world's greatest mountains: Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Thamserku, Tawache and more.
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Arrive and Prepare for Climb
OCTOBER 16: ARRIVE IN KATHMANDU
Upon arrival at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport, you will be greeted by our local staff who will transfer you to your hotel. There will be welcome refreshments followed by room check-in assistance. Shortly afterwards, a briefing about the trip is given in the hotel lobby. Spare time before this evening's welcoming dinner may be used to sort your gear and explore your surroundings. We will dine together at an authentic Nepali restaurant and enjoy a presentation on local cultural before returning to the hotel. Lodging at Maya Manor.
OCTOBER 17: TOUR KATHMANDU
Your guide will meet you at your hotel in the morning to begin your tour of Kathmandu. Visit Boudhanath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal. Tour the inside of one of the several monasteries neighboring the stupa. Next visit Pashupatinath, a Hindu pilgrimage site, and possibly view cremation ceremonies along the banks of the Bagmati River. Continue on to Patan Durbar Square to take in ancient Nepalese architecture and enjoy lunch at the museum garden, housed in a royal palace of the former Malla kings. We will stay the night again at our hotel in Kathmandu. This evening you should make time to sort your belongings, separating the items you and your porter will be carrying. Lodging at Maya Manor.
Trek from Lukla to Phakding to Namche Bazaar, acclimatization day
OCTOBER 18: FLY TO LUKLA AND TREK TO PHAKDING
- Lukla Elevation 9,449 feet
- Phakding Elevation 8,701 feet
- Hiking Time: 4 Hours
- Distance: 5 Miles
We provide an early morning transfer to Kathmandu’s domestic airport to board a scenic 45-minute flight to Lukla. This flight provides a magnificent entry to the trek. One of the most spectacular flights in the world, it highlights the snowline of the Himalayan Range in the north. Upon arrival in Lukla, you will meet the Sherpa team while they distribute the equipment to the porters and jhopke (a hybrid of a cow and a yak used to carry loads). There will be a short lunch break during which guests are welcome to explore this bustling town on top of a hill with rows of houses, hotels and shops lining cobbled streets. After lunch we will begin the trek by following the trail northwest through narrow streets, immediately descending from the end of the village through the open hillside. The trail is well defined and there are many shops and lodges catering to trekkers. This day’s trek is a very easy one and ultimately descends to the river at Phakding (8,701 feet), where will have a hot meal and comfortable beds for the night. Lodging at Namaste Lodge or Royal Sherpa Resort.
OCTOBER 19: TREK TO NAMCHE BAZAAR
- Namche Bazaar Elevation 11,306 feet
- Hiking Time: 6 Hours
- Distance: 5.5 Miles
After breakfast you will leave the main village and follow the trail on the left bank of the Dudh Kosi River. It is a pleasant walk as we pass through agricultural countryside, small wayside villages and a monastery. After lunch, you will trek up to the park permit checkpoint and enter into the Sagarmatha National Park. From there you will descend for ten minutes, then cross a suspension bridge to arrive at Jorsale (9,186 feet). This is a busy trail with plenty of sights. Our first good views are of the west ridge of Kusum Kangru (20,797 feet). You will follow the Dudh Kosi River, crossing a rustic suspension bridge, then slowly climb up a very steep trail to Namche Bazaar. Near the halfway point, you will enjoy your first views of Mt. Everest (29,029 feet), Nuptse (25,850 feet), and Lhotse (27,503 feet), the big three. The climb is nearly three hours as we gain altitude. After arriving at a gate with a sign saying, "Welcome to Namche Bazaar" you will hike another 20 minutes to our lodgings in the heart of Namche Bazaar (11,309 feet). Namche is a prosperous town and the largest in Khumbu. Thamserku (21,811 feet) and Kwangde Ri (21,732 feet) loom along the east and west of the village. The sacred mountain Khumbila (18,724 feet) dominates the skyline along the west. Dinner and overnight accommodations are provided at our lodge in Namche. Lodging at Nirvana Lodge or Hotel Kamal.
OCTOBER 20: REST DAY IN NAMCHE
Today will give you time to adjust to the altitude and enjoy some well-deserved rest. You may take a hike to the village of Khumjung, where a monastery has a purported Yeti scalp. This village has modern communications such as the internet and mobile and landline phones. You'll also be able to see the Everest View Hotel, one of the highest hotels on earth. Lodging at Nirvana Lodge or Hotel Kamal.
Trek to Dole, Macchermo, and Gyoko
OCTOBER 21: TREK TO DOLE
- Elevation 13,254 feet
- Hiking Time: 7 hours
- Distance: 6 Miles
We leave Namche and head north through the villages of Syangboche and Kumjung. These villages are famous for producing world-class climbers and the trekking culture here runs deep. These hills are also the best place to encounter wild mountain goats, called Himalayan tahr, as they bound across the trail or work their way up nearly vertical cliffs. Keep your camera handy! The trail ascends gradually past impressive stone chortens (Buddhist shrines), navigates past a deep river gorge, and passes through the villages of Mong and Phortse Thanga. The area is often lush with rhododendron forests and small terraced farms. The views of Ama Dablam (22,493) to the southeast are spectacular. We spend the night in the small village of Dole. Dole is nestled into tight valley ringed by snow-capped peaks. An icy glacial stream runs through the valley floor and yaks wander about looking for the best grazing. There are good trails up to the rims of the valley for those wanting an extra challenge or better a view. Lodging at Dole Guest House or Yeti Guest House.
OCTOBER 22: TREK TO MACCHERMO
- Elevation: 14,468 feet
- Hiking Time: 3 hours
- Distance: 3 Miles
After a leisurely breakfast in Dole you will make the short trek up the Gokyo valley to Machermo. Much of the hike is along a verdant ridgeline with massive 20,000 foot mountains lining the horizon. The area looks like the Swiss Alps, only much bigger. You pass through two smaller villages on the way to Machermo: Kele and Luza. Both are quite hillside towns, perfect places to stop for tea or to buy some of the local (and delicious) yak cheese. Once reaching Machermo we will rest for the remainder of the day. We are now well over 14,000 feet and some may be feeling the effects of altitude. Explore the town and valley, cool your feet in a glacial stream, and scan the hills for Himalayan tahr as you prepare for the next section of the trek. Keep an eye out for Yeti as well – locals report many sightings in the area. Lodging at Tashi Delek or Maccherrmo Guest House.
OCTOBER 23 & 24: TREK TO GOKYO, CLIMB GOKYO RI, EXPLORE GOKYO LAKES, CHO OYO BASE CAMP
- Elevation: 17,782 feet
- Hiking Time: 4 Hours each day
- Distance: Approx 5-6 miles each day
Today you reach the top of the valley and the remote Gokyo Lakes. The trail out of Machermo passes into a stark and impressive ablation valley – a valley that forms when a glacier lifts up moraine at its edges and then retreats slightly. The rhododendron and green terraced farms give way to bare rock and scree. A churning river shoots through the valley floor. After about three miles you begin to see a series of rock cairns marking a steep ascent up to the first Gokyo lake. It is a small lake, but the mesmerizing blue of the water and the way it cascades down the valley are exhilarating. In half a mile you pass the second lake, much bigger and considered sacred by the locals (no swimming!). Another mile of trekking through massive boulders fields and past jagged cliffs and you arrive at the third lake and the town of Gokyo. Gokyo is a friendly trekking town full of teahouses. Because it is at the end of a long valley and off the main Everest trek, Gokyo tends to attract more independent and adventurous trekkers. Many teahouses here like to welcome their guests for the night with warm mango juice – a welcome treat if there is a chill in the air.
It is a superb base for exploration, and you spend the rest of that and the following day investigating the town, visiting the remote fourth, fifth and sixth lakes, making small excursions up the peaks on the west side of the valley, or venturing out onto the 30 mile long Ngozumba glacier bordering Gokyo to the east, and climbing Gokyo Ri. At 17,519 it is roughly the same elevation as Everest Base Camp. The climb begins just a few minutes east of town and ascends steeply across rocky terrain for two miles. We will take our time getting to the top as it is a tough climb at high elevation. The schedule in Gokyo will depend on how the group is feeling and weather conditions so you can enjoy the best views from both locations. Loding both nights at Himalayan Eco Resort or Gokeyo Resort.
Trek to Tagnag, Cross the Cho La Pass to Lobuche
OCTOBER 25: TREK TO TAGNAG
- Elevation: 17,519 feet
- Hiking Time: 3 Hours
- Distance: 4.5 Miles
This morning you'll spend sometime sleeping in and enjoying a well-deserved breakfast. When you’ve had your fill we will begin heading directly for Everest, moving east across the Ngozumba glacier and toward the tiny trekking village of Tagnag (4700). Tagnag sits on the eastern end of the glacier and is the gateway to the Cho La pass. Dinner and good sleep await us there as we rest up for the high altitude traverse into the Everest valley. Lodging at Tagnag Guest House or Khumbu Guest House
OCTOBER 26: CROSS THE CHO LA PASS TO LOBUCHE
- Elevation: 17,782 feet
- Hiking Time: 8 Hours
- Distance: 9 Miles
After leaving Tagnag we ascend gradually towards the pass for three miles. Just before the pass the trail becomes very steep. Get ready for one of the toughest sections of the trip. The pass can be difficult to cross in wet or icy conditions. Our expert guides will take all necessary precautions to ensure a safe crossing. From the top of the pass you can take in views of the twin Kangchung peaks (19,977), Nirekha (20,206), and Lobuche (20,160). We then descend past climbing camps and the yak-herding village of Dzongla. A hearty lunch and a good rest will prepare you to finish the Cho La descent and then turn north to head straight for Everest Base Camp. We end the day by entering the fabled Khumbu valley and skirting western edge of the Khumbu glacier to the town of Lobuche. Dinner and rest await you after two of the longest and most challenging days of the trek. Lodging at Himalayan Eco Resort or Oxygen Guest House.
Gorak Shep, Everest Base Camp, Kala Patthar, and Pheriche
OCTOBER 27: TREK TO GORAK SHEP AND VISIT EVEREST BASE CAMP
- Gorak Shep Elevation 16,929 feet
- Everest Base Camp Elevation 17,585 feet
- Hiking Time: 7 Hours
- Distance: 9 Miles total
You will make an early morning trek to Gorak Shep from Lobuche, following the contour of the open landscape along the Khumbu Glacier through jumbled moraines and scattered rocks. On a clear day Mount Everest can be seen looming behind Nuptse. Continuing on, you'll travel along jumbled moraines and erratic boulders, passing by the memorials of Rob Hall, Yasuko Namba, and others who perished during the Everest disaster of 1996. The trail continues on a ridge, where a glimpse of Everest can be seen. At the end of the ridge, a scrambling descent gives way to the entry of the Khumbu Glacier. Everest Base Camp is also the site for the base camps of Lhotse and Nuptse. Various expeditions have selected different locations in this vicinity for semi-permanent tent cities during their assaults on the mountain. Some of the sites that expeditions have used as base camps are identifiable from debris on the glacier. The highlight of the day is the sight of the treacherous Khumbu Icefall, the trek along which can be both exhilarating and intimidating for its volatility. After our visit, we'll return to Gorak Shep, descending to the alpine settlement where we will stay overnight at one of the two teahouses. Lodging at Yeti Lodge or Snow Land Guest House.
OCTOBER 28: CLIMB KALA PATTHAR AND TREK TO PHERICHE
- Kala Patthar Elevation 18,192 feet
- Hiking Time: 8 Hours
- Distance: 8 Miles
Today, you'll continue toward Kala Patthar (18,192 feet). The hour-long trek to the summit is challenging, but well worth it for the breathtaking sunrise views that frame Everest. The giants of the earth loom all around: Pumori (23,442 feet), Everest (29,029 feet), China’s peak, Changtse (24,780 feet), Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and many others. You'll then continue on to Pheriche where you'll spend the evening. Lodging at Edelweiss Lodge.
Trek to Namche, Trek to Lukla
OCTOBER 29: TREK TO NAMCHE
- Hiking Time: 7 Hours
- Distance: 10.5 Miles
Today you'll return again to Namche, a welcome site to be sure. Your trek today will last about seven hours, though you'll be feeling better with each step as you descend back to the valley. You'll have ample time to rest once you arrive. Lodging at Nirvana Lodge or Hotel Kamal.
OCTOBER 30: TREK TO LUKLA
- Hiking Time: 6 Hours
- Distance: 7 Miles
This is your last day on the trail, and it is a short distance to go after breakfast. There will be spare time when we arrive in Lukla, and you may wish to find a place to reflect on the sights you have beheld and the friends you have made. There will be dinner and overnight lodging at a teahouse in Lukla. Before bed, take a moment to re-sort your gear so you are ready to hit the ground running in Kathmandu tomorrow. Lodging at Hotel Numbur.
Fly back to Kathmandu and depart for home
OCTOBER 31: FLY BACK TO KATHMANDU & EXPLORE
You and your team will take an early morning flight from Lukla to Kathmandu in a Twin Otter plane. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, we will transfer you to your hotel where you may deposit your belongings and freshen up. The remainder of the day is free for well earned rest or for an optional sightseeing tour before your farewell dinner with the whole expedition team. Lodging at Hotel Maya Manor.
NOVEMBER 1: FINAL DEPARTURE
Today we say goodbye, or "namaste." Depending on your flight schedule, ideal activities include last-minute packing and shopping until your transfer to the Tribhuvan International Airport.
- Transport between airport and hotel
- Hotel accomodations in Kathmandu
- Airfare between Kathmandu and Lukla
- Teahouse accommodations during the trek
- Three quality meals a day during the trek
- Sagarmatha National Park fees
- Welcome and farewell dinners in Kathmandu
- Licensed and experienced mountain guides
- Licensed assistant guides and porters
Does Not Include
- International airfare
- Nepal entry visa (available at Kathmandu airport)
- Lunch and dinners in Kathmandu (except welcome and farewell dinners)
- Comprehensive travel insurance and any incidental rescue fees
- Personal gear or clothing for the climb is not provided
- Tips for your guides and porters
Hotel in Kathmandu
Your stay in Kathmandu will be at the Hotel Yak & Yeti.
On the Trek
Porters will carry your second bag, which will contain extra clothes and gear. You should only carry a day pack with your camera, valuables, water, sunscreen, etc. Temperatures along the trek range from 40 degrees Fahrenheit at night to 75 degrees during the day. As you near Everest Base Camp and gain elevation, temperatures will gradually drop, ranging from 20 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Meals and Water on the Trek
Three meals a day are provided, including delicious vegetarian options. We provide a variety of foods to accommodate various diets. Breakfasts will include eggs, sausage, toast or pancakes, hot cereal, fruit and juice, tea and coffee. Dinners will include meat dishes of beef, chicken or fish, fresh vegetable dishes, pasta, rice, potatoes, homemade soups, fresh fruits, desserts, juice, tea, and coffee. Three liters of water per day are also included.
LANDING AT KATHMANDU'S TRIBHUVAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Upon your landing at Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM), you will need to pay for your visa for Nepal. Have US $40 on hand for a 30-day visa. Extra passport photos for visas and other such documents may be required, so bring a few extras. From there, you can proceed to pick up any bags you checked. Once you have your bags, you will be met by a shuttle service to transport you to your hotel. Here, your Discover Outdoors guide will be awaiting your arrival. Our staff will be monitoring your flight status, so if you are delayed we will make the necessary adjustments to your shuttle.
If you can afford the extra day off, we recommend building time into your travel plans and arrive a day early. This will give you a cushion should there be flight delays. Please forward your flight itinerary to [email protected]
Your stay in Kathmandu will be at the Hotel Yak & Yeti, located conveniently in the heart of Kathmandu. These accommodations were carefully selected and chosen based on its ideal location, cleanliness and excellent staff.
Cancellations within 45 days of departure are non-refundable. Cancellations before 45 days of departure will receive a full refund (minus transaction fees of 5%).
Temperatures along the trek range from 40 degrees Fahrenheit at night and up to 75 degrees during the day. As you near Everest Base Camp and gain elevation, temperatures will gradually drop, ranging from 20 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainfall is infrequent in September and October, although a rain jacket is never a bad item to pack. With the many layers you will have for the rest of your journey, you will be well prepared for your time in Nepal. Due to the great altitude in the Himalaya, the mountain create their own weather. It is extremely variable and impossible to predict. We choose to trek during peak season when clear, sunny days are the norm, but regardless of when you climb, you should always be prepared for wet days and cold nights.
Engaging in long, challenging hikes is a great way to prepare for your trek. Look for hikes like The Great Escape, Fourteen Peaks, Breakneck Ridge, Storm King Mountain, Slide Mountain, Panther Mountain and Indian Head Mountain.
The thin air as you get into the higher elevation in the Himalaya may take some adjustment. The lower supply of oxygen at high elevations makes exercising more difficult, and you may experience shortness of breath during hikes. Bear in mind that predisposition to altitude sickness does not correlate to an individual’s level of fitness. The altitude in this area can prove challenging no matter what shape you’re in. If you’re not yet feeling acclimated when the trip begins, we suggest taking it easy, eating light meals, drinking lots of water and avoiding alcohol. Usually, it takes no more than a day or two to feel comfortable at higher elevations. The combination of high altitude and strenuous exercise greatly increases your body’s need for fluids. It is extremely important to drink lots of liquids to prevent heatstroke and dehydration. It’s a good idea to consume at least three liters of water per day and to drink as often as possible. Your guide will be constantly monitoring your status, asking questions and making sure you are consuming enough water and food.
It’s best to check with your doctor regarding vaccinations for Diphtheria, tetanus, Hepatitis A and B, Japanese B encephalitis, Meningococcal meningitis, Polio, rabies, Tuberculosis, Typhoid, and Yellow Fever. You may need to see a Travel Medicine doctor; there are several in New York City. Many trekkers choose to also have medicine to alleviate altitude sickness, such as Diamox. We recommend making this decision with your doctor. One of the most common health risks for visitors is “traveler’s diarrhea,” which can be caused by bacteria, parasites or viruses transmitted through food or water. Despite precautions taken at our hotels and in all the food preparation, you can expect to experience one or more days of “discomfort” while in Nepal due to your body’s unfamiliarity with local bacteria. There are many over-the-counter remedies and antibiotics available in Kathmandu to relieve upset stomachs, but it’s also a good idea to bring some with you. It is usually risky to purchase food from street vendors unless the food has been cooked and is still hot. However, if you purchase fruit or vegetables from street vendors, we recommend buying products that you can peel or wash in purified water, and always wash your hands before eating. For more specific information on health precautions for travel in Nepal, consult a travel medicine doctor and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov.
Nepal is generally a safe and pleasant place but as with any destination, it’s important to be aware of possible hazards. Violent crime is almost unheard of in the regions we visit. In the rare instances crime does occur, it’s usually petty theft. To limit your susceptibility, we suggest you always travel with at least one other person when going out, and that you avoid flaunting jewelry, cameras, expensive watches and other items that may be tempting to a thief.
The standard unit of currency in Nepal is the rupee. The rupee can fluctuate, however, so we suggest you check the online Universal Currency Converter at www.xe.com or with your bank for the most up-to-date information close to the time of your departure. Credit cards are accepted in Kathmandu and ATM’s are available, however cash is king the further into the mountains you go.
Nepal is ten hours and 35 minutes ahead of New York.
To call Nepal from the United States, dial 011 (America’s international access code) +977 (Nepal's country code) + the city code (1 in Kathmandu) + the local number. To place an international call from Kathmandu, first dial 00 (the international access code) and the appropriate country code. To call the United States, dial 00 + 1 (the U.S. country code) + area code + local number.
Electricity in Nepal is 220-240 Volts. There are two main types of voltage converter. Resistor-network converters will usually be advertised as supporting something like 50-1600 Watts. They are light-weight and support high-wattage electrical appliances like hair dryers and irons. However, they can only be used for short periods of time and are not ideal for digital devices. Transformers will have a much lower maximum Watt rating, usually 50 or 100. Transformers can often be used continuously and provide better electricity for low wattage appliances like battery chargers, radios, laptop computers, cameras, mp3 players and camcorders. However, they are heavy because they contain large iron rods and lots of copper wire. Outlets in Nepal generally accept two types of plug: Three round pins arranged in a triangle, or two parallel round pins.
A valid passport, along with evidence of return or onward flight, is required for U.S. citizens traveling to Nepal. A visa can be purchased at the airport for US $40.
Make your effort more rewarding by raising funds for underserved kids through the Discover Outdoors Foundation. When you give your adventure a purpose beyond personal goals, your experience becomes more fulfilling, helping you reach the the base camp of Mount Everest.
How it works
When you fundraise for the Discover Outdoors Foundation, the cost of your trip is covered at not cost, except for your airfare and personal expenses. The minimum commitment is $7,500. You will receive tools, tips, encouragement and all the support you will need from the Discover Outdoors Foundation to ensure you exceed your goal. Please email [email protected] or call 212-579-4568 with any questions about the program.
- 2 Merino wool or polypro mid–weight long sleeve shirts (long enough to tuck in; snug fit and zip neck is best).
- 2 Merino wool or polypro T shirts
- Hiking shorts
- Hiking pants. Soft shell are best. You will spend most of the trip in these pants.
- Expedition-weight pants for around camp and the summit day
- 2 pair fleece or heavy long underwear
- 1 pair leg gaiters
- 1 pair socks for each day of trekking; 2 lightweight and 3 heavyweight. NO cotton! Wool or wool/synthetic are best.
- 1 pair underwear per day
- 1 warm fleece or softshell jacket
- 1 waterproof Gore-tex rain shell jacket
- 1 pair waterproof Gore-tex rain pants
- 1 expedition–weight top (fleece, etc.)
- 1 pair very warm ski or mountaineering gloves with fleece liner
- 1 pair windproof, lightweight gloves. You will wear these most of the time.
- 1 warm hat
- 1 sun hat
- 1 pair trekking boots (medium weight, waterproof)
- 1 pair comfortable walking/camp shoes
- 1 pair wrap–around, UV–blocking sunglasses or glacier glasses
- 1 soft duffel bag (NO hard frame or wheeled suitcases or bags). These will be carried by the porters and they must be soft.
- Sleeping bag rated to 0 degrees
- 1 daypack which you will trek in every day. 30–50L is ideal.
- Plastic bags of different sizes (to protect clothes in your bags against the rain.
- Pair of trekking poles–strongly recommended for everyone
- 1 head lamp with extra batteries and extra light bulb
- 1 emergency heat blanket (reflective foil)
- 1 pocket knife
- 3 One–liter water bottles, or equivalent hydration bladder for your pack
- Sunscreen. Highest possible SPF rating.
- Water purification tablets
- Blister bandages or moleskin
- Small and large band aids
- Kleenex (a lot of them)
- Wet wipes. We recommend one large container for your camp duffle and a couple travel packs for your backpack.
- Saline nasal spray for dryness and dust
- Elastic Ace bandage wrap
- Safety pins
- Small pair of scissors
- Airline tickets
- Medications and copies of prescriptions
- Sunscreen and lip ointment
- Hand and foot warmers for the high altitude days
- Travel alarm clock (watch)
- Camera with plenty of memory and extra batteries
- Current converter and outlet adapter
- Sport sandals
- Camelbak or similar hydration backpack
- Flora/fauna field guide
- Collapsible walking stick
- Leisure reading
- Analgesics (painkillers); acetaminophen (i.e., Tylenol), aspirin, ibuprofen, Vicodin*
- Anti-Allergy; hydrocortizone, diphenhydramine hydrochloride; epinephrine*
- Antibiotics; Bacitracin (ointment), erythromycin*, ciprofloxacin hydrochloride*
- Antacids; Bismuth sabsalicylate (ie. Pepto-Bismol)
- Anti-Diarrhea; Loperamide hydrochloride (ie. Immodium), Tinidazole*
- Anti-Emetics (anti-vomiting); Prochlorperazine*, Promethazine*
- Anti-Vertigo (anti-motion sickness); Meclizine*, Scopolamine*
- Altitude illness medicine ; Acetazolamide* (diamox), Dexamethazone*, Nifedipine*
- Anti-malarial prophylaxis medicine*
* Prescription medicines