You want to go trekking in Nepal but are trying to find out how much it will all cost? You'll find your answers here.
There's an easy way and hard way to figure out how much your trek in Nepal will cost. The easy way is to sign up to an online package trek - pay for it - and be done with it. Simple. But, it's als othe most expensive way. The slightly more time consuming way, but more cost effective method that will ensure a better trek, is to read a little bit about how the prices of treks are created - that happens on this page!
Nothing is complicated here. Everything has a reason why it costs something. The same is true for a trek in Nepal. There are variables like in the real world. Time of year is one example.
There's a massive amount of trekking in Nepal articles on this site. Do see the Nepal travel guide side menu to your right for more or if onmobile users can jump down to the Nepal travel guide menu for more. The very best budgeting your trek in Nepal information can be found in my complete guidebook to Nepal.
Meanwhile, let's read on and find out about these costs ...
Something to keep in mind when planning your budget
There are many international trekking and tour companies offering treks in Nepal. Most of these charge a lot. The biggest problem aside from cost is that you never get to meet your guide and a certain percentage of your money never makes it to Nepal. In my experience, it's better to go local with a registered qualified guide.
Booking a Nepal trek or tour online with a private international trekking company is no doubt the more costly way of arranging a trek in Nepal but it's also the fastest. Here's my list of recommended international Nepal trekking tour companies with prices.
- International trekking company prices range per person from USD$600 all the way to $5,000+ for an average 8 - 12 day trek.
- These prices generally include: permits, a guide, some transport to the trail head (start of the trek), accommodation and meals (including your guides).
- Prices won't include: your travel insurance, entry to Nepal visa fees, trekking equipment or water.
The real benefits of booking an international trekking company online are if you are stuck for time or don't have enough time in Nepal - with them then everything will be pre-arranged for you prior to your arrival. You literally arrive in Kathmandu on day one and head out trekking on that day or the next.
The negatives of booking with an International trekking agency online are that you'll be paying a high premium for this prearranged luxury. You won't be able to meet or choose your guide beforehand nor ask many questions. You can also get lumped into a "group" tour without knowing.
It's very important when booking online with a private company that you take note of what's included in your package trek. Confirm that your permits and transport to the treks trail head are included. Get these details clarified in writing!
If there's a "too good to be true price" online then the chances are that there is an almighty catch. The most common "traps' are the cheap $900 EBC or Annapurna treks by relatively "well known" international tour companies who can offer these prices by joining you with another much larger group. As you can imagine, this can cause all sorts of problems later on. Common issues include people not showing up, last minute trek routes being selected by another group on the same trek, having no choice in accommodation, or being with a big group of another nationality that you may not like etc. There really are very few options to change anything with this type of trek. Hence the too good to be true prices are not at all what they seem like. Do be very careful if choosing this option.
The difference with booking a trek online with an international company or through a booking company are nearly the same. However, a booking company is a third party company who list all other trekking companies together so you have many more options.
Because a booking company will show you many more offers you will have more of a choice, which is great for your budget. However, many of those private companies will be the same ones that you could book with directly as mentioned above already.
Secondly, you will still face all the same problems as you did by selecting an international trekking company yourself.
The benefits of booking a trek though a booking company are also largely the same. Convenience of seeing the prices all in front of you and speed of booking.
The negatives again surround the fact that you won't know who you will actually be trekking with (your guide). And, even more of your money will be split up internationally rather than in Nepal locally.
Do take note of many trekking companies now offering "community home stays". This is just another catchy marketing term for a "tea house" which is the long used traditional name given to locally run guesthouses on all trails for decades. There's nothing new, other than a catchy marketing name and probably some extra costs thrown in just for that name.
Costs of going with a booking company are largely the same as a private company. Sometimes they can look cheaper due to how the companies display the treks online. Again, do take note of all that is included or not. Here is a list of treks in Nepal you can book online.
This option is great for many people and it's cost effective with a lot of your money staying in Nepal. You will have to do a little research and shop around yourself - a lot of the information is on this site.
Things to keep in mind when adding up the cost of a trek through a local Nepali trekking agency: Usually they give two options: 1) buy a package tour. 2) just hire one of their guides alone.
The package tour option basically includes everything from your permits, to the guide, accommodation and domestic transport. Whereas the guide only option only includes the guide!
- Prices of a package trek range from USD$800 up to $1,700+ per person for an average 8 - 12 day trek.
- Package trek prices should include: trekking permits, local transportation, accommodation and meals.
- Prices don't include: your travel insurance, tourist visa fees, trekking equipment and drinking water.
Package tour rates can have different tiers. Think of some as high-end or luxury treks and others as mid-range or budget. Package prices will reflect the tier. The trekking routes stay the same, however the accommodation and meals will change as per the tier you choose.
The benefits of booking a package trekking tour with a local agency is that everything will be taken care of for you and you'll be dealing directly with one company. Your trekking accommodation will be booked ahead, your meals will be paid for and arranged as per your liking. You can often customise the trek to your liking eg. add a day or two doing a side trek etc. Finally, you will get to meet your guide beforehand.
The negatives with a local trekking companies package trek is that you'll still be paying a premium for this service (though it's less than the international company option and better value).
Do note: In 2017 some well-to-do international trekking companies have partnered with local trekking companies in a bid to pass themselves off as "local" - do ask to see the trekking companies registration papers to be sure you know who your are dealing with. - tell tale signs often come up when dealing with them through email and you feel the writing is more western or Chinese than Nepali.
The cost of hiring a local guide through a local trekking agency is tackled below!
One of the most popular ways to arrange a trek in Nepal.
This option is similar to the above package tour option. However, if you want more independence and think you can save some money along the way then this guide only option may suit you better.
The cost of this type of trek is only for the guide! You'll need to pay for everything else yourself.
- Prices range from USD$30 up to $60 per day for a guide.
- Prices for guide only treks include: just the guide!
- Prices won't include anything else - but a good local company may offer to help you with permits etc.
The benefits of hiring a local guide through a local trekking agency are quite high. You save on budget yet still get reassurance. The local trekking agency may well offer to help you obtain your trekking permits as a deal closer. Likewise they may offer some other things like a night in Kathmandu or Pokhara.
The trekking agency will also help you book your domestic transport if necessary, but again this will probably be an extra.
The negatives are that you'll need to arrange everything else yourself. This includes your own accommodation and meals when out trekking. This is relatively easy though as there's plenty to choose from. However If you are not used to bartering or bargaining in Nepal you might end up spending more than you should. This option also takes a little more time as you'll probably have to contact a few agencies yourself before arriving. Feel free to contact me if you'd like to know who I recommend - though I would prefer it if you get my guidebook to Nepal which lists even more local guides and helps to keep this site going!
For people who like to do everything themselves on the ground when in Nepal. However, you should be aware of a few things before jumping straight in.
An independent trekking guide is a guide who you hire that is not affiliated to any trekking company. Most of these guides are found on the street or via a recommendation.
- Costs range from USD$25-35+ with bargaining, per day.
- The cost is for the guide alone!
The biggest problem with hiring your own independent guide is that they may not be qualified or they may have "issues". Ask for references (including their trekking license) and be aware of tell tale signs like alcohol consumption or other narcotic problems. Other issues here are for solo trekkers especially solo female trekkers in Nepal as you'll likely have no other contact person to liaise with other than "that" guide. This is a great opportunity to read about how to hire a trekking guide in Nepal.
The positives here are a decrease in cost.
This is one the cheapest methods for trekking with a "guide" in Nepal. A guide-porter is someone who has just qualified as a guide. However they are still lacking in customer relation skills, may not speak English well and lacks the experience of a fully qualified guide.
- Prices range from USD$18-25 per person with bargaining
- Price usually includes the guide-porter carrying up to 10kg
- Prices for guide-porter only include: the guide-porter
Like all the independent options you'll need to do everything else yourself. However, if you hire a guide-porter from a local trekking company they will probably arrange the permits for you.
Newly qualified guides (guide-porters) can be quite young and there have been issues of trekkers feeling like the guide-porter was not responsible enough. Other issues can range from aggressive talk or behavior, drinking/smoking, being lazy etc.
A guide-porter is not a full substitute for an experienced guide - you get what you pay for in this scenario with some roll of the dice.
A trekking porter is not a trekking guide. This cannot be overstated enough. They are not insured to take tourists on a trek nor are they qualified to. Technically it is illegal to take a porter on a trek and use them as a guide.
In 2017 trekkers have stated that some local businesses and Porter Welfare Organizations are reporting trekkers who are using porters as guides.
- Prices range from USD$15-20 with bargaining.
- Prices include the porters accommodation and meals.
A porter is only meant to carry up to 20kg of your equipment.
Over the years I've seen quite a few people trying to reduce their trekking costs by hiring a porter as a guide. This is a bad idea on many levels as stated above. Furthermore, if anything happens to the porter or you on the trek the porter will not be covered by insurance and you will be liable for their expenses as their employers - something to think about!
A non-Nepali guide can be a person from another country running treks in Nepal. This type of guide is usually hired for their language skills. For example someone looking for a French speaking trekking guide may want to opt for a French person.
However, it's very important to note that there are several "foreigners" working as illegal guides in Nepal based on their language set. They are not legally registered as guides and are not covered by insurance and are in fact working illegally in Nepal. This alone can end up with a lot of problems for a trekker that they should really avoid.
In recent years there have been instances of arrests made on "foreign" trekking guides leading illegal trekking tours.
If you are looking for a non-Nepali guide then it's best to do so through an international company - which will cost a lot more. However, at least you'll know they are registered.
For those wondering, yes there are local French speaking Nepali trekking guides along with Spanish, Russian, Japanese and Chinese. They generally cost a little more than the prices above, but they are available!
Finally we get to the cheapest method of trekking in Nepal. Do it yourself.
This is the big one. No guides, guide-porters or porters - just you alone.
- There are no additional costs aside from your accommodation, meals, drinks, equipment, permits and transport.
The benefits here are reduced costs. There's also the added benefit of doing it all yourself!
The negatives of doing a trek independently is that it's not advisable to trek in Nepal alone if you've never trekked in Nepal before! I have seen and have been contacted over the years by countless budget trekkers looking at this option purely to reduce trekking costs. Many, unfortunately, have not researched the real dangers here.
Some state they have trekked before (elsewhere) or else they have no money to do the trek other than alone. Time and time again I have said - Nepal is not like other countries. Treks are different as is the terrain and the people. If you've not trekked in Nepal before, then hire a guide. Don't go alone. If you can't afford that big trek with a guide, then go on a shorter one with a guide. Finally I point them to this list of missing trekkers in Nepal. Take a look at those who have gone missing or died ... most went alone on a budget.
Right now the authorities in Nepal want to make it illegal to trek independently in Nepal due to these solo trekkers going missing. The international trekking community continues to push for them not to do this. But it's hard when people with no experience keep going out alone and ending up in difficulties.
If you've trekked in Nepal before, then it's a different story as you'll know what to expect. But for first time trekkers in Nepal then I strongly recommend they get at the very least a guide-porter.
Secondary negatives for all levels of expereince would be that if you get into difficulties or have an accident you really are on your own! Do remember it's very important to get trekking insurance for Nepal before going on any trek.
If you have read the above then you'll know that the costs of a trek vary based on the following variables:
Who you book with. Where you book from. The type of trek you want (luxuary, mid-range or budget). The time of year you go on etc,.
Some epic short budget treks (1-6 days) can cost as little as USD$300. While a luxury trek of 12 days can run to .. well, the sky is the limit.I provide a complete breakdown of any treks cost a little further down - from this breakdown you can easily work out your own cost as per the trek you are thinking about doing.
In the meantime, do read my list of trekking packages in Nepal to get a rough idea of prices.
Again, do not skimp on a guide. Pick a different trek or shorter one rather than risk your life. Likewise one of the most common questions I get is "I only have ten days to this trek ..." yet their trek is a minimum 12 day trek! Altitude sickness kills - don't shorten your trek due to budget or time. Pick a shorter trek and make the most of it!
Most cost savings come from choosing a local guide or agency over a big international online tour company. Again contact me if you want the details of my guide ,though I'd again prefer if you got my guidebook to Nepal which lists local guides first.
- Avoid the fancy trekking equipment. Most treks in Nepal don't need the latest high tech crampons or SpaceX jackets. In fact, most gear can be bought at knock down prices in Kathmandu or Pokhara. The exception are trekking boot which you would bring from home - but again, you don't need super high tech boots. Just something sturdy that suits the season you are going. Do read more about trekking equipment you'll need in Nepal.
- Flying is expensive for non-Nepalis in Nepal. They charge double or triple the cost of a local persons ticket. If you want to lower your trek costs then consider taking a bus or trekking to a trail head. Everest Base Camp trek costs can be reduced drastically by this method. However, you will need extra time.
- Leave most of your luggage in your hotel so you don't need a porter. You can save a lot by leaving most of your gear in a hotel - they don't charge so long as you stay with them.
- Eat like a local on the trek. If you watch your guide eating you'll see that they stick with dal baht. There's a reason for that. It's the cheapest most nutritionally dense food out there. Plus you get seconds for free. Whereby a "western" meal will cost more and probably not taste as good. Likewise, if you have a sweet tooth, bring your own chocolate bar. A snickers can cost up $4 on a trek in Nepal!
- Don't stay in the popular tea houses. Stay in the lesser known places long the trails. There won't be that much of a difference in accommodation but the price could be half. Most treks take only 6 hours per day, so you have the time to wander and ask prices if you want.
- Some treks like Upper Mustang require additional special permits due to being restricted areas. These permits can cost up to USD$500. Interestingly, some of the views in lower Mustang offer the same types of mountain and sights.
- Visiting Phedi or Dhampus (starting from Pokhara) if you want to have a short trek without National Park or TIMS fees. Likewise there are plenty of other places in Nepal to visit with great mountain views. Here's an example of where you can see Everest from in Nepal.
If you opt for a package tour style trek or a commercial trek then most of the below should be covered. But read over it anyway so you can get an idea of what to ask as well!
For everyone else, you can use the prices below to calculate how much your trek in Nepal should cost.
Cost of transport:
There are generally four types of transport you'll need on a trek. Flights, jeeps, buses or your feet. The prices are in that order too.
Don't forget that your guide or porter also needs transport costs if they are not already included (you remembered to confirm with them right?)
Every trek will have what is known as a "trailhead" which is the official start of the trek on foot. Many trail heads are out from big towns and so taking a form of motorized transport to a trail head is recommended. For example, on the EBC trek flights to/from Kathmandu to Lukla generally cost $180-190 one way and are due to go up 20% in September 2017. The alternative is to take a bus or jeep to Jiri or trek to Jiri to save money. But this will take extra time.
Again, every trek will have a different trail head you'll need to reach and return from. See my trekking in Nepal guidebook for individual costs visit my lists of treks in Nepal and read through to each trek. Generally you will want to budget in at least USD$50 for jeeps to trail head. Or USD$25 for a bus. Again, this is completely dependant on which trek you are doing as reaching differnt trail heads will encur a different cost.
Don't forget to budget in intercity transport too. eg. Going from Kathmandu to Pokhara etc.
Cost of Accommodation on a trek:
Accommodation along on a trek varies greatly. Firstly, on the more popular treks like Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna circuit there are now "high-end" guesthouses. Likewise there are medium and budget. The high-end places have hot showers, ensuite, TVs etc. The mid-range/budget places offer shared or private rooms and usually hot water for extra.
Secondly, prices change between the off season and peak season.
Thirdly, the cost of accommodation usually increases the higher up a trail you go. In other words the cost of a room at a high camp is likely to be more than at the start of the trek.
Budget tea houses can be as little as 100-200 rupees. Prices then rise quickly to 300-500 rupees on average all the way up to 1000+ rupees at a high camp.
Hot showers are not always included in trekking accommodation prices! If hot water is not included then it's usually between 200-300 rupees for a hot shower.
If you are on a package tour or trek your accommodation will be paid for and you'll know what to expect. When you arrive and if you want to upgrade then you can pay more for a new room.
Some popular treks like EBC have high-end luxury lodges which can cost between $100-$300 per night.
Extra accommodation fees: Accommodation on a trek is not like a regular hotel. Mid-range and budget rooms will rarely have any sockets in them. There's usually an hourly charging fee for batteries or devices at reception that will set you back about 200-600 rupees.
WiFi is not always available but on the more popular treks it's usually free though very slow.
Extra blankets or an extra blanket are not charged for. However hostel style dorm rooms on the EBC trek have now started to charge for them.
Cost of meals & water on a trek in Nepal:
Much like accommodation the cost of a meal when trekking goes up the higher you trek. Basic Dal Bhat at the start of most treks can be at 200 rupees and at a high camp cost around 800 rupees. Again prices vary between high and low trekking seasons.
Water also goes up in price the higher you go. One liter of bottled water can start at 50 rupees and at high camp cost as much as 200+ rupees! Using iodine or water purification tablets can help.
Cost of permits for trekking in Nepal:
For nearly every trek in Nepal you'll need two pieces of documentation. A national Park Permit and a TIMS card.
Nearly every trek in Nepal will require a National Park Permit (commonly known as trekking permits - although they are not). An example is the Sagamartha National Park Permit needed for the EBC trek which costs 3000 Rupees plus 13% VAT. Whereas the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) permit needed for Annapurna based treks costs 2000 rupees + 13% VAT.
You'll also need a TIMS card for all treks.
A TIMS card costs 2000 rupees. If you are trekking with an agency then the TIMS goes down to 1000 rupees.
There are additional permits for restricted areas in Nepal. As example is the Upper Mustang permit which costs USD$500 for just 10 days.
For a full list of all the different trekking permit costs in Nepal do read the latest trekking permit and national park fees in Nepal.
Cost of a trekking guide in Nepal:
Earlier we covered all the types of guide and their prices. Do note though that they can vary by season and to a point the trek you are on. Everest guides generally charge more. Annapurna guides charge less. Far west Nepal trekking guides also charge more. Generally Low-end guide prices can start at around $20 per day. The average cost of a good trekking guide is $30. While higher end guides are $50+.
If you want a great trek, don't skimp on your guide! On average the more experience a guide has the more they charge and the better your experience should be. This applies only to local guides and agencies and not international trekking companies who charge what they like and you'll have no choice.
If you find all this complicated or overwhelming then do consider my Nepal travel planning services. If you'd like me to recommend a guide then do get in touch with me. For a well researched list of local guides please get my Nepal guidebook.
Cost of a guide-porter on a trek in Nepal:
Guide-porter prices again vary by season. They can also be higher if coming from an agency. Guide-porters usually cost $20-25 per day.
Cost of porter on a trek in Nepal:
A trekking porter usually costs between $15-20 per day. It's worth noting that a porter cannot be used as a guide in Nepal. They can carry a maximum of 20kg.
The cost of Travel Insurance for your trek:
The final thing you should get is good travel insurance for your trek. Make sure your policy covers you for both trekking and the altitude you will be reaching on your trek (very important!)
Most travel insurance policies have a tiny small print that states they don't cover you over a certain altitude - it's very important you find out if you are covered.
The basic cost of a medical helicopter lift out starts at USD$5,000 so getting insurance is a must!
You can read here about my recommended travel & trekking insurance for Nepal.
|You might find my following free guides helpful:|
My guide on trekking in Nepal
|Check out my guide on equipment & gear needed for trekking in Nepal|
|Check out my list treks to do in Nepal complete with maps||Check out my guide on how to travel overland into Tibet for a lot more!|
|How to choose a trekking guide in Nepal||My Day by day account of trekking to Everest Base Camp in the off season (winter)|
|Check out my How to travel overland into Nepal guide||Check out my country Guide to Nepal|
Liked this page? You'll love my trekking book! It's a hands on trekking guidebook that's better than the rest. Yes, really!
In the book I cover all the popular treks in Nepal with step-by-step accuracy using scalable maps, photographs and travel tested up-to-date trekking information.
Just like my other guidebooks to Nepal it's an interactive & printable guidebook like no other.
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