There is a popular saying “Heaven is a myth, Nepal is real!” And it is indeed true. With the world-class natural beauty, Nepal is one of the best trekking destinations. Here you have multiple options for trekking from easy to strenuous. You can choose them according to your endurance, stamina, and experience.
Every trail and terrain that you will be walking is followed by scenic river-banks, convoluted terraced field, and forests along with the charming villages, ethnic people, and their culture. Every trekker will have a pleasant experience walking on the rough tracks in the lap of green and welcoming hills.
The green, dark and deep forests with different seasonal flora blossoming will easily catch your eye and so will small scattered residential cottages, breath-taking landscapes, and warm greetings from local people.
It’s not only the stunning landscapes on the trail that captivate the trekkers but also a rare opportunity to meet the people from different ethnic groups. It is the lifetime experience to witness Nepal’s rich cultural diversity.
Trekking in Nepal is an all-season activity. It is possible at any time of year depending on the then climatic conditions of the location. It is obvious that peak season is more expensive than off.
Before all of this, you must know how much pressure it’s going to give to your wallet. This is very confusing as the cost is relatively wide and it is difficult to decide which company to trust.
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General Trekking in Nepal Cost Ideas
Basically, trekking in Nepal costs will include the charges of permits, TIMS card (if necessary), porters & guide, and finally, food and accommodation. Other miscellaneous expenses might be for transportation, shopping (if you wish), or any possible charity.
(Prices mentioned here is in USD for your convenience.)
1. Transportation Expenses
Every trek route in Nepal has several transport options like by air and by roads. The cheapest, by far, is traveling by bus. But for your sophistication, there are also cars and jeeps available.
Each trek will have a “trailhead”, the official start of the trek on foot. Many trail-heads are out of towns so taking motorized transport is recommendable. Again, every trek will have a different trailhead you’ll need to reach and return from. The cost will completely depend on which trek you are heading. Generally, the cost for jeeps is $50-60 per person and $25-30 per person in buses.
In Annapurna circuit, $60-70 from Kathmandu (including an expensive transport leg from Muktinath to Pokhara) is required. Whereas the cost of flights is $240-250 per direction.
Likewise, to reach Lukla (the start and end point of Everest Base Camp trek), about $160-190 per direction is the cost amount. You could save the cost by taking a bus to Jiri or Shivalaya and start your trek there. At least $40-50 will be charged by jeeps and $25-30 by bus. This would add several days and cost to your trek.
Manaslu Circuit Trek begins from Arughat or Soti Khola. From Kathmandu, the local bus costs $10 per person and $150-200 each way by jeep. The same is for the end of the trek from Besisahar to Kathmandu.
2. Trekking Permit Charge
Trekking permit is getting unavoidable these days due to strict regulations. Before going to any trek, you should know every type of permit you need to have. Most of the time there will be two or three permits; one will belong to conservation area or national park. Another will be Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) card and the last one is for any restricted area entry permit.
Treks in Annapurna, Khumbu, and Langtang only require national park entry tickets(USD 20-40 for a single entry) and a TIMS card. There are two types of TIMS cards: green (for independent trekkers-USD 20) and blue (for trekkers who are part of a group with a guide-USD 10).
Make sure to bring the insurance documentation and passport-sized photographs for applying. Trekkers should legally acquire TIMS cards before they enter any trekking route or region. TIMS cards are available both in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
In the restricted areas like Dolpo, Upper Mustang, Manaslu, Tsum Valley, Nar-Phu, and Kanchenjunga require special “trekking permits” which are obtainable only through local trekking agencies. Here TIMS card is not required. In such region, you cannot travel alone. You should have at least one guide or porter.
And for trekking peaks of 5,650-6,500m altitude, climbing permits are needed. It costs USD 350 for one to four members, additional $40 each for the next four members and $25 USD Each for the final four members.
Here is some trekking permit charge of some popular trekking routes of Nepal:
- Annapurna Base Camp – USD $20 for a trekking permit known as ACAP(Annapurna Conservation Area Permit) and $10-20 for a TIMS (Trekkers Informational Management System) card.
- Everest Base Camp – USD $28 for Sagarmatha National Park Permit and $10-20 for TIMS card.
- Manaslu Circuit Trek – USD $50-70 per week for Manaslu Restricted Permit and $20 for Manaslu Conservation Area Permit (MCAP) & Annapurna Conservation Area Permit (ACAP).
3. Cost of Guide and Porter
Hiring a guide and/or porter is a decision which depends on the difficulty of a trek and available budget. While hiring them, you should also make inquiries about their services. If you are hiring staff independently without an agency, be responsible and ensure that your guide/porter is suitably equipped for the job and stays safe as well. Also, is sure the guide you hired, must be associated to TAAN.
Trekking guide is the talkative ones who will share his knowledge (and sometimes jokes) about the places which will truly enrich your experience. Their daily standard rate is $20 – $25 per day.
Along with the porter, undoubtedly the heavy lifter is the strong one who will lessen your loads and keep them protected. Their hard effort costs $15-$18 per day. They will carry about 20 kg of loads.
Alternatively the jack of all trades, porter-guide who will do both jobs for your ease. Each cheering day you spent with them will cost $18-$20. They can carry a maximum of 10kg.
The cost for guides and porters depends on the trekking routes. The harder the route, the more will be the cost and it is obvious.
Cost of guide and porter for some popular trekking routes:
- Annapurna Base Camp – In ABC, the cost of guide and porter is, $20-30 and $15-20 respectively.
- Everest Base Camp – Here porter-guide costs $20-25 per day and porter gets $10-20 per day. Guides costs from $30-40 per day depending on their skills and experience. They will cost you extra if manage the recruitment of other team members.
- Manaslu Circuit Trek – $20-25 per day for a professional guide, and $15-20 per day for porters.
4. Accommodation Rate
Accommodation along the trek varies a lot. The cost usually increases along with the trail. Clearly, the rate at high camp is more than at the start of the trek. The prices also change between off-season and peak season. And finally, the cost is different within ‘high-end’ and medium budget guesthouses of the same area.
Here in Nepal, treks can be customized with your desire for accommodation. The types of accommodation in Nepal are:
- Tea Houses (Lodges) – They are located at various points on the trek in the hills and mountains. They offer dorm room accommodation and local basic meals. Most of them are reasonably comfortable. Budget tea houses can be as little as $2-3 to $5-10 per day. Some popular treks like ABC, EBC, etc have luxury lodges which can cost between $100-300 per night.
- Camping – It can be conducted almost anywhere in the country. It can be fully organized and supported by a team of guides, cooks, and porters to accompany you.
- Homestays – In some local villages, it can be organized.
The rough cost of accommodation of renowned treks like ABC, EBC, and Manaslu Circuit Trek is USD $5-10, $10-20, and $6-10 per night respectively.
5. Cost of food and drinks
Along with the increasing altitude, many factors including the cost of food and drinks also varies. Definitely, you are going to pay more for everything!
Why? It is after the porters and donkeys who endlessly walk up and down to bring food to the areas. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to give an exact daily budget.
By counting 15-20 USD per day per person will guarantee 3 hot meals (of dal bhat). The prices will be little cheaper at the beginning of the trek and after few meters, prices will be few more.
Moreover, it also depends on your appetite, no. of meals, and your beverages. You can carry few chocolates and energy bars to keep you going.
The cost of drinks is nearly similar in every mountainous area. It can be given as:
- A cup of tea – USD $1.5-4
- A cup of coffee – USD $2-4
- A bottle of beer – USD $5-10
- A bottle of water/soda – USD $0.5-5
For other extra tasks, don’t expect them to be cheap. Especially when you are in the mountains, it is obvious. The extra cost is due to their high investment in the small local projects.
Following are the additional costs you may want to also factor your budget:
- Charging your electronic gadgets, like camera, iPod, mobile phones, or anything will cost a few dollars at a time. And when you will be on mountains for multiple days, you will definitely need them for more time and price. Better to invest in a portable solar battery charger or a portable power bank. Extra batteries for your camera will help as well.
- Bucket shower – heated by gas, firewood might cost you few dollars. During any trekking, it is impossible to have full bath or shower daily. It is impractical or economical in any way. Instead, you have the option to pack some wipes or a small towel that you could use to freshen yourself in the morning or nights.
- Extra charges are also included for using Wi-fi and another form of communication/contact.
- If you visit monasteries, gumba, or stupas, people there expect some small donations for the maintenance of the area. It depends on you as it is not a mandatory business.
Tips are not entirely compulsory in Nepal, but after each trek, your guide and porter expect some. This usually reflects your satisfaction with your experience during the trek.
With all of the mentioned aspects, the thing you should not miss is a good travel insurance for your trek. Make sure your policy covers you for both trekking and importantly the altitude you will be reaching.
There are many international trekking and tour companies offering in Nepal. They will obviously charge a lot (more than 2000 USD for any trekking). But the amount reduces by third if you go with a local travel company in Nepal. With experience, I would say it is better to go with registered and qualified local agencies.
I assure the local agencies also provide same quality of service. The international traveling agency will be hiring the staffs from other country but who else will know about Nepal than a Nepali? Paying a local staff, your cost will be lower and you are helping the local economy.
With us, you get the list of prices and the option to customize your trip according to your comfort. You have flexible dates for trekking and be in safe hands. You will surely have a memorable trip ever with our bunch of experienced and amiable guides & porters!
Contact us to know more!