It is a known fact that Nepal is famous for its wide variety of treks that the country has to offer. Trekking in Nepal is possible all year round. In comparison to other places in the world, trekking in Nepal is budget friendly that will not put much pressure in your wallet.
Moreover, the cost of trekking in Nepal meets all type of trekkers. Nepal is affordable for those who want to do luxury trekking and also those who want to travel in budget.
So if you are looking to trek in Nepal then it is important for one to decide on a budget. And this budget varies depending on various factors. The cost of trekking adds up due to several aspects like accommodation, food, transportation, guide or porter and many others.
So without any further ado let us discuss down below in detail the various factor that influences the cost of trekking in Nepal.
- Factors that Determine the Cost of Trekking in Nepal
- Ways to Reduce the Cost of Trekking in Nepal
Factors that Determine the Cost of Trekking in Nepal
The cost of transportation always has an impact on your budget while traveling and trekking is no different. However, the cost varies depending on what medium you choose.
Nepal has several transport options. You can travel by air and by road. For the road, there are several options like private jeeps or local buses and tourist buses, etc.
It is obvious that one could cut down on the expense of transport by choosing the road instead of air. And even further by choosing local transport instead of private jeeps.
Taking local transport can be a different and unique experience on its own. But doing so can be time-consuming and you will most likely have to compromise on the comfort.
Any trek you choose will have a trailhead which will be the point from where you will start the trek. To get to these trailheads one must take motorized transport and the trailhead for every trek will not be the same.
Hence this comes to show that the cost also depends on which trek you choose. But normally to travel from Kathmandu to Pokhara the cost is as follows,
- Tourist buses: USD 10 to 30 one way per person (depending on the service and facility)
- Flight: USD 120 per person, one way
For Everest Base Camp treks, you can either take a flight to Lukla or take a bus or jeep to Jiri or Shivalaya from where you can start your trek. And the cost is,
- Flight to Lukla: USD 160 to 190 on each way
- Jeep: USD: 40 to 50 (per person)
- Bus: USD 25 to 30 (per person)
- Flight: USD 240 to 250 per direction
- Bus: USD 60 to 70 (including an expensive transport leg from Muktinath to Pokhara)
And Manaslu Circuit trek begins from Arughat or Soti Khola and to get there, the cost is,
- Local Bus: USD 10 per person
- Private Jeep: USD 150 to 200 (and the same is for the return of the trek from Besisahar to Kathmandu)
Cost of Trekking Permits
In order to trek in Nepal, you should be aware of the permits you need to have. Due to strict regulations, trekking permit is something one cannot get away with.
Generally, there are two to three permits that you will need. If you enter into the conservation area and national park, you need conservation area and national park permits.
Another is the Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS card) and the last one is for any restricted area entry permit.
If you are planning to trek in the Annapurna, Khumbu or Langtang region, you will need national park entry permit and a TIMS card. The cost of a National park entry permit ranges from USD20 – 40 for a single entry for foreign nationals. And for SAARC nationals it cost only USD 2.
And as for TIMS card, there are two types. One is green that is for independent trekkers which cost USD 20. And the other is blue which is for trekkers who are part of a group with a guide and it costs USD 10.
Every trekker should legally acquire TIMS card before entering any trekking route or region. They are available both in Kathmandu and Pokhara. And for applying make sure to bring the insurance documentation and passport sized- photographs.
As for climbing to peaks of 5650 to 6500m altitude, you will need climbing permits and that will cost you USD 350 for one to four members. And, additionally USD 40 each for the next members and USD 25 each for the final four members.
Well here is the list of trekking permit cost for some of the popular trekking routes of Nepal,
- Annapurna Base Camp: USD 20 for ACAP ( Annapurna Conservation Area permit and USD 10 to 20 for a TIMS card
- Everest Base Camp: USD 28 for Sagarmatha National Park Permit and USD 20 for Local Area Permit
- Manaslu Circuit trek: USD 50 to 70 per week for Manaslu Restricted Permit and USD 20 for Manaslu Conservation Area Permit ( MCAP). And Annapurna Conservation Area Permit ( ACAP).
For restricted areas, the charge depends on the duration of the trek in the region. Some of the restricted areas like Dolpo, Upper Mustang, Manaslu, Tsum Valley, Nar-Phu, and Kanchenjunga, you do not need TIMS card.
However, they require special trekking permits which you will get only through local agencies. Also, you cannot travel alone in these regions and should at least have one guide or porter.
To trek to Upper Mustang and Upper Dolpo, you need to pay USD 500 per person for the first 10 days. And after that, you need to pay USD 50 per day per person.
Thus, the trekking permit cost in Nepal depends on the duration and destination you choose to go.
There are variations in the cost of accommodation along the trek. It increases along with the trail. The prices also vary between off-season and peak season.
Also, the cost is different with high end and medium budget guest houses of the same area.
Almost all tea houses offer a twin sharing room. And they come with basic facilities such as a bed, a pillow, and a blanket. Each room will have an attached bathroom.
And most tea houses do not include hot showers in the accommodation price. Hence you need to pay extra USD 2 to 3 every time you take a hot shower while on the trek.
The tea houses in most places will cost around USD 3 to 5. These prices can decrease to as low as USD 1 to 2 per night during the off-season.
And in the peak season, the prices can increase to as high as USD 10. Moreover, the price of accommodation can also rise when you go further to a higher altitude.
The accommodation price, however, is more expensive in the Everest region compared to the Annapurna region. And trekking to both these regions offers you the option of luxury lodges which will cost between USD 100 to 300 per night.
So, in general, in Nepal, you can customize your trek with the accommodation of your desire. And the types of accommodation are Tea houses, Camping, Homestays and luxury lodges.
Below we have the rough estimation of accommodation cost for some popular trek,
- Annapurna Base Camp: USD 5 to 10 per night
- Everest Base Camp: USD 10 to 20 per night
- Manaslu: USD 6 to 10 per night
Cost of Food and Drinks
While trekking, the tea house where you will stay expects that you also eat the dinner and breakfast there. This is one reason why the prices of the rooms are reasonable. Because the teahouse owners make their money from the food as well.
Most of the tea houses offer nice traditional local meals. The most staple dish you will find is the Dal Bhat which is very satisfying. You will also get continental dishes like noodles, pizza, sandwich, spaghetti, etc in some places.
However, eating local food is the best way to save money while trekking in Nepal. It’s only when you start buying things like chocolate bars, coke, alcohol, etc that the price really starts to increase.
Moreover, the cost of the food and drinks increases with the increase in altitude. This is because the remote area of Nepal is still not fully accessible to transportation. And it takes a lot of effort by the mules and men to carry the food and goods.
Yet, with USD 15 to 20 one can assure yourself of 3 hot meals. And needless to say, the cost also depends on one’s appetite and the drinks you take.
Here we have the cost of drinks which are nearly the same in every mountainous area.
- Tea: USD 1 to 4
- Coffee: USD 2 to 4
- Beer: USD 5 to 10
- Water bottle or Soda: USD 1 to 5
Cost of Guide and Porter
Whether you choose to have a guide and porter or not is solely your decision. And this decision depends on the difficulty of the trek and the available budget.
While trekking into the mountains, hiring a guide and porter is important both for safety and convenience. When hiring them, one should make proper inquiries about their services. And a guide must have an association with the TAAN ( Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal).
A guide is important because they help in navigating and in case of any unplanned situation they know what to do best. They will always take you through the safe route. Moreover, they will share their knowledge about the places which will make your trekking experience interesting and enriching.
Well, there are several options while choosing a guide and the cost varies from one another. Firstly, if you hire a local trekking guide through a local trekking agency in Nepal, the price ranges from USD 30 to 40 per day.
A benefit of hiring a local guide from the local agency is that the local agency may help you obtain your trekking permits.
Another option is hiring an independent trekking guide. These guides are not affiliated to any trekking company. You will find most of these guides on the street and through recommendations. The cost of these guides ranges from USD 25 to 35.
The issue with hiring these independent guide is that they may not have a qualification or they may have issues. So ask for reference including their trekking license. And be aware of signs like alcohol consumption or narcotic problems etc.
And lastly, you can also hire a guide-porter. This is one of the cheapest methods for trekking in Nepal. A guide-porter is just as qualified as a guide. However, they still lack some skills like they may not speak fluent English and may lack experience of a fully qualified guide.
These guide will cost around USD 18 to 25 per day. And the price usually includes the guide-porter carrying up to 10 kgs.
As for Porter, we cannot stress enough on the fact that a trekking porter is not a trekking guide. They are not insured to take tourists on a trek nor are they qualified too. And technically, it is illegal to take a porter on a trek and use them as a guide.
Hiring a porter while trekking is equally important as hiring a guide. A porter is only meant to carry up to 20kg of your equipment. Hence they help you with lifting your load so that you can have the pleasure of walking comfortably.
And being able to walk freely is a huge relief that will make your trekking journey a lot smoother. Hence the price of hiring a porter ranges from USD 15 to 20 with bargaining.
Cost of Independent or Solo Trekking in Nepal
This is the cheapest method of trekking in Nepal. Here you will have no guide nor porter. There is no additional cost besides the cost of accommodation, meals, drinks, gears, permit, and transport.
The benefit of trekking solo is to reduce the cost. However, there are several drawbacks of doing a trek independently.
In Nepal, it is not advisable to trek alone if you have never trekked in Nepal before. Though there are many budget trekkers who look for solo trekking as an option purely to reduce trekking costs. But, they don’t see the real dangers of doing so.
Gear and Its Cost
There is a certain list of gears you will need while trekking. In case you find yourself not adequately prepared for trekking, do not worry.
You can certainly buy the gears while in Kathmandu as there are plenty of gear shops to choose from in Thamel which are mostly knock-off versions. But there are real deals too such as the North Face store.
But to save money the best thing to do is just bring what you already own from home. And when it comes to your hiking shoe and backpack, make sure to buy the real version because they are better in terms of comfort and durability.
For expensive items such as sleeping bags and down jackets, you can rent instead of buying. Renting a good sleeping bag will cost around USD 1 per day.
Down below we have a list of the basics of what you will need to trek in Nepal. You will most likely bring more than what’s on the list but this is the least that you should have,
- Hiking Shoes: USD 100 ( make sure to not buy the Knockoffs as a good hiking shoe can either make or break your trek)
- Sleeping bag: USD 1 or less.
- Back Pack: You will most likely own a decent backpack if you are traveling often. So you can just use that.
- Water treatment: USD 5 to 80 ( The cheapest option is the chlorine tablets. Something like Steripen will cost you a lot more but it can be convenient.
- Water bottles: USD 1 to 5.
- Warm Layers: USD 5 to 15 in Thamel, USD 20 to 100 at home. ( Keep in mind that the cheap fleece or jacket from Thamel will work just fine for the trek but will not withstand for years)
- Rain gear: USD 10 to 100 ( a good rain jacket can generally cost you at least USD 80. But if you don’t want to spend that much you can get a rain poncho as they are cheap and will do a decent job.)
Cost of Insurance
One of the important things you should get is good travel insurance for your trek while trekking in Nepal.
And when getting one, make sure that your policy covers you for both trekking and the altitude you will be reaching on your trek.
Most travel insurance policies don’t cover you over a certain altitude. It is best to get the insurance that does. Make sure of it.
The basic cost of a medical helicopter evacuation starts at USD 5000. So getting insurance is a must.
There is a certain extra cost that you will need to consider while trekking to any region in Nepal. And they are,
Charging electronics: USD 2 to 5 at a time. Sometimes if you are lucky and when there are few people, you might get to charge your gadgets for free. But in peak season they can charge you more around USD 3 to 5.
Hot bucket shower: USD 3 to 5. Hot showers are not available in most tea houses. However, upon asking, they will provide you with hot bucket water for the mentioned cost. To save money you can pack some wipes or small towel to freshen up.
Wifi: Some tea houses along the trails sell WIFI. In the Everest region, you will get prepaid wifi cards at about USD 3 for 100 MB. And on the Annapurna Circuit, you may get a one-time fee of USD 3 to 5 for wifi access.
Tipping: You can always express your gratitude for the job well done by paying some small amount to your guide or porter as a tip. This will definitely make their day. Also while visiting monasteries and temples, you will find small donation boxes where you can donate a small amount.
Ways to Reduce the Cost of Trekking in Nepal
- Trek with a group. With more people, the price is often cheaper as you can share the cost of the guide or transport.
- Choose a duration that suits your budget. The cost of long treks is more than the short as each day adds up to the daily expense.
- Take a bus instead of a flight whenever possible.
- Choose a local guide or agency over a big international online tour company.
- Avoid the fancy trekking equipment as most treks in Nepal don’t require the latest high tech gears etc.
- Leave most of your luggage in your hotel so you don’t need a porter.
- Stay on the trail as long as possible. Stretching hike days can save the money as the overall daily cost is low and there are not many distractions to spend extra money on.
- Stay in the lesser known places along the trails. There won’t be much of a difference but the price could be half.
- Eat local food. Paying for chocolate, coke, and beer in the mountains can be quite expensive. So stick to the local meals.
While you know about the factors and various services that increases or reduces the cost of trekking in Nepal, it is also important you know that there are many international trekking and tour companies offering in Nepal.
They will certainly charge a lot more than USD 2000 for any trekking. However, one can reduce the cost by a third if you choose to go with a local travel agency in Nepal. But make sure to go with a registered and qualified local agency.
These local agencies will provide the same quality of service. And, though, it might be fancy to go with an international travel agency that hires the staffs from other countries.
Since you will be trekking in Nepal, hiring a local staff who knows more about Nepal only makes more sense.
For further question or queries, please feel free to contact us. It is our pleasure to guide and assist you with the best of our knowledge.