TLDWTR (Too Long, Don’t Want to Read)
This cost is for the 16-day Everest Base Camp Trek with Nepal Hiking Team. This trek starts and ends in Kathmandu with 12 total days of actual trekking and the extra four days for sight seeing and resting on either end of the hiking.
|Services/Product||Cost (all per person)|
|The Hiking Trek Cost through the Nepal Hiking Team Company (16 days)||1420|
|Round Trip Flights (Hong Kong to Nepal)||600|
|Cold weather trekking gear||450|
|Spending money while on the trek||20 x 16 = 320|
|Porter and Guide tips||300|
|Food while in Kathmandu||30 x 4 = 120|
Commentary and Remarks (My Two-Cents):
Nepal Hiking Team
Nepal Hiking team was recommended to me by another fellow hiker years ago for their professionalism and commitment to guest experience. It might seem like a high price to pay but in my opinion it’s worth it when you’re up on the mountains and can trust your guide’s expertise. The costs do include three meals a day during the trek, government entry fees, the roundtrip flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, down jacket and sleeping bag, hotel while in Kathmandu, and a few other perks. It does NOT include personal travel insurance, soft drinks, internet while on the trek, tips for guide and porter at the end of the trek, nor any other personal trekking equipment other than the down jacket and sleeping bag.
I thoroughly enjoyed my guide, his English was near perfect, he had enthusiasm for the trail, and was very knowledgeable on local customs and culture. He was quick to answer my questions, give me a hand when the trail became strenuous, and had medical equipment on him to ensure my trekking buddy and I didn’t have any altitude medical emergencies. He also stopped some lodging staff members from calling a helicopter for me when they thought I was suffering from an acute case of deadly HACE caused by altitude, when in reality I was just having a really bad hangover at altitude…from us partying the night before on our way down from base camp (would not recommend).
I am already looking forward to booking another trip in Nepal with Nepal Hiking Team and I will request the same guide, Paban.
Round Trip Flights and Visa
My flights weren’t technically round trip as I flew from Singapore after visiting a few good friends and then post Nepal I was heading to the very welcome warm humidity of Thailand. But after flying around Asia for a few months where plane tickets from country to country could be as cheap as 80 USD, I found the flights in and out of Nepal to be almost prohibitively expensive. I added a layover here and there to cheapen the price but no matter where I flew from the price was easily 400 USD more than any other plane ticket I bought. So be prepared to either spend more money or more time on layovers when heading to Nepal.
Another commentary about the Kathmandu Airport – it can be utter chaos and getting a visa is as convenient as trying to drive straight in a roundabout. You can buy the visa on arrival and they’ll request USD cash for payment. I only had HKD, the atm was broken, and I had just exchanged my HKD to the Nepalese Rupee at a foreign exchange counter in the airport. With Nepalese Rupees I had to argue with the disgruntled guy at the visa counter that no, I did not have USD and that he’d have to take his own nations currency. It was a fight I was not excited to have so late at night, so be prepared with some USD. It’s 45 USD for 15 days with 3 USD per day for additional days. My advice is to just bring a few hundred USD as that currency is often preferable to Rupees.
I was banking on renting gear when I arrived instead of buying which was a mistake. There aren’t many options in Kathmandu – at least not what I could find. The choice was between buying not bad looking fakes on the street for maybe 40 USD per piece or going to an ‘official’ North Face or Colombia store and buying expensive but official clothes. I went with the fancy name brand clothes thinking they’ll last a lifetime but the options were limited and I wasn’t overly content with the color and cut of my clothes but hey, I figured I’d rather be ugly and warm then cold and slick. To be honest, after my trek I think I would have been fine in the street gear, the fakes appeared better than low quality gear I’ve seen in Hong Kong with their claim of being waterproof GorTech the only questionable thing about them.
When I go back for my next trek, I am going to find and test out gear before I go to Nepal instead of waiting until I get there. Since Nepal Hiking Team provided a down jacket and down sleeping bag, the gear that I bought was:
- Wool socks to keep my feet warm
- Glove liners
- Heavy duty water proof gloves
- Waterproof trekking pants
- Normal fleece jacket
- Wind breaker
I already had my hiking boots, thermals, and hat.
Daily Spending Money and Internet
While Nepal Hiking Team provide you with three meals a day while on the road and the occasional snack, they still recommended that we bring 20 USD a day minimum in cash. I found this to be useful since there were times I was ravenously hungry and wanted another meal, or I’d find a few postcards in Namche Bazaar I wanted to buy to send back home. I also used my spending money to buy a trekking pole to keep my balance on some of the steeper terrain.
As you go higher in altitude and the villages become more spread out, food and supplies become more expensive. Also, above 3,500 meters, lodges start charging you for access to electricity for charging your electronics as well as charging you for the internet. A phone charge typically costed between 3 to 4 USD and internet around the same. The internet was to the Everest satellite network so it wasn’t bad. Be sure to ask for 24 hour internet card instead of the 12 hour internet card which costed the same. They’ll give you a card with a password on it that you can use to access the internet.
Total Tips Per Person for Guide and Porter
Our guide and porter deserved every penny for getting my whiny ass up the mountain and being such fun and good sports about it. They were a pleasure to be around and I highly valued their time. The tip amount can change based on your group size so just send an email to the tour group beforehand asking for the proper tip amount. For our small group of two, we were told that 100 usd to the porter and 200 to the guide each were the expected amount.
Please note that lunch and dinner is not always included while in Kathmandu! So I’d recommend 30 usd a day for food and drinks while in the capital. There is some great sightseeing and cafes, as well as art galleries and fun shops so you won’t be bereft of things to do before or after your trek.
The overall cost can become prohibitive, but if you save up enough money and have the time I would recommend this expedition in a heartbeat. Something about being in the Himalayas, with the cold wind blowing around you and crystal clear skies makes you feel alive and truly appreciate that this is a once in a lifetime experience.