If you want to catch up on all the post from the Everest Base Camp trek itself, head on over here to check them out!
But now that the three week walk is completed and you’ve heard about all the crazy adventures involved, I’m sure you’re a bit curious to see what a 21 day walk through the wilderness might cost you.
Overall Nepal is a very cheap country to live and travel in. This recent article from Business Insider named it as the second cheapest country in the world to live in.
A large portion of my expenses for this adventure came before we even got on the bus that brought us to the trail itself.
Permits and visa extensions had to be applied for, gear bought, and bus/plane tickets purchased. Plus I had to pay for accommodation and food.
The grand total for all my pre-trek expenses was $194.
That included $30 to extend my Nepal visa by 15 days, $30 for the National Park permits, $28 for the TIMS (solo trekker) permit, $21 for a 3 week sleeping bag rental, $50 worth of gear including a down jacket, fleece, trekking poles, and gloves, $20 for hiking snacks (aka Snickers bars and peanuts), and $8 for the 8 hour bus ride to the start of the trail.
EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK EXPENSES – 21 DAYS
The only expenses that we would incur on the trail would be accommodation, food, and any other miscellaneous things we might need to pick up like toilet paper or tissues.
Accommodation: Total $7.85 or an average of $0.36/day. Most nights we were able to negotiate a free room in exchange for eating all our meals at a single guest house.
Food: Total $300.20 or an average of $13.65/day. As you can see this is where the biggest cost comes from. Food is relatively inexpensive at lower elevations, but the higher up you go the more expensive it becomes. The last week or so we were paying about $5/meal.
Travel: Total $174.45 or an average of $7.93/day. While our bus from Kathmandu to Shivalaya was cheap, the 40 minute plane ride from Lukla back to Kathmandu was not. It cost a whopping $165 for that less than an hour flight. But unless we wanted to spend another week walking back out through the hell that is the Jiri trail, it was an unfortunate necessity.
Other: Total $4.10 or an average of $0.19/day. Stocking up on toilet paper and Snickers bars.
Total (trek only): $486.60 or an average of $22.12/day. Take out the expensive flight at the end and it becomes a total of $321.60.
Grand total (pre-trip and trek – 26 days): $660.70 or an average of $25.41/day.
So for a full month of travel in Nepal I ended up spending less than $700.
1. Buy a map. We decided against taking a guide, and instead bought a map and utilized the guest house owners and locals for directions. We only lost our way a few times and never really felt too deprived of information. We also met multiple guides along the way (who weren’t ours) willing to dole out bits of information about the mountains and surrounding villages.
2. Carry your own things. We also decided against hiring a porter. I, at least, felt a bit uncomfortable making someone carry all my crap for me. If I didn’t have the physical capabilities of carrying my stuff then I shouldn’t have it with me. Carrying that weight also got me into good shape.
3. Buy snacks in Kathmandu. Snacks on the road get very expensive and it adds up. Just don’t bring too much! Remember anything you buy you have to carry on your back. Tip: Snickers have the greatest calorie/weight ratio – high calories, low weight.
4. Bring water purifying tablets. Because you’re hiking for upwards of 10 hours a day, most of it uphill, you’re going to need to drink a lot of water. And again you don’t want to be carrying 3-4 L of water on your back. But if you buy a bottle of water every time you run out you’re going to be spending a crap load of money. At the top water can cost $4-5 per bottle! Chlorine drops or iodine tablets are the way to go. You can fill up at any stream or house with a faucet, add a few drops of chlorine or a tablet, wait 30 minutes, and you have safe drinking water…for free!
5. Negotiate! If you’re not comfortable negotiating you’re going to have a tough time of it in Nepal. It’s a part of the culture. I admit it’s not my favorite thing to do but luckily the people I was traveling with had a knack for it. We were constantly able to negotiate for free rooms along the trail which cut down on costs a bit.
6. Walk in or out. You saw the price tag on that plane ride to and from Lukla. Ouch. If you have the time take the Jiri trail. I would recommend walking in and flying out over flying in and walking out. Just my opinion. And if you have extra time and a real zeal for long-term hiking, trek in AND out. Saves a butt load of cash.
Have you ever done this kind of trek before? Have any other tips to share?