We see most people have a dream to reach on the base of the Mount Everest once in a lifetime. It is probably the highest point on the earth where we can walk without using climbing ropes. Yes, it is the Everest Base Camp in Nepal situated at 5,364 meters from sea level whereas some dare to reach even higher at Kalapatthar which lies at an elevation of 5,545 meters.
But it’s not an easy way reaching Mt. Everest Base Camp. Firstly, you need to have a passion to accomplish it. You may get some physical obstacles if it is your first hike at this altitude. So, it is wiser to get prepared with some jogging and regular exercising prior to the trek. There is only one way to reach to the base of the world’s highest mountain and it is a trek on foot.
The second thing is now associated with the travel expenses. We receive some questions daily with the same objective which is ‘Cost of the Everest Base Camp Trek’. Thus we are trying to include most of the concerns received by the travellers. The most frequent question we receive is “How much does it cost to trek to Everest Base Camp?“
We have listed a group of factors related to the Everest Base Camp trek. It is really important to have some prior ideas on the price of the trip so that it gives some space to plan a budget and move forward.
Here we are trying to list the factors which are responsible to form a general price of your most awaited trip of life:
There are a number of ways to cut down the prices such as joining a group, customizing the itinerary, using a local trekking company and backpacking. However, backpacking may not always bring fun on journeys. Everest Base Camp trek is a high altitude adventure trekking and demands some challenges too. So, it is wiser to get advice from travel companies.
Cost of Transportation (Bus, Flight)
The easiest and the cheapest way to get to the Everest region is using 8-9 hour public bus transportation from Kathmandu to Jiri but it’s a week more trek to reach Lukla. If you are in a limited time-frame, driving to Jiri may not be a suitable option. The only alternative to get to the Everest Base Camp remains flying to Lukla, away from the road networks. The bus to Jiri costs about Rs 1,000-1,200 (US$ 10-12).
The cost of one way flight for Kathmandu to Lukla or vice-versa costs Rs 20,800 (US $180) and for local staff it costs Rs 5,200 (US $45) on the same flight.
There is a huge privilege for local passengers on regular flights. Therefore, it is cheaper for local passengers.
The fare for Indian travellers is Nepalese Rs 14,800 (US $128). Apart from Nepali and Indian passengers, all other nationals need to pay the same fare of US$ 180 or equivalent in Nepalese Rupees.
Cost of Trekking Permits
There are two types of permits applicable for Everest region trekking. One is National Park Permit as the entire Khumbu region is protected under Sagarmatha National Park and the second is TIMS- Trekkers’ Information Management System.
The National Park permit costs Rs 3,000 (US $26) and there are different prices for TIMS. – Organized TIMS cards- Blue colour: Rs 1,000 (US $9) – Individual TIMS cards- Green colour: Rs 2,000 (US $18) – SAARC member country TIMS cards- Red colour: Rs 300 (US $2.5) for organized groups and Rs 600 (US $5) for Individual trekkers.
Cost of Meals
The best way to enjoy this trip would be trying local cuisine. It’s traditional meal of Nepal and called Daal-Bhaat (Rice, lentils and vegetables). However, all sort of dishes like Nepali, Tibetan, Indian, Continental and American are available in most of the teahouses.
It is better to remain vegetarian for a few days since the entire Everest area is a sacred zone and no animals are allowed to kill for meat purpose. For this reason, porters have to carry the meat from far away which may take 2 to 3 days and it may not have processed well.
The cost of meals depends on your appetite and items you order. The prices of meals are fairly based on altitude- the higher you climb, the more expensive. It can cost from Rs 3,000-4,000 (US$ 25-35) per person per day on average. This covers for three times meals a day.
Cost of Accommodation
Accommodations on the Everest Base Camp trail are available from budget to luxury. The budget teahouse is available from Rs 300-1,000 (US$ 2.5-9) depending on the season and elevation. Most lodges are equipped with two single beds in every room with blankets but it is better to have your own sleeping bag as it can be very cold at nights.
In the past, some teahouses used to offer free accommodation and charge for foods only but it’s not in practice any more. Toilet facility is mostly basic. There are some lodges with western toilets but mostly you will have to rely on squat toilets.
Cost for Guide and Porters
The guides are extremely helpful and your true companion during the entire trip. They not only lead you on the trail but also look after you at your hard times like your family. The guides are English speaking, experienced, kind and obedient to their responsibilities.
Cost of guide can vary from Rs 2,500-3,000 (US$ 20-25) per day. This basically covers for their meals and accommodations.
Similarly, cost for a porter costs Rs 2,000-2,500 (US$ 17-22) per day. They can carry 20-25 kg of your rucksack. Normally, one porter will be sufficient for two trekkers.
Cost of drinking water and beverages
Bottled water along the trail is more expensive as you ascend further. It can cost from Rs 100 to 400 (US $1-4). We strongly advise you to remain an eco-friendly traveller using boiled or purified water. There are purifying tablets available in the stores in Kathmandu.
Soft and alcoholic beverages are also available in the teahouses. Please stay cautious to consume beer and alcohols during high altitude treks.
Cost for Equipment rental
If you are thinking to travel light, then you can hire some basic equipment in Kathmandu. Sleeping bags and down jackets are the items available on daily rental basis. It costs Rs 90-120 (US$ 0.8-1) per item per day. The stores may ask you for security deposits but trekking companies usually do not ask for deposits.
Hot Shower: Most teahouses do not offer hot showers and available in a bucket on request. It costs Rs 300-900 (US$ 3-9). It can be very expensive to take a bath at the world’s highest teahouse at Gorakshep.
Charging Electronic Devices: This costs Rs 200-500 (US$ 2-5) to charge your camera, mobile phone or other electronic devices. This can be on per hour basis depending on the remoteness of the trail and seasons. During low seasons, it may be available for free of cost in some places.
Internet: Using internet is quite expensive in the Everest region. The teahouses will charge on hourly or daily basis ranging from Rs 500-1,000 (US$ 5-10). Everest Base Camp is now connected with mobile phones. You may get a pre-paid SIM card in Kathmandu and you can recharge as you go. There are different data packages available by the service providers.
Donations: If you are visiting Monasteries on the trail, you may be requested for a small donation. It is not mandatory though.
Tips: Your guide and porters expect some kind of gratitude at the end of the trek. Usually, they hope for a tip in the form of cash. There is not a rule for it but $3 to $5 per person per day to each of the guide and porter will be a reasonable amount. Tipping is not mandatory but customary.
Agency fees and Taxes
Local Trekking Companies offer a full board package ranging from US $900 to $2,000 per person for 12-15 days. This is completely based on the number of travellers in the group and number of trekking days. If you book with an International Company, it can increase by 25 to 40 percent for the land only cost. They may add value for their brands but local companies can also deliver satisfying services. In Nepal, there is a provision of 13% of VAT (Value Added Tax). Additionally, some Companies may ask for 10 to 20 percent service charge if you request them for a price breaking-down.
There are lots of side trips available in the Everest region for longer holidays. The Everest Base Camp trek can also be customized with Gokyo, Chola Pass and Renjola Pass. For people expecting some peak challenges, Island Peak and Lobuche East are the added attractions. Three Passes Trek with Island Peak Climb covers the major activities and entire Everest trail including the famous Everest Base Camp.