Trekking to the base of the world’s highest mountain in a highly remote corner of the Himalayas is never going to be cheap. However, it may be more affordable than you’d expect. Nepal is a very economical country to travel to for most of us, as the currency plays nicely against the dollar, euro and other major currencies. The Everest Base Camp trek is also far from a luxury trip. The food and accommodation, though sufficient, are modest, and so don’t hurt like a stay at the Ritz would. Find out more about the Everest Base Camp trek cost.
How much does the Everest base camp trek cost?
Your two main outlays for a trip to Everest Base Camp are your international flights and the Follow Alice trip fee. This is because the Follow Alice fee covers the costs of virtually everything once you step foot in Nepal. We do it this way to make your life that much simpler; you hand over all the admin to us and you get to focus on things like getting in better shape and packing your bags. This also saves you many hours of research and possible anxiety over making poor choices about where to stay, what route to take, and so on.
By having just two primary expenses – flights and the amount you will be paying for the trip itself – you can put together a pretty accurate budget for the Everest Base Camp trek. In fact, this blog post aims to give you all in the information you need to work out your specific total for the Everest Base Camp trek so you can decide if you’re in, or how much you first need to save. So read on, and we feel confident you’ll soon know how much the Everest Base Camp trek will cost.
“I was standing at the base camp to the top of the world. Words can’t even begin to describe the feeling, though probably “accomplishment” was high on the list. After this trek to EBC, only summiting will probably top this” Jason Lane
What’s included on a Everest Base camp trek?
The Follow Alice trip fee includes all your big expenses within Nepal, as well as most of the middling and littles expenses. Specifically, your trip fee includes all of the following:
- Transport to and from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu
- Accommodation for one night before and one night after the trek in Kathmandu
- Three meals a day from when you arrive in Nepal till when you depart
- All drinks from when you arrive in Nepal till when you depart save for alcohol and soft drinks
- Return flight to Lukla
- All local transport
- An English-speaking Follow Alice guide for the entire trip
- A highly experienced Sherpa guide for the trek
- One porter per two trekkers
- Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality fee
- Sagarmatha National Park entry permit
- All accommodation along the 14-day Everest Base Camp trek
- Everest Base Camp trek map
- Group medical supplies
- A Follow Alice certificate of achievement
We elaborate on the items listed above to explain their scope and importance …
Arrival in Kathmandu
For starters, your Follow Alice guide will greet you at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu. So from the moment you land in Nepal you can hand over all travel logistics to us. We’ll drive you to a B&B in Thamel, a vibey district in Kathmandu about a 30-minute drive from the airport. Here you will spend the night and get to meet any other trekkers in the group you might not yet know.
The next day we’ll be heading back to TIA for a short yet memorable 30-minute flight to Tenzing-Hillary Airport in the town of Lukla in eastern Nepal. As you’ve probably already heard, Lukla has a one-of-a-kind airport that sits tucked into the side of a mountain at an elevation of 2,860 m and has a staggeringly short runway. Upon landing the group will be driven to the start of the Everest Base Camp trek. The trekking starts then and there!
We partner with two local Sherpa guides, Oangdi and Sonam, both of whom are highly experienced guides who know the Khumbu region like the rest of us know the apps on our phone. Each Follow Alice group will be guided by either Oangdi or Sonam. Trekking with a Sherpa (the people group native to this part of the Himalayas) is the best way to ensure you stay safe and also don’t miss any of the sights and details around you. We bet you didn’t know that the name Sherpa derives from the local words shyar (meaning ‘east’) and pa (meaning ‘people’)? You’ll also be offered the service of a porter along the entire trek. The porters will strap the bags of two trekkers onto the back of a yak and herd that yak from pitstop to pitstop.
Anyone trekking to Everest Base Camp is required to obtain two permits, all of which we’ll have secured for you. Firstly, the Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality fee is a fee that’s levied for entering the Solukhumbu district of Nepal. This district, as indicated by the name, comprises the Solu and Khumbu regions of eastern Nepal. The Everest Base Camp trek takes place within the Khumbu region. The Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality is named after the Sherpa Pasang Lhamu. She was the first Nepalese woman to summit Mount Everest. Secondly, the Sagarmatha National Park entry fee is required as the bulk of the Everest Base Camp trek takes place within the park. Sagarmatha is one of five large national parks in Nepal and obviously a source of great national pride. We’ll enter Sagarmatha on Day 3 of the trip when we trek from Phakding to Namche Bazaar.
Your Follow Alice fee also covers basic medical supplies for the group, which your Follow Alice guide will carry with him or her. That said, we still advise taking your own little first aid kit that’s stocked with your specific altitude meds as well as other essentials. Check out your full Everest Base Camp packing list.
Note that all accommodation along the trek is double occupancy. You’ll be staying in lodges and teahouses (guesthouses). You can expect these to vary a fair deal in terms of size and amenities. The most basic of the teahouses offer small rooms with two single beds in each and nothing else.
All of your meals are also covered by the trip fee. Meals are served in a heated common room where you’ll be able to meet fellow Everest Base Camp trekkers. You can expect generous portions that will definitely fill you up.
You’ll also be given a map by your Follow Alice guide of the trek route. This will help orientate you throughout the trip. We also find such maps turn into wonderful keepsakes. These will both trigger memories and keep your reporting on the height and distance you travelled accurate! Finally, at the end of the trek we’ll be awarding you with a Travel Alice certificate of achievement. This is a trip that deserves a certificate!
There’s a fair amount of equipment required to do the Everest Base Camp trek. From a backpack and hiking boots to thermal underwear and water purification tablets. To help you work out what you have or can borrow versus what you’ll need to buy or hire, read your Everest Base Camp packing list.
When it comes to getting a tourist visa to Nepal, you have two choices: acquire one from a Nepalese diplomatic mission in your country prior to flying to Nepal, or purchase one upon arrival at TIA in Kathmandu. The visa you want is a single-entry tourist visa for 30 days. As of 2019, the Nepalese Department of Immigration website lists a single-entry, 30-day tourist visa when arriving through TIA as $50.
Many opt to obtain a visa when they arrive at TIA, as the process is fairly simple. Though sometimes, like during peak tourist time, the queues can be quite long. That said, nationals of certain countries are required to obtain a visa before flying to Nepal. So you’ll need to check up on this online. If you obtain a visa before entering Nepal, note that your day count starts from the day you enter the country.
Be sure to check the official Nepal Immigration website for all the details you need about obtaining a Nepal tourist visa.
Traveller’s insurance is a must for anyone undertaking the Everest Base Camp trek. In fact, travel insurance is a requirement if you wish to undertake a trip with Follow Alice. This is because you’re embarking on an adventure holiday, so the risks are higher than when lolling on a beach. Further, the Nepalese Government doesn’t grant trekking permits without travel insurance!
When taking out travel insurance, we advise choosing one that offers cover for all of the following:
- Delayed, cancelled or interrupted travel
- Medical insurance
- Lost or damaged luggage
Delayed travel covers things outside of your control like a traffic jam preventing you from reaching the airport on time, a mechanical issue with your plane, or severe weather preventing the plane from reaching its destination. Given bad weather is a part of the Himalaya vibe, this is an important aspect to cover. Delayed travel also covers missed connections that are out of your control. Trip cancellation covers having to abort your trip beforehand for reasons such as injury, illness, severe weather, or a natural disaster or terrorist attack at your destination. Trip interruption covers the costs involved when you have to abort your trip post departure, for any of the same reasons listed for trip cancellation. Both trip cancellation and trip interruption should also cover having to cancel or abort a trip as a consequence of illness or injury of a travel companion or family member.
Make sure you have the right cover
Regular medical aids don’t cover medical expenses incurred outside of your own country. This is why medical insurance is a critical component of any traveller’s insurance. Proper medical insurance covers medical emergency as well as medical evacuation. This means that should you fall ill or be injured, your insurance will pay for all hospitalisation and doctor fees as well as all transportation to and from hospital (including ambulance services) and to get you back home.
“Every day is like walking in a postcard. Everest base camp includes three majestic passes with the pristine and peaceful Gokyo Lake. One of the most beautiful and rare beauty that a place can posses” Lynn Palmer
The cover for lost or damaged luggage is important. You can’t trek to Everest Base Camp without the proper gear! Both Kathmandu and Lukla have plenty of stores offering all the varied equipment you might need for purchase or hire. So should your luggage go missing you could use the insurance money to gather together what’s needed and still continue on with your trip.
We recommend that you cover yourself to the tune of at least $200,000 for each of the above categories of insurance (save luggage). We at Follow Alice always take out travel insurance with our partner World Nomads. They offer comprehensive yet affordable insurance. Whichever travel insurance you choose, we’ll require you to send us the details of your policy before your arrival in Kathmandu.
Note that many credit cards offer free, automatic travel insurance when you book your flights with them, so do look into this. The cover usually isn’t enough on its own, but it’s a useful extra. Also, pay special attention to exactly what is and isn’t covered by your credit card. This is to ensure your independent traveller’s insurance covers all gaps and shortfalls.
Local SIM card and data in Nepal
The entire Everest Base Camp trek route now has 3G connectivity. A mast has been installed at Gorakshep, the final settlement on the way to base camp. In Nepal it’s cheaper to buy a local SIM card than use international roaming. Thamel, where Follow Alice trekkers spend the first night upon arriving in Nepal, has plenty of English-speaking shop owners selling SIM cards. They can show you how to install the card and upload credit. Do note that to get a SIM card you’ll need to provide a photocopy of your passport and a passport photo. You’ll want to purchase an Ncell SIM card. This is the operator that works best in the area of Nepal where you’ll be trekking. A SIM card is usually in the area of Rs 300 (€2.50) and data packages are extremely cheap.
Your Follow Alice guide will of course have a phone with him or her throughout the trip should an emergency arise. You therefore don’t actually need a working phone from a safety or emergency point of view. For some, the opportunity to truly disconnect might be heaven sent.
Follow Alice will pay Oangdi or Sonam’s salary out of the group’s trip fees. Note that it’s standard practice in Nepal to also tip trek guides when you’re happy with their service. The current rule of thumb is $5 per day per person for guides. This fee will be for your discretion.
Follow Alice also covers the fees for the porters. That said it’s common practice to tip porters a fee of $2 to $4 per day if you’re happy with their service. This fee will also be for your discretion.
Etiquette in Nepal is to hand money to someone with your right hand
Note that etiquette in Nepal is to hand money to someone with your right hand. Obviously locals will still accept money proffered with the left hand, but it’s nice to abide by this custom if you manage to remember it.
Nepal’s currency is the Nepalese rupee, which can be abbreviated as NPR or Rs. It currently has an exchange rate of about Rs 124 to €1, and Rs 113 to $1. To help you get your bearings, the price of a cappuccino in Thamel is about Ns 150 (€1.21).
TIA Airport offers a money exchange service, so many people simply get the rupees they need when they land. Do note that if you’re wanting to exchange cash for Nepalese rupees then your notes must be in perfect condition to be accepted. Even a fold crease has been known to make them unacceptable. The foreign exchange desk also won’t accept all currencies. Major and strong currencies like euros, pounds, dollars and yen aren’t a problem.
While there are plenty of ATMs in Nepal, Sagarmatha National Park of course isn’t the place for them. The last ATM you can expect on the trek is in Namche Bazaar, which you leave on Day 4 of the trek and return to only on Day 12. Further, ATM fees can be very high and ATM skimming is a problem in Nepal. You don’t require much cash on the trek as Follow Alice deals with most payments on your behalf. We therefore recommend acquiring the maximum amount you might need for your trip once off at your local foreign exchange or bank or at the foreign exchange desk in TIA.
Note that Nepal doesn’t accept traveller cheques. Most shops and vendors won’t accept credit or debit cards. It’s definitely a good idea to have some Nepalese rupees floating in your pocket. As already mentioned, all food and drinks are covered by your Follow Alice trip fee. This is apart from alcohol, soft drinks and of course any snacks you wish to purchase. Other possible reasons for having cash are to buy and send postcards and purchase the odd souvenir.
The lodges and teahouses along the Everest Base Camp trek also offer very different amenities. Some include things that others charge for, such as showers and the use of plug points to charge electronic devices. There’s also no free wi-fi after Namche Bazaar, so you’ll need to pay for that when you want it. Even just €5 or $5 in cash per trek day should be more than enough to cover any bits and bobs along the trail or at the teahouse. If you decide to tip the guide and porter, as discussed above, then you’ll want extra cash for that too.