Nepal is a mecca for outdoor adventure seekers. Home to the Himalayan Mountain Ranges and eight 8000+ meter mountains, Nepal offers some of the best trekking and mountaineering in the world. However, the country isn’t limited to trekking and mountaineering for those seeking outdoor thrills. Canyoning, bungee jumping, rock climbing, ice climbing, rafting, yoga and paragliding are several additional options to explore while traveling throughout this breathtaking country.
Before arriving to Nepal we knew that we wanted to trek to Everest Base Camp (EBC). For those of you that know you are interested in trekking during your time in Nepal there are several ways to go about finding the right guide and route.
The four most common ways to book a tour operator are booking an international tour operator prior to arrival, an all-inclusive tour after arrival in country, an al a carte trek with local company/guide after arrival in country, or hitting the trail by yourself with a map purchased in Kathmandu. The first option being the most expensive and lowering in cost, with trekking alone being the cheapest. To give you an idea of the different pricing, we had a friend book an all-inclusive, 11 day tour to EBC, prior to arriving to Nepal and they paid $1,500. We booked a 24 day, a la carte trek to EBC, after arriving to Nepal and only paid $1,100.
If time permits, we would strongly recommend finding a guide when you arrive to Kathmandu. The tourist district in Kathmandu, Thamel, has hundreds of trek operators that you can choose from upon arrival. The process of finding the right tour company can easily be completed in 1-2 days, and is not as daunting of a task as we thought. A good starting point to begin research is asking your guesthouse for recommendations. Typically, most guesthouses have a specific operator that they recommend and this is an excellent way to get a gauge on pricing, route options and the time frames of each trek itinerary that you are interested in. Once you have gathered the necessary information from an operator, take a walk through Thamel to compare pricing with other companies. There are operators that are located in store-fronts that have pricing sheets that they will print for you based on your desired itinerary. Also, there are plenty of guides on the streets of Thamel that will approach you discuss trekking; don’t be afraid to engage in conversation with them for options on traditional and non-traditional treks (one of our friends had an amazing experience trekking through Western Nepal with a guide that he met on the street).
There are many considerations we had when trying to find the right operator and guide. We felt that the most important considerations were the route, length of time, experience of guide, with a group or alone, pricing, a la carte or all-inclusive, and necessity of a porter (to carry your belongings). The tour operators are incredibly accommodating when it comes to designing the right experience for you and are eager to earn your business.
Once you have chosen an operator and route for your trek, you will need to ensure that you have the right gear to keep you comfortable during your time on the mountain. If you have booked the trip prior to arriving in Nepal, have your operator send you a list of items that they recommend that you bring for the trek. We looked at trekking company websites and blogs prior to leaving on our trip and purchased the items that we didn’t already have back in the States. If you don’t have the liberty of purchasing your gear prior to leaving, there are an abundance of shops in Kathmandu that you can purchase new, used and knock-off gear from. There are also plenty of shops that you can rent sleeping bags, for $1 per day, if you don’t want to bring a sleeping bag with you on your travels (or simply don’t have room for it). We rented a sleeping bag that was -10°C and it was not warm enough as we got to higher altitudes. Make sure that you feel the sleeping bag before renting it to ensure that there is actually down material inside the bag. We made the mistake of not doing this and had issues with the bag (luckily all the tea houses have extra blankets). If you want to see an example of items to bring, take a look at our itinerary page for the what we packed.
If you have any questions in regards to the information covered in this post or would like a recommendation for a guide, please direct message us through the site.