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Arranging trek in Kathmandu - high season (Oct/Nov)

Wroclaw, Poland
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Arranging trek in Kathmandu - high season (Oct/Nov)

Hello everyone,

I have several questions regarding trekking in Nepal and I would really appreciate your answer.

I looked through the forum and found some answers already, but since many older threads pertain to trekkings, which took place in 2011-2010 or even earlier. I would like to know the most up-to-date status.

1) How long (in days) does it usually take to find agency/guide/porter & arrange everything before the actual trekking begins (before we leave Kathmandu). I assume that I arrive to Kathmandu before any previous arrangements, I don't know anybody there and I'm thinking of Manaslu circle or EBC/Gokyo.

2) How much does it usually cost when arranging it in Kathmandu (Manaslu or EBC/Gokyo)

3) Is it possible to quickly find a group to trek with in Kathmandu (which would be more fun and presumably cheaper), or do I have to go on solo trek in such case.

Also, if you have any hints to share with a Nepal newbie (me), I would be grateful.

Thanks in advance.

Dhaka City...
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1. Re: Arranging trek in Kathmandu - high season (Oct/Nov)

Hello Dan, I was there for twice, I went to Jomsom Trek in 2012 as an independent trekker and meet 2 Swedish girl, and we three treked together on the whole trip. which was absolutely amazing. Again I went to Annapurna Base Camp this year May, and met a Japanese Young boy, and made the whole journey together, and it was really something else. I'm going to Everest Base Camp on the September, and again I'm expecting someone new this time :)

You can easily expect to join someone, as the trail will be full of trekker from September to November. Or you may find someone here who knows. Trust me it's really an amazing experience to meet someone on the journey, and start trekking with them.

Cumbria
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2. Re: Arranging trek in Kathmandu - high season (Oct/Nov)

Ni Problem

1) - For trekking on the main teahouse routes, treks can usually be arranged within 24 hours, but it’s a good idea to reserve your Lukla flights a week or so in advance when trekking in the main season – Usually you can then pay for it when you arrive in Nepal (Unless you are flying to Lukla the day after you arrive in Nepal, in that case you would have to send a deposit to cover any losses a agent would incur if for some reason you didn’t show up.

Prices are around $140 each way for trekkers and around $55 each way for any Nepali Trekking Staff you might take – I have heard that there is a price rise later this year but can’t remember what the new prices will be – Someone will be along soon with an updated price

Take your best guess at when you will want your return flight from Lukla to Kathmandu and book an open return for that date, then when you get back to Namche Bazaar if you are either ahead or behind schedule you can ring the airline office from there and book seats on the next available flight (In busy time and especially when backlogs occur during spells of poor weather it won’t harm to also ring the airline office from Namche Bazaar and confirm your flight date)

This is a Much better option than hanging around Lukla for a day or so awaiting your flight as Namche and the surrounding area as a lot more to offer.

Aim to arrive back in Lukla early afternoon the day before you fly back to Kathmandu and stay in “The Sunrise Lodge” The owner of this lodge has “Power” with the airlines and will accompany you to the office, which opens around 3 to confirm your flight, and help ensure your name is on the list

However if you decide to trek in a restricted areas such as Manaslu, arranging permits can tale longer – I have no direct experience with trekking in Manaslu, but my restricted area permits for Upper Mustang took almost a week to sort out

2) - Prices of staff through a Good Agent are as follows, a licensed Guide costs about $25 per day, that includes his food, accommodation, insurance but Not transportation to and from the trailheads or tip – a Porter/Guide is around $20 and a Porter around $15 – again that includes food, accommodation, insurance but Not transportation to and from the trailheads or tips.

If you just hire out one porter/guide and he will both guide you as well as carry 15k, so this saves you packing most of your gear, costs are $20 per day including his food and accommodation as well as his insurance but not transportation to and from the trail-head or tip + you will need to pay around $25 /$30 for your own food and accommodation, $37.50 National Park Entrance and $10 TIMS ($20 if you organise this in advance through an agent) – This will work out a Lot cheaper than joining a group + you can walk at your own pace, stay where you want and eat where, what and when you want.

3) - Although some agencies do advertise “Fixed Date Departures”, the reality is that either these don’t depart unless enough trekkers sign up, or you end up as a trekking group of one - Finding trek-mates to share your experiences and costs with should be easy enough in the main season – Try looking at sites like www.trekkingpartners.com for a start

Good Luck and Happy Safe Trekking

Rob

PS – Of you choose EBC then you might find my Trek Report

http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tt/bf701/

From my EBC Trek from last Spring useful too, I have included some reasonably detailed trek notes, a daily video diary, links to downloadable trekking maps, a few hints on transportation as reviewed the accommodation where we stayed

Dhaka City...
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3. Re: Arranging trek in Kathmandu - high season (Oct/Nov)

Before starting from Kathmandu, few things you have to do

- Find a registered tour operator agency, and fix up your route, destination.

- If you need a guide or porter, ask them for one and then fix their up the before starting.

- Collect your TIMS permit, and Sagarmata National Park trekking permit.

- If you need to rent anything, like sleeping bag, shoes, jackets etc, then rent them.

- Buy return tickets Kathmandu - Lukla from any tour operator offices.

- Or you can pay few extra money as a ti, the agency will manage everything for you.

and these all can be done in one day, if you want to. Or if you want to trek independently and want to make it all done by your own, then it may take 2 days hardly !!

best of luck :)

France
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for Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, Jomsom, Mustang Region, Namche Bazaar, Sagarmatha National Park, Annapurna Region
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4. Re: Arranging trek in Kathmandu - high season (Oct/Nov)

1] If you decide to trek to EBC then book your tickets in advance. You can ask some agents or probably book directly with the airline. I never booked directly with an airline but book with agents for various treks. Whenever you are coming to trek there is nothing wrong to book the flight in advance. During the main season the airlines are booking in a month or two months advance. Many people confirm the trek with agents and once the trek is confirmed the agents book the flights for their clients. So, you can book the flight in advance.

Except the flight [actually flight also can be arranged in a day but the problem is you will late flights. Morning flights are better to book if available and that is why I said book in advance.] many other things can be arranged in a day like guide, porter, TIMS etc [talking about EBC]. If you do Manaslu Trek then it will take some time [may be about a week but don't know exactly] because it is restricted area and needs special permit to be arranged. You can not do Manaslu Trek without the help of an government registered agencies.

Read more here: http://wikitravel.org/en/Manaslu_Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek can be done without an agency or a guide. The trek is quite easy and the trail has got sings in various places. You won't get lost. If you are doing the trek in main season then you will meet lots of people. A guide is not required if you are confident enough. You have the choice that you want to trek independently or organized one. Even if you plan to trek independently you can ask agents to arrange your flights / TIMS etc.

About Everest Base Camp Trek: wikitravel.org/en/Everest_Base_Camp_Trek

Both treks are stunning, I have done Manaslu Circuit Trek once but been to Everest Base Camp few times. Both treks are amazing however lodges in Manaslu Trek is less standard comparing to Everest Base Camp. The trek in Manaslu is more remote than Everest Base Camp. You will have less food items available. Manaslu is less commercialized than Everest Base Camp.

2] The cost also varies in many things. Here are basic costs from my idea:

Permit: There are different kind of permits varying from the trek. The EBC Trek needs two permits, one is National Park Permit costs about US$ 35 or exactly NPR 3000 per person. Manaslu Conservation Area Permit costs about US$ 25 or NPR 2000 exactly. Manaslu Region also needs Annapurna Conservation Area Entry Permit which costs another US$ 25. TIMS card for Everest Base Camp will cost US$ 20 if you do the trek without an agency, if you do via an agency it will cost US$ 10 which is arranged by the company. Foods are basic in Manaslu though expensive comparing the Everest. In Everest I would say about US$ 25 - 30 for meals and accommodation but in Manaslu about US$ 30+. A guide costs about US$ 25 and a porter costs about US$ 15+. Both guide and porter prices includes their foods, accommodation, insurance etc. Currently the flight to Lukla is US$ 280 for foreigners but heard that it is going to be about US$ 320 from September. The flight for Nepali is about US$ 100+ for Nepali. The bus between Kathmandu - Arughat and Besisahar - Kathmandu should cost about US$ 25 per person.

3] Finding a group for Manaslu will be difficult if you do not find in advance. For EBC even the trek is doable independently. If you are trekking in main season then a group joining option might be available but personally I do not recommend. Joining with someone might cause many difficulties once you start the journey. I mean if everything goes smoothly then there won't be much problems but if things goes wrong like someone gets sick etc then problems will arises.

Everest Map: …umbra.cz/img/map/Khumbu_Sagarmatha_National…

Manaslu Map: …wordpress.com/2008/…manaslu-circuit-map.jpg

Good Luck!

Wroclaw, Poland
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5. Re: Arranging trek in Kathmandu - high season (Oct/Nov)

Thanks a lot for all this info! You have really helped me.

I think I will go for EBC/Gokyo if everything for this trekking can be arranged in 1/2 days.

.I have a few additional questions:

1) Can I pay for the Sagramatha National Park permit on enter or must I buy the permit in Kathmandu?

2) Is it possible to hire a porter in Lukla/Namche Bazar? Is hiring a guide/porter dependant on whether you go on your own or with agency (I have read somewhere, that when you go on your own you receive TIMS which states that you must be alone and you are not allowed to hire anyone).

3) Can I be sure that I will always find a bed in a teahouse on EBC/Gokyo trail or should I carry a tent "just in case". It's like 3kg extra and it takes some room, so I would like to avoid it. unless it's necessary.

4) Is pure, bottled water available everywhere along the trail, or should I take some water purifying pills with me?

Regards,

Sheffield, United...
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6. Re: Arranging trek in Kathmandu - high season (Oct/Nov)

Hi

1) The permit can be obtained at the park entrance near Monjo.

2) It is possible to hire a porter in Lukla and Namche - possibly cheaper in Lukla because some trekkers realise they do need one after the haul up to N and porters can sense an opportunity. On a practical level it might be possible to iore a porter/guide at Lukla or Namche but it's not always the best place to check a p/g's knowledge, experience and language skills - it can be a bit of a scrum. If you do this maybe take him somewhere quiet to discuss things. If hiring on the trail it's a good idea not to pay the whole fee up front, while rare disappearing staff are not unheard of.

From a rules and regulations point of view, it is not allowed to hire staff on the trail. It would be a matter of walking through the checkpoints seaparately - I was told.

3) You can't be 100% sure of finding a bed but there are simple tactics to give you the best chance. First and foremost, start trekking. Groups tend to take a long time to get going. As a solo trekker you are likely to be asked to share a room at in busy lodges, at worst you mights epnd a night it in the dining room. If you get a good p/g he can phone ahead to try and book a room (but if late, it could be given to somebody else anyway). If you get a porter, send him ahead to secure a bed is anither tactic. There are few reports of not getting a bed though.

4) Pure(ish) bottled water is available everywhere but the empty bottles are an ebvironmental proble and at one of the higher lodges (Gokyo, iirc) it was 600 rupees a litre. Purifying your own water is cheaper and and more environmentally friendly. Boiled water is available, usually safe but might use extra gas so there is an environmental drawback to this - yak dung is used where available though.

scoodly

Edited: 2:37 pm, July 01, 2013
Cumbria
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7. Re: Arranging trek in Kathmandu - high season (Oct/Nov)

Scoodly has already given you good answers to your latest questions and the only thing I can do is reiterate some of his points

2) –

Although it is possible to hire trekking staff out at Lukla and Namche, one thing I wouldn’t do is just turn up at a trailhead and hire someone from whoever happened to be hanging around – I have listed all the reasons on the link below

members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/1dd30d/

You have to remember that You are responsible for your “Staff” (Including medical needs, Accident or illness) and even though it works out a little more expensive (About $110 for the return airfare to Lukla) if you hire then through a reputable Kathmandu based agent they will come with full insurance as well as appropriate clothing !!

3) –

a) Start your days trekking as early as possible and finish early so as to have the best chance of securing your rooms

b) Where possible stage your days different to “Group Itineraries” and sleep at what would normally be considered as lunch stops, the lodges might not be as sophisticated but you would get a great welcome by the lodge owners

c) Consider taking a porter or porter/guide as they could then be sent ahead to securing your rooms

4) –

Please try and avoid buying bottled water as this does lead to a Huge Littler problem with all the empty plastic bottles being poorly disposed off !!

You can buy Safe Drinking water which has been boiled from lodges.

If you buy it last thing in the evening and pop it into a metal water bottle (After it has cooled a little) then pop this in a sock, you then have a hot water bottle for the night and nice cold drinking-water on hand the next morning.

Also a lot of water is now boiled on solar cookers, So Safe Drinking Water at no ecological cost and still providing that essential extra income for those people that really need it !!

Another option is Lugols Solution of Iodine – This is readily available from chemists in Kathmandu for a few rupees (But bring your own dropper / pipette bottle from home as the ones in comes in leek – Thus making a Big Mess of your pack !!!)

It makes the water taste a bit metallic so you should take something like “Tang” along as well to flavour your water.

Some people now bring their own water filters / Steri-Pens, although I think that this is a great idea, the downside is that by using your own water filtration system you are depriving local people of a much needed income.

Happy Safe Trekking

Rob

Wroclaw, Poland
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8. Re: Arranging trek in Kathmandu - high season (Oct/Nov)

Thanks again for all your remarks.

into-thin-air, you have a great website. I have read through only a couple of the articles and I already learned a lot.

I think I'm going to be able to tell good porter from bad, but how to tell good agency from bad is still a bit a mystery to me.

Since many of you have already been to Nepal multiple times, perhaps you could recommend me (via pm) some of the agencies you used and you know, that are honest & fair to their porters?

Thanks in advance,

Daniel

Cumbria
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9. Re: Arranging trek in Kathmandu - high season (Oct/Nov)

Hi Daniel

Pleaded to be of help and happy to hear that you have enjoyed reading my Nepal blog.

Sorting out the good agents from the bad can be a problem and the Best “Advice” I can offer there is to double check All recommendations using Google – Both Good and Bad press can usually be found and, personally I would avoid those with no press at all ;-)

If you choose to use an agent then it is his responsibility to provide you with trustworthy guides and porters and as all the good agencies are very protective of their reputation, this isn’t usually a problem.

I will PM you details of my own preferred agent as requested, but be aware of any unsolicited emails as things aren’t always as they appear on the net

Good Luck and Happy safe Trekking

Rob

Surrey.
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10. Re: Arranging trek in Kathmandu - high season (Oct/Nov)

Daniel - there is a discussion here about the various ways of going trekking in Nepal: tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g293889-i9243-k6…

Different methods suit different people - most posters, understandably, tend to advocate their own method. My current method, hiring a guide directly, on a daily rate basis, is a bit different from most of the regular posters on this forum, but works very for me - I am very independent. I have also trekked completely independently, both with other independents I met whilst trekking, and solo (though most of us advise against trekking completely solo).

Though I have never done so, quite a few people seem to have hired staff on the spot in Lukla without problems - there are risks with this, but all methods of trekking have their advantages, disadvatages and risks. A lot of the discussion on the forum seems nowadays to focus quite a lot on the risks, and of course bad stories travel further and faster than good ones, but trekking in the Everest region is long established - the biggest likely problems are AMS and illness (whether stomach or respiratory infection). So as long as you are informed and sensible, you should be fine.

Do bear in mind that Oct will be very busy, especially going to EBC.