Trekking up to the base camp of Mount Everest is the closest one can get without climbing the world’s tallest peak. And trekking up to the base camp is way cheaper than climbing Everest. As for the cost of Everest Base Camp Trek, there is no fixed price. The journey would cost anywhere between $2099 to $4500 depending on the route, the outfitter and their services. The luxurious trekking packaging and return by helicopter will cost a bit higher than the standard packages. If you wish to sleep at the Everest base camp for a couple of nights after trekking, then the cost will go up to $4500.
The total cost is primarily based on the requirement of travelers, so a direct conclusion cannot be drawn to offer some flat rates. The cost of trekking in Nepal’s diverse mountainous terrains range from low-priced trips to very costly luxury climbs, excluding the cost of international flights. We will try to explain all about Everest Base Camp trekking cost and those factors that bring about the difference in prices offered by different operators around the world.
Factors that affect the total cost of Mt. Everest base camp trek
- 1. Cost in Kathmandu
- 2. Cost of Transportation
- 3. Cost of Nepal Visa
- 4. Cost of Trekking Permits
- 5. Cost of Accommodation on Everest base camp trek
- 6. Cost of Food & Water on Everest base camp trek
- 7. Cost of Guide & Porter on Everest base camp trek
- 8. Cost of Travel Insurance
- 9. Cost of Trekking Equipment
- 10. VAT (Value Added Tax) Cost
- Which company to choose for Everest Base Camp trekking?
- Why you should not choose low-budget operators?
- So, Why Himalayan Glacier?
Factors that affect the total cost of Mt. Everest base camp trek
The overall cost of Everest Base Camp trek can be broken down into various areas, which we will be discussing briefly. Below, we have presented the cost analysis of the EBC trek for a clear understanding. This is an approximate estimate that various international luxury operators and mid-range operators actually spend on account of your trekking trip:
1. Cost in Kathmandu
The Everest Base Camp Trek literally starts at Kathmandu, and the expense in Kathmandu includes airport transfers, hotel accommodation, and extra expenses for sightseeing if you want to explore Kathmandu city. You can cut down your trip cost by selecting your level of hotels that range from 10$ bed economy hotels to 5-star Marriott or luxury Heritage hotels costing around US$450 plus per night. If you choose to go on a day tour on your spare day, it will cost around US$60 to US$120, depending on the services that you choose.
2. Cost of Transportation
Kathmandu to Lukla round trip flight costs around $360 to $380 per person.
In fact, it is the best way to start the trek by first flying from Kathmandu to Lukla. The cost for a staff flight round trip is $100 per person. These domestic flights allow only 10 kg of luggage. You can leave behind your unwanted items in the hotel in Kathmandu.
Tips to save money
- Book your flight as early in advance as possible. Try booking them outside the peak seasons.
- Save flight cost by taking a bus or jeep to Jiri instead, and walk to Lukla (if you have spare days on hand)
3. Cost of Nepal Visa
Nationals from all countries except India, need a visa to make entry into Nepal. It is possible to get your visa on arrival at the international airport in Kathmandu. The cost for Nepal visa is at the given rate:
- $30 – 15-days multiple entry visa
- $50 – 30-days multiple entry visa
- $125 – 90-days multiple entry visa
It is best to get a 1-month visa as most of the Everest Base Camp trek itineraries take around 12 to 14 days.
4. Cost of Trekking Permits
To complete the Everest Base Camp trek, you will need to purchase two permits, namely Sagarmatha National Park entry permit, and Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality entrance permit. The Solukhumbu regional fee is around $20 per person, which can be purchased either in Lukla or Monjo. The National Park entry permit will cost around $30 including 13% VAT and they can be purchased in Kathmandu or Monjo.
Earlier trekkers had to purchase the Trekkers’ Information Management System (TIMS) card, but in 2020 it was replaced by the Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality entrance permit.
5. Cost of Accommodation on Everest base camp trek
Accommodation cost varies from low-end teahouses to more comfortable ones and few luxurious lodges. The average cost for a bed per night per person in a basic teahouse is around $3 while a room with two beds will cost $5. The price may go higher as you ascend higher and may reach up to $10 at Gorak Shep. While Lobuche has a fixed accommodation rate of $7.
The rooms in the teahouses are very basic, usually with two beds, a pillow, blanket, and attached bathroom (except at few locations). All teahouses usually have a large dining hall where you can eat and relax with other trekkers. There is a fireplace in the center of the dining room designed for heating the entire room during dinner time.
The cost of accommodation on the actual trek is quite cheap but it is the accommodation in Kathmandu before and after your trek that will contribute to a larger portion of the budget.
Note: If you decide to eat your meal at a different place than the teahouse you are staying overnight; you might have to pay an additional $10 for your room.
There are some extra charges that may incur during your accommodation:
- Hot showers do not come for free unless you are paying for an ensuite room. A hot shower may cost anywhere from $2 to $6.
- Electric blanket or electric heater will cost around $20 per night but all accommodation may or may not have them.
- Battery Charging fetches an extra cost on an hourly basis, usually ranging from $2 to $6 while a power bank will be charged for $10.
- Internet may not be available for free at all accommodations. WiFi charges of around $2 to $5 per hour is quite common in the mountains although the service is very slow.
6. Cost of Food & Water on Everest base camp trek
Price of food and water vary at different places. The higher you climb, the higher will be the price for food and water. Surprisingly, teahouses along the trail will have extensive menus with lesser options as you go higher.
The carb-heavy meal Dal Bhaat is the most staple food you will find along the trail and the price at the start of the trek begins from $5 and can reach up to $12 at Gorak Shep. Likewise, it is no different for bottled water. One liter of bottled water will cost $1 and go as high as $4. On an average, the daily food and water cost will come around $30 to $40.
You can save up to $50 by sterilizing the drinking water instead of using bottled water. Also, vegetarian dish is a lot cheaper and considered fresh and healthier.
7. Cost of Guide & Porter on Everest base camp trek
Having a guide and a porter is always very helpful while you are trekking in Nepal. Firstly, they speak the local language and know the teahouse owners. They will help you enrich your trekking experience with plenty of information on the trail. Porters will carry your load thereby allowing you to walk freely, especially at high altitudes when trekking becomes quite difficult.
The cost of an average guide ranges from $30 to $35 per day while hiring a porter costs between $20 to $25 per day. One porter will carry up to 20 kgs of luggage. The high-end guides may charge up to $50 and above per day.
Although not mandatory, tipping is expected in Nepal. 10% of the overall trip price should be a good general tip to give a guide or a porter.
8. Cost of Travel Insurance
Travel insurance with trekking allowed up to 6000m will cost around $150 for a 30-day time period. However, the prices of insurance will depend on the age, nationality and duration of your trek. We do not arrange or sell insurance, so you are required to make arrangement for your own travel insurance at your home country. Here are some of the recommended travel insurance companies for you to give a thought.
Trekking to Everest Base Camp is quite uncertain and anything could come up during the trek because of the altitude and extreme cold weather. You may need to be evacuated on a helicopter and taken to a reputed hospital for any medical treatment. Thus, you need to have an appropriate insurance policy that covers all the activities during your trip in Nepal.
The cost of insurance is not included in the trip package cost. You will need to purchase your insurance before you enter to Nepal. We won’t book your trip without getting a copy of your insurance policy.
9. Cost of Trekking Equipment
Before you head out for your trekking into the Himalayan wilderness, it is very important that you possess the essential equipment and required gears with you. The cost of trekking equipment for a beginner may come around $200 to $500. And this cost is not included in our package cost.
Some of the most essential equipment are high-quality boot, sleeping bag, thermal clothing, trekking pole, warm gloves and water-proof jacket among many others. Take a look at the complete packing list for Everest Base Camp trek and get to know about the most essential items that you will require on the trek.
10. VAT (Value Added Tax) Cost
Also known as goods and service tax, VAT is a type of general consumption tax that is levied on the price of products and services at every point of sale where value has been added. The government of Nepal charges a 13% VAT to all Everest Base Camp trek operators.
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Adding up all the above-mentioned costs, you can definitely figure out how much it will approximately cost you for doing the Everest Base Camp trek. The total amount is definitely easy on the pocket as compared to the ridiculously overpriced tags as offered by the big names in adventure industry.
It is in fact, time to ponder as to why some of the highly reputed companies are charging exorbitant prices. Look at the facts on the current adventure market offered by various operators worldwide and know why Himalayan Glacier charges thousands of dollars lesser than the luxury operators, and pretty much higher than the cheap operators:
Which company to choose for Everest Base Camp trekking?
Diving deeper, the overall cost of Everest Base Camp also varies as per different travel companies. We have categorized trek operators based on their location, services, price, professional experience, and efficiency.
Let’s have a look at the different types of operators for Everest Base Camp trek.
1. International Everest Base Camp Luxury Trek Operators
There is a very common mindset that when you pay more, you get better service. Even for Everest Base Camp Trek, many International Luxury operators offer luxury packages with exorbitant price tags. And they also deliver surprisingly high success rates with safety benchmarks.
But, even with all that extravagant package and safety assurance, the luxury tour operators are cashing out way extra dollars from trekkers. The International luxury operators charge as much as US$4000, $5600, or even more than $6000 per person on standard itineraries. There is no validation for the extremely high prices when it does not necessarily promise the best experience.
Further, the International Luxury Operators do not only specialize in Everest but also in other destinations worldwide. So, it’s pretty apparent that they are not precisely the experts as the popular claims. Moreover, their trip is more based on high facilities and safety, while the true adventure lies elsewhere.
Surely the luxury operators provide excellent services, including flight costs and have an impressive success rate. But, the Everest Base Camp trek is not only about reaching the base camp but also getting an authentic experience of the Sherpa culture and traditions that you will be missing out with the International Luxury operators.
2. International Everest Base Camp Budget Trek Operators
Unlike their names, the budget tour operators also tend to be expensive at the end of your Everest Base Camp trek. On the surface, the package may appear as a budget-friendly option, but it somehow turns out to be expensive in the end.
These operators hire a third-party firm or a destination management company (DMC) to provide professional services for organizing trips out of their own country. Doing so, they will tote up their profit margin of 10 – 15% in the trip cost. As much as possible, these operators will use the cheapest resources, use local guides, and offer limited services. While in the mountains, they will provide the cheapest teahouses without any meals during the entire trek.
The prices offered by most of the budget operators range anywhere from US$1300 per person during off-seasons and US$ 1900 per person during peak seasons. However, this is only the base price without any inclusions like airport transfers, basic hotels, or meals. Adding up the costs of a domestic flight, airport transfer, Kathmandu hotel, food, and accommodation in the mountains, you will be actually spending quite a high price.
WHY AVOID CHEAP OR BUDGET OPERATORS AND CHOOSE A RESPONSIBLE & COMMITTED EVEREST SPECIALIST?
HERE’S WHAT OUR HAPPY CLIENT HAS TO SAY ABOUT THEIR EBC TREK EXPERIENCE.
3. Cheap Everest Base Camp Operators
Well, as tempting as their offers may sound, it is always the best decision to stay away from cheap Everest Base Camp operators. This implies as long as you wish to complete your journey without any cause of stress and irritation. Cheap operators are often unqualified, unsafe, and extremely disastrous holiday-makers.
Everybody wants to save their money as much as possible, but saving money does not necessarily mean always buying the cheapest product. At exceptional times, the quality of the product you purchase also matters and brings about a life-changing experience. Sometimes, a product that costs slightly more will last longer, thereby increasing its value as well.
4. Online Travel Agents (OTA)
The OTAs are merely deal makers who charge a trouble-free 12-20 % of the trip cost on each booking. These agents receive a considerable cut by keeping a very low price and considerably
reducing the much-needed services for trekking and climbing trips. Their offers begin from US$ 700 and goes up to US$1100, and perhaps it is their only bait to attract clients.
It is important to remember that buying trekking or climbing expedition packages is not a joke, and it requires a lot of attention against a number of risks involved. You need to consider whether the company is highly experienced and has proficient team members or not. Also, find out about the food, comfort level, and the operational expertise of the operator, which at last makes an apparent difference to your entire trip.
5. Local Operators
In recent years, with the growth of tourism industry in Nepal, many local operators have mushroomed in Kathmandu. Some of these operators are registered while some aren’t and yes, they do not always have fixed offers.
There is often a huge competition going on between local operators; they check out with other budget offers and compete in the market accordingly. Unless clients do not ask for some add-on services, they are reluctant to offer it upfront. Their prices range from US$700 to US$1300 per person. While this may be a widespread scenario, some companies offer relatively all-inclusive-land-only packages ranging from US$1800 to US$2200 per person.
IS YOUR MONEY IN SAFE HANDS WITH BUDGET OPERATORS?
HERE IS WHAT HAPPENS EACH TIME WITH BUDGET OPERATORS.
“I did my Everest Base Camp trek when I first visited Nepal in 2017. For a 16-day trek, I paid $2465 with a well-reputed agency. My friends got to know this and said that budget operators charged less than half of what I had paid for the same trip, and I was like Oh my god! In 2019 October, four friends including me planned to visit Nepal again and do the EBC trek, but this time I had made up my mind to do it with some low-budget agency.
After several inquiries, we fixed with some local low-budget agency a price of $1225 per person. We exchanged several emails before closing the deal with all the necessary information we had to collect. As we were four persons, they agreed to give us a 5% discount on the overall price. We were also made to pay an advance payment of 25% of the total cost, which we did without hesitation.
After depositing the advance payment, it wasn’t the same conduct anymore. They weren’t smooth anymore with their communication. I wrote at least 4 emails, but they only replied after a week or so giving some excuses. Things didn’t seem right and we canceled our trip somehow. It took about another 3 weeks to get our trip canceled and get our refunds after deduction. After this, I pledged never ever to look out at cheap or low-budget operators. It was very fortunate that we found Himalayan Glacier at that time. We shared our experience with them and they were so encouraging. In fact, they promised to compensate for our loss with a lifetime experience. They did not even ask for any advance payment.
We made the right decision and got experience of a lifetime. We would recommend all our fellow traveler friends not to fall for the questionable promises of low-budget operators.”
Why you should not choose low-budget operators?
Never compromise the journey of a lifetime with anything else.
Low-budget operators often do everything inefficiently and not up to the expectation of their clients. From the numerous reasons, below mentioned are some of the main reasons as to why low budget operators are actually bad choices:
1. Substandard Guides
The knowledge and efficiency of your guide on the Everest Base Camp Trek is an essential aspect of the safety and success of the trek of your lifetime. The low-budget operators usually do not employ permanent staff, so during the trekking seasons, they hire freelancers who are not well experienced, with little or no training at all, and low take-home pay.
You only know the capacity of a guide when things go wrong, or an unseen crisis comes into sight in the mountains. The substandard guides hired by low-budget operators are risky elements on an adventurous trip. The highly qualified and skillful guides, in the first place, do not work for low-budget operators. They prefer to be hired full-time by the recognized and top-notch trekking operators and remain active by leading small or large groups during climbing seasons.
2. Lack of Appropriate Safety Measures
When it comes to safety measures, most low budget operators do not have any approach or
groundwork for practicing high-altitude trekking with safety protocols. In addition to their professionally unskilled guides, they don’t even know the right techniques to use equipment such as the pulse oximeter used for identifying acute mountain sickness (AMS) or just visually spot the primary symptoms.
These operators mostly do not have a sufficient backup budget as deposits if the need for air ambulance arises. It is uncertain in the mountains when an emergency may crop up due to injury or severe health issues demanding rescue with immediate evacuation. It was fortunate for some climbers in the past who booked their trips with other budget operators that Himalayan Glacier crew members were nearby to assist them when they became ill while their own guides remained helpless.
3. Irregularity in Services
Low or budget operators can be very erratic and impulsive at most times. The main reason behind their unpredictable services to the clients is because they lack any standard operating procedures. No doubt, when a company does not follow a standard procedure, trekkers will experience different hurdles. Let’s consider that your friend had a very good time and a wonderful experience, there is no guarantee that you will have the same experience as your friend with budget operators.
When you have a serious matter and ask these low budget operators about it, they are quite unsure about their answers and may respond by saying, “We will face whatever comes our way, there is nothing to worry about.” Alas, it is not quite the anticipated response for your safe mountain walks. The difference with quality operators is that they have set guidelines and standard operating procedures for every aspect of the climb, making them consistent and reliable with their services.
4. Irresponsible Trekking
The low-budget operators are not well aware about the concept of responsible traveling. When they employ their guides or porters by paying low wages, they do not apprise them about the need to conserve the environment and how to contribute for that while travelling. And, eventually it results in irresponsible trekking. Instead of educating the climbers about being responsible while trekking, they are seen dropping litters and polluting the area.
On the other hand, quality operators always focus on training their staff on significant aspects of safeguarding the environment. “Take only pictures, leave only footprints” is the maxim which the quality operators stick to, so that the mountain areas can be preserved in their original appearance and lure climbers to come back again and again.
5. Exploiting Porter Rights
The low-budget operators are always looking for ways to cut their overall cost, and for that, they often end up misusing porters by making them work on a low wage. The porters with low budget operators are paid way less than regular porters. It is quite unfortunate that there are no budget operators on Everest that adhere to the pricing policies recommended by the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN).
As cheap agencies compromise and lower the price for the clients, they do not pay deserving prices to the porters, which is mere exploitation of the porters’ rights. Putting facts first, quality operators in no way negotiate with the wellbeing of their staff when trying to put up a trekking trip on sale.
Himalayan Glacier and other top-notch operators pay the deserving wages, one amongst the highest, to their staff and are members of the International Porter Protection Group, an organization working for the safety of the mountain porters.
As a responsible traveler, you are also liable to make sure that your porters are paid right, made to carry the limited weight, provided proper sleeping shelters, fed well, and have the right clothing and equipment for the climb.
6. Lower Success Rate
With low-budget operators, chances are always there for lower success rates to rate to achieve the base camp feat. With all the reasons as stated above, the chance of success rate to reach the Everest base camp is very low, especially for beginners or inexperienced trekkers.
As the low-budget operators offer a very low price, it is very obvious that they would be compromising your trip in the Himalayas with so many things. So, if you wish to succeed your trip, we recommend you not to fall in for the low prices. Instead, it is wise to check out on the professionalism and the experience of the crew members of the low-budget operators. These operators may even compromise with your accommodation and food, besides other important matters to take of while on the trip.
So, Why Himalayan Glacier?
Himalayan Glacier, Adventure and Travel Company, is a specialist outfitter dedicated to leading clients on Culture, Trekking, and Climbing tours in the Himalayas for almost 3 decades now. We have our own Operations Office and a professional team of experts in Kathmandu. The company is officially registered in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, Northern Ireland, UK, South Africa, Tanzania, and Kathmandu Nepal and has been operating simultaneously in a professional way.
We are not a luxury company in terms of our price, but by the services that we offer including all land costs, fully personalized services, and a day tour in Kathmandu. We have staff members with first-hand knowledge. Most of them have accomplished all the Himalayan Everest and Annapurna treks and done mountain-climbs multiple times. Our trips are guaranteed to run regardless of the number of climbers and the time of the year. Also, the price of our trips will remain the same despite the number of climbers booked.
So, find out Why Himalayan Glacier should be your next adventure companion? We have numerous reasons to justify our stand to convince our loyal clients to keep coming back for more adventures with us.