INDEPENDENT EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK COST – BUDGET DETAILS – 2020
A VERY detailed breakdown of the Everest Base Camp Trek cost budget for independent travellers.
Here at perusingtheplanet.com, we enjoy details. So, here are the breakdowns of the amount of money we spent on our entire Everest Base Camp 14 day trek.
(Please don’t judge our tea/coffee drinking habits)
If you would like to see the VERY detailed list of money spent day-to-day, please find the 2 page pdf file here, or scroll to the bottom of this page.
Our OVERALL FIGURE for our entire Everest Base Camp trek was:
$766 per person
This includes everything, from flights to and from the trail, food and accommodation whilst on the trail, and permits and snacks.
However, we did not take a guide or a porter with us on our trek, and we also did not take out any kind of travel insurance. This may influence the overall price for others.
ON THE TREK
**All amounts shown are for 2 people, not an individual**
TOTAL SPENT: 61,300 (30,650 each)
First is a breakdown of our entire costs whilst actually on the Everest Base Camp trek. This includes absolutely everything we spent, from the minute we landed in Lukla, to the minute we got back on the plane to Kathmandu.
Here, every amount shown is in Nepalese Rupees (रू, rs.), as that is the currency we used on the mountain.
As you can see, food was our biggest spend by far, followed by an uncomfortably large amount of hot drinks. Accommodation didn’t really make a huge dent in the overall figure, but definitely wasn’t the “free teahouses” we had read up on before embarking on our own EBC trek.
We didn’t really spend anything at all on snacks, as we brought a bag full of them up from Kathmandu (around 1500rs worth), saving us a lot of money in the long run (more than 500rs for a single Mars Bar at Gorak Shep).
During our entire Everest Base Camp trek, we didn’t spend any money on; wifi, device charging or showers. We instead relied upon cafes and bakeries offering free wifi and device charging with a purchase, and/or our guesthouses offering some kind of mobile phone charging. The cost of ‘hot’ showers varied greatly depending on how far up and into the mountains we were, ranging from 400rs in Namche Bazaar, up to 1000rs in Gorak Shep. We found it was too cold to shower (temperatures as low as -25c) and instead relied entirely upon wet wipes.
BEFORE THE TREK
**Using an exchange rate of 113 Nepalese Rupees to USD (current as of January 2020)**
TOTAL SPENT: 111,418 ($986) (55,709 each)
Next is our total spent BEFORE the trek itself. This includes all our transport to and from the trek, as well as permits* and gear that we either had to rent or buy in Kathmandu. These amounts are in USD$, as we paid for the flights and the rented gear in USD, so for ease we have converted it all to dollars.
*Permits were physically purchased on the trek (at Lukla and Monjo) but were accounted for by us before we actually left for the trek. Read more about permits and other Everest Base Camp trek information here.
By far, our largest expense was the flights in and out of Lukla. As there is (as of January 2020) no road connections to Lukla (the start of the trek), the only option at this point in time is to fly in and out. There is the more budget friendly option of getting the bus/jeep to Jiri and hiking up from there, but that’s an extra 4/6 days hiking either way (10 total), on top of the 14 days round trip from Lukla to EBC. We flew in from Kathmandu, and paid $179 each way, per person with Yeti Airlines/ Tara Airlines. Our travel agent took a 4% ‘card charge’/commission for paying with Mastercard.
Our next biggest expense was renting and buying gear in Kathmandu, which can of course be avoided by bringing everything with you to Nepal. We rented backpacks, sleeping bags and down jackets for around $1 per item, per day (with a 10,000rs deposit). You can read more about the gear we took with us and our recommendations here, as well as more information on the kinds of clothes we had to buy in order to complete our trek.
DAY BY DAY
DAY 1 – Lukla – Ghat -DAY 2 – Ghat – Namche -DAY 3 – Namche Acclimatisation -DAY 4 – Namche – Tengboche -DAY 5 – Tengboche – Dingboche -DAY 6 – Dingboche Acclimatisation -DAY 7 – Dingboche – Thukla -DAY 8 – Thukla – Lobuche -DAY 9 – Lobuche – Gorak Shep -DAY 10 – Gorak Shep – Pheriche -DAY 11 – Pheriche – Namche -DAY 12 – Namche Rest Day -DAY 13 – Namche – Lukla -DAY 14 – Lukla – Kathamandu
Finally, is our day-to-day cost breakdown of everything we spent during each 24 hour period whilst actually on the Everest Base Camp trek.
Before we left for our trek, we were under the impression that the higher up the mountain we went, the more expensive everything would get. We found that, for the most part, everything stayed around the same price after getting to (and further up from) Namche Bazaar. Our most expensive days were our acclimatisation days, and all the days we spent in and around Namche. We didn’t see a real correlation between being higher up on the mountain, and everything being more expensive (unless you were looking to pay for luxuries, such as; showers, device charging and snacks). Accommodation and food was generally similar in price everywhere, with food almost always being around twice to three times the cost that it was in the city (Kathmandu).
Our most expensive accommodation on the entire trek was in Namche Bazaar and Lukla, at 500rs per person, per night, regardless of whether we were sharing a room or not.
**In Lukla, that 1000rs between us got us a room with a private bathroom, hot shower and flushing toilet, as well as an electrical outlet. We didn’t shop around, and if on a budget, it’s almost certainly possible to get a better deal elsewhere, but were happy with what we got for that price.**
‘Hot’ showers varied in price depending on location. In Namche, they were around the 400rs mark, all the way up to 1000rs in Gorak Shep. The price seemed to correlate between elevation of the town and expense.
Wifi cost as little as around 200rs in most of the towns. It did fluctuate somewhat, but never seemed to be more than this if you were willing to walk around. We didn’t spend anything on wifi during our entire 14 day trek, as we were willing to spend on money at cafes or bakeries in order the get the free wifi there. Hot drinks started at around 300rs each in cafes and as long as we bought at least 2 drinks, we could get the wifi for free. Sim cards with data packages were available at most lodges, but we didn’t invest in one, so can’t comment on price.
Charging batteries and devices got really expensive the higher up we went. Again, some cafes would allow one device charge (not battery pack/power bank), so long as we spent enough. Most lodges/ guesthouses would charge mobile phones/ camera batteries for about 200/300rs, and battery packs would cost anything up to 1500/ 2000rs in some higher elevation towns.
We did not get ‘free’ accommodation anywhere, with the exception of Gorak Shep. When researching budget information on this trek, we read a lot of information about how a room in most lodges was free if eating breakfast and dinner there. We are not sure if this information is out of date or just untrue, but instead, we found that if we were to not eat our meals at the guesthouse, the cost for the room would go up to anything from 2000rs to 4000rs. You are very much expected to eat all of your meals at the guesthouse you are staying in, and there is no kind of discount for doing so, or for staying 2 nights in one place (on acclimatisation days).
Almost everywhere we stayed and ate accepted card payments. We took an enormous amount of cash with us up the mountain, but soon found we didn’t need to. There are 2 ATMs in Lukla, and 3 in Namche. We used one in both towns and had no issue. We are not sure if there is a fee for using card at the guesthouses/lodges, but the option was almost always there.
We did not take out any kind of additional travel insurance for completing this trek. One estimate for 14 days (over 5000m) was £150 ($200) with “WorldNomads“, but we chose not to take it out, so this may influence other people’s costs significantly.
GUIDES AND PORTERS
Another significant cost to take into account is guides and/or porters. Again, we did not go with either of these, but the general average is around $35/$40 per day for guide, and $25/$30 per day for a porter, if you choose to take either of these with you on your trek.
Bottled water can get VERY expensive high up on the trek. To avoid paying huge amounts, and to avoid actively bringing plastic to the hill, bring purification iodine/chlorine tablets from Kathmandu or home and fill your own bottles. A box of 50 tablets (good for 50L of water) cost us just 200 rupees from a trekking store in Kathmandu. We bought 2 boxes and found that it was more than ample for 2 people for 14 days. Bottles can be filled everywhere on the trek, and if you’re unsure, ask at your guesthouse and they will be happy to fill it for you.
Shower costs get very high as you climb higher. We completed our trek in December and it was much too cold to shower (-25c degrees), so opted to bring heaps of wet wipes from Kathmandu instead. This also saved us having to pay up to 1000 rupees for a shower in some places. Wet wipes in Namche Bazaar cost around 700rs for a large pack, and cost even less in Kathmandu.
Hire/buy all your gear in the same trekking shop for discounts. The standard price for renting a sleeping bag is 150rs per day, but because we rented down jackets and backpacks at the same store, we got them both for 120rs each. It’s not a huge saving, but it helps if you’re on a tight budget (you may also be able to negotiate – we did not). Likewise, buying all your needed gear (hiking poles, warm pants, gloves and hats etc.) in the same store makes it much easier to negotiate the very inflated initial prices.
DETAILED DAILY SPENDS
To read our very in-depth guide on everything you need to know about Everest Base Camp, click here.
OUR PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR
LAPTOP – Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch
SMALL CAMERA – Olympus OMD- E-M10 Mark II
ZOOM LENS – Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm Lens
DSLR BODY – Canon 60D
WIDE ANGLE LENS – Sigma 10-20mm Lens
DRONE – DJI Mavic Pro
ACTION CAMERA – GoPro Hero 7 Black Edition
MICROPHONE – Rode VideoMicro
CAMERA BAG – Lowepro Fastpack 250 AW II