How To Budget Your Everest Base Camp Trek

N epal’s trekking infrastructure makes it an attractive destination for independent trekkers. The trails are well laid and marked in most places. Almost all big treks have a network of tea houses, where you can stay and get fresh cooked meals. So, if you are fit and confident about directions, you can trek solo on a lot of trails, without a guide or a porter.

If you are planning a solo trek to Everest Base Camp, you need to plan your expenses carefully. The ease of access comes with the disadvantage of a lot of temptations, when it comes to food, beverages and facilities – usually at inflated costs.

This guide demystifies the expenses for this trek. We have broken down the expenses into these subheadings for each trek – travel, accommodation, food, drinking water, wifi and charging, SIM cards, guides/porters and trek permits.

Planning your travel

Lukla is the starting point for the Everest Base Camp trek. To get here, you first need to reach Kathmandu. From Kathmandu, the only viable option to go to Lukla is a flight since the road journey takes over four days.

A return flight ticket from Kathmandu to Lukla costs Rs.14,000 to Rs 15,000 depending on when you book.

It is very normal for flights between Kathmandu and Lukla to be be cancelled or rescheduled. So make sure you keep a couple of days as buffer before booking your onward journey from Kathmandu.

Tip: Do not hesitate to reschedule your return flight to Kathmandu if you finish your trek earlier than planned. Given the unpredictability of weather there, airlines do not charge for a reschedule.

Accommodation

You stay in tea houses on the Everest Base Camp trek. These are small lodges that can accommodate 20-30 trekkers. Fresh food is available in all tea houses.

A room in a tea house costs NPR 400 – 450 per day (1 NPR is approximately 0.62 Indian rupees) . At higher altitudes, it can even go up to NPR 1,000 if the demand is very high. As you can see, room rates are not very high. However, you are obliged to have your meals at the same place that you are staying, especially dinner on the night you arrive and breakfast on the following morning.

Tip: Request the owner of the tea house from where you are starting to book a room for you at your next stop. Share a room to bring down the cost.

Food

Food is perhaps the most expensive component of your trek in Nepal. You get everything from sandwiches to dal-bhaat to pizzas and desserts in the tea houses. But they all come at a cost.

Here are some prices at Namche Bazaar to give you an idea –

– Dal-bhaat meal – NPR 500-700

– Breakfast – NPR 450 – 800

– 2 boiled eggs – NPR 500 at higher camps

– Tea – NPR 80-120

The prices of food increase as you go higher on the trek, peaking at Gorakshep.

Tip: Stick to dal-bhaat for your main meals. The food is wholesome and the servings are unlimited. Carry plenty of nuts and dry fruits to avoid buying overpriced snacks.

EBC-Vijesh-Diner at Hotel Kamal, Namche Bazar
Inside picture of a Restaurant (Hotel Kamal) at Namche Bazar. Picture By: Vijesh

Drinking Water

Tap water is safe to drink at all tea houses. However, this is not the case at Gorakshep. Here, you need to buy drinking water at NPR 350 a litre. The water here is otherwise dirty.

Tip: If you have a water purifying bottle, use it at Gorakshep to avoid paying for drinking water.

Wifi and charging

Use of charging points costs NPR 200. Tea houses also charge for wifi. It costs NPR 500 to purchase 300 mb of data.

Tip: Namche Bazaar has restaurants that provide free wifi if you eat there. Finish all your calls and messages before starting from here.

SIM Cards

You can purchase a local NCell SIM card for NPR 500 and recharge it for making telephone calls. Around 30 minutes talk time to India will cost you around NPR 50. Network is available up to Dole. Trekkers usually reach Dole on the fourth day of trekking.

Tip: The call costs less if you add 0124 to the Indian number that you dial.

Trek permits

You need a TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System) card to do the Everest Base Camp trek. This costs NPR 600 and can be collected in Kathmandu. In addition, you also need to buy an entry ticket to get inside Sagarmatha National park, the trail is located within this national park. Citizens of SAARC countries can collect this from Monjo. This is close to the entrance of Sagarmatha National Park. You can go here after you reach Phakding from Lukla. Other citizens can get this at Kathmandu. The entry costs NPR 1,600 for SAARC citizens and NPR 3,500 for others.

Guide and Porter

It is possible to hire a guide and a porter before you begin the trek. You can do this either in Kathmandu or in Lukla. Guides charge NPR 1,700 per day and porters charge NPR 1,500-1,600 per day. If they are local guides and not hired through a company, you will need to pay them in cash.

If you decide to hire a guide or a porter after reaching Lukla, ask around in hotels to find them.

Tip: It is possible to do the entire trek on your own and avoid this cost altogether. It is more expensive to hire guides and porters through a company than on your own.

How much cash should you carry on the Everest Base Camp trek?

Most places in bigger cities such as Kathmandu accept Visa and Mastercard credit and debit cards. However, once you begin your trek, you will have to make all payments in cash. Tea houses do not accept cards.

Indian and international debit cards work in Nepal in select ATMs. Visa, Visa Electron, Plus, MasterCard, Maestro and Cirrus international debit cards work at SBI ATMs. Plus, Visa, Cirrus and Union Pay debit cards work at Siddhartha Bank ATMs. SCT and Visa cards work at Everest Bank ATMs.

The charge for withdrawing cash varies depending the bank. Withdrawing money from an SBI Nepal ATM using an SBI debit card from India has a transaction fee of Rs.35. You can also use your credit card to withdraw money from ATMs. However, this is quite expensive as there is a charge of NPR 500 for every transaction. So, it is best you carry sufficient cash with you.

If you go with just basic requirements (see table below)

, you will need at least Rs.1,280 per day of the trek. Assuming you book your return tickets to Lukla in advance, you will not be required to spend on travel. If you factor in the charges for trek permit and additional cash for emergency use, you will need to take at least Rs.32,000 in cash with you. This amount will be higher if you decide to hire a guide or a porter so plan accordingly.

Keep in mind that in addition to this amount, you will also need to budget for at least 2 days of stay in Kathmandu. You will spend at least a day each here on your way to and return from Lukla.

Estimated Cost per day: the bare necessities 

Activity/Expense Cost (in NPR)
Bed in a room 250
Morning Tea 100
Breakfast 600
Lunch 600
Dinner 600
Water at Gorakshep (4 litres) 1400
Total 2150

At current exchange rate, expect to spend at least Rs.1,350 per day on the EBC trek, with basic food and accommodation. This will be Rs. 2,250 on the day you are in Gorakshep.

We hope these budgeting tips come in handy when you plan for your trek. Do comment below with some of your own tips that could help others.

Points in this article were shared by Sourav Mandal, who trekked to EBC independently in October 2017 and Indiahikes Trek Leader Abhirup Paul. Cover Image of Chola Pass taken by Abhirup Paul.


What you should do now

1. If you want more information about this trek: Check our Everest Base Camp Trek page here with detailed information on trail routes, things to take, pictures and much more.

2. If you want to work with us: Head over to our careers page. We have lots of positions open. We also have lots of applications coming in. So the sooner you apply, the better.

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3. If you ended up here by chance and were actually looking for treks to do: Then head over to our upcoming treks page. You’ll find all our Himalayan treks there.

4. If you want to see the 13 best treks of India: Then get our guide here.

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11 thoughts on “How To Budget Your Everest Base Camp Trek

  1. Great workdone, very helpful for planning the trek, as their is not much information available over the internet specially the details related to expenses. Keep up the good work

  2. Thank you, Sneha for sharing the details about the Everest Base camp trek. It is very informative and useful to me as I am going to EBC on the 24th of this month. Though I am going through a company but you have given me a whole expenses ideas. This will definitely help to manage my expenses.

  3. I did the EBC last week. My total costs were 44,000 INR bangalore to bangalore. I left Bangalore on 10th and came back on 26th Oct. My costs include the following. I did a budget trip trying to spend as little as possible. I did not fly to Lukla… Jeep from Kathmandu to Ringmo via Salleri, Walk from there. On return, Chopper from Lukla to Salleri and Jeep from there to Kathmandu.

    All costs in INR – Typical food cost that I spent was 3-4 coffee/tea and dal bhat for dinner. Had bread for breakfast and lunch. One snicker bar per day, One parle G per day.

    Bangalore to Lucknow flight – including return – 8,000 (return)
    Lucknow to Gorakhpur unreserved train ticket and jeep to border – 1,000 (return)
    Down jacket, gloves, Souvenir tshirts for self and kids – 5,000
    Chopper ride from Lukla to Phaplu – 3,000
    Rough costs per day – 1,500 ( 3-4 beverages, one dinner Dal bhat, Room, sometimes charging)
    Everest Link – 1,300
    Namaste and Ncell Sim – 800 (Ncell for data and namaste for calls)
    Fees to be paid – 2000 municipal fees at Toktok and 1600 Sagarmatha fees at Monjo – both NPR

    Tips to minimize weight and expenses
    (a) go with friends and avoid porter or guide. If you are not on strict budget – Hire one porter for two people – roughly 1,000 per day per porter which can be shared. Will reduce food costs
    (b) Take minimal clothes – three pairs of inner wear, three tshirts, two pants, one downjacket, one fleece, one plastic raincoat, one pair of gloves – should be around 5-6 kilos
    (c) Buy snickers from Dmart – one per day – 30 each
    (d) Take ready to eat Poha/Upma – packed is around 40 each. Can be easily made at home and packed in zip lock which can be taken in plastic container. hiring porter while adding costs – you can easily take 5-6 kilos of food as part of the bargain and save on break fast and lunch costs and there by offset porter costs and have healthy breakfast -just add hot water which is either free or 50 NPR per glass higher up
    (e) Walk from Salleri to Lukla – will add 3 days extra one way..but you need not acclimatize at namche or Dingboche (do check how your body behaves before deciding – I didnt stay at any place more than one night)

    My itenerary:
    10th Oct – Early morning Blore to Lucknow flight, 12 PM train from Aishbag to Gorakhpur, 5PM jeep to Border, 8 PM take AC bus to Kathmandu and reach early morning
    11th Oct – Sightseeing in Kathmandu and Shopping. Sleep at Chabel
    12th Oct – 5 AM take shared jeep to Salleri – reach by 5 PM
    13th Oct – 7 AM take shared jeep to Ringmo/Kharikhola/Aggeri – Depends on season. I took one to Ringmo as others were not operating. reached Ringmo by 9 AM and started walking via taksindo
    13th Oct – Reached Doodh Koshi bridge by 6 PM and night halt – my phone was stolen – police complaint
    14th Oct – Trek to Juming and stay for night
    15th Oct – Trek to Sirkew and stay for night
    16th Oct – Trek to Jorsalle and stay for night – at 11 AM join main trail at Chaurikharka below Lukla
    17th Oct – Trek to Namche and stay for night – only 3 hours
    18th Oct – Trek to Pangboche and stay for night
    19th Oct – Trek to Thukla via Dingboche and stay for night
    20th Oct – Trek to Gorakshep and stay for night. Snowed heavily at night and morning and hence no EBC
    21st Oct – Trek to Periche
    22nd Oct – Trek to Namche
    23rd Oct -Trek to Lukla
    24th Oct – Take chopper to Phaplu – collect phone from DSP Salleri Police, take jeep to Kathmandu
    25th Oct – Take early morning bus to Border. Overnite AC bus from Gorakhpur to Lucknow
    26th Oct – Metro to Lucknow airport and flight to Bangalore

    Other money saving tips – Definitely hire a porter who will carry two persons back packs of roughtly 12-13 kilos each. Buy 100 2 inch zip locks from local plastic vendor for around 30 INR and fill it with milk powder and Bournvita – roughly two milk and one bournvita per day and two Sugar ( each packet one table spoon) – put them in a large plastic container. Hot water is free till Namche and only 30 INR per glass later – you will save heavily on Coffee and tea. Also buy 2 rupee bru packets –

    One needs to feel sorry for the porters as they might not be employed whole year and hence definitely hire them – to offset the costs, as described above – take ready to eat and ready to drink. One need not feel bad for undercutting the hotels of beverages, breakfast and lunch – they make millions anyways.

    Also buy a loaf of bread at Namche Bakery for 350NPR – will easily last 3-4 days breakfast and lunch. Carry small honey and peanut butter packs from India

    1. hey ARN …
      thanks for the insight ….is there a way i can get in touch with you. i had plans this year but everything got cancelled .]

      1. Hi Rishi,
        is there a way i can get in touch with you? even i have plans for EBC trek but ofcorse got cancelled due to Corona

    2. Prasad ji, Thank you very much to share your valuable experience, which will be helpful for our EBC trek scheduled in 2021. How to hire guide and/or porter ? where we get them ? could you share your mobile no, that we can contact you, if you feel good.
      Subhash vaidya, Mumbai (age 62 years, any age limit ?)

  4. Hey, Actually I wanted to know that the Indian currency is acceptable in lukla and above? and what are the all permits we need for EBC?