Trekking to the mountains, that too, Mt Everest seems to be on a costlier side, but the truth is a trek to the highest of it all is affordable.
The cost to the Everest Base Camp mainly depends on the number of days you spend on the journey and how you chose to travel. Although it is easier to travel with the agency as they provide you with all the necessary documentation and the permits along with the pre-booked accommodation, you sure can travel solo. Pre-booking is essential as the flights might get delayed or pushed back a day or 2 due to the weather in the hilly region and the accommodation is hard to get by in the peak season. Taking about the routes, there are 2 major routes that you can choose which include the trip by road and the other by flight to Lukla. Flight trips are costlier in comparison to road trips and hiking. One other way for you to reach Everest Base camp would be by helicopter which will further increase your expenses. Furthermore, the expenses are fairly divided into trekking permits, food, accommodations, gear cost, flight cost, travel insurance, and trekking insurance.
The time of season you are traveling also largely affects your budget. The peak season such as October to November calls for a higher budget for EBC due to the crowded route and packed accommodation. Off-season trekking on the other hand is completed on a lower budget as the fewer crowd encourages the decrease in prices accordingly.
Regarding the trek to EBC, it is important to decide the journey beforehand which estimates the trekking expenditure. About 37 to 40 USD is expected for a day each spent on the EBC trail. It would cost 100 – 300 USD for the trekking and travel insurance. The approximate cost for food is about 20-30 USD per day, accommodation is 5 USD a day. Guides and porters add on to your expenses about 25-30 USD per day. It is essential to tip the porters as living in the mountains is rough and challenging. As you climb further up in the journey, everything has a price and nothing is free. Hot showers, the wifi and even charging your phone have a cost ranging from 5- 10 USD each.
As the trek ascends from crowded cities to the lifeless mountains, the costs grow higher and higher. It is estimated that a total of 1200 USD to 1500 USD is required for the EBC trek. After you arrive at Kathmandu, you spend a day on two there to prepare for the trek and gear yourself up. The cost at Kathmandu includes the accommodation cost, the food, the travel, trekking gear, and whatnot. The total expense in the city is about 200- 300 USD. It is better to stock up here in the city than in the mountains because it is way cheaper and easier. Every essential gear for the trek is found in the streets of Thamel.
The journey from Kathmandu to Lukla is either by flight or by road. Road trips and hiking to Lukla are cheaper than the flights to Lukla as it takes about 12- 20 USD by road for a one-way route of 16 hours whereas 180- 185 USD for the flight. As the trek starts from here onwards, the higher you go steeper will be the prices. For instance, it costs 25 NPR which is 19 cents for 1 liter of water in Kathmandu which is about 100 NPR which is 77 cents USD for the same bottle of water in the mountains. The same goes for the food as the variety decreases the price for the simple, bland food keeps on increasing with the elevation. To trek to EBC, two permits are required, one for entering the Sagarmatha National Park which costs 30 USD. The other is to Pasang Lhambhu Municipality which is 20 USD. Other than these two, no permits are required. The cost goes uphill after Lukla as everything has a price.
Few ATMs are there in Lukla and fewer in Namche Bazar if you fill the need to use your card. But it is always better to carry cash with you as the ATMs in the Himalayas don’t work sometimes or are out of money most of the time. So to be on the safer side withdrawing the money from Kathmandu will be a better option.
Previews of the cost to EBC
Flight cost to Lukla- 195 to 205 USD one way
Jeep to Salleri - 30 to 35 USD one way (14 hrs route)
Permits- 50 USD
Travel and trekking insurance- 100-300 USD
Food- 20 to 30 USD per day
Accommodation- 10 USD plus per day depending on lodges
Guides- 30 USD per day
Porters- 25 USD
Hot shower- 5 -10 USD
Wifi- 5 to 6 USD (the connection is not so good, wouldn’t recommend it)
Charging devices- 5 to 10 USD
Per day expense- 37 to 40 USD
Total- 1500 to 1800 USD