A neighbouring country of Nepal, in Tibet and Bhutan, visitors are only allowed to enter the country with a complete travel package. Unlike in Nepal, the tourist could come to visit the country with no plan in advance. A lot of hiking route in Nepal Himalayas, hiker, actually can hike without even a Guide. However, in a particular area, it is mandatory to hire a Guide. The region is widely known as a restricted area trekking
. In order to preserve the beauty and culture of the place, the government of Nepal only allows tourist to visit those place after completing specific paper works. Generally speaking, if the border between Nepal and China Tibet is an open wall, visitors are required to hire a guide to visit those place.
World class travel sites such as Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor, Travel Channel recognises Nepal as a paradise destination for backpacking. For them, hiking and trekking in the Himalayas
in their first choice. As the country is so famous for backpacking, It is not unusual at all to receive a budget, travellers. Of course, money values to everyone but some hikers would prefer to hike solo, even without a guide for the sake of freedom and privacy. However, not every region in Nepal hikers are allowed to walk without a guide. In this article, I will take you through the area where you can hike without a Guide or the area where the Guide is mandatory. In addition to that, I will try to cover risk and rewards hiking with or without Guide in Nepal.
Fig - Climbing high Himalayas in Nepal is almost impossible without professional guides
Death and Missing Hikers
Before I jump into the complete list of the trekking trail, where hikers can hike with or without a guide, I want to share some fact about the safety concern. On average about 15 hiker goes missing in Nepal Himalayas, annually
and the death toll counts the same number as missing hikers. That number of fatality doesn't even count anyone climbing an ice peak. A lot of time, when tourist dies in the mountain, they don't even make it to the public news. It is sad but the truth, the government, doesn't want to disclose a tragic report for not to scare people who have been planning to visit Nepal in future.
How do hikers go missing
Majority of independent hikers goes missing, due to the bad weather, lost the trail, slip off from the path and fell into the deep river valley. The chances of surviving for those who go missing are meagre. Unlike in 2017, Taiwan hiker survived for 47 days in Nepal Himalayas
and rescued alive. Nepal is so high in terms of elevation. The first place in the country you arrived in Kathmandu, it is already scaled at 1,300m (4,265ft). Anyone hiking in the high altitude they should at least reach 3,000-4,000m. At this point, the weather is exceptionally unpredictable. If something goes wrong hikers get lost so easily.
The Reason of Death
I don't mean to frighten you by telling all missing story, but I am being honest and telling the truth. In one report from MissingHikers.com
, it says the majority of the death in the Himalayas caused by high altitude sickness. For instance, a rough estimate we heard from the news is about 3-5 people die each year on the Everest Base Camp region out of roughly 30,000 people. It is the death rate of about 0.01%, mainly due to the high altitude sickness. If you plan an Itinerary that includes enough amount of acclimatisation day, even if you are not an expert hiker you can do high altitude trek.
How Could a Professional Guide Make Things Right in The Himalayas
A lot of well-known hiking trails in the Himalayas are accessible to navigate through your phone, map etc. If you particularly look for Everest Base Camp trail, you can even find a street view on google. Hiring a guide for areas like EBC, it's not to tell you to turn right, or turn left. Here is the list, why it is worth hiring a professional Guide for high altitude trek?
An extreme weather condition, when the trail wholly covered with snow, a local guide will navigate you to camp safe and sound.
Professional hiking guides have gone through the advanced training, such as first aid, emergency evacuation, Itinerary management, etc. so you can use their skills.
Mountain guides are the ambassador of the Himalayas. They could be a bridge between you and the local people and their culture. It puts you in extra comfort during village sightseeing, monasteries visit etc.
Majority of the camp has limited tea houses means during busy season they are over occupied. A local Guide will help you book them in advance, so you don't have to end up sleep in the living room. Or sometimes even in the tent outside at freezing weather.
Which trail Hikers can hike without a guide
For the safety reason, we encourage every hiker to hire an experienced guide. Especially if you are hiking in a remote area it is worth having someone who knows the place. However, by law, some of the trail in Nepal you can hike without a guide. Generally, in this region, the number of hikers are overcrowded during the busy season. Here is the list.
Everest Region Trek
Annapurna Region Trek (Except Narphu and Mustang Trek)
Langtang Region Trek
Fig - Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Guide Krishna Adhikari
How much to hire a Guide in Nepal
Hiring a hiking guide in Nepal may vary by region and their skills what a local company offers. It is normally extra language speaking guides are more expensive than an English speaking guide. Any additional skills guide may offer such as Yoga, meditation, and other adventure skills guides are about USD 40 a day for any region. However, If you just decide to hire an English speaking guide
here is the cost. It's a common sense that tourist should understand. While tourist spends the same amount or money or above as the guide salary how would they survive if they pay the same amount for food and accommodation in the mountain? The fact is local guide food and accommodation price is much cheaper than the tourist. But some region like Kanchenjunga, Narphu regardless of foreign tourist or local guide they are required to pay the same amount due to the remoteness and the cost of food transportation.
Nagarkot Chisapani – USD 18 per day
Annapurna and Langtang Region – USD 22 per day
Everest Region – USD 25 per day
Manaslu Region – USD 25 per day
Kanchenjunga Region – USD 30-35 per day
Upper Mustang Trek - USD 25 per day
Narphu Valley Trek - USD 30 per day
Upper Dolpo – USD 30 per day
Other Restricted Region – USD 30 per day
Above cost is inclusive of all costs that incurred for treks like guide’s salary, food, accommodation and insurance. Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
for more details about availability of guides on particular periods for trekking in Nepal.
Fig - Gokyo Chola Pass Everest Base Camp being lead by Pradeep, Late December trail are unnoticeable if you are for the first time because of heavy snow on the pass
Which trail Hikers must hire a guide
As mentation earlier, some of the region in Nepal, hikers must hire a guide. Those regions are usually off the beaten trail in Nepal where the number of tourists is a lot lesser than the other classical trail in Nepal. Here is the list of the trek and their permit fee.
Kanchenjunga Area Trek permits:
Eastern Nepal Kanchenjunga area of Taplejung district required a special permit. It cost USD 10 per person per week (Restricted area are VDC of Olangchungola, Lelep, Papung and Yamphuding)
Makalu Base Camp Trek in Sankhuwasabha:
Per person per week US $ 10 up to four weeks and onward per person per week US $ 20 (Restricted Area VDC Kimathangka, Chepuwa, Hatiya and Pawakhola)
Everest Khumbu Region:
North of Thame there is one pass call "Nangpa-la" which connects to the Tibet. It will cost US $ 10 per person for the first 4 weeks after that It will be US$ 20 per person/week. Everest Classical trek doesn't require a restricted permit. You can trek with TIMS card and National Park fees.
Gaurishanker Chhorolpa lake area:
Lamabagar Ward No.1 (Lepche) Gaurishanker Ward No. 1 (Beding 9 and Chhorolpa lake) area US$ 10 per person /Week
Langtang region of Rasuwa district:
Thuman and Timure Region US$ 10 per person /Week. This is the north of Langtang valley close to the border. Regular classical trek Langtang valley trek and Gosainkunda area don't require a special permit.
Manaslu Trekking Permit:
September to November – US $ 70 per person per week, and US $ 10 per day per person in case of more than 7 days. December to August – US $ 50 per person per week, and US $ 7 per day per person in case of more than 7 days
Tsum Valley Trek:
September to November – US $ 35 per person for first eight days. December to August – US $ 25 per person for first eight days
Mustang Trekking Permit:
Per person per 10 days US $ 500 (in case if days get extended then US $ 50 per person per day)
Narphu Valley Trek Permit:
September to November – Per person per week US $ 90. December to August – Per person per week US $ 75 (Restricted Area VDC Nar and Phu along with northern part of Tilicho VDC)
Lower Dolpo –
Per person per week US $ 10
- Per person per 10 days US $ 500 (in case if days get extended then US $ 50 per person per day)
Simikot and Yari in Humla:
Per person per week US $ 50, additional US $ 7 per person per day in case of extended days (Restricted Area VDC are Limi, Muchu and Dharmakhola)
Per person per week US $ 90 and per person per day US $ 15 for an additional number of days (Restricted Area VDC Mugu, Dolpu, Pulu and Bhangri)
Per person per week US $ 90 and Per person per day US $ 15 for an additional number of days (Restricted Area VDC Kanda, Saipal and Dhuli)
Per person per week US $ 90 and per person per day US $ 15 for an additional number of days (Restricted Area VDC Byas)