Trekking In Nepal Without A Guide

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. 

Hire trekking 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 
⇒ Ganesh Himal  
Hire trekking guide in nepal
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 info@nestadventure.com for more details about availability of guides on particular periods for trekking in Nepal.

Hire trekking guide 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
 
Upper Dolpo  - 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)

Mugu Region: 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)
 
Bhajang District: 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)
 
Darchula District: Per person per week US $ 90 and per person per day US $ 15 for an additional number of days (Restricted Area VDC Byas) 
 

About Rajendra Khanal (Raj)

Rajendra Khanal (Raj) Born and raised in Gorkha, Nepal, I am proud to call the Manaslu region my home! I have been in the travel business for over a decade from being assistance guide to being a guide/leader to being a manager and finally a founder of NEST Adventure. So you could say, I know my way well enough in the Himalayas especially in some of the off-the-beaten trails in Nepal like Manaslu, Kanchenjunga or Mustang

I am passionate about travelling and I strongly believe that seeing the world shouldn't break the bank (at least not too much!).  I have backpacked to over 15 countries in Asia, Central Americas USA and Canada, one-third of Europe, Caribbean Island and  Latin America.

I studied in the UK and moved to the United States. During that period, I had an opportunity working with multinational companies which taught me, how to deliver quality customer service in the business? As a world travelling backpacker myself, and travel expert of Nepal Himalayas, I started writing about my own country.  Incase, If you required free information about Nepal, please do not hesitate to visit my office in Thamel. We are located in the centre of Kathmandu Thamel. I am happy to share a cup of Nepali tea and free information.  Our team at NEST has earned 5/5 star ratings on TripAdvisor from about 200 satisfied customers. Don't forget to visit our customer feedback page on TripAdvisor.
If you believe our expert team can be helpful in planning your next trip to Nepal, then please do not hesitate to contact me. at nestadventure@gmail.com. I am also available 24x7 on WhatsApp  +977- 9851052042. If you are interested to know more about my travel journey follow me on  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  
 
6 + 9 = ?


We would like to draw your kind attention regarding safety issues while trekking alone in the vast and rugged mountains in Nepal. We are extremely concerned that dozens of trekkers have vanished on popular trekking routes in the last decade.

 

We believed that trekking alone could lead some personal risk of getting injured by natural accidents; the worse case even has gone missing because hiking alone in the unfamiliar rugged mountains. If anyone intended to trek in the coming days in Nepal, please make every effort to hire an experienced local guide and ensure that the trekking company is registered with Nepal Government.


- peregrine Treks


Thank you Peregrien Treks for sharing your experieance with us. 
- Nepal Explore Summit Treks Pvt. Ltd.


Thanks a lot for sharing this perfect article.I really, really appreciate your time and efforts for writing such a quality article.

- Sarena Wilson


Thank you Saena for your the appration!  
- Nepal Explore Summit Treks Pvt. Ltd.


Hi this is Andrea, I come a cross through your blog, which is different than what I was thinking and what I was reading the experience of different trekker’s. I am travelling Everest base camp in this October and thinking to do my own. Is it possible Everest Base Camp Trek with out a guide? Do I need to hire a guide? I saw quite a lot people trekking Everest Base Camp alone? Is it safe enough for female?
- Andrea


Hello Andrea Thank you so much for your valuable comment. You are most welcome in Nepal. EBC is still safe even after the earthquake. Let me give you some of my experience, as you are not clear and what you read about the Everest Base Camp Trek. I am totally agreed with your point. There are many freelance trekkers’ in Mountain especially in EBC. In my opinion, it will apply some condition as a traveller. Specially if you are going high passes trekking like chola pass , renjola pass, khomla pass, Tashi lapcha Pass, apart from Everest base camp Kalapatthar than guide or minimum local porter who know the trail will needed for your safety. Or If you are just doing EBC and already have an previous experience then some of the tourist they do their own. My strong recommendation is hire minimum one person for your safety, for your comfort, and every thing. I know It’s bit expensive to hire a people but if you think of your safety which you can’t hire and no spear.
- Nepal Explore Summit Treks Pvt. Ltd.


Hi Andrea,

I would love to get your input on the trip that you did. I'm hoping to go in May and also wondering about hiring a guide/solo hiking. I'm not sure if you will see this but I would love to get in touch with you!!
Audrey
audreymrancourt@gmail.com

- Audrey

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