Everest Base Camp Trek is a once in a life experience that takes us from our city’s hassled life style to the foot of the highest mountain on earth. The path takes us through the awe amazing vistas and the towering Himalayan giants of Sagarmatha National Park and leaves a lasting impression on trekkers’ minds.
The ancient temples of Kathmandu, the unforgettable Lukla flight journey, Buddhist monasteries en route, warm welcoming Sherpa culture, suspension bridges, ever thinning, cold air mixed with unique pahadi breezes. You will explore every bit of it. And as if this natural exuberance was less, the facilities you enjoy during the trek are just unimaginable. Just the fact that at an altitude of 17500 ft, you can make a whatsApp call to your loved ones back home should sweep you off the feet, let alone delicious food and comfy accommodation at almost every stop en route.
But hang on friends! Don’t just get carried away by the awesomeness that you just imagined. The imagination can come into reality only at a price that you must pay. In this blog I want to shed some light on why trekking to the EBC is not as cheap as a lot of people think or as a matter of fact, as much as it has been misled by a lot of tour operators/ agencies.
There has been a powerful surge in the no. of trekkers planning for Everest Base Camp and it will continue to rise. The reason being very simple: Everest: Highest Mountain on Earth!!
Naturally, to cater to this inexorable demand, many tour operators and agencies have jumped into it and are trying their best to arrange the supply. Few years ago, the no. of agencies could have been be counted on fingers. But today, that number is rapidly increasing too.
There is a variety in agencies to choose from and there is a variety in potential risks associated as well. Risks of high altitude from mild headache, nausea, to severe symptoms like High Altitude Pulmonary, Cerebral Edema, can lead individual from a healthy being into a severely ill to be evacuated to emergency medical need all the way to Kathmandu.
In such situations, it is very important to have a proper guidance not just during the trek but also in its thorough planning, preparation, and awareness of the trek from the day EBC idea struck your mind.
Hence, when you are looking for searching an agency for your most valuable experience, don’t just google for one with the cheaper rates. There are always going to have hidden costs associated in it.
There are other cost factors too that can add to your inconvenience, eventually leading into an unpleasant experience.
The (in)famous Lukla Flight:KT
KTM-Lukla flight shall empty your pockets by 14000-16000 INR. And if the weather conditions are not supportive, you might end up shelling out a few more thousands for the alternate means or you will have to wait till the weather is fine.
Food & Boiled Water for Drinking:
The quality of the food that you eat and the type of water you drink, decides whether you will come back home safely or not; let alone completing the trek with success.
In Nepal, all water needs to be treated before drinking. In our treks, we ensure that each participant gets ample of boiled water every day for the trek. That keeps them warm, away from any infections, or sickness. At every tea house, participants should be encouraged to drink lots of hot fluids such as tea, coffee, hot chocolate, soups etc. They not only help us keep our bodies warm, and taste buds alive; but also provide vital nutrients and minerals for better metabolic functioning of the bodies at high altitudes. Along with the fluid intake, it is a crucial responsibility of the guides and the agency to serve well cooked food (breakfast, lunch dinner) throughout the trek. We prefer to let the participants decide as per their wish from the menu and encourage them to eat adequate meals. Talking about just food and the hot drinking water, these fundamental survival elements themselves are very expensive in those remote regions of national park. And as you gain higher altitude day by day, the cost of these items significantly rises. Just see here an approx. comparison for reference.
|1 L Hot Water||No special cost||60 INR||200 INR||300 INR|
|Egg Omlet||No cost (Breakfast is included in service)||120 INR||200 INR||250 INR|
Now that you are going to spend Min 12-13 days on this remote trek route, then min. expenses that you will have to spend on your fundamental essentials are min INR 1800- 2000. And as you go higher, the cost goes higher too. That amounts for around INR 24000- 30000.
Unless you are a hardcore trekker with thorough knowledge, vast experience of high altitude, and splendid fitness regime, you should not attempt this trek unaided & unguided. Guides are important not just en route, but they keep a close watch on your daily health status, food intake, weather conditions, and the en route trek logistics. Porters carry most of your load on their back so that you can hike comfortably with a small day pack.
The accommodation expenses, guides, porters, medical aids, KTM Hotel accommodation, permit fees, (chopper evacuation in case of emergency) will add more to the cost. And if all these aren’t enough, thorough fitness preparation, flawless planning are equally important elements to be considered.
Through this blog, I wish to emphasize that Everest Base Camp Trek is not a cheap affair. Even if you are going as unguided, you will have to spend considerable amount of money so that you can enjoy every bit of it and return home safely with wonderful memories.
We are going there for once in a lifetime and why look for compromises? So don’t get misled by the smaller cost figures. You might just end up paying a fortune for the cost saving at wrong place.
Wishing you a happy new year and a Safe & Enjoyable High-Altitude Experiences ahead!