• Raj Kumar Basnet
  • Last Updated on Mar 28, 2023

Do you need to hire a trekking guide to trek in Nepal? Well, if the question was asked a while back, the answer would be "NO," except for a few restricted areas. However, things are different now. Nepal Tourism Board has implemented a new rule for foreign trekkers that they MUST hire a trekking guide to trek in any Himalayan region of Nepal, effective from April 1, 2023.

Although the Board's decision was initially controversial in trekking communities, it is, after all, meant for the safety of the trekkers. The rule was long-awaited, as many independent trekkers go missing in the mountains every year. So, YES! You NEED to hire a trekking guide to trek in Nepal. Hiring a potter is still your choice.

Now a new question arises, "How to hire a trekking guide in Nepal?" or "What even is a trekking guide?" or "how is a guide different from a potter?" Hold on. This blog answers all your questions. Please keep reading for all the information you need about hiring trekking guides and porter in Nepal, along with the cost of each trekking region.

Table of Contents

Trekking Guide

A trekking guide is an individual who guides the trekkers along the trail providing navigation and valuable information about the mountains, scenery, flora, fauna, and local areas. In Nepal, a trekking guide is not only a trek leader but also a manager who books the place for your accommodation beforehand and an organizer who rearranges the itinerary based on your hiking pace. Furthermore, they help you communicate with the locals by translating between Nepali and English and rescue you if you, unfortunately, fall sick in the high Himalayas. In short, a trekking guide is the hero of the trek.

A licensed trekking guide is certified by TAAN (Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal) and is qualified to guide any trekking destination in the Nepalese Himalayas. They are either associated with a trekking agency or work independently.

Note: A trekking guide does not carry your luggage.

Trekking Porter

If a trekking guide is the hero of the trek, a trekking potter is a supporting character. These are physically fit men from the mountainous region who carry your trekking gear for you. They do not speak English and walk at their own pace, so a trekker may require a day pack with all the essentials needed during the hike. Each potter is often paired with two trekkers and carries a total weight of 20-25 kg, depending on their strength.

No matter what their work involves, these are humble, friendly, and hard-working people earning their wages locally to support their families and themselves. You might as well make a few friends in Nepal by the time you finish the trek.

Trekking Guides and Porters Services in Nepal

There are two ways you can hire a trekking guide and/or porters to trek in Nepal.

Through Trekking Agencies

Most trekking guides are associated with a particular trekking agency, and you can hire them through those agencies. Trekking agencies like us (Outfitter Nepal) mostly offer a whole trekking package, including a guide, porters, transportation, accommodation, and meals. However, you can also hire just a guide from them. Guides linked with agencies are usually insured so that you can trek worry-free.

How to find trekking agencies in Nepal? It's simple. You can either land in Kathmandu and walk over to a few trekking agencies in Thamel, talk to the guides, and book the one you feel is a good match for you. You will be spending weeks with him/her in the remote Himalayas, after all. Or even easier way is to search for local trekking agencies online and book the guides by paying an advance amount before even flying to Nepal. These agencies can also provide porters if you're planning to hire them.

Booking your guide online in advance is a safer choice as you might not find good guides to hire instantly after reaching Nepal during peak trekking seasons. However, you don't get to meet the guide in person before finalizing them. So, it's the choice you have to make.

Independent Guides

There are plenty of self-employed trekking guides who are not associated with any trekking agencies. You'll be approached by such trekking guides while walking on the streets of Thamel, or your hotel can recommend someone for you. These guides are also in contact with porter, so you can hire the porter through them.

Independent guides are slightly cheaper as no third-party commission is involved, but they are rarely insured. You might as well be a victim of scams on account of saving some money. So, be extra careful while hiring an independent guide and ask for their license and insurance proof before finalizing the deal.

Hiring an independent guide would work best if someone you know has already worked with them and are satisfied with the service provided. In such a case, you can reach out to the guide in advance and book them for your upcoming trek in Nepal.

Cost of Hiring trekking guides and porters in Nepal

Although Nepal is a small land-locked country, its landscape and vegetation vary from region to region. Some trekking regions are easily accessible from the cities, while others are remote. Some trekking destinations are well-established and popular, while others are recently opened and unknown to most. For such reasons, the cost of hiring a trekking guide and porters depends on the region you're trekking in.

In Everest Region

The Everest region is the most popular trekking destination in Nepal and has the most developed trekking trail with modern amenities. People trek in the region to catch a glimpse of Mt. Everest (8848 m), the highest peak in the world. The Everest Base Camp itself receives around 40,000 trekkers every year. Hence the daily wage of trekking guides and poter is towards the lower end.

However, if you hire a guide from Kathmandu, you have to cover their flight ticket to and from Lukla, which will add up to the total cost you spend on the guide. So, if possible, hire a guide from Lukla itself. You can communicate this with the travel agency.

  • Cost of hiring a Guide – US$ 25 to 30 per day
  • Cost of hiring a Potter – US$ 20 to 25 per day

Note: Everest Three Passes is a remote trek, so the cost may be higher for this particular trek.

In Annapurna Region

The Annapurna region is another popular trekking destination in Nepal. Annapurna Circuit, Annapurna Base Camp, and Ghorepani Poonhill are some of the most hiked trekking trails in the area. Trekking in the region offers a clear view of the Annapurna range, including Mt. Annapurna at 8091 meters (the world's 10th highest mountain) and Mt. Machhapuchre (Mt. Fishtail).

The trailheads of the treks in the Annapurna region are just a few hour's drive from Pokhara and a little farther from Kathmandu. Hence, the cost of hiring a trekking guide is not that expensive.

  • Cost of hiring a Guide – US$ 25 to 30 per day
  • Cost of hiring a Potter – US$ 20 to 25 per day

In Upper Mustang and Nar Phu Valley

Although situated in the Annapurna region, Upper Mustang and Nar Phu Valley are listed in restricted zones by the government of Nepal and require special permits to enter. They are also quite remote in location compared to other treks in the region. These off-the-beaten rugged trails are challenging to trek and are on the radar of very few trekkers. Hence the cost of hiring a guide in Upper Mustang and Nar Phu Valley is comparatively expensive.

  • Cost of hiring a Guide – US$ 30 to 35 per day
  • Cost of hiring a Potter – US$ 25 to 30 per day

In Langtang Region

The Langtang is the nearest trekking region from Kathmandu and is popular for shorter treks of 7 to 10 days. Despite shorter lengths, the trekking trails in this region feature beautiful snow-capped mountains, lakes, and lush green vegetation. The Langtang Valley, Goasinkunda, and Helambu are some of the most popular treks in the region. Due to its proximity to the capital city, hiring a trekking guide is relatively inexpensive in the Langtang region.

  • Cost of hiring a Guide – US$ 25 to 30 per day
  • Cost of hiring a Potter – US$ 20 to 25 per day

In Manaslu Region

Only opened to foreign trekkers in 1992, the Manaslu region is one of the newest trekking zones of Nepal and is less developed than the others. It is situated between the Langtang and Annapurna regions and receives fewer trekkers than the two. The region's main attraction is Mt. Manaslu (8163 m), the world's 8th-highest mountain. The Manaslu Circuit and Tsum Valley are the two trekking destinations with trails along the challenging Himalayan terrain. As a result, the trekking guides charge more to go there.

  • Cost of hiring a Guide – US$ 30 to 35 per day
  • Cost of hiring a Potter – US$ 25 to 30 per day

In Kanchenjunga Region

Located in the north-eastern Himalayas of Nepal, the Kanchenjunga region shares a border with Tibet in the North and India in the East. The region is home to Mt. Kanchenjunga (8586 m), the world's 3rd highest mountain peak. The Kanchenjunga Base Camp trekking trail is under Nepal Government Protected Areas and needs a special permit. The region is among the remotest trekking destinations in Nepal, and hiring a trekking guide is costly here.

  • Cost of hiring a Guide – US$ 30 to 35 per day
  • Cost of hiring a Potter – US$ 25 to 30 per day

What's Included and Excluded in the cost?

The cost you pay to your trekking guide and porter is inclusive of certain things, and the extra cost has to be paid by you. Let's find out what's included in the price and what's not.

Cost Includes

  • Daily wages/salary
  • Accommodation in mountain lodges
  • Meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • Travel Insurance

Cost Includes

  • Transportation or flight fare to and from the trailhead (if required)
  • Tips (tips are not mandatory but expected, so tip your guide and porter if you like their service)

From navigating the trekking route to executing rescue missions in the rough Himalayas, the role of a trekking guide is so much more than they are credited for. A well-qualified and experienced guide will make your trek more efficient and informational. Remember, a trekking guide can make or break your mountain adventure. So, don't fall for cheap guides, they probably lack the experience, and you'd pay the price when things go wrong in the mountains.

We hope that was helpful.

If you're in search of licensed and insured trekking guides who have been leading trekking groups in the Himalayas for years, we're here to help. Outfitter Nepal has been providing all sorts of trekking services in Nepal for over 15 years. We only work with professional and experienced guides, and all of them are insured. Reach out to us through Gmail or WhatsApp to discuss this further. We wish you a pleasant vacation!

Raj Kumar Basnet

Raj Kumar Basnet

Hello, Hi & Namaste Everyone !

Raj Kumar Basnet holds more than two decades of travelling experience in different regions of Nepal. He has trekked in both popular and off-the-beaten-path Nepali trekking trails which have allowed him to gain expertise in tourism. With years of field experience under his belt, he is now concentrating on sharing as much of his tourism knowledge as possible. Now, the co-owner of Outfitter Nepal, he hopes that the knowledge he’s gained over the years would deem helpful for the travellers visiting Nepal!

For More Info: Facebook Page

Call us on WhatsApp+977 9820996633OrChat with us