how much ca$h should I carry on EBC trek?
Replies: 15 - Last Post: Nov 16, 2012 10:08 AM Last Post By: scoodly
Nov 12, 2012 11:35 PM
how much ca$h should I carry on EBC trek?Reading posts, it appears Lukla onwards is a cash economy. Are CCs accepted anywhere AT ALL? are there lodges that can accept CC as part of the sum total payment? Of course, you have to pay in Rs to the porter/ lunch food etc.
- If CCs are not useful, can I carry combo of Rs and $? Do the lodges quote their fare in $? Like $10? And then I can simply hand them that amount?
- Are there any ATMs in Namche? If so, Id prefer to take my debit and withdraw some there. But dont know if they run out of cash.
- Lastly, can I pay for the plane ticket $140 OW on CC in KTM?
Nov 13, 2012 2:03 AM
1Yes – It’s cash only on trek, there is an ATM at Namche Bazaar but it’s often reported as either out of order or out of money so don’t rely on it.
Change all the money you need for trek in Kathmandu before leaving, you get a far better exchange rate there in any case
Allow about $30 per day cash for the trek to cover your food and accommodation
Buy your return Lukla flight in Kathmandu, you can use a credit card but will be charged extra to cover the commission - Take your best guess at when you will want your return flight from Lukla to Kathmandu and book an open return for that date, then when you get back to Namche Bazaar if you are either ahead or behind schedule you can ring the airline office from there and book seats on the next available flight (In busy time and especially when backlogs occur during spells of poor weather it won’t harm to also ring the airline office from Namche Bazaar and confirm your flight date)
This is a Much better option than hanging around Lukla for a day or so awaiting your flight as Namche and the surrounding area as a lot more to offer.
Aim to arrive back in Lukla early afternoon the day before you fly back to Kathmandu and stay in “The Sunrise Lodge” The owner of this lodge has “Power” with the airlines and will accompany you to the office, which opens around 3 to confirm your flight, and help ensure your name is on the list
You will also need your TIMS and National Park Entry – You can get these in Kathmandu or at the Park Gate at Monjo, but I would certainly recommend that you get your TIMS in Kathmandu before leaving – Costs, $37.50 each National Park Entry and $10 each TIMS ($20 if you organise this in advance through an agent)
Nov 13, 2012 2:49 AM
As Rob said, it's cash rupees only on the trek. A few of the more expensive lodges in Namche might accept CC payment but the standard lodges (at 200 rupees per night) will not. There is a risk carrying so much cash but the usual vigilance should suffice. I don't remember any reports of problems on here.
Enjoy the trek.
Nov 13, 2012 3:01 AM
3It is possible to change money at the bank in Namche, but at a hefty 8% comission.
The ATM machine there also applies a stiff comission per withdrawal, and has a very low limit on the amount you can draw at a time.
Don't rely on any of those options. It would be for emergencies only. All trekkers carry quite a lot of Rupees with them but with exception of the 'Maoist guerilla time' robberies have been rare.It is of course prudent never to flaunt large wads of money, or to mention it to anyone you don't feel you know well.
Nov 13, 2012 3:57 AM
Nov 13, 2012 4:20 AM
5Wow, that daily budget reminds me of the late 90s and I'd like to trek at these costs again. A couple of photos of lodge menus from EBC this spring here.
Just hoiw do you trek for $10 per day (never mind the bu and permit costs)?
Nov 13, 2012 7:45 AM
6Trekking for $10/day or less is pretty easy. Besides taking enough with you to be self-sufficient for some time, in low season you just have to haggle with the lodges. It works, especially if you make it clear that you're pretty happy camping and cooking on your own stove if they won't lower their prices. Sometimes you might even have to start pitching your tent and firing up your stove, but once they see you're serious, the prices go down.
That's been my Nepal experience, as well as that of some of my fellow travellers. The budgets quoted on this forum are often bafflingly high.
Nov 13, 2012 7:54 AM
7Thanks for the 'low season' qualification. Did you try that in a 'village' on EBC where only one lodge was open (as can happen in winter)? Tents pitched on lodge owners land usually incur the same charge a s a room - in season at least.
Do you carry a tent, stove and supplies just as a negotiating tool?
Nov 13, 2012 1:58 PM
8Anabase: Given that Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world and as a visitor from a wealthy western country - do you really feel the need to screw the lowest price possible out of lodge owners that provide an amazing service at a really low price (in western terms) ?
Nov 13, 2012 4:27 PM
9Personally, I think that trekking in Nepal still offers excellent value for money, Even trekking with a budget of $25 to $30 per day – Many countries you wouldn’t even find a bed for that, let alone all your food –If you add to that the effort and therefore costs incurred that it takes transporting everything to remote roadless regions in Nepal, most people then realise that it isn’t so expensive !!
We trekked in The Arun Valley this Spring and our food and accommodation costs there worked out at around $10 per day, but these soon increased when we hit the main EBC trail and once above Namche Bazaar, I would say that it would be difficult to trek on less than $25 per person per day staying and eating in the teahouses, If you packed all your own food and camped, you could cut that down, but as scoodly rightly mentions, you would still be charged for camping.
So – Personally, I will stick to staying and eating in teahouses, spending $25 to $30 per day and doing it with a Big Smile on my face
Nov 13, 2012 8:40 PM
10I have never had any problems carrying large amounts of cash on my trips. Right now I am in Burma and started with over 3000 Euros worth of USD and Euros in my shoulder bag. In Nepal and China I and my family has had well over $10000 with us. Those countries are still cash economies: in Bagan I was exchanging 200 Euros just the other day, and the local man next in line brought almost $10000 in crisp USD bills in a chocolate box. In China businessmen come to banks with plastic shopping bags full of money. In Nepal you'll see lodge owners with wads of rupees too thick to fit in one hand. That is just the way it goes, no point in trying to fight it, simple life.
Trying to pay in USD might work in bigger lodges, but what is the point? The exchange rate would be at least 10% worse than what you get by exchanging all your money in Kathmandu before the trek. They are no fools, a trekker caught up there without Rupees is taken advantage of. Using a credit card usually/always means a hefty commission penalty also (around 5%). If you want to pay that for "safety", and stay in a $25 hotel instead of $2 lodge to be able to use your card to boot, fine.
Nov 14, 2012 10:36 AM
11I am interested in how people trek EBC for $10 per day so I hope snoogledookum and Anabase will provide more details - or anyone else for that matter - I'm sure plenty of others are interested too.
In 2010 I trekked LangtangGosainkund/Helambu out of season for about 1200 rupees er day (food and accommodation but not transport and permits). I didn't buy beer or chocolate (except for the p/g) but did not try to be frugal. I guess I could have reduced it by a couple of hundred rupees and still had a decent diet. I didn't try and negotiate on the lodge prices either (except at one lodge who tried to charge 400) because I felt 100 rupees was a fair price.
Nov 14, 2012 1:14 PM
12Get off your high horse, Gipton_1. Not everyone posting advice here is from a "wealthy western country". I am from a poor Eastern European country and my friends travelling in the Subcontinent were from an even poorer one. We learned to negotiate from the Israeli backpackers, who get a very small amount of money after they leave the army and have to make it last as long as possible. Tourists with nice jobs and large salaries don't have the need to haggle, perhaps, so they should probably accept the price they are told and travel with luxury transport. But if it had not been for hitchhiking, negotiating with lodge owners and having my own tent and stove with me, my travels in Nepal would not have been possible.
In any event, lodge owners are themselves known to resist the prices that are set for them by a local development authority. The latest edition of the Rough Guide notes that the system of set prices is starting to break down as lodge owners try to alter their menus.
Nov 14, 2012 10:44 PM
13There are are fair and polite ways to negotiate and then, there are the "other kind". Unfortunately, I have been witness to several of the "other kind" carried out at lodges in both Everest and on the Annapurna Circuit, that were done with loud voices, bordering on threats and intimidation and, on two occasions, undertaken in the morning after the group spent the night at the lodge and had consumed several meals. As visitors, we have a choice, to accept or not accept the set prices at a lodge - and the lodge management has a choice whether or not we stay at their lodge. Anyone can ask for the possibility of a discount - but ONLY before their stay and certainly not after eating the food they have ordered. I have seen backpackers leave a lodge in the morning without paying for the food they consumed, because the lodge owner refused to discount the price and stated firmly that menu prices were fixed. I saw that same group, when they reached the summit of the Thorong La, on the Circuit...strip off their clothes and pose naked in front of the prayer flag draped Cairn - an action that offended both Nepalis and other foreign trekkers present. In subsequent days, this group found lodges on the western side of the Circuit had no rooms for them or other trekkers from their country. That wasn't fair to their fellow countrymen who were not involved in the incident.....but it is a lesson to us all that the actions of some people are not worth emulating. Just because other people do it - doesn't mean that it is right or that we should learn from them.
My congratulations to Anabase for his/her excellent command of the English language (even idioms). That's quite an accomplishment for someone who says he "is from a poor Eastern European Country".
Snoogledookum - can you tell us where to catch the bus to the Everest area? Are you referring to trekking in from Jiri or perhaps taking local transport as far as Bandar. Through this area you may be able to survive on $10 to 15 per day in very basic, local lodges and eating dal-bhaat tarkhari - but it won't last long once you hit the main trail above Lukla. I agree that prices in the Khumbu have risen dramatically and quickly in the last two years. So has the price of aviation fuel, freight costs and wages thanks to unionization of Porters by the Maoists.....although, I don't think that anyone will disagree that wages needed to be raised. These factors have had a direct affect on the price of food and accommodation in the area. Times change. It's hardly realistic to think that we can turn the clock back 10 years to costs as they were before.
Nov 16, 2012 8:30 AM
(5 star Hotel)
From US$550.00 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$20.51 per night
(1 star Hotel)
From US$9.51 per night