Now support staff mandatory for trekkers in Nepal
Replies: 64 - Last Post: Aug 20, 2012 12:26 AM Last Post By: walksalone
Jul 23, 2012 2:35 AM
Now support staff mandatory for trekkers in NepalDear Traveler,
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Jul 23, 2012 2:45 AM
2hmmm.......it might be good for TAAN and people working in trekking industry in nepal - but for student backpackers this might be a huge deal - this will bump up their trekking cost by sevral hundred dollars for sure.....and also for the tea houses and lodges if this results into reduction in number of trekkers.
Jul 23, 2012 2:56 AM
Jul 23, 2012 3:57 AM
Jul 23, 2012 8:29 AM
5Anyway more and more trekkers, even young backpackers, now used an agency, a guide or a porter. This was certainly not the case when I started trekking in 1983, young travellers almost always trekked independently.
So Nepal is not going to lose a lot of business with these new rules. On some less touristy routes, favored by independent hikers, like Jiri to Lukla, however, guest houses will feel the loss of business.
But they are going to lose my business, and probably other old-timers too (and we used to come often and stay long). I was planning to come for 2 months this year, and I 'm now cancelling my plane ticket although it will cost me 400 euros to do so.
Also now tourism is booming in Nepal. But conditions could change. Like in the civil war years, then Nepal was happy old timers and adventurers kept coming beacuse the agency tourists just stayed away. And any trouble with the November election this year might well have a major impact.
Now if a tourist bus KTM - Pokhara, for instance, has a serious accident (and Nepal roads are certainly dangerous), more people might die in one minute than in 20 years of trekking. Will they forbid tourists to travel by road then ?
Considering the costs, it is a lie that a guide or porter might cost only 10 $ a day if hired from an agency (which is mandatory too). Last year, we employed a (mandatory and indeed totally useless) guide for the Manaslu Tsum trek, on top of the guide fee, we had to pay a 'tax' to the agency which was superior per day to the guide fee. The agency said they had to pay this as a tax to the government.
Edited by: WILLEMSPIE
Jul 23, 2012 10:40 AM
6try another agency then...there are loads.
Top three I have used-
Alternatively go around Thamel and get a sense of who can give the best service. Once you trekk allot on various routes its true that after some time you dont really need a guide unless they are really very good and can show you things you wouldnt know orinarly.
Jul 23, 2012 11:28 AM
7Although I agree with most of what WILLEMSPIE has posted and I do think that the decision to make solo trekkers trek with at least a porter is fundamentally flawed, personally I believe that as long as the ruling isn’t extended to all independent trekkers is the most important thing.
My reasoning’s are as follows
1) Although I don’t class myself as an old timer as I only started trekking in Nepal 18 years ago, my earlier treks were all independent without any trekking staff and included AC, EBC from Jiri, Langtang and an extended ABC trek. However since these earlier treks I have now moved onto employing at least a porter/guide when I trek, this being my own personal choice and not forced on me – However, if I hadn’t had the opportunity to do the independent treks in the first place then it would have been very doubtful whether I would have returned so many times – So Choice to me is the issue
2) All of us “Experienced” trekkers realise that by employing a porter probably won’t be of benefit to the trekker from a safety point of view because a lot of the time a porter doesn’t walk with their clients – So what is being sold to us under the banner of making trekking safe for solo trekkers is at best Doubtful
3) As the rules stand there is nothing to stop solo trekkers banding together and therefore circumventing the rule of the obligatory porter
4) Totally agree with the $10 quote being rubbish, most TAAN registered agents now have a minimum daily charge for a porter of $15, this rises to $18 for EBC (To cover the extra costs of food up there) and I have heard of some TAAN agents quoting a daily rate of $20 for a porter – Add onto that about $110 for a return Lukla flight for the porter, then add on a half decent tip and the daily price of the standard 14 day EBC trek jumps to nearly $30 extra per day for a solo trekker + their own flight + their own food an accommodation + their park entry fee that has recently tripled + their TIMS – So you are getting very close to the price you would pay to join a group with an international company – Maybe when the Nepali authorities realise that it might be a foreign company rather than themselves which is attracting the extra business, they might rethink
5) Personally I think that if the Nepali Government want to maintain their status of Nepal being considered a safe place to visit and trek, they should turn their efforts to catching the criminal who a perpetrating these heinous crimes and Not trying to think of more ways to extract more $’s from trekkers as eventually an increasing number of trekkers will adopt the same strategy as WILLEMSPIE
6) However – At the moment the rule is only for solo trekkers, and to me as long as this rule is left as it is, just for solo trekkers then personally, although I don’t see it doing a lot of good, as long as trekkers are aware that the rule exists then it really doesn’t have to effect them – As I posted above, as things stand all they have to do is find a trek-mate and I have been advocating that solo trekkers should do this for a long time rather than risk trekking alone – But that’s jut my opinion ;-)
OK – Time to get off my orange box
Good Luck to one and all
Jul 23, 2012 6:21 PM
81. Generally I agree with the comments of WILLEMSPIE and Rob, although I think that Rob is an "old timer" for all practical purposes:) I'm sure Rob doesn't feel like it (me either), but compared to most of the trekkers, you are (me too & I think we're close to the same age). Hopefully, we both have many years of trekking ahead of us!
2. Like Rob, I didn't hire a porter when I first started trekking. However, now, I do for the comfort (and the fact that I'm getting older), to employ another Nepali, and to learn from them. On my last several treks, a porter usually kept an eye on me. While the porter would occassionally walk with me, most often, they would keep their distance (because I prefer to trek alone or with my trekking buddies) but they would usually be in sight, keeping an eye on me. Further, on my trek last fall on the Manaslu Circuit and Tsum valley, I really enjoyed getting to know my porters, playing Nepali card games in the evenings. They really enhanced my overall experience. So, I'd disagree with Rob's comment on porters not being useful from a safety perspective, at least from my experience over the past 8 years.
4. I agree that the $10 quote is not realistic. And because of the food costs, a porter on the Manaslu Circuit/Tsum valley will cost $20 USD/day.
5. I doubt that Nepal is going to lose a lot of business with these new rules. Solo trekkers may band together as suggested by Rob. However, there will be independent solo trekkers like WILLEMSPIE who will stay away. I certainly agree with WILLEMSPIE that the roads are more dangerous than trekking alone.
Just my comments.
Jul 23, 2012 6:23 PM
9This is the triumph of the Kathmandu-based trekking agencies over commonsense, quite apart from the ridiculous underestimate of how much extra it will cost.
We come to Nepal to trek independently, that is the main attraction.
Our experience over 40 years of 'helping locals' by taking guides has been marred by endless arguments about how far to go in a day, about only staying in the guide's mate's place, guide drunkenness, guides getting lost, arguments about the route or a change of route, tiresome wheedling about extra tips and extra clothing, and the guide not being equipped for a change in weather. We have had absolutely great guides too (in Tsum and Mustang where they were essential) but on balance this is a very unattractive idea.
If this stupid rule is actually enforced then our 2 months plans for October-November will be curtailed and we'll use the airfare to go elsewhere.
Jul 24, 2012 4:47 AM
Jul 24, 2012 5:16 AM
I was in Nepal and couple of years ago and trekked the Annapurna circuit. I was going to return next year to do another trek as I loved the country. I did the trek with a friend, we just went alone and it was the best experience.
I kind of understand the reason why this rule is coming into effect for an inexperienced trekker going solo can be dangerous. Although i do question what extra protection guide or porter would provide. Whats the guarantee the guide himself is safe to be around?
Anyway I just want to clarify the rule. Does this mean that no matter how big your group is you have to take a guide?
If so i will not be returning for two reasons.
1) I simply cant afford it 2) I think it sounds like a huge scam to squeeze money out of travelers.
But i will be more than gutted if this rule forces me to go somewhere else.
Thanks for your time
Jul 24, 2012 5:20 AM
Jul 24, 2012 5:38 PM
13i can understand the desire to have some sort of process to make sure everyone's checked in at the end of the day...especially in places like langtang where someone sinister might be afoot... but couldn't that be accomplished using some form of the buddy system without costing solo trekkers more money AND putting more people (now nepali citizens) in harms way?
except for providing some check that i'm not benighted after a tumble i don't see what utility a porter will add to my already-planned solo trek. first off, i have a hard time believing that any porter without a military background is going to have a better shot at defending me against some prowling machete-wielding attacker. also, the extra cost of 20 dollars a day over the course of my planned 3 months of trekking (which is a lot of money but not so much that i'm going to cancel) is going to stress me out constantly. it's just another logistical headache and a costly and unnecessary one at that.
at this point i feel like i'm just venting to other folks who feel the same. i've written taan. and will communicate my dissatisfaction to any official i meet. i'll arrive in nepal on the 22nd of next month and will keep this board updated re: the implementation of this egregious policy. hopefully, i can slip into the hills on a trek before the hammer falls on the september start date and by the time i've returned they'll have sorted out how useless this is.
Jul 24, 2012 6:58 PM
I guess there is a big confusion about what government bodies do and say and what is baseles rumors as people jump on discussions without having facts.
So i like to give my perspective.
There is no prohibition from the Ministry of Tourism/central Government in regard that trekkers are not allowed to trek alone in the "open trakking areas" (Everest, Annapurna etc) as a rule or law. Just relax and trek!
Only for the Langtang area (Rasuwa District) the local District Security Committee states that any foreign visitors shall not to go alone and they would +locally not allow single trekkers to proceed without a porter or guide for security concerns.
It has nothing to do with Government, TAAN, NTB, Army or anyone else.
The Home ministry has forwarded the letter of the District Security Committee/CDO to the concerned tourism associations, NTB and the Embassies.
Nothing has been made/implemented by the Government of Nepal, it's a district level security decision like any local authority could do so worldwide, like closing a particular road o area to the public.
Of course some people would like to make it belive as it would be nationwide, but it is not so. I have seen the concerned letter form the District Security Committee/CDO.
Just relax and trek!
There is a lobbying to make it compulsory from a part of TAAN, but there is very strong disagreement within TAAN, as even many Trekking Agents are against forcing people to become there "clients".
Edited by: navyo
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