Can you trek in Nepal without a guide?

Can you trek in Nepal without a guide?

No, from 2023, the Nepal government, in coordination with the Trekking Association of Nepal, has made it compulsory for all foreign tourists to hire a guide while travelling to Nepal. The TIMS card needed for the traveller to trek within Nepal can now be issued only via the trekking agency or through a licensed guide. Trekking in Nepal with a guide has been made compulsory from March 2023 only. Now, independent travellers cannot get the permits they need. 

Whether you are a solo traveller or travelling in a group of larger people, you need to issue a permit for going to do any high mountain region. In cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara, you will not need a permit. However, when you leave the city and head toward the mountain regions for trekking, you will need a permit that can only be issued when you hire a guide. Let’s learn in detail about where you can Can you trek in Nepal without a guide and where you cannot

What kind of guide you must hire?

While hiring a guide to Nepal, you must ensure that the guide has a license. The legal license for a guide to Nepal is only provided by the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) and the Nepal Academy of Tourism & Hotel Management. So, when you hire a guide online or find one in Kathmandu, the first thing you need to look at is whether they have a license that TAAN and NATHM issue. Trekking guides to Nepal do not need extensive formal education but a training session via TAAN. Also, check the date of the issue to find a guide with a few years of experience. 

Check shortest treks in Nepal.

Do guides in Nepal speak English?

Yes, English is quite a common language in Nepal, and almost all guides who have licenses from TAAN speak English very well. Other than English, a lot of guides are also familiar with other languages, such as Indian and Chinese. Only a handful of guides guide me to be familiar with any language other than these. The number of guides familiar with languages such as French, Spanish, Arabic etc is very less, close to none.

How much does it cost to hire a guide in Nepal?

Hiring guides can cost between $20 to $25 per day. An experienced guide will cost a bit more in comparison to new guides. Also, a guide who is familiar with languages other than English, like Chinese, Spanish or other country-specific languages, costs you more. A guide can lead a trekking group of 4-5 people. So, it will be very cheap to hire a guide if you are travelling in a larger group. For easy routes like Langtang Valley Trek up to 6 people.

However, if you are going for a peak or mountain climbing in Nepal, you need to hire a guide who has a permit for mountain climbing and many years of experience. These climbing experts cost dollar $30 to 35 per day for mountain climbing. Since mountain climbing is way more risky than trekking, a guide can be your lifesaver at some point in the journey. 

Check the Most popular Manaslu Circuit Trek in Nepal.

Where are guides required in Nepal?

Guides are now required for all trekking routes in Nepal. When you enter the trekking route, check posts along the way, especially at the entrance of the conservation area or district headquarters. At these points, the government agency will check if you have a guide and a legal permit with you. Otherwise, you can move ahead from that checkpost, trek in Nepal without a guide is regarded illegal.

You will not need a guide to explore the city such as Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan, Lumbini and more. However, if you start hiking to the higher mountain region, then you must get yourself a guide. We recommend that even when you’re going for a short hike of 1 to 2 days in an area close to Kathmandu or Pokhara, you get yourself a guide. 

How much do you tip a tour guide in Nepal?

Although tipping culture is not very popular in Nepal’s hotels and restaurants, the guides expect a tip at the end of the churn. The tip amount varies depending on the trekking route’s difficulty and duration. You can tip up to 10% of the total cost you pay for the guide or about 50 to 100 dollars if you’re satisfied with the service. If you do not like the service provided by the guide, you are not forced to tip them. 

How to find a guide to Nepal?

The easiest way to find and hire a guide to Nepal is to consult with the trekking agency. You can contact the trekking agency and instead of booking the whole package just ask them to find a guide for you. There are thousands of tour agencies In Nepal you can find online with the details as email and phone numbers mentioned on the website. The trekking agencies in Nepal are very quick with their response, and they can easily hire a guide for you. 

If you do not want to contact a trekking agency and instead find a guide for a little bit cheaper, then you can contact the guide directly via social media. Although guides do not have their personal website, there are a few websites for finding guides to Nepal, such as GuidesFinders. Or, if you share your requirement for a guide on the trekking groups of Nepal over Facebook/ Instagram or similar social media platforms, you are likely to get a few messages from the guides directly.

If you Are already in Kathmandu or Pokhara, you can go to one of their trekking agency physically and ask if they have any guides available at the moment. Almost all trekking agencies in Nepal hire full-time or part-time guides, so they will likely arrange for you one quickly. Then you can meet the guide and find out if you are comfortable with that person. Getting a guide before you hire them allows you to make a bond and also do some bargaining personally. 

Can you find a female guide to Nepal?

Are you a solo female travelling to Nepal, or do you have a group with more female participants? If so, we recommend that you hire experienced female travellers so that you feel safe and comfortable throughout the journey. There are lots of motivated young women working as a guide in Nepal. It might be a bit difficult to find a female guide as such, but it’s not impossible. 

PS: Worried about the long trek? you can fly to Everest by Helicopter at a way lower price and enjoy your time in the mountains.

Only a few travel agencies in Nepal have hired female guides as their staff. You might have to mail 5 to 6 trekking agencies before you can find one female guide in Nepal. Three Sisters Adventure in Pokhara is a female-only travel agency with many female guides working for them. Some websites, such as Nepal Trekking Guide, Mustang Trek, etc, can also help you hire a female guide. The cost of a female guide and a male guide is also the same, that is around $25- $30. 

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