"Why I now take a Porter/Guide on trek" Top 5 Page for this destination Trekking Tip by into-thin-air

Trekking, Nepal: 46 reviews and 52 photos

  Kancha on day 1
by into-thin-air
 
  • Kancha on day 1 - Nepal
      Kancha on day 1
    by into-thin-air
  • Rasham in the snow - Nepal
      Rasham in the snow
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  • Kancha the barman - Nepal
      Kancha the barman
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  • Kancha on the bus to Kathmandu - Nepal
      Kancha on the bus to Kathmandu
    by into-thin-air
  • Post trek party - Nepal
      Post trek party
    by into-thin-air
 

Favorite thing: First of all, I trekked AC, EBC from Jiri including Gokyo, Langtang and ABC including Poon Hill and then back up to Muktinath and flight out of Jomsom as an independent trekker without any trekking staff and thoroughly enjoyed my experiences.
Then I trekked Upper Mustang and my only alternatives were to join a group, which had No Appeal or organise my own trek with trekking staff, I opted for the latter and had an Excellent time.
So, my next trek was another one in Langtang and I decided to take along a porter/guide, this mainly because I no longer took the same enjoyment, nor felt in necessary to carry a large rucksack when for a relatively small price I could employ someone else to both carry the bulk of my gear as well as answerer a lot of my questions about the area I was trekking through.
I also soon found out that doors that were previously closed started to open up for me, one good example was that Kancha, my Porter/Guide in Langtang told be about the Gompa above Langtang Village and took me up there, I felt so privileged as we were invited inside and sat in a corner and watched the monks that were chanting – If it hadn’t been for Kancha I wouldn’t have known about this Gompa which turned out to be one of the highlights of the trek.
I also then took a Porter/Guide on my shortened Helambu Loop and this time was recommended a small lodge at Gul Bhanjyang which was by far the best lodge we stayed in, then as we had limited time on this trek it was our Porter/Guide that found the way back to the valley floor to shorten the loop – We could no doubt have found our own way, but it was a lot easier with having someone to keep asking the way as we were by then well of the main trekking route.
But it was my last trek, The Arun Valley that taking along trekking staff made a Huge difference, I might well have invented a new position, that of Guide/Cook
This was actually the cook from my Upper Mustang Trek, he was knowledgeable and spoke reasonable English and was an excellent cook, so I asked my agent if he would be prepared to carry around 15k of supplementary food and act as cook as well as guide, he happily agreed to do so and this made a huge difference to our diet as The Arun Valley is very remote and the teahouses usually only had Dal Bhat – Personally not something I would like to live on for 2 weeks ;-)
But as well as this he guided us through a remote area where the trekking maps were often at best vague + enabled us to visit the Gompa in Sanam by getting us the key
Then when we hit the main trail Tej had quite an easy time as we knew the way and really didn’t need a guide, but he always kept an eye on things in the kitchen and I never had a single stomach problem in 22 days trekking – This I put down to Tej

To me it is a matter of choice, if people wish to trek independently without trekking staff then they should be allowed to do so, but f you are getting a bit older (And Possibly wiser) and your budget isn’t as tight as it once was then taking along a Porter/Guide certainly has its advantages
However – If I hadn’t been allowed to do all my independent trekking on my earlier trips to Nepal then it is doubtful that I would have returned so many times, I expect that this also applies to a lot of other trekkers and regular visitors to Nepal – Maybe something that the rule makers that should think about before implementing the proposed changes to Independent Trekking in Nepal!!

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jul 23, 2012
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Comments (4)

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Jan 16, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    This is what I try to encourage people to do when in MOrocco...of course they largely dont make notice and happily pay for expensive tours or take public buses and moan about paying anything extra to the locals...

    • into-thin-air's Profile Photo
      Jan 16, 2013 at 1:37 PM

      Yes Angela – You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink ;-)

  • jdmcknn's Profile Photo
    Nov 22, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    Hi Rob,

    I'm planning my first trip to Nepal in April/May and will probably have plenty of questions for you in the near future as I am planning on staying in country for some time. First, with guides, if you hire them from Kathmandu are you also responsible for their travel expenses to trailheads? How much do guides normally cost? I will be independently trekking and trying to decide if I want a guide or if I want to just try to find some trekking buddies before hitting the trails. Is the latter very difficult (my first trek I am considering is the jiri to lukla to three passes trek)? Thanks, James

    • into-thin-air's Profile Photo
      Nov 22, 2012 at 10:44 AM

      Hi again James
      Most of the answers to your questions can be found in my Nepal Sports and Outdoor Tips – But in brief - Prices of staff through a Good Agent are as follows, a licensed Guide costs about $25 per day, that includes his food, accommodation, insurance but Not transportation to and from the trailheads or tip – a Porter/Guide is around $20 and a Porter around $15 to $18 – again that includes food, accommodation, insurance but Not transportation to and from the trailheads or tips.
      Finding Trekking Buddies might not be as hard as you think, You could read the Travelling Companions and Trekking & Mountaineering boards on Lonely Planet Thorntree’s and see if there is anyone else trekking around the same time to team up with and if not pop up your own thread.
      Also there is a new website specifically for finding trekking partners that would also be worthwhile copying you post to
      http://trekkingpartners.com/ and hit the “Partner Adds” tab

      Good luck
      Rob

  • into-thin-air's Profile Photo
    Sep 17, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    It is possible to pick guides up en-route on treks, but I always advocate hiring any trekking staff out in Kathmandu before heading off, several reasons including that you are responsible for your “Staff” (Including medical needs, Accident or illness) and if you hire then through a reputable Kathmandu based agent they will come with full insurance as well as appropriate clothing - Good Luck - Rob

  • HannahDK's Profile Photo
    Sep 16, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    I'm planning a trip in November and I don't want to have a guide the whole time. Is it ever possible to get a guide mid-trek for a few days (Annapurna sanctuary or circuit, more likely)?

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