I trekked in May 2014, prices may change slightly, i suppose. But here is what I found…
1. Permit is 2000npr, TIMS is 1000npr
If your combined permits cost more than 3000, you need to question your agent. You can go to the permit offices and get for yourself, you don’t need someone to do this for you.
2. If you’re on your own or in a pair, you don’t need a guide
There are lots of groups with guides who are happy to tell you anything you want to know. Chat to them at guesthouses in the evenings or during the day while you walk, every one we met were very friendly and helpful.
3. You don’t need to take taxis
If you are staying lakeside, you can take a taxi to the Pokhara bus station for 200npr. From there, get a bus to wherever you want to go. A bus to Nyalpur cost 200npr. Much cheaper than 4000npr for a taxi.
4. You don’t need much stuff
You need decent shoes. They don’t have to be expensive hiking boots. You’re only walking on stone steps and dirt trails, you’re not actually ascending Everest. You need a very warm top for the evenings (I got a thick yak wool hoodie for 1500npr) and a poncho in case it rains (100npr). You only need a t-shirt while youre walking so I just had 4, one for each day. After 4 days walking you probably want to take a rest day so you can wash your tshirts, socks and underwear and chillout while it dries.
Do take: a towel, soap, sunblock, sunglasses, a camera (you can charge smart phones at night), a book to read.
5. Going alone is just as good (or maybe better) than with friends.
You will meet lots of people from all over the world and you all have something in common, you are trekking in the Himalayas. If you are alone, you can leave when you want, stop and rest when you want, and stay where you want.
6. Accommodation is cheap, food is expensive
A simple room is between 200 and 400npr. If you are two, this is split. Food, however, starts at about 300npr for the most simple meal. Dahl Baat (the local food) is about 500npr. I chose to eat Dahl Baat every night since with this meal you can have as many servings as you like, just keep asking for more, it’s the same price. This did not get boring either, since at each guesthouse, the meal is prepared in a slightly different way; each cook has their own style. Thukpa (local noodle soup) is also relatively cheap and filling (I had this for lunch or breakfast each day). Food prices are high because most things need to be carted up the mountain by porters and donkeys. Deal with it.
7. Each additional day is quite cheap
You already have your permit and have paid to get up there. Each additional day won’t cost you more than 2000npr, so if you have time, chillout and make the most of it. It is more rewarding to go slowly and explore for 3 or 4 hours a day, than be a hero and go as far as you can each day. Each village you pass through has its individual charms and the people are generally very friendly.
8. Try the local Roksi
The locals brew a kind of millet wine, sort of similar to Japanese sake or Korean soju. I had some great stuff from the ‘pub’ across from the snow view guesthouse in Ghorepani. The woman who made it filled a empty beer bottle for 150npr. I only drank half that night, I would estimate its strength at around 12%. The quality varies from village to village, don’t be scared to try more than once.
9. Chocolate and water is expensive
If you’re a chocoholic, bring it with you, its 250npr per bar in the mountains. Refill your water bottle at guesthouses for about 60npr per litre.
10. Get up early
You’re in the highest mountains in the world. This once in your life, go to bed early and get up at 4am. Watch sunrise at 5am or whenever. It’s worth it.
Have fun, take a notebook to record your thoughts, I found the Himalayas to be amazingly creative, I hope you enjoy as much as I did!