Monday, April 16, 2012

Trek to the Annapurna Himalayas in Nepal: The Budget

Trek to the Annapurna Himalayas in Nepal

Introduction. What's where and where's what.
Teahouse Trekking. What makes trekking in Nepal a cheap and easy activity to organize.
Preparations. Organizing the trek: permits, transpo, guides and/or porters, etc.
Things to Bring. Gear, clothes, meds, water, etc.
The Trek: Part 1, Part 2. Tackles the trek, all the highs and lows, literally and figuratively.
Budget. Trekking doesn't have to costs that much.
The Take Away. Lessons learned and what not.
Moving on with my Trek to the Annapurna Himalayas in Nepal series, let us now tackle the very important topic of budget. Before you go scrolling down and gasping in shock at the Grand Total, there are a few things you need to know about the budget I am presenting here:
  • This budget covers our entire 26-day stay in Nepal. We trekked for only 10 days within those 26 but I included the pre-trek and post-trek expenses so that anyone reading this may get a good idea on how much it really is to do a trip to Nepal.
  • Again, the trek that we did was independent. That is, we did not sign up for a tour package organized by any travel agency. We did it on our own.
  • There are a few other items I did not include in the main table. I explained each below.
  • The daily allowance I gave myself is just exactly that: allowance. Admittedly, I did go over it a few times what with the massages, steak dinners, and the high prices of beers in Nepal. During the trek, however, I rarely consumed the entire allowance because, well, you don't really need to buy much during the actual trek.
  • Nepal is the third stop of my six-month trip around Asia, right after India. This explains why I flew from Delhi to Kathmandu, and not from somewhere in Southeast Asia.
  • Most of the items were paid in Nepali Rupees, which I got via ATM machines in Kathmandu and Pokhara. The tourist visa and the Spice Jet flight to Kathmandu were paid in US Dollars and Indian Rupees, respectively.
  • The conversion rates I used for all items were that of November 10, 2011 (the day I arrived in Nepal) save for the Spice Jet flight to Kathmandu which was purchased on August 23, 2011.

So without further ado, here be the budget for my trip to Nepal last November 2011:

Tourist Visa for Nepal (30 Days)   40.00 1,728.63
Transportation (Get in and Get Around)      
Delhi to Kathmandu via SpiceJet Airlines (Booked Online)   80.98 3,436.25
Kathmandu to Pokhara Round-Trip Bus (Booked via Travel Agency) 1,000.00 12.75 551.18
Annapurna Sanctuary Trek      
Trekking Permit for the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) 2,000.00 25.51 1,102.36
Trekker's Information Management System (TIMS) Permit 1,615.00 20.60 890.16
Miscellaneous (Gear, Snacks, First Aid, Map, Tips, etc.) (Details here) 11,600.00 147.95 6,393.69
26 Days at 750 NPR per Day * 19,500.00 248.71 10,748.00
6 Nights at 450 NPR per night in Kathmandu (pre-trek) 3,150.00 40.18 1,736.22
5 Nights at 450 NPR per night in Pokhara (pre-trek & post-trek) 2,250.00 28.7 1,240.16
9 Nights at 300 NPR per night during the trek * 2,700.00 34.44 1,488.19
5 Nights at 400 NPR per night in Kathmandu (post-trek) 2,000.00 25.51 1,102.36
18 Days pre-trek and post-trek allowance at 500 NPR per day 8,500.00 108.41 4,685.04
8 Days during the trek allowance at 250 NPR per day 2,000.00 25.51 1,102.36
GRAND TOTAL   839.23 36,204.60
  * Estimated figures only

Excluded in the Table

Like I said there are a few expense items which I did not include in the table. They are:

1. Flight from Nepal to my next destination: I did not include this in the table because this expenditure comes in my budget for my next destination, in this case, Thailand. For the sake of transparency, however, my flight from Kathmandu, Nepal to Bangkok, Thailand cost 239 USD (10,679.34 PHP) via Royal Nepal Airlines. The same fares apply if flying from Bangkok to Kathmandu.

For a cheaper option, budget carrier AirAsia has started flying between their hub in Kuala Lumpur and the Nepali capital of Kathmandu. If you book weeks in advance, flights either way cost anywhere from 145 to 185 USD. If you book way in advance, like several months, you might get cheaper rates as AirAsia likes to put up discounted fares from time to time. Again, best to plan ahead.

2. Everest Trekking Permit: We originally planned to do the Everest Base Camp Trek (EBC). However, due to inclement weather, we had to cancel it and opt for another one. While we did get our refunds for our round-trip flights to and from the jump-off point to the EBC Trek, we were not able to get our money back for the Everest Trekking Permit. That is 2000 NPR (25.51 USD or 1,102.36 PHP) down the drain.

3. Bungy Jump: I did not include our bungy jumping experience in Nepal because this is a non-mandatory cost for anyone wanting to do the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek in Nepal. We did it simply because we love scaring ourseleves to death. The Last Resort's Bungy Jump package, which includes round-trip bus rides to the jump facility and a buffet lunch, cost 72 EUR (4039.20 PHP). Photo and video of the jump, oddly excluded in the package, cost 2000 NPR (25.51 USD or 1,102.36 PHP).

4. Shopping: You didn't really think I'd leave Nepal without taking home a few souvenir items, did you? I bought a Mammut rain jacket/wind breaker for 2000 NPR (25.51 USD or 1,102.36 PHP) and a set of Tibetan Prayer Flags for 5 USD (216.08 PHP).

I do hope this serves as a guide to anyone planning a trip to the Nepal Himalayas, specifically, the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek. Though the figures may look daunting, I promise you every dollar, peso, or rupee you spend will be worth it.

Nepali Bank Notes, Nepal
The barren peak of Everest figures prominently in most of Nepal's bank notes.

This post is the seventh of the series Trek in the Annapurna Himalayas in Nepal. The previous post dealt with Part 02 of the Trek. Stay tuned for the next post when talk about the lessons learned and take-aways from the spectacular experience that is trekking in the Nepal Himalayas.

Do you have any questions about planning and budgeting for a trip to Nepal? Do leave me a comment below. I will do my best to provide you an answer.

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