Most ATM’s charge for withdrawal in Nepal. For a fee free ATM in Kathmandu go to the Standard Chartered ATM on Chaksibari Marg in the heart of Thamel, opposite the Green Organic Cafe (inside a little cubicle). There’s usually a G4S security guard standing outside. It has a withdrawal limit of 10,000 ($100) but you can use it multiple times in a row.
Guides in Nepal
Do I need one?
Our recommendation is to not bother with a guide unless you’re trekking alone or you require support on the trek (someone to help you on slippery slopes or over large obstacles). Most people we’ve spoken to have been unhappy with their guide, for many reasons. Most will push an itinerary and are very inflexible with changing plans. Some don’t book ahead if the trail is busy (one claimed he wouldn’t because the customer kept changing her mind. In reality she was asking how far each place was and could they reach it or should they not walk so far). Some take their guests to all manner of shops in an attempt to get them to buy stuff. Usually guides do little more than set an itinerary, organise accommodation (which is easy), pay all bills so you don’t have to carry cash and tell you the names and heights of the mountains you’re looking at. The Langtang, Annapurna and Everest trails are busy and well trodden, they are easy to follow. Reading online or in a book will give you all the information you require. The tea houses are frequent and are usually very friendly, you won’t have any trouble asking for a room or food on the menu.
If I do want a guide or porter?
Do not get a guide or porter from your hotel! Research a guide owned company. Guide owned companies look after their own, they ensure porters and guides have the correct equipment, set maximum load weights, maximum walking hours, etc. The hotel is generally more concerned with profit and will pick the cheapest (therefore less equipment, less rules).
Bus to Syabrubesi
There is a local bus which departs at 6:30am & 7:30am. Tickets are 340 Rupees each and the journey time is ~8 hours. A slight better tourist orientated bus leaves at 7am from the same place and costs 550 Rupees each, this bus makes less stops and is less cramped, journey time is ~5-6 hours.
The bus leaves from Maccha Pokhari. You can buy the tickets from here for the face value but the walk is very dusty and the roads aren’t the best to walk beside. Hotels usually charge between 500-700 per ticket to arrange it for you. The location is marked on the map on the front page of this blog.
Langtang Trek Costs
Here are the prices we paid for a 9 day trip to Langtang. I have included food costs, transport and porter, with all prices split down so you can subtract unnecessary costs where applicable.
If you get diarrhoea in Nepal (and it’s almost guaranteed you will) and it doesn’t subside after 3-4 days you should either go for a consultation or take something for it. We went for a consultation at Nepal International Clinic (open 9-5, Sunday – Friday, no appointment required). That cost 4,700 rupees and we received a 3 day course of Azithromycin. We wanted some spare but thought this was a touch pricey, so we found a pharmacy in Thamel (on Thamel Marg) which sold us another course for 200 rupees. Quite a saving!