Can I trek Nepal without a guide?

It’s possible to trek Nepal without a guide on the unrestricted trails and lots of people do. The trails are usually clear and easy to follow, although we’d highly recommend you take a good map with you.

If you decide to trek Nepal without a guide, it’s a bit cheaper. After all, you’re not paying for a guide. You may also choose not to pay porters to carry your backpacks. You pay for other things included in trip packages like transport, accommodation and food directly. Sometimes you might end up paying more for these things, as you have no relationship or agreement in place with business owners.

You organise your own transport and find your own food and accommodation along the trails. Decide your own daily agenda and trek at your own pace – very fast or super slow, and take breaks when you want. Sounds great right?!

I’m Anna from Team Nepalorama. I’ve trekked in Nepal myself with and without a guide. Having experienced both options, I’ll never trek Nepal without a guide again – here’s why…

Krishna and Anna - Team Nepalorama together in Nepal

The Benefits of Trekking With a Guide and Why we Recommend it!

  • When you walk out of Kathmandu airport, you’ll discover a sea of people waiting to offer you their services. It can be quite daunting and I find it’s much easier to simply look for my guide (who is holding a sign). Once I’ve found my guide I know I’m in safe hands and everything will be taken care of including transport to Thamel and my hotel accommodation. I can just relax and enjoy the crazy sights of Kathmandu!
  • I don’t have to worry about, or spend lots of time organising trekking permits, because my guide has already organised them for me.
  • My accommodation on the trek is guaranteed. This is really important in high season, as the demand is higher than the availability. When you trek with a guide/company, they make the reservations in advance to make sure you have a bed. It’s not possible to book ahead without a guide, you just have to turn up and hope for the best.
  • Your guide takes your food orders and settles the bill (food based on your travel preference is included when you’re trekking). It’s much easier than trying to do these things yourself. Instead, you can sit back and relax after a tough walk!
  • Your guide will organise trustworthy porters to carry your bags. Again, it’s more difficult to make arrangements yourself, but not impossible! When I’ve trekked without a guide, I’ve carried my own backpack.
  • Most importantly for me, when I trek in Nepal, I’m on holiday! It’s a challenging adventure, as opposed to lying on the beach! But I still want to feel looked after. I don’t want to think about where I’m going to eat and sleep each day. Instead, I want to focus on the trekking itself and the stunning nature in the Himalaya, which for me, invokes a sense of deep self-reflection.

If You Choose to Trek Nepal Without a Guide

  • Make sure you’re fit to trek. Trekking is challenging and trekking guides are skilled to look after all members of a group, providing encouragement when needed. Without a guide looking out for you, you want to make sure you’re in peak condition to trek.
  • You must carry a very good map with you and pay attention to it. You also need to keep a close eye on the weather and know when to stop for the day.
  • Make sure you have all the equipment you need including a good first aid kit.
  • You must build sufficient time to safely acclimatise into your itinerary.
  • Have some knowledge of altitude sickness symptoms and what to look out for. In the event that one of your group is sick, you must take immediate action.
  • Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance and a way to contact your insurance company in the event of an emergency.
  • In peak season, it’s sensible to carry a tent with you in case you’re unable to find accommodation.

Trekking Nepal with Nepalorama

When you trek with us, you trek on your terms, with your own guide. Whilst we agree your itinerary before you go to Nepal, you still have a lot of flexibility once you’re there. For example, if you want an extra rest break, just ask your guide! If you want to start a bit later one morning, just ask your guide! If you want to walk further one day, just ask your guide! You get the idea!

We may not be able to fulfill every request, but we’ll explain why and of course our guides will do everything possible to make sure your trek feels just right for you!