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Tipping In Nepal

Posted: Friday March 15, 2024

On the summit of Island Peak

Clients on the summit of Island Peak with their Climbing Sherpa

If you are going on a ‘once in a lifetime’ trip to Nepal, maybe the iconic Everest Base Camp trek or to climb a classic trekking peak such as Mera Peak or Lobuche then you might want to budget for tips.

If you have arranged your trip through a reputable provider, you will undoubtably have a trekking Guide and several Porters.  If you are climbing a trekking peak, then in addition to your trekking Guide and Porters you will most likely also have a Climbing Sherpa to keep you safe during the journey from Base Camp to the Summit and back as well as a Chief and a Kitchen Helper.

Tipping is always a tricky one to get right and you never know if it’s too little or too much do you?

There isn’t a fixed tipping rate for Guides, Porters, Chiefs, Kitchen Helpers and Climbing Sherpa’s however, they will expect to be tipped.  Tipping is a great way to show your appreciation for all the hard work that your Staff will have put in to make your trip successful, but it should only be done if the service merits it.

Here is some useful information to help you navigate through the tipping dilema.  The living wage in Nepal is estimated to be around  NRP20,000 (about US$150, £120) per month (=US$5 or £4 per day based on a 30 day month) with the legal minimum wage NRP17,300 (US$130, £100) per month.

It’s generally advised that any tips should raise the pay up to the living wage.  However, at Monkey Mountaineering, we already pay our Guides and Porters more than the living wage (pro-rata on a daily basis as our trips are often less than a month).  Our trekking Guides receive US$25 per day and Porters/Other Staff US$15 per day.  Our Climbing Sherpas are paid US$150 per day.

As we pay above the legal and living minimums, we think that tips should be approximately 15-20% of daily pay and so if this was the case then a tip for your guide would be somewhere from US$3.75 to US$5 (£3 – £4) per day and for Porters and other Staff it would be US$2.25 to US$3 (£1.75 – £2.35) per day.

That said, these amounts feel way too low, don’t you think?

Perhaps a more appropriate amount to tip would be somewhere around US$10 – US$15 per day for the Guide and US$5 – US$10 for Porters and other Staff.  For Climbing Sherpas you might want to tip somewhere between US$30 and US$40 per day (which would be 20 to 25% of their daily pay, which feels reasonable) and you may want to add an additional amount for reaching the summit if you feel that’s necessary – I’m sure they would appreciate it.

These amounts are based on two people sharing the overall amount, so for an Everest Base Camp trek with 12 days of trekking two people might tip their Guide a total of US$120 or £90 (US$60 or £45 each).  A larger group of trekkers may be able to tip more but contribute less per person.  Whatever amount you decide on it must feel right for you and not be seen as an insult by the recipient.

Once you have decided on an amount to tip that feels right for you, you will want to ensure all members of your Staff receive their individual amounts.  The best way to tip is to thank each member of Staff individually, passing them their tip as you do so, at the end of your trek.

Tips can be given and will be accepted in any currency, but it is always best to give tips in the local currency so as to not inconvenience individual Staff members by them then having to find somewhere to get the money exchanged.  In Nepal, tip in Nepalese Rupees!

It is a tricky subject so do what feels right for you.  I hope that the information contained in this short article helps.  If you have any thoughts or comments then I’d love to hear them, please post them below.

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