Hire a porter for your trekking in Nepal|how to find porter in Nepal.

No, it is not compulsory to hire a porter for your trekking in Nepal. But for several reasons you should. The porters carry the hikers’ extra clothes, equipment, and belongings so that they can make the most of their adventure. They deliver all the food and material to the teahouses, where the hikers have rest in the evenings. Although they don’t enjoy the spotlight, an expedition or simple hiking is impossible without them. But how these tiny people can balance with a weight far exceeding their own weight? Under what circumstances do they live? Please find out everything about porters in this article.

porter images in mountain nepal
porter images in mountain Nepal

 

        Tourist porters and freight porters

 

There are two types of porters:

  1. The „tourist porter” carries the backpack or luggage of tourists, which is now limited to a maximum of 25kg-30kg. According to the general rule, two tourists need to trek with one porter.

2.    The „freight porter” carries all kinds of stuff (building material, food) up to the teahouses. He carries a load of 70-140kg, which is many times twice as much as their own weight.

 

porter images
Tourist porter   images in Nepal
porter images in nepal
freight porter  images in mountain Nepal

 

How much do the porters earn in Nepal?

Freight porters get paid by the kg, which amounts to approximately 40 Nepalese Rupee (NPR). The supply arrives by aircraft at Lukla airport lying at the foot of the Himalayas. The porters carry the load from Lukla to the bustling market of Namche, the starting point of the Everest Base Camp. It takes more or less 10 hours. Shortly, they get 4000 NPR (33 USD) for carrying 100kg weight.

The second range of porters carries the load from Namche Bazaar (3500m) to the Everest Base camp (5364m). They can put 35 000 Rupees (290USD) in their pockets for that. If the trip organizer is generous – which does not happen too often- they can expect one-day extra salary to compensate for the increased costs at higher altitude camps. Porters need to cover their food and accommodation costs from their salary. So they often try to spare the food to save more for their family.

Due to the extra delivery costs, a bottle of coke costs 75 Rupees in Kathmandu and 300 Rupees in an upper camp. The most popular Nepalese dish, the „dal bhat” (rice with lentil) costs 500-600 NPR (5 USD) by the end of the tour. in one of the poorest countries in the world, where people live on an average of 1$ a day it is a significant amount.

After the Everest Base Camp, the „high-altitude porters” will take over and carry the bags to the temporary camps at 6000-7000m altitude during the Everest summit expeditions. As compensation for their work under extreme conditions is rewarded with a salary of 100$/day. The freight can not exceed 20kg at this altitude.

 

How much to tip a porter?

When you decide to hire a porter in Nepal you should keep in mind that the tourist porters highly depend on the tips they get at the end of the tour. They march two weeks long without being sure what they get at the end.

When talking about tipping, the guides also have an important role. Many times it happens that the guide collects the total amount of tips at the beginning of the tour and distributes them as per his choice. So some give less for the porters, who can’t really follow up without speaking a foreign language.

If the guide incites you to give the tip directly to the porter you can have full trust in the guide!

For a 2-weeks Everest Base Camp tour, you should give a 150-200 USD tip to the porter.

 

porter image
porter images in Nepal

 

 How it is to work as a porter?

Children living in the mountains start to work as porters around the age of 10 to support their families. Bharat, the mountain guide of Nature Explore Trek was 13 years old when he started to work as a porter.

 

„Before the massive arrival of tourists, there were no teahouses and lodges. There were no restrictions either for how much an underage boy can carry. I wanted to earn the same wage as the adults, so I also carried 80 kg, even though my weight was only half of that”.

„This is the reason why I stopped growing and I am quite small until now. If I had carried less I would not have got the adult wage.” 

Tips always have made up a significant part of the porters’ salary. Bharat explained why he desperately wanted to become a guide.

„Guides many times kept the porters away from the guests take a bigger share fo the tip. The mountain guide got the total amount of tip before the trip started for a specified number of porters. But it often happened that the guide hired fewer porters and thus each porter had to carry more weight. It can’t happen anymore as it is strictly controlled that every 2 trekkers need one porter.”

This is why I decided to buy books to learn English by myself and become a guide.”

Almost all guides started once as porters. Later they can join the groups as an assistant guide and a mountain guide of the trekking group. This is how they become experts in the mountains. But only those who speak English have the chance to climb the hierarchy. Otherwise, they have to remain porters.

While trekkers enjoy the cozy mountain lodges, porters have to satisfy with less comfort. Some 10 porters are crammed in one room, where they have to share few beds or sleep on the floor. Many of the porters do not have proper hiking equipment- sunglasses, gloves, waterproof trousers, jackets, and shoes. Not all trekking agencies provide the necessary equipment for them.

Many porters lack proper knowledge about the possible dangers and they do not have any medical insurance. As a consequence, they cannot get prompt medical treatment but have to manage their way down from the mountain and quit in the middle of the tour. To avoid that, you should engage porters through a reliable hiking agency that guarantees medical insurance for porters too.

porter images in nepal
Bharat & Raju images when he was a porter.

 

     How can porters carry so much load?

Even well-trained Western tourists wonder why porters are so extremely enduring. Partly because they eat “dal bhat” ( Dal Bhat power 24 hours ) most of the time. The protein-rich diet optimizes the oxygen-consumption. They are also small, not more than 160cm. It enables them to carry proportionately higher loads.

Porters apply a quite unusual technique to carry this enormous load; they attach the whole freight to a strap that is attached to their forehead. The constant pressure against the forehead can often lead to physical deformation. If you carefully observe the people in the mountains, you can spot yourself who was working before as a porter. They advance slowly in a half-bent position, making short steps. They keep on focusing on only the next step. If they look up, they easily lose their balance.

It is a common misbelief that porters do not suffer from altitude sickness because they are used to that. Not every porter grew up in the mountains indeed. Many of them work in the mountains seasonally and the rest of the year they are engaged in farming at lower altitudes or they find work in the cities. Whenever they move to the mountains they are affected by the same high altitude illnesses as tourists.

 

    How to find a good porter for your trekking?

Tourists have the option to hire porters through local travel agencies or they can just go to the starting point of the Trek, where porters and guides waiting for the clients. But in peak season you may don’t find any, so it is better to book in advance and not all porters are an equally good choice.

Travel agencies have their list of guides and porters they prefer working with. In general, Nepalis have the best reputation in climbing circles. Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world is located at the border between Nepal and India, which means climbers can conquer it from both countries. But even when the expedition kicks off from the Indian side, they only hire the porters, the cooks, the guides from Nepal. For high altitude climbing, it is also important to hire a porter from Nepal, and only the one who grew up in high altitude.

         Why you should hire a porter?

  1. You don’t have you carry your kinds of stuff yourself, which makes it a lot easier to complete the trek. If you are not well trained.
  2. By hiring porters from you support the local mountain communities. Let’s not forget that Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world.
  3. Having a porter with you is like getting a new friend. There is no need to speak languages to share friendliness. He keeps an eye on you and makes sure everything is fine.
  4. If you get altitude sickness it is important to have somebody with you who speaks the local language and can give you assistance. Anything can happen in the mountains.

                Tips for hiring porters:

  1. Book a porter in advance in the peak season
  2. Choose a company that shows responsibility for their porters. Before booking your trip you can ask about the insurance and the equipment provided for the porters.

        Hiring female porters

Still not common, but there are female porters as well, although they don’t go to high altitude and they complete fewer treks in a year. They carry the bags for one trekker, not two. The „3 sister company” is well-known for being specialized in training and employing female porters thus giving them the chance for a better life. You can hire female porters for the Annapurna base camp, the Annapurna circuit, and the Mardi Himal trek. The high altitude accommodation is a real problem for female porters. we are the best company to find an experienced female guide in Nepal.

The documentary film about the porters in Nepal – 2020

Nate Menninger, a young American guy decided to join a group of porters in the Himalaya. In order to get the full experience he marched, slept, and ate with them. He did not want to go the easy way. I highly recommend this short movie to get an insight into the life of porters.

How to find a good porter for your trekking?

Tourists have the option to hire porters through local travel agencies or they can just go to the starting point of the Trek, where porters and guides waiting for the clients. But in peak season you may don’t find any, so it is better to book in advance and not all porters are an equally good choice.

Travel agencies have their list of guides and porters they prefer working with. In general, Nepalis have the best reputation in climbing circles. Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world is located at the border between Nepal and India, which means climbers can conquer it from both countries. But even when the expedition kicks off from the Indian side, they only hire the porters, the cooks, the guides from Nepal. For high altitude climbing, it is also important to hire a porter from Nepal, and only the one who grew up in high altitude.

 

 Why you should hire a porter?

  1. You don’t have you carry your stuff yourself, which makes it a lot easier to complete the trek. If you are not well trained.
  2. By hiring porters from you support the local mountain communities. Let’s not forget that Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world.
  3. Having a porter with you is like getting a new friend. There is no need to speak languages to share friendliness. He keeps an eye on you and makes sure everything is fine.
  4. If you get altitude sickness it is important to have somebody with you who speaks the local language and can assist you. Anything can happen in the mountains.

 

       Tips for hiring porters:

  1. Book a porter in advance in the peak season
  2. Choose a company that shows responsibility for their porters. Before booking your trip you can ask about the insurance and the equipment provided for the porters

     

      Suggested Nepal Trekking Agency:

Nature Explore Trek was founded by experienced mountain guides. Once all had started as porters they really care that their porters work in reasonable circumstances.

1.They give sunglasses, gloves, shoes, waterproof trousers, jacket to every porter. At the end of the trip they return         it and next time they can retake it.

2.Porters get extra money for their meals at high altitudes, where prices soar.

3 . They cover the porters with proper insurance. If he gets sick he can be transported by helicopter to a lower               altitude, his medical treatment is paid, and if he loses his life, his family gets support. or high altitude treks the            insurance amounts to 600 USD for 90 days for porters, guides separately.

4. they give higher salaries than the average. They suggest for clients that they also give tips directly to porters at the end of the tour. For two weeks Everest tour: 150-200 USD for porters.

5 . They encourage women to work as porters and some became guides since then.

6. They are probably the only ones who complete the Great Himalaya Trail (crossing Nepal from West to East) with one single team.

 

Source:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7530-nepalese-porters-hit-the-peak-of-efficiency/#ixzz6d15U8PdD

https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/american-porter-mount-everest/index.html

 

you can also read about Langtang region treks, Upper and lower dolpo treks

If you have any more questions about porters please leave a comment at exploreinnepal@gmail.com, info@exploreinnepal.com

Author:  Simigh Agnes