Sherpana FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about Sherpana

We help travelers hire and review guides. Hiring a guide for a private trek allows you to choose who can join your trek. You may also choose to have a public trek and participate in a guide share. Sherpana's guide share pricing allows members to share the cost of the guide; lowering the price to members as more people join the trek. - view answer

You can join an existing trek or, if no current trek meets your needs, you can request a new trek trek and create it from one of our customizable itineraries. You can choose to have a private trek or a public trek and allow others to join it. As more people join the group, the price for everyone's trek goes down. Any difference in price from when you booked, to when your trek leaves, will be refunded to your card the day of your trek. - view answer

You can create a trek and then join it. If you do not make a payment this will be shown as an unconfirmed trek. No request will be made to the guide until a payment is made. Other users will be able to see the trek itinerary and comment or ask questions on the trip's board. - view answer

You can request a specific guide when booking the trek or you can have requests sent to all available guides. Guides will confirm that they are available to lead your trek. You can then choose your guide from the guides who have confirmed they are available. In both cases guides will not be requested until a payment has been made. - view answer

Once a guide has confirmed he/she can take your trek then you will get their contact information (email and phone number) and he/she will get your email address. Once in Kathmandu you can arrange a place/time to meet your guide and discuss the logistics of your trek. The guide will help you arrange bus tickets or a hired vehicle to the trek start point. - view answer

For most treks the guide (including the guide's food and lodging) and all permits required for the trek are included in the price. You also have the option to hire a porter to carry your gear. Check the 'included services' on each trip for services that are specifically included for that trip - view answer

Food and lodging

In order to provide you with the best possible price and to get as much money as possible directly to the people who are actually doing the work, we do not charge you in advance for teahouse lodging and food. The guide will be able to book accommodation for the group in advance during high season. However, you will pay the teahouse owner directly for food and lodging. Budget at least $25 a day for food and lodging to be paid in cash directly to the teahouse.

Transportation

For 'Guide & Permit Only' treks we do not include transportation to/from the trail head. Your guide will help you arrange transportation to the trail head in the case where public bus tickets or a hired private vehicle is required. In addition to your own fare, please pay the fare of your guide and porter (if you have hired one) for public buses and public jeeps. In the case of flights, a fee for the guides transportation is included in the price. You have the option of allowing us to also book your flight this ensures that your guide can be on the same flight. You are also free to book your own flight with the airlines directly if you wish please let us know your flight information if you book your own tickets. If you are on trek in which multiple trekkers have joined we will provide you with the contacts of other members of your trek so that you can arrange your transportation together.

Tips

It is customary in Nepal to tip trekking staff, they work hard and if you feel they have provided you with good service please reward them appropriately. Please insure you have enough cash to tip your guide and porter (if you hired one). Suggested tipping: Approximately 12%-15% of the guide and porters wages but more for larger groups and if your guide went above and beyond you expectations then please reward him or her accordingly. For a guide, generally the equivalent of $2-$4 USD per day per person is good if there are multiple people if only one person then the equivalent of $3-$5 USD per day. For a porter the equivalent of $3-$4 per day total (between all the people using the porter) or if one person has hired a porter the equivalent of $2-$4 USD per day. If you need to cut your trip short for any reason the guide and porters will receive the wages for the full booked time but it is appropriate to tip based on the amount of days actually completed.

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When you book your trek and request a guide the entire fee will be charged to your credit card, similar to airbnb if you have used that service. However we will refund the amount if your plans change contingent on the cancellation policy below. - view answer

If you and your guests are the only members of the trek, we will offer a full refund (minus flight cancellation fees if applicable) up until two days prior to the trek's departure. After that, up until the departure date a 50% cancellation fee will be charged in order to compensate the guide for lost business and processed permits.

Joined Treks
If others have joined the trek, a 20% cancellation fee will be charged up until two days prior to the trek's departure. A refund will not be given for cancellation made within two days of the trek's departure when others have already joined the trek. These fees are to offset the cost of the other trekkers who joined the group expecting a lower cost.

Flights
If flights were booked on your behalf the flights are subject to an extra 15% cancellation fee in addition to any cancellation fee above.

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Go to 'Edit Profile' under the 'user menu' and choose the cancel my account button. You can not undo this action and any pending trips will be canceled. - view answer

How do I contact Sherpana?

You can contact us via our contact form: Contact

Log In to contact via phone or email.

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You will need cash for food, lodging, snacks, transportation, and tips for your guide and porter. Figure a minimum of $25-30 a day for food and lodging more if you want to drink beer, eat meat, or buy other luxury items. The estimated transportation cost can be found on the itinerary, don't forget to factor in tickets for your guide or porter. For tips, equivalent of $2-$4 USD per day per person is good for a guide if there are multiple people; if only one person, then the equivalent of $3-$5 USD per day. For a porter the equivalent of $3-$4 per day total (between all the people using the porter), or if one person has hired a porter the equivalent of $2-$4 USD per day. Then add some extra since better to have too much than run out. - view answer

Yes, once you have set the route (create itinerary) then you can add extra days to locations that have places to stay. You can also change the place you are staying. To change the overnight stay from one village to another, first add an overnight to the place you want to stay then remove it from the place you no longer want to stay. There is a minimum number of nights required for a given trek, to ensure proper acclimatization, so you must add a night before you remove one. You may also change the itinerary while trekking, but you will need to pay the guide and porter (if you hired one) for any extra days beyond what you booked. - view answer

You can tell your guide what kind of accommodation you would like and he/she will do their best to find you accommodation. You can also see the place before you agree to stay there. Very good accommodation can be found lower down on the trek, including rooms with attached bathrooms, but higher up the accommodation gets more basic. Places with gas showers will have more reliable hot water than those with solar hot water. In addition, most if not all places charge extra for hot showers unless they are attached to the room (e.g., nicer places in Namche Bazaar). In Namche Bazaar, places can cost anywhere from $15 to over $100 for a room. Elsewhere most of the cost is in the food and you are required to eat food at the lodge you are staying at (so no, you don't need to bring food but it is nice to bring snacks). The lodges make most of their money on food. Figure $30-$50 per person per night. If you want to stay at nicer places, eat well, and have the occasional beer or other beverage you'll skew towards the higher end of that range. - view answer

Yes, we can book your flight to the start of the trek (e.g., Lukla). There will be an optional service that will allow you to add the cost onto your trek. Click the ‘+ services' link at the top to the trek page or payment page. We do charge a small service charge on all booked flights to pay for the work required to manually book your tickets and process the payment. We can book other flights upon request. - view answer

Yes, you can book a porter for your trek, and it is highly recommended if you have not hiked at high altitude before. Carrying extra weight get increasingly difficult as the air gets thinner the higher you go. Once you ‘join' the trek you can add extra services that are associated with that trek including a porter. If you want to add a porter after you have paid, you can go to your trek page or the payment page once you are signed in and click the ‘+ service' button at the top of the page. The guide will arrange the porter on your behalf, usually someone they trust and have worked with before. - view answer

You can find an estimate of cost and time it takes to get to the start of the trek by going to the trek/itinerary page and scroll down to the itinerary. After the first location you will see the transport options to the start location with estimated price and duration of travel. - view answer

You can get the price for different group sizes by clicking the ‘trekkers' button at the top of the page. Set the trekkers to the number of people who will be going on the trek including yourself. This requires that you have cookies enabled on your browser. The prices will then be shown for the group size you specified. For example, if you set it to 4 under the price it will say ‘For 4 people.' - view answer

You will pay the lodges directly for your food and lodging. You should estimate spending $25-$30 per person per day, though it depends a little on the trek and of course what and how much you eat. You can see a minimum estimate for total cost of food and lodging on your trek by clicking the 'Teahouse lodging, food, & transportation paid separately' link below the price. - view answer

No, the guide and porters eat and stay at a reduced rate in the trekking lodges that they pay for out of their wages. - view answer

In most cases you will need to pay for your guide's transportation as well as your own, unless otherwise specified. For treks that require flights (e.g., Lukla), the guide's transport is included in the price. - view answer

The guide will do his/her best to get rooms for you. We can't guarantee it but we have never had any trips where the guide has not been able to secure rooms for their clients. For small trekking groups, lodge owns sometimes do not honor reservations if they even take them. However, the guides usually know some of the lodge owners and operators and are able to call ahead and get rooms in the few places where there is sometimes a short supply. The best way to guarantee rooms is to leave early and/or send a porter ahead to hold rooms. You will definitely have a place to sleep, worst case you would need to sleep in a dining area. Again, that has never happened with any of the trips run by guides booked on our site, and is more common with independent trekkers who arrive late in the day to places where there is an under supply of rooms.

More about lodging on treks can be found at our blog: Teahouses & Trekking Lodges in Nepal

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We are primarily an online platform for connecting trekkers and guides. Guides typically meet clients at their hotel. We operate out of our Nepal partner Kili Sherpa's office in Kathmandu. This is where we process all permits on behalf of our guides. It is not in a particularly convenient location if you are staying in or near Thamel, so if you need something we can send someone to you. If you still want to go to the office, we can give you directions or send someone to bring you. It is located in Chapali VDC#9, New Colony, Kathmandu, Nepal. Our Nepal mailing address is P.O. Box: 3438, Kathmandu, Nepal. - view answer

Yes, you can change your itinerary while trekking as long as the changes work with your guide's schedule and the other members of your group. If you end up trekking longer than you have booked for, you are responsible for paying your guide and porter directly in cash for the extra days of work. - view answer

Yes, send us a message, and let us know the route you want to take and we'll get you a quote. - view answer

No, Sherpana has no access to your credit card number or information. Payments are processed through Stripe, a payment processing company that processes payments form many large well know internet companies. We do not see, transmit or store your credit card number. Credit card information is encrypted and transmitted directly to Stripe. - view answer

Sherpana is a platform for allowing trekkers to hire local guides and not an agency. Our Nepal partner Kili Sherpa is a member of TAAN and permits are processed though his company membership High Altitude Dreams on behalf of the guides. - view answer

Yes, all guides are vetted and have the government required license. - view answer

Yes, we take out an insurance policy for any guide or porter working on a Sherpana trek, the cost of which is shown in Sherpana's itemized cost breakdown of the trek. This covers the staff only and not the clients. You are strongly suggested to make sure you have adequate insurance while trekking/climbing including emergency evacuation insurance. - view answer

Yes, you can arrange to pay a deposit that covers fees and permits. Send us a message if you would prefer this option. - view answer

It’s never been an issue for any of our previous treks but if you would like you can pay up front for the meals and lodging. We will have to charge a little more than you would pay if you paid yourself since we don't know exactly how much and what you will eat and we have to charge enough to cover costs (the maximum you would spend). If you would prefer to pay in advance, what happens is you pay up front and the guide carries the cash for you and pays for food and lodging on your behalf. You would still pay for your own drinks, like beer and soda. This is the way the all-inclusive treks that many agencies run work. Contact Us to arrange this option. - view answer

If there is one particular guide you are interested in you can send us a message asking to know if they are available during the time you plan to trek. However, we cannot ask the guide to hold their schedule free until the trek is booked. If there are multiple guides you would like to check the most efficient way to find out who is available for you trek is to book it without specifying the guide, this will send requests to all guides without known conflicts and they can mark themselves available for your trek. Contact information for the guides (phone number and email) is given out once the trek is booked and the guide confirms. If the guide you requested is not available and you don’t want any of the other guides who are available for your trek you can get a full refund. - view answer

Sometimes guides are out on treks, have limited time to answer emails and/or access to internet or cell phone signal, so this may be the case. If you have general questions about what to bring check our section on trekking information or search our FAQ You can also send us a message and we can try to get hold of them or at least find out why they haven’t answered. If you haven’t heard back from guide and/or set up a place and time to meet them before you arrive let us know. - view answer

You will receive a message from them in which they are encouraged to say something about themselves. You will also be able to see whatever information the added to their Sherpana profile, and their email address so you can follow up and find out more about them before you approve their request (they do not receive your email address unless you choose to email them). - view answer

Unfortunately, occasionally guides sometimes have changes in their schedules, they get sick, have an unexpected family event, or in some cases take a job that pays more. We of course cannot make a guide lead a trek. If this happens we will send out new guide requests to available guides to let you choose another guide. If it happens at the very last minute we may need to replace the guide with one we know is available immediately. You will always also have the option of a refund if you are not satisfied with the replacement. - view answer

Once you ‘join' the trek it will become public on Sherpana's site. However, if you would like someone else to join you it's worth posting in travel forums like Lonely Planet's Thorntree and TripAdvisor to help more people know about it. - view answer

Yes, it is still possible but you need to pay for two permits which will be charged to you if you are only a single person on a trek that requires two people. Once a payment is made and a trek is confirmed it will go unless you cancel it. - view answer

You can rent sleeping bags and jackets from trekking shops in Thamel (Kathmandu) or Pokhara, a deposit is usually required. Your guide may be able to help you with this. If your guide does go with you to help you rent gear please compensate them for their time. We can also rent sleeping bags both standard and feather (lightweight smaller ones). We may be able to rent jackets but check with us on size and the number needed for availability. Send us a message if you are interested in renting gear. - view answer

For treks that do not require restricted area permits 1 day is enough and it is even possible to leave the next days since passport copies can be used to get the permits. For treks that require restricted area permits (Around Manaslu, Dolpo, Upper Mustang, and Nar Phu) the physical passport must be presented to the immigration office to get the permit. We can have all the paperwork done in advance with a passport copy but we still need to present the passport at the immigration office. The hours of the immigration office are: 10am - 5pm, Sunday - Friday (except on public holidays). However, sometimes the officer leaves early so it is best to get there before 3pm. Please ensure you can get your passport to the guide in time so we can get it to the immigration office while it is open. If you arrive on a Friday night you may need to wait till late morning on Sunday to leave. - view answer

If your trek requires a flight to Lukla make sure you have a few extra days built in to your time in Nepal. Especially in September and early October or in the late spring flights to Lukla are often canceled due to weather. Keep in mind that because the runway in Lukla is built into the mountainside if there is any cloud cover it is too dangerous for flights to land. So even if it is sunny in Kathmandu flights can get canceled due to weather.

If your flight gets canceled. Our ticketing agent will rebook the ticket, but seats are allocated with preference for the passengers that were originally booked on that day, so passengers from previous days cancel flights get lower priority. If several days of flights get canceled because of weather this can lead to a backlog of people trying to get on a limited number of flights to Lukla.

If you are short on time it is often possible to get a shared flight on a helicopter, if you opt for a helicopter flight we will refund the price of your ticket and you will need to pay separately for the helicopter usually about 2-3 times the cost of the airplane ticket.

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The $25 per day is what the guide gets paid for 2 clients or less the rate goes up slightly with more trekkers. In addition to wages, other charges include: insurance for the guide ($30 per trip), Sherpana Fee (per day charge that varies slightly with number of people + 20% of the permit cost). For treks that require flights a transport fee is included (currently $90 each way for Lukla flights).

You can see a breakdown of the fees for the trek by going to the itinerary page. Click the button to see a breakdown of the price. Sherpana fees are included in the guide rate per day and the permits. Before you pay you will be able to see an exact breakdown of all the fees, wages, ect, so you know exactly where the money is going.

To adjust the price to a different number of people click the ‘trekkers’ button at the top of the page and set the number of trekkers in your group. The prices will be automatically updated for the number of trekkers entered. It is required that your browser ‘cookies’ must be enabled to use this feature.

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