How it works:
- Opening: one/two kids or adults ask where you from, then offers to be your friend/guide and bring you around. They will insist that there is no charge or that they are students just wanting to practice their English.
- Set-up: at the end, they will ask for an inflated tip (quality of the tour is highly dependent), bring you to a shop (or an art “school” which is basically a shop) where they get a commission or get you to sign up for an expensive tour package. This can also turn out into the shoe box scam.
Places to beware:
- Kathmandu: Pashupatinath Temple, Durbar Square, Thamel, Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple), Bishnumati River
What to do:
- Nothing is free. Decline or negotiate a clear fee first and stick to it.
- There may be good unofficial guides and if you do get one, do tip what you think the service is worth. However, they are generally not trained for it. Get a licensed, reputable guide instead:
- Offline operators: ask – is the operator licensed? Is there a website, office and working phone number? Are there real online reviews? What does the price cover – is it too cheap?
- Online platforms: GetYourGuide (leading day tour platform globally) also has many popular tours (e.g. Kathmandu Valley, Panoramic Everest Flight, etc).