How it works:
- Version 1: there are fly by night operators which disappear after collecting a large deposit. A common red flag is making payment via Western Union/MoneyGram to an offshore bank accounts as such transfers are irreversible.
- Version 2: an knowledgeable agent who speaks English offers to act as your trekking guide. On the day of the tour however, he assigns his “brother” (i.e. worker/colleague) who only speaks a few words of English to guide you.
- Version 3: more of a marketing trick than a scam (though depends on how it is executed), low prices can be advertised only for hidden inflated fees to be added on at the end.
- Version 4: there are also non-governmental organizations and hotels, hostels and accommodation providers who offer trekking services but are not registered with TAAN, the Trekking Association of Nepal.
Places to beware:
What to do:
- TAAN: It is best to engage reputable operators who are licensed with TAAN, the Trekking Association of Nepal. You can find these on TAAN website and other certification at the local offices of these operators.
- Reputable operators: some reputable local names include Nepal Hiking Team (known for trekking adventures to the Himalayas including Everest, Annapurna, Langtang and others).
- Online: Tourradar (largest multi-days tour platform globally) has over 250 Mount Everest tours for instance.