Regulations for hiring Guides

The exact terms and conditions on Liaison Officer, Guide, high and low altitude porters, about their equipment, ration and even about photography, is all specified in government rules and regulations and also find below the concise details on the subject.

A guide makes the things easier and also save your time and money. For open zone one may take a local guide who knows the terrain very well and is also less expensive than a guide taken from a trekking company but in case of restricted zone you have to take a guide from an authorized trekking company. There is no such institute for guide’s training and no exams, so it is better to take an experienced guide either from a recognized company or as last option hire a guide from the local area. Generally Ministry of Tourism issues licenses to approved guides who are recommended by their respective companies.

Guide is a kind of manager, who will buy food, arranging porters, cook, equipment etc, and he will not cook himself, neither he will carry any load with him except his personal gear and excepts you to equip him completely for the trek. If you are less than 4 trekkers for open zone then guide is not compulsory but not unnecessary burden either. Guide will be paid on daily basis as per your negotiated wages.

According to government rules and regulations one must hire a cook and if you are more than 5 also hire an assistant. Normally, guide and porters don’t eat western food and it is very practical if you have a local cook with you who can cook according to the wish of local team. Cook and his assistant are paid on daily basis and not stage basis.

Hiring Porters:
In case of self-organized trekking in an open zone always take a local with you and more according to your group size but at least one local is essential who knows the trail. Always try to hire porters from the valley in which you will be trekking because there are territorial issues between the porters and sometimes they become serious and need to be resolved amicably – like if you are taking trek around Nanga Parbat you will be moving into the areas of different tribal belts where they may stop the porters from other valleys. Porters are charged per stage and normally the porters wish to make two stages and that will benefit them double. A porter will carry load of 25 kg. If you have more than 25 porters, government rules say that you must hire a sardar (head porter) to be incharge of them.

The treks are divided into stages and irrespective your physical condition porters will insist on doing one stage and you can only talk to them to go further on double wages but one can’t force them. An official stage can be as little as 2 to 3 hours walk. It is better to understand the number of stages you have in this trek and also make the porters understand that you know about the wages per stage system and their other customs.

Rest Days:
Porters are entitled to a rest days every seven days worked (not every seven stages). You pay half a stage plus food for a rest day. To take a rest day is also good to get acclimatized. If you mutually decide to continue without taking rest day, porters will usually accept half day wages instead of taking rest and the same will apply if you take side trip or on any other forced majeure situation.

Return Wage:
The porters you don’t require after doing half of the way and in that case the unloaded porters will be paid half a stage plus food, lodging for the day and even bus fare if required.

Food Rations:
As local team comprised on guide, porters and cook would prefer to have local meals therefore it is good to carefully calculate that how much food you need for the local team because you need to calculate up to 2.5 porters per expedition load of 25 kilograms. After successful trekking tour (usually on longer treks), big dinner (a goat) is given the local team as reward or pay them extra in lieu of goat.

Clothing and Equipment Allowance for Porters:
The required clothing allowance for porters is one pair of sneakers, one pair of gloves, two pairs of woolen socks, one rain cape or plastic sheet and one pair of sunglasses. If walking on snow and ice they also need boots and a jacket. Most porters do have the required equipment and except to be paid cash against equipment. However this equipment is available in the second hand shops of Hunza, Gilgit and Skardu.

What to Wear:
It is always good to respect the local traditions and you will be more respected in return if you wear as locals do (like by wearing ShalwarQameez). The global fashion wave has influenced the city inhabitants but in villages and in the mountains people are not much changed so far. For women it is advisable to cover the barest flesh of their body and better to wear loose fittings.


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