If you look online, there will be a wide range of numbers thrown around in terms of budget for the EBC trek. That's because a lot of it depends on what you are looking for. A guided trek will cost more than trekking independently, and even within that, the type of food, accommodation and travel options will change your budget.
Guided packages with trekking agencies can range anywhere from $1000-$3000 (INR 70,000 - 2,00,000). This usually covers your flights to and from Lukla, food, and accommodation on the trek. Added expenses like WiFi (yes there is WiFi in the tea houses!), bottled water, tips to the porter and guide, and any personal expenses are usually borne by the trekker.
I am going to provide a budget for those who are trekking independently.
Flight from Kathmandu to Lukla and back: Round trip cost me NPR 27,600 ($250/INR 17,300). This was the rate for SAARC citizens.The rates are slightly higher for other foreigners.
If you decide to go through Jiri/Salleri, a bus would cost about NPR 1,500 one way. Keep in mind that this would add 4 extra days to the trek.
The EBC trek requires 2 permits, both of which can be taken on the trail (one near Jorsalle, and one in Monjo). The first permit is the local permit (which has replaced the TIMS permit), and costs NPR 2,000. The second permit is the Sagarmatha National Park entry permit, which costs NPR 1,500 for SAARC citizens (like me), and NPR 3000 for other foreigners.
On the entire EBC trail, you can stay in tea houses. The great bit about these tea houses is that you don't need to carry a tent, and hot food is available at the tea houses. Usually, tea houses are inexpensive, but you must eat your dinner and breakfast at the teahouse you stay at or they will charge you more. The rules regarding tea house charges have changed for the peak season. After Namche, you will find a booth that will ask you to pay NPR 500 and get a voucher. When you reach your destination for the day, you pick any tea house in the area, and show them the voucher.
As I was trekking alone, and on a tight budget, I was not willing to pay NPR 500 just for the room! So I instead offered to stay in the dining halls of the tea houses for free. Most tea houses were a little bit skeptical as I was a solo female, but were happy to let me do that if I nudged them a little. Hence, I managed to stay for free at Pangboche and Chhukung. Some tea houses also offer very basic dorm facilities, that are cheaper. At Dzongla and Gokyo, I got a room for NPR 200. The most congested stops on the trail are Lobuche and Gorakshep, so be prepared to go to multiple tea houses to find place to stay.
Food prices increase as you climb higher. The same item that costs NPR 400 in Namche will cost double in Gorakshep.
Some basic items and their costs are as follows:
Dal bhat: NPR 400 (Phakding) to NPR 750 (Gorakshep)
Noodle soup: NPR 300-600
Fried rice, noodles: NPR 400-800 range
Pizza: NPR 700-900
Momos: NPR 400-500
Jam/Butter Toast: NPR 200-400
Omelette: NPR 300-600
Tea: ~NPR 50-100 (for single cup); NPR 100-150 (for a small pot that has 4-5 cups)
Try to avoid having non vegetarian food on the trail. Once you are inside the Sagarmatha National park, killing of animals is not allowed, so most of the meat has been brought from the villages below and it is quite old and stale. Eggs are a safe option. Between food, drinks and tea, I spent about NPR 2000 a day on an average. This can increase or decrease depending on what you order and how much you eat. For example, I pigged out on pastries and pizza at Gokyo, and a single meal cost me almost NPR 1,500, while in some places I stuck to basic toast butter for NPR 300.
My total trek costs for the 15 day EBC with Three passes, including flights, permits, food, accommodation was roughly NPR 57,500 ($515 / INR 36,000).
So my budget was nearly half of what the cheapest trekking agencies offer! But of course, this meant that I had no porter to carry my backpack, or no guide while I was walking. I hope this is useful for those who are planning to do the EBC trail independently!