If you want to experience one of the most exciting trekking trails and destinations on the planet then Everest Base Camp should be high on your personal list of travel goals. Reaching the base camp of the highest mountain in the world is just one of the many highlights of this spectacular trek.
Explore traditional Sherpa villages, visit remote Buddhist monasteries while taking in some of the grandest views of the entire Himalaya. Stay in comfortable guesthouses, enjoy local specialities like dal bhat, (lentils, rice, vegetables, spicy pickles), momos(traditional Tibetan dumplings) or try a yak steak or burger or pizza sprinkled with yak cheese.
Marvel at sunrise and sunsets over the highest mountains in the world and take away the memory of reaching the base camp of Mt. Everest or what the Sherpa people call Qomolangma, “Mother Goddess of Earth”.
DAY 1 – KATHMANDU: ARRIVAL DAY
We will meet you at Tribhuvan International Airport and transfer you to your hotel in Kathmandu/Thamel. You’ll have time to relax and perhaps take a walk around Thamel. We can also suggest some places for lunch or dinner depending on your arrival time.
Day 2: Kathmandu → Lukla → Phakding
• Altitude: Kathmandu: 1350m, Lukla: 2828m, Phakding: 2651m
• Duration: Lukla :KathmLukla:35-40 minutes Flight
• Lukla → Phakding (Approx. 8kms): 3-4 hours Trek
The excitement begins with a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla and Tenzing/Hillary Airport, named after the first two men to summit Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world. It’s a short 35-40 minute flight to Lukla where we’ll meet the rest of the crew that will accompany us on the trek. We begin walking from Lukla with a descent to Cheplung while enjoying views of beautiful Mt. Khumbila. We further descend to Phakding where we’ll stay the night enjoying our first dinner and sleep at our guesthouse on the Everest Base Camp Trek.
Day 3: Phakding → Namche Bazar
• Altitude: Namche Bazar: 3438m
Trek Duration: 6-7 hours (Approx. 12kms)
After a breakfast of perhaps eggs, toast and coffee or Tibetan bread with jam and tea we continue the Everest Base Camp Trek through blue pine and rhododendron forests reaching the Benkar Valley. There are expansive suspension bridges to cross over the Dudh Koshi River. We check in at the entrance to Sagarmatha National Park to verify trekking permits and stop for lunch at the village of Monjo(2835m). Along the way, we’ll see the snow-capped peaks of Kusum Kanguru(6369m) and Thamserku (6623m). We’ll also get our first glimpse of Mt. Everest (8848m). After a well-paced 6-7 hours on the trail we’ll reach Namche Bazaar, considered the Sherpa capital of the world! This will be our base for two nights as we acclimate at the gateway to the high Himalaya.
Day 4: Rest and Acclimatization Namche Bazaar
Namche Bazaar is one of the biggest settlements in the Khumbu Valley and the perfect village to spend a rest day. You’ll find amazing scenery and village life that you can capture images or video for treasured memories and share with your friends and followers. There are lots of Internet Cafes, restaurants, trekking shops and souvenir markets. Have a latte and a chocolate doughnut while you gaze out at the Himalaya and stepped terraced Sherpa capital.
We’ll have an early rise and a hearty breakfast of oatmeal, potatoes, or toast and eggs, coffee and tea and make our way to the highest point overlooking the village and check out sunrise views, (weather permitting), of Mt. Everest, Ama Dablam, (some say the most beautiful peak of all), Lhotse, (4th highest mountain in the world), and Nuptse. We can also visit the National Park headquarters and Sherpa Museum for insights into the culture and life of the biggest ethnic group of the Khumbu Valley.
After a lunch of vegetable chow mein, burger and fries, pizza or dal bhat with extra helpings of rice and lentils, we’ll continue our hiking and acclimatization exercise walking to Khumjung Hillary School, the institution originally funded by Sir Edmund Hillary’s foundation. If time permits and the group agrees, we can also walk to Khumjung village at 3790 meters. We’ll explore the traditional Sherpa settlement and visit the monastery that has on display what they claim is a scalp of the mythical Yeti or abominable snowman.
Day 5: Namche Bazaar → Tengboche
• Altitude: Tengboche Monastery: 3870m, Phunki : 3250m
Trek Duration: 5 – 6 hours (Approx. 10.5 kms)
After breakfast, coffee or tea, we’ll get back on the trail to Everest Base Camp and our destination for the day, the beautiful jewel and spiritual capital of the Sherpa people, Tengboche. The trekking becomes a little more strenuous with ascents and descents while seeing the rushing waters of the great Dudh Koshi River, admiring more of the glorious peaks of the Himalaya and reaching Phunki Thanga village, (3250m). There are more rhododendron forests to cross along with, silver fir and blue pine forests as we further ascend ending the day at 3870 meters and Tengboche Monastery.
Tenzing Norgay, one of the first men to summit Mt. Everest in 1953 once spent time as a monk at Tengboche Monastery. We’ll visit the famous Sherpa/Buddhist monastery where many famous mountaineers have come to pay respects and receive blessings before their summit attempts of Mt. Everest. There are more glorious views of Mt. Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Kwangde, Tawachee, Katenga and Thamserku. We stay the night in this magical place that’s home to one of the greatest Buddhist Sherpa festivals in the world, Mani Rimdu.
Day 6: Tengboche → Dingboche
• Altitude: Pangboche:3901m, Dingboche : 4400m
Trek Duration: about 6 hours ( Approx. 12kms )
Our 5th day of trekking begins with a hot breakfast of porridge with apples, Tibetan bread, toast and eggs, or a pancake with jam, coffee or tea and more climbing through rhododendron, birch and conifer forests while crossing suspension bridges over the rushing waters of Imja Khola. We continue to have Everest in our sights along with Ama Dablam and Lhotse while we trek to just over 3900 meters reaching Pangboche Monastery, considered one of the oldest monasteries in the Khumbu Valley. The landscape changes as we walk through alpine meadows full of juniper, the scent you’ll become familiar with as you visit the monasteries that burn the bushes as part of temple rituals.
We finally arrive at Dingboche, surrounded by jagged peaks and the Imjatse River that flows down from Island Peak, (6189m), a popular trekking peak that can be added on,(ask for details), as part of your Everest Base Camp Trek. We settle in for a dinner of fried potatoes with chilli sauce, Tibetan momos, or garlic soup, (great for helping with your acclimatization), spaghetti with tomato sauce, or a yak steak.
Day 7: Rest and Acclimatization-Dingboche
We start out the day with another hearty breakfast before acclimatization hiking and exercise enjoying views of Makalu, (5th highest mountain in the world), Lhotse, Cho Oyu, (6th highest mountain in the world), Cholatse, Taboche, and Ama Dablam. In view of the north-west the peaks of the Khumbu Khola Valley. We can now also see Lobuche West and East Peaks. After a day of hiking and marvellous views, and incredible photographic opportunities we’ll head back to our lodge for the night enjoying a filling dinner and hot tea by the stove that keeps us warm.
Day 8: Dingboche → Lobuche
• Altitude: Lobuche : 4920m
Trek Duration: 6-7 hours (Approx. 12 kms)
We start the day with an early morning breakfast before hitting the Everest Base Camp Trek trail to our goal for the day, at almost 5000 meters the trekking post of Lobuche. We take the high trail of the Pheriche valley passing through meadows and yak pastures along the moraine of the highest glacier on the planet-the Khumbu glacier. We lunch on chow mein, pasta, burgers, or Dal Bhat with extra rice and lentil helpings before hitting the trail in the afternoon crossing the Thokla Pass where there are countless shrines and monuments of the climbers that have lost their lives while climbing Mt. Everest.
You’ll recognize the monument of mountaineering legends like American Scott Fisher, who lost his life on Everest during the 1996 disaster.
What is the movie “Everest” based on?
Journalist and author John Krakauer, who summited Everest during the 1996 climbing accident wrote the best-selling book “Into Thin Air”, the story of the blizzard that hit Everest May 10th,1996 and claimed the lives of eight climbers. The book became the basis for the movie “Everest”.
As we move up the pass the grand peaks of Pumori, “Everest’s daughter”, (7145m), Changtse, (7550m), Nuptse and Lhotse come into view. After our 5-6 hour day of trekking, we reach Lobuche where we’ll spend the night.
Day 9: Lobuche → Gorakshep → Everest Base Camp → Gorakshep
• Altitude: Gorakshep : 4920m, Everest Base Camp : 5365m
• Trek Duration: 7-8 hours (Approx. 15 kms)
Why go to Everest Base Camp? After today you’ll be an expert at answering this question!
Our ultimate goal of reaching Everest Base Camp is only a few hours away. We start the day early with a filling breakfast, coffee or tea, then hitting the trail, rising over several moraines. We are now climbing at elevations over 5000 meters so the work becomes tougher.
We’ll keep a steady pace not moving too quickly as we pass through rocky trails viewing Everest and it’s sister peaks with the great Khumbu Glacier below. Spotting the Everest Base Camp yellow sign that points in our direction of movement further heightens the excitement of reaching our goal.
We’ll eventually descend into the amphitheatre of Everest Base Camp, celebrating our victory with pictures and enjoying the moon-like landscape below the roof of the world. We may even see large expeditions, depending on the time of year, that are preparing for Everest summits.
We return to the trekking and 3G equipped village of Gorakshep, where if you have a local sim card, you can share your victory on Instagram or Facebook. We enjoy a celebratory dinner and savour the moment of our amazing journey before a well-deserved sleep.
Day 10: Gorakshep → Kala Patthar → Pheriche
• Altitude: Kala Patthar : 5545m
Trek Duration: 6-7 hours (Approx. 13 kms)
What’s it like to climb Mt. Everest? You’ll never know unless you try it yourself but after today you will know what it’s like to climb to 5545 meters and have a spectacular view of the highest mountain on the planet.
We wake up very early, before sunrise to make our way to the highest point we’ll reach on our Everest Base Camp Trek, Kala Patthar, meaning “black rock”, at 5545 meters. This is the best view of Everest in Nepal without actually climbing the mountain itself. You’ll recognize this grand view of the roof of the world as it’s the same profile of Everest seen on the Nepali rupee notes.
As the sun rises, an almost dance of ice and fire illuminates the anvil-shaped peak. After enjoying the special moment with the “Mother Goddess of Earth” we descend Kala Patthar and make our way back to Gorakshep for a hot filling breakfast. Then we start making our way back down the Everest Base Camp trail to Pheriche enjoying the snow-capped peaks along the way feeling our new sense of accomplishment.
Day 11: Pheriche → Namche Bazaar
Trek Duration: 7-8 hours (Approx. 15 kms)
We have a long day of trekking-descending through rhododendron forest and juniper to Tengboche enjoying the views of Everest and Ama Dablam crossing the Dudh Koshi River via suspension bridge finally arriving at Namche Bazaar to spend the night. We’ll enjoy another wonderful meal of either traditional Sherpa food, Western burgers or pasta and perhaps a delicious slice of apple pie. We are descending so if you choose we think it’s OK now to have a beer or glass of wine to celebrate.
Day 12: Namche Bazar → Lukla
Trek Duration: 7-8 hours (Approx. 15 kms)
Another long day of trekking has us setting out early from Namche Bazaar on a steep descent through forests and the richer air of the lower elevations. We stop at Monjo briefly where we’ll check in with the National Park office before arriving at Phakding, a rest stop and breakfast refuelling. We are now on the last few kilometres of the trail feeling tired but exuberant that we are nearing completion of one of the greatest treks in the world.
Back in Lukla, the start of our Everest Base Camp Trek, our last night in the Khumbu Valley is spent celebrating our victory with dinner and perhaps drinks including a taste of the local “moonshine”, raksi!
Day 13: Lukla → Kathmandu (Flight)
Flight Duration: 3 and half hours
We rise early in preparation for our flight back to Kathmandu. Upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, we’ll be picked up and brought back to our hotel where we can relax, before taking a walk around Thamel and picking up some last minute souvenirs and gifts of local crafts and textiles. That night we’ll enjoy a wonderful farewell dinner at a nice restaurant where we’ll reflect on our amazing journey and share our best and funniest moments with each other.
Day 14: Kathmandu – DEPARTURE DAY
Altitude: 1,350m/4,428ft It’s your last day in Nepal! Grab some breakfast, and then take in some last-minute shopping in Kathmandu. We’ll make sure you arrive at Kathmandu International Airport with plenty time before your flight home. At this time, we’ll say our goodbyes and bid you farewell, armed with warm memories and gorgeous photos to show your loved ones.
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John Saboe, Trek Leader John Saboe is an adventure traveler, entrepreneur. Podcast host-“Far East Adventure Travel”-iTunes, broadcaster/live streamer. I’ve trekked in 4 regions of Nepal and explored Pokhara, Lumbini, Chitwan National Park, and Bardia National Park. I’ve also visited the […]
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