It may sound like a cliché but we don’t mind repeating it! Yes, Mount Everest is more than a mountain and the trip to its base is more than just a trek. Reaching to the base of this world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest (8848 m) is the dream of every adventurer. Many Himalayan adventure seekers have already ticked it off in their bucket list and some are yet to do so. As, this trip is one of the most talked about and sought after adventures, travelers and would-be travelers are well versed about the information related to Everest Base Camp. However, many are not fully aware about all the routes and corresponding time required to reach Everest Base Camp.
There are actually two base camps on Mount Everest, on the either sides of the mountains: South Base Camp which is situated in Nepal at an altitude of 5364 m, and North Base Camp which is situated in Tibet, China at an altitude of 5150 m. Most of the Base Camp trekking or Everest expeditions are operated on the Nepal side, i.e the South face of the Everest. In fact, when people say Everest Base Camp Trek, they normally mean Base Camp trekking on the Nepal side of the mountain. However, there are many ways to reach the Base Camp from both sides.
Everest Base Camp from Nepal Everest Base Camp from Nepal is a popular trekking trail and easier to access than other routes. Reaching the Base Camp from Nepal gives you a chance to challenge yourself, discover the majesty of mountains, walk among the Himalayan giants and explore the highland cultures.
Classic Everest Base Camp Trek : 8 days of trekking from Lukla to EBC
This is the commonly used route to reach the Base Camp. It is a spectacular high altitude trek that starts at Lukla, the gateway of Everest region and winds through the floral and faunal richness of Sagarmatha National Park. You gradually hike through some of the beautiful places of Khumbu region such as Phakding, Namche Bazar, Tengboche, Dingboche, and Lobuche and return the same way.
Alternate treks: 13 –22 days
As Everest Base Camp route from Lukla is popular and most favored one, the trail and accommodation get crowded during the peak seasons i.e. spring and autumn. So, if you want to avoid the crowd, then you can consider alternative trekking routes. However, if you choose alternate routes also, you are likely to meet the main trail at some points.
The route from Jiri is also a well-known Everest Base Camp trekking route. This is the same route used by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa to reach Lukla for the Everest summit before airport was built in Lukla during 1950s. This trail adds several days in the itinerary as you have to trek around 6 days from Jiri to reach Lukla/Phakding from where you join the main Everest Base Camp trail.
You can reach Everest Base Camp through the trail of Three Passes Trek as well. One of the most challenging and thrilling treks in Everest region, Three Passes Trek offers an amazingly scenic circular route that includes crossing of challenging Renjo la (5360 m), Cho la (5420 m) and Kongma la (5540m) passes connecting at Lobuche to advance towards Everest Base Camp. The order of the Passes can be any depending on where you start from. The duration of this trek is quite lengthy (at least about 17/18 days) and only the trekkers who seek for more challenging adventure choose this trail.
Gokyo Lake trek can also be a better alternative to reach Everest Base Camp as this trek skirts Everest Base Camp and continues to the beautiful Gokyo Lake (or vice versa), one of the world’s highest freshwater systems. You can combine this trek with Three Passes trek. The views during this trek worth cherishing for the rest of your life.
Everest Heli Tour: Duration – Half day
Heli Tour is the easiest way for the travelers who wish to reach to the lap of this stunning mountain but have very limited time. It is a luxurious way to reach Kala Patthar (5545 m) and Everest Base Camp without trekking. The trip makes you marvel at the panoramic aerial views of astonishing mountains, tranquil valleys, quaint villages, glittering snow peaks, Khumbu glacier and many more. It not only gives you the thrill and makes your adrenaline rush but also offers you the next level perspective of the region which is not possible when you walk. Everest Heli tour starts from Kathmandu or Lukla and stops midway for breakfast with wonderful view.
Everest Base Camp from Tibet
Everest Base Camp on the northern side of Everest lies in Tibet. An easier way to get to the Base Camp is by car or tour vehicle. You can travel from Lhasa to the Base Camp along the highways having well paved roads. This is one of the fastest and luxurious ways to reach the Base Camp and visit the various attractions of Tibetan plateau. Some travelers also prefer trekking from Tingri over driving to the Base Camp.
By car: Duration – 2 days from Lhasa
Many visitors who visit the Base Camp on north side usually get there by car. It is a two-day drive from Lhasa. However most travelers stop along the way in the locations such as Gyantse, Shigatse or Shekar (new Tingri) and Rongbuk that makes this tour longer and more exciting. There are very good roads which make the journey comfortable for almost everyone. The landscape that you can see is breath taking! If you wish, you can drive all the way up to the Base Camp but many of the travelers prefer to walk the last mile which is a bit off road. One needs to be acclimatized properly prior to the journey because of the time frame. Remember Lhasa itself is at an altitude of 3,656 m! And you will gain about 2000m + altitude within 2 days.
By Trek from Tingri: Duration – 5 days
The trip starts with a drive to Tingri from Lhasa, which will be followed by a trek to the Base Camp. The adventure gives you an amazing experience of Tibetan plateau, small village communities and nomadic herders. This trip takes you to Lungtang which takes around five hours from Tingri and heads due south, by crossing the Tingri plain and on to the Ra-chu valley and so on. This trail is not commonly used and only attempted by the experienced well-acclimatized trekkers.
Every time we share stories about Phoksundo Trek, Dolpo trail and Ringmo village, we can’t help going back to the memory lane when we were first awestruck by Peter Matthiessen’s Snow Leopard. Yes, today we are talking about the same trail to Shey Phoksundo Matthiessen took some 40 years ago – the trail that has turned many of us into a mystic!
Trail to Phoksundo Lake can still be called as off the beaten path. Traversing into the remote and wilder Himalayan area towards the beautiful holy turquoise lake Phoksundo, indulging in the majestic views of Kanjirowa massif, surrounding glaciers, dense forest around the Lake, and unspoiled beauty of Western Nepal, this beautiful adventure offers everything a visitor would expect in his wildest dreams. The trek, however, is not just about the rugged wilderness, but also a blend of wonderful cultural spectrum of rich Bonpo heritage set against the most dramatic biodiversity of Shey Phoksundo National Park, Nepal’s largest National Park.
This extraordinary trek starts from Juphal, a small hill town at an altitude of 2475m. The trail descends down the motorable road and goes southeast up the valley of Thulo Bheri before winding to the village of Kalagaunda through the terraced fields and following the south bank of the Bheri River towards Dunai. The trail then follows the northern bank of the river and crosses the big suspension bridge to reach a tiny beautiful village, Sulighat, followed by Shey Phoksundo National Park check post from where it ascends along the rock-strewn route and goes further through a series of fluttering prayer flags, waterfalls, and lush greenery until it reaches Kageni. Furthermore, the trail ascends up to a winter settlement used by the people of Ringmo village through a forested path filled with big cedar and climbs up through wide meadows situated above the gorge of Phoksundo River, from where the astonishing view of high waterfall can be seen.
The route becomes easy and flat and continues through the dense forest of birch and coniferous trees until it reaches Ringmo, the settlement of flat stone houses at the foot of a big rocky cliff. As the journey moves ahead, the trail then crosses a bridge and follows the north ranger station of Phoksundo river which leads to the beautiful alpine turquoise colored freshwater lake, Phoksundo Lake at 3660m. This strikingly beautiful lake is the deepest lake of Nepal. After exploring the lake and its magnificent surrounding including Tshowa Gompa, a 900-year-old Bon monastery on a ridge above the lake, the trail retraces back to Juphal through beautiful forests, fields, and villages.
If this appeals you, maybe you should plan your next adventure to this magical land! We assure you that you will return home a happy soul.
Trip days – 11 days
Trip Grade – Moderate
Max. Altitude – 3660m
Trek Type – Teahouse
Start/End – Juphal/Juphal
Enchanting turquoise colored lake Phoksundo, the deepest lake of Nepal (145m deep)
Rich biodiversity of Shey Phoskundo National Park, Nepal’s biggest and the only trans-Himalayan region National Park (3555 sq. km.)
Unique culture of Bon-po, an ancient religion with roots in Animism and Buddhism
Rewarding views of mountains, monasteries, hamlets, waterfalls etc.
Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu
Day 02: Fly to Nepalgunj (1 hr)
Day 03: Fly to Juphal (2475m) – 30min and trek to Dunai (2140m) – 30min
Day 04: Trek to Chhepka village (2720m) – 5/6 hrs
Day 05: Trek to Jharana Waterfall (3040m) – 4/5 hrs
Day 06: Trek to the Tibetan village of Ringmo (3640m) – 2/3hrs
Day 07: Explore sacred Phoksundo Lake and Tshowa Gompa (3611m)
Day 08: Trek to Chhepka village (2720m) – 5/6 hrs
Day 09: Trek to Juphal (2475m) – 5/6 hrs
Day 10: Fly to Nepalgunj, Fly to Kathmandu
Day 11: Depart Kathmandu
SOME HELPFUL INFO:
Shey Phoksundo trek is a wilderness trekking in remote region of Nepal. You can find tea houses in the trail but they are very basic with modest facilities. You will get twin sharing room consisting of beds with pillow and blankets. There won’t be attached bathroom with hot shower, but they will provide hot water with some extra charge.
There will be network of NCELL and NTC in lower altitude but after reaching higher altitude the network doesn’t work properly. If you want to get connected throughout your trek, we recommend you to get rental satellite phone.
You will have your meals at the teahouses. They offer nutritious and hygienic food with limited variety of dishes. Normally, they serve Nepali food (Daal Bhaat – rice, lentil and curry), noodles, pasta, chapattis, omelets, bread, porridge etc. Since, the food option is limited, it’s better to carry instant food/drink like soup, instant noodles, dry fruits and nuts, coffee, juice, herbal tea etc.
Water is important while trekking. You should probably drink 3-4 liters per day for hydration. But there is no need to worry as you will be provided enough filtered water. You can also buy bottled water in lower altitude but it’s a good idea to bring your own bottles and refill it.
Electricity and charging
Electricity and charging facility can’t be very reliable in remote areas. Some teahouses have charging facilities and you need to pay extra for it. So, having a power bank is handy.
Clothing and equipment
Shey Phoksundo trek is an adventurous trek in the Dolpo region which lies in the higher altitude. So, you need to be properly geared with warm and comfortable clothes, and support equipment. Trekking gears include hiking boots, thermals, down jacket, hiking pants, caps, wind cheater, gloves etc. Since, this is not a technical trekking, you will need some basic accessories and equipment only like trekking poles, sunglasses, torchlight, water bottles etc. All gears can be purchased or rented in Kathmandu at reasonable price. You can get both branded as well as imitation items. Even the imitation items are good to go.
As you trek in the protected area, you need to get some permits.
Shey Phoksundo National Park: Approx. $30 (Per Person)
Upper Dolpo restricted area permit: $500 (per person for 10 days )
Lower Dolpo special permit : $20 (per person per week)
Best time to travel:
The best time for traveling is Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to May). The weather is clear and you can get the best views. During Spring, the trail gets filled with rhododendron bloom and wild flowers, making it a piece of heaven. And autumn is always marked with great visibility. It’s cold during winter (December to February), but traveling is possible as the trail doesn’t go beyond 3600m. Traveling during summer and monsoon (June to August) is possible as Shey Phoksundo lies in the Trans Himalayan region meaning it receives very less rainfall and also it is less humid. But the chance of flight cancellation and delay is common during this time due to rain in the rest of the part of the country. So, be prepared with contingency days.
Trek Difficulty Level
Shey Phoksundo trek is a moderately challenging trek. The trails are well defined, making it quite easy. But there is less accessibility in the region due to its remoteness and some days are in complete wilderness. So, being prepared for the uncertainty is a good decision. The maximum altitude you gain in this trek is 3611m, which means you are less prone to high altitude harsh weather conditions, and there is very minimal chance of altitude sickness.
Government of Nepal has recently waived the mandatory requirement of negative PCR Test Report for fully vaccinated passengers traveling to Nepal. So, now onwards, fully vaccinated passengers are not required to submit negative PCR report at the immigration desk to get entry in the country. However, the passengers should carry their vaccination card that verifies full dose vaccination with validity of having 15 days lapsed after both doses. The passengers who do not have the vaccination certificate have to submit the negative report of Covid-19 Test (RTPCR, True NAAT, Gene Xpert) within 72 hours of starting their journey. The passengers travelling from Nepal are required to have health related documents as per the rules of the destination country. This new rule of PCR Test waiving is taken as a welcoming gesture by the tourism community.
Following the third wave of COVID-19 that started from January 2022, Nepal Government had imposed restrictions for travelers to minimize the spread of the virus. With the infected cases dropping down significantly to two digits with no death cases, Government of Nepal has eased restrictions in many sectors, including the travel sector. This recent step is taken with an objective to revive the tourism industry in Nepal, which is the most hard-hit sector during the two years of pandemic. To uplift the industry, the Government also formed National Tourism Revival Committee in collaboration with private and public sectors in February. The Committee, together with the government, is now working for destination promotion, marketing, policy reforms, infrastructure upgrade and skills development.
Since, things are slowly turning hopeful, we are also optimistic that the initiatives from both public and private sectors will help for the rapid and responsible recovery of the travelling industry. Hope to see you soon!
Lumba Sumba Trek, commonly known as recently-opened trek, is one of the best kept secrets of Eastern Nepal. It’s opened to trekkers in April 2012.The trek traverses through naturally and culturally gifted landscapes of world’s two highest Himalayan giants Kanchenjunga (8,586 m) – the third highest mountain and Makalu (8,463 m) – the fifth highest mountain. A home to rarely trodden trails, pristine landscape and rich cultural heritage of highlanders, Lumba Sumba region offers you the experience that takes you back to the Himalayan trekking of 80s and 90s. So, if you want an authentic trekking adventure among the lofty mountains that both inspire and intrigue you at the same time, think no further – Lumba Sumba Trek is just for you.
Lumba Sumba Trek starts with a flight from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur (91m), a town in the tropical belt of southern Nepal. Then after, the trip continues overland through sinuous hilly road towards Ilam, a picturesque hill station with stunning views of lush tea gardens. By the time you reach Ilam, you will have already gained more than 1000m. Ilam, though not a very familiar destination for western travelers, is a popular hub for domestic tourists after Pokhara for its kaleidoscopic beauty of tea gardens complimented by the magnificent vistas of mountain in the backdrop. After leaving this beautiful town, the trip still continues with a drive to Chiruwa via Taplejung. Finally on day 4, from Chiruwa, your trek to the wonder region starts.
Passing through the beautiful cardamom gardens initially and following the Tamor river later on, the trek continues through the rich flora and fauna of Kanchenjunga Conservation Area. As you proceed through villages like Lelep, Ila Danda and Selep Kharka, and enter deeper into the region, human settlements start getting thinner and landscape much wilder. However, in the remote outpost also, you can get the opportunity to explore rich highland culture in village like Olangchung Gola, a typical Sherpa village, where you normally have a day of rest for acclimatization. Now onwards, the trek starts getting much trickier as you have to traverse through snowy trails. After negotiating with the challenging snow fields, soon the glacial walk culminates at Lumba Sumba Pass (5177m), the ultimate point of the whole trip. In the Pass crossing day, an early start is necessary around 5 am (from High Camp) as the weather after noon can get nasty with strong winds. The views from the Pass, which is actually the combination of two Passes Lumba and Sumba, worth every step you have taken so far. As, the Pass joins Kanchenjunga and Makalu regions , the Pass allows one to savor the rarest views of eastern Himalayan ranges that include Kanchenjunga to the east and Makalu to the west.
After the exhausting yet worthwhile climb, the trek slowly makes its way down to Arun valley. Further down, you pass through dense forests of pine and rhododendron along with more populated villages to enter Makalu Barun National Park, the only protected area in the world with an elevation gain of 8,000m. You also get to see the confluence of Arun and Barun River en-route, both major tributaries of mighty Sapta Koshi. As the trek descends towards Num village following the changing landscape from conifers to rich paddy terraces, you reach Tumlingtar to catch a scenic flight back to Kathmandu.
All in all, the trip is much recommended for two reasons; first the obvious one – it gives you a much needed break after being confined at home for such a long time due to pandemic, and next it offers you a rewarding experience of hidden treasures of Nepal which are lesser known yet equally mystifying as Everest and Annapurna regions, or even more, who knows?
TRIP PROFILE: Trip days – 23 days
Trip Grade – Strenuous
Max. Altitude – 5177 m / 16634 ft
Trek Type – Camping
Lumba Sumba Pass
Spectacular panorama of Maklau and Kanchenjunga ranges
Rich biodiversity of two protected areas: Makalu Barun National Park and Kanchenjunga Conservation Area (chances of spotting endangered species Red Panda and Snow Leopard)
Nepal’s two big river systems Arun and Tamor
Cultural mix of highland ethnic groups including Rai, Limbu and Sherpas
Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu and transfer to hotel
Day 02: Fly to Bhadrapur (91m) – 45 mins and drive to Ilam (1206m) – 2 hrs
Day 03: Drive to Chiruwa (1246m) via Taplejung – 8 hrs
Day 04: Trek to Taplechowk (1456m) – 5 hrs
Day 05: Trek to Lelep (1687m) – 7 hrs
Day 06: Trek to Ila Danda (2051m) – 5 hrs
Day 07: Trek to Selep Kharka (2525m) – 5 hrs
Day 08: Trek to Olangchung Gola (3208m) – 5 hrs
Day 09: Rest day at Olangchung Gola
Day 10: Trek to Langmale (3893m) – 6 hrs
Day 11: Trek to Tangcher (4203m) – 4 hrs
Day 12: Trek to Phedi – 3 hrs
Day 13: Cross Lumba Sumba (5177m) and trek to Chaunri Kharka (4595m) – 9 hrs
Day 14: Trek to Thudam (3500m) – 7 hrs
Day 15: Trek to Khimbuche, Yak Kharka (2877m) – 6 hrs
Day 16: Trek to Chyamthang (2229m) – 6 hrs
Day 17: Chyamthang buffer day
Day 18: Trek to Hatiya (1595m) – 7 hrs
Day 19: Trek to Gola (1128m) – 6 hrs
Day 20: Trek to Hedangna (1179m) – 5 hrs
Day 21: Trek to Num (1572m) – 6 hrs, and drive to Tumlingtar (405m) – 5 hrs
Day 22: Fly to Kathmandu – 45 mins
Day 23: Depart from Kathmandu
SOME HELPFUL INFO:
Accommodation Lumba Sumba Trek is a trekking in Himalayan wilderness. In lower trails, you can find some local teahouses but they are basic. In higher altitudes, there is no accommodation facility. So, Lumba Sumba trek is normally organized as camping trek to ensure comfort and safety of the trekkers. Normally ‘Two men dome’ or ‘A’ shaped tents with foam mattress underneath for insulation are used. Trekkers need to bring their own sleeping bags (can be rented). Bags or cloth packs can be used as pillows. If you wish, you can bring your own ‘Air pillow’. And if you accommodate in the teahouses (in lower altitudes), you get basic rooms consisting of beds with pillow and blankets. (Make sure to bring your own sleeping bag as the blanket may not be warm enough). You can’t find rooms with attached bath and hot shower. However, if you request, they will provide bucket full of hot water with extra charges (approx $2 – $4). Majority of teahouses have rooms in twin sharing basis and dormitory rooms.
Communication While trekking in Lumba Sumba region, you may not have an access to telephone or internet facility for some days or weeks especially in higher altitude. You can get the communication facility up to Lelep only (but very limited network). If you want to get connected with your family and friends throughout the trip, you can get rental satellite phone.
Food During camping trek, you can get three plentiful, nutritious and hygienically prepared meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes.
Breakfast – porridge, muesli /cereal, omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread Lunch – salad, vegetables, pasta and traditional breads
Dinner (3 course) – soup, vegetables, meat, rice and pasta dishes, simple dessert, tea, coffee, hot chocolate etc.
Teahouses in Lumba Sumba region are very basic, and their food menu is also very simple, consisting of local Nepali food (Daal Bhaat – rice, lentil and curry), noodles and chapatis. It’s always a good idea to carry supplementary food which you can prepare easily like soup, instant noodles, dry fruits and nuts, coffee, juice, herbal tea etc. Since you don’t have many food options, it’s better to have Daal Bhaat as they are always freshly made and good for calorie replenishment
Water It’s really important to stay hydrated while trekking but water is not something to worry about while trekking in Nepal. Normally you will be provided with filtered water about 3-4 liters per person per day. You can also buy bottled water (approx. $1) in tea houses in lower altitudes but it’s better to minimize the use of plastic bottles. So, the best thing is to bring own water bottle and refill it. You can also bring water purification pills in case you want to drink water from local taps.
Electricity and Charging This trek takes you through the isolated valley. So, electricity is a problem in the area. You can get the facility till Lelep. Beyond that only in few places like Gola and Thudam, you can have charging facility (approx $2 – $4) powered by solar energy. So, it is better to carry fully charged power bank.
Clothing and Equipment Lumba Sumba Trek is an adventurous trek in the Himalaya. So, you need best trekking clothing and gears like boots, hiking pants, winter caps, down jackets, Poncho, wind cheater etc. Thermals and layers are really important to keep you warm and comfortable. Trekking poles and crampons (while crossing pass) are essential during this trek as you follow snowy and steep trails. The gears that you need during the trek can be purchased in Kathmandu. The items can be genuine branded items or imitation depending on your choice and price. The imitated items might not be best but they are good enough for the trek considering the price.
Permits You need some permits in order to trek in Lumba Sumba region.
Makalu Barun National Park permit: Approx. $30 (per person)
Makalu Barun Special Permit : Approx. $20 for 4 weeks (per person)
Kanchenjunga Special Permit : Approx. $20 for 4 weeks (per person)
Best Time to Travel Autumn (from mid-September till November end) and Spring (from the beginning of March until mid-May) are considered to be best for Lumba Sumba Trek. The weather in these months is likely to be stable with clear skies. As Spring in Nepal is marked with abundant rhododendron blooms in hills and low mountains, some consider Spring as a better option for Lumba Sumba Trek as the kaleidoscopic beauty of snowy peaks and red blooms is simply the best. Trekking during monsoon is not recommended as the visibility is poor during rainy days. Winter is extremely cold with heavy snow in trails but trekking in this region is possible for those who want some extra dose of adventure. You can also get exceptional visibility during winter.
Trek Difficulty Level Lumba Sumba Trek is a fairly challenging trek as the trail is less frequented and marked with raw wilderness, glacier fields and high altitude passes with less availability of travel amenities. Unlike the popular routes, the trail is not well-marked. The highest point of the trek is Lumba Sumba Pass (5177m). Despite being a challenging trek, with right attitude and preparation the adventure is achievable.
(If you have any query regarding this trip, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org . We would be more than happy to help you!)