Makalu Base Camp Trek is an outstanding trek in the eastern region of Nepal which offers a combination of rich cultural heritage, unsurpassed beauty and biological diversity. The trail takes you from the steamy lowlands of Tumlingtar on the Arun River, through one of the least frequented areas of Nepal, to the base camp of Makalu [8475m]. The trail follows the beautiful Barun river valley in the Makalu Barun National Park, crossing Shipton pass at 4127 meters before arriving at Makalu Base Camp [5000m]. From here, views of the south face of Makalu, as well as Everest and Lhotse are truly regal and fantastic. The Arun valley is also home to rare species of various Birds which are found only in Nepal.
Anyone in good shape and has previous experience of trekking can make this fairly challenging trek anytime in March to May and September to early December.
It is a panoramic thrill flying into Kathmandu on a clear day. The views of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below you are almost ecstatic, beginning a whole chain of memorable experiences that stay with you for a long, long time. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The representative will help you check into your designated hotel. At the hotel you will be briefed about your daily activities..
Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence. There will be a guided tour to the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal Boudhanath and after that to the most popular Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva- Pashupatinath. We take a tour to Patan or Lalitpur (the City of Artisans), which is 5km away from Kathmandu. We walk through Patan Durbar Square, and delight in the architectural wonders of Malla era. Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Krishna Temple and Golden Temple are the major attractions at the square..
We take an hour flight from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar, from where our trek commences. From Tumlingtar, we walk north towards Khandbari after lunch. We begin walking on a plateau for about 45 minutes after which the trek starts climbing gradually for approx 3 hrs to reach Khandbari camp above the village on large grassy fields..
Leaving Khandbari, continuing along the trail which passes a ridge, we walk a short distance to reach the settlement of Mani Bhanjyang (1100 m). We continue through fields, bamboo groves, big rocks and climb a short distance to reach the Tamang village of Bhotebas (1740m). Beyond the village, the cultivated fields disappear as the trail climbs through trees to a pass at 1850 meters that offers spectacular views of Chamlang, Makalu and Jaljale Himal. We then descend a bit to the next ridge, and then follow the crest as it makes some ups and downs through a rhododendron forest to Chilchela (1830m), with a tea shop and few houses inhabited by Gurungs. We follow along the ridge to the small settlements of Kuwa Pani (1910m) and Sakurati Majuwa (1860m). Just past a mani wall, the trail leads up to a campsite. The lower trail heads to the village of Fururu, situated below the ridge at 1900 meters..
From Fururu, we move back to the ridge at 1960 meters and trek through forests of huge rhododendrons just below the ridge line to a mani wall and a dirty pond. We continue along the ridge past a small stream to a single Sherpa house and tea shop. This is Mure, a spread-out village at 1980 meters that is inhabited by both Sherpas and Rais. Below Mure, the route cuts across the ridge, then makes a tedious descent on a rocky eroded trail to some stone steps and a final walk to Num (1490m). Num is situated on the ridge above an S-shaped bend in the Arun River. On the opposite side of the Arun is the village of Sedua..
We continue along the trail descending steeply from Num through the corn fields of Lumbang. Below the village the trail drops very steeply through a jungle to a suspension bridge over the Arun River (660 m). From the bridge we climb steeply to a primitive tea shop, then through corn and buckwheat field. Moving along the rocky path and tiny terraces planted with corn and barley, we make a long, steep, rough climb to Sedua (1460m)..
Leaving Sedua, we make a gradual climb high above the Kasuwa Khola to Gyang (1770m). Climbing past the school at Gyang, it is a gentle walk through terraced fields and forested areas to Hindrungma village, and on to Rupisa. En route, we cross meadows and several streams, and then climb to the Sherpa village of Tashi Gaon, the last permanent settlement in the valley. .
We climb over the ridge and ascend through forests to a stream and onto a ridge where there is a small campsite. The trail levels out, and then climbs to a shepherd’s hut called Chipla atop another ridge. We climb past two small streams, then switchback up the ridge in forests to a kharka at 2900 meters and up to a saddle and Unshisha, a tiny meadow at approx 330 meters. Here the trail joins the ridge that separates the Iswa and Kasuwa drainages. The slope gets steeper and becomes a series of moss-covered stone stairs to Dhara Kharka, a meadow atop the ridge. We then move over a hillock and descend a bit to reach Kauma (3470 m). .
Today leaving Kauma, we climb on steep switchbacks for a while. We then climb less steeply through rhododendron forests to the top of the ridge, with a large mani wall adorned with prayer flags. From here, we get superb views of Chamlang, Peak 6 and Peak 7. Following the ridge for a while, we ascend a stone staircase. After a few false summits the trail veers left off the crest to a small lake. We then climb gently up a shallow rocky gully to the Kike La (4127 m). From the pass, we descend to another lake, then ascend steeply through large boulders to the Tutu La. We continue descending about 150 meters into sparse rhododendron forests to a level area. The final descent is through a forest of firs and rhododendrons to Mumbuk (3570 m). Mumbuk is a forest camp, on a grassy slope about 100 meters above a small stream, with views of snow peaks through the trees..
From Mumbuk, we descend a steep gully with a stream for about 500 meters. We then move left through fir forests, along the flank of the Barun Valley. Moving along ill-defined trail, we cross a 200-meter-long slide area, and then follow the river to a kharka. Moving through forests of birch and scrub rhododendron, we reach Yangle Kharka. We Climb from Yangle Kharka, finally crossing to the north side of the Barun Khola to reach Nhe Kharka (3000 m). There is a small gompa at the south side of the valley that offers great mountain views in all directions. .
Beyond the Nhe Kharka, we follow the north bank of the Barun Khola for a while. We then cross a small wooden bridge before the river turns northward. The Barun Valley makes a huge S-shaped curve and the walls rise almost vertically 1500 to 2000 meters above the river, but the trail climbs gently as we approach Ripok Kharka. Still on the north side of the Barun, the trail turns westward and leaves the rhododendron forests for alpine tundra. Above Ripok Kharka, the route crosses a rocky crest with a few goths, and then ascends alongside a moraine formed by the Barun Glacier. There are excellent views of Pyramid Peak, Peak 4, Chamlang, Peak 3 and Peak 5, but Makalu is not yet visible. As we pass a ridge the glacier turns slightly north. We enter an alluvial valley and Makalu pops into view just before Sherson (4615 m). Sherson is somewhat sheltered, but still is a very cold spot. It is a long trek today of approx 8 hours..
From Sherson, we stay to the right in a gully on the east side of the valley. It is gradual descent to a minor pass about 100 meters above Makalu Base Camp. We then descend to a stream, cross on boulders to the base camp on the west bank of the river. From here we get terrific views of the south face of Makalu. The large buttress of the south face rises across from base camp. An ascent of this buttress yields views of Peak 6, 7 and Baruntse (7220 m); Everest and Lhotse complete the panorama..
Today is a rest day for acclimatization and exploration..
Today we retrace our steps down the Barun Valley towards Nhe Kharka..
From Nhe Kharka, we continue descending through the forests to Mumbuk. From here we get beautiful sunset views of Makalu and Chamlang..
Leaving Mumbuk, we trek across the Shipton La and descend to Kauma. .
Today we make a long steep descent back to Tashi Gaon. At Tashi Gaon we spend the rest of the day relaxing in order to recover from the high altitude..
We descend the Kasuwa Khola Valley back to Sedua, then turn south down the west bank of the Arun River. From Sedua, we follow a trail that descends gently to Mulgaon, and then drop steeply on a rocky trail through fields of corn and barley to the Ipsuwa Khola, crossing it on a suspension bridge at 760 meters elevation. The route now enters the hot bottom lands of the Arun Valley. Most of the settlements in this area are temporary settlements used by Rai and Chettri farmers who live in villages high on the hillside above. Passing the villages, we continue along the trail through rocky fields to Balung (760 m)..
We continue through temporary farming settlements to the spread-out Rai village of Walung (880m). The trail descends to the Apsawa Khola and crossing it on a suspension bridge we climb steeply to Chhayang, a pleasant Rai village with an extensive bamboo-pipe water supply at 800 m. The trail then crosses a stream at 590m and makes some ups and downs to reach Parangbu, a delightful camping spot among rice fields on the banks of the Arun River. We continue through forests and pass several small streams to reach Pukuwa (550m)..
The trail now follows a route through forests and some spectacular high and exposed narrow tracks as it climbs over rocky ridges. The route eventually enters a region of intense valley bottom cultivation, crosses a huge landslide and some more scrub jungle before descending to Tome (520 m). Below Tome, the Arun Valley becomes wider and more U shaped. The trail climbs over another ridge on a steep, narrow stairway of rock steps. From the top of the ridge at 530m, the trail descends to a delightful camp on the banks of the Sankhuwa Khola (370m), across from the Chhetri village of Bumling. .
The trail traverses the fields of lower Bumling, then climbs over a ridge and descends to the Inkhuwa Khola, crossing it on a rickety wooden cantilever bridge. The trail follows the river downstream to its confluence with the Arun. It then follows the Arun downstream, crossing it on a large suspension bridge. Now following the east bank of the Arun, the route passes through Chyawabesi before making a short climb back to the Tumlingtar plateau. It is a few km of completely level walking to the airstrip..
From Pokhara you can either fly or drive back to Kathmandu..
Our Nepalese support team will take you to the airport for your flight home. On the other hand, if you prefer to stay longer, you can go for short tours such as wildlife Safari at National parks, rafting, Tibet tours, mountain biking, etc.- ask us. .
This is a long trek that goes far beyond the normal haunts of trekkers and tourists, to remote areas of the country where the landscapes are wild and untamed and where the local inhabitants have seen little change in their way of life for centuries- untouched corners of an increasingly crowded planet. It is physically challenging, likely to include unfavorable weather conditions and strenuous activities, such as, climbing/ scrambling across high passes.
Camping trek (no lodge available)
Includes: Guide, Porters, Cook, All meals and tents
Camping trek means sleeping in tents. On a camping trek, the tents provided are ‘Two men dome’ or ‘A’ shaped. Foam mattress with insulation underneath is provided for sleeping. Clients need to have their own sleeping bag. Bags or cloth packs are used as pillows. If you wish, you can bring your own ‘Air pillow’.
We have a pool of hotels in Kathmandu under 3 Star categories which we provide to clients in connection to this itinerary, unless it is mentioned otherwise or clients have a special choice. You can check on the description of such hotels through our website.
We provide three tasty, plentiful and nutritious meals daily with a variety of local and Western dishes. To start the day, breakfast consists of a choice of porridge, muesli and cereal followed by omelet, fried or scrambled eggs with chapattis or bread. Lunch is generally a selection of salad, cooked vegetable dishes, pasta and traditional breads.
After a long day on the trail, dinner is a hearty 3 course meal - soup, followed by a variety of vegetable, meat, rice and pasta dishes and completed with a simple dessert. Tea, coffee and hot chocolate are also provided at all meals. We use as much fresh produce as possible and special diets are regularly catered for. The leaders are able to maintain very tight controls on health and hygiene in the kitchen with respect to general cleanliness and food preparation and also within the group with respect to personal hygiene. This has allowed us to maintain remarkably high standards of health over many years of trek organization - and good health is vital to an enjoyable and successful trek and climb. All foods are well cooked and vegetables are treated by potassium permanganate or iodine. Boiled water is served for drinking. Antiseptic soaps and potassium or iodine treated water are provided for washing. Special dietary requirements can always be catered for.
During trek your main luggage will be carried by porters. You simply carry a day pack with water bottle, camera, sun-screen, spare jacket, etc. - a small load that allows full enjoyment of the trek. A trek bag is ideal for your main luggage, plus a small lockable bag for travel clothes or anything that you do not need during trek which you can leave at hotel’s locker room/safe deposit box in Kathmandu for free of charge. Weight allowance at Nepal’s domestic airlines is 15 Kgs, excess weight is chargeable at USD 1 or more per Kilo depending on sectors.
We provide different options concerning leadership in order to match your requirements:
1) Western leader
2) Trained Nepali Trek leader (experienced and knowledgeable) 3) Sherpa Guide (handles the logistics and guides you and your team on the trek)
The Sherpa guide (commonly called Sirdar) will be accompanied by a crew of porters. On camping trek, there will be 2/3 porters for each members.
Our trips are available on both fixed departure and private basis. If you are looking for a group to join this trip please check our ‘2015/16 departures’ link for availability, dates and price. If you would like to travel independently, or with your friends, families & colleagues you are invited to choose any of the trips at your convenient timeframe for any number of people (minimum 1 & maximum 100 at a time).
If you want to do something that is not included in our trip list we are ready to tailor a trip to suit your exact requirements. In short, we will make every effort to get you on the trip you want, when you want.
If you opt to join our ‘fixed departure trip’, you are likely to be joining people from different countries of any age group except minors. The size of group varies, minimum no of persons required to operate a trip is 3 & the maximum is 12 people.
On this trek all meals will be provided. You only need money for table drinks (alcoholic/non alcoholic beverages), snacks while walking (a few smaller shops are available along the trail in some areas) tips, souvenirs, hot shower (available in some places).
Tips are appreciated by your support team after the trip. The amount depends on your budget and appreciation of their work. As a suggestion, we advise you to allocate 5 - 10% of the total tour cost as tips.
The starting point of the trek is Tumlingtar, which is connected by a little less than an hour’s flight from Kathmandu. On your return, you shall take a flight from Tumlingtar to Kathmandu. We will arrange the transportation from your hotel to the airport (Kathmandu).
While trekking you may not have an access to telephone facility for some days or weeks. However, en route there may be few places where telephone facilities may be available and likely to be working. If it is crucial for you to keep in contact with your family or others, EXPLORE HIMALAYA can provide you a mobile satellite phone (rental charge on request).
Trekking: You will need walking boots, sleeping bag (4 seasons/ -20C rated), waterproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, sun-screen and day pack. Comprehensive list of equipments will be provided once you book your trip or check CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT LIST LINK
It's not necessary to spend a lot of money buying extra equipment and clothing before your trip. Majority of these gears can be bought or hired at reasonable rates in Kathmandu. Explore Himalaya will thoroughly help you to buy or rent trekking gears in the outlets of Thamel, which sell or rent both international and local gears.
Each day begins with a hot cup of tea brought to the tent at about 6 am, followed by a bowl of hot water for washing. After packing all your bags and having a good breakfast, we set off on the morning’s walk. All you need to carry is a small day pack containing water bottle, camera, sun cream, hat, rain jacket and a warm jumper, just in case. The porters will carry the rest of your gear for you. After walking for 3-4 hours, we stop for lunch at around midday. The afternoon’s walk is generally shorter and we arrive at camp in time for afternoon tea. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent exploring the nearby villages, doing a bit of washing or simply relaxing with a good book. On some days, we will arrive at camp by lunchtime and the entire afternoon will be free. Dinner is usually served between 6 and 7 pm. After dinner, the evening will often be spent playing cards and talking with the crew, or perhaps even joining in some singing and dancing, before heading off to the tent for a well-earned sleep.
You need to pass on your International flight details to us for a “meeting and greeting” service at airport. You just pass on the Customs and come out of the Terminal building where you will see someone standing with a placard with either ‘Explore Himalaya’ or your name written on it. Our airport representative or tour officer will greet you and welcome you with a garland.
The best seasons to trek in the Makalu region are Autumn (from mid-September till November end) and Spring (from the beginning of March until mid-May). Temperatures will drop considerably as you trek higher everyday. The nights are cold (between -15 C to 5C) but the days are sunny and hot (between 10C to 30C). The mornings are usually clear, with clouds building up during the afternoon, disappearing at night. Trekking during the monsoon and winter is not recommended, as the visibility during monsoon is limited and high passes are covered with snow during winter. March, April, October and November are the most popular and favored months for traveling. Please choose the time that is convenient for you.
Makalu region is blessed with an incredible diversity of natural beauty and culture. Some 32,000 people of ethnically diverse background live in this region. The Sherpas, originally from Tibet, live at higher elevations. They follow Buddhist traditions similar to Tibetans. In lower elevations live a handful of other hill tribes including Tamangs, Magars, Gurungs, Newars, Brahmins, Chhetris, Bhotias and other occupational castes. Both Hinduism and Buddhism are in practice in this region.
This region is culturally rich but economically poor and isolated. People heavily depend upon forest resources for food, fuel, housing materials, animal fodder, fertilizers, medicines and other creative uses. People of this region are also involved in making home made products by utilizing local resources. Some of the products are clothing spun from allo (nettles), paper made from Lokta (danphe bark), and countless items made from bamboo including furniture, containers, baskets, musical instruments, raincoats, and aqueducts. Many seasonally migrate to other areas to supplement their income through trade or wage-earning jobs.
Depending on the prevailing situation, you can modify it to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of trek completion should always coincide with the original itinerary. You should keep in mind that this is an adventure trip into the remotest region, where many unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in itinerary. In such cases, we or your guide will suggest the best alternative depending on circumstances.
We ensure liability as per indicated itinerary and list of services. If the holiday is cut short or completed earlier than the projected period upon client’s wish, we shall not be responsible or make refund against unutilized days or services. Clients need to pay extra for Hotels/services incurred in Kathmandu or elsewhere in such cases.
All visitors except the Indian nationals must hold passport and valid visa. Visa can be obtained at the Nepalese diplomatic missions and consulates abroad. Visa is also issued at the entry points. It can be extended at the Department of Immigration, Kalikasthan, Kathmandu. Children under 10 years need not pay any visa fee. People willing to get entry Visa at the air port or any of the land entry points are required to fill a visa form with passport photograph. So, please download form from the link below (visa form) and get ready while you are passing through the immigration Point.
Gratis visa for 30 days available only for tourists of SAARC countries
Multiple entry 15 days - US$ 25 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple entry 30 days - US$ 40 or equivalent convertible currency
Multiple entry 90 days - US$ 100 or equivalent convertible currency
Tourist Visa Extension
* Visa extension fee for 15 days or less is US $ 30 or equivalent convertible currency and visa extension fee for more than 15 days is US$ 2 per day
* Tourist visa can be extended for a maximum period of 150 days in a single visa year (January – December).
As vaccination requirements change frequently, we suggest you to consult your doctor at least 2 months prior to the beginning of your trip. We recommend protection against malaria, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis and polio. The main health consideration in high altitude is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You may experience some mild symptoms initially, such as headache, lethargy, nausea and difficulty sleeping, but these should lessen within a few days. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), people take pills called ‘Diamox’. You can also use these pills after consulting with your doctor and purchase them in Kathmandu. For your safety, we also carry the ‘hyperbaric Altitude Chamber’ or ‘Gamow Bag’. Our itinerary will allow your body to acclimatize properly and to handle the low oxygen rate. For your service, we carry a medical kit with standard prescribed medicines along with a users’ manual which you can use upon your own risk. We do not take any medical liability since our staffs are not qualified to prescribe medicines. If you have ever suffered from altitude sickness, or have a heart or breathing complaint, we highly recommend you consult your doctor about your suitability for trekking in high altitude area before booking. We suggest that you take some pain-killing pills with you and enough medicine for cold, diarrhea, nausea and fever. Some nasal ointment and throat-moistening pills will greatly be of help for those who are sensitive to chilly or freezing weather conditions.
In case of a serious sickness or a casualty, which we believe will not happen; we will do everything to transfer you to the nearest hospital. Since you are entirely liable for all the expenses incurred in evacuation please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own after getting back to Kathmandu.
Before joining a tour, we recommend you to take a travel insurance which should cover cancellation, medical expenses, helicopter evacuation and emergency repatriation.
Wonderful environment of the Himalayas is also an extremely fragile one. Increasing population density and numbers of trekkers threaten the very beauty of Nepal. At Explore Himalaya, we are extremely conscious about the environment and aim to minimize our impact as much as possible.
As deforestation is one of the greatest environmental threats, we do not have camp fires and use kerosene for cooking as an alternative fuel to wood. We also discourage trekkers from using wood-fuelled hot showers in lodges along the way. Many lodges, however, now provide solar hot showers, a far more eco-friendly alternative.
Garbage disposal is another major problem and some of the busier trails can, at times, appear strew with litter. Our staff members are well motivated towards eco-friendly practices. We carry out all our garbage, apart from that which can be safely and easily burnt at the campsite. Our aim is to help protect and preserve this beautiful environment for future generations of trekkers to enjoy.
In addition to your trek, we can organize extensions both within Nepal and other neighboring countries. You may want to try water rafting or a jungle safari in Nepal or Nepal Cultural Tour. You may as well take a trip to Tibet, India or Bhutan, whichever appeals more to you.
Explore Himalaya works with the motto ‘Development through Tourism’. Keeping in line with this motto, Explore Himalaya Community Service Project (EHCSP) was conceived to empower underprivileged, marginalized, poor and minority segments of Nepal.
Since its inception, EHCSP has been incessantly facilitating and advocating for school education, health, community development, forest conservation, agriculture, culture preservation and fund raising. Explore Himalaya encourages its clients to contribute for the development of Nepal.
We ensure that all the porters and other staffs going into high altitude conditions are provided with adequate clothing and equipment. We are the first ever company to supply high-altitude porters with crampons.
We run the trek according to the guidelines of the International Porter Protection group (IPPG - www.ippg.net).
1) It is a fundamental condition that you acknowledge that this is an adventure tour. This requires some flexibility. The day to day itinerary is taken as a guideline only. We cannot be held responsible for any delays caused by International or domestic flights, strikes, Government regulations, weather or natural casualties etc. In such cases, Explore Himalaya shall be responsible for providing suitable alternatives which could be decided upon mutual agreement. If an agreement cannot be made, Explore Himalaya shall be only responsible for refund after deducting expenses already incurred.
2) Your booking will be confirmed by email once we have received the deposit of USD 500 and the signed copy of booking form and contract.
The balance is due no later than two months prior to departure. If you book a tour less than 2 month prior to departure, you must send the full payment within 7 days of confirmation by us.
3) If you cancel, the following scale of charges will apply:
2 months before departure - loss of deposit (US$ 500)
29 days to 2 months before departure - 30% of total trip cost
10 to 28 days before departure - 60% of total trip cost
less than 10 days before departure - 100% of total trip cost
If you still have any questions regarding this trip, please feel free to contact us. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours. If you want to book a trip, you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us directly by phone: 977-1-4418100.
The trek was beautiful but very had. Tour guide & staff were very professional, helpful and very friendly. We had a great cook (Meg Bahadur) and kitchen team. Meals were healthy and varied a lot. Camping sites were very good and chosen carefully. Camping equipments (tents etc) were excellent. The overland transfers were very good and the people were very helpful . The last four days in the Arun Valley (Balung, Phukuwa & Bamling) were difficult as the trail was quite old. But after we crossed the river, we picked up a better trail and everybody was happy again!
We would like to stress that Explore Himalaya is a very professional and well equipped organization. Along the way we met two other groups. They had to return before reaching Makalu, because of bad equipments (leaky tents) and badly equipped porters. With Explore Himalaya everything was excellent and because of them we were able to obtain our goal. Dhanyabaad!!
We work with the motto "Tourism for Development". Explore Himalaya Community Service Project was conceived to empower underprivileged segments of Nepal.