Everest base camp trek is a goal, a dream and a bucket list item for many. A journey though the majestic Himalayas. An unforgettable adventure of a life time. I highly recommend hiring a guide for your trek. But, the trek can also be done easily without a guide. If you are trekking on your own or hiring a guide, either way this guide on how to trek to Everest base camp will serve you as your day by day itinerary to your EBC journey.
Note: The first step of the process is to plan for the trek. I highly recommend to first check out my guide on how to plan you Everest base camp trek. It gives you a complete idea on when to trek, what gear you need, what insurance you must purchase, what permits are necessary, how much it will cost, etc.
Day 01 – Fly to Lukla (2,840m) and then trek to Phakding (2,610m). About 4 hours.
Clockwise in the picture – (1) Lukla airport, (2) Dudh Kosi river, (3) first suspension bridge of the trek and (4) a prayer wheel.
The flights from Kathmandu to Lukla are small 15-18 seater planes. It is a short 30 minute flight from Kathmandu. Though it is a short flight, the weather at Lukla airport plays a big role. It is usually windy and cloudy with poor visibility.
Tenzing-Hillary airport in Lukla is at an altitude of 2,845m making it one of the highest airports in the world. It is considered as the most dangerous airport in the world due to it’s short and angled runway. One end of the runway is 60m higher than the other. There has been incidents and accidents at this airport due to poor visibility.
Most of the times the flights to Lukla are either delayed or cancelled. Expect about 3 hours of delay if flying out on the first flight (6am). The later flights might get canceled all together as there is only a limited window of clear weather at Lukla airport.
The best way to increase your chances of making it to Lukla is to book the earliest flight out of Kathmandu. Even if there are any delays, you will at least make it to Lukla by noon. You can bring a carry-on bag up to 15kg weight. There are no overhead bins on the plane. You must keep the carry-on bag under the seat in front of you or between your legs.
Trekking poles are not allowed in the carry-on bag. They must go in your check-in bags. If you are bringing only a carry-on, I suggest not to bring a trekking pole with you from Kathmandu. Instead buy one in Lukla. Sit on the left side on the flight to have a beautiful view of snow capped mountains.
Have a good breakfast/lunch in Lukla. This is the first day of your Everest base camp trek, so start with good spirits and high energy. There is a check point in Lukla where you must show your TIMS permit. The trail goes through pine and cedar wood forest along the Dudh Kosi river. Follow the marked trail until you arrive at the first village of the trek, Chaurikharka. Then, make a slight descent towards the beautiful village of Ghat (2,530m). Cross the suspension bridge and continue walking along the banks of Dudh Kosi river until you arrive at Phakding. Stay the night in Phakding.
To acclimatize well to the altitude (2,840m), the first day of the trek is only about 3-4 hours. If interested and have time, do a short side trek to the monastery in Phakding.
A good rule of thumb on the trek is – early to bed and early to rise. Most trekker eat their dinner around 6-7pm and go to bed by 8-9pm.
Day 02 – Phakding (2,610m) to Namche Bazaar (3,440m). About 6 hours.
Clockwise in the picture – (1) A stupa, (2) a suspension bridge, (3) first glimpse of Mt. Everest and (4) Namche Bazaar with snow capped mountains in the background.
Wake up around 6am and get ready by 7am. Have good breakfast and hit the trail by 8am. Follow the trail that goes along the banks of Dudh Kosi river. On the trail, you will cross five suspension bridges, the last one being the highest of all. The first village on the trail is called Tok Tok (2,760m) from where you can have excellent views of Thamserku Peak (6,608m).
The trail slowly ascends towards a small agricultural project farm called Chhamuwa. Continue climbing up to Monju (2,835m), the starting point of Sagarmatha National Park. Sagarmatha National Park was established in 1976 and it spans approximately 1,148 sq km of area. You must get your Sagarmatha Permit here. Below is the price structure for Sagarmatha Permit. No photo is need.
- 3,390 NPR for foreigners
- 1,695 NPR for nationals from SAARC countries
After you get your permit, follow the trail towards Jorsale (2,740m) and then to Larja Dobhan (2,830m). Cross the fifth hanging bridge and slowly climb up to the view point where you will get your first glimpse of Mt. Everest (8,848m). You can also see Mt. Nupste (7,879m) on the right side of Mt. Everest. Take a break here. Have some water and chat with other trekkers and fruit vendors.
After a couple more hours of trekking, you will reach the streets of Namche Bazaar. Namche is the biggest Sherpa village on the trek. It is a beautiful village surrounded by snow capped mountains. There are plenty of stores for trekking gear, bars, cafes and ATMs. Stay the night in Namche Bazaar.
Day 03 – Acclimatization in Namche Bazaar (3,440m), visit Everest view hotel (3,880m), Khumjung (3,780m) and Kunde (3,840m) villages. About 6 hours.
Clockwise in the picture – (1) Hillary Memorial view point in Namche, (2) the view of Mt. Everest and Mt. Ama Dablam on the way to Mt. Everest View Hotel, (3) Hillary school in Khumjung village and (4) Khunde village.
On the third day, you will hike to the Hillary Memorial view point to see the statue of Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and the spectacular panoramic view of snow capped mountains. From here, you can see the mountains such as Nuptse (7,861m), Mt. Everest (8,848m), Lhotse (8,414m), Ama Dablam (6,856m), Thamserku (6,608m), Kusum Khangkaru (6,367m) and Kangtega (6,685m).
Slowly climb up to the Everest View Hotel (3,880m) where you can have spectacular views of Mt. Everest (8,848m). This is an expensive hotel, so just have a tea and then continue on your trek. Follow the trail towards the Khumjung village (3,780m). Stop by the ancient monastery of the region and check out the Yeti skull. You have to pay 250 NPR to see the Yeti skull. Then, make a stop at the Hillary School.
Continue towards Khunde village (3,840m) where there is Khunde hospital and a monastery. Stop by the Khunde hospital to say hello to the resident doctor and get an overview of the facility and the medical services they provide. This hospital is mostly operated by donations from Canada. Make a donation if you can.
Slowly descend to return back to Namche. If you have time and energy, you can walk around the streets of Namche to checkout the shopping, restaurants, cafes and talk to the lovely Sherpa and Rai people. There is also a mountaineering museum and Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee (SPCC) in Namche. Stay the night again in Namche.
Day 04 – Namche Bazaar (3,430m) to Deboche (3,820m). About 5 hours.
Clockwise in the picture – (1) The view of Mt. Everest, (2) a suspension bridge, (3) a Himalayan Tahr and (4) the largest monastery of Khumbu region in Tengboche.
Trek through the rhododendron forest, crossing Dudh Kosi river on suspension bridges, walking along the Mani walls and Chortens. As you trek further the views of Thamserku (6,608m), Kangtega (6,685m), Ama Dablam (6,856m), Lhotse (8,414m) and Mt. Everest (8,848m) rise in front of you.
Make a stop at Tengboche (3,860m) to visit the biggest monastery of Khumbu region. Talk to the monks and light a butter lamp. Make a donation if you can. Then, continue the trek to Deboche (3,820m). Stay the night in Deboche.
Day 05 – Deboche (3,820m) to Dingboche (4,360m). About 5 hours.
Clockwise in the picture – (1) The view of Mt. Ama Dablam, (2) Imja Khola river, (3) Yaks carrying the supplies to EBC and (4) Dingboche village.
Follow the trail that pass through the dense rhododendron forest then cross the suspension bridge on Imja Khola river. Slowly climb up to Pangboche (3,930m) and walk along the Mani walls and the white stupa. The view of Mt. Ama Dablam (6,856m) rises in front of you as you continue. Walk along the trail on the banks of Imja Khola river and arrive at the small Sherpa village of Shomare (4,010m). There is an enormous mural of Guru Rinpoche here. Take a break and have lunch in Shomare.
Walk slowly by gradually gaining altitude and arrive at the quaint traditional Sherpa village of Dingboche (4,360m). The views of Lhotse (8,414m) and Ama Dablam (6,856m) are fantastic from here. Stay the night in Dingboche.
Day 06 – Acclimatization in Dingboche (4,360m), trek Nagarzhang peak (5,100m). About 5 hours.
Clockwise in the picture – (1) The view of Dingboche village, (2) trekking up the Nagarzhang peak, (3) view from the top of Nagarzhang peak and (4) the view of Mt. Ama Dablam from the top of Nagarzhang peak.
Take an acclimatization day in Dingboche (4,360m). Trek the Nagarzhang peak (5,100m) to acclimatize well for the higher altitudes. Have a good breakfast as the climb up Nagarzhang peak is challenging. Layer yourself well as it can be cold and windy while going up the peak.
Trek all the way up to the flag pole (5,100m) on the peak to have spectacular views of Island Peak (6,189m), Ama Dablam (6,856m), Taboche (6,367m), Cholatse (6,335m) and Loboche (6,119m). Stay the night again in Dingboche.
Day 07 – Dingboche (4,360m) to Lobuche (4,910m). About 5 hours.
Clockwise in the picture – (1) Dingboche village, (2) Tughla village, (3) the stupa and the stone monuments in memory of those who died in Everest disasters and (4) the frozen Imja Khola river.
You will have spectacular views of Taboche (6,367m) and Cholatse (6,335m) as you trek towards Lobuche (4,910m). Locals say that this trail is the habitat of snow leopards and the renowed Yeti. The trail is mostly flat till the first village of the trek, Tughla (4,620m) where you can take a break and have some tea or early lunch.
After Tughla, the trail climbs up the rough terminal moraine of Khumbu Glacier. This area has rows of stone monuments built in memory of Sherpas who died in an avalanche during the 1970 Japanese expedition on Mt. Everest including Babu Chiri Sherpa, a 10 time Everest summiter and Scott Fischer who died in 1996 Everest disaster.
While crossing the ridge from here, you will have great views of Mt. Pumori (7,165m). Continue to climb up to the north over rough moraine to arrive at Lobuche (4,910m), a summer village with several hotels. Stay the night in Lobuche.
Day 08 – Lobuche (4,910m) to Gorakshep (5,140m), then to Everest Base Camp (5,365m). About 8 hours.
Clockwise in the picture – (1) The Everest Base Camp, (2) tents for the summit attempters at the base camp, (3) Khumbu Icefall and (4) the view while heading back from EBC.
Today is one of the longest and difficult days of the trek. Start early and trek for about 3 hours to arrive at Gorakshep (5,140m). Check-in to a lodge and have an early lunch. Leave your bags in the room and take a few essentials with you. Walk along the Khumbu Glacier for about 2.5 hours to arrive at the Everest Base Camp (5,365m). EBC is the closest you can get to Mt. Everest (8,848m) without the need for any mountaineering equipment.
If you are trekking in March-May, there may be teams at the base camp about to attempt the summit. The view of the Khumbu Icefall from the base camp is spectacular. Spend some time at the base camp depending on the weather to soak in the energy and take pictures.
Trek back and spend the night in Gorakshep. Day 09 will be an early and difficult day of the trek, so go to bed early.
Day 09 – Trek up to Kala Patthar (5,550 meters). About 3 hours. Trek back to Pangboche (4,120m). About 7 hours.
Clockwise in the picture – (1) The view of Mt. Everest and Mt. Nuptse on the way to Kala Pattar, (2) stupa and stone memorials at Tughla, (3) trail near Dingboche and (4) the trail towards Pangboche.
Kala Patthar is a small peak at an altitude of 5,550m. Most trekkers climb up Kala Patthar to catch the sunrise and the best views of Mt. Everest. You can see Mt. Everest from several places on the trail, but you can get the best views of Mt. Everest only from Kala Patthar.
Start the trek at 5am. Eat a snack, layer yourself well and carry a head lamp. The ascent up the peak is demanding especially as it can be very cold (-20c or lower), windy and some times snowy. Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with the magnificent views of Mt. Everest (8,848m). Himalayan giants such as Nuptse (7,861m), Pumori (7,165m), Chagatse, Lhotse (8,414m) and countless others loom all around you.
Descend to Gorakshep (5,140m) and have a good breakfast. Check out the lodge. Follow the trail and descent gently to Lobuche (4,910m) and slowly go up towards Pangboche (4,120m). Stay the night in Pangboche.
Day 10 – Pangboche (4,120m) to Namche (3,440m). About 6 hours.
Clockwise in the picture – (1) The trek back to Namche Bazaar, (2) the view of Mt. Everest and Mt. Ama Dablam, (3) largest monastery of Khumbu region at Tengboche and (4) a suspension bridge close to Namche.
Trek along the Imja Khola river towards Tengboche (3,930m). Stop by the Monastery again if you like. Slowly descend for about 2 hours towards Phunke Tenga. Climb up ascending slowly to arrive at Khyangjuma (3,550m). Take a break in Khyangjuma and have lunch. Trek uphill for 2 more hours to arrive at Namche (3,440m). Stay the night in Namche.
Day 11 – Namche Bazaar (3,440m) to Lukla (2,840m). About 8 hours.
Clockwise in the picture – (1) Final glimpse of Mt. Everest, (2) the highest suspension bridge of the trek, (3) Dudh Kosi river and (4) a stupa.
Most of the walk today will be on the trail going steep downwards. You will cross the suspension bridges decorated with prayer flags above the gushing Dudh Kosi river. The views of open plains, pine and rhododendron forests as well as snow covered peaks will enchant you once again.
Take a break at Phakding (2,610m) to have lunch. Slowly ascend for a bit to arrive at Lukla (2,840m). Celebrate the victory of accomplishing the trek with a beer or two. Stay overnight in Lukla.
Day 12 – Lukla (2,800m) to Kathmandu.
Clockwise in the picture – (1) Lukla town, (2) Tenzing-Hillary airport in Lukla, (3) Goma 18 seater flight ready to take off and (4) view of Kathmandu from the flight.
If your flight is not cancelled, you will soon be on your way to Kathmandu. The mountains will bid goodbye as you fly back. In about 25 minutes, you will arrive in Kathmandu. Catch a taxi to Thamel.