Everest Base Camp Trek – Day 1: Lukla to Phakding & Day 2: Phakding to Namche

The Everest Base Camp Trek is hard. To date it’s the hardest trek I’ve ever attempted. With that in mind it’s also one of the most beautiful and memorable places I’ve ever visited. Each day was rich with Buddhist culture, epic views of the mountains, and incredible hanging bridges. Despite getting sick and requiring a helicopter rescue, I don’t regret the time we spent trekking through the Himalayas.

Everest Base Camp was the number one activity on our list, during our 5 week visit to Nepal. My husband, sister and I spent a year planning our trip. It was our first time in Nepal, so we decided to hire a guide and 2 porters for the 11 day trek.  We booked it with Trek Around Nepal. They did an excellent job booking our tea-houses during our time in the Himalayas.

With Trek Around Nepal the EBC trek cost us $1290 U.S. per person. This included:

  • Flight in and out of Lukla
  • Airport pick up and drop off
  • Trekking permit
  • 1 guide and 2 porters
  • Duffle bags for our stuff
  • Sleeping bags and trekking poles
  • Accommodation during the trek
  • 3 meals and 3 drinks

We brought the equivalent of $200 U.S. each  for spending money.  We used this for tips and extra purchases like large thermos of hot water and toilet paper. There are no ATM’s along the way so it’s best to bring extra cash. We had a lot of extra after the trek.

If you have never experienced  tea-house trekking in Nepal here’s some things you can expect.

  • You are expected to have your dinner and breakfast in the tea-house
  • the tea-houses are not insulated, and it gets much colder at night
  • when you enter a bathroom  there will either be a western toilet or a squatter
  • you have to use a bucket of water to flush the toilet
  • bring your own toilet paper
  • do not ‘flush’ your toilet paper
  • always carry hand sanitizer
  • have a way to purify your drinking water

So with that in mind here’s an account of our time on the Everest Base Camp Trek.

Arriving in Kathmandu:

We flew out of Toronto October 5th at 1 am. and arrived in Kathmandu 10 P.M. on Oct. 6th. Narayan from Trek Around Nepal picked us up at the airport. The next day we walked around Thamel and bought some last minute hiking gear. For our complete packing list please click here.

Later that night Narayan introduced us to our guide for the Everest Base Camp Trek. In hind sight we should have probably taken another 2 days to rest before starting our trek. It might have helped improve are chances on the trek.

Kathmandu – Lukla (2860 m) – Phakding (2610 m): Trek time 2-3 hr.

October 8th we were back at the airport ready to fly into Lukla. From what we heard this could be a dodgy flight, prone to cancellations and delays. We were fortunate to catch one of the first flights of the day.Everest Base Camp Trek - ready to fly to Lukla

Our trekking company booked with Summit air. We boarded a small 18 seater propeller plane. I felt nervous, Lukla has been dubbed world’s most dangerous airport. But it was a short flight, and before I knew it, it was time to land. The plane touched down smoothly. It was time to start our adventure.

Lukla is located at 2,800 m above sea level. After landing we had a short tea break and started to hike. I was out of breath right away. It took me a while to catch my rhythm. But eventually I got my breathing under control.

The scenery was all new to me. There were chortens, large prayer wheels and giant rocks engraved with prayers. I still remember crossing the first hanging bridge. It was full of people and swayed more than I thought it would. I felt wobbly even after stepping on solid ground.

Phakding was our destination for the day. Our guide booked us a room at Trekker’s Lodge and Restaurant. We had 3 beds, a bathroom and a cold shower. For lunch and dinner I had dal bhat. It’s a popular Nepalese dish served with Dal (Lentil soup), Bhat (rice), potato curry, blanched green veggies and some sort of spicy pickled item. It was delicious and had enough rice to feed two people.

After lunch we had a nap, I’m guessing we were still get lagged . We only woke up to eat our dinner, and headed back to bed right after. The night was chilly, but our sleeping bags from the trekking company kept us warm. We slept well that night, it was the longest we’ve slept since flying into Nepal.

Phakding (2610 m) to Namche (3446): Trek time 5 – 6 hr

We stepped outside of the tea house and caught a view of the mountains. I was already impressed and it was just the second day.

Around 7:30 am. we started the long trek to Namche. The first half of the day was easy, just a bit of up and down. We crossed another hanging bridge, and passed a waterfall. There was a lot of people on the trail, all from different nationalities and age group. We crowded at the checkpoint and waited for the guides to get our paperwork and permits in order.

After our short break we reached a viewpoint for two hanging bridges. From here the trail led us uphill. The stairs felt endless.  We crossed another hanging bridge, and still the up-hill continued. I was thankful for the yak and donkey traffic jams. It gave me much needed time to rest.

One eternity later we turned a corner and saw Namche. It was beautiful set on the edge of a cliff. The entrance had a giant stupa, and a fountain used by locals for laundry. On the side were lines of prayer wheels, that led us up to the shops and tea-houses.

Our tea-house was fantastic, it was complete with heated bed sheets, a washroom and hot shower. I was so happy we would get to spend 2 nights in luxury.

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