Not everyone can climb Mount Everest, but most of us can make the trek to its famous base camp. The Everest Base Camp trek is a two-week hike through the Himalayas. It starts in the temperate zone at around 2,500 m and requires you to climb up to the alpine zone at over 5,000 m. We hike up steep, forested valleys, over suspension bridges, across desolate valley floors and lake beds, along high contour paths, and over snowy mountain passes.
We stay in traditional Sherpa villages, eat Nepali food, visit Buddhist monasteries, stand back for passing yaks, dip our toes in icy high-altitude lakes, and marvel at snow-capped mountain peaks every way we turn. And in the middle of it all, we get to stand in Everest Base Camp, where the prayer flags are pulled at relentlessly by the wind and we contemplate the start of the trail taken by many greats to reach the top of the world’s highest mountain.
We do the Everest Base Camp trek via Gokyo Lakes, an exciting alternative to the classic trek route that takes in more of the area.
✓ Take an exciting flight from Kathmandu to the mountain town of Lukla
✓ Trek for two weeks through the beautiful Sagarmatha National Park
✓ Stay in traditional Sherpa villages and experience the culture
✓ Visit Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and other important cultural sites
✓ See wild and domesticated animals like musk deer and wild goats
✓ See Mt Everest, Khumbu Glacier and many other spectacular Himalayan peaks and glaciers
✓ Visit the world’s most iconic base camp
✓ Stay on the shore of the beautiful Gokyo Lake
✓ Challenge yourself physically and mentally as you trek at great altitude
✓ Make friends with fellow trekkers from around the world
Here’s an outline of each day of the trek route. You’ll see that every day offers something different and new. There’s never a dull moment on the Everest Base Camp trek!
Today is simply about arriving in Nepal. We meet you when you land at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport and drive you to the hotel in Thamel. Thamel is full of shops geared towards tourists and trekkers, so should you need to buy or hire anything for the trek you can do so now. In the evening you might like to head out to dinner with your fellow trekkers, or just crash into bed to catch up on some z’s.
Today is the start of an epic adventure! We fly to Lukla on a small aircraft, and this is a flight you won’t soon forget, as we cruise over spectacular mountain scenery. When we land in Lukla, we straight away hit the trail. We walk through fields, forests and picturesque villages on a wide and well-constructed path. Our destination is the village of Phakding, which sits alongside the Dudh Kosi River.
Today we get our first, tantalising glimpse of Mt Everest! During our hike we cross suspension bridges, walk in pine forest, pass through more scenically placed villages, and tackle some steep ascents and descents on our way to Namche Bazaar. Namche Bazaar is an important market town, and every Saturday morning traders from all around gather here to sell their goods. We spend two nights in Namche to allow our bodies to acclimatise to the higher elevation.
Today we pop into the Sherpa Culture Museum to learn about the people, animals and vegetation of the area. We then take a hike up to the nearby valley village of Khumjung. A traditional Sherpa village, Khumjung is a favourite with many tourists for its neat, green-roofed homes and the low drystone walls lining its fields.
Today we take an enjoyable walk down to the river at Phunki Thanhka, where we stop off for lunch next to some water-driven Buddhist prayer wheels. After lunch, a short but steep climb takes us up to Tengboche through forests of blue pine, fir and black juniper. Tengboche Monastery, also known as Dawa Choling Gompa, is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the Khumbu region. It’s an absolute must-see.
Today things get a little more challenging, as we climb over 500 m in elevation and the air grows ever thinner. You’re going to really feel the depleted oxygen levels. We also come out above the tree line and enter a colder, harsher climate. The area is remoter than any we’ve yet experienced and you can almost feel Everest Base Camp drawing closer!
Today we jump another 500 m in elevation. We walk through a relatively barren landscape, with majestic snow-covered mountains all around us. We stop for the night at Lobuche, a small, functional settlement serving the trekking market.
“Travelling with friends and friends of friends is the best way to travel as proven by Follow Alice!” Robert Jensen
Today we trek to Everest Base Camp! It’s a long, tough day of hiking, but the prospect of standing at that famous base camp should fuel your legs and determination. We also see the infamous Khumbu Glacier that all Everest mountaineers must cross as they head out of base camp. Once we’ve soaked it all in, we retrace our steps a little so we can take a load off at Gorakshep for the night.
Today we hike up Kala Patthar to reach our highest elevation of the entire trek. Kala Patthar offers the best view of Mt Everest, as well as views of some other mighty peaks like Nuptse and Changtse. We then deviate from the classic Everest Base Camp trek route by heading west towards Gokyo Lakes. We spend the night in the small settlement of Dzongla.
Today is another tough day, as we must climb up to and cross the snowy Cho La Pass. We get up close and personal with Cho Oyu (the sixth highest mountain in the world) as well as Ngozumpa Glacier (the longest glacier in the Himalayas)! We then trek down to Thagna for the night.
Today we trek through beautiful, unforgiving terrain to reach the tiny settlement of Gokyo. Gokyo sits on the shore of one of the six Gokyo Lakes, which form an important high-altitude wetland for migratory birds. The lakes are also sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus; hundreds of Hindu devotees make a pilgrimage here once a year for Janai Purnima. We stay in Gokyo for two nights.
“Trekking in the Himalayas and walking amongst the clouds is an experience I will never forget” Aneesha Petersen
Today we have a steep climb up to the top of Gokyo Peak, known locally as Gokyo Ri. The view from the top is just awesome: we see peaks like Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Makalu, Cho Oyu and Gyachung Kang. We then trek to the village of Macchermo for a visit, walking along a steep and rugged valley. It’s an adventurer’s dream. We return to Gokyo for another night by the lake.
Today we start heading home. We trek down the valley, passing a couple of small villages, to reach Namche Bazaar.
Our final day of trekking brings us back to the town of Lukla. There’s time for you to explore Lukla, as we only fly out tomorrow morning.
After an early breakfast, we walk for about five minutes to the airport to catch our morning flight to Kathmandu.
Today we come to the end of our journey!
Oangdi Gurung is our awesome friend and Follow Alice local leader for the Everest Base Camp trek. He’s a highly experienced and registered trek leader who has led groups from all around the world through the Himalayas.
Oangdi grew up in Mustang, a mountainous district in central Nepal. He used to work as a correspondent for Al Jazeera and is fluent in English, Nepali and Tibetan. He’s an incredibly knowledgeable trek leader, so not only does he keep us safe, but he also offers great insights and tips as to the mountains, wildlife and culture we encounter during the trek.
“Oangdi was really incredible on our journey through the Himalayas. I felt safe knowing he had such extensive knowledge and experience of the mountains! ” Kalvin Raymond