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Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar Day 14 Phakding to Lukla

Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar Day 14 Phakding to Lukla
Mt. Everest and Nuptse

This is the last day on our Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar trek.  Today we trek from Phakding to Lukla.  This is normally a fairly easy hike, but after tongba it was not.  However, I took it slow and enjoyed it.  I saw some waterfalls, a patch of flowers, and a prayer wall carved in stone on the side of the trail.  The highlight was the flowers.  In Lukla, I stayed at an expensive hotel, but the staff members were very nice.  They made samosas for me while I played soccer with some kids.

If you are interested in the Annapurna Circuit Trek, I will be writing about it next.  That trek is also excellent.  You can pare it with the Poon Hill trek or the Annapurna Base Camp Trek for an amazing experience.

Day 14: Phakding to Lukla

We started trekking to Lukla after a hearty breakfast.  By the time we got on the trail it was just past 10:00 am.  Though I felt fine, my body was slow.  My guide was also slow.  We slowly walked to Lukla.  The trek is supposed to take about 3 hours.  In total it took us about 5 hours with a lunch.  If you are going up to Everest Base Camp do yourself a favor and abstain from drinking alcohol.  It really does affect your performance.

fortunately the trail was flat starting out.  However, the slope gradually increased.  The trail started getting steeper right before Nurning.  There is a painted mani wall at the top of the steps just before Nurning.  I don’t remember seeing it coming in, but I was glad I saw it on my way out.  Just after Nurning we crossed the Thado Koshi river on a large suspension bridge (Seamless Bridge).

My guide pointed out that a few years prior an avalanche happened just up the canyon.  He said a few people died.  I couldn’t find any reference to the avalanche or the deaths online.  The canyon did look like it had a massive or abnormal amount of debris in it.  We stopped for lunch about 20 minutes after the bridge.  It was close to Chheplung.  It was about this time that a heavy fog developed.  I put on my bag cover to protect my gear.
Dudh Koshi River near avalanche

This happened on Day 13, but because I forgot to write it down, and in a despite effort to make this day more enjoyable to read about, its being included in Day 14.  We passed a beautiful waterfall.  Up the sides of the waterfall were the most outstanding violet and yellow flowers.  If anyone knows the common or scientific name of this plant please leave a comment or send an email.  I spent 15 minutes taking pictures, and trying not to get my camera wet from the splashes.
Flowers on waterfall

After lunch

After lunch we continued trekking.  At about this time an extremely frail and odd looking young woman and a fit looking young man passed us.  They had about the same speed as the La Wi French Athletic Team.  They also had a porter carrying all of their bags.  This was the second time we were passed up by someone who had a porter.  I know I said I was going to get a porter in my How to Prepare for EBC post, at this point in time I was kicking myself for not doing it.

To be straight forward, you don’t want to be going extremely fast on your trek unless you are immune to altitude sickness.  The trail mantra comes to mind “go slowly.”  Porters should be hired if you do not feel like or can’t carry your gear, you want to save your knees, or if you want to hire a person to help out their economic situation.  They should not be hired so that you can race to the top of Everest and back down.  That is a sure way of getting altitude sickness.

We made it to Lukla sometime after 3:00.  I stayed at Himalaya Lodge and Restaurant just above the Lukla Airport.  It is a very accommodating hotel with a very nice staff.  It is a bit more expensive than the rest of the hotels and tea houses along the trek though.  The Dining room is decorated with plants, and posters of the mountains with the people that climb them.  In the center of the room was a furnace that radiates comfort when filled with fuel.


The rooms are exactly the same as the all the other rooms in all the other tea houses I stayed in.  It was the standard 100 square feet with two single beds, a window, and no electrical outlets.  The only hotel room that had power outlets on trek was in the 8,000 Inn.  The beds seemed clean and smelled fresh but I still slept in my sleeping bag.  There were two areas for the bathrooms.

The first bathroom was just inside the reception between the kitchen and the dining room.  These bathrooms are the standard western style bathrooms you might find in a restaurant.  It had a sit-down toilet enclosed in a stall, a urinal, and sink to wash.  The second bathrooms were next to the rooms outside the bedroom hall.  These bathrooms each have one eastern style squat toilet.  In between the bathrooms was shower, and a sink to wash up.

The kitchen staff was amazing while I was there.  One day they asked me what I want for dinner.  I told them I wanted samosas (I have a huge samosa problem).  Samosas cannot be found on the trek, unless someone makes them specifically for you.  The kitchen staff went out of their way to make me samosas. Samosas make me happy!  I ate 12 samosas before I had to tap out.

I stayed in Lukla for about a week, because I was having so much fun eating the delicious food, and hanging out with the hotel staff.  A friend asked me to stay in Kathmandu for his daughters wedding.  After two days in Kathmandu, I took a bus to Pokhara to prepare for my Annapurna Circuit and Poon Hill Trek.


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Everest Base Camp and Kalla Patthar Day 13 Namche to Phakding

Everest Base Camp and Kalla Patthar Namche to Phakding Everest and Nuptse

In this blog post, I take you from Namche to Phakding.  Most of the events that I talk about are true.  My memory is a bit fuzzy on a few of the details, but it makes an interesting read.  In conclusion, I hiked down from Namche Bazaar, crossed the Namche bridge, saved a small village, had a humbling experience, settled in Phakding, and drank tongba.  It was a pretty rewarding day.  I hope you enjoy reading it.  Let me know in the comments below.

Day 13: Namche to Phakding

I stopped taking notes on this day, so I am shooting from the hip on what actually transpired.  I think I fought a fire breathing dragon, and saved a small village from economic collapse with my sultry line of corduroy evening wear.  Don’t quote me on this, but if you are trekking and you see a statue of a man with chiseled Greek god like features and cast in bronze wearing a corduroy suite standing on top of a vanquished dragon with three beautiful women holding onto his legs, the story is real.

Because I can’t remember the exact details, I will dismiss them from my final report aka “Day 13: Namche to Phakding.”  From Sherpa Village Hotel we began walking.  We passed the check point on our way out of town.  I remember the guard taking a long time to review the paperwork.  Anyway, the hike down to Namche Bridge was just as difficult as the hike up.  We passed several people going to Namche.  I tried to instill some encouragement by telling them to go slowly, or they are almost there. Bridge

On the other side of Namche Bridge, the terrain leveled out tremendously.  Though it was still hilly, it felt great to hike along.  We also had excellent views of the river as we trekked along the riverside trail.  At one point the trail completely disappeared and was replaced by the remnants of an old river bed.  It was either the area of a flood plain or where the river used to be.  If I didn’t have a guide, I would have gotten lost.  You might think following a stream bed is easy but that’s what the people in the movie Deliverance thought too. Koshi River

After lunch

We took our lunch in Monjo, where we were stopped again, and our permits were checked.  I had garlic and onion soup for lunch.  The food was not delicious.  I was still happy to sit down and rest though.  At the restaurant we entered there was a group of French men who seemed to have enjoyed a rather long life.  I thought to myself it will take them all day to get to the next tea house.  Little did I know.

I left the restaurant with my guide.  It couldn’t have been more than 30 minutes later, the group of old French dudes passed us on the trail.  It blew me away.  They were jamming.  Much respect old French dudes.  That was a humbling experience.  I found out later they were part of the La Wi French Athletic Team for senior citizens, and were sponsored by Le Coq Sportif to do the trek.  I double checked the information provided to me, but I couldn’t confirm it.

We passed Toktok, then crossed the Nagbuwa river.  From here we had great views of the top of Kusum Khangkaru.  A heavy mist began to come in, and the temperature dropped about 5 degrees.  At first it felt nice, then I got cold and had to layer up.  About 15 minutes later we unexpectedly made a left turn through a narrow opening between two buildings.  I asked my guide where we were going.  He said that this was the trail even though a well-defined path continues strait.

How not to get lost

He said a lot of people miss the turn and visit the small village down the way, only to be disappointed and return 30 minutes later.  I looked around for markers and saw some small writings on the top edge of a building that read “EBC Trail” with an arrow under it pointing left.  The roof awning slightly hid the sign or at least made it difficult to see from the trail.  You really have to pay attention or look for it to see it.

A short time later, we crossed the Dudh Koshi river again, and entered Phakding.  We again stayed at the Namaste Lodge Restaurant and Bar.  I ate some tsampa porridge to warm up then put my things in my assigned room.  When I came back down stairs I ordered some more food.  The food here is really good.  By this time, I figured we were in a safe drinking zone so I asked my guide if he wanted to have some tongba.


Tongba is an adult beverage made from cracking millet and letting natural fermentation occur inside the seed.  My guide took me to an unmarked building where only the locals, and one totally rad dude goes.  It was a very simple restaurant.  The women who owned it with her husband was very friendly, and happy to serve us with two tall glasses of the most delicious beverage ever produced inside a tiny grain.  For $3 I was toasted.

For $6, I was toasted and couldn’t finish my glass.  I instead opted for a can of Pringles and many glasses of water.  We didn’t make it back to the hotel until about 12:00 am the following day.  The hotel was locked though, so slept in my guides room.  I didn’t know the hotel owners locked out their guests.  It does happen so be mindful of the “lock out time.”  The following morning the hotel owner asked me what happened.  I just said you locked me out.  She laughed and made breakfast.


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The Ultimate Guide to Trekking to Everest Base Camp

The Ultimate Guide to Trekking to Everest Base Camp

View of Everest, Nuptse, and Everest Base Camp from Kala Patthar

Mount Everest is the most famous mountain in the world.  You can go to any country and say “Mt. Everest” and somebody will know what you’re are talking about regardless of the language spoken.  But it is a little strange that not everyone who knows about Everest, knows where it is located.  The highest mountain in the world is located in Nepal and is referred to as Sagarmatha in Nepali language.  The ultimate guide to trekking to Everest Base Camp contains only the most pertinent information about your trip to “the camp”.

The Ultimate Guide to Trekking to Everest Base Camp

Did you know that you can’t see Mt. Everest from Everest Base Camp?  You can have much grander views of the Himalayas from Kala Patthar.  In this blog post I will share with you all the secrets, tips, and hints (no tricks though, just hard work) about traveling to Nepal and scaling the grandest mountain in the world.  If you’re still unsure, you can skip ahead to see how to prepare for Everest Base Camp or what to expect before coming to Nepal.

When to Go


For the best weather conditions, you want to go in late spring.  Most people attempting to summit Everest go in May.  For those of you south of the equator that would be late fall early winter.  The exact months are March, April, May.  Be careful though, because June marks the beginning of the monsoon season and you do not want to be involved in that mess.  As you can imagine the best weather conditions attract the largest crowds, so be prepared.


The Fall season, September, October, and November, has historically been the second busiest season to trek the Everest Base Camp trail.  However, recently, people trying to get away from the herds of the primary season have migrated to fall season.  The fall conditions are, in my opinion, just as good if not better than the spring conditions.  So, it is up to you and your availability on when visit.


Winter can be a little cold and hazy, but for the most part it is also a great time to start your Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar trek.  In the winter season, you can take advantage of discounted rates and your choice of lodges.  Be prepared for freak snow storms.  Fortunately, though you don’t need much cold weather gear.  I did the majority of the trek in jeans and a light long sleeve and a t-shirt.


My advice, don’t go in the summer.  There are some exceptions to that though.  If you also want to go to Gokyo Lakes or to the more remote areas, this might be a good time to go.  The summer months June, July, and August receive a massive amount of rain fall.  They are hot and humid and you can’t hardly cool down.  You are also at a greater risk of being injured by a land slide, and getting in a car accident.  Upper Mustang, or Tibet are better destinations for the summer at this vantage point looks like Maneki-neko.  May it bring you good luck on your trek.

Elevation gain and loss on the trail of different locations along the Everest Base Camp Trail

Starting at an elevation of 4,593 ft in Kathmandu you fly to Lukla at an elevation 9,317 ft.  This is a gain of 4,724 ft.  From Lukla you trek to Phakding at an elevation of 8,563 ft.  This is a loss of 754 ft.  From Pakding you trek to Namche at 11,286.  This is a gain of 2,723 ft.  In Namche you go on a day hike to Kumjung at an elevation of 12,401 ft, then back to Namche.  After acclimating in Namche, you travel to Tengboche at 12,663 ft.  This is a gain of 1,377 ft.  Then you trek to Dingboche at 14,468 ft.  This is an elevation gain of 1,805 ft.  In Dingboche you acclimate by going on a day hike to Nangkartshang at an elevation of 16,676 ft, then back down to Dingboche.  The following day you trek to Lobuche at 16,305 for an elevation gain of 1,837 ft.  From Lobuche you trek to Gorakshep at 16,863 ft.  This is an elevation gain of 558 ft.  In Gorakshep you can immediately go to EBC at 17,598 ft then back to Gorakshep.  After Everest Base Camp you hike up to Kala Patthar at 18,208 ft then back down to Gorakshep, then to Thukla at 15,157 ft.  From Thukla you descend 2,494 ft to Tengboche.  Then you descend an additional 1,377 ft to Namche.  You lose an additional 2,723 ft going to Phakding.  And finally, you gain 754 ft going back to Lukla.

Trek Distance

It is  40.39 miles from Lukla to Everest Base Camp.  This distance includes the slope or vertical distance also traveled.  The actual distance from Lukla to base camp can be a little different depending on the trail you take.  Though this can seem like an unobtainable goal, it is actually quite achievable especially spread over 10 days.  On average, you are trekking only 4 miles each day on your way to base camp.  You will probably hike further returning to Luka.  The return trek averages 10 miles each day.

Trek difficulty

You might be thinking “4 miles on flat land is a lot different than 4 miles up hill in thin air.”  You are right.  This is what makes the trek challenging.  I wouldn’t say it is difficult though.  Let me explain.  Our bodies have an amazing ability to adapt to change.  In bright light our pupils constrict, and in dark they dilate.  At high altitudes our bodies make more blood cells to compensate for less oxygen in the air.  Our bodies also develop better circulation the more we exercise.

As we are slowly progressing along the trail, our bodies are slowly adapting to the changing environment.  This is something you do not want to rush.  The slower you go the easier it is to get there.  Porters are also a wonderful resource to make your trek easier.  Porters will happily carry your bag.  The reduced stress on your body has been shown to reduce effects associated with altitude sickness.  A guide can also help make your trek easier by setting the pace.

Length of Time

Trekking to Base Camp, and Kala Patthar and back should take 12 or more days.  It took me 14 days to complete the trek.  If you go faster than 12 days you risk having altitude sickness, over exertion, dehydration, and wrecking yourself.  Remember, the slower you go the easier it is on your body.  On an average 13-day trek, 2 days are used to acclimate.  It is important to have one or two reserve days in case you feel like resting an extra day or in case of inclement weather.

Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar Trek Itinerary

Day 01: Meet guide in Kathmandu and be chauffeured to hotel and check in. Enjoy free time.

Day 02: Fly to Lukla and trek to Phakding. -04 hrs

Day 03: Trek to Namche Bazaar. -06 hrs

Day 04: acclimate to climate at Namche Bazaar and excursion. -5 hrs

Day 05: Trek to Thyangboche. -06 hrs

Day 06: Trek to Dingboche. -07 hrs

Day 07: Acclimate to climate at Dingboche and excursion. -4 hrs

Day 08: Trek to Lobuche. -05 hrs

Day 09: Trek to Gorak Shep and Everest Base Camp then return to Gorakshep. -06 hrs

Day 10: Trek to Kalapathar and Pheriche. -05 hrs

Day 11: Trek to Thyangboche. -05 hrs

Day 12: Trek to Monjo. -06 hrs

Day 13: Trek to Lukla. -04 hrs

Day 14: Fly to Kathmandu and check into hotels

Day 15: Free day in Kathmandu with sightseeing tour

Day 16: end of trek

Trek Cost

You probably have one pending question left, “How much does this trek cost?”  That is a tough question to answer.  It honestly depends.  Are you going to hire a guide and porter?  How much food do you eat in a day? How long will you be trekking for?  Will you be doing the standard Lukla to EBC or a variation like Lukla to Gokyo Lake with a visit to Base Camp.  The lowest possible price you can do the trek for is $53.90.

You might be thinking “That’s a bargain, I’ll take two at that price!”  I appreciate your enthusiasm, but let me get into the details.  The only things the quoted price gives you is access into the Sagarmatha National Park.  You will have to walk to Lukla from Kathmandu (about 12 days) to begin your trek.  In addition, you will have to bring all your food  and camping gear with you.  If you’re into it, go for it.  It would be a great experience.

If you feel like splurging on a plane ticket to and from Lukla, it will cost about $400 to $500.  The price depends on the airline and date.  If you want to hire a guide (highly recommended), it can cost $20 to $25 per day.  It depends on the guide and if you are trekking in or out of season.  You can also get special deals if you are going in a group.  You can hire a porter for $15 to $20 per day but it also depends on the porter and how much you want them to carry.  Food is also a major cost while trekking.

Our Everest Base Camp Trek costs $2,590. It includes all expenses. Transportation, food, lodging, entrance fees, passes, guide, porter, and a bonus tour of Kathmandu.

Cost of food on the EBC trail
Average cost at the different stops on the Everest Base Camp trek

I took the average prices of the menu items at each place I ate at.  I then plotted the prices on the graph above.  This trend line gives an idea of how much you are likely to spend on food as you increase in elevation.  Prices may be slightly skewed due to my low sample size.  The sample size is 1 from each area.

Although there is some variation in food costs along the trail, expect to pay more for a plate of lentils and rice at Gorakshep than in Phakding.  I stayed at a relatively expensive location in Lukla.  Other trekkers that I met at the lodge also noticed how much more expensive Lukla was compared to the other locations on the trek.  In general, try to budget for $15 for food each day.  This does not include alcoholic, or artificially sweetened beverages.  It does include hot drinking water though.

Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure

You can book your Everest Base Camp and Kalla Patthar adventure through our website.  We offer an all-inclusive package as well as discounted packages starting $512 and ranging to $2,590.  Our most popular package includes a guide, porter, food, lodging, all fees, hotel and lodge accommodations, round trip airfare, transportation in Kathmandu, and a Kathmandu World Heritage Site Tour.  You may book directly on our website or by contacting Ganga Regmi at +9779867706662 or by email at [email protected]

Even if you book your trek through another company please feel free to stop by our Pokhara office to get information about the trek, trail conditions, weather reports, trail maps, or just to say hi.  We wish you a very safe and fun adventure.
Yaks enjoying a meal, and views of Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam

Please let me know if you would like me to include any other information in The Ultimate Guide to Trekking to Everest Base Camp.

Have many safe and happy adventures

Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure.