Mt.Everest, A hike to the basecamp on a budget

Mt.Everest, Tibet,Neap,Mountain, MT.everest basecamp

I had already been to MT.Everest base camp twice, once in Tibet and once in Nepal, but its something with the mountain that always bring me back.

It is already 4 years since the last time I visited the mountain, and I already then decided to go back some day and see if the trek has changed.
Although last time I walked all the way from Jiri, I decided that this time I would to fly into to Lukla, supposedly the most dangerous airport in the world.

Inside the flight, 16seats
Mt.Everest
Dornier Do 228 with Simrik Air.

The flight to Lukla from Kathmandu, a Dornier Do 228 with Simrik Air.

Day 1 Kathmandu – Lukla – Manjo 12.5km

All the flights from Kathmandu to Lukla only departure early morning, the flight don’t take off if it’s too windy in Lukla. It’s not rare that flights get cancelled for days booth in Kathmandu and Lukla.

Luckily for me, my flight was on time and departure from Kathmandu at 6.30 Am and arrived less than 30min later.

Lukla is the biggest village on the trek and got a few decent restaurant, an Irish bar, a “Starbucks” a few hamburger restaurants and even a Scottish pub and the ONLY place with an ATM on the trek is here.

But it’s no reason to stay around in Lukla and since you arrive around 7 am you can as well walk a bit the first day. The only thing you have to do first is to register your permit and TIMS card.

The first day of walking to Manjo is very easy and straightforward, it’s not too much to see the first day, but you feel really refiled about being away from the polluted air in Kathmandu.

The first day of the trek is very easy and to be frank, you should be in Manjo about 2 pm. Manjo got a lot of decent guesthouses, small restaurants and even a good coffee shop with Wi-Fi.

Day 2 Manjo – Namche Bazar about 7km

From Manjo to Namche Bazar is only about 7km but for some this is the hardest day of them all.

The first hour out of Manjo is a very easy and pretty level, until you arrive at the 2.bridge across the river the trip is smooth, from here its up, up and more up for the rest of the day. About one hour after Manjo you start the climb up to Namche Bazar, the climb itself is a bit steep in parts and you can really feel it if your backpack is too heavy.

For many this is the hardest day, just coz they are not used to walking uphill yet, and you feel really relieved when you arrive in Namche after about 3-4 hours walking uphill. Remember, this part is without any place to stop for lunch or refill your water bottle.
When you arrive in Namche you feel pretty happy that you are having a rest day the following day.

everest,basecamp,lukla,ropebridge,bridge,hiking
One of the suspension bridges your encounter on the trek, day 2

Day 3. Namche Bazar, Rest day

Day 3 is recommended as a rest day, Namche bazaar is a good place to hang around, enjoy some great cakes and bread at Namche Bakery, or hang around Cafe De 8848 where they show movies about Everest and the Himalayas on a big screen TV every day at 4 pm.

everest,basecamp,lukla,ropebridge,bridge,hiking,namche,namchebazar
Namche Bazar

Day 4 Namche Bazar –Tengboche – Pangboche14km

This is a long day, and most people decide to stay in Tengboche, but I decided to walk a few hours more to Pangboche.

The first 2 hours walk from Namche Bazar is very easy before you starting going downhill for a while, and you know when you walk down for a while its gone be a big climb up to. When you arrive at Phunki Thanga you should stop for lunch coz for the next 2-3 hours you were gone walk steeply uphill. You will now start ascending to the attitude, where you can start to notice altitude sickness if you’re not acclimatised properly.
When going up a hill I meet a few people that had to go down coz they got symptoms of altitude sickness.

Most people stopover in Tengboche, it’s a famous monastery where people normally visit, I have been to tons of monastery across Tibet, China, India and Nepal already, and I found the monastery in Tengboche to touristy so I decided not to stop there, and rather continue onwards a few hours to Pangboche. After Tengboche the trail decent down to Deboche. Deboche got a small nunnery that’s worth visiting.

But except that, if you still got enough stamina is better to walk to more hours to Pangboche to get a much easier day the following. The 2 extra hours from Deboche to Pangboche starts off at a fairly level before you get a long but, not very steep climb to Pangboche. Pangboche has a far bit of a guesthouse.

everest,basecamp,lukla,ropebridge,bridge,hiking,namche,namchebazar,pangboche
Tengboche, where most people stopover for a night

Day 5. Pangboche – Pheriche 7km

Since I decided to walk a few extra hours the day before, this day becomes very easy.
After leaving Pangboche you get an easy walk with some uphill for the first hour before its fairly level before a small climb over a pass, before descending down to Periche, this is one of the easiest days on the trek.

Day 6 Periche- Dughla 4km

This day is highly recommended to use as a resting day in Pheriche, it’s from now that a lot of people get altitude sickness.

But since I have been doing a lot of trekking in this altitude/height before and did not show any symptoms of altitude sickness this times either. I decide to walk the 4km to Dughla, which is a tiny place on the way towards basecamp, it only got 2 guesthouses, but if you decide to stay there, the next day would be much, much easier.

The walk from Price starts off pretty level before it goes very steep up to Dughla, even its only 4km today, it gone take about 4-5hours.
 everest,basecamp,lukla,ropebridge,bridge,hiking,namche,namchebazar,pangboche

Day 7 Doughla – Lobuche 5km

This day starts off with what’s the steepest part on the whole trek, only a few minutes after leaving Doughla you start on a very steep climb. The climb just after Dughla is easiest the hardest part on the trek, and while going up I meet more than 10 people that had to go down coz of altitude sickness. When your down with the climb it’s a bit down before you have to cross a frozen river, from them it’s a fairly level to Lobuche. Lobuche is small villages that get really crowded in the high season, and it’s not uncommon that you will have to share a room with strangers or sleep on the floor in one of the restaurants.

Day 8 Lobuche – Gorak Shep 4.5km – MT.Everest Basecamp

This is the day you been waiting for!

The trek from Lobuche to Gorak Shep is fairly easy with 2 climbs and the rest is pretty easy, it should not take more than 3 hours. When arriving in Gorak Shep its a few places to sleep, and you want to have lunch and drop off your backpack here before continuing on the Basecamp. It’s nowhere to stay in basecamp if you don’t bring your own tent and got a permit to camp there, Gorak Shep is the only place to stay.
 everest,basecamp,lukla,ropebridge,bridge,hiking,namche,namchebazar,pangboche
From Goreak Shep to Basecamp its about 4 hours return, the trek from Gorak Shep to the base camp is very easy, the only hassle is that you’re on about 5160m in Gorak Shep and are going to about 5380m at the base camp so you start to feel the altitude. So just walking a few meters feels hard if you’re not acclimatised properly. The funny thing that you cannot see MT.everest from MT.everest base camp in Nepal.

everest,basecamp,lukla,ropebridge,bridge,hiking,namche,namchebazar,pangboche
Almost at MT.Everest base camp.
 everest,basecamp,lukla,ropebridge,bridge,hiking,namche,namchebazar,pangboche
MT.Everest Basecamp, before climbers starting to arrive with their tents, this is the spot where people put up their tents.
everest,basecamp,lukla,ropebridge,bridge,hiking,namche,namchebazar,pangboche
MT.Everest Basecamp with old prayer flags
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The Climb to MT.Everest starts from here.

Day 9 Gorak Shep -Kala Patthar– Gorak Shep – Pangboche 21km

If you got enough Stamina and haven´t got any problem with the altitude you can “climb” to Kala Patthar at 5643m to see a sunrise over MT.everest. To see a sunrise over Mt.everest you have to get up at about 4.30am and start climbing, the climb is very steep, but luckily no need to carry your backpack up here, since you have to go the same way.

everest,basecamp,lukla,ropebridge,bridge,hiking,namche,namchebazar,pangboche,kala,kalapathar
View from the top off Kala Patthar, MT.Everest in the back on left side

When you get back in Gorak Shep you just pick up your backpack and might have breakfast before start going the same way down to Pangboche as you walk up.

Day 10. Pangboche – Namche Bazar 13km

Exactly the same way back as you walked up to Pangboche from Namche, if you start early from Pangboche you can enjoy a decent Pizza, coffee and even beer at Namche Bazar.

Day 11. Namche Bazar – Lukla 18km

Also the same way back to Lukla as you walked the first way of the trek, when arriving back in Lukla you have to re-conform your flight ticket back to Kathmandu, if you did t book your ticket in advance you should do it when you arrive in Lukla, you can easily get stuck in Lukla for days if you’re unlucky with full flights or bad weather, I was lucky and got the last ticket out of Lukla the next day. After I flew out it was NO flight for 8days coz of bad weather and heavy winds.

Additional info about Nepal

Guide or No guide?

For me, that question is very easy, a big NO. The MT.Everest base camp trek is such an easy trek that I would t recommend anyone to use a guide, it literally only one road, so you can’t go wrong. The guide might be able to tell you some history and information about the mountains and stuff, but to find the way it’s absolutely not necessary.

Is it difficult?

I would say no, the MT.Everest base camp trek is a very easy trek, except for a 2-3 steep climbs the rest it’s fairly slow accent going up. If you acclimatise properly on the way up, its no reason you should no be able to finish the trek,

Price:

100 NPR = 1USD

Prices in Kathmandu,  EVERYTHING is more expensive on the trek,

1L Bottle of water  – 15NPR
0.33L Coke/Pepsi – 35NPR
Meal in a local restaurant – 50NPR for plate of momos, 150NPR for dal bhat
Meal in a good restaurant – 5000NPR
Big meal at KFC –  460NPR
Coffee in a coffee chain – 200NPR
Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro) – 140NPR
Beer local 0.5L can – 200NPR
Beer imported 0.5L(Heineken) – 500NPR

Gasoline (1 liter) – 140NPR

  • A lot of people think the trek to Everest basecamp is very expensive, the fact is, it’s not.
  • Flight Kathmandu – Lukla has a set price for 155USD each way
  • Guest houses range from “free” to about 300NPR a night, a lot of guesthouses offer free accommodation as long as you have dinner and breakfast there
  • Meals are from 150NPR for noodle soup to about 400/500NPR if you want something with meat
  • Water and soda are gone be your highest expense, a few guesthouses offer free refill of water, and its
  • Also a few streams and rivers you can refill your bottles from, the prices range from 80 rps to about 300 rps a water bottle on the way, and about 200NPR to 400NPR for a bottle of Coca-Cola.
  • For me the 11days trek costed me about 200USD for everything plus the flights, I could have done it a bit cheaper, but I rather spend money on proper food.

Internet

One big difference these days compared to when I did the trek the last time is that you get WIFI all the way to Gorak Shep, in Lukla, Manjo and Namche Bazar free WiFi is offered by a few of the guesthouses, restaurants for free, while further up the trek you normally have to between 200-500rps for use.

Electricity

In most guesthouses and restaurants all the way from Lukla to Gorak Shep you would have to pay to charge your gadgets with a few of the restaurants in Lukla and Namche offering it for free along as you have a meal there.

The further up the trek you get the more expensive it becomes to charge your stuff, some places charge about 200rps each hour you want to charge, unfortunate the electricity is very weak with a lot of power-cuts so it can easily take 5hours plus to charge a phone or camera battery

BEER

Nepal got a surpassingly big amount of different beer for its small size of a country, some of them are pretty good and easy drinkable, but some of them is horrible. Carlsberg and Tuborg are also widely available, but for a higher price than the local beer

Gorhka Beer

Gorkha Beer is one of the most common of the local beers, it’s brewed by Gorkha Brewery and launched in 2006

Type – Pale Lager
Strength – 5.5%
Price – 200NPR
Taste – A clear, quite pale golden beer with a small, white head. The aroma is fruity and grainy with a touch of rice cooking water. Easy to drink.
Hangover? none at all.

Score – 5/10

Everest Premium Lager

Everest Premium lager is another one of the most common local beers in Nepal, its brewed by Mt.Everest Brewery and was launched in 2003

Type – Pale Lager
Strength – 5%
Price – 200NPR
Taste -Pale gold with a modest white head that doesn’t last too well. Grainy aroma, some light spices.very easy to drink
Hangover? none at all

Score 5/10

Nepal Ice

Nepal Ice is another on of the popular local beers brewed locally in Nepal, its brewed by Sungold Brewery and launched in 2006

Type – Pale Lager
Strength – 5.5%
Price – 190NPR
Taste- Clear thin golden, medium bubbly white head, thin. Mild aroma, bit malty, easy to drink
Hangover? None

Score – 5/10

Commando Super Strong

Commando Super Strong seems to be the most popular  beer for the locals. It’s brewed by Himalayan breweries

Type – Malt Liquor
Strength – 6.5%
Price – 190NPR
Taste – Pours clear golden with a white head. Aroma has notes of malt, grain, corn and grass. Strong Taste, I’m not a fan
Hangover? small headache

Score – 3/10

Kathmandu

The last of the most common local beers is Kathmandu, brewed by Himalayan Brewery
2015-02-28 13.42.35

Type – Pale Lager
Strength – 5.5%
Price – 190NPR
Taste – Pours clear golden with a white head. Aroma has notes of malt, caramel and grassy. Taste is medium sweet and lightly bitter, Easy to drink
Hangover? None.

Score – 5/10

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15 Comments
  1. I was curious which route (Nepal or Tibet) you liked better and why? If you could provide some pros and cons to each, that would be much appreciated! I’m interested in going late April and trying to decide which route to take. The only real draw for me going through Tibet (from what I’ve researched) is Rongbuk Monestary – though maybe this is overrated and there are equal/more interesting monasteries through Nepal? Seems like Nepal is a more interesting route both naturally and because of the villages you come across. Thanks!

    1. Hi Chris, sorry for the late answer.

      The route in those countries are very different. While you can do the trek in Nepal 100% independent so are you required to have a guide to do it in Nepal.

      Tibetan Route. Pros: much more authentic, with villages, people, culture, Rongbuk Monastery and the view of Everest, not crowded.

      Cons: Need a guide, can not do it independently. Everything is way more basic than in
      Nepal trek. Expensive!!. People can drive all the way to basecamp, so you can be unlucky and meet big Chinese groups there.

      Nepal Route: Pros: Can do it independently, a lot easier, A LOT cheaper, no time limit, a standard of living booth food and accommodation is way better then in Tibet. You can do good side trips. you can recharge your electronics.

      Cons: Very Crowded in season, you can NOT see Mt.Everest from Basecamp. NOT really authentic, everything is very touristy.

  2. Hey Cris! Awesome post! I can’t believe you’ve been to EBC so many times, you rock! I went there a year ago. I also wrote a post with advise and it’s funny, I had somewhat different advise. I def needed a guide/ porter. Makes me feel like a suckah now lol, but I guess I’m not so strong. Fighting altitude sickness was a bitch on its own. Also we made a reroute on the way back to see Gokyo Lake. Anyway, awesome!!! I got hooked on climbing mountains! See you on the road!

    1. Hey, Lena – I was wondering if you could provide a link to your advice so that I could see a different perspective? Thanks!

  3. Hi Christian,

    Could you please tell us what permits are needed for the whole trek and do we need to get them beforehand or are they readily available on the spot?

    1. Hii.

      You do need a permit and TIMs card to do Everest basecamp trek.
      Booth the permit and TIMs card is easily obtained in Kathmandu Inn less than 20min.

      Christian

  4. Hi Chrisitan,

    Did you have to make a reservation in order to stay the nights in the guest houses or did you find a place to sleep easily during the expedition?

    1. Hello William.

      There´s no reason to make a reservation during the hike to EBC, I have never had a problem getting a room during any of my hikes in Nepal with just showing up.

      Christian

  5. Hey mate thanks for the thorough post! I’m contemplating to go solo without a guide.

    Could I, in one day, arrive in Kathmandu, get my permits, book a flight for the next day? Or should I book my Lukla flights in advance?

    Thinking of doing the trip in late March if that matters.

    Cheers!

    1. Hello.

      Normally should it be no problem to get the permit in one day (office closed in weekends) and take the flight the next morning. Most airlines dont sell the ticket online tho.
      Late March is during high season so it could be hard to get tickets for next day flights. When I did the trek in mid February was it easy to get next day. cHRISTIAN

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