Ever wished for leaving all the cosmopolitan life for a while, get closer to nature, wander in the wilderness and experience some adventure? Well if you are looking that in the Himalayas, Everest base camp trekking or commonly known as the EBC trekking is one the best options that you have.
Mt. Everest, a place that doesn’t need any introduction. The journey to the base camp of the tallest mountain in the world, through the greenish rainforests, alpine scrubs, cold rivers and ice glaciers will be definitely one of the most exciting journeys that you may ever take. Regarded as one of the most beautiful trekkings around the world and the popular trekking route in Nepal, EBC trekking is a trekker’s dream paradise to experience everything that one could wish for.
For many people back in my country, EBC trekking is about climbing the Mt. Everest, but it is not true at all! It is a journey to the base camp of Everest by walking and occasional climbing (but not with the climbing tools though), with stays provided in the lodges and not in tents. One does not need the skills of a mountaineer to do EBC trekking. Is it challenging? Yes, but doable of course!
Can it be your first trekking? My answer is Yes. Back in October 2017 I got an opportunity to experience this trek with my friends and for one of them, the EBC trek was his first ever serious trekking and he did it without any problem.
Another cliche tagged to EBC it is that you can do it only through some trekking agencies. I completely agree that doing this through some tour agency with guides and porters helps the local community in a big way, but the travelers who want to do this trek on a tight budget can be done independently if you do a little research and careful planning. With the confidence of trekking in Annapurna Base Camp or ABC independently, back in 2016, I went for the latter option.
EBC trekking in nutshell
Difficulty Level : Moderate
Days : 12 days (Kathmandu to Kathmandu)
Starting point : Lukla
Distance : 65 KM from Lukla to EBC
Maximum elevation : 5,554 meters
Cost : 2500 – 3000 Nepali Rupees per day
Guide needed : Not necessary
Stay : In the lodges (tea-houses)
WiFi : Available
Expenditure : 35,000 INR (Kathmandu to Kathmandu)
|1||Kathmandu – Lukla flight – trek to Phakding/Monjo 3-5 hrs|
|2||Phakding/Monjo – Namche Bazaar (3,440 m) 6-7 hrs|
|3||Namche Bazaar (acclimatization day)|
|4||Namche Bazaar – Tengboche (3,860 m) 6-7 hrs|
|5||Tengboche – Dingboche (4,410 m) 6-7 hrs|
|6||Dingboche (acclimatization day)|
|7||Dingboche – Lobuche (4,940 m) 6-7 hrs|
|8||Lobuche – Gorakshep (5,164 m) – EBC (5,380 m) and back to Gorakshep 8-9 hrs|
|9||Hike to Kala Patthar (5,643 m) back to Gorakshep – Periche (4,371 m) 8 -10 hrs|
|10||Periche – Namche Bazaar 7-8 hrs|
|11||Namche Bazaar – Lukla (2,860 m) 7-8 hrs|
|12||Lukla – Kathmandu by flight|
Things to carry
- Local Entry Permit – 2000 Rs (from October 2017 onwards the local administrative committee scrapped out the TIMS card for EBC entry and introduced a new local entry permit, trekkers need to obtain this from Lukla. But if they revert back to TIMS card system, you can obtain it from either Lulka or Kathmandu itself)
- Permit to enter Sagarmatha national park (can be obtained from Monjo/Namche Bazar)
- 4 Passport size photos
- A good backpack (45 L is enough)
- Trekking shoes (waterproof if it is monsoon season)
- Winter Jacket
- Thermal wear
- Lightweight rain jacket (if it is monsoon season)
- Sleeping bags (The lodges will provide thick blankets but it is always comfortable to sleep in your own sleeping bag)
- Slippers (for indoor & toilet use)
- Woolen gloves
- T-shirts 4-5 ( It gets really sweaty on sunny days)
- Trekking pants 2-3
- Underwear 7-8
- Walking stick
- Lightweight towel
- Diamox tablets (for altitude sickness)
- Hiking lights (in case if it gets dark)
- Toilet papers, Napkins and other sanitary items
- Passport & Visa ( Not required for Indians)
- First aid kit
- Power bank (most of the places charge an amount for electronic items charging)
- Carry enough money, you will require 2500 – 3000 Nepal Rupees per day. (the last ATM is in Namche Bazar, but Indian ATM cards won’t work there.)
Best time to visit
Best time to do to EBC trekking is in March-May & October–December. It is advised to avoid the trekking during Monsoon season (June – September) due to the landslides and leeches. But throughout the year the lodges remain open, though the availability will be less in offseason.
EBC trekking is little expensive than the ABC trekking. Typically one has to spend around 2500 – 3500 Rs per day during the trekking. The last ATM enroute to EBC is at Namche Bazar, so always carry enough money before you start the trekking. Indian notes of 100 rupees denomination are well accepted across Nepal. Also using the Indian SBI debit card one can withdraw up to 40000 Nepali Rs from the SBI ATMs across Nepal.
Accommodation and food
The lodges (tea houses) with basic amenities are the main accommodation methods for EBC trekking, but unlike ABC trek, the room rate is not fixed across the villages. 200 Rs room rent in Namche Bazar increases to 500 Rs as you reach in Lobouche. Along with the room rent, the food prices also increases as you go up. The popular food here in this region is Dhal Bhat (rice with grain and vegetable curry), but the menu is flooded with the westerns dishes like pasta, pizza, noodles etc.
Day 1: Kathmandu – Lukla
From my personal experience, the trickiest thing on this entire trek is, getting to Lukla – the starting point of your trekking. Well, there are two options for the travelers, either fly to Lukla in a small aircraft from Kathmandu (100 $) – a preferable way for most of the trekkers or trek to Lukla itself via Jiri which takes additional 2 days.
But here is the catch, even a small hint of a cloud would defer the flight schedules to Tenzing–Hillary Airport of Lukla, regarded as the most dangerous airport in the world, (the below video will show you why!), to days. Always try to book the first flight of the day to Lukla and vice versa (6.00 AM onwards), so that if any delay happens in case, the chance of you flying on the same day is higher considering the priorities.
Lukla – Phakding/Mojo
After landing in Lukla most people trek to Phakding on the same day itself. It is an easy walk if you ask me, 3 hours of trekking – climbing down on most of the part till you reach Phakding. But my suggestion is to keep push till Monjo which will help you to make things easy for the next day’s tiring climbing towards Namche Bazar. If you think it will get late, then you can also stay in some of the other villages between Phakding and Monjo ( I don’t recall their names).
Make sure you take the Local Entry Permit from the administrative office situated just before the exit gate in the village of Lukla.
Day 2: Phakding/Mojo – Namche Bazaar (3,440 m)
Welcome to the real world! 7-8 hours of trekking towards Namche Bazaar, the biggest village in Khumbu region, could be the most tiring part of EBC trekking. The path filled with countless steps which get overcrowded with people and the yaks carrying goods going on both sides will surely test your stamina. The trail through the beautiful greenish forest near the deep gorge with numerous hanging bridge crossings also provides you the first glimpse of the great Mt. Everest!
From Monjo collect the trekking permission to enter Sagarmatha National Park.
Day 3: Namche Bazaar (acclimatization day)
Acclimatization is the most important part in not only during the EBC trekking but for any other trekking in the Himalayan region. As part of getting acclimatize take a short trek towards the top the village of Namche to see the Sherpa museum and the Everest viewpoint. If it is a clear sky you can get a good look at Everest.
Enjoy the evening in Namche by strolling through the bustling village, also you can do some last minute purchase for the trekking in case you miss out something.
Day 4: Namche Bazaar – Tengboche (3,860 m)
You will slowly start to enter the mountain world of Khumbu on the way to Tengboche, the home of very old Tibetan monastery. The way through Rhododendronron trees and Alpine scrubs are beautiful but physically demanding, especially the climb after the river crossing. The mesmerizing view of countless snowcapped mountains on both the sides will help you to overcome the tiredness for sure.
There is a check post on the way, you are supposed to show your trekking permissions there. Upon reaching Tengboche, visit the monastery in the evening.
Day 5: Tengboche – Dingboche (4,410 m)
Personally for me, the best part of the whole journey was the walk towards Dingboche on day 5. The path with fewer variations in altitude is comparatively easy and the presence of the mountain Ama Dablam and Everest-Lhotse massif makes it more pleasant for the eyes. Ironically this will be the last time you to see Mt.Everest before you reach the base camp.
Somare is the popular lunch en route. Just before the last river crossing near Dingboche, one path branches off to Periche. Trekkers can stay at Periche also instead of Dingboche.
Day 6: Dingboche (acclimatization day)
A very crucial part of the EBC trekking is the acclimatization in Dingboche. Even if you skipped it in Namche (which you should not), don’t dare do it here. Because from here onwards the altitude is going to get very high, so it is very important that your body gets adapted to it. In case if you find any difficulties while sleeping, take a Diamox tablet and drink plenty of fluids.
Take a short trek towards the top the village as part of getting acclimatize.
Day 7: Dingboche – Lobuche (4,940 m)
There are two options here.
- Trek to Dughla (Tughla), stay there for the day and proceed to Lobouche on next day. For this, you require one more day, so make the plans accordingly. problem with Dughla is that, it is a windy place and also for accommodation there are only two hotels available.
- Have lunch from Dugla and proceed to Lobouche on the same day. The chance of getting Acute Mountian Sickness (AMS) is higher from here onwards. So makes sure that you acclimatized properly before you proceed to Lobouche, which is almost at 5000 meters above the sea level!
Day 8: Lobuche – Gorakshep (5,164 m) – EBC (5,380 m)
The D day! Start early to Gorakshep, check-in to a hotel and put all your luggage there. Upon having lunch proceed to the ultimate destination – Everest Base Camp. Spend some time there and come back to Gorekshep. The round trip will take roughly 3 hours.
Day 9: Hike to Kala Patthar (5,643 m) – Gorakshep – Periche (4,371 m)
The visit to EBC is to cross your checklist, the best view of Everest is from Kala Patthar. Start very early around 4-5 AM and trek towards Kala Pattar, see the mesmerizing view of Mt.Everest during the sunrise and head back to Gorakshep. After having breakfast proceed to Periche. Better chose the lunch place as Lobouche instead of Dughla.
Day 10: Periche – Namche Bazaar
It is a very long walk to Namche Bazar. Remember, the distance you have covered in two days has to be covered in 7-8 hours! Show your permit at the check post on the way back also.
Day 11: Namche Bazaar – Lukla
Like the previous day, it is a very long tiring walk towards Lulka.
Day 12: Lukla – Kathmandu
Fly back to Kathmandu.