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Makalu Base Camp Trek: A Journey to the Unspoiled Himalayas

Makalu Base Camp Trek: A Journey to the Unspoiled Himalayas

Trip Facts:

Destination
Nepal
Group Size
Max People: 1-8
Region
Makalu
Trip Duration
21 days
Activities
Trekking
Meals
BLD
Accommodation
Hotel / Lodge
Best Month
Spring / Autumn
Trek Starts / Ends
Kathmandu
Transportation
Private Vehicle

Overview

The Makalu Base Camp Trek is an extraordinary journey into the remote and unspoiled regions of the eastern Himalayas. This trek takes adventurers to the base camp of Mount Makalu, the fifth-highest peak in the world, standing at 8,485 meters. Known for its rugged terrain, stunning landscapes, and rich biodiversity, the Makalu Base Camp Trek offers an unparalleled trekking experience for those seeking solitude and adventure on one of Nepal's less frequented trails.

The Makalu Base Camp Trek is a hidden gem for trekkers who crave isolation and a challenging adventure. The trek offers a diverse range of landscapes, from lush tropical forests to high alpine meadows, and stunning views of several Himalayan giants, including Everest, Lhotse, and Kanchenjunga. Passing through the Makalu Barun National Park, home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, including endangered species such as the red panda and the snow leopard, trekkers can experience the unique culture and lifestyle of the Rai and Sherpa communities living in the remote villages along the trail. Unlike the more popular trekking routes in Nepal, the Makalu Base Camp Trek sees fewer trekkers, offering a more peaceful and solitary experience.

Join the Makalu Base Camp Trek for an adventure of a lifetime, exploring one of Nepal's most beautiful and remote trekking destinations. With the right preparation and mindset, you will be rewarded with unforgettable memories and breathtaking views that few have the privilege to witness. The Makalu Base Camp Trek is not just a journey through the mountains; it is a profound adventure that takes you through some of the most pristine and untouched regions of the Himalayas. Whether you are a seasoned trekker looking for a new challenge or an adventurer seeking solitude and unparalleled beauty, this trek will surely leave an indelible mark on your soul.

Trip highlights:

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu: Begin your adventure by exploring Kathmandu Durbar Square, Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple), and Boudhanath Stupa, soaking in the rich cultural and historical heritage of Nepal's capital.

Scenic Flight from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar: Enjoy a breathtaking flight with panoramic views of the eastern Himalayas. The flight itself is an adventure, offering stunning vistas of snow-capped peaks and rolling hills.

Remote Himalayan Trails: Trek through the untouched and remote regions of eastern Nepal, offering a true wilderness experience away from the crowds.

Makalu Barun National Park: Journey through diverse ecosystems ranging from lush tropical forests to high alpine meadows, home to rare and endangered wildlife including red pandas and snow leopards.

Breathtaking Mountain Views: Witness stunning panoramic views of towering Himalayan peaks, including Mount Everest, Lhotse, Kanchenjunga, and Makalu, the fifth-highest mountain in the world.

Cultural Immersion: Experience the unique culture and lifestyle of the Rai and Sherpa communities in remote villages along the trail, providing a deep cultural connection to the region.

Peaceful and Solitary Trek: Enjoy the tranquility of one of Nepal’s less frequented trekking routes, perfect for those seeking solitude and a more personal connection with nature.

Makalu Base Camp Trek: A Journey to the Unspoiled Himalayas Itinerary

Details Outline

Upon arriving at Kathmandu airport, a team member will greet you and assist with your transfer to the hotel. After checking in, the rest of the day is yours to explore at your leisure. In the evening, join us for a delightful dinner at one of the city's renowned restaurants, where you'll have the opportunity to meet fellow travelers and discuss the exciting Makalu Base Camp Trek adventures ahead.

Food
Dinner
Accomodation
Hotel
Highest Altitude
1335 m

Start your day with a delightful breakfast at the hotel before embarking on a tour of Kathmandu’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

  • Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple): Our first stop is the ancient Swayambhunath Stupa, perched on a hilltop, offering breathtaking panoramic views of Kathmandu. This sacred site is a beautiful symbol of faith for both Buddhists and Hindus.
  • Pashupatinath Temple: Next, we visit Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple and cremation site. Here, you can witness and photograph traditional Hindu rituals along the Bagmati River, immersing yourself in the local spiritual life.
  • Kathmandu Durbar Square: After a delicious lunch, we head to Kathmandu Durbar Square, a historic site showcasing stunning Newari architecture. Enjoy a photo session with locals in traditional attire or Hindu holy men (Sadhus), perfect for capturing unique and memorable portraits.
  • Vegetable and Spice Markets: End the day with a visit to the bustling vegetable and spice markets. Capture dynamic street photography of vibrant colors, energetic atmosphere, and diverse faces, providing a glimpse into everyday life in Kathmandu.
Food
Breakfast
Accomodation
Hotel
Highest Altitude
1335 m
Walking Hours
5/6 hrs

Start your Makalu Base Camp Trek with a flight from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar. This 35-minute flight offers stunning views of the Himalayas. From Tumlingtar, a 30-minute drive takes you to Khandbari, the area's main town. Continue on a winding dirt road, reaching Chichila at 1,900 meters, where you’ll show your trekking permit at a police checkpoint. The road becomes rough as you head towards Num, with scenic views of forested slopes

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
1560 m
Walking Hours
6/7

Today’s trek involves a steep descent to the Arun River followed by a challenging ascent to Seduwa. The trail features large stone steps down to the river at 770 meters, passing through cardamom fields. After crossing a suspension bridge, you’ll climb through bamboo forests and vibrant villages to Seduwa. Here, your guide will check your permit at the Makalu-Barun National Park checkpoint. Seduwa is a charming village with a school, homes, shops, and a few tea houses scattered on the hillside.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
1540 m
Walking Hours
5/6 hrs

Today's trek is more manageable without the steep ascents and descents of yesterday. You'll start on a trail with many stone steps, passing by several mani walls as you approach the Sherpa settlement. The route takes you through rhododendron and bamboo forests, alongside small farms and cardamom plantations. After about two hours, you'll reach Chyaksa Danda at 1,900 meters, a small community. The path includes crossing streams on sturdy wooden bridges and walking through dense forest areas. Eventually, you'll see Tashigaon on the slope ahead, descending to a log bridge before making the final ascent up stone stairs.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
2070 m
Walking Hours
4/5 hrs

Leaving Tashigaon, you'll climb stone stairs through a beautiful rhododendron forest. After about three hours, you'll reach Dhara at 2,867 meters, where you can rest and have lunch at a tea house. Continuing the trek, it takes another hour to reach Unshisa at 3,200 meters. The route becomes more challenging with stone stairs through the forest. After several hours of climbing, you'll arrive at a stone rest area with prayer flags, and another 45 minutes will bring you to Khongma Danda at 3,500 meters, where there are three lodges and possibly snow.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
3562 m
Walking Hours
6/7

Acclimatization is crucial, so today you'll hike up to the Khongma La pass at 3,890 meters. Starting from your tea house, you'll walk through rhododendron bushes up stone stairs, reaching the pass in about an hour. If you feel energetic, your guide may encourage you to go a bit further. After acclimatizing, you'll return to Khongma, ready to tackle the four passes tomorrow, starting with Khongma La.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
3562 m
Walking Hours
3/4 hrs

Today, you'll cross four high passes with stunning ridge walks and views of snow-capped peaks. After an hour of climbing through rhododendron bushes, you'll reach Khongma La at 3,890 meters, offering views of Makalu and Chamlang. The trail then descends before climbing again to Sano Pokhari Danda at 4,105 meters. After some undulations, you'll reach Shipton La at 4,200 m. Descend to Kalo Pokhari Lake at (4,080m), adorned with prayer flags. The final pass, Keke La at (4,170m), is an easier climb. After a 45-minute descent, you'll arrive at Dobate, a welcome sight after the day's strenuous trek.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
3650 m
Walking Hours
7/8

Start the day with a descent through rhododendron and pine forests, which can be tricky if there’s snow. After crossing the river and navigating a landslide area, you'll reach Themathang Kharka at 3,500 meters after about four hours. Continue walking until you cross a wooden bridge over the Barun Khola. The trail then undulates before arriving at Yangri Kharka in the meadows, where you'll spend the night.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
3600 m
Walking Hours
5/6

The trail is level and pleasant, with the river on your left and the scent of juniper in the air. You'll pass fields adorned with colorful prayer flags and enjoy views of Peak 4, Peak 6, Peak 7, and Yaupa. After about 2.5 hours, the path widens, passing through Jhak Kharka, Yak Kharka, and finally Merek, where a tea house awaits. Another two hours of trekking will bring you to Langmale, with stunning views of Peak 7 and a mani wall covered in prayer flags in front of your lodge.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
4420 m
Walking Hours
5/6

Begin your ascent towards Makalu Base Camp by keeping the river on your left as you zigzag across the valley. The trail offers stunning new views around every corner. While there are some boulder sections, most of the path is a sandy track. After a few hours, you'll reach Shershong at 4,630 meters, a broad, level area ideal for camping, with a small stone house for shelter. As you continue, the sight of Makalu, the fifth-highest peak in the world, becomes increasingly tantalizing.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
4870 m
Walking Hours
6/7

For the best panoramic views, aim to reach the ridge at around 5,300 M above the base camp. Cross the river via a log bridge and ascend a steep trail. This vantage point offers spectacular views of Makalu, Peak 7, Peak 6, Peak 4, as well as Everest, Lhotse, and Nuptse. After soaking in the scenery, return to base camp following the same route.

The return can be challenging due to the steepness and high altitude. Alternatively, you can explore the lakes beyond the base camp or climb a shorter ridge directly above it. A small hill marked with prayer flags at the head of the base camp is a gentler option.

As you approach the base camp, the lodges come into view, signaling your arrival at your long-awaited goal. Makalu dominates the landscape, and around the base camp, you might spot Tibetan snow cocks, hill pigeons, black redstarts, and mountain finches.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
4870 m
Walking Hours
4/5 hrs

With a heavy heart, you leave the stunning grandeur of Mount Makalu and begin your trek back to Yangri Kharka. The trail takes you through Shershong meadow, marked by a cabin with an orange tarp. Continue to Langmale, where you can stop for tea and lunch. The next stop is the Merek tea house, where you can rest before trekking through pine forests back to Yangri Kharka.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
3600 m
Walking Hours
6/7 hrs

Today's trek is a leisurely descent following the river to Themathang tea house, passing rhododendron shrubs along the way. Cross a wooden bridge before Themathang, then navigate the landslide area. After some undulating terrain, you will ascend through the rhododendron forest. As you approach Dobate, the trail becomes gentler.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
3550 m
Walking Hours
5/6

This is your final chance to enjoy the mesmerizing mountain vistas, including Kangchenjunga. Start by ascending to Keke La, then continue to Shipton La at 4,200 meters. After reaching Sano Pokhari Danda, return to the last pass, Khongma La, marked by a mani wall. Descend to Khongma, watching for blood pheasants among the rhododendron bushes. From Khongma, descend further to Danda Kharka.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
3562 m
Walking Hours
5/6

From Khongma Danda, we'll exit Makalu Barun National Park and head back to Seduwa. Our route involves descending stone stairs and crossing a bridge before following a jungle path through dense forest. Along the way, we'll cross several more bridges and enjoy the sounds of birds, as this forest is home to various bird species. Keep an eye out for cardamom bushes and scattered farms on the hillsides. We'll conclude our journey to Seduwa by passing Mani walls and walking down several stone steps.

Food
Breakfast- Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
1530 m
Walking Hours
6/7

Start your day with a hike through a lively village and expansive bamboo forests. Follow a winding trail to reach the Arun River, and after crossing a suspension bridge, enjoy stunning views of rural Nepal. Descend along the river on large stone steps. The path meanders through a beautiful forest with climbs and drops, leading to the village of Num. Continue on a scenic drive to Tumlingtar along Nepal’s twisting mountain roads. Along the way, take in the impressive vistas of snow-capped mountains and verdant landscapes, and observe hillside villages and terraced farms.

Food
Breakfast-Lunch- Dinner
Accomodation
Lodge
Highest Altitude
518 m
Walking Hours
7/8

Fly from Tumlingtar to Kathmandu on a local flight. Enjoy the stunning Himalayan landscapes from the air, featuring snow-capped peaks and verdant hills. Once we land in Kathmandu, you'll be transferred to your hotel where you can settle in. The rest of the afternoon and evening are yours to relax or explore at your leisure.

Food
Breakfast
Accomodation
Hotel
Highest Altitude
1335 m

Should bad weather delay our flight from Tumlingtar to Kathmandu, or if an additional day is needed during the trek, we have planned for an extra day's stay in Kathmandu.

Food
Breakfast
Accomodation
Hotel
Highest Altitude
1335 m

After breakfast or lunch, depending on your flight time, we will transfer you to the international airport or if you leave by evening you can put your luggage at the Hotel and enjoy the city one final day.

Food
Breakfast
Accomodation
Hotel
Highest Altitude
1335 m

Not satisfied with this itinerary?

If the above itinerary does not meet your needs, we can design individualized travel plans based on your preference and specification.

Service Included on Trip Cost

Cost Includes

  • Welcome dinner upon arrival
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • Sightseeing in Kathmandu with private transport and guide and entry fees
  • Domestic flight Ktm-Tumlingtar-Ktm
  • Hotel with breakfast in Kathmandu
  • Teahouse/Lodge/tents during trekking days
  • Full board during trekking B/L/D
  • All equipment and private transport according to program
  • All necessary staff with experienced English speaking trekking guide, cook and porters to carry luggage,
  • All necessary paper works; trekking permits and TIMS card
  • Tent, sleeping bag, duffel bag
  • Travel & Rescue arrangements
  • All government and local taxes

Cost Excludes

  • International flights
  • Nepal visa fee for 30 days and 2 passport sized pictures, see: Nepal Visa
  • Lunch and dinners not mentioned in program
  • Personal insurance and helicopter rescue in case of emergency
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips for local staff
  • Other then which not mention in includes section

Makalu Base Camp Trek: A Journey to the Unspoiled Himalayas Altitude Profile

FAQs

What is the best time to undertake the Makalu Base Camp Trek?

The best time to trek to Makalu Base Camp is during the pre-monsoon (March to May) and post-monsoon (September to November) seasons. These periods offer stable weather, clear skies, and favorable trekking conditions.

Accommodation during the trek typically includes teahouses and lodges. These are basic but comfortable, offering meals and a place to sleep. In Kathmandu, you will stay in a hotel.

The trek is considered challenging due to its length, high altitude, and rugged terrain. Trekkers should be physically fit and have some prior trekking experience.

Yes, trekkers need a Makalu Barun National Park entry permit and a TIMS (Trekkers' Information Management System) card. Your trekking agency usually arranges these permits.

Physical preparation should include cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and endurance building. Hiking on uneven terrain and carrying a backpack can help simulate trekking conditions.

Essential items include a good quality sleeping bag, warm clothing, trekking boots, a first aid kit, water purification tablets, and personal items. A detailed packing list will be provided by your trekking agency.

Yes, altitude sickness is a potential risk due to the high elevations reached on the trek. Proper acclimatization days are included in the itinerary to help mitigate this risk. It's important to trek slowly, stay hydrated, and be aware of altitude sickness symptoms.

Teahouses provide a variety of meals including Nepali, Tibetan, and basic Western dishes. Common meals include dal bhat (lentil soup with rice), noodles, soups, and porridge.

Yes, Day 7 is a designated rest and acclimatization day at Khongma Dada to help adjust to the altitude and prepare for the higher elevations ahead.

The trek starts with a flight from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar, followed by a drive to Num. The return journey includes a drive from Tumlingtar and a flight back to Kathmandu.

The highest point reached during the trek is the viewpoint at 5200 meters, which you will visit on Day 12.

Charging facilities are available at most teahouses for a small fee. It's advisable to bring spare batteries or a solar charger.

Weather can vary greatly, with colder temperatures at higher altitudes. Be prepared for a range of conditions, including possible snow at higher elevations.

Yes, hiring a guide and/or porter is highly recommended for safety and to enhance your trekking experience. They can assist with navigation, carrying luggage, and providing valuable local knowledge.

In case of an emergency, guides are trained in first aid and evacuation procedures. Helicopter evacuations can be arranged if necessary, although they can be costly, so travel insurance with emergency evacuation coverage is recommended.

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