How excited are you towards your first Everest Base Camp Trek? Well, if this is your first journey to Everest, there are reasons to get excited as the real adventure into the magnificent Himalayas is just about to begin. If not, there are many unexplored things waiting for you.
Every single one of us need a break from the car honks, tedious daily work, office presentations, shouts from the boss and deadlines at work. So, if you just want refreshment from work or a quality time in the nature, a new challenge in your life or just an excuse to travel, the hike to Everest Base Camp is an ideal choice.
The feel of the pristine mountain climate, the unforgettable trails and the sense of pure adventure in the mighty Himalayas is enough to take anyone’s breath away. Similarly, the Sherpa villages along the mountainous trail add an even more joy into your trek with their unique Tibetan influenced food and culture. The Sherpa people with their hospitable and honest nature are the easiest to deal with- trust me, especially if you want any information about the routes or anything trek related.
Throughout my blog, I will be helping you discover the Himalayas through the Everest Base Camp Trek.
Let’s get started!
Snapshot of the Everest Base Camp trek
- Thrill filled flight to and from Lukla (Top 10 world’s most dangerous airport).
- Quick change of terrains from Hills of Kathmandu to mountains of Everest region.
- Follow the trail used by Hillary and Tenzing in 1953.
- Hike up to Kala Patthar (5,555m) & Nagarjuna Peak (5088 m).
- Get a step closer to the world’s highest mountain, Mt. Everest.
- A close-look of Everest base camp and Khumbu glacier.
- Mesmerizing view of Mt. Lhotse, Amadablam and Pumori.
- Getting a closer view of the Sherpa culture of the Everest region.
- Dramatic change in landscape- green to black and gray.
- Freshness of the milky river, Dudh Koshi.
- Visit Tengboche Monastery (largest in the Khumbu region).
- Cross 7 Adventurous suspension bridges.
How to get to Everest base camp
There are many options for your most awaited Everest Base Camp Trek. Therefore, the choice is yours:depending on your time availability, budget and expectations of the trek.
The most common and the most famous is the one from Lukla to Everest Base Camp. You might be wondering what an average Everest Base Camp Trek cost looks like. A 14-day trek cost ranges from $1000 to $2000, depending upon the trekking agencies in Nepal. The cost comes down to about $700 if you are a free independent traveler (FIT), without the aid of trekking guide.
Likewise, you can also start your trek from Jiri all the way up to Everest Base Camp, which is a 22 day long trek and trekking packages starting from $2100 per head.
Similarly, you can do also do the three passes trek or the Gokyo Ri trek for an amazing view of the mountains. The 22 day three passes trek and the 19 day trek via Gokyo Lake both take you to Everest Base Camp.
Another option is the Everest base camp helicopter tour. An expensive one day tour taking you to Everest Base Camp and a step closer to Mt. Everest. The per head cost comes around $1000 on sharing basis. So, think about it once! Not a bad idea to view the Himalayan Range from the helicopter, huh!
Itinerary of Everest Base Camp trek: where and when?
The itinerary I’m describing below is of the 14 day Everest Base Camp Trek. Well, it is the most common and the most demanding trekking route for visitors who travel Nepal. Therefore, no second thoughts on that one.
Here it goes:
Day 1: Flight to Lukla (2,850m) and Trek to Phakding (2650 m)
Day 2: Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3,440m)
Day 3: Rest day and Acclimatization at Namche Bazaar
Day 4: Namche Bazaar to Tengboche (3,855m).
Day 5: Tengboche to Dingboche (4,360m)
Day 6: Rest day and Acclimatization at Dingboche
Day 7: Dingboche to Lobuche (4,930m)
Day 8: Lobuche to Everest Base Camp and back (5,364m) to Gorakshep (5,185m)
Day 9: Hike to Kala Patthar viewpoint (5,555 m), trek to Gorakshep and rest at Pheriche (4,250m)
Day 1: Pheriche to Tengboche (3,855m)
Day 11: Tengboche to Namche Bazaar (3,440m)
Day 12: Namche Bazaar to Phakding (2,650m)
Day 13: Phakding to Lukla (2,850m)
Day 14: Fly back to Kathmandu
The route can also be checked on the Everest base camp trek map shown in the picture below.
Everest base camp trek best time of year?
Everest base camp trek has two main trekking seasons: One right before the monsoon begins- March, April & May, and one right after monsoon ends- September, October & November. It is best advised to go trekking during these seasons as the weather is good with clear skies and favorable temperature-neither too cold nor too hot. These trekking season months will be very busy with lots of trekkers on the trails.
But if you want to avoid the traffic, you can go to Everest base camp during early December too. It can get cold and snowy, but the prices for tickets and packages are low. It’s your choice after all.
The Sherpa People of Everest
I am a Sherpa and a proud one too. My grandfather, Kanchha Sherpa has been a member of the 1st Mount Everest Expedition team of 1953 along with Hillary and Tenzing, and is the only living member at present. His stories and experiences of the first successful summit of Everest are remarkable, which will remain in the history books forever. You can always meet him during the months April to November at Nirvana Home, Namche Bazaar.
The sacrifices, hard work and dedication of Sherpas towards the mountains are unexplainable. Their expertise on the mountains is applauded worldwide. In other words, Sherpas are synonymous to mountaineering.
So, who are the Sherpas?
The native pronunciation of Sherpa is Sharwa- ‘Shar’ means east and ‘Wa’ means people. Thus, the word ‘Sherpa’ actually means people from the east. Sherpa is an ethnic group belonging to the eastern part of Nepal, Solukhumbu.
Sherpas migrated from the eastern part of Tibet some 500 years ago and started dwelling in the foothills of the Himalayas. Primarily, Sherpas were herders, traders, farmers and carpet weavers. But the 1st 1953 Everest expedition opened way to tourism into the Sherpa villages of Khumbu region. Since then, the Sherpas started indulging into mountaineering and trekking profession.
A warm greeting with ‘Tashi Delek’ and the cheerfulness of a Sherpa makes any foreign visitors welcomed. Sherpas are one of the warmest and hospitable people, and they have a very good sense of responsibility towards their guest. Not only the lodge owners, but the Sherpa guides too know how to cheer you up on your Everest base camp trek. Sherpas are selfless people and only believe in making visitors happy.
You go into any of the Sherpa houses and they won’t leave you until you have a cup of tea. Make sure you try the butter tea (‘Su cha’ in Sherpa), which is made by churning tea, rock salt and yak butter. You’ll love it!
They offer you a silk scarf called ‘Khata’- a sign of good luck, when they welcome you or bid goodbyes.
Sherpas are followers of Buddhism and have a rich culture. Buddhist monasteries, stupas (like the one in the picture above), mani stones carved with Buddhist mantra ‘Om mane padme hun’ and prayer wheels can be seen all along the trekking trails. Prayer flags on ropes and prayer flag poles are an integral part in a Sherpa house, and you won’t miss a sight of it on the trek. The spiritual scents of juniper burning and Tibetan incense will leave you calm and relaxed every morning, which is part of everyday Sherpa routine.
It is a bitter truth that Sherpa is only a spoken language and has no script. Hence, there is a danger of extinction of Sherpa language. As the younger generation is more living in the city areas, they are more used to speaking Nepali and English.
Some Sherpa words for you trek convenience
Greetings – Tashi Delek
How are you?- Thangbu rang?
Hin/ Min – Yes/No
Thank you- Thuche
Its good – Lemu nok
Tastes good- Simbu nok
I’m hungry/thirsty – Lhowa lasung/ komba lasung
Tired- En chesung
Weather is good- Nam lemu nok
Experience the nature in the Himalayas
Another factor that’s exciting about the Everest Base Camp Trek is the nature. Animals, birds, trees, vegetation, mountains, lakes and rivers along the trekking trails are sights you will remember forever.
Description of lakes, rivers and mountains are easily available in most of the trekking blogs around, and I will not cover it in my article. But, I will try my level best to help you discover the wildlife and the vegetation that is prevalent during the Everest base camp trek.
You enter the Sagarmatha National Park from Monjo- the check post where your trekking permit gets checked and you see many tourists lined up wanting to explore more. Even at a high altitude, the national park provides an ecosystem for diverse flora and fauna to flourish.
Wildlife in the high altitude
Yes, you heard it right. The animal you see the most is the Himalayan Tahr. So,while acclimatizing in Namche, have a look on the way to helipad and you can see herds of Himalayan Tahr.
Take pictures! They are camera friendly. Here is how it looks like below.
Musk deer is visible in higher altitudes especially after Namche. The Himalayan Black Bear can be seen in lower Khumbu along with Langur monkeys.
You are lucky if you get to see the snow leopard but since the population is low, it’s hard to get a sight.
As per the national park authorities, there are as many as 118 bird species. Look out for Danfe (‘lophophorus’ in English) – the national bird of Nepal. The males are attractive while females are not. It’s nature after all.
Blood pheasant, yellow-beaked crow, red-beaked crow and snow pigeons are also some birds seen on your trek. If bird watching is your thing, it might interest you. But eventually, you are here to enjoy the nature. Aren’t you?
What’s the Vegetation like?
The most interesting part of the trek is that you start you trek with trees like pine, bamboo, juniper, fir, birch and rhododendron. But midway through the trek, you see shrubs, herbs, mosses and lichens. At the high altitudes, all you see is rocks. Notice how the vegetation changes in the trek.
Another thing that excites trekkers is Lali Gurans (Rhododendron flower) – the national flower of Nepal. The sight of blooming of its flowers and the positive energy it gives back will melt the heart of many.
The trek to Everest Base camp is surely a lifetime opportunity. So, make it worth it, while in the mountains. Try to go during the trekking seasons for a better weather and clear skies. Watch out for the itinerary for trip planning and decision making.
Not only does the panorama of the mountains and landscapes, but the culture of Sherpas, their hospitality also add value to your trek. The animals, birds and the plants mentioned above are the ones seen by trekkers and locals.
Lastly, have fun and discover the Himalayas. Trek responsibly and acclimatize when necessary.
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