The Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the most popular and iconic trekking routes in the world. It takes you through the breathtaking landscapes of the Himalayas and offers stunning views of some of the world's highest peaks, including Mount Everest. Normally, the trek begins with a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, which is considered the starting point for the trek. However, if you prefer to avoid the flight to Lukla, there is an alternative trekking route that allows you to start the trek from Jiri or Salleri, a town located around 187 kilometers northeast of Kathmandu. Below is some trip information for the Everest Base Camp Trek without taking a flight to Lukla:
Starting Point: Salleri/ Jiri
If you choose to start from Jiri/Salleri, trekkers will have to take a bus or private vehicle from Kathmandu to Jiri or Salleri. The drive can take around 7 to 9 hours, depending on road conditions.
The trek from Jiri to Everest Base Camp usually takes around 19 to 21 days, depending on your itinerary and pace. This duration includes both the ascent to Everest Base Camp and the return journey.
- Thumandanda/Jiri to Namche Bazaar: You'll follow the classic trail that takes you through beautiful villages, terraced fields, and lush forests before reaching Namche Bazaar. This part of the trek can take about 6 to 8 days, depending on your acclimatization stops and walking pace.
- Acclimatization Days: Spending a day or two in Namche Bazaar and nearby areas like Khumjung or Khunde is essential for acclimatization to the high altitude.
- Namche Bazaar to Tengboche, Dingboche, and Lobuche: You'll continue your journey, passing through places like Tengboche with its famous monastery, Dingboche, and finally reaching Lobuche, which is a common stopping point before reaching Everest Base Camp.
- Lobuche to Everest Base Camp and Gorak Shep: You'll trek to Gorak Shep first, and from there, hike to the Everest Base Camp. This section can take around 2 days.
- Kala Patthar: Optionally, you can hike to Kala Patthar (5,643 meters) from Gorak Shep to get a stunning sunrise view of Mount Everest and surrounding peaks.
- Return Trek: The return trek follows a similar route, but it's usually faster than the ascent.
Permits and Guides:
- Trekkers need a Sagarmatha National Park Permit and a TIMS (Trekkers' Information Management System) card, which can be obtained in Kathmandu or at the entrance to the national park.
- It is recommended to hire a local guide and/or a porter for the trek, as they can provide valuable support, share insights about the region, and help carry your belongings.
Accommodation and Meals:
Along the trekking route, there are teahouses and lodges that offer basic accommodation and meals. The facilities become more basic as you ascend to higher altitudes.
The teahouses provide meals such as dal bhat (rice with lentils), noodles, potatoes, vegetables, eggs, and tea or coffee. The menu choices might be limited, especially at higher altitudes.
Best Time to Trek:
The best time for the Everest Base Camp Trek without a flight to Lukla is during the two main trekking seasons in Nepal: Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November). During these seasons, the weather is relatively stable, and the skies are clearer, offering better mountain views.
- Trekking in the Himalayas involves dealing with high altitudes, so it's crucial to be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness and take necessary acclimatization breaks.
- Proper trekking gear, including warm clothing and sturdy trekking boots, is essential for a comfortable journey.
- Always respect the local culture and customs, and do not litter along the trail.