Basically there are two ways to reach the Everest Region by flight and by road. But once in the Region, there is only one way to reach Base Camp walk! But however you plan to get to Everest, please check the weather in advance and note that in the monsoon the trails can be very slippery and full of leeches and some of the hotels will be closed.
Road to Jiri
Most people fly into Lukla Airport – unless they are hardcore, in which case they drive to Jiri then walk for almost a week to reach Lukla. Jiri is approximately 180km or 8 hours east of Kathmandu on the Araniko Highway which goes on to Khasa, the border town in Tibet. Please be aware if you are starting your Everest Base Camp Trek from Jiri, you will need an additional permit for the Gaurishankar Conservation Area Project. There are two road transport options – local bus or private car and jeep, as detailed below.
- Kathmandu to Jiri by Local Bus
There are no tourist buses to Jiri. But if you want to save money there are busy and crowded local buses available. As the bus station (known as the old bus station or Ratnapark), is very close to the Nepal Tourism Board (where trekking permits are issued) it is sensible to buy your ticket at the same time as you go for the permits. All buses to Jiri leave in the morning, the last one around 8am, and unless it is major festival time (usually October), it is easy to book the bus the day before.
- Kathmandu to Jiri by Car and Jeep
As the road between Kathmandu and Jiri is black topped, it is possible for a hired car to drive along it. A car will take a maximum of 4 people. A SUV will be more comfortable and can accommodate up to 7 people. Definitely this option is more expensive than the local bus but the benefit is that you can stop where ever you want for photographs, food etc.
Flight to Lukla
Lukla Airport, also known as the Tenzing Hillary Airport, is renowned among pilots around the world as being one of the most challenging runways. The airstrip is short and small, and the apron has barely enough room for four small twin otter fixed wings and a separate area for helicopters. The flight from Kathmandu to Lukla is 35 to 40 minutes in length. Try to sit on the left side when coming from Kathmandu for better mountain views! In the season the airport is extremely busy and flights are often full. Tara Air operates the most daily flights with multiple aircrafts, followed by Sita Air, Goma Air and Simrik Airlines.
Situated at an altitude of 2,850m, this airport is often closed due to bad weather – so when booking flights try to get the first one in the morning as there is more likelihood it will depart that day. In the season the airport is extremely busy and flights are often full. In fact, if there is bad weather and resulting flight delays it has been known for people to be stranded in Lukla for up to 10 days!