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Lukla Airport The Gateway to Everest Region!

In the past anyone travelling to Everest Base Camp had to walk in from Jiri (5 to 6 days away) to Lukla before even starting the main Everest Base Camp trek! This was expedition style trekking, where everything from tents, to cooking pots and food had to be carried by porters. This applied to both mountaineers heading towards the summit of Everest, and trekkers, hiking to Everest Base Camp.

With the opening of Lukla Airport (often referred to as the Tenzing-Hilary Airport) in 1964 it was no longer necessary to trek in from Jiri, and trekking to Everest Base Camp became easier, with less time involved.

Not Just Everest!

As an alternative to the 6 main Everest trekking routes described below, you can proceed from Lukla Airport to the following unique areas:-

From Namche, head east from Chukung via Sherpani Col to Makalu, the 5th highest mountain in the world. See the details of the Makalu Region.

From Namche, head west from Thame via the Tashi Lapcha Pass to Tsho Rolpa Lake in Rolwaling Valley, legendary home of the Yeti. See the details of the Rolwaling Region.

The following six treks are the most popular treks in the Everest Region:

1. Everest Base Camp Trek – 13 Days

As the name suggests, this trek begins and ends by flying in and out of Lukla Airport and is the most popular route in the Khumbu. Acclimatization at Namche (3,440m) is a must before hiking on to the higher altitudes at Tengboche (3,870m) and Dingboche (4,360m). Another acclimatization day at Dingboche will ready trekkers for Gorakshep, Everest Base Camp (5,380m) and the view point at Kalapatthar at over 5,500 metres.

Lukla Everest Base Camp Trek Itinerary

DaysItineraryAltitudeTime
Day 1Arrival in Kathmandu1400 m / 4593 ft
Day 2Kathmandu to Lukla Flight and Trek to Phakding2651 m / 8697 ft35 min + 3 hr
Day 3Phakding to Namche3440 m / 11286 ft5 - 6 hr
Day 4Acclimatization Day in Namche3700 m / 12139 ft4 - 5 hr
Day 5Namche to Tengboche3956 m / 12979 ft5 - 6 hr
Day 6Tengboche to Dingboche4380 m / 14370 ft4 - 5 hr
Day 7Acclimatization Day in Dingboche4380 m / 14370 ft3 - 4 hr
Day 8Dingboche to Lobuche4938 m / 16200 ft4 - 5 hr
Day 9Lobuche to Gorakshep5160 m / 16929 ft2 - 3 hr + 4 hr
Day 10Gorakshep to Pheriche4371 m / 14340 ft4 hr + 4 hr
Day 11Pheriche to Namche3440 m / 11286 ft6 - 7 hr
Day 12Namche to Lukla2860 m / 9383 ft7 hr
Day 13Lukla to Kathmandu1400 m / 4593 ft30 min
Day 14Departure

Check here for more information on the Everest Base Camp Trek.

2. Everest View Trek – 7 Days

Like the Lukla Everest Base Camp Trek, this shorter, 7 day, trek starts and ends at Lukla Airport.  Unlike the Lukla Everest Base Camp Trek however, it is at lower altitude, never rising above 4,000 metres and does not have the same challenging ascents and descents. An acclimatization day is still required at Namche Bazaar (3,440m) which gives trekkers time to explore this bustling market town. Time is also spend around Tengboche Monastery with its spectacular views of Mount Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam and Thamserku. This trek is particularly suitable for all age groups and for those who have less time to spend.

Everest View Trek Itinerary

DaysItineraryAltitudeTime
Day 1 Arrival in Kathmandu1400 m / 4593 ft
Day 2Kathmandu to Lukla (Flight) to Phakding2651 m / 8697 ft3 hr
Day 3Phakding to Namche Bazaar3438 m / 11279 ft5 - 6 hr
Day 4Acclimatization day3700 m / 12139 ft5 hr
Day 5Namche Bazaar to Tengboche3956 m / 12979 ft5 hr
Day 6Tengboche to Monjo3870 m / 12696 ft6 hr
Day 7Monjo to Lukla2840 m / 9317 ft4 hr
Day 8Lukla to Kathmandu (Flight)1380 m / 4527 ft30 min
Day 9Departure

Check here for more information on the Everest View Trek.

3. Everest Three High Pass Trek – 16 Days

This challenging trek is the toughest among the 6 Everest treks mentioned here.  The reason can be found in its alternate name – Everest High Pass Trek.  This trek takes hikers over three high altitude passes –  Renjo La Pass (5,465m), Cho La Pass (5,420m) and Khongma La Pass (5,535m), as well as to other well trodden places such as Everest Base Camp, Tengboche Monastery and Gokyo Lake.  The trail makes a circuit route from Namche Bazaar and can be done either clockwise or anti-clockwise. The starting and ending point is flying in and out of Lukla.  A high level of fitness is required to endure the long days (up to 9 hours) and strenuous ascents.

Everest Three High Pass Trek Itinerary

DaysItineraryAltitudeTime
Day 1 Arrival in Kathmandu1400 m / 4593 ft
Day 2Kathmandu to Lukla (Flight) to Phakding2651 m / 8697 ft3 hr
Day 3Phakding to Namche Bazaar3440 m / 11286 ft5 - 6 hr
Day 4Acclimatization day3700 m / 12139 ft5 hr
Day 5Namche Bazaar to Tengboche3956 m / 12979 ft5 hr
Day 6Tengboche to Dingboche4380 m / 14370 ft4 - 5 hr
Day 7Acclimatization day4380 m / 14370 ft5 hr
Day 8Dingboche to Lobuche via Khong Ma La Pass4938 m / 16200 ft10 hr
Day 9Lobuche to Gorakshep (Day trip to EBC)5368 m / 176117 - 8 hr
Day 10Gorakshep to Lobuche (Morning trip to Kalapatthar)5,643 m / 18513 ft
6 - 7 hr
Day 11Lobuche to Dzongla4830 m / 15846 ft3 hr
Day 12Dzongla to Gokyo via Chola Pass4800 m / 15748 ft8 - 9 hr
Day 13Acclimatization day5367 m / 17608 ft4 hr
Day 14Gokyo Valley to Marlung via Renjo La Pass4210 m / 13812 ft7 - 8 hr
Day 15Marlung to Namche Bazaar3438 m / 11279 ft5 - 6 hr
Day 16Namche Bazaar to Lukla2860 m / 9383 ft7 - 8 hr
Day 17Lukla to Kathmandu (Flight)1400 m / 4593 ft40 min
Day 18Departure

Check here for more information on the Everest Three High Pass Trek.

4. Gokyo Lake Trek – 11 Days

This demanding trek is a good alternative and less travelled trail than the Everest Base Camp Trek, which it follows until Namche Bazaar when the trail heads straight north.  Gokyo Lake is actually six lakes located at 4,700 to 5,000m in the Gokyo Valley in the Sagarmatha National Park area. As well as this stunning Ramsar site, scared to both Hindus and Buddhists, another highlight is Gokyo Ri (5,357m).  The steep climb to Gokyo Ri is rewarded by stunning views of Mount Everest, Cho you, Lhotse and Makalu, all four over 8,000m high. This trek starts and ends with flights in and out of Lukla.

Gokyo Lake Trek Itinerary

DaysItineraryAltitudeTime
Day 1Arrival in Kathmandu1400 m / 4593 ft
Day 2Kathmandu to Lukla (Flight) to Phakding2651 m / 8697 ft3 - 4 hr
Day 3Phakding to Namche Bazaar3438 m / 11279 ft5 - 6 hr
Day 4Acclimatization day3700 m / 12139 ft5 hr
Day 5Namche Bazaar to Dole3680 m / 12073 ft5 - 6 hr
Day 6Dole to Machhermo4470 m / 14665 ft4 hr
Day 7Machhermo to Gokyo4800 m / 15748 ft4 hr
Day 8Morning trip to Gokyo Ri5,357 m / 17575 ft4 hr
Day 9Gokyo to Dole4110 m  / 13484 ft6 - 7 hr
Day 10Dole to Namche Bazaar3438 m / 11279 ft5 - 6hr
Day 11Namche Bazaar to Lukla2860 m / 9383 ft7 - 8 hr
Day 12Lukla to Kathmandu1380 m / 4527 ft40 min
Day 13Departure

Check here for more information on the Gokyo Lake Trek.

5. Gokyo Cho La Pass EBC Trek – 14 Days

This trek combines all the sights and wonder of the Everest Base Camp Trek with the Gokyo Lakes and crossing the high altitude Cho La Pass (5,330m).  With some long days of 8 to 9 hours, this trek is perfect for those with a high level of stamina and a sense of  adventure.  This trek makes a circuit from Namche Bazaar and can be done either clockwise or anti-clockwise, with the majority of people going anti-clockwise. This means heading for Everest Base Camp first then on over the Cho La Pass – being the toughest part with high winds and a very early morning start –  to the lakes. This trek also starts and ends with flights in and out of Lukla Airport.

Gokyo Chola La Pass EBC Trek Itinerary

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Check here for more information on the Gokyo Cho La Pass EBC Trek.

6. Jiri to Everest Base Camp Trek – 18 days

The Jiri to Everest Base Camp trail was established long before the arrival of air transport in the Everest Region and follows the footsteps of Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary. In fact it is often referred to as the ‘Classic Everest Trek’ or the ‘Tenzing Hillary EBC Trek’.  The trek starts from Jiri Bazaar, approximately 8 hours by road from Kathmandu, and takes a minimum of a week to reach Phakding before setting off to Namche Bazaar and base camp proper. Including Gorakshep and the Everest view point of Kalapatthar, this is quite a demanding trek with altitude up to 5,554m.  That, and its long duration means a good level of fitness and stamina is required.  On the return, trekkers can fly out of Lukla instead of repeating the hike back to Jiri.

Jiri to Everest Base Camp Trek Itinerary

DaysItineraryAltitudeTime
Day 1Arrival in Kathmandu1400 m / 4593 ft
Day 2Kathmandu to Bhandara (Drive)2190 m / 7185 ft8-10 hr
Day 3Bhandara to Sete2575 m / 8448 ft6-7 hr
Day 4Sete to Jun Beshi2670 m / 8759 ft6-7 hr
Day 5Jun Beshi to Nunthala2220 m / 7283 ft6 hr
Day 6Nunthala to Bupsa2360 m / 7742 ft5-6 hr
Day 7Bupsa to Surke2290 m / 7513 ft5-6 hr
Day 8Surke to Phakding2652 m / 8700 ft4-5 hr
Day 9Phakding to Namche Bazaar3440 m / 11286 ft5-6 hr
Day 10Acclimatization Day3700 m / 12139 ft5 hr
Day 11Namche Bazaar to Tengboche3870 m / 12696 ft5-6 hr
Day 12Tengboche to Dingboche4360 m / 14304 ft5-6 hr
Day 13Dingboche to Thukla4600 m / 15091 ft3-4 hr
Day 14Thukla to Lobuche4940m / 16207 ft3-4 hr
Day 15Lobuche to Gorakshep (Day trip to EBC)5368m / 17611 ft7-8 hr
Day 16Gorakshep to Pheriche (Morning trip to Kalapatthar)5545m / 18192 ft7-8 hr
Day 17Pheriche to Namche Bazaar3440m / 11286 ft5-6 hr
Day 18Namche Bazaar to Lukla2860m / 9383 ft7-8 hr
Day 19Lukla to Kathmandu (Flight)1400 m / 4593 ft40 min
Day 20Departure

About Author

Pradeep is the co-founder of Magical Nepal. He has trekked to almost all the trekking places in Nepal. He has been to Everest base camp more than eight times. He is the one who mostly answers your queries by giving the personal touch and experience.

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