Doing the Everest Base Camp Trek requires some planning, especially if you choose to do it independently. We don’t like to plan ahead, but one of the most important things of the trek is to plan your itinerary at least a little bit. The most important reason for doing this is to make sure you have more than enough time on the trail and don’t go too fast! Here we share with you our itinerary, what we think is the best Everest Base Camp trek itinerary to make it to EBC while avoiding the chance of getting altitude sickness.
Because we did the EBC trek without a guide in peak season, we didn’t know which teahouses are fine and which are a little bit too expensive for what you get. This is why we decided to include our choice of teahouses/lodges for every village where we stayed for a night.
This itinerary is just an example of what your upcoming EBC trek could look like. With this itinerary, you’ll have plenty of time to do the trek on the right pace for your body to acclimatize with enough acclimatizing days planned in as well. Of course, you’re free to adjust your itinerary accordingly to how you feel and your physical conditions. If you feel unwell, it’s always best to take an extra day’s rest. There are also a couple of possibilities to make some side trips along the trek to add some days and see more of the fantastic scenery.
LUKLA – PHAKDING
If you’re flying from Kathmandu into Lukla, be prepared to get up early as it’s best to have the earliest flight possible towards Lukla. In the morning, there’s less chance to have bad weather or too many clouds in the mountains, so more chance for your flight to take-off. And you’ll be so excited that you don’t want to be stranded another day in Kathmandu, right? In Lukla, a bunch of locals will offer their assistance as your guide for your trek. It’s much cheaper to get a guide in Lukla than in Kathmandu, but most ‘guides’ here do not have the right permits so are not insured in case something happens.
After your arrival, you can wait until the next plane lands on the famous landing strip to take that mandatory picture! After that, your trek officially begins, with the first stop being Phakding. When you leave Lukla, you’ll have to buy a local permit for Rs. 2000 (+- 18$). This is a direct replacement of the old TIMS card which isn’t in use anymore.
Where To Sleep?
We stayed in the Kala Patthar Lodge in the first part of the village of Phakding. It’s a good but simple lodge where the owners are very friendly and serve good food!
PHAKDING – NAMCHE BAZAAR
The first part of the trail from Phakding to Namche Bazaar follows the west bank of the river through multiple small villages and farmsteads on winding stony paths. While walking in the lush green valley, it’s a great time to soak in the simpleness of how these people live. Today you’ll cross the Dudh Kosi river multiple times thanks to a number of steel suspension bridges. About halfway, after passing through the village of Monjo, you find yourself at the entrance of the Sagarmatha Park. Here you have to buy your national park entrance permit for Rs. 3390 (+- $30) if you haven’t purchased it yet in Kathmandu.
The village after the checkpoint is called Jorsalle, and we recommend having lunch here as it’s a long and steep climb towards Namche after this. There’s another high suspension bridge that crosses the river for the last time today and this time it’s an amazing experience as this bridge is at an incredible height and full of fluttering prayer flags. From here on, there’s a though exhausting stretch that takes about two hours of non-stop climbing. It’s important to take your time on this part because here you’re already in the danger zone of getting high-altitude sickness.
Where To Sleep?
Once in Namche, there are plenty of guesthouses and lodges to choose from because you’re now in the hub of one of the most popular trekkings in the Himalayas. However, we strongly recommend Pumori Guesthouse! We stayed here multiple nights because Myrthe was sick and they helped us get a doctor, they cook good food at reasonable prices, and the rooms are more than ok for what you pay for it.
NAMCHE BAZAAR – ACCLIMATIZATION
Take an extra day to acclimatize to this height. After all, yesterday you climbed almost 1000m! Have a stroll around the village and get some good garlic soup from one of the small restaurants. However, for proper acclimatization, it’s recommended to fill this day with some hikes around Namche. You can do a short hike first to the army post and the Sagarmatha NP headquarters which lies on the right side up the hill, overlooking Namche. From here, on a clear day, you can have your first (tiny) glimpse of Mt. Everest that barely comes above the Nuptse-Lhotse ridge. There’s also a small museum at the headquarters.
From here you can hike to Syangboche, a village above Namche. The village has about five houses but still has its own airfield, now often used by helicopters.
NAMCHE BAZAAR – KHUMJUNG
After a day of acclimatization, we chose to head to Khumjung because Tengboche looked a bit too far for one day after Myrthe’s sickness. And it was a good choice because the hike up to Tengboche is a heavy one! On your way to Khumjung, you can stop at the Everest View Hotel (it has a beautiful view but overpriced drinks and food in our opinion). This day is not a heavy one but a good day to acclimatize a bit further and take some time to visit the famous Gompa in Khumjung and the first Hillary School of the area.
Where To Sleep?
We can’t remember the name of the guesthouse, but it was next to the Khumjung Hotel (which was closed at the time). Lovely family of sherpas with some good climbing stories! It had nice big rooms, and they served good food as well.
KHUMJUNG – TENGBOCHE
When heading out of Khumjung, you can see the monastery of Tengboché already on the ridge straight ahead. But Tengboche is further than it looks, unfortunately. The trail descends during the first part of the day until you’re level with the Dudh Kosi river. During this part, you already get great views of Ama Dablam. Once past Phunki Tenga, the trail zigzags all the way up for a couple of hours to Tengboche (a good 600m ascent).
Once at Tengboche, take some time to visit the monastery, which is the biggest in the region. A lot of trekkers who want to go to the top of Mount Everest, come here to get a blessing from the gompa’s head lama.
Where To Sleep?
We arrived late and tired in Tengboché so went to the first place we saw. The Himalaya Hotel is a big hotel with a lot of rooms, mostly used by groups. Rooms were simple as every guesthouse room, and the food was fine.
Trek to Ama Dablam Base Camp – We didn’t do this trekking but heard from other trekkers along the way that the hike from Pangboché to Ama Dablam Base Camp is really worth the detour! You can do this in one day.
TENGBOCHE – PHERICHE
When leaving Tengboche, it’s a lovely walk through the forest past a small gompa and a couple of villages. Pangboché actually exists out of two separate villages, Upper and Lower Pangboché whereas Lower Pangboché is newer and has more teahouses. From Upper Pangboché, you have great views over Ama Dablam and even the Lhotse-Nuptse wall. Here is also the oldest monastery of the Khumbu region.
From Pangboché, the trail follows the river to Shomaré. Ones out of Shomaré, you mainly walk through pastures. You’re now at a point where you finally crossed the treeline and where the terrain changes in alpine scrub. To go to Pheriche, follow to upper path left at the intersection. Most people will go to the right towards Dingboché. Pheriché is a small village which lies in the valley with great views over the surrounding mountains! There’s also a medical post here with Western volunteer doctors which can be helpful at this height. Every day, they do a talk about Acute Mountain Sickness.
Where To Sleep?
The Pumori Lodge, one of the first when you enter the village, was the place where we slept. Friendly owner and they serve good food as well. Nothing terrible to say about this place.
PHERICHE – ACCLIMATIZATION
This day is again an acclimatization day. Use this day wisely, and we recommend to hike up to the Nagartsang peak which is in Dingboché. It’s a good climb up but has some breathtaking views of all the surrounding mountains. At the top, you’ll have to scramble a bit over some boulders, but it’s worth it! Go as early as you can before the clouds come in!
PHERICHE – LOBUCHE
The first part towards Dughla is a long stretch that slowly ascends. It takes longer than you’d think! At one point it crosses with the path coming from Dingboche. There, you cross the river over some boulders until you’re at Dughla which has two lodges. After Dughla you head up the steep slope to a ridge with unbelievable mountain views around you. There are a couple of memorials, among them the one from the famous mountaineer Scott Fischer. Walking further to Lobuche is along the Khumbu glacier moraine. Here, you get your first sight of Pumori, Khumbutse, and Lingtren! It’s a beautiful walk and not super heavy compared to the trail to Namche or Tengboche.
Where To Sleep?
Lobuche has a system where almost every guesthouse is Rs. 500. Upon entering the village, you have to pay this at a small shack. They give you back some sort of receipt and then you can choose your guesthouse. They’ll let you know if you have to pay more or not. We chose for ‘New EBC Guesthouse’. The rooms were spacious and had clean shared bathrooms. There was even wifi (paid of course)!
Leave your guesthouse from the moment the sun rises when you’re in high season as the teahouses in Lobuche & Gorak Shep fill up very quickly!
LOBUCHE – GORAK SHEP – EBC
Today might be the day! Today you might get to your destination, Everest Base Camp. We say ‘might’ because you can choose to go there the next day if you’re too tired when you arrive in Gorak Shep. This last stretch is a heavy one on some parts with steep climbs over boulder-filled hills and ridges. But we’re sure you’ll have plenty of energy today because of your excitement! Once in Gorak Shep, be sure to check-in into one of the lodges as soon as possible because rooms get full in no time. If you’re feeling into it, leave your stuff in the room, have a quick bite in the restaurant and head over to Everest Base Camp if the weather still permits. It’s a 5-6 hours roundtrip so make sure to leave on time to be back around sunset.
The walk is stunning but again, scrambling over boulders gets exhausting after a while. Nonetheless, you’re walking right next to the Khumbu glacier and between mighty snowy mountains! Sometimes it’s possible to see a small avalanche happening on the Nuptse slope in the afternoon sun. You climb up and down steep slopes, and there it is, Everest Base Camp. You see the tents, the prayer flags, the Khumbu Icefall, and the treacherous path up to the Lhotse face. It’s here where the trekking stops and the climbing begins.
Where To Sleep?
We think that this doesn’t really matter as the lodges are basically the same. We just went to the first one in the village and had to pay Rs 500 for a room for one night.
If you’re exhausted or late in the day, stay at least two nights in Gorak Shep. This way, you’re able to do Kala Patthar and EBC in one day.
GORAK SHEP – KALA PATTHAR – PHERICHE
This day, you’ll have to wake up really early. I mean really really early as in 4 AM. “Why???” you ask? Well, the hike to Kala Patthar is about 3-4 hours roundtrip. If you leave before sunrise, the sky should be clear of clouds and seeing the sun rising coming from the behind the mountains is a dramatic sight. Although, be prepared as it will be freezing! Once up there, you have the best view of Mount Everest a trekker can possibly have.
Take some time at the peak to take in all the beauty around you before heading back to Gorak Shep. Pack your stuff and head back to Pheriché or Dingboché. Don’t worry, going back down will go much faster! You should be in one of these two villages before sunset.
PHERICHE – PHORTSE
From Pheriché, walk along the usual trail back to Pangboché. Once entering Pangboché, take the upper trail towards Upper Pangboché. A little after the gompa there’s a route going up that leads to Phortse. Beware, take this trail only if you’re not scared of heights because most of this path is along a very steep ridge! Otherwise, you can better follow the regular trail to Namche. Once in Phortse, you can find yourself a guesthouse. Or if you’re still up for it, head down the valley to Phortsé Tenga to win some time the next day. There are just a handful of lodges and a campsite.
PHORTSE – JORSALLE
After Phortsé Tenga, the trail climbs up again against the other slope on the opposite side of the valley from Phortsé all the way to Mongla. Beautiful sights along the way with the river down next to you. You can easily make it to Jorsalle on one day if you aren’t too tired because, from Mongla, it’s mostly going down or flat walking.
Where To Sleep?
Nirvana Lodge in Jorsalle has some nice rooms and a lovely garden to hang out in the afternoon. If any Germans are reading this; they serve very good kaiserschmarrn!
JORSALLE – LUKLA
Last day of the Everest Base Camp trek itinerary! It’s a good day walk so start early if you want to have any chance to get a flight back to Kathmandu (if you didn’t book it yet). Otherwise, prepare for an extra night in Lukla. As you will probably remember, this last part is with a lot of going up and down.
Where To Sleep?
Our flights were canceled due to bad weather in the afternoon, so we had to stay in Lukla. We recommend going to the Shangri-La Lodge and Restaurant which is right at the airstrip. The amiable and young owner is always up for a chat. Serve western and local food and pleasant rooms.
OTHER FAMOUS SIDE TRIPS
GOKYO LAKES & CHO LA PASS
For many travellers, an Everest Base Camp trek itinerary is not complete if you don’t add the Gokyo Lakes and Cho La Pass to it. To many, it’s maybe even more beautiful than standing at Everest Base Camp. The lakes are so natural blue because of all the glacier water and are probably one of the most beautiful things on the trekking. Most tourists take the tough route which goes along the Cho La Pass. It’s not recommended to do this pass without a guide! You have to walk over ice patches when going over the pass which is very dangerous if you don’t have any guidance and/or experience in such situations.
GOKYO LAKES VIA PHORTSE
You can still trek to the Gokyo Lakes by skipping the treacherous Cho La Pass if you’re not up to that. From Phortsé Tenga, just walk north towards Machhermo to bypass the Cho La Pass. You can do this part going up and back to Namche in 5-6 days. There’s another route if you don’t like to do the same way back along Phortsé. This route is called the RenjoLa pass. It’s not so dangerous as the Cho La Pass, and not a lot of tourists take this route.
We hope you found all this information very helpful in planning your own itinerary. Please let us know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions about this Everest Base Camp trek itinerary.
We wish you the best of luck to complete this trek with success!
Related articles you might like:
- Everything You Need To Know About Flying To Lukla
- The Ultimate Guide To Doing The Everest Base Camp Trek Without A Guide
- Essential Trekking Gear For Your Next Trekking In Nepal – The Complete Packing List