Bucket List Hike to Everest Base Camp in Nepal
Hiking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal is a challenging bucket list item for adventure-seeking travelers. Ticking this off the list takes about 12-14 days of village-to-village hiking in the Himalayas, but can be attained by any traveler with a decent fitness level and with mental perseverance.
Everest Base Camp refers to a settlement of camps set up by mountaineering groups who spend tens of thousands of dollars to climb all the way up to the summit of Mt. Everest. Amateur hikers can trek to a sign just outside of Base Camp, for a fraction of the price.
Along the multi-day trek, hikers will enjoy incredible views of the snow-capped mountains, including Mt. Everest, reach an altitude of 5,365 meters above sea level, and experience what living in the mountains is like while staying in local teahouses in Nepali villages. The hike itself is located in Eastern Nepal, near the border with China (Mt. Everest is half in Nepal, half in China).
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About the Bucket List Experience
Everyone who embarks on the Everest Base Camp hike starts their adventure in Kathmandu, a colorful and eclectic town covered in Tibetan prayer flags. It makes a perfect home base for hikers to purchase essential hiking gear, sleep in comfortable beds, and eat one last extravagant meal before leaving for the mountains. The stark contrast between the busy, dusty streets of the city and Sagarmatha National Park, the home of Everest, makes the serenity of being in nature even more rewarding.
The hike starts out at relatively low altitude villages surrounded by lush green forests. An icy blue river weaves through the region, which carved out the valley that the hiking trails to Everest Base Camp follow. As elevation starts to increase, the views change from green forests and agricultural lands to more rocky, glacial, mountainous lands.
Each night on the Everest Base Camp trek, hikers stay in teahouses run by local Nepali villagers. These can range from just a few rooms available in an attachment to a regular Nepali home to more higher-end, hotel-like accommodation. The teahouses provide a bed and a blanket and have a common area for guests to order tea, snacks, and meals during their stay. Unlike some touristy travel destinations where visitors are treated like wealthy customers with bottomless pockets, in the Nepali teahouses hikers are treated as a friend.
Hikers that embark on this bucket list trek will feel a massive sense of accomplishment once reaching the Everest Base Camp sign. The atmosphere at Base Camp is celebratory, with high fives and hugs all around, even with people you may have just met. After days of cold weather, fighting altitude sickness and sore limbs, reaching Everest Base Camp is a feeling that brings many hikers to tears.
Useful Information for hiking to Everest Base Camp
There are a lot of things to know before hiking to Everest Base Camp in order for the trip to be safe. In Kathmandu, hikers need to purchase permits to hike, transfer tickets to get to the Everest region (by jeep to Salleri or flight to Lukla) and hire a local guide or porter if needed.
It’s important to have as light-weight of a bag as possible because everything will need to be carried up to high altitudes, but to have enough winter clothes and even a sleeping bag to stay warm in the evenings. It’s also critical to understand the symptoms and treatments for altitude sickness, something that affects nearly everyone who attempts this bucket-list hike.
Many travel insurance companies only offer insurance up to 5000 meters in altitude, so purchasing proper insurance to cover you up to 5500 meters is a must. It’s a common site while hiking in the Himalayas to see helicopters making an emergency flight down to low altitude. People can suffer from extreme altitude sickness which can even result in death.
When I hiked to Everest Base Camp, I hiked without a guide or porter and spent on average $30 USD per day. The prices for things like accommodation, food, and even charging electronics gets higher, the higher in altitude you get. Most hikers reach the start of the hike by flying from Kathmandu to Lukla, which costs $170 USD one-way. A cheaper option I opted for was a $20 USD jeep to a town south of Lukla called Salleri. It added two extra days of hiking, but I saved $100 or so and got to experience off-the-beaten-track, low-lying Nepali villages and teahouses.
However you plan your hike to Everest Base Camp, it’ll surely be an experience you’ll never forget. The difficulty in reaching the destination only makes the reward, standing at the base of Mt. Everest, in the heart of the most incredible mountain range in the world, even better.
About the Author
Erika is a travel writer based in the USA and the face behind Erika’s Travelventures. Here, she shares travel tips and stories of being a budget backpacker, solo female traveler, and hiking enthusiast. Follow her journeys from the Americas to Australia, from Japan to the Himalayas, and everywhere in between.
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