unexpected everest base camp: flying into lukla & day 1 trekking

As much as I loved the trek, I’m never doing it again. Maybe a different route, but that was the only time in my life that I will have visited base camp.

I’m a liar.

As you know, I’ve had to give up on the trek I’ve been lusting over. Instead, I’ve just completed the Everest Base Camp trek for the second time! I thought it would be helpful to create a series to go through the details of the trek & to tell you EVERYTHING you need to know!

Your Everest Base Camp (lets call it EBC from now on) trek will begin with either a trek from Jiri to Lukla or a flight into Lukla. Most people, including me, fly!

The downside to flying into Lukla’s Airport, the Tenzing-Hilary Airport, is that a couple years ago, it was named “World’s Most Dangerous Airport.”

But hey, I’ve flown in once and out once and I’m still alive to tell the tale!

Buying Plane Tickets into Lukla

If you’re doing EBC with a guide, they’ll sort out the plane tickets for you.

If you’re going unguided, then you’ll have to buy plane tickets. Go to a travel agent somewhere in Thamel and buy either a one way ticket into Lukla (for about USD $150) or a round trip (I got mine for $290). If you book a round trip ticket, book your return flight for a few days later than you anticipate your trek to end; you can always change it.

Flying into Lukla

It doesn’t matter if your flight is at 6, the local airport doesn’t even open until 5:30. When you arrive at the domestic airport, you’ll go in and see a bunch of stands with airlines on them. That’s where you check in!

They’ll weigh your bag, then take it, and then weigh you.

After you check in, go through the incredibly light security and to the departures hall. Here, wait for your flight to be called. They may say your flight is going to “Lukla” or “Mountain.”

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More often than not, flights will be delayed. This is because they’ll only fly when the sky is clear (which is a good thing).

Once your flight is called, you’ll be taken to a bus, which will take you to a small plane. Sit on the left side of the plane for the best views flying into the Himalayas. The flight attendant will pass out a candy and cotton for your ears (the planes can get a bit loud, especially on the older ones).

The flight to Lukla is about forty minutes. When landing, the pilot may or may not cut the engine. If she/he does, don’t worry! The runway in Lukla is INCREDIBLY short, and the pilot is cutting the engine to ensure you’ll be able to slow down quickly enough to land.

Comforting, right? 😉

DAY 1 Trekking: Lukla to Phakding

The trek from Lukla to Phakding is mainly downhill! It’s really enjoyable and it only takes about 3 hours! Phakding is a really big town, but I’d push to Monjo or even Jorsalle! Your next day up to Namche Bazar is a bit tough, so it’s nice to trek quite far on day 1.

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Day 1 trekking will be filled with plenty of mani stones. Walk CLOCKWISE around these (to the left of the stones).

There are also some beautiful suspension bridges that you’ll have to cross! Let the porters, donkeys, horses, and dzos (cross between cow and yak) go first!

Also, as a general rule, when giving way to animals, stay on the side of the mountain, not the side with the dropoff.

Find a teahouse, eat some momos (or plenty of other food), and get some sleep! Enjoy the “warm” weather; it only gets colder from here!

Read part 2part 3, part 4, and part 5!

8 thoughts on “unexpected everest base camp: flying into lukla & day 1 trekking

  1. I can’t believe how bold you are about flying into the worlds most dangerous airport 😀 I would literally cry my eyes out, not sure how I will ever manage to go through with this, although I really really want to do this one. Great idea of turning this into a series, you got me hooked for sure! Great post and especially your photo work is incredible on this, I love how you captured the details. What’s in one of the last pictures, the one with the smoke? I first thought it was tea, but then realized that’s probably nonsense 😉 Safe travels und cheers to you, Maria

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    1. You are too sweet! The airport really feels much safer than it is, and in actuality, I don’t think it’s that terrible! The smoke is coming from burnt plants, it’s a prayer ritual!

      Like

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