Trekking in Nepal

Makalu Base Camp Trek

Makalu Base Camp Trek
  • Total Duration

    20 days
  • Trek Grade

    Moderate to Adventurous
  • Trek Duration

    16 days
  • Max Elevation

    5000m at Makalu Base Camp
  • Mode of Trek

    Camping
  • Trek Starts

    Tumlingtar
  • Trek Ends

    Tumlingtar
“In the shadow of the worlds 5th highest mountain within absolute wilderness”

Overview

This adventurous journey begins from the lowest valley in the world, reaches its highest elevation at the base of Mt. Makalu, the fifth highest mountain in the world (8,481m). This trek offers one of the most spectacular, outstanding scenery from the lush, tropical greens of Arun Valley, up to the high desolate ice fields of Mt. Makalu, the fifth highest mountain in the world, situated in the north east of Nepal.

The trek starts from Arun Valley, traveling through the rural areas, complete with fascinating medieval traditional markets and farm villages. This walk follows a picturesque, yet rarely trekked route, which offers views of Mt. Makalu and Kanchenjunga all the way. And even more stunning views of the Mt. Khumbakarna Range as you enter the Barun valley of Makalu basin. From here, the trek passes over the yak pastures beneath the Makalu's towering south face along with the great view of one of the rare east (Kanshung) face of Mt. Everest.

This trek offers the opportunity to visit cloud-forest jungle, high alpine terrain, orchids, and rural farm and market villages. From there, the trek follows the ridge above the Arun River, proposed site for the largest hydroelectric plant in Nepal. Passing through yak pastures towards the endless ice fields of Mt. Makalu. Views of the Kanchenjunga peak, Everest, Lhotse, Baruntse and Chamlang and as well the rarely seen Kanshung face of Everest, grace us with their magnificent views throughout this trip. We return through isolated Sherpa villages back to Tumlingtar for the final phase of the trip; a beautifully striking flight below the Nepalese Himalaya.


Departures

SPRING - AUTUMN

12 April to 11 May
13 September to 12 October

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive at Kathmandu (1300m) and Transfer to Hotel
On arrival at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport, you will be greeted by our staff, who will escort you to the hotel, where our Sherpa guide or the office staff will give you a brief orientation about the hotel, Kathmandu itself, trekking, and the do's and don’ts of the area. They will also review any additional information that you might require while in Nepal, including an overview of the next day's sightseeing tour. In the evening, you will enjoy a complimentary welcome dinner at one of the finest traditional Nepalese restaurants in Kathmandu, with the necessary transfer to and from the hotel by taxi, bus. Overnight in Hotel
Day 02: Guided sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley
After your breakfast, you will precede to Kathmandu Durbar Square, where you will tour the ancient palace, the temple of the Kumari, the living goddess of Nepal, Hanuman Dhoka, and Kasthamandav Temple with a guide knowledgeable about Nepalese history, architecture, and religion. From there, you will proceed by taxi, bus to the Buddhist site, Swoyambhunath Stupa, also known as the "Monkey Temple" because of its lively troops of resident monkeys. You will then visit Pashupatinath Temple, the holiest shrine for Hindus, situated on the banks of the holy Bagmati River, a popular cremation site. Before returning to the hotel, you will visit Boudhnath Stupa, a Buddhist pilgrimage center and home to many colorful gompas, or monasteries. Once back at the hotel, you will receive a briefing about the trek and have a chance to meet your guides and ask any last minute questions before tomorrow morning's departure. Overnight in Hotel
Day 03: Fly to Tumlingtar (950m) 50 min and drive to Chilchila (1840m) 03 Hrs
After an early breakfast, we will take a bus to the domestic terminal of Kathmandu Airport for the 50 minute scenic flight to Tumlingtar, overlooking a vast range of snow capped peaks from Lang tang all the way to Mt. Everest, Makalu & Mt. Kanchenjunga. Tumlingtar airport and its village township is located on a shelf above the Arun River, walk across to meet our trek crew beside the airstrip. Clearly visible and far off to the north, the white peak of Makalu. Once we land we’ll drive to Chilchile following a bumpy road for about three hours. Overnight at tented camp
Day 04: Trek to Num (1500m) 06 Hrs
In the clear dawn have a good view of Makalu and its satellite peaks, from this magical spot of Chilchila, perched high above the surrounding countryside. The walk to Num leads us through the cool and serene forest of rhododendron, oak trees and hemlocks, as we climb to the ridge top. From the ridge top it is almost downhill for two hours to the overnight camp at Num. Num a small village with about fifteen houses and a primary school on a large flat ground, from where we have good view of our route for the next couple of days. Opposite, across the Arun River, is the village of Seduwa, our camping place for the next day. Overnight at tented camp
Day 05: Trek to Sedua (1493m) 06 Hrs
From Num, the path leads down the incredibly steep and terraced slopes towards the Arun River, nearly 800 meters below. The lower slopes of this narrow valley are densely forested and the paths are quite slippery, after reaching the bottom, we cross the suspension bridge across the torrential Arun River, at the height of 670 meters, which starts the climb back out of the rain forest, reaching to the lunch place at Runruma. After lunch, we will take a steep climb and head towards Sedua; a village with a small health post and a primary school. Overnight at tented camp
Day 06: Trek to Tashi Gaon (2070m) 05 Hrs
The trek to Tashigaon is a short walk of three to four hours, where is plausible to set up lunch and camp on the same spot. Today, leads to more rural farm villages, on the gradual trail through the terraces, as the trek nears to Tashigaon; it's an uphill climb for an hour through the millet and rice fields. Tashigaon is a Sherpa village, unlike the Sherpa of Everest, they are bit different in the way they live in, the dress and the style of houses. After being settled in the low, warmer areas they are engaged more in agriculture and cattle industry. In the afternoon, you'll have time to wander around and acquaint yourself with the village. Overnight at tented camp
Day 07: Trek to Khongma (3560m) 06 Hrs
Tashigaon is the last village on-route to Makalu basin, after this village the walk is refreshing for an hour and a half in the beautiful shade of the rhododendron and oaks forest. At which point we will leave the dense forest and arrive into summer pastures with traces of temporary made shepherd huts. From here onwards to Kohma ridge is a strenuous uphill climb, as the tree lines declines for the bushes of rhododendron and juniper. After the climb, we come up to the open area of Kohma for the overnight camp. From this spot a grand view of the far landscapes with the 3rd highest mountain Kanchenjunga, are well in view towards the North East and Mt. Makalu towards North West. From here onwards you can feel the cold chill of the Himalayas. Overnight at tented camp
Day 08: Trek to Mumbuk (3,400m) 6 Hrs
With the wonderful morning and the superb views of the surrounding landscapes and snow capped peaks, our trek follows a gradual trail with few ups and down as the walk passes through the Thulo Pokhari (big pond) and Sano Pokhari(small pond). In the very heavy snow, the path from here can be misleading, and it will be arduous task to find the trail at times. After the last pond, we cross the pass of Tutu-la at 4,075m. From here onwards it is all downhill back to vegetation, as the day trek ends we set up camp at Mumbuk, in a small clearing place for camping in the middle of the woods of pines, hemlock, birch and rhododendrons. This area provides nostalgic felling of truly being in the wild. Overnight at tented camp
Day 09: Trek to Nehe Kharka (3750m) 06 Hrs
Due to the camp being in the dense shade of the tree line; the view of the Khumbakarna can be seen through the vegetation. The walk from here is downhill to the enclosed and concealed Barun Valley, one of the least explored areas in the eastern Himalayan region of Nepal. This unique landscapes within the Makalu-Barun National Park are some 3,000 species of flowering plants, 440 bird species, and 75 species of mammals, including the endangers clouded leopard, red panda and musk deer. The remarkable bio-diversity is considered to be of global significance, and provides a living laboratory for international scientific research. As we reach the lush alpine area of Barun Valley the walk is very pleasant with only gradual uphill slopes, the trail follows the Barun River upstream on the valley gorge towards the place for the overnight camp at Nehe-Kharka, which is one of the summer pastures for the local people of Tashi and Navagoan. Overnight at tented camp
Day 10: Trek to Shersong (4,600m) 6 Hrs
A little beyond the camp, we will cross the Barun river by way of couple of wooden bridges, which make use of conveniently situated boulders. There is a large prayer wall located at Ramara, and after 2-3 hours walk, from here the vegetation gets sparse, although the rhododendron, barberries, and juniper bushes persist for some time. This is a lovely day's walk, through the high alpine. As the walk come nearer to Sherson, with a good view of the lower Barun glacier and the towering majestic Mt. Makalu. Sherson is also the lower base camp of Mt. Makalu. There are number of stone enclosures at this high grazing ground with outstanding view of host of peaks, including the upper part of Makalu south face, and Mt. Baruntse 7,220m towering its head above peak 4. Overnight at tented camp
Day 11: Explore Makalu Base Camp (5000m) and back to Shersong 06 Hrs
We will hike to Makalu Base Camp after many days of acclimatization from the starting of the journey. We’ll enjoy Base Camp with the superb views of the Himalayan Mountains throughout the day. Return back to Shersong. Overnight at tented camp
Day 12: Trek to Yangle Kharka (3600m) 05 Hrs
We’ll descend back down the valley and take our last glimpse of Makalu before turning the corner and eventually reaching Yangle Kharka. Overnight at tented camp
Day 13: Trek to Mumbuk (3550m) 06 Hrs
Today we’ll be continuing with our descent through the rock fall, then climb up the rock gully to Mumbuk. We will be again greeted by the greeneries below. Overnight at tented camp
Day 14: Trek to Khongma (3560m) 06 Hrs
Today we’ll retrace the journey back to Kohma Danda (ridge) via Shipton-la and Thulo Pokhari for the overnight camp. Overnight at tented camp
Day 15: Trek to Tashigaon (2070m) 06 Hrs
Today, we will continually descend down to Tashigaon. The descent will be a long and steep one. We cut across the hillside to eventually reach the Sherpa town of Tashigaon. Overnight at tented camp
Day 16: Trek to Num (1500m) 05 Hrs
It’s another day to retrace the same path that we came by. We exit the Makalu Barun Camp. Descend down to Arun Khola and Seduwa again. Then we hike through the forest to Num. We follow our footsteps all the way back down to the river. Climb back up the opposite side of the valley to Num. Overnight at tented camp
Day 17: Trek to Chilchila and drive to Tumlingtar (1840m)
Again we retrace our steps to Chichila. The final return leg of the trek will see us overnight at Tumlingtar, ready for an early departure to Kathmandu the following day. Transfer to Tumlingtar. Overnight at tented camp
Day 18: Fly back to Kathmandu
This morning can be at leisure, depending upon the schedule flight time, sometime the flight time can be delayed due to bad weather and other reason beyond our control. After obtaining a boarding pass, we make our way to the terminal for security check; the flight from Tumlingtar to Kathmandu takes less than an hour. This panoramic flights offers view of the snow capped mountains that are visible from window of the plane. Arriving at Kathmandu domestic terminal, one of our tour officers will be waiting to receive and escort you back to the Hotel.
Day 19: Free day at leisure
This is a free day in Kathmandu. But do not hesitate to let our staff or tour officers know if you would like to go on another short tour in and around Kathmandu Valley or for scenic mountain flight, or even hot air ballooning. Overnight in Hotel
Day 20: Final Departure
Keep the departure time of international flight in mind, and make sure to keep your confirmed air ticket and passport handy! Our staff will take you to the airport for your final departure from beautiful Nepal.

Useful Information

Tea House Trekking

On the more popular treks in Nepal, particularly in the Everest, Langtang and the entire Annapurna regions, enterprising villagers have built teahouse lodges, similar to European style alpine lodges offering simple but comfortable accommodation and food. We offer a selection of single/twin sharing rooms in the best available lodges run to a high level of service. We also supply a four season sleeping bag and cotton liner free of charge on our teahouse treks. Hire of other key items if needed can be arranged in advance. During the trek you’ll have 3 meals a day, with a mixture of European and Asian style dishes and large portions. Soft drinks, sweets, mineral water and alcohol are not included.

Fully Provisioned Camping Style Trekking

This type of trek is staffed by a full Sherpa crew including a Sirdar (head man), cook and assistants.Porters, yaks, horses or mules carry your main baggage. It is the Sherpa crew’s job to perform all the camp work, from setting up to providing reshly made meals, to leaving the site clean on departure. We provide twin share dome or a frame sleeping tents, a kitchen tent, mess tent and toilet tent. We also provide tables, chairs or stools, lanterns/candles, thin sleeping mattresses and all crockery and cutlery as well as a fully equipped kitchen set up. The Sherpa crew will cook, wash up, and provide hot water for washing and tea and coffee at night and for your wake up call. Food is a mixture of Asian and Western dishes, with lots of choice, freshly prepared. As with teahouse trekking you can expect 3 main meals each day. Soft drinks,sweets, mineral water and alcohol are not included. A few of our teahouse treks involve crossing high passes and necessitate camping for a couple of nights. We provide full camping services for these nights including providing four season sleeping bags.

Small Group Travel

Most of our trips, treks and tours are organized on a small group basis, usually with a maximum of 16 persons in a group. On family holidays the maximum number is 20 to allow a number of families to join a group. By keeping numbers small we are able to offer a friendly, personal and high quality service.

Tailor Made Private Charter Adventures

We offer a very competitive complete tailor made service and are happy to design private charter programs for individuals and for groups as well as to tailor any of our packages to more closely meet your requirements. We have a wealth of experience in helping many clients in designing and planning individual adventures, ranging from romantic breaks to personal challenges, fundraising programs,student programs to extreme adventure expeditions, from low budget to no expense spared. We don’t charge a fortune to tailor make a trip for you and we have plenty of ideas, suggestions and experience we’re happy to share. We’ll work closely with you to design your adventure. Our advertised brochure prices will give you an idea of what you can expect to pay but we’ll provide individual quotes based upon your itinerary, requirements,budget and number of people traveling. Let us take care of the research and arrangements for your flights, accommodation,guides,transport,permits,peak fees,equipment requirements,food and all ground handling service for treks, expeditions or tours, using our local knowledge, expertise and contacts. And you can get on with enjoying yourself.

Group and Club Organizers

If you are organizing a trip for a group or a club we will offer one free* additional place for every 10 bookings made. You can use this for your own travel, use it to reduce the overall cost of the trip for everyone or perhaps offer it as a fantastic prize for your group members or for a charity. Contact us for more details and for conditions (*permit fees, national park entry fees, airfares and departure taxes not included).

Grading System

In Nepal, the trails often zigzag with plenty of ascents and descents and it is better to think in terms of hours spent walking rather than miles covered. A typical day's walking is from five to seven hours with a number of ascents and descents. This includes a one hour lunch stop, a comfortable pace of walking and time to enjoy your surroundings. We use four grades for our treks, intended to give you a general sense of what to expect and to help you choose which adventure will suit you best. Factors such as weather conditions, altitude, fitness level, experience, interests and how you feel on a particular day all contribute to how easy or strenuous you find a trip. If you're unsure of whether a trek is suitable for you just contact us before making your booking.

Equipment Checklist

A pair of light hiking boots
A pair of sandals
2 pairs of woolen socks and 2 pair of hiking socks
1 medium poly pro shirt
1 pile jacket
1 down jacket
1 woolen hat
A pair of sunglasses
A pair of glove shells with liner or ski gloves (opt.)
A pair of woolen gloves
One Trekking pack 3000 cubic inches capacity
One Sunscreen lotion SPF 10 to 30 and One Sunscreen stick SPF 10 to 30
Two Reading books (Optional)
One Walkman (Opt) and Music tapes (Opt) iPods Digi Camera and its Charger
A one liter water bottle
A pair of trekking poles
One flash light with 4 sets of batteries one -5 to -20 sleeping bag
Two T-shirts and one long sleeve T/city shirt
Two Trekking baggy pants

Toiletry Items

Towel, pre-moistened novelettes, wash cloth, lip balm, and any additional personal items such as toothbrush, comb, etc.

Miscellaneous Items

Photo equipment with plenty of films and spare batteries, reading/writing materials, postcards of hometown and/or photos of home and family to share with Nepalese people, safety pins, sewing kit, zip lock bags for small items.

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