- 16 Days
- 5,545 m. Kala Patthar
The Makalu Base Camp trek is one of the most exhilarating and fascinating explorations of the Himalayan region from the Far North East prospect of Nepal. This immersive expedition, unlike other mainstream trekking routes, explores the remote, less ventured region of the Himalayas.
This trekking expedition follows the scenic route to the foothills of the fifth-tallest mountain in the world, Mt. Makalu, at an elevation of 8,463 meters (27,766 feet) which is on the eastern sight of the highest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest (8,849 meters) and to the west from the third-tallest mountain in the world, Mt. Kanchenjunga (8,586 meters). The isolated regions of the Himalayas, with unprecedented natural charms, unique landscapes, and tremendous biodiversity designated towards the Makalu Barun National Park, offer the most outstanding and spectacular exploration of the Himalayas from a unique prospect.
Makalu Base Camp trek, besides the exploration of natural allurements, high-Himalayan flora and fauna, and the adventure of both Barun and Arun Valley, also emphasizes the Himalayan culture and lifestyle. You will get insights into the culturally-rich and traditional high-altitude civilization across the route, concluding your everyday adventure with the unique Himalayan hospitality touches.
The Makalu Base Camp trek has been graded a ‘moderate to challenging’ level. The off-beaten rugged trails, high elevation points, weather conditions, and long walking distance can be challenging for anyone, especially unprepared trekkers. The remoteness of this expedition features fewer teahouses along the trail, unlike other crowded mainstream routes. Due to the route being in an isolated and untouched region, the Makalu Base Camp trek is also considered to be considerably more difficult than the Annapurna Base Camp (4,130 meters) and Everest Base Camp (5,364 meters).
Here are some factors that contribute to the difficulty level of Makalu Base Camp trekking.
The altitude gain is a major challenge in any high-altitude adventure as it is related to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Without proper precautions and safety measures, it can even be fatal. Although this trekking expedition doesn’t follow elevation jump points similar to the adventure to the highest base camp in the world, EBC, it is essential to prepare properly to tackle this issue.
Starting your adventure at Tumlingtar at an elevation of 405 meters, the Makalu Base Camp trek takes you to the highest elevation point of 4,870 meters at the base camp. As there is a risk of altitude sickness in any adventure above 2,500 meters, you will need to be extra prepared for this remote exploration, where you have to spend a significant number of days above 3000-4000 meters. Acclimatizing properly, getting enough rest, eating well, and staying hydrated throughout the adventure is the best way to tackle altitude sickness in any high-altitude trekking expedition.
Trekking distance is another major concern of this remote expedition for beginners who haven’t prepared properly. The long day walking in this trek constantly tests the endurance level and perseverance of the trekking enthusiasts. On average, you will cover a daily distance of about 15 km, walking approximately 5- 7 hours. Thus, physical endurance and strength are key factors to successfully completing this remote Himalayan exploration.
The steep section with frequent uphill climbs and downhill descends on the rugged surface are not an easy feat to conquer successfully. However, with the right amount of preparation, the ‘moderate to challenging’ routes of this expedition are not a big deal, even for novice trekkers.
Unlike other mainstream trekking expeditions in the country, the Makalu Base Camp trek takes place in the remote and isolated region of the Far North-East part of the Himalayas. As this spectacular route has just come on the radar of the trekking enthusiast in recent years, it has yet to develop for tourism fully, so you will have to get by with the basic facilities available in the teahouses along the route.
Don’t expect any 3-star level services or Western cuisines in this remote exploration; also, as there is no proper mode of transportation for the higher regions, they are deprived of technologies. So, take this expedition as an exploration completely on natural trails away from the modern-day rush and technologies, just a laid-back adventure on laps of nature with nothing else in the way.
As the Makalu Base Camp trek takes place in the remote, isolated region of the Far North East, the region has yet to fully develop sufficient teahouses along the trails with the necessary facilities. There teahouses along the trail are limited, and it is hard to find shops between the destinations, so you need to carry your necessities considering these factors during your adventure.
Food and accommodation in these parts are pretty much basics, you won’t be able to enjoy the extensive set of menus, including Western dishes like the mainstream trekking routes in the country. Especially the accommodation facilities in the Makalu Base trek can be a slight inconvenience if you are not used to remote region exploration.
As there are a very limited number of teahouses along the trail, they can be pretty full during the peak trekking seasons like autumn and spring. If you are traveling in a large group without any prior booking, then you will have to settle for whatever is available, even if it means sleeping on the floor.
Makalu Base Camp trek, the fascinating explorations of the Himalayan region from the Far North East side of the country due to its remoteness, houses only basic services; the same could be said for the eatery menus in the region. You will find basic food menus on this trek; if you are expecting them to be extravagant, like Annapurna region or Everest region trek, you might be disappointed.
Although these teahouses don’t feature an extensive set of menus with continental diversities, they are prepared from clean and healthy sourced organic ingredients. As there is no proper form of transportation facilities in the region, you will have to get by mostly with the tasty delicacies prepared from local healthy and nutritious ingredients.
The teahouses in this trail might not be as developed as other mainstream trekking routes, but you will still get a food menu to order your meal. The general menu of the trails of the Makalu Base Camp trek includes:
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you could ask your guide to request the cook exclude the meat while preparing a meal for you. Still, a significant percentage of the population in Nepal follows a vegetarian lifestyle, so preparing a meat-free meal won’t be a hassle; in fact, you won’t find any restaurant or hotel in the country that doesn’t offer a vegetarian option.
Whereas, during the part where you will have to use the camping site for accommodation, your trekking agency will provide your team cook, and he will prepare healthy, nutritious meals three times a day.
As for drinking water, instead of buying high-priced plastic mineral water bottles, the safest method would be drinking boiled water at the teahouses. You could also carry water-purifying solutions and tablets to make the tap water available along the route drinkable.
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Like other high-altitude adventures in the country, the best time for the Makalu Base Camp trek is considered to be in spring (March, April, and May) and autumn (September, October, and November). Spring is typically the peak season for any high-altitude adventure in the country, like trekking and mountaineering. The Himalayan region is at its peak this season, with wildflowers, colorful rhododendron, and magnolia covering the lower region of the trail. The weather is also stable and clear, you will be able to enjoy the wide vistas of the clear mountain to the horizon in spring.
Similarly, another feasible season seasons for this remote adventure, autumn, rewards the trekkers with cooly breezy and clear weather. The mountain view in autumn with clear skies is at its finest, plus the lack of intense scorching sun accompanied by cool chilly mornings and nights make the experience especially exhilarating during this season. Not only that, the autumn season lets your some insights into the major Hindu festivals in the country, like Dashain (15 days), Tihar (5 days), and Chhath (4 days).
The Makalu Base Camp trek is also doable in the off-season, like monsoon (June, July, and August) and winter (December, January, and February). But due to extra challenges like risky muddy-slippery trails, landslides, flight cancellations, and trip holdups in monsoon, this is the least favorable season for a high-altitude adventure.
Likely, the snowy trails, harsh cold climatic conditions, and blizzards during the winter add to the difficulty level of this remote exploration. So, it would be best if you sit out adventurers to the Makalu region during the off-season if you don’t have any prior high-altitude trekking experience.
Upon your arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), our representative will receive you at the terminal. You will be transferred to your respective hotel, and our representative will assist you with the check-in process. You can use this day to stroll around the bustling capital city and explore highlights closer to you.
In the evening, we will host a welcome dinner party to celebrate our affiliation, and your guide will provide a brief overview of this beautiful trekking experience with important information and tips.
The second day of your Makalu Base Camp Trek expedition will include the exploration of the cultural prospects of the Kathmandu Valley. Your exploration today will cover some of the major tourist highlights in the capital and, of course, the UNESCO World Heritage Sites; Kathmandu Valley boasts 7 out of 10 World Heritage Sites in Nepal.
After covering the major tourist destination in the capital, you will also have enough time to explore the city to collect souvenirs. If you haven’t shopped for the necessary trekking tools or wear, you can use both arrival and exploration days to buy or rent the necessary equipment for the trek.
Your adventure will start early on this day; you will board a domestic flight in the morning heading toward Tumlingtar. Approaching the Himalayas from the Far Eastern side at Sankhuwashabha, this short scenic flight offers a superb view of the peaks in the Himalayas and magical views of the country’s hillside, rivers, and valleys.
After arriving at Tumlingstar, you will briefly enjoy the hospitality of this cultural and traditional civilization of Sankhuwasabha. From there, you will drive via a private jeep heading towards Num passing settlements like Khandbari and Chichila. Rum, the village situated on a high ridge, will be your resting destination tonight; you will be able to enjoy the magnificent views of Makalu peaks, Jalajala Himal, and other massifs from this village.
Day 4 will be the first of trekking in your Makalu Base Camp Trek; after an early morning breakfast, you will follow several ascents and descents alongside the Barun River, heading towards Seduwa Village. You will cross this tributary river of the Arun River several times and finally enter the Makalu Barun National Park.
From here onwards, you will ascend through small terraced farms and rocky paths, gradually climbing upward and passing the Runmura Village on your way to Seduwa Village. You will rest here tonight, adoring the magnificence of Makalu Barun National Park and the Himalayan massifs in the background.
Today’s adventure on your Makalu Base Camp Trek expedition will take you to the beautiful Sherpa village Tashigaon, the last village enroute to this exhilarating experience of the Himalayas. Starting your trek early on this day, you will pass several smaller civilizations, paddy farm areas, and rivers, finally reaching Tashigaon.
You will catch a glimpse of your first-ever panoramic views of the magnificent peaks in the Himalayas. Enjoying the hospitality of this high-altitude civilization influenced by Buddhist culture, you will rest here tonight.
On the Day 6 of your Makalu Base Camp Trek, you will follow a scenic route covered by rhododendron, oaks, and pine trees as you leave behind the last village of this trekking route. It is a tough day trek today as you ascend to an altitude of over 1,497 meters; after ascending to Chipola along the trail, you will start to leave the lush jungle line behind.
Then, you will continue your climb toward Dhara (2,867 meters), a popular tea shop destination, where you will take a lunch break. During the last stretch of the trek, you will climb up to Unshisa (3,200 meters), a massive rock formation; from here, it is a steep climb on stone steps until you reach the top of the ridge, Khongma Dada. From the ridge of Khongma, you will be able to witness the glorious views of Mt. Kanchenjunga in the Far East and Mt. Makalu in the North, including other adjacent peaks.
This day of your Makalu expedition tests your endurance level and how well you can handle the high-altitude environment. This long day trek commences with a morning ascend of the Shipton La Pass at the elevation of 4,210 meters, one of the three major elevations of this expedition above 4,000 meters. Passing scenic routes as you trek on the trails of Kalo Pokhari (3,930 meters) and crossing Keke La Pass (4,170 meters), you will descend toward the Dobate Valley.
From here, you will be able to enjoy an up-close view of the alluring peaks in the Himalayas, like Mt. Chamlang (7,319 meters), Peak 6 (6,524 meters), and Peak 7 (6,758 meters). You will rest here tonight, preparing for the big adventure tomorrow.
Starting your adventure early in the morning, on Day 8, your trail will follow the Barun River passing through the beautiful rhododendron and pine forests. As the route is steep and difficult during the first section of this trek, you will have to watch your footing carefully. After two hours of the steep and strenuous route, and then you will trek uphill on a more stable path that gradually stretches toward Yangri Kharka.
You might see the yaks grazing along the pasture as you move along toward the Yangi Kharka, which is located at the base of the valley.
In today’s trek, leaving Yangri Kharka behind, you will move along several yak pasturelands, possibly witnessing the grazing yaks and through the thick forests. Although the towering valley walls cover the visibility of the Himalayas, after 2- 3 hours of trek, you will start to see the alluring peaks rise on the horizon. After arriving at Merek, you will follow an uphill route to the Langmale Kharka that slowly starts widening the Himalayan vistas.
The glorious views of Makalu V, Makau VI, and Makalu VII, including other adjacent peaks in the Himalayas, will reward your long trekking day. You will stay here tonight, preparing for the big day tomorrow.
Finally, it is the most awaited part of this expedition; today, you will conquer the foothills of the fifth-tallest mountain in the world, Mt. Makalu. During the first of today’s big adventure, you will move towards Shershong, leaving the Langmale Kharka behind. From there, the trail stretching up to the Makalu Base Camp is smooth and gradually uphill; you will also have to cover the icy segment enroute to the base camp.
As you walk amidst the trail surrounded by the glorious peaks of the Himalayas, the magnificence of Mt Makalu will draw you closer to it. Immersing in the exhilarating experience of the Himalayan exploration from up close today, you will rest at the foothills of Mt. Makalu tonight (Camping site at MBC).
We understand that coming this close to the magnificence of the Himalayas, concluding the expedition hastily wouldn’t give a proper closure to this Himalayan adventure. So, the Day 11 of your Makalu Base Camp Trek will be a rest as well as exploration day; on this day, you could soak in the beauty of the Himalayan from the prospects of the Makalu region. Check out the surrounding areas and the tremendously diversified flora and fauna the Makalu region is known for, and don’t forget to add Barun Glacier to your exploration list.
Besides Mt. Makalu, you will also be rewarded with spectacular views of Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse, Lhotse Shar, and several other peaks. You will also conclude this day’s exploration at the Makalu Base Camp, relishing another day at the foothills of this marvelous fifth-tallest mountain in the world.
Day 12 of your Makalu Base Camp Trek is the conclusive day; this day marks the closure of your Himalayan exploration. After admiring the up close magnificence of Mt. Makalu, you will retrace your steps back to Yangri Kharka from the base camp. As you reach Merek and start descending the valley, you will gradually lose sight of the Himalayan vista, trekking under towering high walls.
Then, you will gradually follow the route toward Yangri Kharka, traversing across several yak pastures and following the trail of the Barun River. Passing lush rhododendron and pine forests, this day’s downhill descent will be an easy trek; you will rest at Yangri Kharka tonight, concluding a long day’s journey.
On your trek back from Yangri Kharka to Dobate, you will follow the trail following the spectacular rushing Barun River. As this is another descending day to lower, you will find walking relatively easier compared to the ascending prospects. Passing several picturesque sceneries, passing through the alpine and rhododendron forests, you will traverse across the rocky ridges and cross a few little streams before finally arriving at Dobate.
If you are lucky, you might even be able to witness the high-Himalayan attraction like grazing yaks on the pastures, mountain deer, snow pigeons, and other wildlife that Makalu National Park is famous for.
This is another demanding day in your Makalu Base Camp trek expedition; it’s a long day trek up ahead. During the first section of today’s trekking, you will climb up to Keke La Pass, retracting your steps on the sidelines of the Kalo Pokhari. Then during the final stretch, you will cross the Shipton La Pass and slowly descend towards Khongma.
Although it is a long day’s trek, the scenic path alongside rhododendron and fir forests and breathtaking views of the Himalayan massifs like Mt. Chamlang, Peak 6, Peak 7, and other adjacent peaks make this day’s walking immersive and exhilarating.
On the Day 15 of your Makalu Base Camp trek, you will follow the beautiful trail decorated with diverse species of rhododendron flowers and lush pine, oaks, and fir forests. Climbing down from Unshisa, you will continue towards Dhara, the popular tea shop and rest destination. Finally, during the last segment of today’s trek, you will make your way toward Chipola; from there, it’s a relatively easy trail to the beautiful Sherpa Village, Tashigaon.
After leaving the last village en route to the Makalu Base Camp Trek, you will head towards Seduwa. During this day’s exciting trek, you will follow back the routes passing small streams, paddy farms, and small villages across the trail. It is a beautiful day’s trek heading, walking beside the Arun River; you will enjoy the scenic views of Mt. Makalu, Mt. Jaljala, and other adjacent peaks of the Himalayas.
Seduwa Village will be the last high-altitude resting destination during your descent; admire the up-close views and magnificence of the Himalayas, preparing for the descent to the base of the Makalu region tomorrow.
On this day, you will retrace your steps back to the starting point of the Makalu Base Camp Trek expedition. During the first segment, you will follow the moderate trail toward Rumura Village and descend the scenic path following the terraced farm and rocky trails heading to Makalu Barun National Park. During the last segment of your trek, you will cross the Barun River several times, and after ascending and descending along the soaring river, you will finally reach Num.
After concluding your half-day trek in Num, you will take a break and take a private jeep towards Tumlingtar. Enjoying the spectacular views of the Makalu, Kanchanjangha, Jalajala Himal, and Jannu Peak, you will pass villages like Chichila and Khandbari moving towards Tumlingtar.
The day to say goodbye to this fascinating expedition has been bestowed upon us; today, you will say goodbye to this exploration of the remote and isolated region of the Himalayas. You will board an early morning flight back to the capital, concluding this beautiful expedition. Enjoying the magnificent views of the Himalayas on the back, you will cross several beautiful valleys, green hills, and soaring rivers, finally arriving at Kathmandu.
After your arrival in Kathmandu, you will be escorted back to your respective hotels; after geting enough rest, you can use this day to explore any major highlight you missed earlier or stroll around the bustling city collecting souvenirs as memoirs of your wonderful adventure. Magical Summit will hold a farewell dinner to celebrate your successful completion of the Makalu Base Camp trek.
It is time for the closure of your adventure; as per your flight schedules, our representative will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to the TIA. It is recommended that you should reach the airport 3 hours prior to your flight schedule, so make sure to plan accordingly.
Thank you for choosing us for your adventure; we hope to see you again. Have a safe journey!
Magical Summits is your key to seeing the Himalayas through a local lens. Being a native Sherpa-owned active holiday company, by providing unparalleled and personalized customer service, Magical Summits is born to the top of Nepal’s very competitive travel market.
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"I was born and raised in Nepal, nearby Everest region. I am proud to be a native Sherpa, and I have been a Mountain guide over a decade now. Following my passion, I decided to start helping travelers with their travel plans! I think life is a journey, a trip where you collect experiences when you share with other people and with nature."