Makalu Base Camp is beautiful off the beaten trail reaching up to the base of fifth highest mountain Mt. Makalu (8481m). This challenging yet rewarding trail is situated between Mt. Everest (8848m) and Mt. Kanchenjunga (8586m). Makalu Base Camp Trek offers the best panoramic views of towering mountains in all directions. The trail passes through Arun and Barun River valleys and unfolds the closeup views of some of the highest mountains like Makalu, Everest, Lhotse, Baruntse and Kanchenjunga.
If you have been looking for an updated and most accurate itinerary for Makalu Base Camp in 2020, you have come to the right place.
Makalu Base Camp trek is less popular compared to Everest Base Camp (EBC) and Annapurna Base Camp (ABC). Yet, this trail shares a striking similarity with these trails. Alike ABC and EBC, you follow the same scenic trail up and down the base camp.
Makalu Base Camp Trek Itinerary Overview
Makalu Base Camp trek can be completed in 17 days with actual trekking for 14 days. During these 17 days, you will fully experience Nepal’s natural beauty, bustling cities, people, culture and grandeur of the mountains. The arduous trail to Makalu Base Camp raises your expectation of what your next trek anywhere in the world should look, feel and sound like.
You will find most itineraries starting from Tumlingtar or Chichira of Sankhuwasabha district. With recent road constructions, the trailhead has now moved further up to Num village, up to where you can travel on a vehicle.
With frequent experiences of leading treks to the base camp of Makalu, NEST Adventure is updated with recent changes in the road to the trailhead or on the trail itself. We have prepared this Makalu Base Camp trek itinerary considering the fact that road construction has shortened the trail by one day. Regular vehicles ply from Tumlingtar to Khandbari and Num village (1560m), the new starting point of the trek. The road to Khandbari is blacktopped while the section from Khandbari to Num is off-road.
Where to Start The Itinerary
If you are planning to trek in 2020 and later, you will start trekking from Num village and end the trek in the same point. To get to Num, you need to take a 45 minutes long flight from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar and drive for another five to six hours via Khandbari. You can either hire a private vehicle or board one of the public vehicles and experience the rural transport system of Nepal.
NEST Adventure believes in giving you the best, accurate and updated trek information. Based on our experiences of leading trekkers to Makalu Base Camp, we have prepared the following key points of Makalu Base Camp trek itinerary:
- Actual trekking distance and days has reduced recently due to construction of road till Num village
- You walk for 5 to 8 hours a day. Depending on your fitness you could possibly complete a day’s trek in as soon as 4 hours. We have designed the itinerary with this variation considering your comfort and rest hours.
- Some days are relatively long because of the unavailability of tea houses in difficult terrains. Particularly, the day you cross three passes is difficult and requires walking for 8 to 9 hours. We want to ensure that you reach a safe and comfortable place to spend the night.
- We have not allocated a separate day for acclimatization but compensated with shorter trekking hours so that you can adapt to the altitude gain. After a short trek in a day, you will go on an acclimatization trip to ‘climb high and sleep low’.
- The maximum elevation gain in a day is 1,400 meters. Take precautions and note any signs of altitude sickness and inform your guide immediately, if you have any doubt. They are experienced in detecting acute mountain syndrome and treating you with firs symptoms.
- The chances of altitude sickness in this trail is low compared to the Everest region as you spend only three days in altitudes higher than 4500 meters. Altitude gain is gradual and slow. You get enough time to get acclimatize. Having said that there is always a chance of having altitude sickness when you trek higher than 3500 meters.
Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu (1400m)
Day 2: Trek preparation in Kathmandu (1400m)
Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar and drive to Num (1560m) – 45 min flights and 5-6 hrs drive
Day 4: Num to Seduwa (1500m) – 5-6 hrs
Day 5: Seduwa to Tashigaon (2100m) – 5-6 hrs
Day 6: Tashigaon to Khongma Danda (3500m) – 7-8 hrs
Day 7: Khongma Danda to Mumbuk (3540m) via Kauma La (3637m), Tutu La (4125m) and Keke La (4170m) – 7-8 hrs
Day 8: Mumbuk to Yangri Kharka (3557m) – 6-7 hrs
Day 9: Yangri Kharka to Langmale Kharka (4410m) – 4-5 hrs
Day 10: Lanmale Kharka to Makalu Base Camp (4870m) – 4- 5 hrs
Day 11: Explore Makalu Base Camp. Optional day hike to Swiss Base Camp (5150m) – 5-6 hrs
Day 12: Makalu Base Camp to Mumbuk (3540m) – 8 hrs
Day 13: Mumbuk to Khongma Danda (3500m) – 8 hrs
Day 14: Khongma Danda to Seduwa (1500m) – 7-8 hrs
Day 15: Seduwa to Num (1560m) and drive to Tumlingtar. 4-5 hrs trek and 5-6 hrs drive
Day 16: Fly from Tumlingtar to Kathmandu – 45 min flight
Day 17: Farewell and departure
Makalu Base Camp Trek Itinerary in Detailed
|Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu (1400m)|
|We will receive you at Tribhuvan International airport and transfer you to your hotel. If you have time, you may visit our office on the same day for trek preparations. You may take rest for the day or explore Kathmandu in the evening. Overnight in a hotel in Kathmandu.|
|Day 2: Trek preparation in Kathmandu (1400m)|
|Today we prepare for your trek, brief you about the trek in detail. You will meet your guide and crew at our office in Thamel. You can purchase the necessary accessories and equipment in Thamel. Trekking gears are relatively cheaper here than in your home country. We also acquire necessary permits. Once you complete these necessary preparations, you can explore the city and visit the major attractions of Kathmandu valley. There are seven UNESCO world heritage sites in the valley namely Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Pashupatinath temple, Changunarayan temple, Bouddhanath and Swyambhunath stupa. When you explore the city you can witness the city move around you and experience the lifestyle of Kathmandu.|
|Day 3: Fly to Tumlingtar and drive to Num (1560m) – 45 min + 5-6 hrs drive|
|After breakfast, we transfer to domestic terminal of Tribhuvan International Airport and take a flight to Tumlingtar. A 45 minutes long flight will land you at a beautiful town of Tumlingtar. Then we drive to Num village (1560m) on the same day. We can either hire a vehicle or hop on a public vehicle to Khandbari and Num. Public vehicle’s departure usually depends on availability of passengers. First 45 minutes of the drive to Khandbari is smooth on black topped road. Road from Khandbari to Num is off-road and the drive is quite bumpy. It takes around 4 to 5 hours to reach Num. Num is a picturesque village settled on a ridge with views on both sides of the hill. You will see a glistering view of mountain range including Kanchanjangha and Jannu peak. You can enjoy sunset or sunrise here. Overnight at a lodge in Num. Alternatively, you can drive on a public bus from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar which takes around 11 to 12 hours. Let us know in advance, we can customise the itinerary as per your preferences.|
|Day 4: Num to Seduwa (1500m) – 5-6 hrs|
|After breakfast, we walk steep downhill from western end of the village for around 800 meters to descend to Arun River through a lush forest of Schima, Chestnut and pine. You will also see cardamom plantation inside the forest. After crossing a suspension bridge over Arun River, we walk steep uphill to Seduwa. The day is hot and humid but the trail is quite shaded by the forest. Today we enter the Makalu Barun National park and register our permit at the entry point. We have lunch at Seduwa as there are no tea house in between these camps. We can enjoy the beautiful landscape of Arun valley and the surrounding ridges. Overnight at a tea house in Seduwa.|
|Day 5: Seduwa to Tashigaon (2100m) – 5-6 hrs|
|We have breakfast and start today’s trek under the forest canopy and pass through farmlands. The trail is gentle and gradual uphill, more pleasing then the previous day. You will find tea shops in small villages where we stop for tea and snacks. After crossing a Rai settlement, we pass a Chhorten before reaching Tashigaon. We have lunch at Tashigaon and enjoy the panoramic mountain views. Overnight at a tea house.|
|Day 6: Tashigaon to Khongma Danda (3500m) – 7-8 hrs|
|Today is a tough hike as we gain 1400 meters. We start to feel the thin air of the mountains today s. The trail is steep uphill to Chipla (2520m) through the Rhododendron and bamboo forests. The trail gets further strenuous and steep. After a steep climb, you reach green pastures also known as kharka. You will see yaks grazing on the meadows and meet seasonal yak herders. We stop at Danda Kharka for lunch. After ascending stone stairs, we descend down to Khongma Danda. We enjoy the evening with views of Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, and Makalu. Overnight at a tea house.|
|Day 7: Khongma Danda to Mumbuk (3540m) via Kauma La (3637m), Tutu La (4125m) and Keke La (4170m) – 7-8 hrs|
|Today is a long and challenging trek day as you will be crossing three high passes. We start with a steep climb to a stone Chhorten. We gradually make through false passes and ridges. We reach above tree line and may even find snow on the passes. We take rest at 4125 meters at Tutu La or Shipton’s Pass for lunch. There is a tea house that serves limited food like noodles soup. The trek is strenuous and long yet stunning with numerous prayer flags along the trail and glistering mountain views in the distance. You can see amazing views of Peak 6 and 7 and the eastern face of Everest. From Tutu La we descend to a lake Kalo Pokhari (3930m) and climb to the third pass Keke La (4170m). After crossing this pass, you descend steep downhill to Dobato and walk further to Mumbuk. Overnight at a tea house in Mumbuk.|
|Day 8: Mumbuk to Yangri Kharka (3557m) – 6-7 hrs|
|From Mumbuk, the trail decends down to Barun Valley. The trail leading to the bank of Barun River is steep, narrow and treacherous. Then we walk along the river bank with roaring sounds of running river. The river valley is narrow with high walls of the mountains on both sides. We also meet trekkers coming from Kanchanjangha Base camp. The walk is pleasant as we gradually gain some altitude until we reach Nehe Kharka. We can see yak and sheep grazing on the pastures. We stop at Nehe Kharka for snacks and enjoying the close up views of Peak 6 and 7 and Mt. Makalu. You cross the river and reach a small settlement of Yangri Kharka to end today’s trek. Overnight at a tea house.|
|Day 9: Yangri Kharka to Langmale Kharka (4410m) – 4-5 hrs|
|Be prepared for another tough day. We gain nearly 1000 meters altitude. We walk along the Barun River with high walls on both side of the valley. We climb to a waterfall, pass a Mani Wall and reach Yak Kharka. We stop at Yak Kharka for tea and snacks. Today we enjoy gorgeous panoramic views of Peak 5, 6, 7 and Yaupa peak. We have lunch at Langmale Kharka and explore the surrounding for acclimatization. Overnight at a tea house.|
|Day 10: Lanmale Kharka to Makalu Base Camp (4870m) – 4- 5 hrs|
|Today we make it to Makalu Base Camp. We follow a flat trail to Sersong and a gradual climb to a minor pass. We can see a first glimpse of base camp around large boulders of rocks. The views are breath-taking with full view of Makalu, Peak 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, Yaupa, East Col. We will have lunch at Makalu Base Camp and explore the area for sightseeing. You can visit the view point and enjoy the sunset. Overnight at a tea house.|
|Day 11: Explore Makalu Base Camp. Optional day hike to Swiss Base Camp (5150m) – 5-6 hrs|
|Today we explore around Base Camp and enjoy the majestic views of gigantic mountains. In the early morning, we walk to Barun Pokhari (lake) and enjoy the mesmerising views. If you are physically fit, we can day hike to Swiss Base Camp. It usually takes 5 to 6 hours for day hike and return to Makalu Base Camp. If you choose to stay at Makalu Base Camp, you can explore the surrounding viewpoints. You can enjoy views of Mt Makalu, Barun Pokhari, the eastern face of Everest, Lhotse, and other nearby peaks. Overnight at a tea house.|
|Day 12: Makalu Base Camp to Mumbuk (3540m) – 8 hrs|
|After having great time at Makalu Base Camp, we trek down to Mumbuk. Today is going to be quite long day of trekking following the same trail we trekked earlier. We leave behind Shershong, Langmale Kharka, Merek, Yangri Kharka and stay at a tea house in Mumbuk after trekking for 8 to 9 hours.|
|Day 13: Mumbuk to Khongma Danda (3500m) – 8 hrs|
|We cross the strenuous three passes Keke La, Tutu La (Shipton’s Pass) and Kauma La. Enjoy the same beautiful views on rough terrain one more time. We trek for around 8 hours to reach Khongma Danda. Overnight at a tea house.|
|Day 14: Khongma Danda to Seduwa (1500m) – 7-8 hrs|
|We descend back to Tashigaun where we have our lunch and trek further down to Seduwa. It will take around 7 to 8 hours. Overnight at a tea house.|
|Day 15: Seduwa to Num (1560m) and drive to Tumlingtar. 4-5 hrs trek and 5-6 hrs drive|
|We again make a treacherous downhill to Arun River and climb steep to Num. We will hire a vehicle and embark for Tumlingtar on the same day. If you want to take public vehicle, we can take that too but remember these vehicles move only when the seats are full. We may need to wait till next day to board the public vehicle.|
|Day 16: Fly from Tumlingtar to Kathmandu – 45 min flight|
|We fly from Tumlingtar to Kathmandu. We will drop you at your hotel. Then you can once more feel Kathmandu city, buy souvenirs and enjoy the food and drinks in Thamel, a touristy area of Kathmandu.|
|Day 17: Farewell and departure|
|Today is a day to bid you farewell and invite for another amazing trip to Nepal. We welcome any feedback and suggestions for improving our services. We will drop you at the international airport as per your flight schedule and wish you a safe journey.|
The Makalu Base Camp trek will be an unforgettable, mesmerizing and adventurous journey in the Himalayas. We hope and be there with you while you make your story while you are in Nepal that you can recollect with your family and friends back home.