If you’re thinking about doing the Everest Base Camp trek and you need some tips, look no further. I recently came back from the iconic trek and whilst I was doing it I made a load of notes so I could help others who are about to embark on it too.
Here is the ultimate guide to Everest Base Camp trek.
1. Choosing the right company to go with to Everest Base Camp
Did you know there’s over 2,000 trekking companies in Nepal? The company I went with called Visit Himalaya Treks has so many perks, it would be hard not to choose them. Notably, you’ll have your own personalised service so don’t expect to be put with other people from other countries (like most other trekking companies do). You can take your time, stop when you want and call your own shots. Doesn’t get much better.
2. What to take on Everest Base Camp trek
3. 21 things you need to know before you do Everest Base Camp trek
If you have loads of questions about water, what the accommodation is like, the food, how many people are on the trek… I mean the list goes on, look no further and read this post below!
4. What was the Everest Base Camp trek actually like?
I’m going to give you a complete run down of each day of my experience to help prepare with the trek below. We walked very slowly, probably the slowest out of anyone on the trek just to keep you in mind. I also used my Garmin 235 watch which I absolutely love to time our treks and distance.
4 days before the trek started:Our beautiful accommodation at Bed & Breakfast Thamel
We arrived into Kathmandu and found an airbnb that became a huge gem. To be honest, out of the nine countries we travelled to in the six months of our trip, this airbnb was by far our favourite place we stayed in. Our host Yogendra is a very sincere man with a great quality, budget guesthouse. It’s right in the heart of the tourist area of Thamel but it’s super quiet, incredibly clean and he does a brilliant breakfast. The roofttop was perfect to do some yoga and to chill out in, and it was really the one place that we felt at home in. We then booked ourselves back in to stay for four more nights after the trek had finished.
After we checked in, we went to meet Himal the owner of our trekking company, Visit Himalaya Treks. We picked this company because it’s a local Nepalese company and we didn’t want to support a more well known one. It turned out very well indeed which is why I keep telling everyone to book with them!!
Himal sent Krishna, our guide over to our guesthouse the day before the trek with some bags for us to pack our things in. He checked over our stuff and made sure we didn’t bring any unnecessary items.
In the three days we had in Kathmandu, we went shopping for everything for the trek. We already had trekking boots and I’d make sure you break yours in well before doing this trek. I bought mine six months before I went travelling to make sure they were comfy and a size up which is really important. You can find them here. We hired out sleeping bags and down jackets which you’ll 100% need but only for $1 a day rather than buying them for $100s!
We were both nervous, apprehensive and unbelievably excited about our first day. Our guide Krishna picked us up with a driver and before we knew it, we were off to the airport for our 8am flight from Kathmandu to Lukla which is the starting point for the trek. The flight was delayed for about an hour (quite usual) and we then went on the tiny plane to experience one of the most dangerous flights in the world.
Tip for getting onto the plane to Lukla
I wish we knew to sit on the left hand side because that’s where you’ll see the mountain views! We were there trying to reach over to get a shot over another trekker, it was quite funny! The half an hour flight was incredible and with a 500 metre runway strip, we landed incredibly fast. If you’re too scared about the flight, you can walk it in three days.
When we landed we went for breakfast at a lodge to be greeted by trekkers on their way back. They had gone to Gokyo Lake, a variation of the EBC trek which turned out to be a rather seniority and gem of a version as other trekkers made out. We weren’t too fussed as we just wanted to go to Base Camp.
As the trek started, we saw others finishing looking absolutely exhausted as they made their way up the hill. We walked down all full of energy and before we knew it, we had arrived in Phakding just after an easy three hour trek. By lunchtime we were done for the day and just chilled out. We quickly realised how nice it would have been to have an ipad to watch some movies, but it didn’t matter as we became great friends with our playing cards.
Day 02: Trek to Namche Bazaar (3440 meters) 6km, 7 hour trek.Day 2 as we were told would be the hardest day as the trek ascended up the mountain to Namche Bazaar. It was indeed tough but I didn’t find it too difficult. Making our way to the famous town of Namche Bazaar, the biggest town on the trek was incredible and we had loads of fun walking along those famous suspension bridges along the way.Arriving at Namche Bazaar.
It took us 7 hours to trek to Namche. We stayed at Green Tara guesthouse, our favourite along the whole trek.
Even though they say it’s an acclimatization day, it’s more of an explore day so we hiked up the mountain to get our first glimpse of Everest and to see Namche from a distance. Unfortunately the view had clouded over by the time we got there. We noticed there were many more people on this trek than we saw on Day 1 but as the days went on, we had more space to ourselves.
When we got back down to Namche, we spent the day at our guesthouse watching Everest documentaries. There are so many to watch, it didn’t disappoint!
Now, this is the day it really started to get beautiful. The walk along with the Everest view was incredible. We absolutely loved this. This is the day a lot of people will turn off to Gokyo Lake so the path becomes a lot less busy. When we arrived in Thyangboche, it was foggy and freezing. The incredible monastery at Thyangboche.
Luckily we arrived in time to see the monks doing their prayers at the local monastery at 3pm which was amazing. We were in bed by 7pm which became the norm as time went on.
Day 05: Trek from Thyangboche to Dingboche. (4220 meters), 12.2km, 7 hour trek. Arriving into Dingboche.
It was amazing to wake up and see the mountains around us as we got there in the fog the day before. It was incredible but this day was the day the altitude started to hit us. The sun was strong and I felt like my face and hands were getting burnt but luckily I had sunscreen (a must have!).We met some doctors along the way who had done this trek loads before and told us to be super careful with the toilets as most people get sick. Good job we had hand san on us! Wifi stops here which is insane as I was able to do Instalives along the trek so far. To get wifi at our guesthouse called Goodluck hotel, it costs 600R a day. The shower was also 500R. I remember running out of the shower into the snow, such a weird feeling but it was freezing!
Day 06: Acclimatization day at Dingboche.Stevo exhausted after Day 5 hike to Dingboche.
Our sleep was terrible, both of us kept waking up, gasping for air but we later learnt by taking a diamox would easily sort that problem out. We decided to stay put that day rather than go for an explore like everyone else and had the guesthouse to ourselves. We knew the rest of the trek was going to be non stop so we appreciated the time to stop.
For me, it was my hardest day yet. The views were stunning but it got very cold and it started snowing. The accommodation was OK but the toilets were another level of bad. We learnt the toilet situation got worse the higher up we went which is understandable considering the altitude and the isolation.
Although the trek wasn’t that far it all, we really suffered with the altitude as we walked up through the glacier. This was the first time we could see the famous yellow tents at Base Camp which looked far away, but it was incredible. When we arrived in Gorakshep, the final town before Base Camp, we decided not to continue on to Base Camp that day because it started snowing. This is one of the perks with going with Visit Himalaya Treks. Because it was just Steve and I on the trek, we could call the shots. We told our guide we wanted to do the trek the next day.
Because we were supposed to go to Base Camp the day before, we decided to stay an extra night in Gorekshep which turned out to be amazing. Here’s why. We started our climb up to Kala Patthar at 4am to reach the top by sunrise and of course to see the best view of Everest we would see on the entire trek. It was honestly the hardest but most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.Views from the top of Kala Patthar.
Imagine climbing up with practically no air and at -20C? My water bottle froze at the top and although I literally had a bit of a melt down on the way up, my guide pushed me onwards and upwards. I’m glad he did because it was incredible. We had a great view of base camp and the mountains surrounding us – one of the best moments of my life!Arriving into Everest Base Camp.
When we returned back to our guesthouse, we had breakfast and continued on to Base Camp which took us nearly 4 hours. I’m glad we stayed the extra night because everyone pretty much starts and finishes each day at the same time so because we changed our schedule, we had the entire path to base camp by ourselves.At the ending point of Everest Base Camp trek.
It was an amazing moment and I’m glad that when we got to base camp, there wasn’t anyone else there. By the time we left, loads of people started to show up.
Because we had changed our schedule slightly, we needed to make up time so we made a beeline back to Pangboche. We finally noticed a difference with the altitude and were able to breathe better again. The weather changed drastically from sunshine to snow and it got really cold.
Poor Steve started to get really ill along the way and our pace really slowed down. I realised how the trek is pretty much all up hill to get to base camp so coming back down was much easier. We stayed in a lovely Tibetan hotel which was so quiet, it made me realise that I would have probably asked to stay in lesser known hotels along the way to support the locals who were trying to make a living, rather than staying in the popular hotels.
You can easily tailor your trek with Visit Himalaya Treks for this service. We finally got a decent sleep thanks to the drop in altitude.
This day was really hard on Steve as he really started to get ill. By the time we got back to our lovely Green Tara hotel, he was pretty sick.
Unfortunately we woke up with a very ill Steve and we thought he had caught pneumonia. We had a final final 10 hour trek on our hands and I knew he couldn’t do it. So we had two options, either he sits on a donkey for 10 hours up the mountain or we call for an emergency helicopter. Obviously I got him the helicopter which cost us USD$700 for a fifteen minute flight back to Lukla.
Our trekking company could have sorted it all out for us but in our rushed state we just paid the helicopter company to pick us up. Luckily he had insurance which refunded us in the end. When we arrived in Lukla, we went straight to the hospital for the doctor to confirm Steve was all OK. This situation was completely a one off and our trekking guide who had been a guide for eight years had never experienced a situation like this before. He was genuinely worried for Steve and we appreciated his kindness and actions to make sure Steve’s health was put first.
We got back to our hotel in Lukla and spent the day resting and playing cards as we waited for our early morning flight back to Kathmandu.
Day 13: Lukla to Kathmandu flight
We managed to get on the first flight at 7am back to Kathmandu which was amazing and when we arrived back, Steve instantly got better. I think the altitude really hit him on the trek. Also being Aussie, he doesn’t take to the cold too much!
The next four days, we rested and really started to notice how important life is. Up on the trek to base camp, we noticed the fewer birds and wildlife. When we returned to Kathmandu, we started to see everything with fresh eyes and really appreciated the importance of life. In those four days whilst we rested, we got ourselves ready for our next adventure to Japan. More to come on that soon!
If you are thinking about doing this trek, mention my blog and you’ll get 20% off the 17 day Everest Base Camp package when you book with Visit Himalaya Treks!
Read my Everest Base Camp blogs below: