Makalu Base Camp Trekking

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Overview

Makalu Base Camp Trekking

Background
The most beautiful off-the-beaten-paths trek in Nepal, the Makalu Base Camp Trek takes you to the less-traveled eastern Koshi region. If there ever is a hidden Shangri-La, then the Makalu region deserves to be called it because of the sheer abundance of untouched natural beauty the landscape is blessed with.

The trekking journey is called one of the most beautiful- not only for the sake of being called that but because the terrain is nothing like anything on Earth- the luminous green acreages of eastern Arun Valley are nothing short of postcard-perfect.

The Makalu Base Camp Trek is a journey that fully encapsulates the aesthetic of a Himalayan trek. Filled with untouched terrains of mesmerizing natural beauty and ethnic settlements and villages that are rustic and welcoming, the journey is an adventure that will stick in your mind for many years.

The trip begins with a short flight from Kathmandu to the eastern town of Tumlingtar, home of the ethnic Majhi people of Nepal’s Koshi district. The pathway then coruscates through the verdant rice valleys of the region towards various settlements, such as Chichila and Tashigaon, to finally reach the Makalu Base Camp.

It is a trip filled with endless fields of emerald rice terrace farms and steep hills cut across by the Arun and Koshi Rivers. Landscapes are almost always ornamented with jade woodlands of alpine birch and cedar, maneuvered through pathways that embrace nature.

It is a journey that will truly let you enjoy an untouched natural environment, unlike any other trekking adventure in Nepal. Moreover, trekking through the Makalu Barun National Park is an endeavor that is filled with amazing wildlife encounters as well.

The Makalu Base Camp Trekking is, suffice it to say, one of the most beautiful and culturally rich treks in Nepal. It is a long journey that takes you to the rather obscure villages of the country’s eastern river valleys.

It is an adventure that you should not miss out on if you want endless charismatic views of the Makalu Himalayas, paired with heavenly landscapes and cultural encounters that will leave you with warm and happy hearts.

Optional Everest base camp helicopter tour during your stay in Nepal. and if you like to read about the experience of our previous travellers please read on Trip Advisor.

Trip Facts

Geography: Alpine woods, River valleys and Himalayan foothills
Location: Eastern Region, Arun River Valley
Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
Duration of Trek: 21 Days
Max Altitude: 4,870 meters
Religions: Hindu, Buddhist
Ethnic People: Majhi, Rai, Limbu, Magar, Bahun
Accommodation: Hotel/Guesthouse
Transportation: Car, plane
Minimum Pax: 2 people

Trip Highlights:

Trek through the Makalu-Barun National Park, which has the world’s highest altitude range
Experience the Majhi and Magar cultures of the small settlements and villages
Enjoy panoramic views of the Makalu Himalayan Range
Trek through some of the most incredible emerald landscapes in the world

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu
You can arrive at any time at the Kathmandu International Airport. You will be greeted by one of our team members upon your arrival. He will help you return to your Hotel. Overnight stay at the Hotel.

Day 02: Fly from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar then drive to Chichila (1,980m/6497ft): 50 mins flight, 3-4 hours’ drive
You will have your short flight from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar early in the morning. Tumlingtar is located in the Koshi area between the Arun and the Sabha Rivers. From there, you will drive through winding hills and beautiful rivers to the village of Chichila- a Gurung settlement. Overnight stay at the guesthouse.

Day 03: Trek from Chichila to Num (1,560m/5119ft): 6-7 hours
From Chichila, you will trek further into the river valley to make your way towards the settlement of Num. The terrain is quite verdant, painted with tourmaline cliffs that cascade misty waterfalls deep into the ravines. Overnight stay at the guesthouse.

Day 04: Trek from Num to Seduwa (1,500m/4922 ft): 6-7 hours
From Num, you will trek through the forest, passing terrace farms to the Barun River. From there, you will begin ascending upwards along the valley hills. You will enter the Makalu Barun National Park along the way to Seduwa, the only protected area in the world with an elevation gain of over 8,000 meters. Trekking through the national park’s alpine Sal forests, you can catch sights of Mount Makalu, the Chamlang Himal, and the Baruntse Peak along the journey. Eventually, you will reach Seduwa. Overnight stay at the guesthouse.

Day 05: Trek from Seduwa to Tashigaon (2,100m/6890ft): 4 – 5 hours
You make your way from Seduwa to the ridge of the village that gives way to the rivers Isuwa and Kasuwa. You cross the hillside and walk through some small settlements towards Tashigaon. You’ll get amazing views of the Makalu Himal and the Mera Peak throughout the journey. Because of the untouched nature of the terrain, you can enjoy the serene and unadulterated atmosphere of the woods. Overnight stay at the guesthouse.

Day 06: Trek from Tashigaon to Khongma Danda (3,500m/11,483 ft): 6-7 hours
You will gain elevation from Tashigaon, walking to Khongma Danda through the vertically rising tree line. You’re going to cross small streams along the way, going out into vast pastures through the forest. Continuing along the trail, you will climb up to the ridge of the Khongma Danda via stone stairs. Overnight stay at the guesthouse.

Day 07: Acclimatization Day
Khongma Danda is a hill covered with trees of pine and cedar. Low clouds frequently cover the ridge in the late afternoon due to the elevation. The white mist and the clouds in the forest make the area feel very isolated. The views of the Makalu Himal and the adjacent peaks are quite amazing from here. Overnight stay at the guesthouse.

Day 08: Trek from Khongma Danda to Dobate: 6-7 hours
Yet again, you’ll climb down to the Barun River from the Khongma Ridge to Dobate. You’ll cross the Shipton La Mountain Pass along the way from where the peaks ‘ views are pretty haunting. You will also pass the Kalo Pokhari Lake and cross Keke La pass at 4,170 meters. After continuing on the route, you will reach Dobate. Overnight stay at the guesthouse.

Day 09: Trek from Dobate to Yangri Kharka (3,557m/11,670 ft): 6-7 hours
From Dobate, you will head towards Yangri Kharka to the upper reaches of the Barun Valley. The trail is rather steep and arduous, as on today’s trek, you will gain considerable elevation. When you continue on the trek, the trees are relatively sparse, and grasslands replace the fields and eventually open into pastures and meadows. Overnight stay at the guesthouse.

Day 10: Trek from Yangri Kharka to Langmale Kharka: (4,410m/14,468ft): 5-6 hours
You will walk through Yangri Kharka pastures on a beautiful meadow trail in the direction of Langmale Kharka. The Himalayan fields are often dotted with blooming honeysuckles and Makalu’s contrasting mountain peaks. Overnight stay at the guesthouse.

Day 11: Trek from Langmale Kharka to Makalu Base Camp: (4,870m/15,978ft): 6-7 hours
You will make your way up to Shershong from Langmale Kharka, and from here, the trail will eventually lead to the Makalu Base Camp. The trail is relatively flat, with icy glaciers sometimes dotted. As you approach Shershong, Mount Makalu comes into view dramatically. Overnight stay at Makalu Base Camp.

Day 12: Explore Makalu Base Camp
Mount Makalu’s Base Camp is a rocky, barren place. Just beyond is the Barun Glacier. From here, you can see the majestic south face of Makalu, paired with the panoramic view of Mount Everest and the Lhotse Peak. You can explore the surrounding lakes here, as well as the glaciers. Overnight stay at Makalu Base Camp.

Day 13: Trek from Makalu Base Camp to Yangri Kharka: 6-7 hours
Going down from the base camp, you can pass through Shershong, Langmale Kharka, and Merek and walk down the valley in the direction of Yangri Kharka. Sometimes it’s a steep ascent through the meadows. The forests once again cover the landscape as you go down the elevation. Overnight stay at Yangri Kharka.

Day 14: Trek from Yangri Kharka to Dobate: 6-7 hours
Moving down the valley, you will once again follow the Barun River until you finally reach Dobate. Along the way, the unadulterated environment created by the subalpine coniferous forests that blanket the woven landscape can be taken into account. Overnight stay at the guesthouse.

Day 15: Trek from Dobate to Khongma Danda: 5-6 hours
From Dobate, you’ll trace your steps back to Khongma Danda, passing through small settlements and villages where you can observe the indigenous people’s lifestyle, going about their day, collecting firewood, or farming. Overnight stay at the guesthouse.

Day 16: Trek from Khongma Danda to Tashigaon: 4-5 hours
Returning to Tashigaon, you will once again walk on the familiar route through the mountains, accompanied by the distant view of Mount Makalu. Overnight stay at the guesthouse.

Day 17: Trek from Tashigaon to Seduwa: 4-5 hours
You will walk back to Seduwa from Tashigaon, exiting the area of the Makalu Barun National Park. It’s an easy way back, and you can enjoy the beautifully decorated landscape with natural features. Overnight stay at the guesthouse.

Day 18: Trek from Seduwa to Num: 5-6 hours
From Seduwa, you will go back to the village of Num on the same path, walking through the pine forests. It’s an enjoyable and comfortable journey. Yaks and horses can also be seen grazing on the fields of the village. Overnight stay at the guesthouse.

Day 19: Trek from Num to Tumlingtar: 6-7 hours
From Num, you can return to Tumlingtar, wind down the hill, and cross the Arun River through a suspension bridge once again. Overnight stay at the guesthouse.

Day 20: Tumlingtar to Kathmandu: 50 mins flight
From Tumlingtar, one last time, you will bid farewell to the Makalu Himal and take your flight back to Kathmandu. You can spend the rest of the day landing in Kathmandu according to your choice, shopping or sightseeing. Overnights say at the Hotel.

Day 21: Final Departure from Kathmandu
You will be dropped off at the airport for your final departure approximately three hours before your scheduled flight.

Key Information
Best Time to Visit
Considering weather conditions for your travel to Nepal is essential. Just like the other significant treks in Nepal, autumn and spring seasons present the best time to visit the Makalu Base Camp. The weather between February to early June as well as from September to December presents stable weather conditions for trekking.

Entry Fee /Permits
The entry fees for the Makalu Barun National Park cost NRs. 1,500 per person for entry of SAARC Nationals, and NRs. 3,000 per person for foreigners. Our trekking agency will take care of all of the necessary permits and documents for trekkers. For more information, visit
https://www.taan.org.np/pages/trekking-permit-fees.

Physical Fitness
The Makalu Base Camp Trekking is a moderately strenuous trek. Although you do not require any previous trekking experience, being in good physical condition can be of much help.
It is suggested that you prepare yourself before the trekking journey by doing regular cardio exercises. These exercises help to boost the body’s stamina, as the journey can demand extended hours of trekking from one destination to the next on rocky and slanted terrains.

Altitude Sickness and Insurance
Having Travel Insurance while trekking in the Himalayas of Nepal is mandatory. It is vital that your travel insurance covers emergency helicopter rescue in the mountains.
The chances of occurrence of AMS during Makalu Base Camp Trekking are low as the maximum altitude you will reach in this trek is 4,870 m. Also, the trekking journey is incorporated with separate days for acclimatization. However, the occurrence of AMS depends from person to person. You can take medicines for AMS, like Diamox, to be on the safe side. Many trekkers choose to take medication while in Kathmandu as well, to avoid the symptoms from the very beginning of the trip.
Drinking-Water
It is advised to bring your own water bottle and water with you as it is a better alternative to keep buying bottled water in the mountains while trekking regularly. Staying hydrated is an essential factor while traveling in order to avoid symptoms of AMS.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the highlights of Makalu Barun National Park? Will I get to spot any animal here?
The ten national parks of Nepal located in different regions of the country are more than just an ideal destination to enjoy the beauty of nature. These national parks are home to unique flora and fauna, some of which are endangered. Located in the remote part of Eastern Nepal, Makalu Barun National Park is home to more than 3,000 species of rare flowering plants and over 600 wildlife species. It is a trekker’s paradise as you get to spot animals like the red panda and wild boar.
What are the specialties of Tumlingtar? What can I have for lunch at Tumlingtar after the flight?
Tumlingtar is a small town located between the Arun River and the Sabha River. After you land at Tumlingtar airport, head north to arrive at local restaurants to have your lunch. The local dishes in Tumlingtar include fish curry with neuro saag (a type of spinach). White rice completes your delicious meal. Do not forget to miss out on tasting the local liquor called Tongba, which is a millet-based drink.

How is this trek different from other treks in the country?
This trek takes you to Makalu Barun National Park. Here, you will get to experience an altitude difference of over 8000 meters. The lower reaches of the trail in the Makalu Base camp trekking are known for their lush rhododendron forests. On the other hand, as you trek to higher regions, the path comprises polished granite cliffs and beautiful glaciers. You will also get the sight of graceful waterfalls.

Are there any medical facilities available during the trek?
The Makalu Barun trek takes you to a remote location in East Nepal. There are no hospitals or other facilities for medical care on the trekking trail. After you cross Tumlingtar, it gets hard to find shops as well. So, you need to be appropriately equipped with a first-aid kit for the trek.

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