A trek to Makalu base camp, from where climbers to Mount Makalu station for their first ascent to the fifth highest peak in the world, is a botanist’s dream come true and a trekker’s paradise. The trek has the levels of difficulty that each trekker aspires to, as the trek takes one from a level 450 metres to a grueling 4000 metres and above, in a comparative displacement of 40 km. This is precisely why the Makalu-Barun National Park was commissioned here.
One gets to traverse terrain ranging from tropical to alpine conditions in practically a day where diverse flora and fauna catch the eye. Where communities of various ethnicity live in relative harmony with nature and themselves. There are more than 3000 varieties of flowering plants here, and even the endangered red panda has made it its home. Each season is a contrast to the other in varying vegetation and animal life.
The Trek from Tumlingtar to Makalu Base Camp and Back Again
The Makalu Base Camp Trek begins at Tumlingtar after having arrived from Kathmandu. After having passed through picturesque meadows and ridges, the first stop over is Mani Bhanjyang. Then it is through Gurung villages and crops of cardamom to Chichila to descend to Num, a forested ridge of oak trees. After having dropped down into the Arun Valley and past the Arun River of slippery rocks and suspension bridges, we are on our way to Tashi Gaon. Now we hit the road for our hike to Khongman via a steep climb past overhead rocks that form caves.
Then it is Mumbuk and Yangle Kharka for the next two days via three passes, and the view of Isuwa Khola being snow fed as well as fir forests and gnarled rhododendron. For the next two days, it is Jangma Le and Makalu base camp where you get to taste Yak’s milk and spot the sparse tents of those with aspirations to the summit of Makalu peak. From here, we retrace our steps back to Tumlingtar and back home to Kathmandu. The trek to Makalu base camp can be called an amalgamation of biodiversity of culture, vegetation, animal life and harsh terrain plus the sights of mountain peaks dotting the eastern section of the Great Himalayan range in Nepal.
1. Day One – Arrival in Kathmandu (1400m)
You will be met at Tribhuwan International Airport by a representative of Green Lotus Trekking holding a welcome placard and token for your overnight stay at a hotel in Kathmandu and to freshen up. Prior to dinner, a briefing will be held. You could spend the rest of the day resting or wandering around the city of Kathmandu, sightseeing.
2. Day Two – Flight to Tumlingtar and drive to Chichila (1840m) – (Approx 9 hours)
It is a 50-minute flight to Tumlingtar and about a three-hour bumpy drive by jeep to our camping site at Chichila.
3. Day Three – To Num (1500m) – (Approx 7 hour’s trek)
The first day’s trek takes us through pretty villages and a verdant mountain landscape. We then trek along a ridge with views of both sides, at the end of which Num comes into view. Num is an interesting place when dark clouds come, as you get a display of thunder and lightning at its best.
4. Day Four – To Seduwa (1500m) – (Approx 7 hour’s trek)
The day’s trek begins with a steep descent through forests and terraced plots of land to Arun Khola. After that, it is a tortuous ascent to the other end. The hot days are ameliorated by the forest shade, and then the Makalu National Park part begins. We camp right at the top of the village.
5. Day Five – Tashigaon (2070m) – (Approx 5 hour’s trek)
The day’s journey begins with an ascent along the Ipsuwa Khola on the west and the Kasuwa Khola on the east. On crossing the hillside, a quiet village and some paddy fields, we get to the village of Tashigaon.
6. Day Six – To Khongma (3560m) – (Approx 7 hour’s trek)
The day’s trek moves upwards to Khongma.
7. Day Seven – Acclimatization day.
Since we are in pretty high terrain, we need to get used to the atmospheric level we are at. So we rest for the day.
8. Day Eight – To Debotay (3650m) – (Approx 8 hour’s trek)
Today we trek towards Debotay first by having to cross Shipton La Pass, which takes a couple of hours to reach. After that, we head to Kalo Pokhari (small lake) and then Keke La Pass (4152m) from where we get first-hand views of Chamlang (7319m), Peak 6 (6524m) and Peak 7 (6758m). Thereafter, we descend to the wonderful valley of Debotay.
9. Day Nine – To Yangle Kharka (3600m) – (Approx 6 hour’s trek)
Passing through a rhododendron forest, the day’s trek gets us to the Baruni River and the upper part of the valley. We gain altitude until we get to the camp site at Yangle Kharka.
10. Day Ten – To Merek (4500m) – (Approx 6 hour’s trek)
Today’s trek is rather a slow walk as our body needs to adjust to the altitude we are in. The distance to Merek is not long but the constant breaks make it seem so.
11. Day Eleven – To Shersong (5250m) – (Approx 7 hour’s trek)
The day’s trek takes us further up the valley, past yak pastures and fields of boulders. Mount Makalu comes into view as we approach Shersong.
12. Day Twelve – Tour of Makalu Base Camp (5000m) – (Approx 6 hour’s trek)
Today’s hike is to Makalu base camp, where we get the chance to take in the breath-taking views of the gateway to the summit. We return to Shersong to camp for the night after finishing the base camp.
13. Day Thirteen – To Yangle Kharka (3600m) – (Approx 9 hour’s trek)
The day’s trek takes on our return journey home. We first need to get to Yangle Kharka, then descend down the valley, taking our last glimpses of Makalu.
14. Day Fourteen – To Mumbuk (3400m) – (Approx 7 hour’s trek)
The day’s trek continues with the descent through rock falls and the gully to Mumbuk, where we are greeted by the return of verdure.
15. Day Fifteen – To Khogma (2500m) – (Approx 7 hour’s trek)
The day’s trek begins with a steep climb through a forest of firs and rhododendron. After crossing Keke La, Shipton La, and Ghungu La, we begin descending to Khongma again, where we camp for the night.
16. Day Sixteen – To Tashigaon (2070m) – (Approx 6 hour’s trek)
The trek continues with the descent that will be long and steep, cutting through the hillsides to the Sherpa town of Tashigaon.
17. Day Seventeen – To Num (1500m) – (Approx 5 hour’s trek)
Our trek is now in retracing mode, where we exit the Makalu Barun Camp and descend to Arun Khola (stream) and Seduwa again. Then we trek through the forest to Num.
18. Day Eighteen – To Tumlingtar (510m) – (Approx 10 hour’s trek)
Today’s trek will take us straight back to Tumlingtar by first retracing our footsteps to Chichila.
19. Day Nineteen – Flight to Kathmandu (1400m)
Today we take the early morning flight back to Kathmandu, where, after resting, we get the chance to tour the capital city and buy souvenirs for our folks back home.
20. Day Twenty – Farewell
The trip concludes—our airport representative will drop you off at Kathmandu’s Tribhuwan International Airport for your flight departure from Nepal.
What is the best time of year to trek?
You can find good places to trek somewhere in the Himalayas at anytime of the year. However, for most regions, the best time is from October to May, with October to November having the best weather for trekking. During the autumn, nights are cold in the high Himalaya, but the bright sun makes for a pleasant daytime temperature (20 degrees centigrade to 5 degrees centigrade in the night). Above 3500m, the temperature range goes down to -10 degrees centigrade, and in winter (Dec-Jan), it is about 10 degrees colder.
How fit do I have to be to do a trek?
While you do not need to be super-fit, you need to be fit enough to comfortably walk for 5–6 hours per day in the mountains on reasonable trails. Most of our customers have an interest in walking in the hills or countryside of their homeland and are used to similar daily trips.
What is the typical group size? Will I fit in?
We pride ourselves on our small group approach to adventure travel. Small groups allow you to share great company without crowding your experience. Our typical groups range in size from 2 up to 8. One of the attractions of such a trip is the chance to meet people with different backgrounds and personalities.
What if the dates for the group treks don’t fit my itinerary?
If this is the case, we can organize a personalized trek for you. Additionally, if you want to spend more time in Kathmandu before or after a trek, we can organize the hotels and quote you a price.
Are your tours guaranteed to run?
If you are a group of two or more, the trip is guaranteed to run.
Do I need to buy special equipment?
Usually, our clients simply bring their existing clothing and equipment and, if necessary, supplement this with some extra items purchased cheaply in Kathmandu.
What gear to bring?
Passport (with photocopies)
Photos for Nepal visa on arrival:
Travel insurance (with photocopies)
flight tickets (photocopies)
Daypack for daily personal items
Light sandals or plimsolls to wear in the lodges
2 pairs of underwear.
2 pairs of walking socks.
2 thick fleece or warm shirts
1 pair thin thermal underwear
Long trousers for walking (or a long skirt for women)
Gloves (it’s cold on the Thorung La, Laurebina Pass and Cho La)
A warm hat which covers your ears (for the Kali Gandaki and Thorung La – it’s windy)
Base ball caps or broad brim hats to keep the sun off (Australian Barmah recommended)
Soap dish and soap
Toothbrush and toothpaste.
Wet wipes or moist towelettes
Hand sanitizing lotion
Moisturizer, Lip balm
Tampons are hard to buy in rural areas.
Ear plugs for light sleepers
Sheet of plastic (use as a poncho if it rains)
1 toilet paper roll. You can buy more on the way.
2 large plastic bags. One for smelly clothes, one for things that must be kept dry.
A small, good quality padlock
Iodine tablets for water purification
Protein bars, chocolate, dried fruits, candies, and snack foods.
Notes: All of the trekking items are available in Kathmandu at nominal prices. However, we suggest you bring hiking boots from your home country if you decide to purchase these items in Kathmandu .
Can I store stuff that I do not use on a trek?
Yes, all hotels provide storage facilities for free.
Do I need travel insurance?
Personal travel insurance is not included in the tour price. It is a condition of booking a tour with Green Lotus Trekking, and your responsibility to ensure that the type of tour you are undertaking, the policy must include satisfactory cover for repatriation, high altitudes, trekking and climbing, and helicopter rescue. Please forward your insurance details (e.g. policy number, 24-hour emergency telephone number, and name of insurance company) to Green Lotus Trekking when available.
Do I need a visa to visit Nepal?
Yes. You can apply in your home country through the Nepalese Embassy or Consulate or obtain it at the airport on arrival by paying a fee as below:
Multiple entries for 15 days: $25 USD
Multiple entries for 30 days: $40 USD
Multiple entries within 90 days: US $100
Notes: We suggest you bring the exact change. You also need to bring two passport-size photos.
Tourist Visa Extension
The visa extension fee for 15 days or less is US $ 30 or equivalent convertible currency, and the visa extension fee for more than 15 days is US$ 2 per day.
A tourist visa can be extended for a maximum period of 150 days in a single visa year (January–December).
Gratis (Free) Visa
A gratis visa for 30 days is available only for tourists from SAARC countries.
Indian nationals do not require a visa to enter Nepal.
I am a single traveler. How does this work?
Normally, single trekkers have no problems fitting in with a group. Normally single trekkers share rooms or lodges with other trekkers of the same sex, but if we have an odd-number we ensure that a room or lodge is organised accordingly.
How will my booking be processed?
To confirm your booking, we will require a deposit of $250 for treks and $300 for peak climbing, which can be made by bank transfer or online through paypal.com (the leading transaction site). The balance is payable on arrival in Kathmandu with cash or traveler’s cheque. Alternatively, the balance can be paid by bank transfer or PayPal shortly before arriving in Kathmandu.
Besides deposit payment, what other information do I need to forward?
The following details are needed to process your trekking permit, national park permit, flight booking etc.
Year of birth:
Your arrival details (time, date, flight number, airline):
All the above info can be sent electronically via email.
How far do I trek each day?
You will typically walk 4–9 miles (5-8 hours) each day. Some days may be rest days for impromptu exploration. In high and steep areas, you may move more slowly. Most people begin to feel the effects of high altitude over about 2000 meters, and your trekking pace is always adjusted to permit safe acclimatization. Our treks follow established trails used by local people. You will probably carry only a light daypack.
How flexible is the trekking day?
You can hike at your own pace, stopping when you wish. There is ample time to cover the necessary hiking distance each day with lots of stops. If you are on a private trek, you may wish to take more or fewer days to cover a given distance, or add in rest days. If you like to hike fast, your guide will be concerned that you acclimatize to high altitude effectively. You may wish to reach camp at a measured pace, but take a side hike after arriving at camp. Your guide is always interested in learning about your personal interests and accommodating those interests as the trip permits.
What is altitude sickness?
Altitude sickness, often known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), is a particularly important medical consideration while trekking in Nepal. Altitude sickness means the effect of altitude on those who ascend too rapidly to elevations above 3000 meters. The initial symptoms of AMS are as follows:
Loss of appetite
Insomnia or sleeplessness
Dizziness, light headaches, confusion,
Disorientation, drunken gait
Weakness, fatigue, lassitude, heavy legs, slight swelling of hands and face.
Breathlessness and breathing irregularly
Reduced urine output
These symptoms are to be taken very seriously. In the event of the appearance of any of the above symptoms, any further ascent should be reconsidered; otherwise more serious problems can occur, which can cause death, sometimes within a few hours. The only cure for altitude sickness is to descend to lower elevations immediately. Acclimatization by ascending to no more than 300 to 500 meters per day above 3000 meters and the proper amount of rest are the best methods for prevention of AMS.
Will I be able to deal with the high altitude?
Our itineraries are designed so that our clients ascend at a sensible and safe rate. The effects of altitude are felt by everyone, even the Sherpas, but most people find that gentle acclimatization allows them to reach their high point without any problems.
What are teahouse and camping treks?
Accommodation: There are a number of lodges along the popular trekking routes in the Annapurna, Everest, and Langtang regions. These lodges are called “Tea House Lodges” and are managed by local people. Private rooms, dormitories, toilets, shower rooms with hot and cold water, and one attached restaurant are among the basic requirements for overnight accommodation at these lodges.The quality of food offered might vary from lodge to lodge, but most serve simple and hygienic meals. The teahouse trek provides you an opportunity to feel the warm hospitality of friendly Nepali hosts. The money you spend goes to the local community.
In a typical camping trip, each pair of trekkers will sleep in a spacious mountain tent with a durable rain fly and full insect netting. The tent is fitted with foam mattresses. When your campsite is near villages or lodges, you may be invited to sleep in the lodges or homes of local people.
What are the typical foods on the treks?
Breakfast options include oatmeal,French toast,Chapatti, Tibetan bread, eggs, pancakes, muesli, and for lunch or dinner you can have sandwiches, soups, momo (dumplings), macaroni dishes, pizzas, noodles, steak, dal bhat (rice, lentil, veg platter), pasta, etc.
What is your guide like?
Our trekking guides are carefully selected for their ability and are generally from Sherpa, Tamang, Gurung, Magar, and other communities from remote mountain villages. Each guide is trained in eco-friendly trekking methods and safety measures. They help to maintain your health and your happiness as well as the crew members. Our guides are committed to making sure that all our trekkers have an enjoyable trek, come back safe and are overwhelmed by their experience. Your guide will be a friend and companion, who takes pleasure in showing you his country’s specialties and, perhaps, meeting his home and family too.
What about the Porters?
The majority of the fees our clients pay go directly into the community where you trek.
How much should I tip the guides and porters?
Tipping is at your discretion and always appreciated. A good rule of thumb is anywhere from $2–5 dollars per day for the guide and $1.5–3 dollars per day per porter. The total amount can then be divided among the group.
What is your Kathmandu contact address in case my family needs to contact me in an emergency?
Please have them contact us at any of the following numbers:
+977-98510-32108 or 9841-250248 for cell phone. 977-1-400-50379 (landline) (office hours) 77-1-400-5037 or 444-5475. We check email frequently throughout the day, so you could also write to our email: email@example.com if it’s not urgent.