Makalu Base Camp Trek - 16 Days

Offbeat Trek in Nepal
Know before you go
  • Duration 16 Days
  • Difficulty Level Strenuous
  • Trip Start and End Kathmandu to Kathmandu
  • Best Season Mar - Apr and Oct - Nov
  • Trip Area Makalu Region
  • Maximum Altitude 4870m.|15977ft.

Highlights

  • Wander in the majestic Arun valley - one of the most beautiful trekking regions in Nepal
  • Cross the green terraced farmlands and sheer cliffs of unspoiled nature of the Himalayas
  • The glorious sight of other majestic mountains such as Mt. Makalu, Mt. Everest, Mt. Chamlang, Mt. Lhotse, and other easter mountains like Kanchenjunga 
  • Get sight of some endangered wildlife like Red Pandas, Snow Leopards, Musk Deer, and more.
  • Explore the fascinating Makalu Barun National Park
  • Explore the colorful trails filled with blossomed rhododendrons 
  • Meet and greet people from diversely rich cultures such as Rai, Gurung, Shingsawa, and Sherpa
  • Enjoy a less crowded and offbeat trekking route.

Unlike in the Everest Base Camp trek, where the major mountains are a little hidden from view, in your journey of the Makalu base Camp trek, even a short walk can easily reveal the panoramic views of the majestic eight-thousanders, like Everest (8,848.86m), Makalu (8,463m), Lhotse (8,516m), Kanchenjunga (8,586m), etc. 

Situated at an elevation of 8,463 m above sea level, Mount Makalu is the fifth-highest peak in the world, which lies in the eastern part of Nepal. Setting your foot on the trails of Makalu, which are packed with beautiful and evergreen rhododendron forests, is a once-in-a-lifetime trekking experience. 

The Makalu Base Camp trekking is ideal for anyone looking to avoid the hefty crowds on the trails without compromising the adventures and exhilarating part of the trip. The Makalu base camp trek is a gateway to exploring the diverse cultures and traditions in the region. 

Trekkers get to meet locals and see their lifestyle in a very remote area. Likewise, explore the rich & diverse cultural practices and traditions of the Gurung, Rai people, and Sherpas, who are the major inhabitants in the Makalu region. Experience the warmth of hospitality, Buddhist culture, and the lifestyle of locals. 

This 16-day Makalu Base Camp trek takes you on an adventurous journey that begins in terraced farming land that belongs to Rai ethnicity, passing through deciduous rhododendron forests blooming in red, pink, purple, and white flowers. One of the most fascinating facts about the Makalu base camp trek is its beautiful forests, deep valleys, untouched nature of the Himalayas, and exotic endangered wildlife that are out there waiting to be explored.

The journey begins in the Num valley, and the trail further goes to Seduwa, Barun river, and Makalu Barun National Park. Following that comes the Khongma Danda, famous for its Buddhist culture and traditions. After crossing the Shipton La pass and Keke La Pass, both above 4,000 m, trekkers will reach Dobate. You will finally reach Makalu Base Camp by trekking to Yangri Kharka and Langmale Kharka from Dobate.

Views during the Makalu base camp trek

When seen from a vantage point above the base camp of Makalu, trekkers can witness a spectacular panoramic view of some of the world’s highest mountains, including Mt. Everest (8,848.86m), Chamlang (7,319m ), Lhotse (8,516m), Baruntse (7,129m), and numerous other mountains. The mesmerizing view of the Himalayas, along with the mind-blowing glacier lakes and Hinku valley can leave anyone awestruck.

As the journey passes through the renowned Makalu Barun National Park, famous for its wide range of floras and faunas, trekkers may encounter some rarely seen wildlife like the Snow leopard (Heung Chituwa), Clouded Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, and Red Panda.

What makes Nepal Nirvana Trails unique?

As a trustworthy and reliable local trekking operator in Nepal, we heartily welcome you to join us in your upcoming expedition to Makalu base camp. Our itineraries are designed to offer you the best possible experience without missing anything. We also give our trekkers the choice to tailor the itineraries based on their preferences. 

In this 16-day Makalu Base Camp, you will explore a lot of new things and take home a memorable trekking experience with you at a fair price point. Over the years, we have arranged thousands of trekking expeditions for travelers all around the world. 

To know everything about our Makalu Base Camp Trek 2023/2024 departure, kindly refer “useful information” section on the page. You can also talk with our travel consultant directly if you have any questions. 

Check these other adventurous trekking packages too - Annapurna base camp trek, Mardi Himal base camp trek, Kanchenjunga base camp trek, etc. 

Itinerary

Day to Day Details

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We will be heading to Tumlingtar via a flight from Kathmandu. Experience the breathtaking view of the snow-covered mountains from the aircraft. We see Glacier Mountains like Makalu, Ganesh Himal, and Mt. Kanchenjunga. Our drive to Num village begins as you reach Tumlingtar, passing via Khandbari and Hururu. 

  • Tea House
  • Lunch and Dinner
  • 1505m.|4937ft.

We will be traveling on a trail that ascends and descends. Walk down a large and steeply falling path to the Arun water, which contains large stone slopes to the river. On the trip, take in the magnificent rural landscape. Before continuing on an ascent trail to Seduwa, walk across the suspension bridge, over the Arun River, and along a meandering trail. We will pass enormous bamboo trees and downtown area villages with traditional homes and tea houses scattered across the hillside along the path. We will also be visiting Makalu Barun National Park, so there is a checkpoint where the permits would be registered.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • 1530m.|5019ft.

Compared to yesterday, the trek will be easier and more undulating. We will be going past several Mani walls and up stone stairs. Additionally, we will be traversing farmlands, rhododendron, and bamboo-filled woodlands as we walk. The sounds of chattering birds can be heard while walking through a deep forest. Birds such as cuckoos, singing thrushes, and barbets reside in the woodland. Downhill to a bridge, pass through the little settlement of Chyaksa Danda. To reach Tashigaon, we will need to climb several stone steps.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • 2065m.|6774ft.

We will begin our walk by ascending a couple of stone steps and crossing a bridge before starting a journey through a rhododendron woodland on a leaning track. Rhododendron flowers in the spring, give the woodland a colorful appearance. We will arrive at Dhara after a delightful journey through a forest, where we will stop for lunch and drinks. Before reaching Unshisa, we will hike up a route passing by a huge rock. We ascend stone stairs through a rhododendron forest before continuing our journey to Khongma Danda.      

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • 3562m.|11686ft.

One of the trek’s main highlights will be the journey to Dobate, where we will cross high passes while enjoying a breathtaking view. Before entering Khongma La,  located at an altitude of 3873m, we will be climbing a trail surrounded by rhododendron trees. We are rewarded after climbing Khongma La with a breathtaking vista of magnificent peaks like Makalu, and Chamlang. After briefly descending, we will hike up and go along a ridge until reaching Ghungru La (Tutu La) at 4055m. Shipton La, at an elevation of 4220m, is reached after a hike through a rocky, ascent-only path. On the way of the passes, we will find mani walls with mantras and fluttering prayer flags. We will continue to descend toward Kalo Pokhari Lake, located at 4022m. A sacred lake is visited by pilgrims during the Janai Purnima festival. Continue your ascent to Keke La at 4152m, which offers the vista of the snow-covered mountain ranges. To get to Dobate, use a route that descends through a magnificent valley.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • 3550m.|11646ft.

Enjoy a relaxing walk through a pine, rhododendron, redstart, and minivet forest on descending track. In the forest, the route falls steeply toward the Barun River, so we should take additional care if it is snowing. Enjoy the vista of the snow-capped Chamlang and Tutse mountains. We get to Themathang Kharka by hiking a path that rises. We will pass by a stunning waterfall on the route. Furthermore, before arriving in Yangle Kharka, we will cross a wooden bridge and trek across an uneven path.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • 3610m.|11843ft.

We will be walking along the route while passing a river and a tiny monastery. Walk through the bush admiring the stunning vista of the rocky cliffs at the other end. Additionally, breathtaking vistas of the mountain peaks will be visible. The walk will be enjoyable and rather flat. Before reaching Lagmale Kharka, proceed via the grasslands of Yak Kharka, Jhak Kharka, and Merek. Watch prayer flags swing in the air as we go by the Mani walls.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • 4510m.|14796ft.

At Langmale Kharka, we will spend the day adjusting to the altitude. We have the option of relaxing or going on a trek to a distant hill. Our guide may recommend the ideal hikes to help you better acclimate to the rising altitude.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • 4510m.|14796ft.

The fifth-highest peak on the Earth, Makalu Base Camp, is where we will be walking today. We will also view Makalu, and its overawe face covered with icefalls, crevasses, sharp edges, and seracs. We will be walking on a route with several curves. The path continues to drop, and we cross a river before arriving at the Makalu Base Camp (4870m.), the skyline is dominated by Makalu, and we may spot black redstarts, Tibetan snowcocks, hill pigeons, and other birds here.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • 4870m.|15977ft.

Today is the second acclimatization day. We take a quick hike up and visit the nearby glaciers and lakes. Barun Glacier, a huge glacier, is located beyond the barren Makalu Base Camp. From here, we can view Mt. Lhotse and Mount Everest on their whole, as well as the beautiful south of Makalu. The trek's more satisfying conclusion emerges with a hike to a 5,250-meter ridge northeast of the Shershong on Peak 3’s lower slope. We can see Everest, Lotshe Shar, and Lotshe in the northwest from this vantage point. You may see the breathtaking mountain vistas and long valleys here.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • 4870m.|15977ft.

Today we will hike to Yangle Kharka following the same path. Before arriving at Yangle Kharka, we descend and walk via Shershong, Langmale Kharka, and Merek. In addition, we will trek through a thick pine forest enjoying the beautiful alpine scenery as we go.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • 3610m.|11843ft.

Relax and enjoy a walk to Themathang beside the meandering river. Before arriving at Themathang Kharka, we will walk down a route dotted with rhododendron bushes and pass a bridge decorated with prayer flags. We will encounter a location with a limited path if we proceed through the landslide region with additional caution. Enjoy the breathtaking mountain vista while hiking a challenging trek through a rhododendron forest. We will reach Dobate by hiking across a valley and through a lovely, green forest on rocky terrain.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • 3550m.|11646ft.

On our hike to Khongma Danda, experience the stunning views of Mount Kanchenjunga. We will be traveling through the same path we took earlier while crossing high passes. Ascend to Keke La Pass and eventually find our way back to Shipton La, often called Tutu La Pass. Continue our hike while enjoying the magnificent beauties on our journey to Sano Pokhari Danda, a Hindu shrine. In addition, we will go to Khongma La, identified through a mani wall. We will enter Khongma after stepping down several stone stairs. In Khongma, there’s a possibility we will observe blood pheasants walking over the snow amongst the rhododendron bushes.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • 3562m.|11686ft.

From Khongma Danda, we will leave Makalu Barun National Park, turn around, and head back to Seduwa. After descending the stone stairs and crossing the bridge, we continue on a jungle path through a thick forest. We will cross several bridges. We will observe birds singing during the walk because the woodland is a habitat for several avian species. Look out for cardamom bushes and the farms scattered over the slope. We reach Seduwa by walking past the Mani walls and walking down several stone steps.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • 1530m.|5019ft.

Take a hike to start the day, through a bustling hamlet and enormous forests of bamboo. The Arun River is reached by continuing our journey on a winding path. Once we have crossed the suspension bridge, we will be treated to a breathtaking vista of rural Nepal. We will also be walking down a river descending on large stone steps. The route leads to the settlement of Num via ascents and descents through a lovely forest. Take a picturesque trip towards Tumlingtar on the curving mountain roads of Nepal. Along with the spectacular picture of snow-capped mountains and lush landscapes, we will also witness hillside communities and terrace farms.

  • Tea House
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • 518m.|1699ft.

From Tumlingtar, take a local flight to Kathmandu. From the comfort of the aircraft, take in the beautiful scenery of the Himalayan terrain, which includes snow-capped mountain ranges and lush hills. You will be dropped to your accommodation after we arrive in Kathmandu. After a strenuous walk, you may unwind or explore the vibrant metropolis of Kathmandu and walk around Thamel.

  • Breakfast, Lunch and Farewell Dinner
  • 1400m.|4592ft.

Want to customize your trip? Share your holiday plans. Our travel experts create an awesome trip for a lifetime experience holiday.

Useful Info

How difficult is Makalu Base Camp Trek?

Makalu Base Camp Trek is considered a strenuous trek in terms of difficulty levels. It is said to be a more challenging trek in the Himalayas due to the incline and rugged nature of the trails. You will be walking anywhere up to 6 hours a day, which of course, requires good physical condition. 

The recommended elevation gain per day should not be more than 500 meters, which our Makalu base camp trek itinerary maintains. Other factors that contribute to the difficulty of the Makalu Base Camp trek are weather conditions, altitude sickness, and remoteness. 

But with proper guidance, anyone can trek to Makalu Base Camp successfully. With the assistance of our experienced trek leaders, guides, and porters, we can help you accomplish your trek to Makalu Base Camp safely. 

Makalu base camp trek distance

The total distance covered during the Makalu Base Camp trek, including the return trip is approx. 150 kilometers. This can take you anywhere between 15 days to 24 days to cover the whole trail depending upon your itinerary.

Altitude Sickness

The highest point in the Makalu Base Camp Trek is 4,870 meters, which gives an open invitation to altitude sickness. It is caused by decreased oxygen levels, which make it hard for trekkers to handle the lower air pressure at a high elevation. The moment our body reaches an elevation above 4,000 meters, we are more likely to face altitude sickness.

Anyone can get altitude sickness, from experienced trekkers to naive, depending on their physical condition. Hence it is not avoidable. Some of the symptoms of altitude sickness are persistent headache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, loss of appetite, dehydration, fatigue, and lack of sleeplessness. However, this can be taken care of by following some guidelines such:

  • Stay hydrated throughout the trek
  • Pay attention to the itinerary to see if you are getting enough time for acclimatization
  • Do not consume alcoholic beverages
  • Listen to your body and walk at a slower pace
  • Carry one pulse oximeter to measure oxygen in your blood
  • Ensure that you climb high and sleep at a lower elevation
  • Remember to carry medications for headaches and body aches

Training for the Makalu Base Camp Trekking

This 16-day adventurous journey to the Makalu Base Camp Trek requires a decent amount of physical stamina since you will be walking around 5-6 hours per day. It is extremely significant to maintain your physical endurance, for which you need to perform some cardiovascular activities such as running, jogging, swimming, walking on an inclined treadmill, and working on an elliptical machine. 

Some of the other activities for building good stamina that you should try are strength endurance and hiking-specific activities, such as trail running, stair stepping, or short hikes. You just need to dedicate 20-30 minutes every day a month before your trek to get all set for your trekking journey.

Last Minute Booking for Makalu Base Camp Trek

The last-minute booking for Makalu base camp trekking may not be possible until you are not opting for a camping-style trek. The accommodation facility along the Makalu base camp trail is very limited and can get packed if not booked in advance in the peak trekking seasons, which makes it tough for us to accept last-minute Makalu base camp trek bookings. 

Booking a last-minute trek requires full payment of the package cost along with your basic information & valid passport. 

What permits do I need for the Makalu Base Camp Trek?

Almost every other trek in Nepal requires some kind of permit which acts as entry permission. In order to set foot on the Makalu Base Camp trek, you need to avail yourself of two permits. The first one is Makalu Barun Conservation Area Permit which is necessary for entering the Makalu Base Camp.

The other permit that you must have is a Makalu Rural Municipality Permit. While getting these permits, you will pay some entrance fees too. Although getting a permit can be a tiring task. If you are booking a trekking agency, they can arrange it without you having any worries.

Makalu Barun Conservation Area Permit for Nepalese citizen - NPR 100 per person

Makalu Barun Conservation Area Permit for SAARC citizen - NPR 1500 per person

Makalu Barun Conservation Area Permit for other citizen - NPR 3000 per person

Makalu Rural Municipality Permit - NPR 2000 per person

Makalu Base Camp Trek best time

The best time to go trekking for the Makalu Base Camp Trek is from March to April (spring) and October to November (autumn). The autumn has stable weather with clear skies & no intense sunshine, making it an ideal season for trekking. The spring season brings an exotic range of flora and fauna, with the trails blossoming with colorful rhododendrons. Snowfalls can be seen at higher elevations with a stable temperature during day time.

It is advised to avoid trekking in the winter and rainy seasons. During the winter, which lasts from December to February, the region gets extremely cold and has a lot of snow cover in the higher parts of the trail, resulting in the shutdown of many guesthouses. However, it is still possible for avid trekkers to do the Makalu Base Camp Trek in late February to early March, and it will be quite beautiful with snow cover.

Accommodation 

As the Makalu Base Camp trek is located in a remote area, accessing facilities similar to the Everest Base Camp trek and Annapurna Circuit trek routes is not possible. Trekkers should have to refrain from some luxurious services as they are not available on the trail. But the basic requirements of food and accommodation can be easily met. 

During your trek, you will be staying at tea houses that have all the basic comfort you may need. Although it won’t be grand, you will still get a comfortable bed to sleep in. 

These teahouses offer a basic twin-sharing or dorm-style accommodation that can easily hold 2 to 12 people at once. Depending upon the size of your group, you can accommodate. Also, if you visit in peak season, it is advised that you bring additional camping equipment in case of lodging unavailability. 

Food

Talking of the food, the menu does not have a lot to offer given the remoteness of the region. While trailing, you will have delicious traditional Nepali dishes such as Dal Bhat, lentils, roti, curry, momos, and noodles. It is always a good idea to carry extra food that you can easily consume in no time. Food such as instant soups, dry fruits, instant noodles, juice, nuts, herbal tea, and coffee can be a choice of food to carry.

Makalu base camp trek cost

Makalu Base Camp Trek can cost trekkers anywhere from $1500 to $5000 depending upon the factors such as trek duration, accommodation, and transportation facilities. Although most of the cost is included in the package, there are a few miscellaneous costs that you need to take care of by yourself. 

This cost excludes your International airfare, Nepal Entry Visa Fees, food and hotel in Kathmandu, hot shower, WiFi, phone call, charging stations, extra accommodation, travel insurance, tips for guides and porters, and other personal expenses such as snacks, shopping, beverages, mineral water, souvenirs, etc.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is very important to join the Makalu base camp trek for 16 days. Makalu region is very far and untouched by major trekking routes in the Himalayas. The trail is far more isolated and lacks basic health services. So, in case of any medical emergency that cannot be taken care of by first-aid, it needs to be air evacuated. Therefore, we need well-covered travel insurance that has an emergency airlift.

Travel Tips (electricity, internet, ATM, luggage, tipping, personal expenses)

Charging - You can get a charging facility by paying a little extra money in the teahouses. If you think you'll constantly need to charge your device, we highly recommend getting a solar charger or a power bank. 

Internet - To use the internet while trekking, we can help you get a Nepali Sim with data. This is the cheapest option. As the region is quite remote, you may not get a stable connection all the time and can face complete blackouts in some areas. 

Luggage - The trekkers can carry a backpack up to 5 kg in weight to store their essentials. Pack all the heavy trekking clothes in the duffel bag provided by the company in case you take a porter.

ATM - There is no ATM on Makalu base camp trekking route. So, withdraw enough money in Kathmandu to use while trekking. 

Tip - The tip for guides, porters, and drivers is not covered in the package cost. We let our guests tip our on-field crew members as much as they wish. 

FAQs

  • The Makalu base camp trek is one of the most challenging base camp treks in the Himalayas. It is a strenuous trek designed for experienced travelers who have knowledge about high altitudes and have previous trekking experience. The trail is offbeat and steep. 

  • Our Makalu base camp itinerary is 16 days long. You can customize the itinerary as per your wish. You can do this trek in short or in long form. 

  • To get to Makalu base camp, first, you have to fly to Tumlingtar and then begin trekking toward the base camp. 

  • Makalu is part of the Makalu Braun valley, situated in the Sankhuwasabha district of Nepal. Makalu base camp is the lap of Mt. Makalu.

  • It depends on your itinerary whether you can do the Makalu base camp trek without a guide or not. Some of the villages like Kimathangka, Chepuwa, Hatiya, and Pawakhola fall under the restricted area and therefore require a special permit & company of a licensed guide. However, if your itinerary doesn't traverse the above-mentioned areas and only goes in & out of Makalu base camp, then you can do this trek without a special permit and a guide. 

  • The maximum height one touches during the Makalu base camp trekking is 4870m.|15977ft. 

  • Mt. Makalu is located southeast of the highest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest. Mount Makalu is situated on the Nepal-Tibet border.

  • You can take a 45 minutes flight to Tumlingtar from Kathmandu or hop on a local bus and ride for 12 hours (almost 500 kilometers) to reach Tumlingtar. 

  • You can do the Makalu base camp trek in both camping and teahouse styles. Teahouse trekking is surely a low-cost option than camping. If the group size is more than 10 people, then a camping trek is highly recommended.

  • Yes, you can customize the Makalu base camp trek itinerary with us. Our team will help you craft the best Makalu itinerary, as per your requirement. Do know that customizing the itinerary may increase the total cost of the package.

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