Many people ask the question “How many days does it take to trek to Everest Base Camp?”
The standard number of days to trek from Lukla to Everest Base Camp is eight days. However, as part of a standard Everest Base Camp trek package, you will need to trek back to Lukla which takes another three days. So all up, you will trek for 11 days.
While for some 11 days might not seem like a lot of effort. But for others trekking for 11 days can seem insurmountable. Whichever category you sit in, you should know that you can alter a standard itinerary to suit your needs.
“THE STANDARD ITINERARY TAKES 11 DAYS TO TREK TO EVEREST BASE CAMP.”
A Standard Itinerary for an Everest Base Camp Trek
Below is the traditional itinerary for an Everest Base Camp trek used by the majority of trekking agencies in Nepal and around the world.
Most agencies will be happy to tailor an itinerary to suit your requirements should you request a private tour.
Day 1: Fly from Kathmandu to Lukla and trek to Phakding (2,652m/8,699ft)
Walking Distance – 8 km, Duration: 3 hours
Day 2: Phakding to Namche Bazaar (3440m/11283)
Walking Distance – 10 to 12 km, Duration: 6 hours
Day 3: Acclimatization Day – Hike to Everest View Hotel (3,962m/12,995ft)
Walking Distance – 3 to 4 km, Duration: 3 to 4 hours
Day 4: Namche to Tengboche (3,860m/12,660ft)
Walking Distance – 10 to 11 km, Duration: 5 hours
Day 5: Tengboche to Dingboche (4,410m/14,464ft)
Walking Distance – 11 to 12 km, Duration: 5 hours
Day 6: Acclimatization Day – Hike to Nagarjun Hill and return
Walking Distance – 5 to 6 km, Duration: 4 to 5 hours
Day 7: Dingboche to Lobuche (4,910m/16,105ft)
Walking Distance – 11 to 12 km, Duration: 5 hours
Day 8: Lobuche to Gorakshep (5,180m/16,990ft) to Everest Base Camp (5,364m/17,594ft) and back to Gorakshep
Walking Distance – 14 to 15 km, Duration – 8 hours
Day 9: Gorakshep to Kala Patthar (5,545m/11,283ft), then back to Pheriche (4,210m/13,810ft)
Walking Distance – 13 to 14 km, Duration – 7 hours
Day 10: Pheriche to Namche (3,440m/11,283)
Walking Distance – 14 to 15 km, Duration- 7 hours
Day 11: Namche to Lukla (2,800m/9,184ft)
Walking Distance – 18 to 19 km, Duration – 7 hours
Day 12: Flight from Lukla to Kathmandu
Day 13: Reserve Day in Kathmandu
How to Minimise the Days to Trek to Everest Base Camp
If 11 days sounds like too much trekking, it is possible to complete your Everest Base Camp trek in a shorter time frame. The shortest package available is a 7-day Everest Base Camp trek.
The only way to minimise the number of trekking days is to take a helicopter ride back to Lukla after reaching Everest Base Camp. Of course, this option has the additional expense of a helicopter ride, which is quite expensive. But it does save you the time and energy to trek back down.
“A HELICOPTER RIDE IS A SCENIC WAY TO SHORTEN YOUR EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK.”
On our trek to Everest Base Camp, we met several groups who were planning to take a helicopter flight to Lukla.
Tips for Selecting the Number of Days for an Everest Base Camp Trek
- It is possible to complete your Everest Base Camp trek in 12 days, 14 days or any number of days of your choice. Selecting a private tour will give you flexibility with the itinerary, and you can decide how you do the trek and where you stop for the night (within limits).
- It is quite common for flights to be cancelled or returned to the original base due to bad weather. For this reason, it is advisable to give yourself a couple of reserve days as contingency for potential delays either at the start or the end of your trip. You don’t want to rush your climb to make up for the time lost waiting to get to Lukla.
- Most operators have a reserve day in Kathmandu at the end of the trip as a contingency for this issue. However, you will need to add an extra day to your itinerary for any delays at the start of your trip.
- Another issue we came across during our trip is food poisoning. A lot of trekkers suffered from food poisoning which delayed their trip by a day or so. If you add an extra day or two to your itinerary, you allow yourself time for unforseen circumstances.
“HAVING ONE OR TWO RESERVE DAYS IS IMPORTANT FOR AN EVEREST BASE CAMP TREK.”
Our Experience Trekking to Everest Base Camp
When I trekked to Everest Base Camp with my family, we requested a longer itinerary of 17 days. This itinerary gave us a few extra days to travel slowly and to allow our kids to acclimate to the altitude. However, we were delayed at the start when our flight from Kathmandu couldn’t land in Lukla. With one day down, we had to complete our trek in 16 days. It took us 10 days to trek to Everest Base Camp and another 6 days to trek back down to Lukla.
We met another group of trekkers, one of whom had suffered from food poisoning. As a result, they were behind on their itinerary by one day. They had to take a helicopter ride from Base Camp to Lukla so they could get back to Kathmandu in time for their flight home.
Choosing an Everest Base Camp trek is easy with so many trekking providers and trek package options on offer. However, you do have to choose wisely the number of trekking days for your package. This should be based on your fitness level and any contingencies for cancelled flights or food poisoning issues along the way.
Most people opt for the standard Everest Base Camp trek package of 11 days. Many groups choose a helicopter ride back to Lukla thereby cutting their trek to 7 days. Which option you choose is a personal preference and the $ amount you’re happy to spend on an Everest Base Camp trek.
As always, I love to hear from you. Please let me know what your preferences are or any other insights.
Please leave your comments below.