Makalu Base Camp Trekking – An ideal choice

Waterfall in the trekking trail of makalu
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Information on Makalu BaseCamp Trekking

Mount Makalu exactly looks like Mt Everest. But Makalu is not as tall as Everest. But Makalu basecamp trekking is a different and demanding adventure than Everest basecamp trekking. Mount Makalu is the third highest peak of Nepal and it is enlisted as the fifth highest mountain in the world.

Mount Makalu standing at 8481 meters above the sea level stands highest in Makalu Barun conservation area.

Climbing Makalu is technically harder than Everest expedition. This appealing mountain can be seen from many part of Everest basecamp trekking trail, from the top of chola pass and Gokyo ri, from the top of Mera peak summit, from the trekking trail of Kanchenjunga base camp trekking.

sunrise at the top of Mount Makalu
It is awesome to see sunrise very close, The very first light

Mt. Makalu lies in north eastern Nepal, where Everest region is in northern part of Nepal.

To get to Makalu base camp one can fly to Tumlingtar or take public or private transportation to get to the trekking starting point; for overland trip to Makalu basecamp trekking start point.

Makalu basecamp trekking is 22 days trek.

Trekking route to Makalu base camp is not known that well. Trail is still regarded as off the beaten trekking trail in Nepal. In spite of, off the beaten trekking route in Nepal – there are tea houses in different destinations of Makalu basecamp trekking. Basecamp itself has accommodation and place to eat. This really is a best thing about Makalu basecamp trekking – trekking trail with a stunning mountain panorama in Nepal.

Makalu base camp trail is narrow path, jungle, unexplored villages, beautiful peaks, virgin mountains and forgotten villages in the nook & corner of Nepalese boundary.

This basecamp trekking route goes over 4 pass among them 3 are above 4000 meters.

Camp near Makalu
Makalu basecamp seen during spring – spring is famous climbing season and one of the best time to trek to Makalu base camp

Trekking route in lower part of the Makalu base camp has dusty trail with unexplored culture and tradition of the local folks. The upper rough terrain is famous for rich scenery and varieties of wildlife flora and fauna.

Makalu basecamp trek can be a fulfilling part of your lifetime adventures and a best way to meet enthusiastic people from remote parts of Nepal. Owners of basic tea houses and their way of life is inspiring. Helpful locals and their respect to guest is overwhelming.

20 years ago none were trekking here. Trekking to the base camp must be a camping trek, in those times. But now; few tea houses has made trekking easier.

Trekkers and guide capturing photo with the view of Makalu
Tea house at the basecamp – to serve us a best accommodation possible and warm tea – NOW

Just 1 tea house at most of the places has made trekking to Makalu base camp a best off the beaten trekking trail in remote parts of Nepal Himalaya.

Beautiful view of Mount Makalu
Tea house at the basecamp – to serve us a best accommodation possible and warm tea – THEN

Cultural and traditional beauty of Makalu basecamp trekking lies along the many walls and with the beauty of high passes with colorful Buddhist prayer flags.

As per the rule of mountaineering; on the 8th day, trekkers have to acclimatize. Acclimatization is at the height of 4200 meter. Acclimatization hike has stunning view of the mountains and lavish natural beauty.

Makalu base camp is at 4800 meters above the sea level. However, trekkers can walk to nearby hilltop located at an altitude higher as 5250 meters above the sea level.

makalu base camp
Picture: View of Makalu Base Camp

How costly is Makalu BaseCamp Trek?

Trekking to Makalu Base Camp, which lies at an elevation of 5250 meters, is also known as the less-visited trekking trail. Makalu base camp trekking cost includes the cost for the permit, accommodation in the hotel/lodge/teahouse, cost of guide and porter – in general trip package price.

The trekkers hiking towards the Makalu base camp have to take a permit of Makalu barun conservation area and TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management Systems) permit. The trekking cost for Makalu base camp also includes food and drinks during the entire trek.

Permit cost for Makalu BaseCamp Trekking

  • Entrance permit for Makalu Barun Conservation Area – USD 30 person
  • TIMS (Trekker’s Information Management Systems) Card – USD 20 person

Guide and porter cost

  • Professional Guide with license – USD 30-45 per day
  • Profession Porter with license – USD 25-35 per day
Trekkers on the trail of Makalu
Trekkers walking towards the basecamp of Makalu so as their porter

Makalu BaseCamp Trek Difficulty

Makalu BaseCamp trek is considered as one of the adventurous and challenging trek in Nepal. This trek is suitable for those trekkers who loves the adventure and have experience of High Mountain trekking.

In comparison to other popular trekking route of Nepal, Makalu basecamp trekking comfort level is basic. So, we recommend trekkers not to expect the high comfort level during Makalu basecamp trekking.

Makalu trail during Autumn
Makalu basecamp encountering the beauty of flowers and clouds

Accommodation in the Lodges/teahouse of Makalu trekking area is also basic in standard, in comparison to other treks. Trekking above 5000 meters and over multiple passes in one trek will be surely challenging and little bit difficult but following the proper guidelines will help you to feel easy and comfortable during the trek.

Solo Trek to Makalu Base Camp

Solo trekking is not allowed for all the trekking routes in Nepal but you can do solo trek to Makalu Base Camp region.

As mentioned Makalu BaseCamp trek is one of the most challenging trek of Nepal. It can be difficult to trek to Makalu Base camp independent. But solo & organized Makalu basecamp trekking can be a best package to replace independent trekking to Makalu basecamp.

Porter carrying stuff
Solo Makalu basecamp trek is more like being your own porter and guide – not fun but loaded adventure for sure

In case of trekking solo; Kanchenjunga trekking with guide will make things easier by a lot. But the cost is obviously cheaper in in group trek.

As an independent trekker – Trekkers have to manage all: such as permit, hotel reservation, government papers, booking of tea houses etc. themselves.

If trek independently – without the trekking guide – management of accommodation & allocating suitable time for lunch break can be a big deal. Meanwhile you might not get as much the natural beauty of the Makalu basecamp trekking offers.

We do not recommend the independent trek. But if you are opted for it we suggest trekkers to analyze the best time (climate & weather) and to carry essential equipment’s.

makalu base camp trekking
Picture: Climber coming back to the base camp after successful expedition of Makalu

Best time to trek Makalu Base Camp

The weather and temperature at Makalu Base Camp differs from season to season. So, it is necessary to know about the perfect climatic condition before trekking to Makalu Base Camp.

1. Winter Season (December – February)

December to February is known to be the winter season in Nepal. This season is not regarded as the best time to visit Makalu Base camp. In winter the trekking trail may be slippery due to the frozen snow while temperature can be extreme cold.

The greenery along the trekking route is scarce; most of the green beauty can be covered with snow.

However the view of surrounding and mountains will be clear. If you are planning to trek to Makalu base camp, we recommend the trekkers to avoid winter season.

2. Spring Season (March – May)

Spring season is considered as the suitable season to climbing Makalu or trekking to Makalu base camp.

Trekkers on the tent
Makalu expedition group

In this season the trekkers can adjust their body temperature with the environment and also the clear sky gives magnificent view of the surroundings & mountains at the basecamp and along the route.

Spring season starts from March and ends with May. Spring is strongly recommended season for trek, as lower region of Makalu trail will have flowers and higher up will have crystal clear sky with twinkling stars in the nights are overwhelming.

makalu base camp trekking
Picture: Climbing Makalu in Spring Season

3. Monsoon Season ( June – July)

Monsoon season is not the best season to trek Makalu base camp but also considered as the doable season.

Makalu basecamp trekking trail may be slippery due to the rainfall in monsoon season. Trekkers may have to face a little bit difficulties in route as well as in the camps.

Definitely it will be cloudy during the trek in monsoon but when the surrounding is clear the trekkers can get the best views, all of sudden. This instantons view has different imprints.

Temperature of Makalu base camp in monsoon will be pleasant. Just the clouded sky and rainfall are regarded as bad side of monsoon trekking.

Landslide and river overflow are not that common in case of Makalu basecamp trekking trail.

Mostly, after the rainfall, the sky gets clear and you can see fabulous environment, eye-catchy greenery and wide snow-capped ranges over and below 8000 meters.

4. Autumn Season ( August – November)

Autumn season is considered as the best and most suitable season to trek to Makalu Base Camp.

In comparison to other season the trekkers can find the trail easy and surrounding clean & temperature calm in this season. The trekkers will be pleased to watch the enormous beauty over the surrounding. We recommend the trekkers to trek Makalu base camp in autumn season.

How to get in there?

To reach to Makalu base camp, trekkers have to take a flight from the Tribhuvan International airport (Kathmandu) to tumlingtar airport.

The flight from Kathmandu takes time around one hour to reach to tumlingtar airport. One daily flight is operated by Yeti airlines and Buddha air each.

While trekking back from Makalu, the trekkers can take alternative way of transportation, too. In case if trekkers choose alternative, the trekkers have to trek towards to Lukla and take a flight from Lukla to Kathmandu. It will take around 35 minutes from Lukla to reach to Kathmandu.

Makalu Base Camp Trekking
Picture: View of Mount Makalu from Everest

Makalu BaseCamp Trek Itinerary

Makalu basecamp trekking is renowned as the less-visited and high altitude trekking area of Nepal; Makalu has many possible and not discovered routes.

Discussing about the common Makalu basecamp itinerary, the trekkers start the journey from Kathmandu. Reaching to Kathmandu and exploring the UNESCO world heritage site inside trekkers will take flight to Tumlingtaar.

Kathmandu valley is also included in this trek itinerary. Exploring the Kathmandu valley and taking flight from Kathmandu to small tumlingtar airport is definitely a vivid adventure for the trekkers while doing Makalu basecamp trek.

Riding the jeep and experiencing the Nepal hill road ride right after the mountain flight is fantasy of this trek.

The trekkers have to pass through different villages on the day to day basis. During the trek trekkers will be exploring the local community and get chance to interact or observe people like Sherpa, Tamang and Chhetri.

View of Makalu
Makalu basecamp trek – Buddhist prayer flags – Chhorten – Mount Makalu with stunning view – Snow peak in pyramid shape

The greenery of nature along the trail of Makalu basecamp route will provide the trekkers a fresh vibe and clean air too.

Exploration of wide variety of flora and fauna of Makalu Barun conservation area; during the trek is really appealing and heart-touching. This kind of experience can never be explained in the letters.

Passing through the Arun and Barun River and walking along many other river valleys is the major attraction included in the Makalu basecamp trek itinerary.

During Makalu trek, the trekkers can see the marvelous mountains standing over 8000 meters and many mountains below 8000 meters.

Reaching to the Makalu base camp and watching very closely to those big mountain ranges is not just eye-catchy or special but the life time experiences thing for the trekkers.

Makalu base camp trekking
Picture: overlooking Base camp of Mount Makalu

About Author

I grew up in the mountains & got university education in Kathmandu to become an engineer. But with homely environment of mountains interest me to become a trekking & tour guide, by passion. I have been 6574 meter to the highest & fortunately got chance to explore most of Nepal and bit of abroad.

Eventually, passion converted to profession and here i am on behalf of Nepalgram - a Trekking agency in Nepal.

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