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Makalu Base Camp Trek

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Difficulty : Strenuous

Reference Code: MBCTNP

Trip Start: Kathmandu

Trek Start: Tumlingtar

Trek Days: 22 Days

Maximum Altitude: 5143m.

Age: 20-60 years

Season: Autumn

Accommodation: Lodge and Homestay

Service: Full board

Destination: Nepal

Trip End: Kathmandu

Trek End: Tumlingtar

Trip Durations: 26 Days

Physical Rating: Strenuous

Group Size: 4-12

Theme: walking and observation

Meals: Standard

This trek takes you to Makalu Base Camp (5250 m), now consigned as Makalu Barun National Park and Conservation Area. The Makalu Base camp trek is a true adventure with scenery so beautiful that it will never tire you. The trek starts with flying to Tumlingtar and heads up the Arun River valley to Sedua and Num; then crossing Shipton La Pass (4210 m) into the upper Barun river valley for a close look at Makalu and Chamlang Himal, this trek is considered as one of the most remote areas of Nepal. The Barun valley is a part of a huge internationally protected area under the agreement between the governments of Nepal and China, which comprises of 2330 sq. km of National Park and 830 sq. km of conservation area in Nepal alone. The Arun Valley, east of Everest, leading to Makalu Base Camp is least visited by tourists like Nepal´s far west regions. Trek to Makalu can be made shortcut by taking direct flight to Tumlingtar, a small village located on a plateau. Then the trek from Tumlingtar at 390m high to Makalu Base Camp at 4,800m is a long and cumbersome gigantic range from steamy in the lowlands to snow storms at high altitude Himalayan area.
The trek begins from Tumlingtar following the trails equally to Arun River, passing through Brahman, Chhetri, Rai, and Limbu here with birds and animals. From Num, the trail travels making crisscrosses the Arun; and starts up the Kasuwa Khola, then turning westward to cross the Shipton we reach into the upper Barun Khola valley. From the high points, panoramic views of eastern Himalayas; Chamlang (7,319m), Peak 6 (6,739m), Peak 7 (6,105m) seems a long awaiting us and also the long-awaited Makalu (8,463m) all from Everest to Kanchenjungha are ahead to reward us the steadfast trekking. Campsite in alpine meadows and at the base of Mt. Makalu reflecting dusk´s light off in the neighboring peaks are much spectacular. The way down from the higher region to the lower rhododendron of oak forest trees are of interesting and contrast to observe.

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Day 01 Arrival in Kathmandu

Namaste! And welcome to Kathmandu, the colourful capital of Nepal where ornately carved balconies mingle with beautiful shrines and temples. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting on arrival at the exit gate of Kathmandu airport. Our staff will welcome you and pick you to your accommodated hotel. Please seek our company palmplate to find our staff at the main exit gate of the airport. Rest of the day you can relax at the hotel or short evening walk around local market on your own as per your wish.

Day 02 Rest and Preparation day

A well deserved rest day at cosy of hotel after a long tiring flight. This day, one can move around nearby local market to purchase or hire trekking equipment that is necessary for the trekking like sleeping bags, walking sticks etc, exchange currency as requirement or simply walk around in the local market or Kathmandu Durbar squire nearby with small entrance fee as per your preference on your own. Evening at the hotel lobby there will be pre-trip briefing in which you will be introduced with your trekking guide and explained about your trip in short, instruction for safety etc.

Day 03 Fly to Tumlingtar(410m.) and Trek to Khadbari(1050m.)

On arrival we start trekking along the main trade route to Khandbari 1050m, a bustling market town and the last of any size we will encounter on our trek. After an hour on the flat we climb through bamboo stands and pipaal (bo) trees to reach Khandbari, which is home to Chhetris, Newars, Tamangs and a few Sherpas. Many of the rural houses in the area are made of mud and thatch.

3-4 hours walk; 40 min flight

Option: In Spring, if the vehicle road is in good condition, then we can drive directly to Num which will make our itinerary 4 days shorter.

Day 04 Trek to Chichila(1980m.)

We start with a climb of an hour and a half to Manebhanjyang followed by a further 900m to the plateau that separates the Arun River from its tributary, the Sabha. After lunch at Bhotebas we climb a further 100m to a 1900m pass, where we may enjoy spectacular views of Makalu, Mera Peak, Chamlang and many others. After a further hour and a half of contouring we reach Chichila 1950m.

5-6 hrs

Day 05 Trek to Num(1560m.)

Leaving Chichila, we walk through rhododendron forests and bamboo stands. Starting our walk in the early morning we will enjoy a chorus of bird song. During much of the day will be crossing and re-crossing the ridge with views of Makalu to the north. After lunch we reach Mudhe, a small Sherpa village 1943m, from where we descend to Num 1560m, for our overnight.

6-7 hrs

Day 06 Trek to Seduwa(1500m.)

A strenuous day. We cut down into the dense jungles of the Arun Valley, descending 650m to cross the turbulent river by a spectacular suspension bridge, before climbing up the other side, to Seduwa 1600m.

Day 07 Trek to Tashigaon (2100m.)

We continue climbing out of the valley, through dense forests of rhododendron, birch and bamboo which are especially rich in flora and fauna. We overnight at Tashigaon 2100m, the last important village on the route.

6 hrs

Day 08 Rest for AMS

We have an acclimatisation day at Tashigaon, and a local walk to gain height during the day is recommended, returning to spend a second night at the same altitude. This is a very important aspect of our trek and will undoubtedly assist with the success, as well as with our enjoyment of it.

Day 09 Trek to Kongma danda (3500m.)

A long and steady climb but the terrain starts to open out, with less forest and better views of the mountains. Bamboo and rhododendron cover the slopes of the ridge we climb to reach Kongma Danda 3500m.

6/7 hrs

Day 10 Trek to Mumbuk(3540m.) via Kauma La (approx 3900m.), Shipton's La(4125m.) and Keke La(4170m.)

A day of spectacular scenery with views of Chamlang 7319m and Makalu from the Shipton La 4217m. With its lakes and open heathland, the scenery at the pass is strangely reminiscent of that of the Lake District. After time at the pass enjoying the views, we descend back into the forest at Mumbuk 3540m.

6 hrs

Day 11 Trek to Yangri Kharka(3557m.)

We make our way along the steep side of the Barun Valley. The route may become more challenging as the trails here are little used, except by yak herders whose huts dot the valley slopes. We overnight one of the huts at Yangle Kharka, above the river 3557m.

6-7 hrs

Day 12 Trek to Langmale Kharka(4410m.)

We descend from your hut to the river and small monastery. It's a pleasant, flatish start keeping the river on your left, with the arresting scent of juniper as you walk. We pass many colourful prayer flags lining the trail. The dramatic cliffs soar either side of you, and the views ahead are dominated by Peak 4, Peak 6, Peak 7 and Yaupa. It really is a fabulous day, with jagged snow-clad summits, vertical cliffs, waterfalls, and sacred caves as a visual feast.

The trail opens out as we walk past the pastures of Jhak Kharka, Yak Kharka and eventually Merek where a welcome tea shop appears after about 2½ hours of walking. You'll doubtless indulge in a cup of chai here before continuing upwards. Take it slow and steady here as you will no doubt be feeling the altitude as you toil upwards towards Langmale Kharka. It takes around 2 hours to reach your tea house at Langmale from Merek. The views here are sublime, with Peak 7 providing a breath-taking backdrop to the lodge rooms. A mani wall adorned by prayer flags sits just in front of the row of rooms. Black redstarts and choughs are quite commonplace here.

5 hrs

Day 13 Trek to Makalu Base Camp (4870m.)

A truly sublime day on the trail today; Peak 7 is an almost constant companion whilst Peak 6 sits directly ahead, looking quite Ama-Dablam-esque. You begin ascending on a good path - the going feels tough at this altitude so take it very easy. We'll be keeping the river on our left as we twist and turn our way around the valley. As we round each bend we'll have another dramatic aspect to marvel at. In parts we'll be hopping from boulder to boulder, but mostly we're on a reasonable, sandy trail. Obviously we are gaining 400m of height to your destination, but the trail undulates gently and there are only a few steeper sections to get we puffing.

Peak 4 comes into view as you progress. After a couple of hours walking, we reach a wide, flat area with a locked small stone hut - this is called Shershong, at 4,630m, making a good camping area. Eventually Makalu comes tantilisingly into view. Its formidable face with its icefalls, crevasses, jagged edges and seracs makes us gaze up in awe. As we round a few bends, we wonder when the base camp will reveal itself. Eventually we will see the lodges and (if in spring) a huddle of tents which mark the base camp. You descend, cross the river, and in five minutes we arrive at your long-awaited destination. As we would expect, the world's fifth highest mountain, Makalu, completely dominates the view. Many Tibetan snowcocks, hill pigeons, black redstarts and mountain finches may be seen around the base camp.

Day 14 Exploration day

It is important to spend today acclimatising at Makalu base camp 4870m, a pleasant grassy spot. The impressive south face of Makalu can be seen in its entirety just 3 miles away. Sunrise and sunset against these giant mountains can be very spectacular though we have the whole day to enjoy the peaceful solitude of the place, exploring at leisure  In the remarkably clear air, there may be wonderful opportunities for photography.

Day 15 backtrack to Yangri Kharka(3557m.)

It's with a heavy heart that we leave behind the overwhelming spectacle of Mount Makalu, and begin re-tracing our steps to Yangle Kharka. It takes around 1½ hours to reach the meadow of Shershong, marked with a hut with bright orange tarpaulin. A further hour or so brings we back to Langmale, where we may have tea and possibly lunch. About 1¼ hours walking downhill brings us next to the tea shop at Merek. It's good to chill here with a cup of chai before weaving our way through pine forests back to Yangle Kharka. It takes approximately 2-2½ hours to reach here from the tea shop at Merek. A welcome hot shower awaits if you pay 200 rupees!

6-7 hrs

Day 16 Decent to Dobate (3860m.)

It's a really pleasant gentle meander following the river down to the tea shop at Themathang, passing many rhododendron bushes as you approach. There's a wooden bridge adorned by prayer flags to cross just before Themathang. It'll take around 1½ hours to reach here.

After a short while we will have to negotiate the landslide area, which takes around 1½ hours. Take care on this as there are some narrow sections to pass. After an undulating stretch, we start climbing steeply through the rhododendron forest. If you're lucky we may see a Himalayan monal here - Nepal's national bird, resplendent in its rainbow colours. The going eventually eases and the ascent becomes more gradual as you approach the hut at Dobate. Take note that after the tea shop at Themathang, which comes early in your walk, there are no other refreshment stops until you reach Dobate, so make sure you take plenty of snacks.

6 hrs

Day 17 Trek to Khongma Danda(3500m.)

Today is our last chance to get captivating views of the high mountains, including Kangchenjunga. We begin ascending to the Keke La at 4,170m, which should take around 1½ hours. It's a further 1½ hours to reach our highest point today - the Shipton La at 4,200m. Enjoy our stop here at the tea house. Another hour or so of contouring round the mountainside will bring us to the large cairn that marks Sano Pokhari Danda at 4,105m. A further hour of undulations brings us back to the final pass - the Khongma La at 3,890m, marked by a mani wall. Approximately 250m of descent, mainly on stone steps, brings us back to our lodge at Khongma. Look out for blood pheasant which can occasionally be seen wandering in the snow between the rhododendron bushes.

6-7 hours

Day 18 Trek to Tashi gaon(2100m.)

We descend from Khongma down to Dhara Kharka which takes around 2 hours. We'll no doubt stop for a cup of tea here. The descent to Tashigaon then takes a further 3 hours.

5 hours

Day 19 Trek to Seduwa(1500m.)

Retracing our steps back to Seduwa today will take around 4-5 hours.

Day 20 Trek to Num(1560m.)

It's a long, fairly steep climb, mainly on stone steps, all the way down to the Arun River at 770m. It will be feeling very warm now as we head deep into the forest lower down. We cross the river and endure the 800m climb all the way back to Num. It's a good idea to have lunch at a tea house approximately 300m below Num.

Day 21 Trek to Chichila(1960m.)

Retracing the steps we previously took earlier, we backtrack to Chichila. It will be a walk with memories recall.

Day 22 Trek to Khadbari(1040m.)

We retrace the same track to Khadbari

Day 23 Trek to Tumlingtar(410m.)

We trek same route to Tumlingtar that we had previously scaled up. On reaching Tumlingtar, we rest and evening we will celebrate the success of the trip along with all Nepalese staffs.

Day 24 Fly to Kathmandu(1350m.)

Weather permitting we take a short early morning flight from Tumlingtar to Kathmandu. We'll return to the hotel and have free time during the afternoon for further sightseeing or shopping. 

Day 25 Final shopping day

This is the final day in Nepal. A chance to do some shopping, explore at leisure or merely relax by the hotel. We enjoy a final night together, reliving the trek and our extraordinary achievements. Shop in some of Kathmandu's many markets for clothing, embroidery, carpets or ceramics. If shopping is not your thing, take a trip over the Bagmati River to the adjacent city of Patan, with its abundance of temples and monasteries.

Day 26 Final departure

We say 'Namaste' for memories that will last a lifetime. There are no activities planned for today and you are able to depart the hotel at any time. Check out time from the hotel is at 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel. For your final departure, our staff will pick you up from the hotel and transfer to Kathmandu airport approximately 3 hours prior to your international flight time.


Camping basis
All ground transportation as per itinerary
4 night hotel accommodation in Kathmandu with B/B plan.
½ day sightseeing in Kathmandu valley with English Speaking Cultural guide
Domestic Air fare (KTM-Tumlingtar) and (LUK-KTM) with airport tax

Cargo charges
TIMs (Trekking Information Management system)
Makalu Barun National Park and Everest National Park Entry fee
Food for the members on camping basis
All camping equipment and camping charges

Medical supplies(First aid Kit will be available)

All required Nepalese staffs (salary, food, clothing, accommodation)

All Nepalese staffs insurance as per Nepalese government rules

Company service charge, VAT and government taxes etc.


International flight with airport tax.

Nepalese Entry Visa fee

Food during stay in Kathmandu

All personal equipment and personal expenses
Photography Charges, Monument charges and Monument entry fees
Personal Medical and travel insurance(must cover helicopter rescue evacuation cost)
Personal Medicine
Telephone and internet charges
Laundry charges
Alcoholic beverage, bottled drinks and cold drinks during the trip
Rescue evacuation charges if required
Staffs and porters Tips...

Equipment List

Clothing and Equipments List
» Pack to pack out - bring enough waterproof bags to carry all non-biodegradable rubbish back down the mountain.
» Remove all unnecessary packaging before leaving home.
» Bring enough warm dry clothes so that you can wrap up rather than burn firewood in the evenings.
» If you are going to trek higher than 5000m or you know it will be cold, buy an aluminum water bottle which can also be used as a hot water bottle at night.
» The easiest way to keep hydrated while trekking is to buy a 1 x liter platypus-drinking bladder to carry in your day pack.
» Make sure to buy proper trekking socks. Don’t buy synthetic socks as these promote sweating and can give you blisters. Always carry a few blister pads in your first aid kit and keep them handy in your day pack.
» Walking poles are very useful while trekking and helpful when descending.
» Please remember that waste disposal and recycling facilitates are limited in Nepal. When buying batteries make sure they are rechargeable and/or high quality so they last longer, and take them home to recycle.

More Lists
There is no definitive list. What you bring will vary according to the area, time of year and the length of your trek. Below is a suggested check list which you should adapt to your own needs. Ask yourself: Will there be snow/how long /high is the trek/are we camping?

» Good quality trekking boots with ankle support
» Lightweight shell/raincoat with hood
» Detachable fleece liner or separate fleece
» Fleece trousers
» Shorts and / or convertibles trousers- quick drying
» Sunglasses
» Sun hat and warm hat(good quality)
» Gloves
» Spare T-shirt x 3
» Sweat towel x 2
» Spare socks x 3 ( walking sock and thin inner sock)
» Small day sack
» Sun cream
» Small water bottle aluminum doubles as a hot water bottle.
» Iodine or water purifying kit,
» Soluble vitamin tablets to taste water or powder fruit drink
» Talcum powder
» Walking sticks or Trekking poles(good quality)
» Camp shoes/trainers/flip flops to wear in evening.
» Spare underwear 3
» Toilet kit
» Tissues
» Pen knife
» Bum bag
» Head torch(good quality)
» Biodegradable washing liquid / soap
» Ear plugs
» Sleeping bag liner(good quality)
» Sleeping bag(good quality-30)
» Bin bag/ gasbag to keep kit dry
» Small towel
» Lip balm
» Available in KTM

Personal First Aid (Aids Kit)
» Antiseptic
» Bandages
» Blister plasters
» Decongestant
» AMS medication like Diamox
» Eye drops – it can get very dusty on trails
» Paracetamol and/or ibuprofen
» Rehydration sachets, Imodium and antibiotics for traveler’s diarrhea
» Scissors
» Sterile dressing
» Sticking plasters and tape
» Throat lozenges / sweets
» Tweezers
» A sewing needle etc.

This trekking equipment list has been prepared by Adventure Zambuling Treks (P) Ltd.

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