The trek to Mount Everest Base Camp is on most hikers’ bucket lists, and the Khumbu region of Nepal—known for its spectacular mountain peaks and friendly indigenous people—is one of the most popular places to do so. Here’s what you need to know about getting to this trekkers’ pilgrimage site.
Before the airport was built in Lukla in 1964, the town was practically unknown and climbers on their way to Everest had to trek all the way from Kathmandu, via the town of Jiri. The airport changed trekking, and Lukla, forever. The small town has a few lodges and cheap restaurants, and it’s where most trekkers will meet up with their guides and porters.
Things to Know Before You Go
Though flying to Lukla can be scary for nervous fliers, note that flights are often canceled or delayed in poor weather. Pilots will not fly if conditions are not right.
When planning a trek in Nepal that requires a flight to/from Lukla, leave several buffer days between departing from Lukla and any international flights from Kathmandu, because flights are regularly canceled or delayed.
To avoid the longest delays getting into or out of Lukla, book your flight for as early in the day as possible. If flights are delayed, yours will be among the first to resume.
Lukla is located at 9,383 feet (2,860 meters, roughly double Kathmandu’s altitude), So the weather is much colder, and visitors may feel the effects of the thinner air here.
How to Get There
There are several daily flights to Lukla from Kathmandu. These take around 30 minutes, in a small airplane. Alternatively, it’s possible to trek all the way from Jiri, although travelers taking this route into the Khumbu region often bypass Lukla.
When to Get There
The best times of year for trekking in the Everest region are spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November). The winters are very cold, and the monsoon season is wet, with even more delayed flights than usual.
Fly to Jomsom
Thrill-seekers and adventurous travelers will also enjoy flying to Jomsom from Pokhara. Jomsom is the gateway to the remote, arid Mustang region, which lies in the rain shadow of the Himalayas. Many trekkers pass through at the end of trekking the Annapurna Circuit, but the area around Jomsom is worth visiting in its own right.
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