An adventure off the beaten road is the Makalu Base Camp Trek (8,481m) in Nepal’s Himalayas. Compared to more popular trekking routes in Nepal, it is further, more rugged, and more physically demanding. Most hikers spend at least 8 days on the Makalu Basecamp route to reach the summit at 5,050 meters. Then, on a 5–6-day journey back out, hikers must follow their exact same route as they came in. Unlike Everest Base Camp, where the peak is somewhat obscured from view, at the base camp you actually sit at the base of Makalu and get a clear view of the mountain. You can see the dawn every morning over the peak of the fifth-tallest mountain in the world.
The Rai people are an ethnic group that is primarily found in the hills of eastern Nepal. The journey begins in warm, terraced farmland where they live. The rhododendron and cloud forests, as well as some of Nepal’s few remaining pristine forest and alpine meadows, will be encountered as the path climbs. Rhododendron woods are particularly stunning in the spring when the blossoms bloom in amazing red, purple, pink, and white. As you travel farther into the highlands, past the Barun River Valley, you will come across glaciers, steep granite cliffs, and breathtaking waterfalls. The Sherpa people, a Tibetan ethnic group that predominately lives close to Everest, are found at higher altitudes.
Makalu Base Camp Trek: Trip Overview/ Essential Information
The Makalu Base Camp Journey is the perfect trek for outdoor enthusiasts who wish to have a lot of experiences. The stunning view of Mt. Makalu, Mt. Everest, and other impressive peaks in this area is the trek’s main draw. The Makalu base camp trekking trail provides you with an incredibly beautiful natural environment and landscape, a variety of flora and fauna, lush green forests, incredible white snow peaks, rhododendron and pristine forest, Barun river valley, granite cliffs, glaciers, spectacular waterfalls, amazing scenery ranging from the sweeping Arun river valley, the Barun La (4200m), old and ancient Buddhist monasteries, traditional Rai, Sherpa, and Tibetan lifestyles.
Makalu Base Camp Trek: Best Season
The best seasons to trek to Makalu Base Camp are in the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November), when conditions are most likely to be ideal and temperatures are at their highest (particularly at low and mid-elevations). It is possible to complete this walk in the winter, although the chilly weather may be a deterrent, especially given that the lodges in this area aren’t particularly well furnished.
Makalu Base Camp Trek: Difficulty
Due to the slope, remoteness, and ruggedness of the paths, the Makalu Base Camp Trek is marginally more challenging than the Everest Base Camp or the Annapurna Circuit. Many people will find the 5000m altitude you reach challenging. Altitude sickness can occur often. There are several undulations along the path, and for several days, you will only be climbing steps. These days of elevation are exhausting, and the body must swiftly adapt.
Makalu Base Camp Trek: Permits
You will require a Trekkers’ Information Management Systems (TIMS) card and a Makalu Barun National Park Conservation Area permit, each costing $20 USD and $30 USD respectively per person.
Makalu Base Camp Trek: Cost
The Makalu base camp trek costs $2150 USD in total. This overall cost is made up of various components. Several factors affect this price, including: Internal flight transfers; lodging; all meals consumed while trekking; permits; guides and porters; other required documentation; and government taxes.
Makalu Base Camp Trek: Physical Fitness
The Makalu Base Camp Journey is a strenuous trek that frequently requires you to hike for 6-7 hours each day. You must have prior hiking or trekking experience, although it is always an advantage if you have engaged in any kind of trekking activity. We have encountered trekkers of all ages, genders, and physical characteristics. The only challenging aspect is when altitude sickness sets in and the physical effects it might have. It might be beneficial to physically prepare yourself before traveling to Nepal by improving your stamina and oxygen consumption.
Makalu Base Camp Trek: Meals During the Trek
While breakfast is included in your hotel room in Kathmandu, all meals (breakfast, lunch, and supper) are provided throughout the trek. Potatoes, oats, buckwheat, Sherpa stew, and Tibetan bread are common foods in these mountainous areas. When the first seeds were introduced to the area in the early 1990s, Sherpas began cultivating potatoes. At higher altitudes, the selection of cuisine is limited, with the exception of several potato dishes. Carbohydrates, which are abundant in potatoes and a great source of energy at high altitudes.
Makalu Base Camp Trek: Packing List
You can get a general sense of what you need to bring for the walk from the material that follows. It is crucial that you remember the necessities because doing so will affect your trek’s comfort and safety. It’s equally crucial that you go on the hike without carrying too much gear. This should all fit into a backpack that is no larger than 50 liters and weigh no more than 14 kilograms.
- 1 pair of pants that maybe convert to shorts
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 Warm or thicker pair of hiking pants
- 1 Long sleeve quick-dry shirt
- 1 Long-sleeve thermal shirt
- 2 Short-sleeve t-shirts
- 1 Thermal long underwear
- 4 pairs of quick-dry underwear
- 1 Lightweight down jacket
- 1 Heavy-duty summit down jacket
- 1 Beanie
- 1 Cap
- 1 Neck Buff
- Hiking boots
- Head torch
- 1 pair of warm summit socks
- 2-3 pairs of regular socks
- Trekking poles
- Water filter
- Power bank