Thinking of trekking to Everest Base Camp? Here's a day by day breakdown of the trek, which will take you through the green meadows of Shangri La to the rugged snowy peaks of the Himalayas.
Day 1: Fly to Lukla (2800m 45 mins)
The mountain flight into Lukla is stunning and the landing an exciting beginning to the trek.
Lukla – Phakding (2600m 5 hrs)
Heading through pine and cedar woods along the Dudh Kosi to Phakding you will encounter your first yak caravans carrying trekking equipment and supplies towards base camp. You may also see musk deer, Himalayan tahr and, if you sit quietly on the river banks, water rats.
Day 2: Phakding – Namche Bazaar (3450m 5 hrs)
Namche Bazaar is the administrative capital of the region, and its Saturday market remains an important event bringing traders from villages a week's walk away.
Day 3: Rest day (Thame Valley)
This is an acclimatization day, so you can take an excursion to Thame. Intricately carved mani stones mark the path to this large valley with a picturesque gompa on the hillside overlooking the valley.
Day 4: Tangboche (3860m 6 hrs)
Leaving Namche the route is unbelievably beautiful – the Dudh Kosi is far below and Thamserku, Kantega, Ama Dablam, Lhotse and Everest rise above. Woods, rhododendron forests, mani walls, chorten and suspension bridges across the river make this a lovely walk.
Day 5: Dingboche (4400m 4 hrs)
Stone steps lead down through rhododendrons, birches and conifers where almost tame pheasants are regularly seen. Rising above the tree line the trail enters alpine meadows of scrub juniper from where the views of Island Peak (6189), Lhotse, Ama Dablam and the ice walls flanking the Amphu Lapcha pass are one of the highlights of the trek.
Day 6: Rest day (Chhukung Valley)
Day 7: Lobuche (4900m 5hrs)
Alpine meadows and summer yak pasture lead toward the Khumbu Glacier where there is a steep climb. From Lobuche the view is straight towards Nuptse and the sunsets are spectacular. Altitude makes the climb to the Changri Glacier tough.
Day 8: Gorakshep (5150m 4 hrs)
Reaching Gorakshep, near a small, usually frozen lake, by lunchtime you can rest or make a side trip up Kala Pattar, which provides the best views of Everest.
Day 9: Everest Base Camp (5337m)
The route to base camp follows the Khumbu Glacier with its intriquing 15-meter-high seracs of ice, a feature unique to Himalayan glaciers.
Day 10: Pangboche (3950m 3 hrs)
Descending the Imja Khola overnight at Pangboche, the highest permanent settlement.
Day 11: Namche Bazaar (3450m 6 hrs)
Continue down through Namche Bazaar and Phakding to Lukla to pick up your flight back to Kathmandu.
Day 12: Phakding (2600m 4 hrs)
Day 13: Lukla (2800m 4 hrs)
Day 14: Fly to Kathmandu (1300m 45 mins). Stay for a few days to explore the Kathmandu Valley and soak up the city atmosphere.