The trek in a nutshell

Breathtaking scenery is a given on the trek to Everest Base Camp, with the chance to gaze up close at the mighty mountain from Kala Patthar, but travelers to the region can also gain an insight into its Sherpa culture by visiting monasteries and museums along the way. Settle into a steady, safe walking rhythm, passing colourful prayer wheels and crossing swing bridges high above mountain rivers, before relaxing each evening in simple teahouses, enjoying hot food and conversation with your fellow weary but happy trekkers.

Walking through history

Unlike Nepalís other great hiking route, the Annapurna Circuit, the trek to Everest Base Camp is drenched in climbing history. You are following in the footsteps of famous mountaineers and hardy Sherpas and will be towered over by a peak that has claimed numerous lives, and continues to do so. Local guides can tell fascinating and humbling stories about climbing Everest from the unsung Sherpa perspective, as well as lifting the lid on life in this remote part of the world.

Pack smart and be prepared

Trekking to Everest Base Camp is no walk in the park, but the right kit Ė and expectations Ė will help. Guided treks generally supply full porterage, so you need only carry a daypack. Consider your porter, though, before you pack those big bottles of shampoo or heavy jeans. Travel-size toiletries are best, and wipes come in handy in teahouses without showers. Bring a good sunscreen, too; thin, high altitude air makes for fierce sunburn. In terms of clothes, lots of layers will help you cope with the range of temperatures, and a down jacket and thermals are essential, as the Himalaya gets cold above 3,000m at any time of the year. Pack at least five pairs of socks and donít be tempted to save your box-fresh hiking boots for this adventure. You need boots that have already been lightly broken in Ė but not battered! Ė back home. Some basic first aid kit, including blister treatments, antiseptic cream and plasters, is also a good idea. Pop a bandana or scarf in your pack, too, so you can protect your mouth and nose from the dust kicked up by other trekkers and yaks.

Where to stay

The teahouses that line the route offer basic but welcoming accommodation. Rooms are usually on a twin share basis, with twin beds, mattresses and pillows. Some teahouses donít have electricity, and depend on solar power for lighting. They can be very cold, too, with no hot water or electricity (which means limited opportunity to wash), so bring a head torch and a sleeping bag comfortable to -20įC (or hire one from your tour operator). Some teahouses offer hot showers, but be aware that this is often no more than a bucket of hot water, which provides barely enough water to wash your body. Youíll also be sharing toilets, which may just be a basic hole in the ground.
Donít expect haute cuisine either. Hearty dal bhat (rice and lentil soup/curry, with veggie variations) is often the only thing on the menu, although international dishes may be on offer in Lukla and Namche Bazaar.
Responsible Travelís Sarah Faith has this advice:
ďThe food tends to be the same from one teahouse to the next. You can get to the point where you think, if I see another plate of dal bhat Iíll scream! Take some spicy sauce or other condiments along with you to pep up simple dishes. Also take a reusable water bottle.Ē
Youíll need to consume 3-4 litres of water per day on the trek, but rather than buying bottled water, which produces waste, use the boiled water available at most teahouses. And consider purchasing a LifeStraw to carry with you. This is a safe and environmentally friendly way to filter water, so you can be sure itís totally safe to drink.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Everest Base Camp or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.


With the altitude youíre gaining, this is a trek you mustnít rush, so beware of any itineraries that get you from Kathmandu to Base Camp and back in less than 12 days. Trekking at a steady pace, resting frequently and stopping off at points along the route will help you acclimatise safely. Even with the correct precautions, you may still experience breathlessness, mild headaches and impaired judgment, thanks to the limited oxygen. If you have pre-existing respiratory or heart problems, consult your doctor before signing up. Itís possible to hike the trail independently, but an experienced guide will manage the ascent and keep an eye on you, too, while a porter will carry your pack and allow you to concentrate on the view.


You will be trekking for between five to eight hours per day, for 12 days, so in terms of training, definitely do some! But you donít need to be an Olympian to tackle the trek to Base Camp. Slow and steady is very much the mantra for this trail, but that said, the more training and hiking you do before you go, the more youíll enjoy it. The best preparation for hiking at altitude is lots of walking before you arrive. Do as many hill walks as possible. In particular, try and do two walks at the weekends Ė one on each day. Itís the second dayís walking that really improves your fitness.
Written by Joanna Simmons
Photo credits: [Page banner: Christopher Michel] [Trekking to base camp: Ted Bryan Yu] [Teahouse: Peter Meissner] [Health and fitness: ilkerender]