Eat, Heat, Recharge and Sleep on the Everest Base Camp Trail

Main trail Lukla to Kala Patthar at Phakding

The Shangrilla Lodge in Phakding in 2015. We stayed here on the first night and the second last nights of Everest Base Camp trek.

Our First Lodge Experience

I remembered the lodge pictured above from our first 2013 trek. We didn’t stay there then. Our flight from Kathmandu to Lukla was delayed about four hours due to fog. We were trekking solo, without a guide or porter and had no accommodation booked.

We arrived in the late afternoon in Phakding and wanted to look at some lodges before we decided on one. Our main focus was getting our own bathroom.

The small villages are generally along the trail going up the hill. Exhausted on that first day of our trek the last thing we wanted was to walk up and down checking out lodges. All I wanted was a shower and bed. We only had the energy to check out two. I remember walking past the Shangrila Lodge (pictured above) lots of young people were listening to music, talking and laughing sitting on the terrace. Party central, I thought. Not for me, I wanted to go to bed and sleep. Early. So we walked on past.

We decided on a lodge at the lower end of the trail. Our room had a western toilet and a shower however there was no hot water left. So we got wet and froze drying off in our room. Lodge rooms have no heating.

I was falling asleep at the table waiting for our food. I was in bed and asleep by 6:30.

Accommodation Along the Everest Base Camp Trail

Upper Phakding Lodge EBC Trek Trail

Lodge in Upper Phakding

Phakding

Sleep – The Bedrooms

  1. Accommodation is basic with the exception of Namche Bazaar where you can pay for more a reasonable room and bathroom. However there are some very expensive hotels in the lower part of the track, see the bottom of the post.
  2. Rooms are very basic. Two beds, a window and not a lot of room.  I did see double beds in some rooms but generally it was single beds.
  3. If you are lucky there may be some sort of window sill or small table for small things you want at hand during the night. Sometimes there are hooks on the wall.
  4. There is no heating in the rooms.
  5. Most rooms don’t have a mirror. There are no power points. Forget the hair dryer.
  6. Mattresses are thin and hard just like hotel beds in South East Asia.
  7. We were always provided with an extra blanket for each bed.

Room With a View

The view from our lodge /hotel in Namche Bazaar. Our hotel in Namche was a lot more upmarket. We had power points in our rooms, electric blankets, chairs etc. Obviously this accommodation was more expensive than the majority of the accommodation.

Lodge in Nepal

Bathrooms

  1. We had western style toilets in all the hotels we stayed in.
  2. I have read blog posts about only having squat toilets but we never stayed in lodges where this was the only option.
  3. Plumbing can be problematic.
  4. The toilet, shower and basin in the lodge in the first photo  was shared by a lot of rooms. We were the only guests on our outbound trek and there were only two guests heading back to Lukla. If we had to share with a lot of guests we may not have stayed there.

Heat – The Dining Room

Lodge in Monjo EBC Trek Nepal

The dining room in Monjo Guest House

The main room of the lodges is the dinning room where there will heat. A dung fueled fire will be the centre of the room and be the sole source of heat.

People sit in the room, chat, read, write up notes, swap stories,  if there is wifi you will access it from here. This is the place where you will meet people coming in the opposite direction and tell you about the weather and conditions ahead. Most lodges will have a small supply of chocolates, chips, bottles water, toilet paper etc you can buy.

You will charge your phones, camera batteries etc in this room, too. This will be charged to your bill.

Monjo Lodge EBC trek Nepal

Monjo Guest House had a second beautiful sunny eating area.

Food

DSC07591

  1. You must eat where you stay. The owners make their money from the food you eat.
  2. You pre-order food before dinner and for breakfast the next morning.
  3. Avoid meat. I would say don’t eat meat.
  4. Lodges often grow their own vegetables. Eating organically grown veggies on the trail was great.
  5. If you are a tea drinker and take milk rethink that. I drank black tea on the trek.

The Menu

  1. The menus can seem quite large but more than likely you will find things you like and stick with the same food.
  2. Popular meals are Dhal Blat and Sherpa Stew.
  3. Remember to try some apple pie. Apples are grown along the trail.

Neplese food on the EBC trek

Tips

There are no ATMs along the trail. Take enough cash for your entire trek.

Get your rooms ready for bed before you eat your evening meal. The light probably won’t be great and it will be cold in your room. So you will be able to get straight into your sleeping bag.

The Yeti Lodge EBC Trek Nepal

There are limited nice lodges. The Yeti Mountain Home group is one group, very nice but expensive in comparison to other lodges. We didn’t stay in any. If  you wanted to sample the Everest Base Camp trail and maybe climb to Namche Bazaar and check out Khumjung and Khunde, Thame structuring your trek around their accommodation.

Yeti Mountain Lodge Phakding

Monju Guest House EBC Trek Trail Nepal

We enjoyed staying our night in Monju Guest House. The garden setting is a bonus. Most people walk through Monjo but on our first trek, wanting to start off slow we stayed here and then walked to Namche Bazaar the next day ( day 3 of our trek ).

Paradise Lodge Lukla

Paradise Lodge Lukla

Donkey Central at Phakding – Chuk Chuk – Video

Donkeys on the trail to EBC

Keeping the slow donkeys moving from the safety of the sidelines. CHUK!

Rule Number Two: Give Way to the donkeys too.

I posted this video on Facebook on our first trek in November December 2013. It was taken on my iphone and shows the number of donkeys on the trail and why you don’t want to be on the bridge at the same time as donkey herd. Continue reading

Heading Out from Lukla for Everest Base Camp – Day One to Phakding

Walking out of Lukla

trek n.1. a long difficult journey, esp. on foot 2. SA journey or stage, esp by ox wagon            3. make a trek  – trekker 

Saying Goodbye in Melbourne

In September 2015 my husband and I flew to Nepal to trek to Everest Base Camp. At the departure hall at Melbourne Airport saying goodbyes to our adult daughters,  the eldest hugged her father and said

                          “Dad, go easy on Mum remember it’s her holiday too.”  She turned                                      to me and said “Mum, ….man up.”

And with that sage advice… Continue reading

Farewell to the EBC Trek

Day 16 Phakding to Lukla

Nepalese dog

The first photo for the day was of a dog sitting expectantly outside the kitchen of our lodge. The trainer had taken it because “everyone  loves a photo of a dog.” The dogs we saw on the trail appeared well cared.

Mani Walls coming into Ghat

Mani Walls coming into Ghat

On the last day of both our trek it was with a feeling of sadness that we made our way back to Lukla. Lingering on the trail as we went. Standing aside for the last lot of the donkeys and yaks, crossing the last bridges which on the way up were the first bridges. Savouring the last of the views of green fields of vegetables, mani walls and stupas as we would back down through a string of villages.

Stupa and Mani Walls at Ghat

Prayer Wheels, Mani Walls and the Stupa at Ghat

Waiting for Donkies to Pass on Everest Base Camp trail

We saw groups of trekkers fresh off the plane new to the trail and not sure quite what to expect.I pointed at the brand new boots of a young woman and I pointed to my boots all covered in white dust and told her that her boots would like mine after base camp.

Small villages on the hills on the way

Small villages on the hills on the way

Resting spot for porters outside or Lukla

Resting spot for porters outside or Lukla

I smiled a woman we passed who pointed behind me and mouthing “there is a porter behind you.” I think she thought he was trying to get past. I wanted to say yes he has been behind me for 16 days, he’s my porter. Although he wasn’t always behind sometimes he was ahead and leading. But he was always there walking beside me essence, keeping an eye on where I was stepping. Only a short time before he had pulled me out of the way from a donkey half, because I turned around and wasn’t paying attention.

Empty Street in Lukla

Empty Street in Lukla

Starbucks and the Irish Pub in Lukla

Starbucks and the Irish Pub in Lukla Waiting for Boots to Visit

In the end, despite not wanting the trek to end we were glad to get to Lukla’s entrance gate. The last of the hills seemed endless. And we had just walked 130 kilometres.

We walked through the streets of Lukla which we very quiet.Lukla would normally be a bit of a party town with people celebrating the end of their treks. It is always a place people stay at the end of the trek not at the beginning.

At the lodge we were happy to have a shower, do some washing and explore the town a bit more. Basanta came back later in the afternoon. We had a few beers together and said thank you and goodbye. He was going to have three days rest and then going to back on the trail again with a group.

Basanta and Louise

Basanta our lovely porter guide and me in Lukla at the end of our trek

Paradise Lodge Dining Room

Inside the dining room at Paradise Lodge

After dinner and a chat with the woman who owns the lodge we were ready for an early night  ready for the first flight out in the morning.

 

 

 

Day 2 Phakding to Monjo

Phakding to Monjo Day Two Trek to Everest Base Camp

Follow the Pumpkin Coloured Backpack

This day was a short walk. For many trekking tours Day 2 is Phakding to Namche Bazaar. The climb to Namche Bazaar is a big day so the Trainer added a day to our itinerary so we didn’t need to rush and allow time to acclimatise to the altitude. Groups leaving our lodge for Namche a good hour before us. Setting out we looked forward to a leisurely day.

Phakding EBC Trek

Before leaving Melbourne our plans to trek the Everest Base Camp by ourselves and without a guide or porter had a few people concerned. Me as well. The Trainer explained to my mother before we left that trekking the trail is not like trekking a in remote location. He explained the trail is through villages with small tea houses dotted all the way, with lots of people trekking, porters and Nepalis going about their daily business including school kids walking to school. We did in fact see many children walking to school along the trail. Small children in small groups without adults running to school had my  herd mother radar working on overdrive at times.

Everest Base Camp

Kids walking to school

 
Phakding to Monjo

Vegetable gardens and stone walls line the trail through many villages. Note the Donkey train coming up the path.

Phakding to Monjo

Different types of prayer wheels are all along the trail. The important thing to remember is to turn them clockwise.

Bridge across Dudh Kosi

Cable  hanging bridge across the Dudh Kosi river after Benkar. I got off the bridges as quickly as possible.

 

Crossing the river Phakding to Monjo

Donkey trains on trek were a fascination for me. Doing a bit of traffic duty and keeping the slow ones moving while waiting on the sidelines.

Doing a bit of traffic duty and keeping the slow donkeys moving from the safety of the sidelines. Chuk Chuk!

Day 1 Lukla to Phakding

2013 Trek to Everest Base Camp

For our 2013 Everest Base Camp trek training and preparation, videos and photos helped get an idea of what the trail would be like. One particular photo made me realise the need for step training. However the guide book and  The Trainer’s overview of the first day’s walk to Phakding didn’t quite match up with the experience. A two hour easy down hill walk said the guide book. Sam had done all the research and his words echoed the book. In the next few days I was about to discover how important  mental  preparation is.

What I wasn’t prepared for

Before we started out for Phakding my idea of downhill was downhill – not up hill and down hill in a general down hill direction. It took us about four and half hours walking and I thought we would never get to Phakding. From experience trekking in the Anna Purna region years ago, the Trainer had forewarned me the trail would be uneven and rocky. He had done a great job as personal trainer of designing  our training to prepare us for this. The track varied incredibly on the first day from cobblestones in Lukla,  to meandering flat paths, to rocky steps and very rocky sections. In the scheme of things Lukla to Phakding is an easy day and now we know to double the time needed in one guide book. A second guide  book now seems closer to the mark in terms of time.

The Everest Base Camp trail goes through small villages and can is narrow in parts. Shared by trekkers, porters, pack animals (yaks, donkeys and horses) and kids on their way to school and can be busy. I selected the photos to show how the track varies on the first day.

Walking out of Lukla

 

Lukla to Phakding Everest Base Camp Trek

 

Lukla to Phakding Everest Base Camp Trek

 

Lukla to Phakding Everest Base Camp trek

 

Day 1 Lukla to Phakding EBC Trek 2015

Kathmandu-Lukla-Phakding (2610m)
8.5 km 3.5 – 4hours

  • Flying into Lukla
  • Remember downhill is never just downhill
  • Beautiful little villages
  • 8.5 km walk, took 4 hours in 2013, 3.5 hours in 2015
  • Lukla to Chheplung took us one hour
  • First bridge at Thado Kosi Gaton
  • Om Mane Padme Hum

Day One on 2013 Trek
Day Two on 2015 Trek
Itinerary 2015 Trek

Flying to Lukla

Main Street Lukla, setting out on Main Trail EBC Trek

Lukla to Phakding

Ghat on the Main Trail Lukla to Kala Patthar and Everest Base Camp

Main Trail to Kala Patthar and EBC

Main trail Lukla to Kala Patthar at Phakding

2015 Trek

Itinerary for 16 Day Everest Base Camp Trek

Late September to October 2015

Day 1    Kathmandu 1210m  to Lukla
Day 2    Phakding 2610m to Namche Bazaar 3440
Day 3    Acclimatization Namche Bazaar (walked above town) 3440m
Day 4    Namche Bazaar to Khumjung 3780m and more photos
Day 5    Khumjung to Phortse 3800m
Day 6    Phortse to Shomare 4070m
Day 7    Shomare to Dingboche 4360m
Day 8    Acclimatise Dingboche (walked to4900m)
Day 9    Dingboche to Dughla 4600m
Day 10  Dughla to Lobuche 4940m
Day 11  Lobuche to Gorak Shep 5170m and Kala Patthar 5545m
Day 12  Gorak Shep, Everest Base Camp 5300m to Lobuche 4940m
Day 13  Lobuche to Pangboche 3930m
Day 14  Pangboche to Namche Bazaar 3440m
Day 15  Namche Bazaar to Phakding 2610m
Day 16  Phakding to Lukla 2840m
Day 17  Lukla to Kathmandu