Makalu base camp is situated in the north-eastern part of Nepal, which is one of the remote and isolated trekking areas where the 5th highest mountain in the world, Mount Makalu lies. Makalu base camp trek falls in Makalu-Barun National Park in Sankhuwasabha and Solukhumbu District Bordering Kanchenjunga conservation area to the east, Sagarmatha National Park to the west, and Tibet to the north.
Makalu Base Camp Trek is filled with lush green forest, deep gorges and rivers, waterfalls, sacred lakes and ponds, and unparalleled panoramic views of rugged high Himalayan peaks such as mount Chamlang (7,319m.), Mount Baruntse(7,129m.), Mera peak (6,654m.) and several other mountain peaks including Mount Makalu.
This challenging trek is an opportunity to learn about the rural traditions and the people such as Rais, Limbus, Gurung, and Sherpa ethnic groups and experience their sheer hospitality.
This area is also rich with flora and fauna like nowhere else in Nepal. There are 27 types of forest, 47 types of orchids,s and 25 species of rhododendron in the area. As for fauna, it harbors endangered snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, red panda, musk deer, wild boar, Himalayan Thar, and many other animals.
This Makalu base camp is a serene and isolated escapade blessed with unbeatable mountain views and tranquility.
The major attraction of the Makalu trek
Situated in the eastern Himalayan region of Nepal, Mount Makalu falls in Makalu Barun national park covering two districts which are Sankhuwasabha and Solukhumbu with an area of 1500km2. This national park was established in 1992 which borders the Kanchenjunga region to the east, Sagarmatha national park to the west, and Tibet to the north.
Mount Makalu is among the list of "8000 meters' mountains" which are only 14 in the world in which Makalu is 8463 meters tall above sea level. This mountain is the 4th highest in Nepal and 5th highest in the world.
Makalu was first summited by a French group in 1955 in which there were few failure attempts by American and New Zealand expedition groups. This mountain is also listed as one of the most difficult mountains to the summit as this mountain poses a 9% fatality rate.
How to get to the trailhead of the Makalu Base Camp Trek?
The best and fastest option to the Makalu base camp trek is to take a flight to Tumlingtar which takes on a daily basis from Kathmandu airport. There, you can take a jeep ride to reach Num bazaar from where your trek begins to Makalu. As for the by road option, you also can drive all the way to Tumlingtar from Kathmandu which takes more than 13 hours to reach. People also can take flight from Biratnagar as an option but flight takes place only twice a week to Tumlingtar
Trek route to Makalu Base Camp
This trek starts from Kathmandu by taking a scenic flight to Tumlingtar Airport (410m). From here the journey begins with taking a jeep ride through Arun river valley to Num bazaar (1500m) to begin our real trekking journey to Makalu base camp. Trek continues to Seduwa (1540m) and to Tashigaun (2100m) on our second and third nights.
After this trek climbs up to Khongma Danda (3500) where we take an extra day to acclimatize before going to a higher altitude. Trek continues to Dobato (2650m) for another day where you have to go crossing over higher passes like Ghungru-La (4050m) and Shipton-La (4125m). After this trek goes along the Barun river onto the beautiful alpine meadow of Yangle Kharka (3500m). The last two days of the trek stop gradually at Langmale (4410m) and Makalu base camp (4870m).
Spending two nights at Makalu base camp and exploring around our journey retraces the same way to Tumlingtar to fly back to Kathmandu to finish the journey.
Required permits and fees for Makalu Base Camp Trekking
To trek to the Makalu region, you are required to have two types of permits which the first one is called "TIMS card" (Trekking information management system) which costs $10 USD for organized trekkers per head and $20 USD for individual trekkers per head.
Another one is called "Makalu Barun national park entrance fee" which costs 3000 Nepali rupees per head for non-SAARC (South Asian Association for regional cooperation) country citizens and 1500 rupees for SAARC country citizens.
Accommodation in Makalu trek
Regarding the accommodation in the region, there are very few but basic lodges along with the major stops. So, you have to be a good pacer and should be able to trek a certain distance to find accommodation unless you have organized camping stuff. especially onwards to Khongma Danda, there are very few lodges along the way.
Safety and regulation in Makalu trek
- The trails to Makalu base camp are quite rocky and become slippery after rain or overnight freeze so, be careful while walking. as well as you come across several scree slopes or landslide areas so, watch out while you cross these sections as rocks might fall from above.
- Stay to the hillside (not to the cliff sides) while animals like mules and yaks pass by you.
- Quick ascent without proper acclimatization can pose a serious risk of altitude sickness.
- Burning firewood inside the park is prohibited so, be sufficient with fuel if you are camping.
- Filming and documentation as well as flying drones are not allowed without special permission from the government body.