• Last Updated on Sep 15, 2023

Journeying opens up a gateway to everlasting remembrances. Every sight, sensation, and perception on the expedition etches itself into the mind. The expedition to the Makalu-Barun National Park in Sankhuwasabha illustrates an exhilarating and unforgettable voyage. Trekking on foot or riding in vehicles, hiking up and down the winding paths, inscribed a fresh chapter in the Book of Life.

Despite being the fifth highest mountain in the world, Makalu's base camp trek is rarely traveled due to its relative inaccessibility. However, reaching the trek is not too difficult as there are daily flights to Tumlingtar and basic lodges along the way. Nature-loving trekkers who want to experience a variety of landscapes and cultures, along with uncommon views of some of the world's tallest mountains, including Everest, will find the Makalu Base Camp trek an ideal destination. The trek begins in warm, terraced farmland inhabited by the Rai people. It ascends through rhododendron and cloud forests, showcasing some of Nepal's last pristine forest areas and alpine meadows. As trekkers go deeper into the mountains, past the Barun River Valley, they will encounter steep granite cliffs, glaciers, and magnificent waterfalls. The higher elevations are home to the Sherpa people, an ethnically Tibetan group residing primarily near Everest. At Makalu Base Camp, one can admire the rarely-seen Kangshung face of Everest, along with Lhotse, Chamlang, and Kanchenjunga in the far east. Makalu Barun National Park is the eighth largest park in Nepal, covering 2,330 sq. km. It is home to flora and fauna, like the Red Pandas.

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Makalu Trek Map guided to go to Makalu Base Camp

To us, Mount Makalu stands out as one of the most beautiful 8,000m peaks, trailing only behind Everest and Annapurna. The mountain's beauty is unmistakable, visible from all angles, and striking. Its three prominent ridges - southeast, west, and northeast - are awe-inspiring. Makalu Base Camp offers an incredible vista of the mountain's 3,500m high south face. Various stunning viewpoints around the base camp allow one to flounder in the mountain's glory. The most scenic option involves trekking up the slopes above the center until you reach the base of the southeast ridge. From here, you can also marvel at Mount Everest and Mount Lhotse. This trek takes around five hours and reaches an altitude of 5,300m or higher if you feel energetic. Makalu is a largely unexplored and under-trekked area of Nepal, with many new hiking trails waiting to be discovered. Most trekkers remain untouched by high mountain valleys, with remote areas lacking marked walking trails. Explorers like ultrarunner Lizzy Hawker are among the few who have ventured into these territories. Simply perusing a map of Makalu-Barun National Park reveals the endless possibilities for exploration.

When trekking in Nepal, Makalu offers more than just stunning mountain views. You'll experience a range of landscapes, from subtropical vegetation to rhododendron forests and high alpine zones. The traditional Sherpa villages, like Tashigaon, and daily Nepalese life focused on subsistence farming rhythms are worth exploring. It feels like stepping back to the 1970s, similar to the Everest and Annapurna regions. The remoteness of Makalu Barun National Park means that ecosystems are untouched and diverse. There are ranges in altitudes, flora, and fauna. So you will find many of them while trekking. Some of them which you might spot are snow leopards, red pandas, wild boars, musk deer, and more. Compared to Upper Dolpo, Makalu is unrestricted, with no expensive daily permits. But as of 2023, you can't trek solo because of the new policy regarding solo trekking. But you can go with a guide that will cost you less than $30 daily. Despite its natural beauty and attractions, it's surprising that Makalu sees relatively few trekkers.

Where are Makalu Region and Base Camp Located?

The Makalu-Barun National Park is home to the Makalu region, situated in Nepal's east and next to the Kanchenjunga region before reaching the Indian border. If you were to travel by air, it is 186 km from Tumlingtar to Kathmandu. You can check out the trail to Makalu Base Camp by clicking on the Maps below. To begin a trekking holiday or expedition to Makalu, take a one-hour twin-propeller plane from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar airport, followed by a jeep ride to the small town of Num, located at 1,500m above sea level. Makalu Base Camp is entirely located within the Makalu Barun National Park. The journey to the base camp is a thrilling adventure in the eastern region of Sankhuwasabha, Nepal. The trek follows the course of the Arun and Barun rivers. It takes you through a diverse landscape of lush forests, deep valleys, towering passes, and alpine meadows. Established in 1992, the Makalu – Barun National Park and Conservation Area is Nepal's eighth national park of Nepal. It is the first to enclose an inhabited conservation area as a cushion and a protected area. The Makalu base camp trek offers a unique opportunity to explore the region's incredible natural beauty. You see many rare plant and animal species here. This is a restricted area, so you need to get a permit from the Nepalese government for trekking.  During your journey, you'll pass five major zones, including the picturesque Arun Valley, dense rhododendron and fir forests, and stunning alpine meadows.

Makalu Base Camp Trek: All Questions answered:

 Just because you aren't scaling the peak of Mount Makalu, it would be a mistake to assume that trekking to Makalu Base Camp (MBC) is simple. It's difficult, to the point where you may question why you ever committed to it.

However, there are moments when you witness the scenery. Which is so stunningly beautiful and unlike any mountainous terrain you've seen before that you realize it was a wise decision. As you progress higher, the landscape changes from lush green farmland to dense forest. Also, the glistening blue fast-flowing rivers to the barren land and glacial pools. Here you are, trekking to a base cap of Makalu like a warrior.

This is one of the most demanding physical and mental trials ever. But reaching Base Camp and gazing up at the clouds enveloping the summit of Makalu will be one of your proudest moments. And that's merely a glimpse of the emotions you'll experience while On the trek.

  1. Total Distance:-  100km return trip
  2. Highest Elevation Reached:- The highest point on the trek is Makalu Base Camp, at 5,050m. You can see views of Lhotse and Everest by hiking a bit further to 5,300m.
  3. Difficulty Level:-  The trek is slightly more challenging than Everest Base Camp or Annapurna Circuit due to the trails' incline, remoteness, and rugged nature. Altitude sickness can be common, and the route has many ups and downs, including several days of walking upstairs. These days can be tiring, but the body will adjust quickly.
  4. Permits required:-  You will need a Makalu Barun National Park Conservation Area permit ($30 per person) and a Trekkers' Information Management Systems (TIMS) card ($20 per person) for the trek.
  5. Guide:- Guide is required and is recommended, especially if it's your first trekking in Nepal. A guide can help with logistics, directions, and tea houses. You can also use maps to navigate the trek.
  6. Accommodations Types:- Along the way, accommodation is available in Guest Houses, also known as Tea Houses. These offer comfortable beds, hot bucket showers (at extra charge), and restaurant facilities. The facilities are less luxurious than those on the Everest Base Camp trek, but they are still comfortable.

Makalu Base Camp Trek Map

 The Makalu Base Camp Trek Map is a specialized map for the trekkers making their way to the Makalu Base Camp Trek. Its user-friendly design includes essential features like zoom-in and zooms out. This map is designed to enhance your trekking experience with simplicity and accuracy. The map provides a concise yet comprehensive trek overview, displaying only the necessary information. Additionally, the detailed trail route depicted on the map is an invaluable compass for hikers. Along with the trail route, the map also portrays other prominent geographical features, including lakes, mountains, peaks, and historical sites, which makes this an essential item during your trek. This map uses standardized icon sets. These feature various graphical symbols representing information such as Highways, Main Roads, Trekking Routes, Peaks, Temples, Monasteries, secondary routes, and more. With the map, you can venture on a Makalu Base Camp Trek and experience the 5th highest mountain in the world, Mount Makalu. The less traveled trail offers a unique experience with high-altitude terrains, dramatic landscapes, picturesque Gurung villages, cascading waterfalls, high passes over 4,000m, and stunning mountain scenery. You will be rewarded with breathtaking views of Everest, Lhotse, Baruntse, Kanchenjunga, and Makalu. This trek is considered challenging and recommended for experienced trekkers. Also, the difficulty level of these treks demands the company of a guide. 

The Makalu Base Camp Trek is an exhilarating journey. It will take you through some of the most rugged terrains in the world. To start your adventure, you will take a scenic flight from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar. Next, you will drive to Num, the trailhead of the trek. From there, you will trek through various stopping points, such as Num, Seduwa, Tashigaon, Khongma Danda, Neha Kharka, and Sherson. The Makalu Base Camp Trek itinerary includes an acclimatization day at Kauma (3470 m). You need a rest day to adjust to the high altitude. You will trek for around 16 days through rugged terrain, crossing high passes and exploring lakes and glaciers. The trail weaves through Makalu Barun National Park, the world's only protected area with an elevation gain of more than 8,000m. This national park is home to 25 species of rhododendron, 47 types of orchids, and 56 rare plants. The journey to Makalu Barun National Park bestows an opportunity to witness rare. 

The Makalu Base Camp at 4,900m is the trek's highest point and offers awe-inspiring views of Makalu and other towering peaks. A side hike around Makalu Base Camp is a great option to explore the area. 

  • Red Bold Line: The bold red line in this map is the main trekking route you will follow to reach the base camp.
  • Yellow Bold Line:- Yelo bold line refers to the main driving route. You will take a flight to Tunglintar and then drive to Num. 
  • Yellow Dotted Line:- The Yellow dotted line in this map refers to the secondary route to reach the Makalu Base Camp. 

To make this map more clear, we have included the different symptoms for lake flights, stupas, etc.  

Itinerary Details of Makalu Base Camp Trek

Day 1: Kathmandu Arrival

Kathmandu Elevation:- 1,350m/4,430ft

Once you arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Nepal, complete your visa formalities and collect your luggage before making your way to the exit of the arrival hall. Look out for a placard of Mountain Rock Treks to meet your trip leader, who will wait outside the arrival hall. You'll then be escorted to your hotel in Kathmandu. After you've had time to refresh yourself, your trek leader will brief you about your upcoming trip in the hotel lobby during the evening.

Day 2: Trek preparation day, Kathmandu Sightseeing 

Explore the cultural treasures of Kathmandu by taking a sightseeing tour that includes visiting three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Kathmandu Durbar Square. Climb 365 steps to reach the sacred hilltop stupa of Swayambhunath. Also known as the Monkey Temple for its resident monkey population. Experience the spiritual significance of Pashupatinath Temple, a revered Hindu pilgrimage site. It is located on the banks of the Bagmati River, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Finally, take a stroll around the historic Kathmandu Durbar Square. Here you'll discover a wealth of medieval temples, palaces, and architectural marvels.  

Today, we'll also get you ready for your trek by providing a detailed briefing about it. Meet your guide and crew at our Thamel office. Here you can also buy any required accessories and equipment. Thamel is a great place to buy trekking gear as it is more affordable compared to your home country. In addition, we'll take care of obtaining any necessary permits.

Day 3: Fly to Tumlingtar and drive to Num 

  • Tumlingtar Elevation:- 518m/1,700ft
  • Num Elevation:-1,500m/4,922ft
  • Flight Duration: 45-Minutes
  • Driving Hours: 5-6 hours
  • Overnight:- Tea Houses

After breakfast, we will head to Tribhuvan International Airport's domestic terminal to board a flight that will take us to Tumlingtar - a charming town that can be reached within a 45-minute flight. From Tumlingtar, we will proceed to Num village (1560m) on the same day. We have two transportation options: hiring a vehicle or taking a public car to Khandbari and Num. The departure of the public vehicle is subject to the availability of passengers. The road from Khandbari to Num is off-road, and the drive can be pretty bumpy. On the other hand, the first 45 minutes of the drive to Khandbari is smooth on the blacktopped road. It takes approximately 4 to 5 hours to reach Num, a charming village settled on a ridge with stunning views of the Kanchanjangha and Jannu peak mountain ranges. 

Day 4: Trek to Sedua 

  • Sedua Elevation:- (1,493m/4,899ft)
  • Trekking Hours: 5-6 Hours 
  • Overnight:- Tea houses of Sedua

Following breakfast, our journey takes us down a steep descent towards Arun River, approximately 800 meters away from the western part of the village. Our route will lead us through a dense forest of Schima, Chestnut, and pine trees, where you'll encounter cardamom plantations. Upon arrival at the Arun River, we'll cross a suspension bridge and continue uphill towards Seduwa. Today's hike marks our entry into the Makalu Barun National Park, and we'll register our permit at the entrance point. There are no tea houses between these two camps, so we'll take a lunch break in Seduwa. 

Day 5: Trek to TashiGaon 

  • TashiGaon Elevation:- [2,200m/7,218ft
  • Trekking Hours: 5-6 Hours 
  • Overnight:- Tea houses of TashiGaon

We'll begin our day by having breakfast before today's trek. The trail will take us through a lush forest canopy and past scenic farmlands. Unlike the previous day, the terrain will be gentler and gradually uphill, making for a more enjoyable hike. While hiking, we will stop at local tea shops for refreshments and snacks. We'll pass by a Chhorten and a Rai settlement before finally arriving at Tashigaon. In Tashigaon, we will take a break for lunch and explore the surroundings.

Day 6: Trek to Khongma Danda

  • Khongma Danda Elevation:- 3,500m/11,480ft
  • Trekking Hours: 7-8 Hours 
  • Overnight:- Tea houses of Khongma Danda

Today's hike is challenging as we will be ascending 1400 meters, and the thin mountain air is starting to take its toll. Our route takes us uphill to Chipla (2520m), passing through dense Rhododendron and bamboo forests. The trail becomes increasingly arduous as we continue our ascent. Eventually, we reach the green pastures, where we'll find yaks grazing and seasonal yak herders. We'll take a break for lunch at Danda Kharka before descending via stone stairs to Khongma Danda. We'll appreciate stunning views of Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, and Makalu in the evening. We'll spend the night at a tea house.

Day 7:Acclimatisation day in Khongma Danda

At Khongma Danda today, you can relax or go on a day hike to Khongma La, located at an elevation of 3,890m/2,762ft. However, opting for the day hike is advised to ease better acclimatization before crossing the high passes the next day. To begin the day hike, you'll need to ascend stone steps, and rhododendron trees surround the trail. It will take you roughly an hour to reach Khongma La Pass, where you can relish the stunning views from the pass. Afterward, you can retrace your steps back to Khongma Danda.

Day 8: Trek to Mumbuk 

  • Mumbuk Elevation:-  [3,540m/11,615ft]
  • Trekking Hours: 7-8 Hours 
  • Overnight:- Tea houses of Mumbuk
  • Kauma La Elevation:-  (3637m)
  • Tutu La:- (4125m) 
  • Keke La: (4170m) 

Today's trek will be a difficult journey, as you will pass through three high passes. Beginning with a challenging ascent towards a stone Chhorten, we shall gradually navigate through deceptive passes and ridges. As we ascend above the tree line, the possibility of encountering snow-covered passes increases. At an altitude of 4125 meters, we will halt for lunch at Tutu La or Shipton's Pass. The food options, mainly noodle soup, will be limited to a nearby tea house. Despite being an exhausting and lengthy trek, the trail is adorned with multiple prayer flags and breathtaking views of the mountains, such as Peaks 6 and 7, and the eastern face of Everest. After reaching Tutu La, we descend to the picturesque Kalo Pokhari Lake, situated at an altitude of 3930 meters, and subsequently make our way to the third pass, Keke La, located at an altitude of 4170 meters. Upon crossing this pass, we descend steeply towards Dobato and proceed towards our final destination, Mumbuk, where we will spend the night at a tea house.

Day 9: Trek to NehaKharka 

  • Neha Kharka Elevation:- 3706 m/ 12158 ft
  • Trekking hours:- 6-7 hours
  •  Overnight:- tea houses of Neha Kharka

Journeying from Mumbuk, the trail descends into the magnificent Barun Valley. We make our way along the steep, narrow, and perilous path toward the bank of the Barun River. As we walk along the river's edge, we are greeted by the water rushing past us. The valley is confined, with towering mountain walls on both sides, and we encounter fellow hikers who have just returned from Kanchenjunga Base camp. Our ascent gradually increases in altitude, and we eventually arrive at Nehe Kharka, where we pause and revel in the breathtaking views of Peaks 6 and 7 and the majestic Mt. Makalu. We also spot grazing yak and sheep in the nearby pastures, adding to the picturesque scenery.

Day 10: Trek to Sherson 

  • Sherson Elevation:- (4,600m/15,092ft)
  • Trekking Duration:- 7-8 Hours
  • Overnight:- Tea Houses of Sherson 

Starting at Nehe Kharka, we'll descend and traverse a modest pass before arriving at Piphuk Kharka (elevation: 3,930m). Following the trail, we'll pass a series of picturesque waterfalls and reach a serene meadow. Our journey will lead us through the grazing fields of Yak Kharka and onwards along the Barun glacier's moraine, offering breathtaking vistas of numerous peaks towering above 6,000m. Exiting the valley, we'll trek through a vibrant rhododendron forest until we reach our final destination for the day: Sherson, where we'll spend the night.

Day 11: Trek to Makalu Base Camp 

  • Makalu Base Camp Elevation:- 4,870m/15,978ft
  • Trekking Hours:- 4-5 Hours
  • Overnight:- Teahouses 

Today, our destination is the Makalu Base Camp. We will begin the day with an early breakfast and proceed along the ascending trail toward a small pass 100 meters above the base camp. After descending to the river, we will follow it until we reach the western edge of the base camp. From here, you can marvel at the awe-inspiring southern face of the majestic Makalu Mountain. Despite the lack of vegetation, the base camp offers breathtaking panoramic views of Makalu and Peaks 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, Yaupa, and East Col. After enjoying a hearty lunch. We will be able to explore the area and indulge in some sightseeing. A visit to the viewpoint to witness the spectacular sunset is highly recommended. We will spend the night at a tea house.

Day 12:  Explore Makalu Base Camp

Today's itinerary includes exploring the surroundings of the Base Camp. Here you can admire the awe-inspiring sights of the gigantic mountains. In the wee hours, we will set out for Barun Pokhari, a serene lake, to soak in the mesmerizing vistas. For those who are fit, we offer an opportunity for a day hike to Swiss Base Camp, which takes around 5 to 6 hours. After the walk, we will return to Makalu Base Camp. Or, you can stay at the base camp too. You can see neighboring viewpoints from the base camp, like Mt Makalu, Barun Pokhari, the eastern face of Everest, Lhotse, and other nearby peaks. We will spend the night at a tea house.

Day 13: Descend trek to NehaKharkha 

  • Neha Kharka Elevation:- 3706 m/ 12158 ft
  • Overnight:- tea houses 
  • Trekking Hours:- 4-7 Hours

On Day 13 of our trek, we will descend towards Neha Kharka at 3706 m/ 12158 ft. We will stay overnight in tea houses, providing us with a comfortable resting place after a tiring day of trekking. The trekking hours for Day 13 will be around 4-7 hours, depending on the group's pace. Before we turn the curve and head back, we will descend from the base camp and catch one more breathtaking view of Makalu, leaving us in awe of the magnificent Himalayas.

 Day 14: Descend trek to Mumbuk 

  • Mumbuk Elevation:-  [3,540m/11,615ft]
  • Trekking Hours: 7-8 Hours 
  • Overnight:- Tea houses

Day 14 of our trek begins with a descent from Neha Kharkha toward Mumbuk. We had a wonderful time at Neha Kharkha, but it's time to move on and continue our journey. Today's trek will be long as we follow the same trail we took earlier. We leave behind Shershong, Langmale Kharka, Merek, and Yangri Kharka. We can't help but feel nostalgic about the places we have been to so far. We will stay at a tea house in Mumbuk, which will be a welcome respite after a long day of trekking. As we trek down toward Mumbuk, we can't help but feel grateful for the opportunity to explore such a beautiful region. The stunning views of the mountains and the pristine nature all around us have made this journey truly unforgettable.

Day 15: Descend trek to Khongma Danda

  • Khongma Danda Elevation:- 3,500m/11,480ft
  • Trekking Hours: 7-8 Hours 
  • Overnight:- Tea houses

After crossing the challenging Keke La, Tutu La (also known as Shipton's Pass), and Kauma La, we will have the opportunity to relish the stunning vistas once again while navigating through rugged terrain. Our journey to Khongma Danda will take approximately 8 hours of trekking, culminating in an overnight stay at a cozy tea house.

Day 16: Descend Trek to TashiGaon 

  • TashiGaon Elevation:- [2,200m/7,218ft
  • Trekking Hours: 5-6 Hours 
  • Overnight:- Tea houses 

During your trek, you will predominantly walk on a descending trail. Enjoy your hike through a rhododendron forest and pass by enormous rocks and prayer flags indicating Unshisa Pass. As you proceed with your journey, you will arrive at Dhara, a well-known pit stop for hikers that offers food and refreshments. Moving forward, you will trek through a dense forest enriched with rhododendron and magnolia trees. If you embark on your trek during springtime, you will witness a vibrant display of rhododendron blooms. Once you cross a river, you will reach the Sherpa village of Tashigaon.

Day 17: Trek to Pakuwa 

  • Pakuwa Elevation:- 1520 m/ 4986 ft
  • Trekking Hours:- 4-7 Hours
  • Overnight: Teahouses

Our journey takes us from the farming settlements to the Rai village, which is spread out. We then venture into the forests, crossing numerous streams, until we reach Pukuwa, which sits at an elevation of 1520 meters or 4986 feet. The trek can take 4 to 7 hours, and we will spend the night in teahouses.

Day 18: Trek to Bumling 

  • Bumling Elevation:-  [350m/1,149ft]
  • Trekking Hours- 4 to 6 Hours
  • Overnight: Teahouses 

Our journey will involve departing from Pukuwa and opting for the picturesque Arun River trail that will eventually lead us to Parangbu village. From there, a short stroll will bring us to Mangtewa Phedi. Our path will then traverse through a region dotted with numerous small villages, and we will encounter a sequence of winding trails at a lower altitude until we finally reach Bumling, where we will spend the night.

Day 19: Trek to Tumlingtar 

  • Tumlingtar Elevation:- 518m/1,700ft
  • Overnight:- Tea Houses
  • Trekking Hours:- 4 to 6 Hours

On the final day of our trek, we will make our way to Tumlingtar. The route will guide us through picturesque scenery, including the Arun River and farm terraces before we arrive at Kulung village. We will continue to reach Kartikeghat and then cross the Arun River via a suspension bridge. Once we've crossed the bridge, we will journey through a lush subtropical forest until we finally arrive in Tumlingtar. Our overnight stay will be in Tumlingtar.

Day 20: Fly to Kathmandu

Flight Duration: 45-Minutes

Today you will take a domestic flight from Tumlingtar to Kathmandu. You get to marvel at the breathtaking Himalayan scenery, with snow-capped mountains and lush hills, all from the comfort of your airplane. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, unwind from your trek and settle into your hotel room, or venture out to discover the city's vibrant energy and take a leisurely walk through the charming streets of Thamel.

Day 21: Final, Departure or onward for the next program

The moment to bid farewell has come. A Mountain Rock Treks representative will accompany you to the Tribhuvan International Airport three hours before your international flight departure. Departing from Kathmandu, you will carry stunning memories that will last a lifetime.

Reecha Thapa

Reecha Thapa

I’m a growth-focused content editor with a deep knowledge of content writing/editing, a strategic mindset, and hypothesis-based content creation. I am an Experience writer with a demonstrated history of working in the entertainment, information technology, and services industry.