An adventurous journey in Nepal’s heartland, the Makalu Base Camp Trek offers incredible scenery. Starting from Tumlingtar village in the Sankhuwasabha district of Nepal, the trekking trail traverses several traditional villages and resting places. Initially, the travelers pass through Khandbari, Chichila, Num Camp, Seuda, Tashi Gaon, Kauma, Mumbuk, Neha Kharka, Sherson, and finally reach Makalu Base Camp.
There is a diverse ethnic population of Nepali tribes living in the region, including Brahmins, Chhetri’s, damais, and Dalits, along with ethnic Bhotia Gurung, Sherpa, Rai, Limbu, Magar, and Tamang groups in the highlands. Traditional lifestyles still prevail in the Makalu villages, isolated from modern-day civilization and maintaining a conventional way of life. Additionally, the Makalu civilization survives on farming and animal husbandry. Despite the region’s weak economy, you can still experience a very strong cultural heritage in this region.
The Makalu Base Camp resides inside the Makalu Barun National Park at an elevation of 5250 meters, dominated by beautiful nature. The Makalu Barun National Park is the most beautiful natural region, and it is home to Mount Makalu, the 5th tallest mountain in the world. You will be blessed with the spectacular beauty of the Makalu region and panoramic views of a wide range of mountains, including Mt. Makalu (8,481m), Mt. Everest (8,848m), Mt. Lhotse (8,516m), Mt. Chamlang (7,319), Mt. Baruntse (7,220m), Peak 7 (6,185m), Peak 6 (6,739m), and many others. Mount Everest shows an eastern face that you have probably never seen before, even in photographs. Additionally, you will enjoy the scenic view of glacial lakes, giant glaciers, and picturesque valleys.
Trekking in the Makalu region is restricted; therefore, a special permit is required from the government of Nepal. “Makalu Base Camp Trek” offers a variety of ecosystems. Most of the trail is remote and isolated, so it will be super adventurous, wild, and off-the-beaten-track. Makalu Base Camp Trekking is perfect for anyone looking for a less crowded trek in the Himalayas.
Although this trek is not easy on the difficulty scale, it has a high score on the beauty and adventure scale. Makalu Base Camp Trek offers wilderness, breathtaking natural scenery, amazing culture, and raw adventure. Despite being considered a hiking trail for experienced hikers, this trek can be done even by beginners with some preparations and guidance.
The total Makalu Base Camp Trek Permits costs an estimated range of USD 1700-1850 per person, which includes two different permits:
In general, the trek to Makalu Base Camp takes more than 20 days. Furthermore, the trail is challenging since you gain more than 5,000 meters in elevation. If not done properly, there are also chances of altitude sickness. Here are the factors which make Makalu Base Camp Trekking a challenging expedition in the Himalayas.
Makalu Base Camp Trek does not rank among the easiest hikes. It takes a lot of dedication and perseverance to reach this natural paradise. With its natural splendor, the Makalu region is an exclusive package of trekking destinations with its remoteness, unpredictable weather, high altitude passes, few trekking amenities, and changing terrain.
Trekkers with prior trekking experience can hike to Makalu Base Camp without much difficulty. However, don’t let your novice status discourage you from trekking. Any experienced trekking agency will manage the trek, assigning a team of guides and porters to ensure that you have the best experience possible. However, being physically fit is necessary to complete the trek without fear. Whether it is your first-time trekking in Nepal, you can succeed with proper preparation.
Depending on Nepal’s altitude and location, the duration and severity of the seasons will vary. Since the winters at high altitudes are longer, the snow doesn’t melt as soon as it falls. Every year, the length of the seasons varies. For instance, in the past, the monsoon would end around mid-September. It has been common for monsoonal rains to extend into October over the last five years.
There is a reason why autumn is considered the best season to trek in Nepal. Skies are clear, and rainfall is low. The days are sunny and pleasant. At night, temperatures won’t drop too far. Even so, the mercury may fall below freezing at night due to the variation in altitude. At altitude, you lose 6°C on average per 1,000 meters. From September to November, high passes are less likely to be blanketed in snow. It is recommended that you pay special attention to the weather on the day of crossing Kauma La, Tutu La, and Keke La due to the unpredictable nature of changing climate in the Himalayas.
Some traces of the monsoon can still be seen in the skies in September. The rain may not fully cease until the final week of September. From Kathmandu to Tumlingtar, rain, fog, and cloud cover can disrupt flight schedules. It’s best to be prepared for the worst. Between the first weeks of October and mid-December is the best time to trek to Makalu Base Camp. However, due to heavy and repeated snowfall in high altitudes during the autumn trekking season of 2019, some high passes remained closed for a few weeks.
Trekking Makalu Base Camp during spring is the second-best time to go. Despite its warmer-than-average temperature, Spring can sometimes bring snowfall to high altitudes. High passes are more likely to be trampled by snow and ice. There is still a good amount of clear sky, so mountain views remain mesmerizing. With summer fast approaching, the temperature continues to rise. During this season, the surroundings are awash with greenery, and a myriad of colors as wildflowers and Rhododendrons are in full bloom.
Snow and rain can still be expected between March and May, even after the winter recedes from the mountains. In 2019, heavy snowfall blocked trekking routes during February and March, and it took longer than expected for them to reopen. That’s why we recommend keeping an eye on the weather forecast before venturing out on a remote trail. It is crucial to stay in touch with your travel agency for weather forecasts before proceeding to high passes in remote areas like Makalu Base Camp, where internet connectivity does not exist.
If you take extra precautions, trekking in Nepal is still possible during the winter or monsoon. To tolerate high and low temperatures and unstable weather conditions. Trekking can be done even in the off-season if you prepare well and use the weather window to cross three passes between days five and eleven. Makalu Base Camp Trek offers you exceptional experiences accompanied by marvelous and outstanding views in each season. Be sure to check the weather forecast in advance to avoid being stuck in the middle of the trail without shelter. It is often a good idea to check with your guide, as well as the teahouse owner, for updates on the weather.
One of the best parts of hiking during the off-season is that the number of trekkers will significantly decrease. Moreover, you will be able to take advantage of cheaper and discounted rates for food and accommodation. If you want to avoid the harsh cold during winter, you can prepare by having extra warm clothes, gear, and a flexible itinerary to avoid sudden weather changes and snowfalls. During winter, high-elevation residents descend to lower terrain. Many tea houses may close during the peak winter season.
The lower altitudes of Nepal experience heavy rainfall during this season. Consequently, flooding and landslides are possible. With the rise in temperatures and the erratic and heavy rain and humid weather, insects such as mosquitoes and leeches can be a nuisance during the trek. While trekking during the monsoon season, you should pack a raincoat, rain boots, rain cover, insect repellent, and heat defender. As in the winter, you can also find special offers and discounts on accommodations and food during this season.
Throughout the year, the Makalu Base Camp trek remains stunning and exciting. It doesn’t matter if you prefer a pleasant climate or if you prefer to experience the extreme weather conditions in the mountains. Makalu Base Camp is always open to visitors.