If you are on the fence about whether or not to book that trip to hike to Everest Base Camp (EBC), or you are simply starting to think about travelling to Nepal, you need to read this.
The area offers so much, and it is certain that you will come back a changed person.
1. Connect with nature and yourself
It is fact that we use our phones and computers way too much and we know that it is not good for our health (physically and mentally). This trek will connect you back with nature and get you away from technology. After five days of no phones, both Jeremy and I had a change of attitude towards technology and our lives. Due to the lack of power you can’t play with your phones at night, so you read a lot, chat, and simply learn to ‘be’ (something we learnt from our guide, who could just sit for hours at a time in the evenings at the teahouses and just be content with what was around him).
2. Witness the beauty of the world
The hike up to EBC is unexpectedly beautiful. Waterfalls, greenery and stunning views from the teahouses. Every day brings something new on the horizon that will make you stop in your tracks just to stare at it a little longer. Your camera will be so full by the end of the trip, so bring that extra memory card.
3. Achieve a dream
Hiking to EBC is up there on a lot of people’s bucket lists. After hiking for eight days the feeling of accomplishment can be amazing. To devote those days to simply reaching one destination (along with the days of training and preparation) makes the achievement so fulfilling in a way that only a true challenge can make you feel.
4. Experience the world’s most dangerous airport
We have all seen the footage of this airport on the TV or YouTube. Flying from Kathmandu to Lukla was a one-off experience. It may not be an exact reason to go to EBC, but it will sure get your adrenaline pumping before you even start the trek. When we landed everyone on our plane clapped and cheered for the pilots, thankful for a safe flight. It was pretty cool.
5. See the world’s tallest mountain (and eight other crazy tall mountains)
That first moment you see Mount Everest it kind of takes your breath away. After hearing so much about this one natural wonder you will be continually asking “is that Everest? Is that Everest” and for the first few days that answer will be “NO”. But when you finally get that “Yes – that is Everest” it is pretty amazing. (There is also a bunch of other awesome mountains here that you will realise look nicer than the tallest one, so you start to appreciate all the mountains).
6. Get fit/lose weight
OK, this was not something we had actually been hoping for, but it was kind of nice when we arrived back at Kathmandu after the hike having lost at least five kilograms each. While hiking, our diets were pretty healthy, mostly eggs, noodles, rice, dahl, potatoes, stew, tea. (You can actually get pizza, burgers, fries but these get less tasty the higher you go). High altitude suppresses your appetite, so often we were walking long days with only small meals due to lack of hunger.
7. Make friends
Most hiking groups are small – couples or families, but all are heading in the same direction and staying in the same towns. Due to the lack of using phones, everybody hangs out in the dining rooms of the teahouses playing cards or reading books (mostly about Mount Everest) and then discussing those books. After bumping into the same people for three days or hearing familiar accents you quickly make friends.
Thamel is the main tourist area of Kathmandu and it is a great place to hang out! Cafes, Bars, cheap drinks, great tourist attractions like the Monkey Temple (real name is Swayambhunath Temple), Durbar Square and Pashupatinath Temple. This is also the place to stock up on snacks for the trek and cheap (fake) trekking gear. Strangely there was a lot of (good) Italian pizza restaurants which we didn’t say no to!
9. Namche Bazaar
You will arrive at this small town on day two of the hike and it doesn’t disappoint. When I say ‘small’, it is the largest trading area in this region, so it is a metropolis comparatively, but houses only around 2000 locals. You can buy anything here that you may have forgotten, like extra shoelaces, sunglasses, more books, and a bunch of chocolate bars. There are many cafes and bars here to hang out in. We loved Java Himalaya – free WIFI and charging points, and then the best brownie I have ever tasted. Grab a book and hunker down for the afternoon.
10. Hiking in Luxury
If you are the type of person that loves hiking but hates sleeping in tents, then this is the trip for you! The teahouses are warm and cozy and provide decent meals. Porters are also so much a part of the community that it is strange NOT to have a porter help with your gear.
If you are a beginner hiker or an experienced trekker you will love the EBC hike. It can be made easy for the beginners by going a little slower or a little harder by adding on a few days to see the lakes.
Make sure you check out the complete highs and lows of our journey on the detailed diary about our experience hiking to Everest Base Camp.