Lukla – The Gateway of Everest Trekking
Lukla, a resort town with picturesque nature, is located in the Khumbu valley of Eastern Nepal near the foot of the highest mountain on the planet- Everest. It is the best destination for those full of courage and ready to challenge the highest peak.
Lukla is the gateway to Mount Everest and a transit point to 150 other mountains. It also attracts avid climbers and those who like to hike and bungee jump from a height of more than a hundred meters. Likewise, tourists can also descend into canyons, raft on a rough river, Ride Mountain bikes, and fly on paragliders.
It also offers a fantastic opportunity to see Buddhist Monasteries and temples, visit villages, plunge into the indescribable beauty of wildlife and touch the mysterious atmosphere of the Asian world. Majestic peace and lack of fuss – that’s what will please the eye and thoughts in Lukla.
The best time to visit Lukla is spring or autumn. Winter is also a good option for those who love snowy landscapes. But summer is not suitable for a long-awaited trip to Lukla – the heat and seasonal rains can reduce all hopes for Himalayan happiness to nothing.
It will take around two weeks to complete the Everest Base Camp quickly. If you go slowly, admiring nature and enjoying every breath and step, as well as visiting Lake Gokyo, it will take three weeks.
Lukla Airport is familiar to the world as one of the most dangerous and thrilling airports in the world. New Zealand mountaineer Edmund Hillary built Lukla airport in 1964 as a gift to locals of the isolated Solukhumbu region.
In January 2008, Sir Hillary passed away, and the name was changed to Tenzing-Hillary Airport in commemoration of the world’s first climber of Everest. It is high in the mountains at an altitude of 2846 m above sea level with a single runway of 527 m in length.
The air in the airfield is rarefied, which reduces the engine thrust and wing lift of any aircraft. The single airport runway has a noticeable upward slope of 12%. That is, one end of the strip is 60 meters higher than the other: the height of a twenty-story building. Naturally, planes are allowed here only with short takeoff and landing periods.
Features that make Lukla Airport most Adventurous
- It has a single runway that is only 527 m long.
- One end of the runway is a wall; the other is a 600 m deep abyss, so pilots have only one attempt to take off and land.
- Weather conditions are unpredictable, and pilots rely on their eyesight and knowledge of the terrain. There are no autopilot opportunities.
- Flights usually occur between 6 and 9 a.m., rarely later in the day, and never at night because there is no lighting or signaling.
- Only small airplanes can land at the airport.
- Pilots must have special training just for this flight.
Although notorious for its treacherous nature around the world, it is one of the busiest domestic airports in Nepal, receiving an average annual flow of 25,000 to 30,000 tourists.
In addition to airplanes, helicopters also land here. Each passenger should have a few days to spare since flights are possible only in good weather. It is also wise to purchase tickets for a fixed date rather than an open one since the first tickets are prioritized at the airport terminal.
Lukla to Everest Base Camp
Trekking from Lukla to Everest Base Camp is a prestigious and easy trip available to any healthy person that can take between 11 to 14 days with six to seven hours of daily hiking. The path will pass through the most famous mountainous provinces of Nepal to the Everest region:
Phakding – Namche Bazaar – Kumjung – Tengboche – Dingboche – Nangkartshang – Lobuche – Gorak Shep – Everest Base Camp.
You must stay at Namche and Dingboche for 2 nights to acclimate your body. You can fly back to Kathmandu or Lukla from Kala Patthar. It saves you 3-4 days. Dense groves of magnolias and rhododendrons often bury the tracks. And in these parts, a rare, valuable species is the musk deer.
The route is not technically challenging, and on large and old mountain trails, there are benches for rest every 15-20 minutes. In some places, the trails are architectural structures – works of centuries. Many kilometers of the trail are carefully paved with reliable stone slabs.
Likewise, overnight stays in small mountain hotels with periodic acclimatization will make your trip meaningful for a lifetime. The route is deservedly one of the five most beautiful on the planet. Concentrated impressions and emotions will help you forget the problems of everyday life, immerse yourself in a meditative calm, and find harmony with the world.
Kathmandu to Lukla Flight
Kathmandu to Lukla Flight on a small aircraft is much faster, giving you the adrenaline rush when landing at the most challenging airport in the world. However, the weather in Lukla is unpredictable, so flights to Lukla mainly occur early in the morning when there is no cloud haze. Therefore, planes fly to Lukla in flocks: they arrive one after another, land, and do not even turn off the engines.
Tara Air, Sita Air, and Summit Air operate flights from Kathmandu. Small twin-engine planes fly to Lukla Airport, accommodating 10 to 20 people. The cost of a round-trip flight for all airlines is almost the same – about $380 per person. The helicopter option is expensive, charging $500 per person on a sharing basis and $2500 to $2800 per person for a private helicopter flight. This includes your airport transfers and airport tax.
However, pricing depends on the month of departure. During the peak season, such as in autumn and spring, the flight charges can be expensive, so it is advisable to book tickets in advance. Additionally, if you plan to fly back from Lukla to Kathmandu, it is wise to buy two-way tickets. If you have a ticket from Lukla to Kathmandu in your hands, you need to confirm your departure the day before your departure date in the sense of registering. You can buy tickets online on the airline’s website or by going to one of the travel agencies in Kathmandu.