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Lukla to Phakding | Everest Base Camp Trek Day 1

Lukla to Phakding | Everest Base Camp Trek Day 1

The Everest Base Camp trek is one of the most iconic multi day treks in the world. This 11 day trek from the small town of Lukla to Everest Base Camp and back will have you hiking next to valleys, rivers, villages, mountainsides, glaciers and more.

I am putting together day by day guides for the trek so you will have a better understanding of what to expect on a daily basis and how to best prepare for your time in the Himalayas. The following guide will walk you through the first day of the Everest Base Camp trek.

Out of the 11 day Everest Base Camp trek, this will be your easiest and one of the shortest days of trekking. But it is a perfect way to begin getting used to the altitude and the trail terrain in general. Read on to learn more!

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1) Lukla to Phakding Overview

After flying out from Kathmandu, you will soon arrive at the Tenzing Hillary Airport in the mountain town of Lukla (note that flights sometimes only depart from Ramechhap, a 5-6 hour drive from Kathmandu).

Once you arrive, it is time for your first day of hiking as you make your way from Lukla to Phakding.

Below are some quick stats about the Lukla to Phakding trekking experience:

Everest Base Camp Trek Day 1: Lukla to Phakding

Starting Point: Lukla

Lukla Elevation: 9,318 feet / 2,840 meters

Ending Point: Phakding

Phakding Elevation: 8,563 feet / 2,610 meters

Distance: 5.1 miles / 8.2 kilometers

Duration: 3 hours

Elevation Gain: 909 feet / 277 meters

Net Elevation Gain: -755 feet / -230 meters

» Elevation gain is the true amount of elevation gained for the portion of the trail. Net elevation is just the difference in elevation between Lukla and Phakding.

» Learn more about the day by day distances, elevations, and durations of the Everest Base Camp Trek.

» Read more about the Kathmandu to Lukla Flight experience before heading out

2) Lukla to Phakding Elevation Profile

As you can see, although there will be an elevation loss on the first day (since Phakding is lower than Lukla), you still will still be gaining 909 feet of elevation during day 1 of the trek.

Below is the elevation profile of the Lukla to Phakding hiking trail:

Lukla to Phakding Elevation Profile

3) Everest Base Camp Trek Day 1 Map

Below is a satellite map view of the route from Lukla to Phakding to give you a bit better idea of what the route will look like.

You will start down below in Lukla before heading into the valley up above and along the river as you make your way to Phakding.

Lukla to Phakding Map

4) Everest Base Camp Trek Packing List

You will want to pack accordingly for this 11 day trek in the Himalayas. I put together a complete Everest Base Camp Packing List that goes over every single item I brought along on the trail.

On the first day on the trail, I started early in the AM right after I landed, when it was still a bit chilly. But soon enough I was just in a t-shirt and shorts (even in November!). Believe me though, you will need those layers very soon!

Everest Trek Packing List

5) Arriving in Lukla

Once you arrive in Lukla, you can head down the main street, past the airport viewing area, and then grab some food at one of the restaurants / teahouses if you haven’t eaten already.

From there, as you continue down the main street you will come by the Khumbu Pasanglhamu Rural Municipality Office. Here you will need to purchase the first out of your two permits for the region.

The permit fee is Rs 2000 or about $17 USD. All you need to show here is your passport, and they will fill out the permit, which you must hold onto for the duration of the trek.

Khumbu Pasanglhamu Rural Municipality Permit

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6) Lukla to Phakding Trekking

As you can see from the elevation profile above, most of this portion of trail will be downhill, however you will come across some short uphill sections sprawled throughout the trail too.

The trail will be a mix between dirt, stone pathways, and some rocky sections as well. From a technical standpoint though it is a pretty easy portion of trail to maneuver and. you should have no trouble getting yourself along.

Lukla Nepal Trek

What I loved about the trek in general is although you will be staying in some of the more well known villages during the duration of your time in the region, you will also be passing by countless smaller villages as well.

These villages will just be made up of a few buildings here and there but it is always great to see and interact with the locals throughout the trail.

Phakding Hiking

Since Lukla to Phakding is on the lower portion of the trail, you will see way more greenery all around you. There will be plenty of trees and fauna with some mountains peeking out in the distance.

Also, be sure to look out for all the various animals that will be carrying supplies out and back from Lukla. This is true for the entirety of the trail but you will see plenty of yak, donkeys, horses, and more.

Lukla to Phakding Stupa

Lastly, you will also come across a few shorter suspension bridges from time to time (with plenty more to come on day 2).

As you approach Phakding you will get some great views of the Dhudh Kosi River as well before making it into the main town area.

Once you arrive go find a place to stay, have some lunch, and just relax for the remainder of the afternoon. You will have a big day 2 ahead!

Lukla to Phakding Trail
Lukla to Phakding Suspension Bridge

7) Phakding Teahouse / Accommodation

I wouldn’t overthink your accommodation choices too much on the trail in general. I found all the places I stayed at pretty much the same give or take.

Essentially, rooms will cost Rs 500 (less than $5 USD) for the most part, given you eat your meals at the teahouse as well.

In Phakding I stayed at the Trekker’s Lodge & Restaurant located in the middle of town. Some other options to choose from include Shangri-La, Green Village Guest House, and Royal Sherpa Resort, among several others.

Phakding Village
Trekkers Lodge and Restaurant Phakding

Take a look at this in depth overview of the Everest Base Camp Trek as well as the below guides I put together for each day of the journey:

Day 1 – Lukla to Phakding

Day 2 – Phakding to Namche Bazaar

Day 3 – Hotel Everest View Acclimatization

Day 4 – Namche Bazaar to Tengboche

Day 5 – Tengboche to Dingboche

Day 6 – Nangkartshang Acclimatization

Day 7 – Dingboche to Lobuche

Day 8 – Lobuche to Gorak Shep & Everest Base Camp

Day 9 – Kalapathar & Gorak Shep to Pheriche

Day 10 – Pheriche to Namche Bazaar

Day 11 – Namche Bazaar to Lukla

That about does it for day 1 of the Everest Base Camp trek. If you have any questions about the day or the trail in general, write them in below.

Be sure to check out the other Nepal itineraries and guides up on the site (like why I would recommend an Everest Base Camp Trek in November). Have fun out there and safe travels.

Lukla to Phakding Everest Base Camp Trek

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Thursday 24th of November 2022

I think what you also need to communicate to people planning on flying from Kathmandu-Lukla in peak trekking seasons - the flights DO NOT depart from Kathmandu! The flights actually depart from Ramechamp airport about a 4.5hour drive from Kathmandu - due to air traffic congestion at Kathamndu airport. This has been the case for a few years now. So departure by minibus from Thamel/Kathmandu along rough roads is at 2:00am to arrive at Ramechamp at about 6:30am. Many trekkers are still unaware of this until they first arrive in Kathamndu!


Saturday 7th of January 2023

@Charles, I just got back from EBC in Dec and we flew from Ramechapp as this person described. So it's still happening.


Sunday 27th of November 2022

Hi Stew - this was the case at one point and then the flights once again returned to Kathmandu. Good to know that may not still be the case today. Hope you enjoy your trip!