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!
* Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase through the links provided, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting the work I put into TripTins!
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:
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.
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!
- Hiking Socks: Darn Tough Merino Wool Crew Mens | Darn Tough Merino Wool Crew Womens
- Hiking Pants: Eddie Bauer Men’s Guide Pro Pants | Eddie Bauer Women’s Guide Pro Pants
- Fleece: Columbia Men’s Ascender Softshell | Columbia Women’s Kruser Ridge II Softshell
- Rain Jacket: Columbia Men’s Watertight II | Columbia Women’s Arcadia II
- Hiking Shoes: KEEN Men’s Targhee III | KEEN Women’s Targhee III
- Hiking Backpack: Osprey Atmos 65 | Osprey Renn 65
- Trekking Map | NatGeo Waterproof Map
- Solar Power Bank | Anker 20,000mAh Solar Power Bank
- Deodorizing Body Wipes | Alcala Bamboo Deodorizing Body Wipes
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.
Considering travel insurance for the Everest Base Camp Trek?
World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 adventure activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.
For years, World Nomads has been protecting, connecting & inspiring independent travelers, offering travel insurance & safety advice to help you travel confidently. Their mission is to support and encourage travelers to explore their boundaries.
World Nomads has simple and flexible travel insurance that has been designed by travelers for travelers. Even if you leave home without travel insurance or your policy runs out, you can buy or extend out on the road.
Get a quote for a World Nomads travel insurance policy today!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 4 – Namche Bazaar to Tengboche
Day 5 – Tengboche to Dingboche
Day 6 – Nangkartshang Acclimatization
Day 7 – Dingboche to Lobuche
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.