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Follow us to Everest - Day 1, Lukla to Phakding

Updated: Apr 23, 2018

And so the adventure begins.......

It's an early start for the Lukla flight, very early. Traditionally the weather tends to be a bit better in the early mornings and, as the pilot definitely needs to be able to see where he/she is going, the clearer the better.

Before the flight though you need to go through the domestic terminal of the airport, so just a word of warning here, it can be even more chaotic than your arrival. If you can have the agent who booked your flights here with you it is easier to try and wade through it a bit more easily. If you are with a group the likliehood is they will weigh all your baggage together. Put all your trekking poles together in one bag for the hold, and the usual no sharps. They do have a system, it just doesn't always look like it!

These flights can somtimes be delayed by many hours, or just be cancelled. Sometimes it looks fine outside but Lulka is clouded in so the flight won't go. Fog in Kathmandu can also stop it. Once you actually see the airstrip, from the air, you will be glad they waited till it was clear!

They do say that Lukla is one of the scariest airports in the world. If you really want to have a look at it before you depart you can view it here They really don't mess about!.

But at least it has a hard surface on it now:

Lukla airport before they tarred the runway

If you have enough time though, it is possible to walk to Lukla, from Jiri, in six days, and it is a truly fantastic walk. It is very different from Lukla up to EBC, more agricultural, more wooded and with just glimpses of high snowy peaks from time to time. It is harder physically I think than the top section to EBC as crosses many major river valleys. But.... another time.

Once you finally get on the tiny plane, the flight itself is amazing, if a bit scary, and flies over the walking route in. As you come into land, if you still have your eyes open, the views of the high mountains are spectacular.

Once you land, if you have a copy of our app, and open it up, you will see yourself located at the airport.

It is a great feeling to suddenly be able to see yourself on the map. I am actually here!

Once you have collected your luggage, most people stop in Lukla for a coffee or a second breakfast. Have a wander up round the top of the airstrip and into the main street where there are loads of lodges and cafes and just look for a place you like.

Almost certainly, you will find it a bit cooler here so make sure you have something warm handy and not at the bottom of your rucksack or in your trek bag, which will probably already have departed for Phakding with your porters.

And so it finally begins. As you leave the bustle of Kathmandu and Lukla behind and walk through the Lukla gate. You are finally on your way. The calm after the storm is finally coming.

You will be follwing a big path all the way and it is mostly downhill to Phakding. It is a very nice walk, although it can be busy with local people and other travellers, if you are there in the high season of April or October. But it is good to get your legs working and take lots of time and photos along the way. New views unravel with every twist of the path.

Many of the villages seem to run into one another now, Cheplung, Thado and Ghat. There is no shortage of places to stop for tea.

At the end of the village of Ghat you will pass through a beautiful area of carefully painted prayer stones, colourful prayer wheels, large stupas and giant painted prayer rocks. Worth a stop here if you haven't already. And always walk to the left of the mani stones and walls.

It only takes about three to four hours to get to Phakding from Lukla. so after such an early start you can afford to be leisurely.

Phakding is quite long and spread out and goes across the river where, if you want a bit more peace and quiet there are more lodges.

We don't generally recommend lodges on this trek as what happens is that everyone goes to the recommended lodges, and they are busy and noisy, and some of the newer or more beautiful ones lie empty; but mostly as it is not good economically for the villagers to have everyone go to one or two lodges. Just walk through and find one you like. Most of the menus and accommodations are pretty similar. If you have a porter or a guide with you they will most likely have their favorite one they always go to.

If you are there right now, or are going in October, most of the lodges will be busy.

You might just fancy a quiet evening after the excitement of the day, but if you still have a bit of energy left you might just like a walk up to Phakding (Thaktul) monastery. It is not far, just across the bridge and up the hill a bit (steep in places). You can just see it up the hill in the trees as you go over the bridge.

Tap for slideshow:

Enjoy your evening though, as tomorrow it is up the big hill to Namche Bazar.

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