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Makalu Base Camp Trek - Permits, Operators, Prices & Itinerary

Makalu, the fifth-highest mountain measures around 8,480 metres, the mountain lies at the border of Nepal and Tibet Autonomous Region, China. Located 19km to the south-east of Mt. Everest, this mountain is a part of the Mahalangur Himalayan range. Makalu Base camp, which is also known as Makalu Barun National Park, is located at the height of 5250 metres. 
Trek Duration: 23 to 24 days
Difficulty Level: Challenging. Only recommended for experienced trekkers.
Starting Point: The trek starts from the Tumlingtar village in the Sankhuwasabha District of Nepal. 
Best Time to Take the Makalu Base Camp Trek 
1. Spring Season: It is from March to May.
2. Autumn season: It is from September to November.

Temperature in the Region: The temperature during the trek varies a lot depending on the altitude and time of the day. At lower altitudes, the temperature ranges between 25°C to 5°C and on higher altitudes, it ranges between 15°C to -15°C.

How to Reach: If you are not from India, then you will be required to have a visa for Nepal. For others, you can easily obtain a visa when you land in Kathmandu. You can find all the details regarding the Nepal visa here.

Why Do The Makalu Base Camp Trek

Makalu Base Camp Trek
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1. The trek to this camp is a beauty to behold, where you will get a chance to experience the life of the Sherpa, Limbu, Magar and Tamang communities. 
2. During the trek, one will also catch a glimpse of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Chamlang and Baruntse. 
3. The high altitude terrains and beautiful landscapes will leave you astounded. The lower parts of this trek flaunt beautiful forests while upper regions are all polished granite cliffs and snow-capped peaks. 
4. The biodiversity in this region is vast with more than 3000 species of plants and 1000 species of animals; it is a nature lover’s heaven.

Permits Required

Makalu Base Camp Trek
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For the Makalu Base Camp trek, you will be needing the Makalu Barun National Park Permit and a Trekkers’ Information Management Systems (TIMS) Card. For the Park permit, you will need to go to the Nepal Tourism Board, and you will easily be able to get your permit. For the card, you will have to go to Pokhara or Kathmandu. Most of the trekking company include this permit in their package, so you don't have to worry. If you wish to go trekking independently, then the group should have at least two members to get the permit. Moreover, it is not advisable to take this trek with a small group as it is said that there are bandits in this region. Please consult a professional before going.

Best Trek Operators for Malau Base Camp Trek

Makalu Base Camp Trek
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There are several service providers available for you to choose from, but before booking, make sure it is an authorised trekking agency. 

1. Mount Adventure Holidays

This Kathmandu based tour operator has been reviewed to have five stars by many travellers. Their itinerary is of 12 days, required permits, meals and lodging in Nepal and during the trek are included in the price. But the international flights, Nepal visa and
Price:  USD 1500= IDR 1,04,420.
Services Provided: They provide free cancellation, guides who speak English and Hindi, and private tour services. The minimum number of people for a private tour is two.

2. Sherpa Expedition and Trekking Pvt. Ltd.

One of the best trekking agencies in Nepal, their itinerary is of 21 days and also includes airport pickup and return for your international flights and tour tickets for monuments in Kathmandu. The price is inclusive of food and food and lodging from the moment you land in Nepal, except for Lunch and Dinner in Kathmandu. For complete itineraries and details, you may check their website. They also provide a private tour for a minimum group of two.
Price: USD 1800= INR 1,25,394.
Services Provided: They provide hotel lodging wherever possible and a twin sharing tent everywhere else. A guide fluent in English and porters if needed will accompany you on the Makalu Base Camp trek. 

3. Adventure Bound 

With an itinerary of 21-22 days, Adventure Bound is a trustable trekking agency which has excellent reviews and testimonials by the customers. They have the option of free cancellation and private tours as well. The price is inclusive of a three day, two nights stay in Kathmandu, airport pickup and return, food and lodging during the trek.  Their itinerary includes a short tour of Kathmandu as well. But they do not cover the price of your international flights and porters. 
Prices: USD 1950= INR 1,35,822
Services Provided: All travelling via flight or by road in Nepal, permits required for this trek, a government licensed guide and basic trekking equipment. 

4. Nepal Eco Adventure Private Limited

The itinerary of this agency is of 17 days, and you can easily make a booking online. The guides are fluent in English and Nepali, but they do not provide lodging in Kathmandu. All other expenses starting from the flight to Tumlingtar, including food and lodging, is included in the price. They have an age range between 5 to 79 years.
Price: USD 1,700 = INR 11,83,888
Services Provided: Cooking services, porter services if required and permits required. Emergency Helicopter Services if required and some basic trekking equipment.

5. Makalu Adventure 

They have an itinerary of 22 days; this travel agency conducts this tour in groups of two to 16 members. They have dedicated a full day sightseeing in Kathmandu and acclimatising. Moreover, they provide breaks and rest days in between the trek as well. It is an ideal package for those who are not familiar with trekking for such long distances.
Price: USD 1775 = INR 1,23,437. 
Services Provided: The company provides you with an authorised guide and porters if required.

Food and Lodging

Lodging, Makalu Base Camp Trek
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Trekking companies generally provide food. A cook is present on the campsite or travels with you. Along with three-course meals, most companies also keep a stash of tea, coffee, chocolate, Pringles and some other things depending upon your wish.

During the Makalu Base Camp trek, you will mostly have to stay in a tent or teahouses. The tents provided by most of the companies are twin sharing. Ensure that the tents are of good quality and able to withstand all sorts of weather conditions. In Kathmandu and wherever possible you might get a chance to stay in a proper hotel. 

Approximate Itinerary

We have prepared an approximate itinerary for the Makalu Base Camp which will give aspiring trekkers an idea of the places they'll be visiting in the expedition and the various durations. This itinerary has been set by the camp operators in the region.

Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal and check-in at the hotel
Day 2: Visit Kathmandu's beautiful attractions and warm-up for the trek
Day 3: Commence the trek. From Kathmandu airport, you will fly to Tumlingtar (518m). After which you'll trek to Khadbari (1025m) where we'll camp at Mani Bhanjyang and stay the night at the town. 
Day 4: Khadbari to Chichila (1,800m) where we'll stay overnight. 
Day 5: Chichile to Num (1,500m)
Day 6: Num to Seduwa (1,493m) where we set up camp at a nearby village
Day 7: Seduwa to Tashi Gaun (2,200m)
Day 8: Tashi Gaun to Kahuma Danda (3,500m)
Day 9: Kahuma Danda to Mumbuk (3,400m)
Day 10: Mumbuk to Nehe Kharka (3,750m)
Day 11: Nehe Kharka to Sherson (4,600m)
Day 12: A leisure day at Sherson to explore the place
Day 13: Sherson to Yangri Kharka (3,645m)
Day 14: Yangri Kharka to Mumbuk (3,400m)
Day 15: Mumbuk to Kahuma Danda (3,500m)
Day 16: Kahuma Danda to Navagaun (2,500m) via Tashi Gaun
Day 17: Navagaun to Num via Seduwa
Day 18: Num to Chichile (1,800m)
Day 19: Chichile to Khadbari
Day 20: Khadbari to Tumlingtar (400m). This is the last leg of the trek
Day 21: Fly from Tumlingtar to Kathmandu
Day 22: Spend a day relaxing in Kathmandu
Day 23: Take a flight back to your hometown.

Tips to Remember Before Doing the Makalu Base Camp Trek

1. Considering, the terrain and difficulty level of this trek, it is advisable to get medical insurance. There are several medical hazards to be considered, such as Japanese encephalitis, rabies, influenza and Tuberculosis, to mention a few.
It is best to consult your doctor about all the necessary vaccinations before taking the trek.
2. This is a long strenuous trek which requires you to have the right fitness level and preferably experience of having taken long treks.
3. Acclimatisation is essential, especially in a trek where the conditions change so rapidly as you ascend further. While booking a trek, make sure that they give you enough time to acclimatise.
4. No matter your fitness level, one can easily contract a high altitude illness, it is, therefore, best to be aware of them and their symptoms.
These include AMS (acute mountain sickness) symptoms for this are tiredness, dizziness, vomiting and poor sleep. HACE (high altitude cerebral oedema), it is the next stage after AMS and can include severe headaches. HAPE (high altitude pulmonary oedema)  in this illness you may have fluid in your lungs, the symptoms are tiredness and breathlessness. The symptoms usually start 24-48 hours later.
5. Most of the trekking companies have a complete itinerary available on their websites. Before booking, make sure that you are agreeable to every element of this itinerary. Most sites have the option of customising your trip if you are taking a private tour.
6. While booking a trek, confirm with them if they provide you helicopter rescue services in case of an emergency.

Makalu Base Camp trek is an amazing and exhilarating experience which you should not miss, but make sure that you are well prepared for this trek before you take on this mountain.

This post was published by Ananya Sinha