Although Makalu is the fifth highest mountain in the world at 8481m, the trek to its base camp is a less-frequented route due to its relative inaccessibility. However, if you are an adventurous trekker looking for a trek off-the-beaten path, then it’s not too hard to reach! There are daily flights to Tumlingtar, a few hours’ drive from the trailhead, and basic lodges along the way.
The Makalu Base Camp trek is an ideal trek for nature-loving trekkers who want to experience a variety of landscapes and cultures, as well as uncommon views of some of the world’s tallest mountains, including Everest.
The trek starts in warm, terraced farmland inhabited by the Rai people, an ethnic group found predominantly in the hills of eastern Nepal. As the route ascends, you will pass through rhododendron forests (most impressive in the spring, when the flowers bloom amazing red, purple, pink and white) and cloud forests, through some of the last areas of pristine forest and alpine meadows in Nepal.
Deeper into the mountains, past the Barun River Valley, you will pass steep granite cliffs, glaciers, and spectacular waterfalls. At the higher elevations live the Sherpa people, an ethnically Tibetan group who predominantly reside near Everest.
From Makalu base camp, there are spectacular views of the rarely seen Kangshung face of Everest, as well as Lhotse, Chamlang, and Kanchenjunga in the far east. The Makalu Barun National Park is the eighth largest in Nepal, covering 2,330 sq. km, and is home to some of the rarest flora and fauna in Nepal, including the red panda.