For people doing the trek to Everest Base Camp, Phakding is a fixed stop on the way, a place to get a good night’s rest and some Sherpa curry right before starting the climb in earnest. It can be reached in about three hours from Lukla, the small village that serves as a gateway to the region and the place everybody flies into to start their adventures. Phakding lies at 2,600 meters and is therefore located at a lower altitude than Lukla and the cozy first days walk through rhododendron and magnolia forests is perfect for slowly adapting to the altitude. There is still agriculture, which can be seen in the terraced fields where wheat and potatoes are grown, mostly though, the area is forested.
The village itself is another settlement with the typical grey stone buildings and bright blue roofs. It is located right next to the icy Dhudh Kosi river, which is also called the “milk river” because of its white, foamy waters. It is here, that trekkers cross the first of many by now modern rope bridges zigzagging over the river. Just like any other village in the area, Phakding is small and everything is handled either on foot via porters of with the big, furry yaks. Everyone you will meet on the way will have something or other tied in big baskets to their backs, their loads usually humbling every traveler they come across. Prayer wheels and flags, tearooms and shops dot the streets and here, travelers might still be able to purchase a roll of toilet paper and stock up on provisions such as chocolate or biscuits before heading on towards more inhospitable conditions.
Please note that Phakding suffered damages from the
earthquakes and subsequent aftershocks in Nepal
in late April and early May 2015. A landslide hit Phakding and destroyed parts of the town, including the
centuries-old monastery nearby. Authorities have said they will do all they can
to restore historic and cultural sites in Nepal and are still assessing the
extent of damages.
Phakding is located in the remote Everest region of Nepal and the only way to get there is by booking the 25 minute flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, followed by a three hour mostly downhill hike to the village.