Phakding is a small village in the Everest region. It’s one of the first places that many hikers stop on the Everest Base Camp trek. Situated at 8,530 feet (2,600 meters), it’s at a lower elevation than Lukla—where the airport is—and thus an ideal place to acclimatize before heading higher into the mountains.
A roughly 3-hour hike from Lukla—Phakding is a natural stopping point on the first day of the Everest Base Camp hike. The walk there from Lukla is pleasant and relatively easy, through rhododendron forests and farming villages, and is a good way to acclimatize to the higher altitudes of the Khumbu region. The village itself is typical of the area, dominated by ethnic Sherpa people, with stone houses and hikers’ teahouses.
Most hikers pass through or stop at Phakding on the Everest Base Camp trek, although there are lots of other hiking options in the area. These include the Gokyo Lakes hike, the Three High Passes hike, and the shorter Everest Panorama hike.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Depending upon time of arrival in Lukla, as well as your general fitness level, it may not be necessary to stop overnight in Phakding.
- Learn the signs of altitude sickness before heading out to the Everest region, and be prepared to head back to lower elevation if they appear.
- While there are many lodges (or teahouses) to stay at in Phakding and other settlements nearby, these fill up fast in the peak season. Hiking with a guide is the safest way and will guarantee you a place to sleep.
How to Get There
Hiking is the only way to reach Phakding. Fly to Lukla from Kathmandu (a spectacular and nail-biting flight of about 30 minutes) and then hike a gradual slope down to the village.
When to Get There
Peak hiking season in the Everest region, like most of Nepal, is spring (March–May) and fall (September–November). The weather at low and medium altitudes is warm, and skies usually clear. Hiking in winter (December–February) is possible as long as you are well prepared for the cold. Monsoon season hiking (June–August) is not advised.
If money is not an object but time or mobility is, consider taking a helicopter tour of the Everest region. It’s a spectacular and unforgettable way to see the landscape change from the green foothills of the Himalayas to the icy, barren landscape of Everest Base Camp. Helicopters can be chartered in Kathmandu.