How to go from kathmandu to Lukla (2023)

Lukla is the gateway to the Khumbu Region and Mt Everest. It is from here that mountaineering expeditions and trekking adventures start. There are only two ways to reach Lukla – by air or foot.

Flying into Lukla

Fixed-wing flights fly from Ramechhap Airport in the eastern part of lowland Nepal. Lying around 4 hour drive from Kathmandu, those people taking the early morning flight from Ramechhap to Lukla have to leave from Kathmandu around 1 or 2 am in the morning.

Currently, there are very few accommodation options in the Ramecchap area, so it is not advisable to go the day before. We anticipate this will change in the future and will advise you.

Lukla Tenzing Hillary Airport

How to go from kathmandu to Lukla (1)

Lukla Airport was renamed the Tenzing Hillary Airport in 2008. Which was the year Sir Edmund died. Although Tenzing Norgay died two decades earlier, the airport was named after him in recognition of him being the first to summit Everest in 1953, along with Hillary. The bond between the airport and Sir Edmund began long before that. It was his idea to build the airport at Lukla to give the local communities better access to the outside world.

In 1964 the airport was built under the direction and funding of Sir Edmund. In 2001 it was paved and became what it is today. Looking back to 1964, Hillary could not have imagined the number of tourists and adventurers who would use that airport.

Flight Options: Airlines and Ticket Booking

There are a number of airlines that fly into Lukla, namely:

  • Tara Air
  • Summit Air
  • Sita Air
  • Nepal Airlines

The most reliable airline is Tara Air, a subsidiary of Yeti Airlines, a leading domestic carrier that has resorts in the Everest Region and other parts of the country.

All airlines use propeller planes on this route.

If you are trekking with us, we will arrange your flight tickets, and your guide will accompany you on the flight.

If you are flying independently, you can book your ticket online or through a travel agency.

Weather Conditions and Flight Delays/Cancellations

Everest region is well known for its unpredictable weather. Weather conditions can change very quickly and are often extreme. Strong winds and poor visibility are real hazards. Only operating with VFR (visual flight rules), pilots often have to make instant decisions regarding take-off and landing. Pilots fly by sight rather than radar, so it is impossible to fly during the night. This brings about longer delays as flying time is limited to daylight hours. Morning flights are preferred again due to visibility and weather conditions.

Unfortunately, because of the weather, flights are often delayed. These delays can extend over several days, and it is not unusual for Lukla to become extremely busy with trekkers waiting to fly out.

And, again, unfortunately, there is nothing anyone can do about this. There may be the option of flying out by helicopter if the weather is not too incremental. We will provide more information on this below.

We always suggest to our clients that they leave 2 or 3 contingency days between scheduled departure from Lukla and international departures in case of such delays. Please also ensure your insurance covers longer delays in case this happens.

**On another but related note, please bring extra supplies of any vital medicines with you on your trek in case of delays. **

Navigating Tenzing-Hillary Airport: Safety and Facilities

The short runway at high altitudes and tough weather conditions make, as we said, a challenge for pilots. The pilots flying in this region are experienced in flying under these conditions and take safety very seriously.

Once you have survived the possible turbulent flight with amazing views of the Himalayas and the breathtaking landing on the steep and short runway, step down into an ancient land of iconic mountains. The airport is small, and once you have unloaded your bags and passed them on to the porters, you can finally look around you at this amazingly busy airstrip.

Lukla Airport holds significant importance for the region. Locals use it to bring in their goods and transport people who need hospital attention downhill. It also brings in vast numbers of trekkers and mountaineers who bring income to the local communities, create jobs, and improve development and facilities.

Likewise, the airport not only provides a lifeline for emergencies among the locals, but it is also important for rescue operations relating to climbers and trekkers.

World’s Most Dangerous Airport

Why is Lukla known as one of the most dangerous airports in the world, if not the most dangerous? While it is not the highest airport in the world, it is situated high among vast mountains, which impacts pilots’ ability to maneuver the plane. In other words, there is no room for error.

The runway is very short (527m / 1,729 ft), leaving no margin for error. And with its steep gradient, the runway has an uphill slope during landing and a downhill slope during take-off. Again, making the pilot’s job harder. Finally, there is unpredictable weather, as we have already discussed.

Like the impact of altitude on the human body, the reduced air density in this high-altitude airport can impact the engine power when taking off. This also impacts the type of aircraft that can safely be flown here.

Alternative Routes to Lukla

Trekking/driving in

For those who do not want to fly into Lukla, wish to extend their trip, or even wish to follow the footsteps of the early adventurers who did not have access to an airstrip, it is possible to go by road and trek into Lukla.

It is possible to take a vehicle, most likely a private jeep, from Kathmandu to Phaphlu, which takes 9 or 10 hours. Overnight at Phaphlu, then travel another 5 to 6 hours to Thamdanda. In very recent days, it has become possible, in the dry season, to drive from Thamdanda to Phakding, taking around 6 to 7 hours. This route misses out on Lukla entirely to bring you out at Phakding.

If you want to visit Lukla, leave the jeep at Thamdanda and trek into Lukla, then the next day on to Phakding and the rest of the ECB Trek route.

The route that Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay would have taken was to drive from Kathmandu to Jiri and start trekking. That route takes approximately eight days to reach Lukla.

Helicopter Transfers: A Luxury Option

It is now possible to ride a helicopter into the Everest Region. There are many options regarding flights. And there are two ways to book your flight: book a seat on a shared flight or hire the whole helicopter.

If you are buying a seat on a group or shared flight, the most popular, and therefore the easiest, flights to get are from Kathmandu to Lukla (and back) or from Kathmandu/Lukla to Gorakshep. These are subject to demand, and while more helicopters are running in the busy spring and autumn seasons, there is also high demand.

If you wish to charter a helicopter, it is possible (subject to weather conditions) to land at other sites. Please see here for more information.

We recommend that if you are doing the EBC Trek and wish to go by helicopter, you fly into Lukla from Kathmandu by helicopter. If you wish to do a shorter trek, you could fly out of Gorakshep back to Lukla to save a few days of the downhill trek. Then the options would be a fixed plane out of Lukla to Ramechhap or a helicopter out of Lukla to Kathmandu.

**All helicopter flights and tours are subject to availability and should be booked well in advance.**

Tips for a Smooth Arrival in Lukla

Permits and Documentation Required

You require permits to trek in the Khumbu (Everest) Region. These are:

Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality Entrance Permit:

The local government of the Khumbu Region collects Rs 2,000 per person. This permit can be obtained in Lukla or Monjo. You cannot buy this permit in Kathmandu.

**Monies raised through this permit directly benefit the development and people of the Khumbu region.**

Sagarmatha National Park Entry Permit:

Obtainable in the Nepal Tourism Board office in Kathmandu or Monjo at the Park entrance gate, costing Nrs3,000 per person.

Additional Permit for Jiri to Everest Base Camp Trek:

If you are trekking in from Jiri (or driving up to Phadking), you also need a Gaurishankar Conservation Area permit for Rs3,000 per person and obtainable at the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu.

Everest Base Camp Helicopter Tour Permits:

The same permits are required if you take the Everest Base Camp helicopter tour.

Required Documents for Trekking Permits

To obtain the above permits, you will need to provide your passport details (bring photocopies). For the Gaurishankar Conservation Area permit, you will also need to bring two photographs and fill up a form.

Important Facts and Tips to getting there in Lukla for Everest Base Camp Trek

The above permit fees are payable in local currency only.

If you are trekking with us or another trekking agency, the agency will organize the permits for you.

Exploring Lukla: Attractions, Lodging, and Dining

Most people land in Lukla and head off straight away to their first overnight stop in Phadking. But for those who wish to explore Lukla and spend some time, here are a few suggestions for where to eat and stay.

Starting at the top is the Yeti Mountain Home Lukla. This is a very comfortable lodge and part of a small chain throughout the region owned by Yeti Airlines. It has rooms with private bathrooms and hot showers and a good restaurant.

The Nest at Lukla. A mid-range guest house with rooms with private bathrooms and others with shared bathrooms. It has a garden and a restaurant.

Lukla Numbur Hotel. If you want to get a taste of what is to come on the trekking route, this budget hotel has basic rooms with shared facilities.

As on most trekking routes in Nepal, people tend to eat in the lodge they are sleeping in, but some other restaurants include:-

Namaste Lodge and Restaurant. Nepali, Indian and Western dishes and baked goods.

Sunny Garden Restaurant at the Nest. Great vegetarian options.

Khumbu Lodge Restaurant serves a range of Nepali and Western dishes.

Preparing for the Everest Base Camp Trek in Lukla

As we said, most people step off the plane, offload their bags to their porters and head out of Lukla. For example, we at Magical Nepal will have your guide fly with you, but you will meet your porters only at Lukla.

For those spending more time at Lukla, you can visit the surrounding area, the monastery, or the few shops there for last-minute supplies.

** Note: there are more shops in Namche Bazaar with a wider range of goods, such as chocolate bars and other last-minute supplies for your trek.**

To Sum Up

Flying into Lukla is the least stressful way to reach the start of the EBC Trek. Whether you fly by fixed-wing plane or helicopter, Lukla is the Gateway to Everest.


How do you get from Kathmandu to Lukla? ›

You can also take a jeep or public bus from Kathmandu to Jiri, a town in the Lower Everest region, and start your trek from there. It often takes 3-4 days to reach Lukla, and you'll see far fewer trekkers, have most of the trail to yourself and pass through beautiful Sherpa villages along the way.

Can you still fly from Kathmandu to Lukla? ›

Tara Air and Yeti Airlines fly direct from Kathmandu to Lukla.

How much is a chopper from Kathmandu to Lukla? ›

Kathmandu Lukla, Lukla Kathmandu Helicopter Flight
1 person - 4 peopleUS$ 500
5 people - 10 peopleUS$ 450

How do you get to Lukla without flying? ›

Trekking from Jiri: If you want to avoid the flight to Lukla it is possible to make the approach to Everest Base Camp overland through Jiri. This path is the one originally used by Sir Edmund Hillary's expedition, and was the only path until he oversaw the construction of the airport in 1964.

How to get to Lukla from Kathmandu without flying? ›

Drive the BP Highway from Kathmandu to Salleri for 8 to 9 hours on a black-topped road, then take the road from Kathmandu to Lukla through Andheri, Kharikhola, and Bupsa. From there, you can walk for a day in Lukla. Salleri to Everest Base Camp Trek is the name of the journey.

How much baggage is allowed from Kathmandu to Lukla? ›

What is the baggage allowance for Kathmandu to Lukla Flight? You can carry maximum 10Kg of luggage (two pieces) and maximum 5kg of hand-carry. If you want to carry more than 15kg, you have to pay USD 1 per kg extra.

Which airline is best for Lukla flight? ›

The most popular airline for this route is Tara Air. Kathmandu and Lukla have 14 direct flights per week.

Can you walk from Kathmandu to Lukla? ›

As there is no motorized road there from Kathmandu, there are only two ways to get to Lukla: by air, or on foot.

How much is the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla? ›

Cheap Flights from Kathmandu to Lukla from ₹ 8,192 | Skyscanner.

How many flights per day at Lukla Airport? ›

As many as 50 flights take off and land at Lukla airport, especially during the peak trekking and climbing seasons.

Can you see Everest from Lukla Airport? ›

If the weather is clear, the scenery is nothing less than world class. If you are really lucky, you can see Mt. Everest close to the final approach into Lukla Airport. Check out our Everest Base Camp Trek page.

How long is helicopter ride from Kathmandu to Lukla? ›

The duration of the helicopter flight from Kathmandu to Lukla is around 55 minutes to 1 hour.

What is the alternative route to Lukla? ›

If you don't want to risk flying and save some money, you can drive to Salleri/ Phaplu instead. Salleri is around 265 km away from Kathmandu, and Phaplu is a 20-minute walk from Salleri. The ride is about 8 hours and you can catch buses or jeeps from Koteshwor (that operate every day until Midday).

How to reach Lukla by air? ›

How To Reach Lukla
  1. Nearest Airport: Tenzing–Hillary Airport, Lukla, Solukhumbhu.
  2. Nearest Rail Head: Jayanagar or Gorakhpur, Bihar.
  3. Route Hubs: Delhi - Barauni - Gorakhpur - Jainagar -Janakpur - Kathmandu - Lukla.

Can you get to Everest Base Camp without flying to Lukla? ›

Everest base camp trekking without flying to Lukla is 18 days program including arrival and departure days. Drive with jeep to Salleri further to Thandanda and trek to main trekking route of EBC (Phakding) through unexplored section of Knumbu region.

How many days from Lukla to Everest Base Camp? ›

#1 How Long Does It Take? On average, it takes between 11 and 14 days to trek round trip to Everest Base Camp. Most people will do it in 12 days: 8 days to hike from Lukla to Everest Base Camp and then 4 days to trek back to Lukla.

What planes can land at Lukla? ›

Because of these conditions, only helicopters and small turboprops such as De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otters, Pilatus PC-6 Porters, Dornier Do-228s, and L-410 Turbolets can use the airport. Despite these precautions, Lukla has still seen a considerable number of accidents, as we explored in greater detail in 2022.

Can we go Lukla by bike? ›

Since no motorized roads connect to Lukla from Kathmandu, you only have two ways of getting there — by air or on foot. Either way, traveling to Lukla itself is an adventure of a lifetime. While flying to the Tenzing-Hillary Airport is the most popular way to reach Lukla, there are a few other options to get there.

How much cash to carry in flight to Nepal? ›

You will have to declare any amount exceeding US$5,000 in bank notes, or US$10,000 in notes and travellers' cheques combined on your Customs Declaration when you arrive in the country. When you leave the country, you need to present the receipt for the exchange you made during the entry into Nepal.

How much cash can I carry to Kathmandu? ›

Nepal. The Nepalese Rupee is officially pegged to the Indian rupee. Like Bhutan, the RBI allows travellers to carry currency notes for any amount in denominations up to ₹100, while there is a cap of ₹25,000 for ₹200 and ₹500 denominations. The Nepalese Rupee is officially pegged to the Indian rupee.

How much cash can you carry-on a plane internationally to Nepal? ›

Currency and Money Issues: The Government of Nepal requires travelers to declare either the import or export of currency that exceeds US$5,000 USD in value by filling out a customs declaration form.

Which is the nearest airport to Lukla? ›

Tenzing-Hillary Airport (IATA: LUA, ICAO: VNLK), also known as Lukla Airport, is a domestic airport and altiport in the town of Lukla, in Khumbu Pasanglhamu, Solukhumbu District, Koshi Province of Nepal.

What is the weight limit for the Lukla flight? ›

As noted above, there is a weight limit for luggage on the internal flight to Lukla; the combined weight of your mountain bag and day-sack is 15kg (33lbs). These are strict restrictions for safety purposes, so it's vital you take good quality, lightweight kit.

Which is the nearest international airport to Lukla? ›

A vast majority of flights taking down the Lukla airport leaves from Tribhuvan International airport.

Can you get altitude sickness in Lukla? ›

Trekkers will depart from Kathmandu at 1300 meters and fly straight to Lukla (2800 m). They will need to acclimate their bodies to 3400 m after Lukla, which will take roughly two days. As a result, there is a good probability that trekkers will get altitude sickness.

Can you see Everest from Kathmandu flight? ›

Feel like you're on top of the world (literally) during a 1-hour scenic flight above the iconic peaks of the Himalayas and Mount Everest. Depart from Kathmandu aboard an 18-seater plane, soaking up views of more than a dozen majestic mountains from above, including the towering 29,029-foot (8,848-meter) Mount Everest.

Why is Nepal flight so expensive? ›

The government has doubled, tripled passenger service charge which may hit tourism recovery, insiders say.

How long is the drive from Kathmandu to Lukla? ›

Kathmandu to Lukla Road Distance is 367 km, however, Motorable road is available only up to Thamdanda, from where it takes about 9 hours walk to reach at Lukla. Kathmandu to Lukla Road distance in Brief: Kathmandu to Salleri (Headquarter of Solukhumbu District) Road distance is 267km.

Can you go around at Lukla airport? ›

You can not go around at Lukla, but if you try super hard, with a bit of luck, you might be able to turn back. But it wouldn't look like a normal go around. The reason for this is because Lukla is right in front of a huge mountain, And you won't have enough speed to climb fast enough.

Which airline is safest from Kathmandu to Lukla? ›

Simrik Airlines, Goma Airlines and Tara Airlines are the best operating domestic airline which schedules (Kathmandu – Lukla) and (Lukla-Kathmandu) flights on daily basis. These airlines holds great safety records despite of having dangerous flight routes and treacherous runway in Lukla.

What is Lukla famous for? ›

Lukla means “the area for goats and sheep.” It is the most popular starting point for all the treks in the Everest Region. It is famous for its herbage, yaks, and sheep-rearing grassland.

Can I stay a whole day in airport? ›

In most airport lounges, you're allowed to stay for 2-3 hours before departure or after landing. Some also offer extended stays for upwards of 5 hours. That said, these time limits are rarely enforced.

How far is the walk from Lukla Airport to Everest? ›

The trek from Lukla (9,200 feet) to Mount Everest Base Camp (17,500 feet) is approximately 38.5 miles (62 kilometers) one-way.

Can you visit Mt. Everest without climbing? ›

Can ordinary tourists visit Mount Everest without climbing? The answer is YES. Instead of climbing the highest mountain in the world, you can get close to the world's top by trekking on both sides of Mount Everest in Tibet and Nepal.

How many walk from Lukla Airport to Everest Base Camp? ›

The distance from Lukla to Everest Base camp os (EBC) is approximately 65 kilometers (40 miles) which is a 7 to 8-day hike and a 3 to 4-day descent. During the Everest base camp trek round trip, the total distance from Lukla to Everest base camp is 130 km, but the trek takes 11 to 12 days.

How much is the helicopter ride to Lukla? ›

Lukla Helicopter Flight Cost

For the Lukla helicopter tour, it cost about 2900 USD for per charter flight. In a single flight maximum 5 persons can be accommodate. The helicopter is best for mountain views on the left side window seat.

Can a private jet land at Lukla? ›

Only helicopters and STOL aircraft are permitted to land at Lukla. Currently, three airlines (Tara Airlines, Sita Air, and Summit Air) are operating regular flights.

Can you stay in Lukla? ›

Lukla offers you a wide range of options for accommodation like teahouses, hotels as well as luxury hotels for all budgets and preferences during your trek to Everest Base Camp or Gokyo Ri. Teahouses are basically homes of locals, later upgraded as lodges with better beds and multiple food options.

Which route is considered the best route in Mount Everest? ›

South Col Route

It starts from the Nepalese side of the mountain and is considered the easiest route to the summit. The South Col Route is considered the safest and easiest route to climb Mount Everest, as it offers a direct line to the summit and is relatively straightforward to follow.

Can a beginner climb Everest base camp? ›

The trek is categorized as Moderate in terms of difficulty level. But Everest base Camp Trek for Beginners might be a little challenging. Though, the trek can be easily completed with basic physical fitness along with mental fitness. You will walk through the rocky trail with several uphill and downhill.

How much does it cost for foreigners to trek to Everest Base Camp? ›

Everest base camp trek cost includes permits, TIMS card, guide and porter cost, round-trip flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, accommodation, meals, and drinks. The cost ranges from USD $1395 all the way to $5000 per foreigner for an average trek of 10 to 21 days around the Everest region.

Does it cost money to go to Everest Base Camp? ›

And trekking up to the base camp is way cheaper than climbing Everest. As for the cost of Everest Base Camp Trek, there is no fixed price. The journey would cost anywhere between $2099 to $4500 depending on the route, the outfitter and their services.

How long is helicopter flight from Kathmandu to Lukla? ›

The duration of the helicopter flight from Kathmandu to Lukla is around 55 minutes to 1 hour.

How long does it take from Kathmandu to Lukla by road? ›

Drive Kathmandu to Salleri by BP Highway for about 9 to 10 hours on the blacktopped road and drive Kathmandu to Lukla Road through Andheri, Kharikhola, Bupsa, and Thamdanda then trek to Lukla for a day hike. The trek's Name is Salleri to Everest Base Camp Trek.

How long is the helicopter from Kathmandu to Lukla? ›

Kathmandu Lukla helicopter ride is an awesome ride towards the Mount Everest region in Nepal. Lukla is 136.17 kilometers away from Kathmandu and with the helicopter flight, it takes only 45 minutes to complete the distance (with landing time).

How much is a helicopter to Lukla? ›

Kathmandu to Lukla Helicopter Price

The cost of Kathmandu to Lukla Helicopter flight is US$500 per person for group joining. If you wish to have a private trip, the charter cost will be US$2900. The helicopter can accommodate maximum of 5 persons on a single flight.

Can I see Everest from Lukla? ›

Fly into Lukla then begin the trek through Phakding, Namche Bazar, Tyangboche, Dingboche, Lobuche and Gorakshep. Highlights: The flight to Lukla, one of the world's shortest runways on the side of a mountain. There are several stops along the way to see Everest. Climbing Mount Kala Patthar (5, 545 metres (18, 192 ft).

Is there a bus from Kathmandu to Lukla? ›

There are no bus service between Kathmandu and Lukla. The roadhead to reach Lukla currently is Jiri or further till Salleri. To reach Lukla, one has to trek from there. Its about 3 days trek from Salleri to Lukla.

What kind of planes fly to Lukla? ›

The flights between Kathmandu and Lukla do operate year round and you will find more options during the high trekking seasons (March to May and September to November). All the airlines operate small aircrafts such as Dornier Do 228 and DHC-6 Twin Otter, which hold around 15 or so passengers.

Can beginners trek Everest Base Camp? ›

But while we might associate Mount Everest with high-octane expeditions and a lot of risk, Everest Base Camp is a different story. While reaching the summit of Mount Everest is a serious feat of physical accomplishment, beginners can trek to Everest Base Camp with (relative) ease.

How many days walk from Lukla to Everest Base Camp? ›

#1 How Long Does It Take? On average, it takes between 11 and 14 days to trek round trip to Everest Base Camp. Most people will do it in 12 days: 8 days to hike from Lukla to Everest Base Camp and then 4 days to trek back to Lukla.


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