Day 3 ~ Lukla / Phakding

It was an early start from the hotel to Kathmandu Airport for the exciting (and nerve-wracking) flight to Lukla Airport – the most dangerous airport in the world. Why so dangerous, you ask? Well, it’s built on an upwards slope on the side of a mountain. The runway is ridiculously short and there are often high winds and cloud about the area.

Ram was amazing and got us through all the formalities, which we needed considering we had way too much luggage. As stated earlier, we had a weight limit of 15kg each, so we were very lucky to get away with baggage over 20kg each! It cost us Rs1600 ($20AUD) for the extra weight and were stoked to be able to take all our things with us.

We were so lucky with the boarding of our flight as we managed to score the first and second seats on the left side of the plane. If you are ever on this flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, fight for the front left side of the plane. That way you can see clearly into the pilot’s cabin and get the best views of the mountains out the left-hand side window.

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Shotgun! Bateup & Ram claiming the front seats of the flight

Like she does when there’s housework to be done, Teone fell asleep within the first 5 minutes of the flight and had to be woken up so she could savour the magnificent views of the Himalayas. As you are only in the air for half an hour, the plane never reaches great altitudes and you feel as though you could almost reach out and touch the gigantic mountains below.

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The views out the plane window (this shot is actually from the flight back home)

It was a smooth flight and the landing was a lot less scary than what we had thought it would be – the pilots did an excellent job! Once off the plane, we grabbed our luggage and met up with our porter for the trip – Rodna. Rodna was a very thin young man – he looked like he lived a pretty tough life. We were worried that our bags might be too heavy for him. Without hesitation though, he picked up both our bags, tied them together, threw them on his back, and away he went.

We walked around the back of the airport and into the centre of town, where we stopped at a local teahouse to have some breakfast. While we ate our delicious hot omelettes, we were able to watch the planes and helicopters constantly fly in and out of the airport. It is flat out in the morning because of the clear skies and low winds. Around lunch time, the clouds begin to roll in and the winds usually pick up, which makes it unsafe for flying. 

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Lukla Airport

After brekky, the time had come to begin our trek to Everest Base Camp! With our bellies full and excitement levels high, we found the walking relatively easy today. We trekked for about 3 hours until we arrived in Phakding.

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Stunning scenery on the way to Phakding

Temperature-wise, the weather was beautiful in the sun. You could easily get away with wearing shorts and a t-shirt. The wind would kick in every now and then, which would cool things down a bit, but it wasn’t anything to complain about. In the late afternoon, when the sun disappeared behind the mountains, the temperature really dropped and you do need to bring out the jackets to stay nice and warm.

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The fairly simple trek to Phakding

Throughout today’s hike, we were able to experience the stunning mountain and river views for the first time and got a good taste for the rocky tracks, hills and stairs we would be facing for the next couple of weeks! The highlight from today’s trek was crossing our first suspension bridge! They look a little daunting when you see how high they are up over the rivers, but they are extremely sturdy and once you walk over the first one, you’re fine for all the others you will encounter later in the trek.

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The first suspension bridge you get to walk over

Upon arrival at our accommodation for the night, we were stoked to find out that Ram had arranged a room with an ensuite for us – and a hot shower! We were being very spoilt already. The rooms are quite basic with just 2 beds and a window, but it was comfortable and a much better option than tents (which some trekkers sleep in).

We had a bite to each for lunch and then spent some time poking around town, before heading back to our room for a quick nap. We enjoyed a lovely warm dinner in the common room that night, before heading off to bed – nervous as hell for our big trekking day tomorrow.

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Teone writing in her travel diary in the common area of our teahouse
  • Flight Time: 35 minutes
  • Trekking Time: 3 Hours
  • Teahouse: Snowland Hotel & Lodge
  • Altitude: Lukla – 2860m / Phakding – 2610m
  • O2 Levels: Teone – 95
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