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Is There A Road To Everest Base Camp?

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Is There A Road To Everest Base Camp?

Got Everest Base Camp on your Bucket List but short on time to trek your way there? Discover the answer to the perennial question: can you drive to Everest Base Camp?

If you’ve just tapped “is there a road to Everest Base Camp” into Google, you’re in the right place – the answer’s coming right up. 

Lots of mountain lovers and avid trekkers stick Everest Base Camp on their Bucket List, and for good reason. At the foot of the world’s highest mountain, surrounded by endless incredible scenery, the Base Camp trek is a good’un. 

But for those adventurers who are short on time, you might be wondering if you can take a shortcut – so is there a road to Everest Base Camp? Can you drive?

The short answer is… No, there’s no direct road that leads all the way to Everest Base Camp. 

In Nepal, the closest road access point is the town of Jiri, which is about 100 kilometres from the Everest Base Camp. From there, trekkers typically have to hike for around 8-10 days to reach the base camp. And in Tibet, the closest road access point is the town of Tingri, which is also approximately 100 kilometres away from Everest Base Camp on the north side of the mountain.

Is there a new road to Everest Base Camp being built? 

The road to Everest Base Camp you’re thinking of is probably the one being built from the Lower Everest in Nepal region to Surke Village.

In November 2020, The Nepali Times published an article about Nepal building a 104km road to Everest. The new road that will pass through the lower Everest region and end in Surke village is another major infrastructure project that aims to improve transportation access in the area.

The planned end of the road location lies beneath Lukla’s Tenzing-Hillary Airport, so it won’t get you any closer to Base Camp. And the Sherpas living in the Upper Everest region won’t allow any roads to be built past Lukla, so there won’t ever be a higher point where you could reach Namche Bazaar and Everest Base Camp on wheels.

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Is There A Road To Everest Base Camp? - couple sitting and pointing

What impact will the new Lukla road have on the Everest Base Camp trek? 

None, really. So, on the one hand, the new road being built from Salleri to Surke near Lukla will make it easier and quicker to get to the starting point of the Everest Base Camp trek by car, which could attract more local trekkers and bring in more cash for the local economy. 

Some people do worry it might take away from the adventure and challenge of trekking in a remote and rugged area like the Everest region. Plus, there’s a chance the road construction could damage the environment and spoil the natural beauty of the region.

The road won’t go all the way up to Everest Base Camp itself, ending in Surke (below Lukla), so you’ll still have to walk from Lukla on foot. At the end of the day, we’ll have to wait and see how the road affects the trekking experience (if at all), and hope that local authorities and trekking companies will manage it in a sustainable and responsible way.

It’s possible that Lukla will become busier once the new road to Surke is built, as it will make access to the town much easier and more convenient, reducing travel time from Salleri to Lukla significantly. That could attract more trekkers and tourists to the region and lead to more demand for accommodation, transportation, and other services in Lukla.

Perhaps some prices might go up, maybe it’ll become a little more crowded. But since the Nepali Government has taken steps to limit the number of trekkers on the Everest Base Camp trail in recent years, there shouldn’t be a significant increase in the overall numbers on the trail.

 

Should I drive or fly to Lukla? 

The other thing that could be impacted by the new road is flights in and out of Lukla. Thanks to dodgy weather and poor visibility, flights to Lukla are cancelled fairly frequently. In the past, groups have become stuck in Lukla for days while waiting for their flight back to Kathmandu. With a new road finished, people stuck in this situation could potentially choose to take the new road instead of taking a chance on missing their international trip home.

Driving will inevitably be a cheaper option than flying too, so trekkers on a tight budget might take the road option. 

On our Everest Base Camp treks, we always allow contingency time in case the weather is bad and affects flights – and we plan to stick with flights even when the road is finished. That way, you can always pack as many life-changing experiences as possible into your Bucket List adventure in Nepal.

Click HERE to find out more about our classic Everest Base Camp Trek

Or HERE for Everest Base Camp and Island Peak

Or HERE for Everest Base Camp and Gokyo Lakes

Is There A Road To Everest Base Camp?

Nepal is undergoing rapid change. It makes sense that the people who live in the hills and lead hard lives would want highways. The new road will raise their standard of living and give their families new possibilities – but it won’t change the Everest Base Camp experience. 

If you want a physical challenge in breathtaking landscapes, and a cultural immersion into a unique way of life, join our group treks to Everest Base Camp and do something incredible. Don’t let life pass you by. 

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