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solukhumbu district lukla village

How to Reach Lukla by Road?

The flight to Lukla Airport (Tenzing-Hillary Airport) is the primary option for trekkers and climbers heading toward the Everest region. This is because the Lukla flight is the quickest and easiest way to reach the foothills of lofty Mount Everest. However, the Kathmandu to Lukla flight is subject to weather conditions. So, the roadways from Kathmandu have been gradually constructed to connect the city areas to the pristine and remote Himalayas.

As there is no direct road access to Lukla from Kathmandu, the gateway of the Everest region (Lukla), can only be reached by a combination of road and trek, which are reliable alternatives. Now, you can reach Lukla by an indirect road route that connects Kathmandu to different lower Everest regions, like Jiri, Salleri/Phaplu. From these villages, you need to trek for a few days until reaching Lukla.

Lukla by road from Kathmandu starts with the hustle and bustle of the densely populated city to the serene and scenic countryside. The picturesque overland drive takes you through stunning landscapes and passes several towns and villages along the off-the-beaten routes. The beautiful river banks, mountainous terrains, and alpine scenery with the distant view of the majestic Mount Everest enhance the travel experience. Once you begin trekking, you will reach the more rustic areas, encountering hills and valleys decorated with rhododendron forests, grasslands adorned with wildflowers, and many more captivating natural settings of the high Himalayas.

Kathmandu to Lukla by road is a total distance of around 360 kilometers. Lately, regular buses and Jeep services have been operating from the capital, broadening the transportation options to the Everest region. A jeep drive from Kathmandu is the best way to travel, which ensures a seamless journey with maximum comfort and convenience. A Jeep, which can fit up to five people, costs you around US$150-200 to reach the starting point of a Lukla trek. However, sharing a jeep costs you less (approximately $30 to $40) than hiring it privately.

Highlights of Reaching Lukla Via Road and Trekking

Highlights of Reaching Lukla Via Road and Trekking

  • Scenic overland drive experience with awe-inspiring views of the surrounding villages, lush valleys, and Himalayas on the way
  • Off-beaten path trekking from Salleri/Jiri to the gateway of the Everest region
  • Opportunity to explore the remote trails and hidden treasures of the region, which are inaccessible through the air
  • Traversing the vibrant forests, crossing suspension bridges, and passing several traditional settlements of local people during the trekking journey
  • The trek from the starting point to Lukla is less crowded, which provides you with a tranquil trekking experience and the opportunity to immerse in the natural beauty along the way
  • While trekking, you can also visit and explore the cultural villages of Sherpa, historic monasteries, and scenic vantage points for an enriching experience

How to Reach Lukla Without Flying?

Everest Base Camp Trek Via Jiri

Lukla Elevation: 2,800 meters/9,184 feet

Total Duration: 4-7 days

The only way to reach Lukla is by catching a flight from Kathmandu to the small airstrip in Lukla. However, if you do not prefer to take the risky Lukla flight, you can make an overland approach to Lukla by driving from Kathmandu to Jiri or Salleri. From there, you can trek through the scenic mountainous trails to Lukla. The mix of road driving and trekking journeys is because of no direct bus or jeep services from Kathmandu to Lukla due to no road connectivity between these two places. However, this indirect road link connecting Kathmandu and the Everest region will reduce the dependency on the Lukla flights, which often face delays and cancellations due to adverse weather conditions.

Different Routes by Road to Reach Lukla

  • Drive from Kathmandu to Jiri
  • Drive from Kathmandu to Salleri by BP Highway
  • Drive to Dharan and Tumlingtar and trek to Lukla through the Salpa Pass

Note: Before the construction of Lukla Airport, the path through Jiri (1,905 meters/6250 feet) was the only option to travel into the Everest region. Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa also used the very route on their journey to the top of the world.

Why to Reach Lukla by Road? – Via Salleri

salleri-to-everest-base-camp-trekking

If you are considering reaching Lukla without flying, the best option is to travel by the roads of Kathmandu. By skipping a Lukla flight, you can explore the core of the mighty Himalayas on a budget-friendly basis. Sometimes, trekkers are not ready for the expensive and daredevil flight to Lukla, and the option is to walk from Jiri, which relatively takes more days. But now, the road access to Salleri makes travel easy for people who want to avoid the Lukla flight and like to reach Lukla on a budget.

This alternative road route offers greater flexibility and reliability for trekkers/climbers who are venturing the Everest Himalayan region. If you take a direct flight from Kathmandu to Lukla and begin trekking though the classical route, you can only get to explore the Khumbu part.

However, with the Salleri route, you can also observe the Solu part of the Everest region. The Salleri to Lukla route rewards you with the untouched nature and unspoiled culture of the Everest region. It is an unbeatable adventure in less-trodden, crowd-less, and quieter Everest routes.

Note: For trekkers who are on longer holidays, the Everest Base Camp route from Salleri is a perfect option. You can explore both the Solu and Khumbu parts of the Everest region through these routes.

Best Way to Reach Lukla by Road

Best Way to Reach Lukla by Road

Salleri is the closest accessible point via roads from Kathmandu. If you want to skip the dangerous Lukla flight or your flight is canceled due to weather and other technical reasons, driving from Kathmandu to Salleri and trekking to Lukla is the best alternative option. As Salleri is one of the closer starting points to the trek to Lukla, it only takes about 3 to 4 days to trek and reach there. However, if you start from Jiri, it will take you around around 5-6 days. A bus ride from Kathmandu to Salleri usually costs about $25 to USD 30. However, if you want to hire a private jeep, it will cost around US$200.

Lately, the local government of Khumbu Pasang Lahmu Rural Municipality has announced the establishment of a 100-kilometer road connecting Salleri to Lukla (Chaurikharka). The motorable bridge construction over the Dudh Koshi River has served as a vital road connection between the Solu and Khumbu regions. The Salleri to Dudh Koshi Bridge distance is around 35 Kilometers, which is covered by roughly 4-5 hours of off-road drive. Next approximately 35 kilometers of jeep drive from this bridge reaches you to Paiya. From Paiya, you can reach Lukla within 2-3 hours of trek. When the road from Kathmandu to Lukla is fully completed, it will only take 14 to 16 hours of drive to reach the threshold of the Everest region.

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Reaching Lukla by Road and Trek

solukhumbu district

Driving From Kathmandu to Salleri

Drive Duration: 8-9 hours

The picturesque drive from Kathmandu (1,400 meters/4,594 feet) to Salleri takes you through diverse landscapes of incredible countryside. As we set off from Kathmandu, we head east on the Arniko Highway. The winding road passes through mesmerizing scenery of rolling hills, verdant forests, lush valleys, and small villages. Moreover, the cultural aspects of the traditional villages, such as monasteries, prayer wheels, and flags, greet you along the way.

After covering around 140 kilometers, we will reach Dolakaha. From there, we follow the Jiri road, often bumpy and narrow, towards Salleri. Approximately 8-9 hours of drive from Kathmandu, covering a distance of around 267 kilometers will take you to the Salleri (2,390 meters/7,841 feet), the headquarters of Solukhumbu district.

We will spend overnight in Salleri, which has a range of accommodations from basic guesthouses to cozy lodges.

Trekking From Salleri to Thamdanda to Phakding

Kathmandu to Lukla to Phakding

Salleri to Thamdanda Trek Duration: 3.5 hours

Thamdanda to Phakding Trek Duration: 6-7 hours

The trekking journey to Lukla begins from Salleri and heads towards Thamdanda (2,400 meters/7,874 feet), a nearby town of Lukla. You will pass through the enchanting forested trails, rivers, waterfalls, several small settlements of Sherpa, and lovely terraced fields to reach Thamdanda. Thamdanda is on a hillside with a tranquil atmosphere. The vantage point of Thamdanda offers you a stunning panorama of the majestic Himalayas, such as Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Cho Oyu, Makalu, Therserku and several other surrounding mountains.

From Thamdanda, you will trek downhill toward the Dudh Koshi River and cross the suspension bridge spanning over it. The trail leads you through the rhododendron and pine forests, pasture lands, and several Sherpa villages like Rigmo, Nunthala, Kharikhola, Bupsa Danda, Paiya, and Surke before reaching Phakding (2,640 meters/8,659 feet).

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Subash KC

Managing Director

Mr. Subash K.C ventured into the tourism industry after completing his studies in Management Stream in 2001 at Tribhuvan University. Mr. K.C, born and brought up in the Lalitpur district, is keenly interested in exploring the different trekking routes. Getting the opportunity to work in the tourism industry helped him gather insights about trekking across Nepal. In addition, he also learned about customer care and group management.
By leading solo and group trekkers himself, he started collecting data about many trekking destinations in Nepal. He creates an enriching experience for national and international travelers through exceptional hospitality.

Apart from managing trekking and tours, Mr K.C also handles client inquiries, accommodation reservations, arrangements of transportation and flights, and other logistics. Recognizing the importance of personalized service, he proactively takes care of clients' needs and requirements. He is fluent in English and excels in organizing treks, tours, and adventure sports in Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan.

He is highly committed to promoting responsible tourism and prioritizes client satisfaction by providing top-notch service through his well-organized company. He believes that through responsible traveling, we can protect the natural environment and promote sustainability. He has expanded his knowledge by traveling to various countries worldwide, such as India, Bhutan, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Thailand, China, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, USA, Japan, UK, Canada etc and is passionate about exploring more destinations.

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