The gateway to the Himalayas, and to the world's highest peak no less, Lukla is the starting point for
treks into the Khumbu valley. There are no roads, so the traveller must either walk to Lukla, or
arrive by turboprop aircraft at what has been described as the world's most dangerous airport. With
your feet safely on the ground however, there are a series of guest houses and facilities, everything
the hungry trekker could need.
Our trek started and finished in Lukla, which is at an altitude of approx 2800 metres so not high enough
for any effects to register. We stayed in a guest house right next to the airport runway before
flying out, and were treated to some interesting but very noisy musical sounds from the monks next
door at nightfall.
Lukla's airport is named after Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary, who both not only summited Everest
first in 1953, but were instrumental in the construction of the airstrip here for later access.
It has the quickest turnarounds of aircraft I have ever witnessed - mere minutes.
With the fantastic mountain scenery behind, a Tara Air Dornier aircraft roars down the 12% slope of
the runway. All landings take place in the opposite direction, gravity giving a helping hand to slow
The runway itself is barely a quarter mile long. With an enormous Himalayan peak at one end, and a
mile-deep gorge at the other, there is no margin for pilot error.
In the morning sun shortly after landing the high peaks looked beautiful.
The gateway to the Khumbu valley path, going all the way to Mount Everest.
In recent years the valley has been well developed, including steel suspension bridges making it much
easier to cross the fast rivers and deep ravines.
With no roads, mules and horses are an invaluable means of transporting goods and equipment up the steep
Where four-legged power is not available, gear is carried by hand in lots of up to 100 kilos. Here
these two chaps remind me of leaf cutter ants, carrying flat boards that almost completely obscure them.
Local washer women dealing with the day's laundry, the natural way.
A local kid eyed us with part suspicion, part interest as we trekked past.
From the old monk in the monastery doorway, I think it was mostly just suspicion…
Even in the high Himalayas you don’t have to go without your morning caffeine fix, assuming there is
electricity. Although I have my doubts as to the authenticity of this branch of Starbucks.
Ah, now here's what I really came for. A small taste of home out in the wilds of Nepal.
The reason the people come - a gigantic Himalayan peak looming over Lukla.