Everest Circuit – Full Guide 

In October 2023 I completed the Everest Circuit in the Everest region of Nepal. This hike took me 17 days to complete. It was both a mental and physical challenge, one of the hardest challenges I have done to date. 

This hike must be the most scenic hike I have ever done and the most time I spent in high altitude. Especially as I didn’t taker Diamox (a high-altitude drug) for the duration of my time. 

I have now completed hikes in both the Everest and Annapurna region of Nepal – if you have to choose one area, I’d recommend the Everest Region and Circuit. 

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Everest Circuit – Overview 

Distance – 170-200km (give or take, km aren’t used in Nepal, just hrs) 
Days Required – 15-20 days
Total Elevation – 5545m (Kala Pathar) 
Difficulty – Moderate to Hard, lots of steep asents/descents 
Accommodation – Guesthouses/Teahouses or Camping (World Expeditions) 
Cost – $1200-$4000 AUD (Depending on tour) 

Do I need a Guide? 

Unlike the Annapurna region where it is possible to hike solo, you will need a guide for any hikes in the Everest Region. From 1st April 2023, the Nepalese government has changed the rules – travellers can no longer hike the region without a professional guide. 

You can hire a private guide when you arrive in Kathmandu, or you can book a tour. 

What about a Tour? 

I went on a tour for this trek, and I would highly recommend you do as well. After extensive research I decided to book with World Expeditions. My experience with World Expeditions is one of the best I’ve had, and you can read my full review here. 

I would recommend a tour as it takes away the stress and hassle of trying to organise accommodation, porters, guides, and food. The guides are also very knowledgeable and having the backup from a company in case of an emergency is a big plus. Just make sure you look for companies which will pay and support their porters a decent wage! 

You can use platforms like Travel Stride to help find the best deals on local and international tours around Nepal! 


As I travelled with World Expeditions for the Everest Circuit, my accommodation included a mixture of tents and tea houses. We mainly were in tents the first couple days on route, then moved to teahouses in the colder, higher up areas. 

The tents were very comfortable, clean and I enjoyed them better than the tea houses! The tea houses are great when it’s freezing cold or when the weather isn’t in your favour through. 

What was the weather like? 

It was warm the first few days, then the temperature dropped massively – it even snowed! This was in October where the weather should have warmed up. My group had clear weather the whole time which was very fortunate. I would make sure to pack plenty of layers, as 12 out of the 17 days we were walking in temperatures below 0 (although sometimes it didn’t feel like it with the sun). 

I mainly walking in leggings, hard shell pants, long sleeve top, puffer jacket and a hard-shell jacket. You can view my packing list for Nepal here.

Health Insurance? 

It is always recommended to get health insurance, especially if you are completing a high-altitude hike! Most hiking companies won’t let you complete a hike unless you have coverage up to 6000m for these hikes. I would also recommend getting insurance with helicopter evacuation, it is much more common than you may think! 

An insurance company I will always recommend is Covermore, as they have the most extensive cover. 

Hiking Route Overview 

DAY 1 – Lukla to Ghat 

Walking time: 2hrs
Difficulty: Easy 
Elevation: 2600m
Accommodation: Tents

If your hike follows the same plan, today you fly from Ramechhap to Lukla, then have a short walk to Ghat. This day is very easy and crossing over a few swing bridges, through the town of Lukla and near some streams. The flight is a whole experience in itself! I found it very fun, with beautiful views – but if you hate flying, you will hate this day.

DAY 2 – Ghat to Monjo 

Walking time: 5hrs
Difficulty: Easy 
Elevation: 2850m
Accommodation: Tents

A bit of a longer hike today, however, the terrain was very easy. There were a few stair sections of ascending and descending sections – but it was nowhere near as bad as Annapurna Base Camp. 

DAY 3 – Monjo to Namche 

Walking time: 4hrs
Difficulty: Easy/Medium
Elevation: 3440m
Accommodation: Tea house

This section might require a little bit more fitness, as there are a few more steep ascents and stairs. You will cross 3 swing bridges, one which is very high. On a clear day (if you are lucky), you will get your first view of Everest! There are plenty of gorgeous mountain and valley view’s today. 

Namche is the last place that has a few stores, so if you need anything I would stock up here! That includes hiking equipment (recommend poles), snacks or shopping. 

DAY 4 – Namche to Kyangjuma 

Walking time: 4hrs
Difficulty: Easy/Medium
Elevation: 3550m
Accommodation: Tent 

Today we were meant to wake up early for sunrise and head to the lookout point only 5 mins from our accommodation, unfortunately the weather wasn’t clear enough, so our guides scrapped this. We headed up after breakfast and got the best views yet, 360 views of mountains. Here you can also see a rock from the Dead Sea and Everest – highest and lowest points on Earth. You will also get views of Everest here.

The first section today is mainly ascending, till the Everest View hotel. This is a common stop for treks in this area, as it allows hikers to acclimatise while having a snack or cup of tea. After an hour or so, we descended – the path was easy from here to the campsite. 

DAY 5 – Kyangjuma to Phortse 

Walking time: 4hrs
Difficulty: Easy/Medium
Elevation: 3800m
Accommodation: Teahouse 

Today started off with a steep ascent up for about 1.5hrs, consisting of both stairs and dirt paths. Once we arrived at a small town on the top of the hill, we sat here for 30mins to acclimatise (3990m). After, it’s a steep ascent down to the river, which involves many steps. 

We had lunch at Phortse Tenga Camp (3600m), which is the old World Expeditions campsite, before a 1hr ascent up to Phortse town. In this area you can see plenty of rare wildlife if you look out for it (and are lucky), we saw a Musk deer, which is apparently very rare! 

DAY 6 – Phortse to Dole 

Walking time: 3hrs
Difficulty: Easy/Medium
Elevation: 4000m
Accommodation: Tent 

A very short but tiring day today, the steep ascent you made after lunch yesterday, you descent down that today and ascent on the other side of the river. This is only about 30mins of ascending, but it is steep. There is only 30 mins of downhill today, the rest is all uphill. 

DAY 7 – Dole to Macchermo 

Walking time: 3hrs
Difficulty: Medium
Elevation: 4410m
Accommodation: Teahouse 

You are well above the tree line today and get to see some incredible mountain views. This section is steep for the first hour, then it levels out as you walk alongside the cliffs, snow-capped peaks in the distance. 

You can summit a small hill behind the teahouses to help acclimatise – it is cold and windy in the afternoon. 

DAY 8 – Macchermo to Gokyo 

Walking time: 4hrs
Difficulty: Medium
Elevation: 4759m
Accommodation: Teahouse 

Today you get to see 3 of the lakes of the Gokyo region today, all very impressive and scenic! You will want to stop to take some photos when in this area, just don’t stop for long as it does get very cold. There is one short steps section today, then it’s a gradual incline for the rest of the trek (“Nepali Flat”). 

We stayed in the same teahouse for two nights, and it was very cold!! Would also highly recommend visiting the viewpoint at the glacier, 5-10mins walk behind Gokyo. 

DAY 9 – Gokyo Ri 

Walking time: 3-4hrs
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation: 5483m
Accommodation: Teahouse 

Don’t be mistake, today is very hard! The hill to Gokyo Ri is extremely steep up and down. I would recommend poles for this section. It took me about 2.5hrs to get up, but the altitude becomes really apparent, so your steps are shorter and breathes are deeper. 

This was a challenge, but well worth it for the views you get at the top. This is said to be the best view available in the Everest Region and on the Everest Circuit. I would strongly agree, it is beautiful! You can see majority of the 8000m peaks from here, as well as the glacier and lakes. 

DAY 10 – Gokyo to Thangnak 

Walking time: 2hrs
Difficulty: Medium
Elevation: 4800m
Accommodation: Teahouse 

Today you will cross the Ngozumpa Glacier, this is a technical section. Getting down into the glacier was the sketchiest part of the entire Everest Circuit. I needed help from 2 guides and I’m not ashamed to say it, it was steep, slippery and had massive drop offs. One wrong foot and you’d go skidding. 

Once inside the glacier it is a lot of rock scrambling with steep ascents. The ground is all unlevel as well. It is beautiful scenery though, kind of what I think walking on the moon would look like. It is a steep ascent out the glacier, but nowhere near as bad as going in. 

DAY 11 – Thangnak – Cho La Pass – Dzongla 

Walking time: 6-7hrs
Difficulty: Very Hard
Elevation: 5420m (Cho La Pass) 
Accommodation: Teahouse 

This was the hardest hiking day of my entire life (so far). You will start very early morning when it is so cold your eyelashes will freeze (4-5am). The first part of the day is walking to the start of the Cho La Pass, which is one of the 3 high passes in the region. It is gradual gradient all the way up to the start, where you will then descent. 

Getting to the top of the Cho La Pass was harder than Kilimanjaro. It is very steep, requires the use of a chain, large step ups and is almost rock scrambling. It is very scenic and a beautiful feeling reaching the top, but you are in for some work.

The next part, heading down for the Cho La Pass requires the use of crampons over the glacier. This did make us forget about all the pain that we just put ourselves through as it was bringing joy to our inner child. This section is about 20mins, then it’s a slight descent to Dzongla. 

DAY 12 – Dzongla to Lobuche 

Walking time: 2.5hrs 
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4930m
Accommodation: Teahouse 

Today is an easy day again, which is very much needed after yesterday. It is mainly Nepali Flat, so it isn’t strenuous. This is where the Everest Circuit joins with the Everest Base Camp route. 

DAY 13 – Lobuche – Gorak Shep – Base Camp 

Walking time: 5-6hrs
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation: 5360m (Base Camp)
Accommodation: Teahouse 

Crossing the Khumbu Glacier is the first section of today’s hike. This section does have a lot of foot traffic, so this will make a difference in how long it takes you to cross. It is not as technical as the glacier near Gokyo. You have beautiful views the whole way today and get to tick of base camp! 

I found this day hard and put it down to the altitude and not having Diamox. The air is rather thin and cold up there. It took us 2 hours to get to Gorak Shep, where we had lunch then about 2 hrs to get to base camp. Base camp is a great achievement; however, it is just a graffitied rock. It isn’t the best place on the Everest Circuit. You will get some photos and head back. 

DAY 14 – Gorak Shep – Kala Pattar – Dingboche 

Walking time: 5-6hrs
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation: 5545m (Kala Pattar) 
Accommodation: Tents 

Leaving around 5am, you will start the hike up to Kala Pattar – a viewpoint, giving clear views of Everest. This isn’t the nicest viewpoint of the trek, but it’s worth doing if you want to see Everest up close. The hike up is steep and very cold, so make sure to wear plenty of layers. 

After Kala Pattar, you have completed majority of the uphill – you start heading down for here. 

DAY 15 + – Dingboche to Lukla 

Walking time: 5-6hrs
Difficulty: Medium
Accommodation: Tents 

I have linked day 15, 16 and 17 today as you follow the same route you took heading up. Dingboche to Kyangjuma, Kyangjuma to Ghat, Ghat to Lukla. Most of the time during these next few days, you will have your head down, watching your feet. You aren’t focused on much but not tripping over as you make a quick descent back to Lukla.

Some people found these the hardest days as they felt very rushes and were very long. 

Conclusion and Tips

The Everest Region is a beautiful region which I highly recommend you visit, and I recommend the circuit as it has some of the best views I have ever seen on a hike! However, it is not for the faint hearted or for people who are not fit. It’s extremely strenuous both mentally and physically. 

  • This is a high-altitude hike – it also means you are in high altitude for a very long time. 
  • It is strenuous – you need to be fit or have some fitness for this hike. 
  • Bring good footwear, and make sure to wear them in 
  • Hiking poles will be your best friend. 
  • Leave the water bladder at home, its handy but it freezes. 
  • Make sure to bring plenty of layers! 
  • Do your shopping in Namche, it’s very expensive after this ($5 for a snickers!). 
  • Bring plenty of hand sanitiser and toilet paper – the bathrooms at the higher teahouses are disgusting. 
  • Take Diamox as a preventive and treatment – handy to have on you. 

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