Welcome to the "World's most Dangerous Airport"
Lukla is where it all begins. If you survive the landing, get off the plane, and take your first step in your journey to the tallest mountain on planet Earth.
(In 2010, The History Channel rated Lukla as the world's most dangerous airport)
Lukla Airport, Nepal
On this page I will try to answer any questions you may have about Lukla airport, and the process of starting your trip to Everest Base Camp. If I don't respond below, try me at my Facebook page.
Lukla is about an hour flight from Kathmandu International airport. Only small propeller planes can land here (or helicopters) because the runway is very short. There is a rock wall/cliff face on the East end of the runway and a cliff drop-off at the west end of the runway. You only get one shot at landing and take off, so if the slightest weather problems occur, the airport will be shut down to planes in and out. If this happens, your only option is a helicopter which is crazy expensive ($500 range) unless you get hooked up by some cool Nepalese dude. The plane ticket round-trip is going to be around $300 depending on a lot of things (time you purchase, what company you purchase from, what person you purchase from..)
To get to Lulka, you need to fly from Kathmandu airport. To learn about Kathmandu airport, click here. There is a separate terminal that serves Lukla vs the terminal that serves outbound international jets. It is a separate building, located a few thousand feet to the east of the international terminal. I bought my round-trip Lukla tickets from a guy in a travel office on the lower level of my cheap hotel. Payed in cash, Nepalese Rupees, about $300 round trip. I did this the night before I left. He also gave me the option to get an open-ended ticket for the return flight. This was important because I had no idea how long the Everest Trek would take me. I also took the first flight out of the day, around 6 am. I would take the first flight out in the morning, the weather is generally better, crisper, cleaner skies. If the sky is cloudy/foggy, Lukla airport will be shut down. It was slightly foggy when returned from Everest to Lukla airport, and they shut it down. Luckily the guy I purchased the tickets from at the hostel/hotel was friends with a helicopter pilot who let me on his chopper for the return flight 🙂
Can you purchase open ended tickets tickets if you don't know your return date out of Lukla airport?
- Yes, this is exactly what I did, it cost about 20 bucks extra I think.
How long is the flight from Kathmandu to Lukla?
- A little less than one hour
Is Lukla airport dangerous?
- Planes have crashed here a few times, but I wouldn't worry about it. If conditions aren't perfect, they close the air traffic.
Where is the Everest Base Camp trail in relation to the Lukla airport?
- It is literally right next to it, there is a path on the north east corner of the runway, this path leads to Everest (eventually)
Is there an ATM at Lukla
- I couldn't find an ATM, but there is a tiny bank with a few cute girls working the front counter. You can withdraw some money here (I was forced to) but there is a huge withdrawal fee, I think it was 20 or 30 USD 🙁 They can get money out with your debit card.
What's the most important thing for the trek to Everest?
- A good set of these! http://amzn.to/1lIYXDZ
If you can think of more questions, ask me below or on Facebook and I will add them to the list.