Kathmandu: The Nepal government plans to build a motorable road up to the Mount Everest base camp in the next two years.
Since 2014, the Nepal government has already started the construction of a 22-km road from Salleri, the district headquarters of Solukhumbu, to Surkhe village, a two-hour walk from Lukla where there is an airport that serves as the gateway to Khumbu area where the world’s highest mountain is located.
After Surkhe, another small extension will be made which will take travellers straight to Khumbu.
Presently, it takes over seven days to reach Khumbu area by trekking.
Bal Bahadur KC, the lawmaker representing the Solukhumbu district, said Khumbu tourism will not have to solely rely on air services after the completion of the road.
Khumbu area is the most expensive place in the country as all supplies have to be flown in. An LPG cylinder costs 10,000 Nepali rupees ($97) and a cup of tea over 250 Nepali rupees ($2).
A one-way plane ticket for a tourist is priced at $159.
Apart from the costs, the unpredictable weather means that flight schedules can go haywire.
Tourists are often stranded at Lukla airport as planes cannot come in due to bad weather and high winds. In such situations, tourists are forced to return to Kathmandu by helicopter by paying up to $500 per person.