While most people fly in and out of Lukla these days, it’s possible to trek in or out from the trailhead at Shivalaya, just past Jiri. The trek from Shivalaya to Lukla is a hard slog and pretty sparse in the breathtaking-views department, but you will have the trails to yourself. The trek doesn’t follow valleys, it cuts across them, so day after day it is a tiring process of dropping down one side of a steep valley and climbing up the other. By the time you reach the base camp, your ascents will total almost 9000m – the full height of Everest from sea level!
Note that villages along this route were damaged in the 2015 earthquake, and buildings were destroyed in Jiri and Shivalaya. Lodges are apparently back up and running but it's a good idea to check locally to make sure that accommodation is available at all your planned stops before embarking on this route.
Kathmandu’s Ratna Park (City) bus station has buses at 6am and 8am to Jiri (Rs 580, six hours) and Shivalaya (Rs 690, eight hours), and you may also find a direct bus to Bhandar. Buy tickets in the station the day before. Keep a close eye on your luggage.
Proposed road construction from Jiri to Surkhe (just before Lukla) will likely change this trek over the coming years. Dirt roads currently run to Bhandar and Kinja.
The trek stages generally work out as follows.
Day 1: Shivalaya to Bhandar
Day 2: Bhandar to Sete
Day 3: Sete to Junbesi
Day 4: Junbesi to Nunthala
Day 5: Nunthala to Bupsa
Day 6: Bupsa to Lukla