Day 1, Monday: Arrive Kathmandu
Your trip starts in Kathmandu, Nepal’s bustling capital city. If you’ve just flown in from a modern western city, this town is a real eye opener – it’s like stepping onto the set of an Indiana Jones movie! If you arrive early, you can head out to explore the city’s labyrinth of back street courtyards, colourful market stalls and ancient temples, giving you your first taste of Nepal’s culture.
Later your trip leader will meet you at our hotel and run through what to expect from the days ahead. We’ll then head out for dinner at a local restaurant for your first experience of Nepalese dining. The country is at a culinary crossroads between the influences of China, India and Europe, which makes for some really interesting flavour combinations. You might not be able to pronounce the names but the food you’ll love. Accommodation: Hotel Thamel Eco Resort, Kathmandu. Includes: (D)
Day 2, Tuesday: Visit Swayambhunath Temple
Today we’ll walk a short distance out of town to the Swayambhunath Temple. According to local legend, Swayambhunath was given its name (meaning “self-arisen”) as it was said to have risen from the lake that once covered the land where Kathmandu now stands.
Local devotees come here daily to make a ritual circumnavigation of the centre piece stupa (a dome-shaped Buddhist shrine) and spin the prayer wheels set into its base. There’s also a great view over Kathmandu from this hilltop temple but don’t get too fixated on your camera’s viewfinder – there’s a cheeky troop of monkeys that have made this spot their home and they’ve been known to steal hats on occasion! Later, we’ll make our way back down into town and make preparations for our journey to Lukla and the Everest region tomorrow. Accommodation: Hotel Thamel Eco Resort, Kathmandu. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 3, Wednesday: Journey to Lukla, hike to Phakding
This morning we’ll take a short flight to the mountain settlement of Lukla. Set high in the mountains, this small Himalayan town is the gateway to the Everest region and an important base for mountaineering expeditions. After a last gear check with our guides, we’ll lace up our boots and hit the trail, hiking down into the Phakding village on the banks of the Dudh Kosi river. When we arrive in Phakding, you can relax at your home for the night, a local tea house with great views out to the surrounding mountains and down to the river and the fertile valleys it supports. Accommodation: Tea house, Phakding. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 4, Thursday: Hike to Namche Bazaar
This morning we’ll set off through a narrow valley divided by the Dudh Kosi river, passing terraced crop fields, small villages and the ever-present prayer wheels. As we approach the entrance to Sagarmatha National Park, we’ll be greeted with sensational views of massive snow-capped Himalayan peaks with names you’ll become familiar with along the way, such as Thamserku and Kangtega.
Sagarmatha National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to a wide range of plants and animals. Himalayan tahr (a type of wild goat), musk deer and Himalayan monals (a bird in the pheasant family) are known to frequent this area, so keep your eyes peeled and a telephoto lens handy. After lunch we’ll begin our ascent to the village of Namche Bazaar, home to the world’s highest marketplace and our base for tonight. Accommodation: Tea house, Namche Bazaar. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 5, Friday: Free day in Namche Bazaar, optional hike to view Mt. Everest. With its remote alpine setting and outlook across to Kongde Ri (6187m) and surrounding peaks, Namche Bazaar is one of the most beautiful villages in the Himalayas – a great place for a relaxed acclimatisation day.
Namche Bazaar is a fairly small town so you can explore its narrow, cobbled streets, checking out the monasteries and tea houses, without worrying about getting too lost. This place was historically an important stopping point for trading expeditions across the Nangpa La to Tibet and is still an important supply point for mountaineers and trekkers today, so it’s a good place to pick up any last minute supplies. If you want to update your Facebook status (“You’ll never guess where I am!”) there is an internet café here too.
Or if you’re feeling like a stretch of the legs, we can hike up to the Everest View Hotel this afternoon. It’s a steep trail to the hotel, but true to its name, the views of Everest and Lhotse are brilliant. We’ll have a drink on the deck here before making our way back down to Namche Bazaar for dinner. Accommodation: Tea house, Namche Bazaar. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 6, Saturday: Hike to Tengboche, view Mt Everest and visit Tengboche Monastery
This morning we’ll set off early to head back down to the Dudh Khosi river before climbing up to Tengboche. We’ll stop at a local Sherpa tea house for a traditional cup of tea, take a few moments to soak in the surroundings and then carry on along the trail. As we draw closer to Tengboche, we’ll be greeted with even closer perspectives of Ama Dablam (6856m) and Nuptse (7861m) until finally, upon our arrival to Tengboche, Mt Everest and Lhotse begin to loom ahead in the distance. Looking south, we’ll have a view of numerous other peaks such as Kantega, Thamserku and the jagged ridgeline of Kongde Ri. Accommodation: Tea house, Tengboche. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 7, Sunday: Acclimatisation day in Tengboche, visit Tengboche Gompa
We’ll take today as an acclimatisation day, letting our bodies adjust to the higher elevation. The locals here are born with extra haemoglobin in their blood that allows them to cope with the thin air up here. But for us travellers, it’s just a matter of taking the time to adjust. The good news is that when you return to the relatively thick air of Kathmandu, you’ll feel ten years younger!
Today is yours to enjoy. Your guides will point out some great side hikes and photo locations, or for those who are keen, we’ll visit the Tengboche Gompa, an important Buddhist monastery in the Khumbu region. Here we’ll find a sacred stone with a foot imprint believed to have been left by Lama Sange Dorje as he flew around the Himalayas in the 17th century. If there’s time, we’ll sit in on a Buddhist puja ceremony as the local monks chant their scriptures. Even if you’re not spiritually inclined, it’s an amazing experience. Accommodation: Tea house, Tengboche. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 8, Monday: Hike Tengboche to Dingboche
We’ll begin our day’s hike by passing through a dense forest of dwarf conifers. Musk deer and monal pheasants are often spotted here too so keep your cameras ready. Our trail then drops steeply through the forest until we cross a suspension bridge over the surging waters of the Imja Khola river before beginning our ascent to Dingboche.
Today we’ll leave the forest for the last time until we return from Everest Base Camp; from here it’s a much more austere landscape of boulders and alpine meadows. The final stretch of the day’s trek takes us alongside the fast flowing Khumbu Khola river, which drains directly from the snows of Mt Everest, before we spend the night in Dingboche. Accommodation: Tea house, Dingboche. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 9, Tuesday: Acclimatisation day in Dingboche, hike to Nangkartshang Peak
The golden rule of acclimatising is “climb high, sleep low” – and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing today. Just outside Dingboche is a small peak called Nangkartshang. It’s a steep 650m / 2011ft climb to the summit, but don’t worry, we’ll be taking it slowly. From the summit we’ll be looking straight at Makalu, Lhotse and Cho Oyo – three of the six highest mountains the world – it’s an incredible spot (and there’s more to come over the next few days).
It’s your holiday and nothing’s compulsory, so if you’d prefer not to do this side hike, you can hang out, rest up, read and chat with fellow trekkers in Dingboche instead. Accommodation: Tea house, Dingboche. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 10, Wednesday: Hike Dingboche to Lobuje.
We’ll set off in the morning through the valley, which soon opens out widely to a huge bowl, passing yak herder’s shacks along the way. The views of the twin peaks of Taboche and Colatse from here, as they rise steeply above the open alpine valley, are outstanding.
Ama Dablam appears steadily closer as we continue descending to the village of Dughla. We’ll take a breather at this little streamside town before the final stretch to Lobuje – our home for the night and the last stop before our trek to Gorak Shep tomorrow. Accommodation: Tea house, Lobuje. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 11, Thursday: Hike from Lobuje to Gorak Shep, side trip to Kala Patar
This morning we’ll make our way up the trail in between the Khumbu glacial moraine and the mountain walls rising above us. A quick detour above the moraine will give us a good look at the Khumbu Glacier as it grinds its way down the slopes of Mt Everest at a rate of one metre per day. From here, we’ll pick our way through massive boulders before reaching the town of Gorak Shep where we’ll stop for lunch.
After lunch, we’ll begin our hike to the summit at the foot of the nearby peak, Kala Patar, which will be our high point for the trip and the location of the most dramatic views anywhere in the Himalayas. From the summit of this rocky knoll, you’ll have a panoramic view of Everest, Lhotse and the surrounding peaks – the views from this spot are simply off the charts! Accommodation: Tea house, Gorak Shep. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 12, Friday: Everest Base Camp, return to Lobuje
We’ll don our headlamps and set off before sunrise this morning to make our way up past the moraine wall of the Khumbu Glacier.Slow and steady is the name of the game as we weave our way up the path across the glacier, which leads us to Mt Everest Base Camp! Situated at the base of the Khumbu Icefall, the camp is the stuff of legends, having been the launching point for numerous expeditions by the world’s greatest mountaineers for many years.
Mountaineers have the best chance of reaching the summit of Everest using what’s known as ‘siege’ techniques, where they’ll spend weeks establishing a series of high camps stocked with food and oxygen cylinders ready for a push to the summit when the conditions are right. During the climbing season, Everest Base Camp becomes a village of brightly covered tents and there’s an incredible atmosphere here.
After taking in this awesome experience, we’ll leave Everest Base Camp and return to Gorak Shep for breakfast before heading back down to Lobuje for the night. Accommodation: Tea house, Lobuje. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 13, Saturday: Hike from Lobuche to Tengboche
With Everest behind us, and Ama Dablam ahead, we’ll make our way back down the Imja Khola valley. As you descend into more oxygen-rich air today, you’ll feel like you could run a marathon (in fact today’s walk is part of the world’s highest marathon). With this in mind, we’ll be able to make good progress all the way to Tengboche, once again getting low enough to enter the forest canopy made up of rhododendrons and pines. Accommodation: Tea house, Tengboche. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 14, Sunday: Tengboche to Namche Bazaar
This morning we’ll make our way down through beautiful forests where we’re sure to hear the now familiar bells of yaks grazing nearby. Keep an eye out for musk deer as we head through the forest as they’re often seen here. As we descend, the air becomes even more oxygen rich, the air temperature warmer, and the sounds of raging rivers louder.
We’ll stop for lunch at the village of Phurte where we’ll have the chance to visit a tree nursery established by Sir Edmund Hillary’s Himalayan Trust. After arriving in Namche Bazaar, we’ll rest our legs in a comfortable lodge before enjoying a celebratory dinner. Accommodation: Tea house, Namche Bazaar. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 15, Monday: Hike from Namche Bazaar to Benkar
After a leisurely start, we’ll retrace our steps along the Everest-Khumbu trail. The trail down towards the Dudh Kosi river is steep going through the valley. After passing through a few small villages dotted along the steep valley walls, we’ll arrive in Benkar for the evening. This attractive village is one of the lesser-known stopping points on the trekking trail, so we’ll often have this place virtually to ourselves. Later, we’ll walk outside the village a short way, where you can see huge paintings of Buddhist deities dotted along the cliff walls, before settling in for the night. Accommodation: Tea house, Benkar. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 16, Tuesday: Hike from Benkar to Lukla
This is our final full day on the mountain trails of the Khumbu region so it’s time to put our boots on one last time. We’ll stop for tea in Phakding village before making the short climb back up to Lukla, where we’ll share a final meal with our local team of porters and cooks to celebrate our incredible achievements and experiences on the trek and to thank the team that helped make it all happen. Accommodation: Tea house, Lukla. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 17, Wednesday: Return to Kathmandu
This morning we’ll take our last look at the Himalayas in Lukla before the short flight back to Kathmandu. For those who are keen this afternoon, we’ll walk to Durbar Square, the place where Nepal’s kings were crowned and legitimised in past times. The square is in the centre of Old Town Kathmandu and is the city’s greatest example of traditional architecture – so much so that it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. Dinner this evening will be yours to explore and experiment at one of the many great restaurants in town. Accommodation: Hotel Thamel Eco Resort, Kathmandu. Includes: (B, L).
Day 18, Thursday: Free day in Kathmandu
Today you’re free to explore the winding streets, atmospheric temples and markets of Kathmandu. Every now and then, flights out of Lukla can be delayed due to the weather, so there’s a chance we may be flying back into Kathmandu today instead. Either way, you can take the time to soak up the sights and sounds of this energetic, colourful culture. Tonight we’ll meet for our final dinner in Nepal. Accommodation: Hotel Thamel Eco Resort, Kathmandu. Includes: (B, D).
Day 19, Friday: Depart Kathmandu
Today is the final day of your 19-day trekking trip among the highest mountains in the world, following in the footsteps of great mountaineers. If you have extra time after your trip, we’re happy to make suggestions on how to make the most of it. On the other hand, if you’re on your way home today, we’ll send you back invigorated from the great food, hiking, rest and adventures you’ll have had with us in Nepal! Includes: (B).
We'll see you soon!
The trip fare includes just about everything, specifically:
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Nepal Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking