Day 1: Arrive Kathmandu
Your trip starts in Kathmandu, Nepal’s busy and bustling capital city. 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 rich culture and friendly people. The sights and sounds of this place are intoxicating!
Tonight your trip leader will meet you at our hotel with a cup of hot, sweet Nepali tea (bound to be the first of many) and run through what to expect from the days ahead. We’ll then head out for dinner at a local restaurant for the first of many wonderful meals. Accommodation: Hotel Thamel Eco Resort, Kathmandu. Includes: (D).
Day 2: Visit Swayambhunath Temple
Today we’ll walk a short distance out of town on an ancient stone pilgrim stairway to the Swayambhunath Temple. Keep an eye out for macaque monkeys as they often join in with the walk up the stairway. According to local legend, Swayambhunath was given its name (meaning “self-arisen”) as it was said to have risen from the lake where Kathmandu now stands.
Up on the hilltop, the smell of incense and butter lamps will follow you as you gaze out over the sprawling city of Kathmandu below. 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. After enjoying the temple and views we’ll head 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: Journey to Lukla, hike to Phakding
This morning we’ll take an incredible scenic flight to the 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 to Mt Everest and many other big peaks nearby. After a gear check with our guides, we’ll hit the trail, hiking down into the Phakding village on the banks of the Dudh Kosi River.
It’s hard to imagine that the scenery on our trek would become so dramatically beautiful right from the very start, but the view down the green fertile valley as we hike into Phakding village is just that – stunning! When we arrive in Phakding, you can relax at your home for the night, a local lodge hosted by friendly local people with amazing views down to the river and out to the surrounding mountains. Accommodation: Lodge, Phakding. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 4: Hike to Namche Bazaar
This morning we’ll be passing tiny Himalayan villages, crop fields and prayer wheels as we set off through a narrow valley divided by the Dudh Kosi River. 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, including Thamserku and Kangtega. Soon you’ll be able to reel them off as well as your guide! Sagarmatha National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to a wide range of plants and animals.
Himalayan tahr, musk deer and Himalayan monal pheasants are known to frequent this area, so keep your eyes peeled! After lunch we’ll begin our heart pumping ascent to the village of Namche Bazaar, home to the world’s highest marketplace set in an incredible mountain amphitheatre. Namche Bazaar has one of the most dramatic settings in the world and it’s a great place to stop for a day to explore the surrounding area. Tonight we’ll stay at a comfortable, homely guest house and enjoy a tasty local meal. Accommodation: Lodge, Namche Bazaar. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 5: Free day in Namche Bazaar, optional hike to view Mt Everest
With its remote mountain setting and views across to the ridgeline dominated by Kongde Ri (6187 m), Namche Bazaar is one of the most beautiful villages in the Himalayas, making it the perfect place to stop and acclimatise for a day before hitting the trail again tomorrow. Namche Bazaar was historically an important stopping point for trading expeditions across the Nangpa La to Tibet, and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you stroll around the village. Take time to explore the narrow cobbled streets between traditional stone houses, stop for a drink in a local tea house and listen to monks chanting mantras, or explore an alleyway market – it’s up to you!
If you prefer, this afternoon we’ll hike up to the world’s highest hotel, the Everest View. It’s a vigorous hike up the steep trail to the hotel, but you’ll be rewarded with awesome views of the one and only Mt Everest, Lhotse, and many more of the worlds highest peaks. It’s well worth the trip! We’ll enjoy a well-deserved drink on the expansive Everest View deck and soak up the views before we make our way back down to Namche Bazaar. Accommodation: Lodge, Namche Bazaar. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 6: Hike to Tengboche, view Mt Everest and visit Tengboche Monastery
This morning we’ll set off early, making our way back down to the Dudh Khosi River before making an ascent towards Tengboche. We’ll be blown away walking round every corner en route as the massive peaks rise above us – the scenery here is simply off the charts. We’ll stop at local Sherpa tea houses along the way, take in the views as we rest, and then continue onwards on this magnificent mountain trail.
The rewards don’t stop here though – as we draw closer to Tengboche we’ll be greeted with even closer views of Ama Dablam (6856 m) and Nuptse (7861 m) until finally, upon our arrival to Tengboche, Mt Everest (8848 m) and Lhotse (8516 m), in all their glory. Looking south, we’ll have a view of numerous other peaks such as Kantega, Thamserku and the jagged ridge line of Kongde Ri. Accommodation: Lodge, Tengboche. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 7: Hike to Khumjung, Sherpa Villages
This morning we’ll make our way back down towards the Dudh Kosi river, before heading upwards to the Sherpa village of Khumjung to the west. The first school in the Khumbu region was built here by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary who, along with Tenzing Norgay, made the first successful ascent of Mt Everest in 1953. He makes us proud to be Kiwis!
Along with other projects in the region, Hillary built the Khumbu region’s first school here in Kumjung in 1961 as part of the Himalayan Trust he set up soon after climbing Mt Everest. The school now provides education for more than 350 children of all ages from surrounding villages. From Khumjung, we’ll continue for a short time on the trail just outside the village to our lodge where we’ll spend the night. Accommodation: Lodge, Khumjung. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 8: Hike to Thame
Today we’ll head off the beaten track to the village of Thame, passing isolated Sherpa villages, the narrowest gorge of the Bhote Kosi river, and massive rock formations along the way – there’s amazing scenery everywhere you look! When we reach the head of the river valley we’ll begin a short, steep ascent to Thame village – the childhood home of Tenzing Norgay.
This isolated settlement set among alpine meadows was once an important stopping point on the salt trade route between India, Nepal and Tibet, and is home to one of the oldest monasteries in the region. It looks like it’s been built straight out of the enormous rock wall that towers above it! As this village is well off the beaten trekking trail, we’ll have the afternoon and evening here largely to ourselves to take in the mountain views, the sound of the river below, and the chants coming from the town’s monastery. Accommodation: Lodge, Thame. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 9: Hike from Thame to Namche Bazaar
The clear mountain views here in Thame are at their best in the morning as the sun hits the peaks and valley where the village lies. We’ll take our time to get going this morning before hitting the trail down to Namche Bazaar. En route we’ll descend through high alpine grassland divided by stone walls before making our way down through beautiful pine and rhododendron forests where we’re sure to hear the familiar sound of yak bells as they graze nearby.
Keep an eye out for musk deer as we head through the forest as they’re often seen here too. 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 take a rest at the lodge before dinner. Accommodation: Lodge, Namche Bazaar. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 10: Hike from Namche Bazaar to Benkar
We’ll retrace our steps along the Everest Khumbu trail today. The trail leads down towards the Dudh Kosi river and it’s fairly steep going for a little while. After spending the day passing through a number of small villages dotted along the steep valley walls we’ll arrive in Benkar. This attractive village is nestled into the valley walls and is a lesser known stopping point on the trekking trail, so we’ll often have this place to ourselves with very few people around. Later we’ll take a walk out of the village a short way to see huge paintings of Buddhist deities dotted along the cliff walls above the village before settling into our home for the night. Accommodation: Lodge, Benkar. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 11: Hike from Benkar to Lukla
This is our final day of trekking, so it’s time to put our all too familiar boots on one last time. We’ll depart Benkar early, bound for Lukla where our hike began. This is our final full day on the mountain trails of the Khumbu region, where we’ve become accustomed to the sound of yak bells and been blown away by the hospitality of the local Sherpa people, not to mention the scenery.
We’ll take a moment to thank the people that have taken us into their homes and shared time with us in the most stunning mountain locations in the world. 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 team of porters and cooks to celebrate our incredible achievements and experiences on the trek. Accommodation: Lodge, Lukla. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 12: 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 that are keen in the 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 the many great restaurants in town. Accommodation: Hotel Thamel Eco Resort, Kathmandu. Includes: (B, L).
Day 13: Free day in Kathmandu
Today is free to explore the atmospheric winding streets, temples and markets of Kathmandu. Every now and then, flights out of Lukla can be delayed due to the weather, so we may be flying back to Kathmandu today instead. Either way, you’ll have time to soak up the sights and sounds of this energetic, colourful city. Later, we’ll meet for our final dinner in Nepal. Accommodation: Hotel Thamel Eco Resort, Kathmandu. Includes: (B, D).
Day 14: Depart Kathmandu
Today is the final day of your two-week trekking trip in Nepal. 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 refreshed and invigorated from the great food, hiking, rest and adventures you’ll have had with us in the Himalayas! Includes: (B).
We'll see you soon!
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Asia Nepal Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking