Arrive in Kathmandu! (1,400 m)
Most probably, you will fly down to Nepal’s only international airfield, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). Many air carriers serve the country including the national flag carrier, Nepal Airlines Corporation. When flying from the west to Kathmandu on a clear day, you will see the close succession of Western Himalayans, and the three peaks of the Ganesh Himal that dominate the Kathmandu Valley. Coming from the east, you can see eight-thousanders like Kanchenjunga, Cho Oyu, and Everest, of course.
For your stay in the capital, you can choose from a broad spectrum of hotels ranging from boutique hotels to heritage inns to budget lodgings.
Sightseeing of Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu Valley is a veritable crucible where over the centuries, many races, religions, languages, and customs have been moulded to form a distinct identity. The City of Temples bathes in myths and legends. The cultural heritage of Kathmandu Valley is illustrated by seven historic monuments and buildings that fully display the perfect range of historic and artistic achievements for which it is world-famous. The valley also holds the record for the highest density of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
As all of these monuments are located within a radius of 14 kilometres. if not in a day, you can definitely visit all seven of these heritage sites in two days. In the case of time constraint, look up the heritage sites that you find the most exciting and intriguing and visit them.
Fly to Lukla and trek to Phakding
(30-minute-long flight, Lukla: 2,860m, Phakding: 2,610m, 11kms, 3-4 hours trek)
You will catch an early morning flight to reach the Tenzing Hillary Airport in Lukla. Due to its tiny, treacherous runway perched on a cliff, it is notorious as the world’s deadliest airport. Landing on a 500km long runway that has been etched into a mountain ridge and sits by a risky three-kilometre drop is quite a feat for even a seasoned pilot. On a sunny day, you can relish in the panoramic view of eastern Himalayans.
At Lukla, you will get to meet and get acquainted with your guide, porters, and fellow trekkers. After loading the trekking equipment, you’ll begin the first day of your trek towards Phakding. It is a small, beautiful village in the Dudh Koshi river valley just north of Lukla.
It is a gentle and easy first day from Lukla to Phakding. You will first descend towards the Dudh Koshi river before joining the main trail to Namche Bazaar. The walk today is easy. You will pass through several Sherpa settlements like Cheplung, Thado Koshi, and Kusum Kangru during your trek. After passing through a final Sherpa village of Ghat (2,550m) adorned with Mani wall paintings, it is a 30-minute short walk to Phakding. If the accommodation in Phakding is packed, you will be able to hotels in Zamfute, a 25-minute walk from Phakding.
Phakding to Namche Bazaar
(3,438m, 11 kms, 5-6 hours)
The day’s trek will begin the early morning after a wholesome Himalayan breakfast. You will continue northwards along the banks of the Dudh Koshi, crossing the milky white river five times on shaky suspension bridges laden with prayer flags. The trail passes through Sherpa villages of Chumoa and Monjo villages before reaching Sagarmatha National Park. From there, the trail follows pine forests, Jorsale village, and the banks of Dudh Koshi and Bhote Koshi rivers. Finally, you will have to ascend a steep trail before reaching Namche Bazaar, the biggest town in the Everest region. On your way, you will have stunning views of Mt. Kusum Kangroo, Thamserku and Holy Khumbiyela. From Namche, you can have the first view of Mt. Everest (8,848m).
Also, the headquarter of the Solukhumbu district, Namche is home to numerous quality restaurants, lodges, hotels, internet cafes, and money exchange service centres. Here is our pick of top 5/10 hotels in Namche for great value, great service, and great views!
Acclimatization day at Namche
Namche Bazaar is the staging point for expeditions to Everest and other mountains in the area. It is also a prosperous market town that sells everything from exquisite Tibetan artefacts to climbing equipment. You will be going on short walks and hikes in order to acclimatise to the harsh climate and terrain. Situated on a slope of an arch-shaped mountain, Namche allows you to oversee the sights of glorious peaks throughout the valley.
Namche is quite happening and eventful for a small mountain town. Here, you can visit the Khunde Hospital built by Sir Edmund Hillary, hike to the local museum to see ancient Sherpa artifacts, and reach Everest View Hotel in time to catch the stunning sunset as the sunlight paint Mt. Nuptse, Mt. Ama Dablam, and Mt. Everest tangerine.
Namche Bazaar to Tengboche
(3,870m, 10kms, 5-6 hours)
This particular segment of trek includes the popular descent alongside rushing glacial waters of Dudh Koshi and equally famous ascent through the rhododendron forests. While descending, you can enjoy great views of mountains including Everest that dominates the eastern skyline. Upon reaching Tengboche, a culturally-rich Sherpa village, you can visit the famous Tengboche Monastery. The monastery is adorned with amazingly ornate wall hangings. The monastery houses an ancient 20-foot sculpture of Buddha, musical instruments, and robes worn by the Lamas.
Tengboche to Dingboche
(4,360m, 9 kms, 5-6 hours)
For today, the trail first drops to Debuche, yet another quaint Sherpa village. You will trek through dense forests of different varieties – rhododendrons, birch, and conifers. The tiresome walk will once again reward you with panoramic views of Mt. Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam. After crossing the clear Imja River on an exciting suspension bridge, the trail will trek you uphill towards Pangboche. As you cover more distance vertically, the mountains will seem to get closer than ever. At Pangboche, you can stop for a short recreational break and visit the namesake monastery. From there, the trail continues upward towards the Imja Valley, Lobuche River, and finally Dingboche. Here, you can see a pleasing, symmetrical array of fields enclosed by stone walls to protect crops like potato, barley, and buckwheat from grazing animals and fierce cold winds.
Acclimatization at Dingboche and hike to Nangkartshang Peak
As you trek to higher elevations every day, the importance of acclimatisation grows exponentially. Slow and steady will definitely be the key to winning the race in the mountains. That’s why, your travel agency, irrespective of its itinerary, will have a day allocated for rest in Dingboche. It is a relatively large village in Khumbu, situated between Pangboche and Chukhung. Since it is above the tree line, it lacks the greenery of the previous villages you passed through.
To prepare your body, you can instead hike up to the Nangkartshane Peak just above the Dingboche. It is a terrific vantage point to have especially awesome views of Ama Dablam. On a sunny day, you will get to see the peak in its full glory. Alternatively, you can also hike to Chukhung or Nagarjun Hill for views of Makalu, Lhotse, Chalotse, Tawache, and Ama Dablam.
Dingboche to Lobuche
(4,940m, 7kms, 6-7 hours)
Today, the trail will take you along the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier and stone memorials for climbers who lost their lives on nearby peaks. The day’s trek will commence with a steady climb to Dughla at the end of the moraine of Khumbu Glacier. From here, you will continue up a steep trail to Chupki Lahra that is adorned with an array of stones and fluttering prayer flags. Here, you can find heartfelt memorials created in honour of 10-time Everest conqueror Babu Chiri Sherpa and American mountaineer Scott Fischer among others. Next, you will continue towards the Khumbu Glacier and be rewarded with frontal views of gigantic peaks like Pumorim Lingtren, Khumbu Tse, and mountains from the Mahalangur Range. Finally, the trail eases off towards the Lobuche Valley.
Lobuche to Gorak Shep, visit Everest Base Camp
(Gorakshep: 5,170m, Everest Base Camp: 5,364m, 13kms, 6-7 hours)
For the tenth day, the trail to the Everest Base Camp will take you through what was once the vast Gorak Shep Lake. On your way, you will come across an Indian army mountaineers’ memorial. The path from here can be tricky; thus, you will need to follow your Sherpa guide sincerely. The walk today will be particularly challenging as your body tries to adapt to the thinning air.
You will be trekking through rocky dunes, moraine, and streams before finally reaching the Everest Base Camp. On your arrival, you will be met by colourful tents of mountaineers that stand out against snowy blankets. Among other mountains, Pumori, Khumbuste, and Nuptse are the ones that are seen spectacularly well from the base camp. After spending some time relishing in the foothills of the highest peak on earth, you will trek back to Gorak Shep for a much-needed good night’s sleep.
Gorak Shep to Kala Patthar
(5,545m, 16kms, 7-8 hours)
Above Gorak Shep is the world-famous viewpoint known as Kala Patthar from where photographers from around the globe have captured iconic pictures of the tallest peak on the earth. The path to the top is treacherous, and one must walk through cautiously, as finding the route through can be tricky and the risks of falling on the ice are always looming.
You will begin the day’s trek before the dawn. Familiar peaks like Changtse, Khumbutse, and Lingtren will dominate the eastern skyline, and Everest will slowly start to reveal itself. But, it is only upon reaching Kala Patthar that we get to have a surreal 360-degree view of the Everest. It is undoubtedly the main highlight of your whole journey. After taking countless pictures and enjoying the amazing panorama of mountains, you will trek down to Pheriche for the night
Pheriche to Namche Bazaar
(3,438m, 20 kms, 6-7 hours)
You are now beyond the highest elevation points of the trek. Still, it is a pleasant experience to trek down through the hillside populated by juniper and rhododendron forests. After crossing the suspension bridge over Dudh Koshi, the trail will follow the Dudh Koshi Gorge descending steeply through pine forests. You’ll have the chance to see mountain goats and colourful pheasant during your downhill trek. The path will eventually take you to Sansa from where you can once again enjoy some of the last views of Mt. Ama Dablam, Nuptse, and Thamserku. Next, you will cross the winding trail through a dense forest to finally reach Namche Bazaar.
Namche Bazaar to Lukla
(2,860m, 19 kms, 6-7 hours)
Today is the last day of your actual trek. You will probably be filled emotions of nostalgia, happiness, and longing to the brim. The trail descends sharply downward, so you have to walk slowly and cautiously as your legs continuously battle the rocky terrain. After crossing the suspension bridge over Dudh Koshi five times again, the trail becomes a bit steady and easy. Once you reach Lukla, you can finally stretch your legs, reflect on your trekking experience, and call it a day!
Lukla to Kathmandu
It’s wise to catch an early morning flight due to the unpredictability of weather. That way, you will also have a whole day left in your kitty to make the best out your day in Kathmandu city. You can go souvenir shopping, visit the culturally enriched older parts of the city, or tour any World Heritage Site if you had missed before. You can end the night at a nice pub or restaurant with soulful live music to celebrate your successful Everest Base Camp trek.