This beautiful trek is an easier way to see Everest and the Himalayas without going to Everest Basecamp. You also get the chance to explore the monasteries and local villages in this Buddhist region. You visit Sherpa villages and many of the old Buddhist monasteries in the area. You are accompanied by breathtaking views all along the way. This leisurely trek is a fantastic way to combine culture with trekking for beautiful views.
Trek grade: This trek is a grade 3 because you climb up to 3985m. However, days are not too long and the trails are easy.
Here are some more treks Royal Mountain Travel can offer in the Everest region:
Feeling inspired? Have a look at Inside Himalayas for more ideas on how to visit Everest: 20 Photos Of The Everest Region We Can’t Stop Looking At
|Arrival in Kathmandu
|Kathmandu sightseeing: Boudhanath, Pashupatinath, Patan
|Fly to Lukla (2860m), trek to Phakding (2650m, 3-4 hrs)
|Namche Bazaar (3440m, 7 hrs)
|Trek to Thame (3740m, 4-5 hrs)
|Trek to Khumjung (3790m, 5 hrs)
|Trek to Phortse (3542m, 6 hrs)
|Trek to Pangboche (3985m, 6 hrs)
|Trek to Tengboche (3864m, 5 hrs)
|Trek to Namche Bazaar (3450m, 5 hrs)
|Trek to Lukla (2860m, 8 hrs)
|Fly to Kathmandu
Trekking: Additional information
Please note that the published itinerary can only be a statement of intent and should be used as a guide only. Each day may vary due to the walking times of the group, camping and trail condRead More...
Trekking: Additional information
Please note that the published itinerary can only be a statement of intent and should be used as a guide only. Each day may vary due to the walking times of the group, camping and trail conditions. The guide in charge of your trip may have to alter the schedule if necessary and any such changes are at the discretion of Royal Mountain Travel and your guide.
The trekking day
Your day starts with a wake-up call, followed by breakfast and baggage pickup. You are then driven to the start point of your trek. While trekking, your day starts with breakfast at the tea house where you are staying. You need to pack up your baggage before breakfast as porters usually set off early.
Normally you are on the trail by 8 am and stop for a leisurely lunch around noon, with the chance to stop along the way for short breaks. Lunchtime usually lasts a couple of hours to give you time to relax or to explore the village where you have stopped. The afternoon walk is shorter and you can expect to arrive around 4 pm to allow time for short excursions to nearby sites, monasteries, exploration of the village or for relaxing with a book or catching up on your diary. Dinner is generally around, 7 pm.
Everyone walks at different speeds and you should always go at the pace that is comfortable for you. The grade of the trek is only an approximate indication of what to expect, based on the altitude and the hours of walking per day. In general, the condition of trails is good as these are the main routes between villages.
What you carry?
Each porter carries 15kg so you should pack 7.5 kgs of baggage, sharing one porter between two persons. These things will not be available to you during the day as the porters usually leave early and do not walk with you. Your daypack should contain all that you need during the day. This should consist of warm clothes for when you stop, a water bottle, camera, sunscreen, lip salve and maybe waterproofs depending on when you’re trekking. Your guide will let you know each evening about any extra items you might need for the following day. You should take a comfortable daypack to carry just a few kilograms of things you need along the way.
Food and drink
No meals are included in your trek. These are available in tea houses, lodges and bhattis that may sometimes have quite limited menus. There are a lot of tea houses and lodges along the way while you are trekking. Meals are generally simple but filling, but you may wish to stock up on ‘trail munchies’ before leaving Kathmandu or Pokhara. Although mineral water in plastic bottles can be found along the way in many places, you should try to avoid using this. Plastic bottles are a serious problem on the trekking routes as there is no way to dispose of them. Instead, you should use water purification tablets, a water filter or ask for boiled water at the lodges. It is a good idea to bring a heat resistant, a water bottle which can double up as a hot water bottle when you go to bed at night too!
It is not recommended to drink alcohol at altitudes above 3,000m or so, where altitude sickness can start to have an effect.
Accommodation is in lodges and teahouses and is of a basic standard. Rooms may be twin or multi-share with basic shared toilet facilities. Hot showers are available in some places for a small charge. It is a good idea to pack wet-wipes to freshen up, especially useful when you reach high altitudes where the water can be very cold. It is not recommended to wash your hair when you are at higher altitudes and where the outside air is cold, as you run the risk of getting a chill when your wet hair takes a long time to dry.
Lodges usually have a common room where later in the day, when people start to arrive from their day’s trek there might be a stove that is lit to keep warm. Bedrooms, however, are not heated. The lodges provide clean bedding, but you may want to pack a sheet sleeping bag for peace of mind.
The main means of transport are on foot, or in some cases by horse, with mules or donkeys sometimes carrying baggage. On most trekking routes, your baggage will be carried by the porters. You should ensure that anything you might need during the day is in your day pack as you will not see the baggage that is being carried again until the end of each day.
You will be provided with government licensed, experienced trek guided assisted by the porters who transport your baggage with one porter for every two trekkers. The guide is in overall charge of the trek and looks after you. This is the person you should go to with any problems, concerns or questions. Our guides are highly trained in all aspects of trekking, conservation, high altitude medicine, first-aid and emergency procedures. They are professionals selected for their knowledge and passion for Nepal and its peoples. However, you should remember that they are local guides and their English may sometimes be quite basic and limited to trek related topics. Usually, porters will have a more basic understanding of English. Please try to speak slowly and clearly to make communication easier.
Trek grading and preparation
It is impossible to have a ‘foolproof’ grading system as everyone has different expectations and perceptions of their own fitness level. Remember that no trek in the Himalaya is a stroll as all involve going up and down, often at altitude. Altitude affects everyone differently, and even if it has not affected you much before, each time can be quite different in how it affects you.
Regardless of age or fitness, preparation, before you arrive, is a good idea. Aerobic activity, swimming, cycling or brisk walking is recommended or, at the very least, walking up and down stairs in your trekking boots to be sure that they fit well and are comfortable. Try to use hiking boots that you have already broken in to avoid blisters. Remember that the trek should be fun and you should go at your own pace.
It is best to bring cash in major currencies such as the US, Canadian or Australian dollars, Euros, or Pounds. Ensure you have a mixture of large and small denominations. Everyone’s spending is different, but as a guide, we suggest about USD 8 – 10 per meal in Kathmandu and Pokhara and USD 30 – 35 per day whilst trekking. If you drink or smoke you need to allow a bit more.
You should exchange enough money into Nepalese Rupees to last the entire time of your trek before leaving Kathmandu. You can find the money exchange counters near your hotel in Kathmandu and Pokhara but there are no exchange facilities in villages along the way.
Communication: mobile phones and internet
Please note, as you will be often trekking through valleys and will not always be close to mobile towers, mobile phone reception can be very patchy. NCELL, the local mobile company has quite good coverage, but sometimes the signal can be very weak. Usually, lodges have powerpoint’s to recharge your mobile, although this sometimes can be at an extra charge.
Tipping is a personal and voluntary matter and is not included in the trip price. If you wish to reward the efforts of those who have worked to make your trek the best they can, we suggest the following: USD 4 per day for groups of 8+, USD 5 per day for smaller groups which will be shared amongst the whole staff, including porters.
Travel insurance is not included in the trip price. It is essential that you take out comprehensive travel insurance prior to your trek. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency evacuation and repatriation (including helicopter evacuation) and personal liability. We also recommend that it covers cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Be careful to check the small print of your insurance regarding altitude as some policies only provide cover up to 2000m.
There are no specific health requirements for entry into Nepal. Your health condition must be sound as you will be climbing to above 4000m. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date information regarding vaccinations, high altitude medication and medications for any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst traveling in Nepal. Be aware that some drugs, including anti-malarial, have side effects at altitude. Please discuss this carefully with your doctor.
Please be aware that you will be in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip. We strongly recommend that you carry a personal First Aid kit as well as sufficient quantities of any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses)
AMS (acute mountain sickness) is a serious issue. It is the result of the failure of the body to adapt to high altitude and can affect anyone, regardless of age or fitness. It usually occurs above 1,800 meters and the likelihood of being affected increases as you ascend. The way to reduce the effects of altitude is to ascend slowly, 300 meters per day above 3,000 meters until you have acclimatized. Poor acclimatization can result in headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, difficulty breathing and swelling of fingers and glands. The only cure for AMS is to descend to a lower altitude and your guide’s decision on this matter is final. There is a possibility of AMS in any trek that passes through altitudes above 4000 meters.
Although our routes are carefully planned to allow proper acclimatization you may feel some effects of altitude for the first few days or at higher altitudes. Breathlessness, lethargy and mild headaches are not uncommon and generally decrease as your body adjusts. Maintaining adequate fluid intake is essential. Please advise your guide if you feel more severe symptoms and do not medicate yourself without discussing it with them first.
Variation of climate is directly proportional to the altitude. For this trekking, trekking routes are often passed through a range of altitudes from 850m upwards. Between, about 2700m and 3000m a cool temperate climate prevails, and you should expect a cool summer and very cold temperatures in the winter. Above 3000m, even if the daytime is sunny and quite warm, the temperature will drop sharply as soon as the sun goes down.
The weather in the mountains is notoriously changeable, so always be prepared for a change in conditions and note that if severe or dangerous weather conditions occur your guide’s decision on any course of action is final.
Trekking permits are required for almost all treks and will be obtained by Royal Mountain Travel. The Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) is essential for the record of Nepal Tourism Board keeping in mind about probable hazards to occur. You need to provide your full name, nationality, home address, passport number, sex, date of birth and 2 photographs for each permit. Royal Mountain Travel also pays any fees required for entry to national parks, conservation areas or restricted areas.
Packing for your trek
You will need to bring a comfortable medium sized daypack to carry the things you will need during the day. This should have a waist strap or (better) a padded waist belt.
You should limit your baggage to about 7kg. You will find the following items useful.
Royal Mountain Travel is a Nepal-based sustainable tourism operator. We specialize in curating once-in-a-lifetime experiences to showcase indigenous and community based tourism projects. We work with travel agents and tourism companies to help plan travel experiences that highlight authentic, local lifestyles throughout some of the most unique landscapes on earth.
Arrival in Kathmandu
Your first impression of arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport is an experience in itself. But don’t be worried by the apparent confusion as your airport representative will be waiting to welcome you with your name written on a placard. Depending on traffic, you will be at your hotel within 20 minutes or so.
Kathmandu sightseeing: Boudhanath, Pashupatinath, Patan
The day is spent visiting some of the major World Heritage Sites of Kathmandu. More…
You will have plenty of time in the afternoon to prepare for your trek and check that you have everything you need. You might want to visit Thamel, the tourist hub of Nepal where you can easily find all you need for trekking. Or if you just want to relax, there are many cafes and bakeries serving excellent local tea and coffee. It is best to avoid the street food, however, unless you have a very strong stomach. It is recommended that you have an early night as you will have an early start in the morning.
Fly to Lukla (2860m), trek to Phakding (2650m, 3-4 hrs)
After an early morning wakeup call, you should dress to be ready for trekking. The domestic terminal of the airport is only 10-15 minutes’ drive from the hotel and you will have plenty of time to eat your packed breakfast before boarding the plane. Flying to Lukla on the small Dornier/Twin Otter plane, the flight takes about half an hour. It is a once in a lifetime flight during which, weather permitting, there are many opportunities to see the mighty Himalayas before landing in one of the most exciting airports of the world, Lukla airport, also known as Tenzing Hillary Airport.
At the airport, you are met by our team of sherpas who welcome us. You take a short break while the porters sort out your baggage that they will be carrying on the trek. To ensure that no one is overloaded, we do not allow any of our sherpas to carry more than 15kg. While on the trail, you will see many porters carrying three or four times this, sometimes even more.
To break you in gently, the first day of the trek involves just three to four hours walking, mostly downhill first to Thado Koshi (about 2 hours), before gently climbing again to Phakding where we stop for lunch and have the afternoon free. If you want to explore further, you can visit Rimijung Monastery that is about an hour up the hillside from Phakding village.
Namche Bazaar (3440m, 7 hrs)
Today is more challenging as most of the day is uphill. With several opportunities to cross high suspension bridges across the rivers, you pass village settlements and at Benkar, you are welcomed by a view of the gigantic Mt. Thamserku dominating the horizon. You pass mani walls and Buddhist shrines along the way to the Sagarmatha National Park entry gate. The national park was established in 1976 and listed as a World Heritage Site in 1979. Here your permits are checked before you continue your way up to Namche Bazaar, the Gateway to Everest Base Camp and ‘capital’ of the famous Sherpas.
Namche Bazaar was originally a trading post but is now a tourist hub where expeditions to the Everest area start. As the first point on the Khumbu trek that is above altitude sickness threshold, this is a good place to spend some time to acclimatize.
Namche Bazaar is the administrative capital of the region, historically it was the staging point for trading expeditions to Tibet and its Saturday market remains an important event bringing traders from villages a week’s walk away. Here you can find many cafes and restaurants, trekking shops and souvenir shops.
For the next five days, you will visit several of the Buddhist monasteries in the Khumjung area where for Tibetan and Nepali Buddhists this is been a centre of their faith.
Trek to Thame (3740m, 4-5 hrs)
As you head out of Namche you reach a rocky promontory above the Bhote Khosi valley. From here you can look across Namche Bazaar with Thamserku and Ama Dablam on the horizon. Passing the tiny village of Phurte you then arrive at the larger village of Thamo (3440m) with its famous monastery. The way after this, it becomes easier and soon you reach Samde (3610m). Continuing up to an outlook point at 3700 meters you see the ancient glacial moraine. Your path then drops steeply to the river that pushes its way through a very narrow gorge. As you approach Thame, you pass fields divided by stone walls.
Thame is a traditional village that has largely escaped the crowds of trekkers on their way to Everest. Here you find one of the older monasteries in the region. The village is notable also as the hometown of Apa Sherpa who has made it to the summit of Everest 21 times.
The villages of Thame, Khunde and Khumjung were all damaged during the earthquake in 2015 and rebuilding work will take some time.
Trek to Khumjung (3790m, 5 hrs)
Retracing your steps back towards Namche, you take an upward turning to Syangboche. Popular with trekkers acclimatizing in Namche, there is an airstrip that is sometimes used by helicopters. You climb a little before descending to Khumjung. As you go down into this village, you see the longest mani wall in the region that leads to the schoolyard of the Khumjung Hillary School that was founded in 1961 with the support of Sir Edmund Hillary. Khumjung Monastery houses the scalp of what is said to be a Yeti. The relic is said to have come from one of the “abominable snowmen” of Himalayan legend and was found by Hillary and journalist Desmond Doig in 1960 when they were on an expedition to look for evidence of the big-footed beast.
Trek to Phortse (3542m, 6 hrs)
As you leave Khumjung the track begins to climb steeply up a series of steps hugging the cliff face. You turn the corner at the top to enter the main valley with the river several hundred meters below. The trail then climbs steadily up to Mong to where you see several tea houses around a chorten. You then drop down to Phortse Tenga where you cross the river and climb up again to reach Phortse.
Trek to Pangboche (3985m, 6 hrs)
From Phortse it is an easy walk to Pangboche, a village used as a base camp for climbing nearby Ama Dablam. Here you find the oldest monastery in the Khumbu region. Founded by Lama Sange Dorje in the 17th century, it is famous for another yeti scalp and hand that is supposed to be that of a Yeti. (However when a finger bone from the hand was tested the DNA showed it to be human.) The Pangboche school was built by Sir Edmund Hillary’s Himalayan Trust in 1963.
Trek to Tengboche (3864m, 5 hrs)
You pass through beautiful dense rhododendron forests with dwarf conifers where you can often see danphe pheasants and musk deer. As you come out of the forest you find yourself at Tengboche. The monastery is one of the highlights of the trek. One of the most famous monasteries of Nepal, it is the leading Buddhist centre in the Khumbu with a residing Rinpoche who blesses pilgrims and travellers to the area. In October, the monastery hosts the colourful Mani Rimdu festival, which is a culmination of Buddhist celebrations with religious gathering, songs, dances, and enactments of legends. The monastery was burnt down in 1989 and rebuilt replacing the old building with a more solid structure.
Trek to Namche Bazaar (3450m, 5 hrs)
Descending to Namche Bazaar the route is unbelievably beautiful – the Dudh Kosi is far below and Thamserku, Kantega, Ama Dablam, Lhotse and Everest rise in front. Woods, rhododendron forests, mani walls, chorten and suspension bridges across the river combine to make this a lovely walk.
Trek to Lukla (2860m, 8 hrs)
Though it is quite a long day, the hike down to Lukla now seems quite easy. By now, charged with energy, you will be feeling fit and strong from your trek. Downhill most of the way, you can celebrate in style in the bustling town of Lukla. Here you say goodbye to your support team who have accompanied us all the way to and from Everest.
Fly to Kathmandu
A short walk takes you to Lukla airport where you take the thirty-minute flight back to Kathmandu. Once back in Kathmandu you are taken back to your hotel for nice hot showers, relaxation and the rest of the day off. In the afternoon you might like to try out one of the many cooking classes or workshops on offer, go for some more sightseeing or do some last minute shopping. Ask your guide for suggestions.
You transfer to Tribhuvan Airport to connect with your onward flight. Please note that you should check in three hours prior to your flight time.