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adventure travel trip to Nepal
An exquisite place on earth to catch your physical and spiritual breath
Dates
  • Oct 8-18, 2014
  • Apr 7-17, 2015
  • Oct 13-23, 2015
  • Privately on Request
  • Duration 11 days
    Group Size 2-10
    Land Cost $2,850 Details
    Single Supplement $300
    Lodging 1 star-2 stars
    Grade II-III
    Best Time

    Everest Namche Lodge Trek

    Settle into the famous center of Sherpa culture high in the Himalayas

    Day 1      Arrive Kathmandu

    On arrival in Kathmandu, you will be met by a JOURNEYS staff member at the airport and transferred to your Western-style hotel. Your guides will be available for advice on everything from how to bargain to choosing restaurants to learning a little bit of the Nepali language. You will have some time to just relax, or to nibble at the feast of new experiences in this exotic city. Later, you'll have a brief orientation.

    Meals: None
    Lodging: International Guesthouse or similar

    Day 2      Kathmandu

    You have the day free to spend as you like. There is much to see and do in Kathmandu. Alternatively, we can arrange a city tour with an English-speaking guide who will help you learn about city life (additional cost). Consider a visit to the famous temples of Swayambhunath, Pasupatinath, or Boddhanath.

    In Kathmandu, and throughout your trip, we encourage you to interact with local people either through your guide as interpreter, or through participation in the activities that are all around you.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Lodging: International Guesthouse or similar

    Boddhanath Stupa, an icon of Kathmandu
    Day 3      Fly to Lukla / Hike along the Dudh Kosi

    Your guide will meet you very early and assist with your transfer to the Kathmandu airport for your flight on a 20-seater two-engine Twin Otter to Lukla, at 9,000’ elevation. (We’re pleased to plan your travel to Nepal and your first days in Kathmandu too; just ask us.) The flight to Lukla is always thrilling, through a deep valley between towering snow-capped ridges. The plane turns and you actually land going uphill.

    The air is clear, clean, and cool.  Smell the pine trees and juniper incense, listen for the yak bells. Your local guide will be waiting for you with a porter or a yak to transport your gear while you carry a light daypack.  The first day’s walk may take you four to eight hours, depending on your pace. You might feel the altitude change from Kathmandu to Lukla as you hike today, so take your time. Hike down to meet the Dudh Kosi River and then up along the river’s edge. You can’t see Everest yet, but you will likely see many other snow capped peaks. Stop overnight at a basic Sherpa guest house in Monjo.

    Note: Today's hike is moderate. Keep in mind, though, that the trekking paths in the Everest region are not well-maintained. They tend to be rocky, uneven, and slippery after a rain. We suggest you bring hiking poles for extra support or rent them in Kathmandu. Your guide can assist you with rentals.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Sherpa guest house

    Begin your trek amidst pine forests and Buddhist prayer flags
    Day 4      Hike to Namche

    Today’s hike is up, up, up! You set your pace. You will feel the altitude if you have not noticed it already, but the increasingly-dramatic vistas of high peaks, possibly including your first glimpses of Everest, will energize your effort. Finally, after anywhere from four to eight hours of mostly uphill, you round a corner and behold the colorful village of Namche Bazaar.

    Located in a natural amphitheater at 11,000’, Namche is the cultural and economic heart of the Sherpa world. Hundreds of Sherpa Buddhist families live here in traditional white homes with green and red wood trim; thousands of bright prayer flags flap in the breezes.

    Your lodge is perched near the top of the natural bowl that cradles the town. From the ridge top, gaze on a 360-degree panorama of towering snowy peaks, secluded monasteries, high yak pastures, and the alpine slopes of Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) National Park. Expeditions to Everest and her sister peaks all pass this way, and now it’s your turn. Your lodge host and his family will welcome you with a kata (ceremonial scarf) and tea. Relax and  enjoy the friendly mountainscape environs of your Sherpa lodge basecamp.

    Note: Today's hike is long and strenous, particularly the last stretch of it. Expect to go slow and take lots of breaks.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Sherpa Lodge

    Traditional Sherpa welcome with a silk kata scarf
    Day 5      Settle into Your Sherpa Lodge

    On your first full day in Namche, we recommend you take it easy to acclimatize to the elevation. Stroll in the bazaar, stop at the National Park Visitors’ Center, or find a viewpoint to admire Everest. It is said that conversation is the national sport of Nepal, so jump in. The locals will want to know about you and will be open about their own lives and customs. Almost every Namche family has members who have scaled the highest Himalayan peaks as part of international expeditions; if you enjoy mountaineering lore, ask for stories. As your hosts come to understand your interests and evaluate your adaptation to the altitude, they can help you formulate an exploration program for the next few days. Note – Internet connections and local cell phone service are typically available, but not always reliable.

     

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Sherpa Lodge

    Walking the lanes of Namche
    Day 6      Enjoy Your Namche Base

    Over the next four days, or however long you choose to stay, you will have a multitude of half-day and full-day options in and around Namche, in Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) National Park, in the nearby villages of Kunde and Khumjung, and in the village and monastery of Thame, where one of our co-founders was born.

    In Namche, spend time with the members of your household. Learn to cook Sherpa stew or mo-mo’s (meat or veggie dumplings). Note the effort the community has expended to protect the environment from the seasonal influx of climbers and trekkers. There’s a kerosene depot to deter wood-cutting. The electricity lines are underground. There are impressive applications of wind, solar, and water power. No glass bottles are permitted. Note the mountaineering gear (left from expeditions) and Tibetan art in the shops. On Saturdays, the weekly market causes the population to quadruple. Farmers and merchants from lower elevations may walk several days to bring fresh produce, Indian goods, and hardware from the plains.  Sherpas from the many valleys above Namche come to purchase these goods and trade their milk products, potatoes, and yak-hair goods.

    A short walk in one direction offers superb views of Everest, as well as the dramatic peaks of Lhotse, Nuptse, and Ama Dablam. In another direction, your hosts will suggest where you can find Himalayan tahr and musk deer, prey species of the snow leopard, which has been seen just a few hours' walk from your lodge.

    Namche is actually part of the one of the world's most unique national parks. Created in 1976 to protect more than 425 square miles of peaks and glaciers and forests, Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) N.P. also includes Sherpa villages, farmland, and yak pastures. The park management plan recognizes that traditional Sherpa culture is as important to protect as the wildlife and forests. Learn about programs of reforestation, trail maintenance, erosion control, hydro power, and wildlife management. No animals may be killed within the park, and wood collecting is strictly controlled. The result has been an increased standard of living and a stabilized natural ecology. Animals such as musk deer, Himalayan tahr, and blood pheasants are quite tame and easy to observe. Snow leopards, long absent from the area, now inhabit several of the valleys close to Namche.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Sherpa Lodge

    Mount Everest on the left
    Day 7      Thame or Tengboche Monasteries

    Opt for a day hike to Thame or an overnight to Tengboche. These are the sites of the two most important Sherpa Buddhist monasteries.

    Most Everest trekkers are unaware that the side trip to Thame village is one of the most historic, scenic, and wildlife-rich experiences in the Khumbu region.   Tenzing Norgay (who with Edmund Hillary achieved the first summitting of Everest in 1953) was born in Thame, as was Pemba Sherpa, a co-founder of JOURNEYS. The trail from Namche to Thame is the first leg of the long trip over the Nangpa La and into Tibet.  The Chinese have closed this route to official travel, but Tibetan refugees escaping persecution in Tibet still sometimes risk their lives to cross the 20,000’ pass. Thame is one of the prettiest villages in Nepal where two long glacial valleys converge. Snow leopards prowl these slopes. In spring, huge rhododendrons bloom across vast hillsides. In summer, the meadows bloom richly with wildflowers.

    If you are undaunted by the steepness of the trail or the thinness of the air so far up, consider the five- to six-hour hour trek to Tengboche Monastery.  It’s a long climb up through a sacred forest to finally reach Tengboche at 12,750’ elevation.  The view is spectacular.  It seems there is little between you and the peak of Everest, but for most people the Everest climbing base camp is still three long days’ walk and a mile of elevation away. Camp or spend the night in the monastery guest house, and observe temple chanting and other rituals.

    Or ... head on to Everest Base Camp! Stretch your Khumbu experience by continuing to trek past Tengboche to the phenomenal site where multiple mountaineering expeditions set up their base each fall and spring. The round-trip adds five to six days to this itinerary.

    Note: The trek to Tengboche is very strenuous. The trek to Everest Base Camp is, of course, even more strenuous. We suggest you don't attempt anything out of your comfort zone and risk getting seriously injured, as medical evacuation in this region can be delayed.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Sherpa Lodge or Tengboche

    Trekkers and Sherpas in Kumjung
    Day 8      Kunde and Khumjung

    The twin villages of Kunde and Khumjung can be reached by a 90-minute walk from Namche or on your return hike from Tengboche.

    These "classic" Sherpa villages are off the main expedition route and much less commercial than Namche. Here, beautiful traditional homes are surrounded by large potato fields where you might catch children immersed in a game of cricket. Khumjung is the site of the largest school established by the Hillary Trust, a model of pre-K to grade 10 education, said to be as good as the best schools in the capital. Kunde is the site of the first and most famous of the Hillary Hospitals. You can visit both.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Sherpa Lodge

    Blessing from a lama at Tengboche
    Day 9      Return to Lukla

    On your second to last day, say goodbye to your host family after breakfast and retrace your trail back to Lukla. Heading back to Lukla is both easy because you lose altitude and difficult because the last stretch of the hike is a steep uphill climb. Slow down the homestretch with picture taking, wildlife watching, and chatting with people along the way. It's possible to make the 12-mile hike all the way to Lukla in a day, where you will have dinner and stay in a local guest house.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging: Local guesthouse

    The most lingering memories are of the people
    Day 10      Return to Kathmandu

    The take-off from Lukla is as spectacular as the landing, but the terrain now feels familiar. Enjoy the 30-minute flight back to Kathmandu, and please remember your Sherpa friends. Spend the afternoon visiting Kathmandu's most important Buddhist stupas at Swayambu or Boddnath or Hindu temple at Pashupati, or wander Kathmandu's lanes and durbar squares.

    Meals: Breakfast
    Lodging: International Guesthouse or similar

    Visit Kathmandu's many temples
    Day 11      Depart or extend

    Transfer to the airport for your homeward flight or remain in the Himalayas. In Nepal, add on a safari in Chitwan National Park or a short trek or village stay in the middle hills. Consider flying direct to Bhutan for JOURNEYS' six-day itinerary or for a longer exploration. Consider flying direct to Bangkok and enjoying our services in northern Thailand or Cambodia. Or, fly to Delhi or Varanasi in India, where we are also prepared to provide sensational itineraries. Namaste!

    Meals: Breakfast
    Lodging: None



     
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