The 13-day version of this trip features nine days of trekking in the Khumbu and Everest regions, bringing you to the foot of towering Aba Dablam. Along the way, visit the Sherpa monastery at Tengboche, have lunch at Ama Dablam base camp, and spend time acclimatizing at the world-famous Namche Bazaar. Before your trek, you'll have a bonus day in Kathmandu—take a city tour with a local guide, day-trip into the Kathmandu Valley, or simply take advantage of the fantastic eateries and nightlife and bustling Thamel.

Highlights

  • Visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu
  • Trek into the heart of the famous Khumbu region of Nepal
  • Explore the famous Sherpa monastery at Tengboche
  • Visit picturesque Ama Dablam Base Camp

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu! Kathmandu
Day 2 Explore Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 3 Fly from Kathmandu to Lukla, Trek to Phakding (8,563 feet / 2,610 m) Phakding
Day 4 Trek from Phakding to Namche Bazaar (11,290 feet / 3,440 m) Namche Bazaar
Day 5 Acclimatization day in Namche Bazaar Namche Bazaar
Day 6 Trek from Namche Bazaar to Tengboche (12,687 feet / 3867 m) Tengboche
Day 7 Trek from Tengboche to Pangboche (3908 m) Pangboche
Day 8 Day trip to Ama Dablam Base Camp (4600 m) Pangboche
Day 9 Trek from Pangboche to Phortse (3680 m) Phortse
Day 10 Trek from Phortse to Monjo (2835 m) Monjo
Day 11 Trek from Monjo to Lukla (9,186 feet / 2,800 m) Lukla
Day 12 Fly from Lukla to Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 13 Depart Kathmandu  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu!

The cityscape of Kathmandu and Boudhanath Stupa
The cityscape of Kathmandu and Boudhanath Stupa

As you fly into Kathmandu, you'll have beautiful views over the city, the Himalaya, and of the terraced fields below. After going through customs, a representative will be waiting to greet you and guide you through the initial culture shock of Kathmandu’s narrow, winding streets to get you settled into your hotel.

Once you've settled in, head out and explore the city. Durbar Square is a great place to start your exploration, where you'll walk through narrow alleyways teeming with small shops, ancient temples, and local restaurants. If you want to stretch your legs, Swayambhunath, the white stupa rising above the valley, is the perfect spot to catch the sunset over the valley.

In the evening, the tourist hub of Thamel is a good place to grab your first meal, with a variety of restaurants to chose from offering both Western and local Nepali dishes.

Day 2: Explore Kathmandu

Boudhanath stupa
Boudhanath stupa

Kathmandu has a special atmosphere during the early morning hours when the city is slowly coming to life yet not too chaotic. It's a great time to walk and explore the streets or have a chai overlooking one of the local courtyards or durbar squares. 

After breakfast, there are then a number of ways you can spend your day given the numerous famous sights around the Kathmandu Valley. You can use this as a free day or we can provide a local English-speaking guide who knows the city well and can explain the history and significance of the sights (along with a private jeep to take you around).

Later in the evening, head out for dinner at one of the city's great eateries, or your specialist can arrange a home-cooked dinner with a local family.

Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Lukla, Trek to Phakding (8,563 feet / 2,610 m)

Landing strip at Lukla
Landing strip at Lukla

After breakfast, you'll fly to Lukla (30 minutes) and land on a steep mountain runway, which brings you to the start of your trek. Try to get a window seat on the left-hand side of the plane and keep your camera close: The flight takes you between mountains and through valleys, with great views of the Himalaya on clear days.

You'll then trek a short distance today through local villages where you'll likely encounter fellow trekkers, locals, and yaks with their tinkling bells. (Having an easy first day is intentional, allowing you time to get used to the higher elevation.)

Continue through the Dudh Koshi Valley on a well-marked trail and stay overnight in Phakding. 

Flight time: 30 minutes
Trekking time: 3-4 hours (4.7 miles / 7.5 km)

Day 4: Trek from Phakding to Namche Bazaar (11,290 feet / 3,440 m)

The Hillary suspension bridge before the climb up to Namche Bazaar
The Hillary suspension bridge before the climb up to Namche Bazaar

After breakfast in Phakding, you'll start a steady and steep incline towards Namche. This is a challenging day as you'll start to feel the altitude. The route also consists of a number of high suspension bridges over the Dudh Kosi River that you need to cross.  

Just beyond the village of Monjo is the entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park, which was set-up in order to protect and preserve the fragile mountain environment (your guide will cover your permit fees here). The trail gets steeper along the way, and if the weather is clear, you will get the first glimpses of Mount Everest.

When you arrive at Namche, settle into your accommodations and explore the town. Namche is a great place to stock up on supplies as there are numerous small shops selling snacks and trekking gear, as well as restaurants and bars. If here on a weekend, check out the Saturday market—a meeting place for the Hindu traders from the lowlands and the Tibetan yak caravans that have crossed the glaciated Nangpa La

Trekking time: 4-6 hours (4.6 miles / 7.4 km)

Day 5: Acclimatization day in Namche Bazaar

View of Khunde and Khumjung villages
View of Khunde and Khumjung villages

Today is a rest day so take time to relax and sleep in. Namche is tucked away between two ridges amidst the giant peaks of the Khumbu and has an abundance of lodges, tea shops, and souvenir markets. It is an ideal place to spend a day acclimatizing to the higher altitude.

To speed up the acclimatization process, you can also head to the Khunde Hospital set-up by Sir Edmund Hillary, or take a highly-recommended one-hour walk up to the Everest View Hotel above Namche for views of notable peaks like Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse, and Everest. There are also good views from the Sherpa Culture Museum just above town.

Day 6: Trek from Namche Bazaar to Tengboche (12,687 feet / 3867 m)

Great views of Ama Dablam along the trail from Namche Bazaar to Tengboche
Great views of Ama Dablam along the trail from Namche Bazaar to Tengboche

After breakfast in Namche, you'll follow the trail along the side of the valley high above the Dudh Kosi River. You'll get your first views of the Khumbu region's giant peaks: Mount Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, and Ama Dablam. Pass by several villages and numerous tea shops, and descend steeply to a bridge over the river at Phunki Tenga. The village is an ideal stopover for lunch and you can rest before making the steep climb to Tengboche.

Although this next zigzag path is tiring, your views will include beautiful rhododendron forests, colorful birds, and superb mountain scenery. Tengboche is famous for its legendary monastery, the largest in Khumbu, and a spectacular panorama of the aforementioned peaks can be seen from where you'll stop for the night.

Trekking time: 4-5 hours (5.7 miles / 9.2 km)

Day 7: Trek from Tengboche to Pangboche (3908 m)

Ama Dablam lit by the first rays of morning sun
Ama Dablam lit by the first rays of morning sun

Today, you'll trek to Pangboche farther up the valley. The trail winds through rhododendron forest before crossing the Imja Khola and has great vantage points of Ama Dablam. It then climbs gradually past beautifully carved mani stones to reach the village of Pangboche where you'll arrive for a late lunch. You then have an afternoon acclimatization trek in preparation for tomorrow's walk to Ama Dablam Basecamp.

Trekking time: 2 hours

Day 8: Day trip to Ama Dablam Base Camp (4600 m)

Prayer flags in the high Himalaya
Prayer flags in the high Himalaya

Today, you'll cross the Imja Khola river before starting the ascent toward Ama Dablam. This is an incredible trek as you leave almost all other trekkers behind and visit far less traveled trails. You'll reach Ama Dablam Basecamp in time for lunch, taking in the incredible views and where you can celebrate reaching your goal before heading back down the trail and back to Pangboche.

Trekking time: 4-5 hours 

Day 9: Trek from Pangboche to Phortse (3680 m)

Taking a well-deserved rest after a long day on the trail
Taking a well-deserved rest after a long day on the trail

You'll start with a climb past the monastery in Upper Pangboche and then trek one of the most spectacular trails in all of the Everest region. It is the high trail to the less often visited village of Phortse (3800m) which is home to many Everest climbers.

Trekking time: 4-5 hours 

Day 10: Trek from Phortse to Monjo (2835 m)

Basic stone teahouses along the trail
Basic stone teahouses along the trail

You drop steeply down to cross the river at Photse Tenga, before climbing to Mong La (3973m), which offers your last stunning views of Ama Dablam. You then descend and rejoin the main Everest Trail to Namche Bazaar and continue down to the village of Monjo

Trekking time: 6-7 hours 

Day 11: Trek from Monjo to Lukla (9,186 feet / 2,800 m)

Streets of Lukla
Streets of Lukla

After breakfast in Monjo, begin the final day of the trek as you head along the Dudh Kosi river to Lukla. You'll first walk from Monjo to Ghat and stop for lunch before continuing to make your way through villages like Chumoa, Benkar, Phakding, and Chuthawa, eventually reaching the Pasang Lhamu Memorial Gate signifying the end of the trek. Though most of the route is an easy downhill slope, the last section of trail before arriving takes you uphill—a fitting way to finish.

With Lukla's handful of shops, bars, and cafes—and even a faux Starbucks!—there are plenty of things to occupy your time as you reflect on your experience.

Trekking time: 5-7 hours

Day 12: Fly from Lukla to Kathmandu

Propeller flight from Kathmandu to Lukla
Propeller flight from Kathmandu to Lukla

After breakfast in Lukla, you'll take an early morning flight back to Kathmandu. 

Upon arrival, you'll be transferred to your hotel and will be able to enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening at your leisure. Explore Kathmandu's streets on foot, bicycle, or rickshaw, perhaps shopping for souvenirs or seeing anything you may have missed at the beginning of your trip.

Other ideas include rewarding your muscles after the trek with a massage service at Seeing Hands (services are offered from the visually impaired), or the more upscale Kinjalla Spa. You can also take an early evening yoga class at Pranamaya Yoga, with two locations in Thamel and Patan.

In the evening, choose from a selection of Nepali, French, Vietnamese, and Middle Eastern dishes in Kathmandu.

Flight time: 30 minutes

Day 13: Depart Kathmandu

The all-seeing eyes of Buddha at Swayambhunath
The all-seeing eyes of Buddha at Swayambhunath

It's time to say farewell to Nepal. Enjoy your last moments in Kathmandu with breakfast in a café, a city stroll, and/or souvenir shopping. A representative will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the airport for your return flight home. It's good to be at the airport at least 2 hours prior to departure.