This adventure combines the Himalaya with the jungle. You'll trek to the foot of the tallest mountain in the world and then reward yourself with a relaxing getaway in the jungle of southern Nepal. During the trek, you'll pass through traditional Sherpa villages and Buddhist monasteries with great views of Cho-Oyu, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam. Then, you'll fly to Chitwan to spot wildlife, experience the elephants, and relaxing at a comfortable resort.

Highlights

  • Trek to the foot of Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world
  • Experience the culture of the Sherpa people who make the Everest region their home
  • Retreat to the jungle for a comfortable stay and to relax at riverside resorts
  • Spot wildlife in Chitwan, such as rhinos, birds, and crocodiles, and spend time with elephants

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu! Kathmandu
Day 2 Explore Kathmandu: Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, & Patan Durbar Square 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 Dingboche (14,304 feet / 4360 m) Dingboche
Day 8 Acclimatization day in Dingboche (14,304 feet / 4,360 m) Dingboche
Day 9 Trek from Dingboche to Lobuche (16,175 feet / 4930 m) Lobuche
Day 10 Trek from Lobuche to Gorak Shep (17,008 feet / 5184 m), Sunset from Kala Patthar Gorak Shep
Day 11 Trek from Gorak Shep to Lobuche (16,175 feet / 4930 m) via Everest Base Camp Lobuche
Day 12 Trek from Lobuche to Pangboche (13,074 ft / 3985 m) Pangboche
Day 13 Trek from Pangboche to Namche Bazaar (11,319 feet / 3450 m) Namche Bazaar
Day 14 Trek from Namche Bazaar to Lukla (9,186 feet / 2,800 m) Lukla
Day 15 Fly from Lukla to Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 16 Fly from Kathmandu to Chitwan Chitwan
Day 17 Explore Chitwan: Safari by Jeep or by Foot Chitwan
Day 18 Explore Chitwan: Boat Safari to Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge Chitwan
Day 19 Explore Chitwan: A Day With Elephants Chitwan
Day 20 Fly from Chitwan to Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 21 Explore Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 22 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: Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, & Patan Durbar Square

Patan Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll be picked up by an English-speaking guide for a full-day tour of the Kathmandu Valley, visiting three sacred sites: Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Patan Durbar Square.

This day fits quite a bit in—helpful for maximizing your time in Kathmandu—but doesn't overload you with too many sites. You can spend as much time as you like at each temple (this is a private tour just for you), although most people tend to spend an hour. For lunch, you'll stop at one of our recommended local restaurants. 

Return to your hotel in Kathmandu in the late afternoon and meet your trekking guide who will go over details for tomorrow's adventure.

Tour length: 7-8 hours (including transfers)

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

Kathmandu to Lukla
Kathmandu to 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)
Accommodation: Teahouse

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)

The sun dipping behind the peaks in Tengboche
The sun dipping behind the peaks in 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)
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 7: Trek from Tengboche to Dingboche (14,304 feet / 4360 m)

Epic views from Tengboche Monastery
Epic views from Tengboche Monastery

After breakfast, take some extra time to enjoy the scenery around Tengboche Monastery before you start today's journey. With mountains in the background, the monastery looks even more beautiful in the morning sunlight.

Once you set out, choose the upper trail for better views on the way to Pangboche village where you'll pass several stupas, Mani walls, and small villages. Stop for lunch at a place that serves delicious food with a fantastic close-up view of Mount Ama Dablam.

In the afternoon, walk north to Pheriche or take the eastward trail beneath the towering north face of Ama Dablam. From here, the walk is fairly moderate as you enter the Imja Valley, which gradually unfolds as you approach the confluence of the Lobuche River. Descend towards the river and begin the last and steepest climb of the day up to Dingboche.

On arrival, you will see a stunning set of fields enclosed by stone walls to protect barley, buckwheat, and potatoes from the cold winds and grazing animals.

Trekking time: 3-4 hours (6.7 miles / 10.8 km)
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 8: Acclimatization day in Dingboche (14,304 feet / 4,360 m)

A typical stupa sighting on this trek
A typical stupa sighting on this trek

Today is your second acclimatization day of the trip, so sleep in and relax. Enjoy breakfast with great views of Ama Dablam to the south.

To better appreciate numerous other peaks visible from Dingboche, you can climb the ridge behind the village. This is an ideal (and easy) acclimatizing excursion allowing you to see three of the world's six highest peaks: Mount Lhotse, Mount Makalu, and Mount Cho Yu. Meanwhile, look west to see the peaks of Lobuche, Cholatse, and Taboche.  

In the afternoon, you can relax in the village checking out the lodges, a bakery, a handful of shops, and even an internet café.

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 9: Trek from Dingboche to Lobuche (16,175 feet / 4930 m)

Make your way to the foot of Khumbu Glacier
Make your way to the foot of Khumbu Glacier

After breakfast in Dingboche, you'll continue trekking up a wide valley beneath the impressive peaks of Cholatse and Tawache on the left. Then, turn right and take a steep climb towards the foot of the Khumbu Glacier.

The teahouse at Duglha is a good spot to have lunch. From here, the trail zigzags through the boulders of the glacier's terminal moraine. At the top of this climb, there are many stone cairns built as memorials to sherpas who have died while climbing Mount Everest.

From here, the path climbs gently along the glacier to eventually reach a cluster of houses at Lobuche.

Trekking time: 6-7 hours (7.5 miles / 12 km)
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 10: Trek from Lobuche to Gorak Shep (17,008 feet / 5184 m), Sunset from Kala Patthar

A couple of yaks near Gorak Shep
A couple of yaks near Gorak Shep

After breakfast in Lobuche, you'll follow the Khumbu Glacier in order to reach your next stop. The trail offers superb views of the surrounding mountains, especially where the path is forced to rise to cross a tributary glacier. Also, keep an eye out for a modern structure called The Pyramid—a scientific research center focused on the climate, environment, human physiology, and geology.

Stop for lunch at your overnight destination: Gorak Shep. After a rest in the afternoon, make your way to the top of one of the finest viewpoints in the Everest region, Kala Patthar. As sunlight begins to fade, stroll back to your camp at Gorak Shep and have an early night in preparation for your trek to Everest Base Camp the following day.

Trekking time: 3 hours (2.7 miles / 4.3 km)

Day 11: Trek from Gorak Shep to Lobuche (16,175 feet / 4930 m) via Everest Base Camp

The literal apex of the trek
The literal apex of the trek

Today is the day you've been waiting for! Have an early breakfast in Gorak Shep and get a head start towards Everest Base Camp. It'll take 2-3 hours to get here, as the trail weaves its way through ice pinnacles and crevasses of the Khumbu Glacier. Though the path is a gentle climb, the high elevation makes it more difficult. Take it slow and enjoy Mount Everest views along the way. 

When you arrive, you'll be greeted with piles of stones, strings of prayer flags, and a few “Everest Base Camp” signs with dates and elevation. Celebrate with your fellow trekkers and absorb the incredible landscapes. 

On the return journey, you can take a higher route to get a spectacular view of the Khumbu icefall. Return to Lobuche for the night. 

Trekking time: 6-7 hours
Trekking distance: 6.6 miles (10.7 km)
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 12: Trek from Lobuche to Pangboche (13,074 ft / 3985 m)

Begin your descent to Pangboche
Begin your descent to Pangboche

After breakfast in Lobuche, you'll begin a mostly downhill trek to Pangboche. Retrace your steps and descend to Pheriche, where you'll arrive at The Himalayan Rescue Association—a trekker’s aid post and worth a visit.

Stop for lunch and then cross the Khumbu Khola on a wooden suspension bridge. From here, follow the Imja Khola to the village of Pangboche.

Trekking time: 5-6 hours (9.9 miles / 16 km)
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 13: Trek from Pangboche to Namche Bazaar (11,319 feet / 3450 m)

Return to Namche Bazaar in time for sunset
Return to Namche Bazaar in time for sunset

After breakfast in Pangboche, you'll continue a downward trek (be careful of your footing) and then climb back up through a beautiful birch and rhododendron forest to get to Tengboche.  

From here, descend to the bridge over the Dudh Kosi river while admiring the Himalayan giants around you. At Phunki Tenga, you'll get to see the water-driven prayer wheels before making your way back to Namche for the night. 

Trekking time: 6-8 hours (9.4 miles / 15.12 km) 
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 14: Trek from Namche Bazaar to Lukla (9,186 feet / 2,800 m)

A suspension bridge on the way to Lukla
A suspension bridge on the way to Lukla

Wake up for an early breakfast in Namche, then retrace your steps back to Lukla following the Dudh Kosi river valley. It's a long day, but it won't be too difficult as it's downhill and you'll be in good shape from all the previous days of trekking.

You'll 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: 6-7 hours (11.1 miles / 17.9 km)

Day 15: 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 16: Fly from Kathmandu to Chitwan

Looking out over the river in Chitwan
Looking out over the river in Chitwan

This morning, you'll get up early for your flight to the famous Terai region of Nepal, Chitwan National Park. You'll find that the landscape and culture are totally different from Kathmandu or the Himalaya. The name 'Terai' refers to the extensive plains in the southern part of Nepal—this area is the most northern extension of the great Gangetic plains of India, land that was won and lost in decades of struggle and shares both Indian and Nepali characteristics and culture.

Upon arrival at the airport in Chitwan, you will be picked up by a representative from your lodge and get to the lodge in time for lunch (unless you choose an afternoon flight) and a briefing about the activities available in the time you have left this afternoon and what’s on tomorrow.

Day 17: Explore Chitwan: Safari by Jeep or by Foot

Wild endangered one-horn rhinoceros grazing in Chitwan
Wild endangered one-horn rhinoceros grazing in Chitwan

Today is sure to be memorable, as it's a full day of safari activities in the Chitwan National Park and you're guaranteed to see some spectacular wildlife. All wildlife activities are escorted by an experienced naturalist who will tell you everything you want to know about the park and its flora and fauna.

Wildlife that you can see includes the greater one-horned rhinoceros, spotted deer, hog deer, sambar deer, barking deer, gharial crocodiles and a wide variety of birdlife. With a bit of luck, you may even glimpse a leopard, sloth bear, or Royal Bengal Tiger.

Day 18: Explore Chitwan: Boat Safari to Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge

Rooms at Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge
Rooms at Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge

After breakfast, another amazing day lies ahead. You will walk down to the boat ramp on the river and get in the traditional long boat for not only your transfer to Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge but this is also an incredible opportunity for bird spotting, seeing the crocodiles, rhinos, and possibly even tigers from the boat.

Arrive at Tiger Tops a bit before lunch and drive to the lodge. Situated beside a lush forest and overlooking idyllic wetlands and farmland on the edge of the park, the Tharu Lodge is a beautiful place to unwind. Dine in the shade of a mango tree, take a refreshing dip in the pool, play a spot of tennis, or simply sway gently in a hammock with a book. If you fancy a bit more activity, in the afternoon go for a bullock cart ride into the Tharu village nearby. At night, enjoy the sounds of the forest, just meters from your window.

Day 19: Explore Chitwan: A Day With Elephants

The elephants at Tiger Tops
The elephants at Tiger Tops

Get up early this morning and follow the elephants into the grasslands beside the river, where the mahouts cut and collect the grass for the elephants to eat during the day. While watching the beautiful sight of the elephants grazing in the morning mist, enjoy a steaming cup of traditional Nepali tea. You can even have a go at cutting and binding the grass yourself--it's harder than the mahouts make it look!

Return to the Elephant Camp after breakfast, where you will sleep tonight. Spend the rest of the morning with the mahouts, learning how to take care of the elephants. Lunch will be ready around noon, and you might wish to relax and be lazy (just like the elephants) during the hot midday hours.

In the late afternoon, when the temperature is pleasant, go for a walk in the jungle with the elephants and their mahouts. You will be walking alongside the elephants, watching how they move, what they eat, and listening to their communication, which consists of rumbling and trumpeting. The naturalist will explain everything you want to know about the surrounding eco-system as you move through the jungle, grassland, and wetlands with the elephants. You will most likely encounter tiger tracks, deer, various species of birds, and maybe a rhino or two, depending on the route you take.

As an overnight guest at the Elephant Camp, you will be surrounded by elephants living in a spacious, chain-free environment. You'll be immersed in the elephants’ daily life all day; even after dark, you will feel the elephants' presence through their verbal and infrasonic communications.

Day 20: Fly from Chitwan to Kathmandu

Kathesimbhu Stupa in Thamel
Kathesimbhu Stupa in Thamel

After breakfast in Chitwan, you'll be transferred to Bharatpur airport and return to Kathmandu by flight. 

Once you're back in Kathmandu, you'll be transferred to your hotel where the rest of the day is yours. Explore the city's streets on foot, bicycle, or rickshaw, perhaps shopping for souvenirs or seeing anything you may have missed at the beginning of your trip.

Flight time: 25 minutes

Day 21: 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 22: 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.