- Visit the heartland of the Sherpa people of Nepal
- Catch views of Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain
- Follow the first several days of the famous Everest Base Camp Trek
|Day 1||Welcome to Kathmandu!||Kathmandu|
|Day 2||Fly from Kathmandu to Lukla, Trek to Phakding||Phakding|
|Day 3||Trek from Phakding to Namche Bazaar||Namche Bazaar|
|Day 4||Rest day in Namche Bazaar, Optional Day Hike||Namche Bazaar|
|Day 5||Trek from Namche Bazaar to Lukla||Lukla|
|Day 6||Fly from Lukla to Kathmandu||Kathmandu|
|Day 7||Depart Kathmandu|
Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu!
It's a beautiful flight into the Kathmandu Valley, with views of the Himalaya and terraced valley floor. Upon arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, a representative will greet you and transport you to your hotel.
After you've settled in (and depending on your arrival time), you'll have time to explore the city. Recommended sights to see on your first day include Kathmandu’s Durbar Square and its narrow alleyways teeming with small shops, ancient temples, and local restaurants, and also Swayambhunath temple, where you can watch the sunset over the valley and the Himalaya to your north.
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. Then, if it's not too late, head to the busiest bazaar in the city, Asan Tole, which offers an authentic display of spice, fish, and vegetable stands that make for great photo ops. Practice some basic Nepali phrases and chat with friendly locals!
Day 2: Fly from Kathmandu to Lukla, Trek to Phakding (8,563 feet / 2,610 m)
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 3: Trek from Phakding to Namche Bazaar (11,290 feet / 3,440 m)
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
Trekking distance: 4.6 miles (7.4 km)
Day 4: Rest day in Namche Bazaar, Optional Day Hike
Today is a rest day, so feel free to sleep in and relax this morning. Namche, tucked between two ridges amidst the giant peaks of the Khumbu, is an ideal place to spend a day acclimatizing to the new altitude.
There is an abundance of lodges, tea shops, and souvenir stands that you can visit. 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 5: Trek from Namche Bazaar to Lukla (9,186 feet / 2,800 m)
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 6: Fly from Lukla to Kathmandu
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.
Day 7: Depart Kathmandu
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.