Sir Edmund Hillary claimed that the view of the lower Everest region from Pikey Peak is the best in all of Nepal, and we're inclined to agree. This trek has the advantage of being slightly farther away from the big peaks, meaning views from the trail encompass much more of the Himalaya. You'll also visit Thupten Choling Monastery, where you can meditate with the resident nuns and monks. Enjoy the extraordinary scenery, get acquainted with Sherpa culture, and explore Kathmandu on this gorgeous route. 

Highlights

  • See Everest from one of Nepal's best viewpoints
  • Get a rare, expansive view of a large stretch of the Himalayan range
  • Experience the lower Everest Region, which most travelers miss
  • Meditate with Tibetan nuns and monks at Thupten Choling Monastery

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu! Kathmandu
Day 2 Swayambhunath, Pashupatinath, and Patan Durbar Square Kathmandu
Day 3 Drive from Kathmandu to Dhap Dhap
Day 4 Trek from Dhap to Jhapre (9,235 feet / 2,815 m) Jhapre
Day 5 Trek from Jhapre to Pikey Base Camp (11,942 ft / 3,640 m) Pikey Base Camp
Day 6 Trek from Pikey Base Camp to Junbesi (8,776 ft / 2,675 m) Junbesi
Day 7 Day trip to Thupten Choling Monastery Junbesi
Day 8 Trek from Junbesi to Takasindu (9,616 feet / 2,931 m) Takasindu
Day 9 Trek from Thaksindu to Kharikhola (6,726 feet / 2,050 m) Kharikhola
Day 10 Trek from Kharikhola to Puiyan (9,088 feet / 2,770 m) Puiyan
Day 11 Trek from Puiyan to Lukla (9,186 ft / 2,800m) Lukla
Day 12 Fly from Lukla to Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 13 Depart Kathmandu  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu!

Kathesimbhu Stupa in Kathmandu
Kathesimbhu Stupa in Kathmandu

Flying into Kathmandu, you'll have views over the valley, the Himalaya, and the terraced fields below. After completing customs, a representative will be waiting to greet you outside the airport and to guide you through the initial culture shock of Kathmandu’s narrow, winding streets to your hotel.

Once you've settled in, head out and explore the city. Kathmandu 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, and 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: Drive from Kathmandu to Dhap

River views along the route
River views along the route

Today, you'll be picked up in a private 4x4 and transferred to Dhap. The 7-hour journey starts early in the morning as you leave the hustle-bustle of the city, via Okhaldungha, and drive along the Sun Koshi river. You'll later join the roaring big Koshi River until you reach Ghurmi, where you'll stop for lunch.

The drive then continues uphill as you head north through subtropical forests of pine and dense rhododendrons, passing several countryside villages, beautiful landscapes, and valleys until reaching Dhap Bazaar. Take the afternoon and evening to explore this fascinating village with several local shops and get to know villagers and their way of life. If the skies are clear, keep an eye out for awesome mountain views of Numbur Chuli, reminding you that you're getting closer to the Himalayas.

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 4: Trek from Dhap to Jhapre (9,235 feet / 2,815 m)

Glimpses of Everest
Glimpses of Everest

This morning after breakfast, you'll start your trek by walking along a dusty road until you reach the village of Sigane. The trail then follows a road under construction for the first couple of hours until you reach the tiny village of Jhapre, perched above a deep valley with nice views of Everest and Himal. There is a pretty little Buddhist gompa and stupa here to check out and another nice viewpoint just north of the village. Or you can simply wander around Jhapre's streets with a few teahouses, cafés, and shops.

Trekking time: 4-5 hours
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 5: Trek from Jhapre to Pikey Base Camp (11,942 ft / 3,640 m)

Rhododendron blossoms in spring
Rhododendron blossoms in spring

Today, you'll get an early morning start with views of Numbur Chuli, Everest, and the eastern Himalayan range. The trail starts on dirt road for a while and then quickly turns into a gentle uphill climb through pine and rhododendron forests until reaching Bhulbule. You can take a break at the local tea shop there, and then continue on a gentle uphill climb arriving in Lhamuje for lunch. 

In the spring season, you'll get to experience different species of rhododendron flowers during the walk, along with spectacular views of the Himalayan range. Afterward, the trail begins a series of gentle ups and downs along the ridge that eventually arrives at a pasture where you can see grazing yaks. You'll pass a mani wall and then start climbing a steep uphill zigzag trail in order to arrive in Pikey Peak Base Camp, where you can reward yourself with a visit to the local yak cheese factory. 

Trekking time: 5-6 hours
Overnight: Pikey Peak Base Camp (11,762 feet / 3,585 m)
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 6: Trek from Pikey Base Camp to Junbesi (8,776 ft / 2,675 m)

Chuli peak in the distance
Chuli peak in the distance

After breakfast, you'll get an early morning start on a series of uphill switchbacks until reaching Pikey Peak, which takes about an hour. If the weather is clear, expect an unobstructed sunrise view over the Himalayan range with Mt. Everest, Thamserku, Khangtega, Khatang, Karyoling to the north, Kanchenjunga to the east, and Manaslu, Dhaulagiri, Gaurishankar, Dorje Lakpa, and Langtang to the west.

The trek then heads downhill for a few hours and enters a rhododendron and pine forest until Jase Bhanjyang. Stay on the ridge, working your way up and down, until Lamjura, where you can stop for lunch. Then trail then enters a long descent to the valley through fir and more rhododendron forests until reaching Taktor, and then stays level until you reach Junbesi passing several Mani walls and stone chortens. Visit the old monastery before dinner, taking in views of the Numbur Chuli peak looming high above the village. 

Trekking time: 5-6 hours
Overnight: Junebesi (8,792 feet / 2,680 m)
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 7: Day trip to Thupten Choling Monastery

Landscape near Junbesi
Landscape near Junbesi

Today, you'll have breakfast in Junbesi and then can decide to either rest or take a 3-hour roundtrip hike along the Junbesi Khola with a gentle uphill climb to Thupten Chholing Monastery—founded in the 19th century by Tibetan Buddhists. You'll have free time to meditate with the local nuns and monks in the monastery and explore the village before you trek back to Junbesi.

Overnight: Junbesi (8,793 feet / 2,680 m)
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 8: Trek from Junbesi to Takasindu (9,616 feet / 2,931 m)

Say goodbye to the stupa in Junbesi before hitting the trail
Say goodbye to the stupa in Junbesi before hitting the trail

After breakfast, you'll start trekking to Takasindu, one of the best viewpoints of the trek. The trail crosses over the river and takes a left turn toward Salung ridge. From here, you'll have views of Mt. Everest as well as Thamserku and Kusum Kangaru. Then, you'll descend to Ringmo Khola and gradually climb up to Takasindu Pass. A few minutes below the pass, you'll see a monastery where you can have outstanding sunset views tonight (and the sunrise in the morning!).

Day 9: Trek from Thaksindu to Kharikhola (6,726 feet / 2,050 m)

Kharikhola village
Kharikhola village

You'll have an early breakfast and then start with a gentle descent to the Dudh Koshi River (Milk River) passing through agricultural farmland and small Sherpa and Rai settlements. From the river, the trail gently ascends all the way to Kharikhola passing through Juving, a pretty Rai village with surrounding farmland.

Trekking time: 5-6 hours 
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 10: Trek from Kharikhola to Puiyan (9,088 feet / 2,770 m)

Views of the  Cho-Oyu
Views of the Cho-Oyu

After breakfast in Kharikhola, the trail follows a flat path and then steeply climbs to Khari La Pass (9,186 feet / 2,880 m). While trekking, you'll pass through rhododendron and oak forests, as well as small Sherpa settlements and tea shops. From this point, you'll be able to see excellent views of different mountains such as Chuili, Cho-Oyu, Gyangchung Kang, and Thamserku. Your trail will then gently descend and flatten out to Chaubar, as you pass through bamboo forests until you reach Puiyan for the night.

Trekking time: 6-7 hours

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

A local walks through town in Lukla
A local walks through town in Lukla

The trail climbs for about an hour after Puiyan to a ridge with a view of the beautiful mountains beyond and Khumbu Valley below. At the end of today's trek, your trail stops at Lukla; wander around town and tuck into a delicious dinner as you celebrate the end of your adventure on the road.

Day 12: Fly from Lukla to Kathmandu

Taking off from Lukla's airport
Taking off from Lukla's airport

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 by the visually impaired), or the more upscale Kinjalla Spa. You can also take an early evening yoga class at Pranamaya Yoga, with two locations (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 final stroll through the narrow alleys and temples, and some souvenir shopping. A driver will be waiting for you at your hotel to take you to the airport for your return flight home. It's best to be at the airport at least two hours prior to departure.