From the top of  Pikey Peak in the lower Everest region, enjoy one of the best views in Nepal. A bold statement, indeed, but Edmund Hillary himself claimed it his favorite view of Everest. This trek will take you through a variety of terrain and through villages where you'll stay overnight in local teahouses. You will also have time to explore the eclectic bustle of Kathmandu and learn about the rich traditions of the Newar people.

Highlights

  • Summit Pikey Peak, where you'll see one of the best views of Everest in Nepal
  • Explore Kathmandu, Nepal's buzzing capital
  • Visit the ancient Newari villages of Bungamati and Khokaha

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Kathmandu! Kathmandu
Day 2 Explore Ancient Villages: Bungamati & Khokana Kathmandu
Day 3 Kathmandu to Dhap, Trek to Sigane or Jhapre (9,580 feet/2,920 meters) Jhapre
Day 4 Trek from Japre to Pikey Base Camp (11,942 feet/3,640 meters) Pikey Base Camp
Day 5 Trek from Pikey Peak Base Camp to Chaulakharka (4,790 feet/1,460 meters) Chaulakharka
Day 6 Trek from Chaulakharka to Shivalaya (5,807 feet/1,770 meters) Shivalaya
Day 7 Drive from Shivalaya to Kathmandu Kathmandu
Day 8 Depart Kathmandu  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Kathmandu!

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

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 Ancient Villages: Bungamati & Khokana

Villagers drying rice next to Machhindranath Temple in Bungamati
Villagers drying rice next to Machhindranath Temple in Bungamati

After your breakfast in Kathmandu, you will be picked up by your English-speaking private tour guide for a full-day tour of the rustic Newari towns of Bungamati and Khokana. Learn about the rural Newars who live here and follow the traditions of their forefathers. You'll return to your hotel in Kathmandu in the late afternoon and can enjoy the rest of the day in the capital city at your leisure.

Bungamati
Overlooking the Bagmati River, a short drive from the city, this historic village is still one of the more picturesque spots in the Kathmandu Valley, despite its enduring significant damage in the 2015 earthquake. Many locals live as woodcarvers (and have done so for generations); check out their showrooms and workshops in the main square, where work has adorned thousands of homes, temples, and museums.

According to local tradition, Bungamati is the birthplace of Rato Machhendranath, the patron god of the valley. The large shikhara temple in the main square once housed the deity but it was damaged in the quake; however, the site still draws pilgrims and revelers. Each year, the town holds the Rato Machhendranath festival, one of the valley's most important celebrations, featuring a dazzling chariot parade between Patan and Bungamati.

Khokana
About a half-hour drive from Kathmandu and surrounded by beautiful hills, this ancient Newari town is smaller and quieter than Bungamati. It also saw earthquake damage, especially to its heritage buildings, yet the main square's Shekala Mai Temple still stands. Head to the heart of the village to observe religious practices and watch friendly villagers spin wool, stuff mattresses with cotton, and prepare rice and straw. In October, you can enjoy the spectacle of the Khokana Jatra festival, which features masked dancers. 

Tour length: 6 hours (including transfers)

Day 3: Drive from Kathmandu to Dhap, Trek to Sigane or Jhapre (9,580 feet/2,920 meters)

Mountains view of the Numbur Himal section of the Himalayan Range.
Mountains view of the Numbur Himal section of the Himalayan Range

Depart Kathmandu in the early morning for the long drive to Dhap. You'll follow a Japanese-built road through the mountains to the Sun Kosi river. Then, you'll follow the river until you cross over and climb up to Okhaldhunga. From here, it’s about a 3-hour drive to the trailhead at Dhap.

The road from Okhaldhunga is a good blacktop that climbs from 5,118 feet (1,560 m) to 9,186 feet (2,800 m) at Dhap, where your trek begins. As you near Sigane, you'll see mountains coming into view which will become quite familiar: these are the peaks of the Numbur Himal section of the Himalayas.

For the first couple of hours, the trail from Sigane will be under construction. The first village you'll reach is Jhapre, which stands at 9,580 feet (2,920 m) and is perched above a deep valley with nice views of Everest and Numbur Himal. Be sure to visit the town's monastery and stupa before you relax for the evening.

Walking time: 4-5 hours

Day 4: Trek from Japre to Pikey Base Camp (11,942 feet/3,640 meters)

White stupa on a Himilayan hilltop

From Japre, the trail climbs up to a grassy ridge at Bhulbhule. Here you'll find one lodge (with no name) and beautiful views of the Everest range.

Soon after Bhulbhule, the trail splits; you'll turn right to Pikey Peak. Along the way, you'll pass some old houses for yak herders and a long Mani stonewall. The trail then contours the hillside below Taklung Danda, and meanders through a beautiful forested route, with many rhododendrons. When you leave the pink-flecked canopy of the forest, you'll be about two hours from the Pikey Peak base camp.

It’s a short climb to the summit, which sits at 13,337 feet (4,065 m): you can make it to the top if the evening is particularly clear. If not, save the summit for sunrise tomorrow morning so you can take in the spectacular sights in the glory of daylight. Tonight, you'll stay the base camp's lodge; though the rooms are spread out, you can enjoy the dining room as a central hangout space with fellow trekkers. 

Trekking time: 6-7 hours 
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 5: Trek from Pikey Peak Base Camp to Chaulakharka (4,790 feet/1,460 meters) via Pikey Peak

Prayer flags atop Pikey Peak

The trail to the top of Pikey Peak starts from behind the lodge and follows a gradual slope to the summit, which is strewn with colorful prayer flags. You'll start your ascent before dawn, and will be rewarded with a breathtaking sunrise from the mountaintop. If the weather is clear, you will even be privy to spectacular views from Annapurna to Kanchenjunga. It is truly amazing! 

It’s a quick descent back to the lodge for a fast breakfast, after which you'll hit the trail for your next exciting leg.  As you leave Pikey base camp, you'll pass a Mani wall and will continue along a  beautiful high contour through trees, accompanied by a backdrop of stunning mountain views. 

You'll bend around the valley, descending through a gorgeous forest, until you eventually pass a cheese factory, which marks the beginning of Ngaur. This village features a picturesque cluster of houses on an outcrop. Although Ngaur endured extensive seismic damage, you can visit a small new prayer wheel building beside the remains of the village's temple, or gompa

As you continue on, the trail will descend steeply through a forest to Kosinasa (referred to locally as  Lamane), which stands at 9,432 feet (2,872 m). If time permits, wander through the village and be sure to stop in an eatery for a particularly delectable bowl of Daal Bhat, a dynamic Nepalese lentil curry.

Your trail will continue to follow the hillside to Gumba, climbing slightly up to 9,777 feet (2,980 m). This tiny village is home to about a dozen houses on the hillside and a relatively new gompa. After you pass through town, the trail turns right and drops steeply through the forest, down to Namkheli, after which the trail continues to Likhu Kola, a river situated at 5,036 feet (1535 m), and Chaulakharka, where you'll rest for the night.  

Trekking time: 6-7 hours
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 6: Trek from Chaulakharka to Shivalaya (5,807 feet/1,770 meters)

Crossing a suspension bridge

This morning you'll tackle a fairly steep 2,460-foot (750 m) ascent — sometimes on new tractor track — to Bhandar. After your climb, reward yourself with a cup of tea at the village's best lodge before you journey on to Deurali.

Your second big ascent of the day is up to the Deurali pass (12,139 feet/3700 meters). On the east side of the pass, take in gorgeous views over the valley and river back towards Pikey Peak. On the west side sits the little village of Deurali, with Langtang visible beyond. Spend some time soaking up the charm of Deurali, where teas houses nestle together around rows of Mani walls. The town is the perfect spot for today's lunch. 

When you hit the trail in the afternoon, you'll find your route drops steeply at first, then levels out all the way down to Shivalaya (a bustling village on the river), where you can spend the night. If you're eager to press on, you can continue to Those or Jiri, where you can catch the bus tomorrow morning.

Trekking time: 7-8 hours 
Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 7: Drive from Shivalaya to Kathmandu

The riverside village of Shivalaya

 

Today you'll bid farewell to the mountains and take the bus back to Kathmandu. The first part of your journey follows a stunning route on a Swiss-built mountain road; you'll first descend all the way to the Tama Kosi before climbing to Charikot and, eventually, to Mudu, after which it's all downhill to the Bhote Koshi river.  

From here, you'll travel the Arniko Highway from Tibet, climbing to Dhulikhel and then into the Kathmandu Valley, where you arrive by mid-afternoon.

In Kathmandu, you'll head to your hotel for some well-deserved rest. Feel free to relax for the rest of the day, or explore Kathmandu on your own, with plenty of great recommendations from your local specialists. 

Day 8: 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 final 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.