Discover Namche Bazaar
Namche Bazaar is a classic stopover point for famous trekking routes in the Everest Region—the Everest Base Camp Trek, Three Passes Trek, and Gokyo Lakes Trek, to name a few. Located at 11,290 feet, it's still possible for most people to sleep here comfortably, and it's common for visitors to spend two nights acclimatizing here before ascending to greater heights.
Although Namche is hardly a metropolis (population 1,600!), there are a surprising number of things to see and do around town during your rest days. Here are a few suggestions for ways to spend an acclimatization day (or two) in Namche Bazaar.
Take a (Short) Hike
If you're continuing on to much higher altitudes—such as on the Everest Base Camp Trek, the Three Passes Trek, or the Gokyo Lakes Trek—then gradually getting used to the altitude is essential. One way to do this is to ascend as high as you can in the day, and then sleep at lower altitudes. While staying in Namche Bazaar, acclimatization hikes to nearby, higher places are an important way of preparing your body.
If you have the stamina for a full-day hike, head to Thame (12,532 feet). This beautiful village in a valley with the same name has a monastery perched high on the cliffs. Because Thame is off the main Everest Base Camp trail, it doesn't get too many visitors. Sherpa Tenzing Norgay's house is also located in Thame.
For a shorter alternative that you can do towards the end of a day of rest, head high above Namche on a one-hour climb to the Everest View Hotel. If you aim to be at the hotel for sunset, you'll be treated to lovely views over Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse, and Everest.
Stroll the Saturday Morning Market
If you happen to be here on a Saturday, you can experience the market that puts the "bazaar" in Namche Bazaar. People from surrounding areas bring their produce to sell, either on a yak's back or their own, as they have done for centuries. It's an important lifeline for the local people, as it's one of the only ways they can stock up on goods that they don't produce themselves. It's a great cultural experience and opportunity to people-watch—plan to be there in the morning, as it's mostly finished by noon.
Visit the Oldest House in Town
On the path leading away from town is Khangba Ngingba, which claims to be the oldest Sherpa house in Namche Bazaar. The two-story stone house is over 150 years old, and stands out amid the tin-roofed trekking lodges all over the rest of town. Although it looks like a museum, the house is still lived in by the owner, who is happy to show visitors around. The well-kept home is neatly filled with brass cooking vessels, Tibetan-style carpets and cushions, and an incredible temple room, full of colorful Buddhist paintings.
Learn About Sherpa History & Culture
There are two great places to learn about Sherpa culture in Namche. First, head to Nauche Gonda Visitor Centre. 'Nauche' is the Sherpa name for Namche, and ‘gonda’ means temple. This temple-turned-visitor center is just up the hill from Khangba Ngingba. The temple itself is painted in beautiful bright colors, with great views across Namche Bazaar. The center provides some interesting history of the town and the Sherpa people, who came to the Khumbhu region about 500 years ago, from Tibet.
You'll also want to visit the Sherpa Culture Museum. This little museum was inaugurated by Sir Edmund Hillary himself in 1994. The Hall of Fame features Sherpas who have achieved remarkable mountaineering feats in the Himalaya. The model Sherpa home shows how Sherpa people traditionally live. It's not a big museum, but visitors love how it helps them understand the Sherpa people beyond their image as trekking guides and porters.
Drink at an Irish Pub
Nightlife at 11,000 feet requires a cautious approach, as alcohol can affect your body much more quickly and potently at altitude. That said, Namche has some fun nightlife to celebrate the first part of your trek, and it's not everyday you can drink at an Irish pub with Himalayan views.
Fittingly named The Irish Pub, this charming establishment was described in The Guardian as "probably the highest Irish pub in the world, definitely the planet’s least accessible Irish pub, and almost certainly the only Irish pub with yak on the menu." It would be a shame not to drink a Guinness for good health at the top of the world—and you'll savor it all the more knowing it was carried up to Namche by mules, yaks, and the Everest Region's tireless porters.