Monday, May 7, 2012

Trekking - Lukla to Namche Bazaar

It is hard to describe how excited we were to be landing in Kathmandu on April 21st.  India was great, but it really took everything out of us.  We couldn't wait for cooler weather, fewer panhandlers, the opportunity to trek in the Himalayas, and Jason and Kaley's arrival!!

We had absolutely no idea what to expect going into the trek to Everest Base Camp (EBC).  How hard will it be?  How nice are the accommodations?  Will the food make us sick?  What about the water?  How will we handle the altitude?  So many questions!

We kept a journal during our hike, alternating days recounting our memories -- the good, the bad, and ugly.  Looking back the journal, we agreed that it makes the most sense to give a day-by-day overview of our personal experiences along the way.  We hope to paint a rough picture of life along the trail.  Here we go with the first few days:

Day 1Lukla (2,860 m/9,383 ft) to Phakding (2,586 m/8,487 ft); 6.4 km/4 miles; ~ 3 hours

It wasn't until Jason said how excited he was for our flight from Kathmandu to Lukla that we learned for the first time that the Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla is one of the most dangerous in the world.  We will put up some landing videos when we find a better internet connection!

Our 6 a.m. flight lasted only about 30 minutes.  By 7 a.m. we found ourselves seated in Mera Lodge in Lukla for our first breakfast in the Himalayas.  It was a perfect blue sky day.  After breakfast our entire G Adventures group (15 of us in all) were thrilled to take our first steps of the EBC trek.   It would be hard to imagine a more beautiful place on earth.  Stone houses with blue trim, majestic mountains, amazing trees and flowers.  We were awe-struck.  In order to keep with the Himalayan motto of "climb high, sleep low,"  we spent the morning trekking through rolling hills that left us at an altitude several hundred meters below the airport in Lukla.  We felt great, had a good lunch (separate post coming about the food), and spent the afternoon exploring the village of Phakding on the beautiful Dudh Kosi (Milk River).   We spent the night at our first teahouse (separate post coming describing the teahouses as well), braved our first outdoor Himalayan squat toilets, and made it through the cold night.  Other than a bloody nose that stayed with Sara for a few hours, we didn't feel any effects of the altitude.

Just before the plane took off from Kathmandu to Lukla
Starting our trek with a thumbs-up in Lukla
A vista between Lukla and Phakding

Day 2Phakding (2,620 m/8,600 ft) to Namche Bazaar (3,440 m/11,320 ft); 10.25 km/6.4 miles; ~ 6 hours

Breakfast at 7 a.m. and out the teahouse door by 8 a.m.  We had a long and hard day ahead of us trekking from Phakding to Namche Bazaar, the biggest town in the region.  A 6-hour, mostly uphill trek in increasing altitude had us working hard -- especially the last hour up a relentless, steep hill.  We had heard we might see our first view of Everest at a lookout before Namche, but the daily clouds had already rolled in to cover up the "Top of the World."  Accommodation was relatively good in Namche (read flushing toilets in our rooms), so we were happy that we would be staying two nights in order to acclimatize.  That afternoon we unpacked, settled in, and took our first outdoor gas showers at the Hotel Snowland.  Several hours of playing cards, eating dinner, and drinking tea were a great way to wrap up our second day.

Passing a donkey train our way to Namche Bazaar
Our first view of Namche Bazaar

Day 3Acclimatization Day - Hike from Namche (3,440 m/11,320 ft) up to Hotel Everest View (3,880 m/12,729 ft) and back to Namche

Day 3 was the first of two acclimatization days built into our itinerary with the goal of climbing, spending a few hours at a higher altitude, and then sleeping low.  Our first acclimatization climb was to Hotel Everest View, billed as the highest five-star hotel in the world.  A fairly steep, two-hour hike brought us to the hotel where we enjoyed tea, soup, and delicious grilled cheese sandwiches.  Seemed pretty nice to us until Jason and Sara had to use the bathroom, which was an outdoor, squat toilet straight down the mountainside.  That didn't seem so five-star, but presumably the guests have better toilets at their disposal.  Side note: We realize it isn't necessarily polite to discuss toilets so much, but it was a pretty big topic of conversation during our trek, so we hope you won't mind if we bore you with the details.   

Lunch at Hotel Everest View
David touching Mt. Everest

More to come as we move closer to the top of the world . . .


  1. Wow what a trip..I see my and Laura's next big trek in our future...EBC! Hope you guys are doing well. We miss you!

  2. Testimonials

    The trekking was very nice, the weather was beautiful, the days were long but we had seen lots of beautiful Himalayas. We liked the views from Gokyo and the Island peak. We thanked our Independent guide Mr Sanjib who organized the trip perfectly. We loved it!. We thanked Pemba who accompanied us as porter.
    -Timu and Pimu,France

    It was a nice 12 days trekking to Langtang valley. Our guide, Mr Sanjib was very experienced and he took very good care of us. Weather was perfect and the views were amazing.
    Thank you Sanjib for organizing such an excellent trekking trip for us.
    -John and Janet,Australia

    We had a wonderful experience in trekking with an independent trekking guide Mr. Sanjib Adhikari who was very knowledgeable, friendly and motivated us to keep trekking! The accommodations he arranged for us were very comfortable and the food was great. We will definitely recommend him to our friends and other travelers.

    -Windy & Wandy,Newzealand

    Trekking in Nepal was so wonderful. All those beautiful sights are just unforgetable.Thanks to Sanjib for making our 15 days trek safe,comfort and full of adventure.We would love to trek with you in near future and also recommend you to our frends and other travellers.Thanks for everything. Best of luck for your future.

    -Mitchel & Thomas, Canada

    I had great exeprience trekking to Ghorepani-poon hill. The exeprience was unbelievable great views with a great guide. The hotel and food exceeded my exepectation every thing was more than I expected. I will definitely reccomemned for Sanjib to other people coming to nepal.

    We have had a fantastic two week trek to Everest base camp. Our Guide and porter. Sanjib and Pemba have been excellent and very attentive looking after us.Sanjib is a very good guide and taught us allot about Nepali culture. Pemba was a brilliant porter. We think he will make an excellent guide in future.The level of service from both Sanjib and Pemba was superb. They were available all the way to help us with anything we needed, and both were thoughtful about anything we might require, water, food showers,accomodation. Sanjib's knowledge of the area and the lodges meant that we were always happy with our accommodation. He took care to visit places which were comfortable and had home stay feel. Sanjib have the qualities to be excellent guide and porter and to give all his clients a wonderful trekking experience.We highly recommend him.
    -Nedeen & Alicha,USA .