Namche Bazaar – Gateway to Everest

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Namche Bazaar is a town in Khumbu Pasanglhamu Rural Municipality in Solukhumbu District of Province No. 1 of north-eastern Nepal. It is the staging point for expeditions to Everest and other Himalayan peaks in the area. It has developed into a small, colorful market town selling everything from Tibetan artifacts to trekking and climbing equipment and everything you might need during your trip.

Also read: Everest expeditions- Everything you should know

It is located within the Khumbu area at 3,440 meters at its low point, populating the sides of a hill. Most Sherpas who are in the tourism business are from the Namche area.

A historic trading hub, famous for its homemade yak cheese and butter, Namche is situated on the slope of an arch-shaped mountain, with amazing views of giant Himalayan peaks from anywhere in the valley. Once a major trading center of the Khumbu region, Sherpas from neighboring villages and traders from Tibet would gather to barter goods displaying exotic traditional arts and crafts. Despite its prosperity, Namche Bazaar still retains its ancient culture, traditions and heart-warming hospitality.

namche-bazaar

Visitors can get detailed information about mountaineering expeditions, and information on the lifestyle and culture of the Sherpa people.

Every Saturday morning, Namche Bazaar gears up for the weekly market fair which lights up the place. This fair puts the spotlight on the middle of the town, where traders from Tibet and neighboring villages display their wares and essential goods to attract potential customers.

Now a major gateway to Everest, Namche Bazaar has become a busy tourist hub where climbers and trekkers can do last-minute shopping for essentials.

A visit to Syangboche or some Sherpa villages such as Thame, Khumjung and Khunde just a few hours walk from Namche are good options for whiling away your time, which also helps you to acclimatize.

namche bazaar Nepal
Namche Bazaar Nepal

KHUNDE & KHUMJUNG

A day or two spent at Namche for acclimatization can be used to hike to nearby Sherpa villages like Khunde and Khumjung. The hikes will be rewarded with a chance to meet the charming people, experience the warmth of Sherpa culture, taste local cuisines, observe developmental milestones, and see the mountains from fresh angles.

The traditional villages of Khunde and Khumjung are above Namche. These two towns with rock walls dividing stony fields have beautiful vistas on all sides. Khunde Hospital, built in 1966 and maintained by the Himalayan Trust, is at the top of the village. Its mission is to treat local people, but it also provides emergency care to trekkers. Khumjung is the largest village in the Khumbu at the foot of the sacred peak Khumbila. Another place to visit is Khumjung School which is the original Hillary School established in 1960.

KHUNDE & KHUMJUNG

Hike up to the Everest viewpoint

There is an incredible view of Everest and neighboring Ama Dablam mountain from just outside Namche Bazaar. Don’t worry, it’s not a big hike and the view is 100% worth the extra effort. From the center of town, follow the signs pointing towards the next village on the EBC trek, but at the edge of town, go up instead of following the path and you will reach the Everest viewpoint.

Visit Tengboche Monastery

It is half a day hike (4.5 hours) from Namche to Tengboche. The monastery at Tengboche called Tengboche Gompa is the largest and most active monastery in the Khumbu region. Read more detail of Tengboche Monastery Here

Tengboche-MonasteryVisit Everest View Hotel(Highest placed hotel in the world)

Situated within the Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park in Nepal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the hotel offers a 360-degree view of the awe-inspiring peaks. With a view of Mt. Everest from every room, visitors can immerse themselves in this mesmerizing scene in luxury.

Hotel-Everest-view NamcheThis hotel was established by a Japanese trekker, Takashi Miyahara in 1971 AD. As the name suggests, the view from this hotel and the surrounding is amazing. You can see the panoramic view of Khumbila to the north; Cholatse, Tengboche, Nuptse, Everest, Lhotse, Lhotse Shar, Peak 38, Island Peak, Amadablam, Kangtega, Thamserku, Kusum Khangru (starting from the left towards east). It has also been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest placed hotel in the world in 2004.

Hike to Khunde View Point

This viewpoint is about 2 hours uphill walk from Khunde village which is 15 minutes walk from Khumjung village. It offers 360-degree views over Khunde and Khumjung village; Mt. Khumbila, Amadablam, Thamserku, Kangtega, Pachermo peak, Kongde Ri among others. The view is the best from here and is completely worth hiking uphill.

Khunde-View-PointWeather and Climate

The weather and climate in Namche Bazaar are affected by its altitude and topography. Spring (March to May) and Summer (June to August) are comfortably warm. Rainfall occurs during the monsoon (June/July). During the Autumn (September to November), the region experiences mildly warm temperatures with humidity and wind. In Winter (December to February), the temperature goes up to (-15) to (-30) degrees centigrade and it becomes a little hard for trekking in this region.

Hotels and Accommodations

Namche Bazaar is a fascinating town for trekkers and mountaineers. The hotels and accommodations in Namche are really good.  Different hotels and lodges, cafes are available in this area. Also, one can find a variety of shops (handicrafts, dairy products, trekking requisites) over there.

Banking and Health Facilities

Namche is now the busiest trekkers hub in the Everest region. There are better banking and health facilities in Namche. In the case of banking facilities, some banks like Siddhartha Bank Limited, Kumari Bank Limited have their ATMs here. One can get good health care at the local hospitals. A Dental called “Namche Dental” opened by American Himalayan Foundation (AFH) is available there. It is also the world’s highest dental clinic, the only dental care facility in the Khumbu region.

How to Reach Namche Bazaar

Most travelers fly from Kathmandu to Lukla and trek to Namche Bazaar from there. However, some travelers directly reach Namche Bazaar by helicopter. And some choose by bus and then trek to Namche.

Namche BazaarBy Air and on Foot

Duration: 30-minute flight and 2 days of trekking

Most travelers get from Kathmandu to Lukla by plane, a journey of just 30 minutes. The Tenzing-Hillary Airport has a short, mountain-side runway. Delays, however, are very common due to weather conditions in Kathmandu, Lukla, or en route. It’s important to build some buffer days into your itinerary in the Everest region, so you don’t risk missing an important international connection if Lukla flights are grounded for a day or two. Helicopters are a handy backup option if you had been booked to fly on a canceled or seriously delayed flight. They can fly in weather that airplanes can’t, so in an emergency could get you back to Kathmandu.

Lukla Airport
Lukla Airport

After arriving in Lukla, Namche Bazaar is still several hours’ walk away. While the walk can be done in one long day, it’s much more comfortable to spread it over two. Depending on the time you arrive in Lukla after your flight, there may not actually be time to walk all the way to Namche, even if you’re fit and raring to go. The trail is steadily uphill—even more so on the second day—and follows the Dudh Kosi River for much of the way. The first night of the EBC trek is often spent in Phakding.

On day two, the trek from Phakding to Namche Bazaar. It’s a steep trail so is quite a challenging day’s walk.

By Helicopter

Duration: 1 hour

If you’re not on a tight budget, traveling from Kathmandu to the Everest region by helicopter is an unforgettable experience. You’ll leave from the domestic terminal of Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport.

By Road and on Foot

Duration: 6-8 days

To avoid the flight to Lukla and enjoy more time trekking, it’s possible to take a Jeep to Jiri or Phaplu from Kathmandu (about a day’s journey), and then trek to Lukla and onwards to Namche Bazaar.

The trek from Jiri is known as the “Pioneers’ Route” because it’s how pioneering mountaineers used to reach the Khumbu region before the airport was built in Lukla in the 1960s. Nowadays this is an uncommon way of accessing the region, but the trails are uncrowded, with interesting cultures and beautiful views. The trek from Phaplu to Lukla takes three days, and Jiri to Lukla five, with another two days’ walk to Namche Bazaar.

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