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Tenzing Norgay

Tenzing Norgay

In many respects the first official summit of Everest would not have been possible without the help of Tenzing Norgay. He  saved Edmund Hillary’s life and guided him on their assent to the top of the world. This article is about the second man to summit Mt. Everest, Tenzing Norgay.

Early life

yak wool sun glasses
before there were sun glasses, there was yak whool

Tenzing was born on May 29th, 1914 in Tengboche, Khumbu, which is just below Mt. Everest. However, there are alternate accounts of his origin. One such account is that he was born in Tse Chu, which is in the Kama Valley of Tibet. He identified his parents as Tibetan but said he was born in Nepal.

His parents named him Namgyal Wangdi, but on the advice of the head lama at Rongbuk Monastery, it was changed to Tenzing Norgay. His name translates as wealthy/ fortunate religious disciple. Norgay’s parents had 13 children, but most did not survive childhood. Norgay was 11th born.

He was sent to a monastery to become a monk, but decided he wanted to climb mountains. As a teenager he moved to Darjeeling, India for work as a porter because Darjeeling was the starting point for climbs at that time.

Eric Shipton, in 1935, hired Norgay as a high-altitude porter on his British Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition. This was his first opportunity as a professional porter. He was then hired as a porter on 2 other British attempts to summit Everest before 1940.

In the 1940’s he was hired as a personal assistant to a Major in the Indian army. He worked and lived in Chitral, which is now part of Pakistan, but once part of India. He married and had 2 daughters in Chitral, but after his wife’s death and Pakistan’s invasion of India he left with his daughters.

Mid life

Mt. Everest

After his escape from Pakistan, he was hired by Earl Denman help him summit Everest in 1947. Their attempt at the summit was prevented by bad weather.

Edouard Dunant and Gabriel Chevalley hired Norgay in the spring and autumn of 1952. Both expeditions failed to reach the summit, but the first expedition reached 28,200 feet and opened a new climbing route. The second expedition was stopped by bad weather.

Everest summit

In 1953 John Hunt hired Norgay on his 400-man expedition to climb Mt. Everest. The expedition included 362 porters, 20 guides, and 10,000 pounds of baggage. Norgay met Edmund Hillary on this expedition.

While climbing up Everest, Hillary fell into a crevasse, but was saved when Norgay secured Hillary’s rope to an ice axe and dug it into the snow. Norgay became Hillary’s climbing partner because of his fast thinking and quick action.

Tensing and Hillary were halted on the South Col for 2 days because of bad weather. On the first sight of clear weather, they made their first attempt at the summit. Carrying 30-pound packs they maneuvered over the Hillary Step and onto the highest point on earth, 29,028 feet.

They spent 15 minutes on the summit before returning to base camp. Their decent was a little tricky due to their tracks being covered by drifting snow.

After Everest

Before they made it down the mountain, they were famous worldwide. Norgay received the George Medal from Queen Elizabeth II, while Hunt and Hillary were knighted.

Norgay became the 1st director of Field Training at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in 1954.

Tenzing negotiated and arranged for the first American tourist party to enter Bhutan in 1975.

Norgay founded Tenzing Norgay Adventures in 1978. The company is run by his son today.


Tenzing Norgay married his 1st wife’s cousin after his wife’s death. They did not have any children, which was a factor in his decision to take a 3rd wife. He had 3 sons and 1 daughter with his 3rd wife.


Tenzing Norgay died on May 9, 1986, from a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 71 years old.


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Nepal Tour Packages

Looking For A Nepal Tour Package?

Mount Everest, and Lhotse above Everest base camp
Mount Everest, and Lhotse above Everest base camp


Great! You’ve come to the right place. In this blog post I will break down popular tour packages based on cost, duration, value, when to visit, and common activities for tourists.

I hope you enjoy this article. If you are still left with some questions, please contact me.

Is Nepal worth visiting?

This woman's name is Laxsmi. She is holding back a laugh because of course Nepal is worth visiting!
This woman’s name is Laxsmi. She is holding back a laugh because of course, Nepal is worth visiting!


Yes! If you love drop dead gorgeous landscapes, world class hiking and trekking, seeing majestic wildlife, experiencing rich vibrant cultures, and meeting the kindest people in all of Asia; It is definitely worth visiting.

If you want to visit a country where you can party, Nepal is not for you. Visit Thailand or California, I heard they know how to party. But seriously though, don’t come here if all you want to do is party.

Without giving too much away just yet, here are a few of the most popular destinations in Nepal: Chitwan National Park, Annapurna Conservation area, Sagarmatha National park (Mt. Everest), Lumbini (the birthplace of Buddha), and of course the capital, Kathmandu.

I will go over the areas in further detail, so you can best plan your Nepal tour.

How much time do you need for a Nepal tour?

You can rush a trip in 3 days or spend 2 months doing everything you want to do. An average trekking tour will take up to 16 days.
You can rush a trip in 3 days or spend 2 months doing everything you want to do. Make sure you have enough time to see the culture.

You can pretty much see everything you want in 2 months. This includes hiking, travel, sight seeing, and rest breaks in-between. However; you don’t need 2 months to enjoy this beautiful country.

Your Nepal trip can be as short as 3 days, and you will still have an amazing experience. The following tour package menu give the duration, cost, and best time to travel for a specific tour package. I also Identified my favorites with a red check mark.

Nepal Tour
A list of Nepal tours including Mount Everest Base Camp Trek and Chitwan National Park Tour. Note : not all tours are listed.


For a complete list of all our Nepal tours visit our website here

“How can I spend 3 Days in Nepal?”

If I only had 3 days in Nepal I would visit Chitwan National Park
If I only had 3 days in Nepal I would visit Chitwan National Park

What a great question, and one that actually comes up more often than one would think. In 3 days you can do any one of the 3 day Nepal tour packages.

You can go on a Royal Chitwan National Park Safari, shortened Buddhist pilgrimage Tour, shortened Poon Hill Trek, UNESCO world heritage site tour, Kathmandu valley tour, yoga retreat, Cannabis tour, volunteer at a school or NGO, and live in a practicing monastery as a monk.

How much do Nepal trips cost?

Ama Dablam
not the world’s highest mountain but one of the prettiest. Ama Dablam

The cost of a tour ranges from $250 to $5,290. The range in price is dependent on the duration and difficulty of the trip.

A one day guided tour in a private jeep will cost about 250 dollars. A two week tour package with a guide and porter requiring multiple permits licensing costs over $5,000. This includes all expenses except air travel.

In perspective, a person working 10 hour days 6 days a week, in Pokhara Nepal will make about 125,000 rupees a month. One US dollar is about equal to 125 Nepali rupee. This is enough to pay for rent, food, school supplies, and minor living expenses.

Labor workers living in a village are paid $2 to $5 per day. That is less than a dollar an hour. Book a trip with us and make a difference.

Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure is employee owned. Each guide, porter, cook, logistics manager, marketer, and content creator all get a fair and equal share of the proceeds. Which means you get a better service, a better experience, and a happy tour guide.

Tour guide

tour guide
Himalayan Tour guides

Tour guides are the heart of the travel industry in Nepal. Most guides will work with one or two travel agencies or tour operators, and rarely freelance.

If you are only interested in hiring a tour guide and don’t want any licensing, or arrangements, please call or email us and we will set you up.

Guides will charge based on the difficulty of the tour, and the number of people in the group. Some guides require help if they work large group tours. The number of children in a group will also affect the rate. Most guides will charge about $25 to $50 per day. I suggest paying $75 to $100 per day if you are not purchasing a package.

Please note: availability of tour guides will change based on season and holidays. Please call or email before you visit Nepal to see if your vacation falls on a Nepal holiday. Most guides will not work on important holidays, or will charge two to four times the going rate.

Nepal Holiday

Dashain, Tihar and Chhath are the most important holidays in Nepal. Buddha Purina, Eid, Loktantra day, and Ganatantra day are also very important but they are not celebrated on as grand of a scale as the top 3. Here is a schedule for holidays in Nepal.

Nepal Tour
Most holidays are based on the lunar calendar. They don’t have a fixed date

Which is the best time to visit Nepal?

Nyatapola Temple
Nyatapola Temple Bhaktapur

This is debatable and dependent on what Nepal tours you are coming for. If you are interested in a river rafting adventure activities, you may want to consider coming at the end of the summer months. This is at the end of the monsoon season with some very high flow.

For the best landscape scenes with the clearest sky, September through November are the best months to come. Unfortunately it is also the most crowded.

I would visit Chitwan National park in the Spring months. The jeep safari tour is pretty fun. I am opposed to the mistreatment of the elephants so I tend to recommend the alternatives to the traditional park tour.

If you want to see a Bengal tiger, visit Bardiya national park, not Chitwan. Also the rhododendron forests on the Poon Hill Trek are in full bloom in late April.

Anytime is a great time for visiting Nepal. I highly recommend not coming in the summer though.

Which tour package is the best?

Panchase Hill trek
Happiness comes in all forms. Sometimes its jumping. Annapurna mountains are  in the background

The Annapurna Circuit Trek is the best tour package. At least it is the one I like the most. It is one of the most popular mountain ranges for good reason. Spectacular does not even come close to describing this amazing experience.

The Everest base camp trek is a close second for me. It’s the highest mountain in the world and most famous, but not the best tour package.

Regular tour package

langtang mountains
The view from atop Kajin Gompa in the Langtang Mountain range

Tour packages include a guide, 1 to 3 porters, living accommodations, permits and licensing, logistics handling, transportation services, food and non alcoholic beverages.

You may also request a private photographer to go with you.

Living accommodations range from tea houses to 5 star hotels. A tea house is essentially a highly commercialized Airbnb. Most are single rooms with a shared bathroom. While trekking, only the tea houses are available.

The following is a list of Nepal tours and Nepal tour packages.

Chitwan National Park

Royal chitwan National Park
Spotted deer at the Royal chitwan National Park

The Chitwan national park tour lasts for 3 days. It is one of the least strenuous tours in Nepal. You will most likely see gharial crocodiles, one horned rhinos, tons of birds, deer, and possibly a sun bear and Bengal tiger. The cost of the trip is $2,090. The tour includes a pretty decent show featuring local culture from the ethnic groups in the area.

Mount Everest Base Camp Trek

Everest Base Camp Trek rest stop at stupa above Namche Bazaar
Everest Base Camp Trek rest stop at stupa above Namche Bazaar. From Right to Center: Ama Dablam, Lhotse, Everest

The Everest Base Camp Trek lasts for 16 days. It is one of the most strenuous tors in Nepal. The altitude is the greatest obstacle in making it to base camp. But, it is also the easiest obstacle to overcome.

Namche Bazaar, Mt. Ama Dablam, Mt. Lhotse (4th tallest Mt. in the world) and of course Mount Everest are the main sights. If you are extremally lucky, you will see a snow leopard or mountain sheep. The cost of the Everest Base Camp trek is $4,090.

Annapurna Base Camp Trek

Annapurna shrouded in Clouds
Annapurna shrouded in clouds

The ABC Trek is a 10 day adventure into the heart of the 10th largest mountain in the world. The Annapurna region has many stunning hikes, but only the base camp trek takes you to Mt. Machapurchare, and Annapurna I.

Full disclosure, I haven’t been to the base camp, so I cant speak from first hand experience, but all the stories I’ve heard say they have an amazing time.

The trip costs $3,000, which is pretty good because you can include the Poon Hill trek at no additional fee.

Annapurna Circuit Trek

Annapurna Circuit Trek
Entering Manang below the Milerepa Cave in the Annapurna Massif

This is my favorite trek in the entire country. When I say, “I love this trek” it is an understatement. To me it just feels right. The views are breathtaking, the walk is just delightful, there are plenty of side quests to explore, like Tilicho lake and ancient cliff dwellings. You get to hike through local villages in rural Nepal. There are monasteries and temples scattered along the trail. This trip has it all. It is a 16 day trip that will cost $4,090.

Langtang Trek

nepal tour
Vibrant prayer flags and snow capped mountains in Langtang


Langtang National park is more of a nature preserve than a hiking destination. At the peak of the trek you will be surrounded by some dynamic mountain landscapes. The trip features stellar views of Langtang Lirung, and lots of wildlife.

If you are lucky you can see red pandas! Also in late April, there are a few nice groves of Rhododendrons that should be in full bloom. There are multiple check points in and out of Langtang national park to check for smuggled wildlife.

The trip can last up to 11 days, but can be completed in 4. It costs $3,250. Contact your tour operators to discuss cost and duration.

Kathmandu sightseeing tour

This guy's name is Frank. He is actually a tourist.
This guy’s name is Frank. He is actually a tourist.

Did you know the Kathmandu valley used to be a prehistoric lake? There are tons of fossils beneath all those temples and shrines. This is actually identified in the legend of the monkey temple. (identified below)

The sightseeing tour is scheduled to last 1 day, but you may extend it out to two. There are enough really cool things to see to take up 2 days. The tour costs $250. The highlights of this sightseeing tour are identified below.

Kathmandu Durbar Square

yogis and sadhus
Sadhu at a closed temple in Kathmandu Dubar Square

The Kathmandu Durbar Suare is a world heritage site. it used to the be the location of the Nepal royal palace, but was moved to near Thamel. The area is still a coveted attraction for both locals and tourists even though it was damaged in the 2015 earthquake. Fortunately, construction is underway.


This area used to be the business hub of Nepal. And although no formal documents identify the construction period, it is believed to have started construction in late 1000 CE. with the construction of the royal palace. Subsequent buildings were built in response.

Pashupatinath temple

Pashupatinath shrine
Pashupatinath Pandra Shivalaya

This is one of my favorite areas in Kathmandu. It is also a world heritage site. It is believed to have been built around 1692. The complex contains temples, ashrams, Bagmati river, funeral pyres, and a small zoo at the top of the hill.

Please visit my blog post about Pashupati temple for mor information.

Swayambhunath Temple

Swayambhunath stupa and shrines
Swayambhunath stupa and shrines

The legend of the Swayambhunath temple (AKA monkey temple) identifies a large lake covered in lotus flowers. At the center of the lake was a perfect lotus flower that grew underwater. The deity of wisdom, Manjushri, heard about this perfect flower growing at the bottom of the lake. When he found it, he turned it into an island, raising it above the water.

He thought it would be lonely so he drained the lake for people to visit. But in doing so, his head lice fell from his head on the hill and turned into rhesus monkeys.

The area the lake used to sit on is now the Kathmandu valley. If you travel to Pahupatinath, watch your belongings, because the monkeys will steal items from your bags.

monkey temple
monkey eating tika blessing at the monkey temple

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Bhairabnath Temple, Taumadhi Square Bhaktapur
Bhairabnath Temple, Taumadhi Square Bhaktapur

This is another world heritage site. some of the temples collapsed in the 2015 earthquake but restoration efforts are underway. Inside the Bhaktapur square you can still see the 55 window palace, Nyatapola and Bhairava temples, The golden gate of Bhaktapur, and other temples.

I believe the mini-Pashupatinath temple, and Lakshmi temples are being rebuilt. However; The pottery square is still open.

Patan Durbar Square

Carving of a deity in Patan museum
Carving of a deity in Patan museum

Patan is another UNESCO World Heritage site. Unfortunately it was heavily damaged in the 2015 earthquake. It is slowly being rebuilt. A few structures, most notably the stone shrine dedicated to Shiva and the Keshav Narayan building, which is also a museum.

Malla Pallace in Patan
Malla Pallace in Patan

Changu Narayan Temple

This temple is shrouded in mystery. I can not get a strait story about it. There are 3 legends surrounding the temple.

The first story is that it is named after the Kashmiri king who married his daughter, princes Champak, to the prince of Bhaktapur. The local community is named Changu and the temple is Changu Narayan temple.

Maybe the Bhaktapur prince was named Narayan, and over the years the villagers changed the name of the village to be named after the temple?

The second story is Vishnu was hunting in the forest and killed a man on accident. For the crime he was entombed inside a tree and could only emerge as a small boy. One day two villagers saw the boy come out of the tree and steal cow milk. They chopped down the tree and freed Vishnu from his prison.

The third story is not worth repeating. It involves an old man and a boy wrestling. The young boys name was Changu.

The temple is believed to be the oldest in Nepal. But who believes anything now, after those 3 stories.

Lumbini Spiritual Tour

Boudhanath stupa
Boudhanath stupa

Lumbini is the birth place of lord Buddha. It is a popular destination for Buddhists, and is one of the main tourist areas.

I have not been to Lumbini and can not speak from personal experience. My friends that have gone liked the accommodations.

A Buddhist pilgrimage in Lumbini can take up to 7 days, but can be shortened to 4. The tour costs $2,120.

Nepal Textile tour

Our textile tour is fairly new. It pays homage to the arts and crafts of the rich cultural diversity in Nepal. The tour lasts 11 days, and takes you to the artistic hubs around central and western Nepal. The tour visits textile factories producing daka, fabric dyeing locations, and in house fabric weaving. The textile tour costs $1,500.

Nepal Cannabis tour

The Cannabis tour is only offered in October

The Cannabis tour is only offered in October. It combines scenic views of the Himalayan mountains with, rural village small farm tours, and a food tour in Pokhara. The tour uses a private vehicle and lasts 7 days. The cost of the tour is $2,500


UNESCO world heritage sites tour

The UNESCO world heritage sites tour visits 9 out of 10 UNESCO sites in Nepal. Sagarmatha National Park (mount Everest) is left out due to time.

The tour combines a 2 day Kathmandu sight seeing tour with a Chitwan National Park tour and a Lumbini Pilgrimage tour.

The tour takes 7 days and costs $3,250, which is a better deal than buying all activities individually.

What activities do tourist like to do in Nepal?

yoga in nepal
Rooftop yoga in Nepal

As a tourist in Nepal I enjoyed trekking, visiting cultural sites, and national parks. I liked Chitwan national park the best. All of the Nepal tours are great and let you experience a different aspect of the country. I did not enjoy Nepali cuisine very much, but I loved the Indian food.

Nepal is a family friendly destination with a rich culture surrounded by some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Come visit Nepal and we will find an activity that’s right for you and your family.

If not, there is always California or Thailand 😉

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Edmund Hillary

Edmund Hillary mountaineer

Edmund Hillary and his mountain guide Tenzing Norgay were the first people confirmed to have climbed to the summit of Mt. Everest. This action secured Hillary’s position as the most famous mountaineer to date. The fame later helped him secure philanthropic roles, and government positions in New Zealand. Edmund Hillary has a developed biography full of adventures and contains memorable quotes. This article is about Sir Edmund Hillary and his life.

Edmund Hillary height

Hillary described himself as being a small and lonely child although he grew to the height of 6 ft 5 in by the age of 16. He was more comfortable indulging in books than in the company of his peers. He was born in Auckland, New Zealand on July 20th, 1919. It wasn’t until 1935, 16 years later, that he became interested in mountaineering.

Edmund Hillary Biography (in brief)

By 1939 Hillary climbed to the top of Mount Olliver (6,342 ft), his first major summit. Hillary put his passion for mountaineering to the side in 1943, because of the threat of Japanese invasion of Pacific countries. He joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force as a navigator, but in 1945, he was injured in a fire and medically discharged.

In 1948 He climbed to the summit of the south ridge of Mt. Cook.

Hillary climbed Cho Oyu in 1952.

The defining moment in Edmund Hillary’s lice came on May 29, 1953 when he climbed to the summit of Mt. Everest.

Hillary crossed the Antarctic shelf in 1958 to reach the south pole.

In 1960, Hillary joined a big foot tracking team. His goal was to find evidence of big foot. The team explored the Himalayas for 10 months, but Hillary was only with the team for 5 months. They only found evidence that disproved big foot’s existance.

Hillary established the Himalayan Trust in 1960 after his summit of Everest. His goal was to help the Sherpa people by improving health, education, and lively hoods in the Solukhumbu district of Nepal. His efforts led to the construction of schools, and hospitals and helped improve the lives of people who live among the mountains.

Hillary created the 3 poles challenge when he and Neil Armstrong flew to the North pole in 1985.

Edmund Hillary became the ambassador of Nepal and the commissioner to India and Bangladesh from 1985 to 1988.

In 1992 his image was printed on the $5 note of the New Zealand currency. This made him the only living person that wasn’t a government official to appear on a note.

Edmund Hillary death

Hillary died from heart failure on January 11, 2008, in Auckland City Hospital. His body was cremated and most of his ashes were released in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf. The other portion of his ashes were taken to Nepal to be released on top of Mt. Everest.

Edmund Hillary famous quotes

  • “it is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
  • “you don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things… You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals.”
  • “People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.”
  • Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons. Science is used to raise money for the expeditions, but you really climb for the hell of it.
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Mount Everest


Mt. Everest is the darker mountain in the background

No other mountain in the world can claim that it has reached the popularity of Mount Everest. Everest has infiltrated its way into pop culture and into the hearts of many.  It is not just the subject of movies, documentaries, books, or songs. It is a destination for people to challenge themselves under adverse conditions. This article dives into Everest. I hope you enjoy it.


Nuptse, Everest (behind the cloud), Lhotse, Ama Dablam

Mount Everest is known in Nepali as Sagarmatha. It is the tallest mountain in the world, reaching a peak of 29,029 feet above sea level. Sagarmatha is in the Sagarmatha National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2013, 36,750 people visited Sagarmatha National Park. Of the 36,750 people, most of them visited the park in the Fall (September through November).

Popular destinations in Sagarmatha National Park

Everest base camp

Most people that enter the Sagarmatha National Park are trekking to Everest Base Camp. The second most popular destination is Namche Bazaar. Another major tourist attraction is Gokyo Lakes, which is on the way to Everest Base Camp. Lukla is another popular destination.

People in Sagarmatha National Park

Sherpa, Tamang, and Sunwar are the primary ethnic groups of the Sagarmatha area. There are also other indigenous groups, which include Bhote, Jirel, and Thami. However, I do not have any information on the last three groups.


Sunwar people are from eastern Nepal. They primary follow animism, which is similar to shamanism. There are 52 different subgroups or clans of Sunwar people. Sunwar means gold.


Sherpas are one of the most famous groups of Nepal, receiving notoriety for their ability to live in high altitudes. They are hired to carry equipment for people who attempt to summit Mount Everest. The word Sherpa means Eastern People, which describes where they live and where they come from. Sherpa people speak a dialect of Tibetan. There are many sub-groups or clans of Sherpa people.


The Tamang are an indigenous group of people in the north east area of Nepal. Their name means horse trader in Tibetan. Tamangs are divided into several subgroups or clans. They have their own language that is similar to Tibetan-Bhurmese like the group Gurung. Most Tamangs follow Buddhism.

Mount Everest mountaineering

Tenzing Norgay and Edmound Hillary are the first recorded people to summit Everest. They did so in 1953; however, they are probably not the first people to summit the mountain. I believe the first-person summit Mount Everest was a native to the area.

George Mallory and Andrew Irvine may have been the first non-native people to summit Everest in 1924. They were attempting to summit Mount Everest from the north side (They probably took a car to get to base camp (jk)). They were last seen at elevation, but inclement weather developed and prevented any future sightings. Mallory’s body was found 2,274 feet below the summit in 1999.

Every year there are around 200 to 375 permits issued by Nepal to summit Everest. Each permit costs $11,000. On average 4.3 people die trying to summit Everest for every 100 people who summit. About 16 people die every year climbing Everest.

Mountaineering equipment

  • Rope (200 feet long and 9 to 10.5mm thick)
  • Helmet
  • Harness
  • Boots
  • Crampons
  • Belay/rappel device
  • Pully
  • Carabiners (locking and non-locking)
  • Head lamp
  • Avalanche transceiver
  • Ice axe
  • Supplemental oxygen

Trash on Mount Everest

Trash on Mount Everest

Attempting to summit Mount Everest is an exhausting task. The addition of any gear can make it exponentially more difficult. That is why, many of the people who have climbed Everest did so at the mountain’s peril.

Many people will litter their used materials on the mountain. This created a degraded and aesthetically eroded environment for future climbers. Fortunately, restoration efforts are underway to clear away some of the debris. Some mountaineering companies will also remove the human waste from the mountain.

Why Everest?

Everybody has their own reason for climbing Mount Everest. Some people do it because they can, and other do it to honor the forefathers of mountaineering. I would say a lot of people do it for the prestige and honor they get from it. I known a lot of people go to Nepal looking for something. Some of them try to find it on the mountain, when its inside them the whole time.

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Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar Namche Bazzar

Everything you want to know about Namche Bazaar

Top 10 Facts and Information About Namche Bazaar
Namche Bazaar


If you are trekking in the Khumbu region, chances are you will stop in Namche.  Namche (11,286 ft) is the 2nd resting point in the Everest Base Camp Trek, and the 1st acclimation point.  This crescent shaped village is the subject of many art galleries.  In its own respect it has become iconic for its location, landscape, and surroundings.  The Bhote Koshi river separates the village from Kongde Ri (20,298 ft) to the south.  The Dudh Koshi river separates it from Thamserku (21,679 ft) on its east side.

Apart from its natural beauty and beautiful surroundings, Namche has many attractions.  Namche has many world class hotels and lodges, a stupa, a monastery, a few museums, some wonderful bakeries, many stores housing a lot of overpriced supplies, internet cafes, and a rather attractive aqueduct that acts as source of hydro power to spin prayer wheels.  The aqua-duct is a rather new addition to the district.  It was purchased with money brought in by trekkers.

In my last blog post, you traveled with me as I hiked to Namche Bazaar.  You can access the article here.  Or you can jump ahead to Day 3 to acclimate with me at Everest View Point.  If you only want to read 10 Facts and Information about Namche Bazaar, Great.  This article can be read independently of my other posts. Kick back, relax, and without further delay, Namche Bazaar!

1.  How to Reach Namche Bazaar

You have a few travel options to reach Namche.  The most utilized and most expensive is a direct flight from Kathmandu to Lukla (about $200), then trek to Phakding to spend the night.  The following day, you can trek along the Dudh Koshi river to Namche.  Another option is to take a helicopter from Lukla to Namche (This could be pretty expensive, about $2,000 for a private charter).  This option is not recommended because it does not allow your body a chance to acclimate to the elevation.  The third option is to take a bus from Kathmandu’s Ratna Park to Shivalaya ( about $6).  Then from Shivlaya, you can trek to Namche.  The bus trip takes 12 to 14 hours.
Route to Namche Bazaar

It’s fairly simple on the map, but in practice there are many areas to get lost on the way to Namche.

How to get to the Bazaar

Once you cross the Namche bridge and check in at the police check point you are in Namche.  Keep going into Namche until you see the stupa and aqueduct.  Just after the stupa you can make a left off the main path to go deeper into the city.  Near the stupa you can make left and go into the open field.  The field is Namche Bazaar.  On the Saturday vendors come from Kathmandu and sell their products.  Tibetan, and Sherpa people also sell their goods here.  It can be pretty expensive though.

2.  Namche Bazaar Airport/ Syangboche Airport

Namche Bazaar does not have an airport; However, Namche has 3.  There are 2 helicopter landing pads in Namche.  One of them is reserved for military and police the other is reserved for the hospital.  There is an out of date airstrip that has been converted to pasture land and has become a hotel construction site.  At this air strip helicopters land and drop off supplies and passengers.  During my last visit, there was a hotel being built on the air strip.  This hotel was designed to replicate Everest Base Camp.  In a few years, we will see how close they came.
A military helicopter is landing on Syangboche airport (Namche Airport)

The airstrip is not licensed for commercial operations.  The majority of the air traffic it receives is from the military.  Short takeoff and landing (STOL) planes do occasionally land there, but there are no facilities like run way lights or an air traffic controller to guide them.  And as you can imagine there are no routine services.  The only time the runway gets mowed is when the cows and yaks eat the grass along the dirt strip.
There are 2 helicopter landing pads in this photo.  One is the dirt field on the left edge of the picture and the other one is in the upper right hand corner.

3.  Namche Bazaar Trek

The Namche Bazaar trek takes visitors on a slow paced leisurely walk to Namche with a tour of the market on Saturday.  The trek takes advantage of the many rest areas along the trail.  however, it is ultimately up to you for how fast you want to trek, where you want to stay, and how long you want to stay there.  Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure’s Namche Bazaar Trek itinerary is as follows:

Day 1: Arrive in Lukla and check into a hotel. 9,107 ft, 1 hr plane ride

Day 2: Walk to Nurning and stay in a guest house. 8,176 ft, 1.5 hr walk

Day 3: Walk to Phakding and stay in a tea house. 8,563 ft, 1.5 hr walk

Day 4: Walk to Monjo and stay in a tea house. 9,301 ft, 3 hrs walk

Day 5: Walk to Namche and check into a hotel.  11,286 ft, 3 hrs walk

Day 6: Visit Namche Bazaar, go shopping, and go see Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and Thamserku

Day 7 Walk to Monjo and stay in a tea house. 9,301 ft, 2 hrs walk

Day 8: Walk to Phakding and stay in a tea house. 8,563 ft, 1 hr walk

Day 9: Walk to Nurning and stay in a guest house. 8,176 ft, 1 hr walk

Day 10: Arrive in Lukla and check into a hotel. 9,107 ft, 1 hr walk

Day 11: Fly to Kathmandu to conclude your trip to Namche.
Close up of Nuptse, Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam

4.  Namche Bazaar Height

Namche rests at an elevation of 11,286 feet above sea level.  Acute mountain sickness (AMS) or altitude sickness generally occurs at an elevation of 8,000 feet or greater.  Once you ascend above about 9,000 feet you should take a “rest day” every 3,000 feet to acclimate.  And once you ascend above 10,000 feet you should not ascend more than 1,500 feet in a day.  Namche is positioned at the perfect elevation to allow trekkers to acclimate. Here is an article about how to prepare for this trek.
From left to right: Tabuche, Cholatse, Nuptse, Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam

Acclimation day

During your acclimation day you should advance to higher altitudes to prime your body for future altitude gains.  Just above Namche there is a view point at Hotel Everest View (13,000 feet).  From the balcony you have phenomenal views of Tabuche, Nuptse, Everest, Lhotse, and my personal favorite, Ama Dablam.  Then from here you can visit Khumjung (12,401 feet), which has a pretty cool monastery you can see.  Then you can make your way back to Namche.
Khumjung from the back side of Hotel Everest View

5.  Hotels in Namche and Best Places to Stay

A side note before I get to the best places to stay:  During the busy season, rooms fill up fast!  If you are an independent traveler, you may be asked to share a room or change hotels.  Do not worry though.  Most hotels give preference to trekkers with a guide.  And now without further ado:

Panorama Lodge and Restaurant ($40/ night)

Himalayan Lodge ($5/ night)

Yeti Mountain Home Namche ($20/ night)

Namche Hilltop Lodge and Restaurant ($5/ night)

Sherpa Village Hotel ($5/ night)

Most trekking companies, Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure included, pay for your rooms while you are trekking.  Depending on the package you purchase, they may also pay for your food too. The room rates are more expensive for independent travelers. Also the rates are more expensive during peak season, October.
Old Namche and Namche Bazaar.  Conditions have improved a lot since 1953.  Original photo by Alfred Gregory.

6.  Namche Bazaar Clothing

There are a few outlet stores in Namche.  When I was there, I saw a Sherpa Adventure Gear store, and a North Face store.  I also saw a REI store (or at least they called themselves REI), and yes, I know REI is not an outlet.  The stores are seasonal though.  You may not get service in the winter or summer.

In regards to clothing you need when you travel to Namche:

Trekking pants (quantity 1)

Trekking shorts (quantity 1)

Socks if you where them (quantity 10).  I like to have a clean pair of socks each day.

Trekking shoes or trekking flip flops (I have seen people trek in flip flops) (quantity 1)

Sweat pants (quantity 1)

Tank top (quantity 1)

T-shirt (quantity 2)

Long sleeve shirt (quantity 1)

Sweat shirt (quantity 1)

Beanie hat or cap (quantity 1)

Under wear (quantity 2)

That’s about it.  The trick is to layer your cloths so that you do not get too hot or too cold.  Yes, you can only shed so many layers before you are naked, and not recommended.  You want to buy your clothing before you go on your trek, that way you wont be naked, and flapping in the breeze.

7.  Map of Namche and Namche Bazaar
Map of Namche.  You are here!

8.  Administrative Center

Namche is the unofficial district capitol of Solukhumbu.  It is also the administrative center for the Khumbu region.  Lonely Planet ranked Khumbu as the 6th best area in the world to visit.  Coming into Namche you will encounter a trekking check point and a little further up the road an army station.  The Sagarmatha National Park headquarters as well as Rastriya Banijya Bank (government bank) are in Namche.  One fun fact, former president Jimi Carter, his wife, and a former California senator visited Namche in Oct 1985.

Information Center

The Sagarmatha National Park Visitor’s Center has a tremendous amount of information stored within its archives.  It also showcases a lot of pictures of the local fauna.  The visitors center is located in the north east quadrant of Namche.  It is accessible from the Tengboche trail leading out of the village.

9.  Weather and Climate
Climate chart of the monthly average high (red) and low (blue) temperatures, and precipitation of Namche.

Namche has cool wet summers and relatively cold and dry winters.  You can expect year to year variation in temperatures and precipitation levels.  Warmer winters and warmer summers have been more frequently observed within the past 10 years.

10.  Sherpa Museum

This is exactly what it sounds like.  It is a museum that honors Sherpa people and culture.  The museum showcases Sherpa artifacts and highlights famous Sherpa people who have summited Everest.  The star of the show is Tenzing Norgay, who is recorded as the first Sherpa person to Summit Everest with Edmund Hillary.  There is a reconstructed Sherpa house inside the museum, which can provide a glimpse into the living conditions of the area.  The museum charges $2.5 entrance fee.

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