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The Everest Base Camp Luxury Lodge Trek, one of the grandest treks in the world, is an unparalleled opportunity to trek in the Himalayas where Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay set off on their epic journey in 1953. The trip also includes acclimatization and a cultural trek into the scenic Sherpa heartland of the Khumbu Valley. Another remarkable feature of the trip is the opportunity to stay at the finest local luxury lodges and experience the typical Himalayan lifestyle. Enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Himalayan range near the Khumbu region with four of the world’s six tallest peaks of Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Makalu, and Cho Oyu rising above everything in view. Besides trekking, take a glimpse into the life of world famous climbers, the Sherpas. The trek further provides an immense opportunity to survey around the world heritage site of the Sagarmatha National Park which hosts a variety of Himalayan flora and fauna and to explore the highest Buddhist monasteries in the world.
Our Everest Base Camp Luxury Lodge Trek begins with a sightseeing tour of the historical and cultural monuments in Kathmandu – the temples, shrines, gompas, stupas, bazaars, streets, and monuments. The next day, head for an interesting mountain flight to Hillary Airport at Lukla, also featured in the National Geographic. Further, it will be a steep ascent to Namche Bazaar, the capital of the Sherpas, where we are greeted by spectacular mountain vistas. We continue our trek following the trail to a famous vantage point, Kala Patthar, which offers a marvelous 360-degree panorama of the Himalayas. After achieving our target of Everest Base Camp, we trek back down to Lukla for a return flight to Kathmandu.
Upon our arrival in the Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Aster who will drop us off at our hotel. After checking in, we take a rest or visit Himalayan Aster’s office. We may also stroll in the streets of Thamel, a tourist hub in Kathmandu for some souvenir shopping. In the evening, there will be a welcome dinner hosted by Himalayan Aster. For dinner, you will be served excellent Nepalese cuisine which will introduce you to the country’s food culture. Overnight in Kathmandu.
After breakfast, we will be escorted to the domestic terminal of Kathmandu airport for an early morning flight to Lukla (2,800m/9,186ft), a gateway destination from where our trek begins. After a 40-minute flight above the breathtaking green and white mountains, we reach the Tenzing-Hillary Airport at Lukla. This is one of the most beautiful air routes in the world culminating in a landing on a hillside surrounded by high mountains peaks. Upon arrival at Lukla, we meet our other crew members and after some packing and arrangements, we start our trek through the prosperous village of Lukla until we reach Phakding. To assist in acclimatization, we only have a short hike today. However, if interested in additional activities we can take a side trip to a nearby monastery. Overnight in Phakding at Yeti Mountain Home or similar hotel.
Walking through a beautiful pine forest, the track leads us along the Dudh Koshi River through many suspension bridges, one of which is the famous Hillary Suspension Bridge. First, we catch the wonderful prospect of the glistening Mt. Thamserku (6618 m). Through the settlement of Benkar, Chumoa, Monjo, we come to the check post and entrance to Sagarmatha National Park. We pass through the last village of Jorsale before reaching Namche Bazaar. The trail climbs through the forests and bridges until we reach the confluence of the Dudh Koshi and Bhote Koshi rivers. After a final steep ascent of about two hours we get our first sight of Mt. Everest peering over the Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. Upon this juncture, we stop at Chautara to admire the view. We still need to hike about 1.5 hours to reach Namche Bazaar, a gateway to Mt. Everest and main trading centre of this region. We stay overnight in Namche Bazaar at Yeti Mountain Home or similar hotel.
This is the scheduled ‘acclimatization’ day for this trek. Health experts recommend that we stay active and moving during the rest day too instead of being idle. We either spend the day taking a day’s hike to Thame or visiting Khunde or relaxing and exploring Namche Bazaar itself. Namche Bazzar is the main centre of the Everest (Khumbu) region and has government offices, ATMs, Internet cafes, shops, restaurants, a bakery and a colorful market each Friday evening and Saturday. If we trek a few hundred vertical feet during the day, it will help us to properly acclimatize. Our guides will take us to the Tourist Visitor Center near the headquarters of the Sagarmatha National Park where we can observe an assortment of things related to the first Everest ascenders, Sherpa culture and learn about the various plant and animal life of the Everest region. We also take an interesting side trip up to Khumjung. We further climb up to the famous airstrip at Syangboche. Just above the airstrip is the Everest View Hotel, a Japanese scheme to build a deluxe hotel with great views of the highest mountains on Earth. The Khumjung valley, surrounded by the snowy peaks of Kongde and Thamserku and the sacred peak Khumbila, hosts a well known monastery that houses a yeti scalp. We also visit the Hillary School which is at the same site. After having lunch and spending some time in Khumjung, we walk back down to Namche Bazzar. Overnight in Namche Bazaar at Yeti Mountain Home or a similar hotel.
Upon having breakfast, we start our trek towards Pangboche enjoying a superb view of Mt. Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam and a close-up view of Thamserku. Our trek follows on the gradual trail with few ups and downs overlooking a magnificent view of the great Himalaya. Along the way, we can spot wild lives like pheasant, musk deer, or a herd of Himalayan Thar. The trail goes gradually down up to Kayangjuma. The path eventually reaches Sansa, which is the major trail junction to Gokyo valley and Everest Base Camp. The track then follows through the pine forests and after we cross the prayer-flag festooned bridge over Dudh Koshi River. Upon crossing the river, we reach Phunki Thenga, a small settlement with a couple of teahouses and a small army post amidst the alpine woods. After having a relaxed lunch at Phunki Thenga, we then have a tough little climb that goes steeply up through the pine forests until we reach Tengboche. Tengboche is a great place for close-up views of Ama-Dablam, Nuptse, and Everest and it has the biggest Buddhist monastery in the Khumbu region. Walking along rhododendron forests for about an hou,r we reach Deboche. Overnight in Deboche at Hotel Robonder.
We start our trek after our morning breakfast. We pass through several chortens, mani walls and small villages. While on the journey, we enjoy lunch with fantastic close-up views of Ama-Dablam. In the afternoon, we go north to Pheriche or take the eastward trail beneath the towering north face of Ama Dablam. From here onwards the walk is fairly moderate as we enter the Imja Valley. The valley ahead will begin to open up as we approach the confluence of the Lobuche River. Then after the confluence, we descend into the river and begin the last and steepest climb of the day up to Dingboche. Upon arrival in Dingboche, we enjoy the beautiful array of fields enclosed by stone walls to protect the barley, buckwheat and potatoes from the cold winds and grazing animals. Overnight in Dingboche at a local lodge.
Today, we start the day with a climb to Duglha through the Khumbu Khola valley. The trek along the arid terrace is awarding with awesome views of mountains on all sides. As we come to a yak herder’s place called Dusa, the valley begins to narrow and we continue through Phulung Karpo, the camp sites during first successful Everest Expedition in 1953. Above Phulung Karpo is Chola Lake. As we continue our trek the majestic view of Mt. Pumori (7138 m/ 23418 ft) comes into view. As the trail descends and curves, Mt. Pumori hides and we come across a roaring stream. After crossing a small wooden bridge, we ascend to Dugla. We can see the tip of Nuptse from this juncture as well as Cholatse, Thamserku, and several other magnificent peaks. Spending a night in Duglha is ideal for acclimatization. Overnight in Duglha at a local guest house.
Beyond Duglha we trek up the steep terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. We find our way through the boulder-strewn slope as we ascend Chupki Lhara, an eerie ridge top with dramatic mountains views. At the top of the ridge, we will find an array of stones with prayer flags used as memorials to Scott Fischer (American mountaineer) and 10-time Everest submitter Babu Chiri Sherpa (mountain guide from Nepal) who perished on a mission to climb Everest. As the trail drops to the Khumbu Glacier moraine, we find ourselves right in front of several great peaks – Khumbutse, Lingtren, Pumori and Mahalangur Himal. We are now in the vicinity of Everest but the great mountain still remains hidden. Nuptse towers to the right as the trail crosses the Khumbu Glacier. As we trek along a murmuring stream we do not see the Khumbu glacier because of its lateral moraine wall, and we now begin to feel a little out of breath due to high altitude. Overnight in Lobuche at a local lodge.
The trail to Gorak Shep goes ahead through the lateral moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. We pass though the pyramid sign post. Ahead on the trail, we see the crest of the north ridge of Everest along with Mt. Pumori, Mahalangur, Lingtern, Khumbutse, and Nuptse. A small ascent would take us to Thangma Riju from where we perceive a 360-degree vista of the snowy mountains. Upon climbing steeply up to the top through the torrent of the Changri glacier, we catch our first glimpse of Kala Patthar, a grey-green knoll beneath the Mt. Pumori. As we reach Gorak Shep, we will be surrounded by snow-capped mountains looming all around us including the top of the world – Mount Everest. After a brief lunch and rest, we take the trail to Everest Base Camp through the once vast Gorak Shep Lake. Continuing straight ahead, we come through the Indian army mountaineers’ memorials. As we reach Everest Base Camp we cannot help appreciating the Everest climbers that take the hazardous route through the Khumbu icefall. Mountaineers’ tents stand out in bright colors against all the dull gray surroundings (especially in the spring). Nuptse, Khumbuste and Pumori are the mountains we can view from base camp. Everest actually is not visible from this juncture. By now we have met the ultimate objective of our trip.
However, the sunset view from Kala Patthar is more admirable than the sunrise view, so it is recommended that we visit Kala Patthar today during sunset. As the setting sun’s rays strike the snow-capped mountains, the resulting scenery is incredible. For those trekkers who wish to continue to Kala Patthar, Himalayan Glacier guides and Sherpas coordinate our hike to Kala Patthar for an amazing sunset view today rather than tomorrow. Overnight in Gorak Shep at a local lodge.
Today is the climax of our trip. We start early at dawn to catch the dramatic views from Kala Patthar witnessing the first light of day shining on Mt. Everest. However, we need to get prepared for an early morning, dark and cold temperature (-10 to -14 C) departure beforehand. Plus there is always the potential for chilly winds which are quite common. Familiar peaks such as Lingtren, Khumbutse, Changtse tower to the east even as Everest begins to reveal itself emerging between the west shoulder crest and Nuptse. During the ascent to Kala Patthar we can pause to catch our breath at several outstanding view points to snap pictures. After several hours of ascent, we reach Kala Patthar. From here, we scramble to climb the rocky outcrop near to the summit marked by cairns and prayer flags. As we reach the top, we sit on the Kala Patthar rocks and our eyes take in the unbelievable Himalayan Panorama, wandering from one mighty massif to another. We take as many pictures as we possibly can with our camera so they can last a lifetime. On returning to Gorak Shep, we have breakfast and wait for the other participants to return back.
Those visitors who plan to visit Everest Base Camp today will have an early breakfast to start early as Everest Base Camp hike takes longer (4-5 hrs) than the Kala Patthar hike. Upon returning back to Gorak Shep, the group will have lunch together and afternoon time is taken to descend down to Pheriche for a good night rest. Overnight at a local lodge.
At this moment of time, we trek down through the hillside blanketed by rhododendron and juniper trees. If it is spring, pink and red rhododendron flowers ablaze our surroundings. Depending on our hunger and condition, we either have our lunch in Pangboche or wait until we reach Phunki Tenga. After crossing the prayer-flag festooned bridge over the Dudh Koshi River, the trail then follows the Dudh Koshi gorge descending rapidly through the pine forests. The path eventually reaches Sansa which is the major trail junction in the region. We stop at Kyangjuma (3570 m/11,710 ft) for a relaxed lunch. We appreciate the gorgeous Ama Dablam, Thamserku and Nuptse with every step of the way. After our lunch, the trail to Namche Bazaar clings to the steeply wooded slope beyond Kyangjuma, winding through several bends. We keep a lookout for wild life such as mountain goats, snow leopards, and colorful pheasants while passing through the forest. Upon passing a chorten, we reach the army camp at Namche Bazaar. While here, we would like to take a long last look (and picture!) back to Lhotse, the tip of Everest and Tengboche. On reaching our lodge, we take a nice hot shower and have a very relaxed sleep in our room in Namche Bazaar. Overnight in Namche Bazaar at Yeti Mountain Home or similar hotel.
The trail descends steeply downward so we need to walk slowly and under control as our shaky legs continuously battle the rocky terrain. Upon crossing the suspension bridges over the fast flowing Dudh Koshi and its tributaries, the trail becomes more level and natural. Today onwards we start to get warmed up by the light breeze. Any remaining sore throats and colds will be gone by today as we pass through the charming mountain air. Although we are travelling the same route down, we have completely different views. We snap a mixture of open plains, rhododendron and pine forests, and in the distance, snow-covered peaks. We walk through the Sherpa villages’ noticing an impressive faith in Buddhism and a culture of prayer stones and flags. Upon arrival in Lukla, we stretch those sore legs and recall the experiences of the last couple of weeks. We experience the culmination of a fantastic trek on a happy note with everyone back safe and sound with smiles on our faces! Overnight in Lukla at Yeti Mountain Home or similar Lodge.
Today, we fly back to Kathmandu after our long mountain journey. The early morning flight drops us in Kathmandu. We can rest and relax throughout the day at our hotel. If we get interested to take some gifts home from Nepal for friends and relatives, we can visit to some nearby shops or venture out in Thamel for authentic Nepalese goods. To celebrate the successful completion of our journey, we will have a farewell dinner in the evening. Overnight in Kathmandu.
A representative from Himalayan Aster will drop us off at the airport approximately 3 hours before our scheduled flight. On our way to home we will have plenty of time to plan our next adventure trip in the wonderful country of Nepal.