Welcome to Nepal!
On arrival in Kathmandu you’ll be met at the airport by our representative (they’ll have a YMH signboard and be waiting outside)
There’s a short drive to the Gokarna Forest Resort, our peaceful haven on the outskirts of Kathmandu. This is your hotel base before and after trek.
Gokarna Forest Resort is located inside the serene temperate Gokarna Forest, the former private Royal hunting grounds of the Kings of Nepal. A winding road climbs leads through the forest up to the main complex, comprising a mix of subtly majestic Malla period architecture, Rana period lodges, and sanctuaries harmoniously blending with nature. Further on exotic Forest View cottage rooms are set beside a century old restored Hunter’s lodge. A quiet peaceful haven set between ancient towering trees with glimpses of the Itinerary second fairway in the valley below make the perfect getaway for a few days of golf, relaxation and rejuvenation at the Spa, enchanting forest walks, and time close to nature.Meals: BB
We make an early start to take a spectacular, short mountain flight to Lukla, the start point for our trek. Watch out for the Langtang and Jugal ranges then the Rolwaling Himal, Gaurisankar and Menlumtse before getting your first glimpse of Everest on the flight. Our staff will meet us at the airport to escort us (and bring our luggage) through this long winding one-street town to our lodge.
Check in, refresh and enjoy lunch. When the sun shines (and it very often does here!) we’ll take lunch on the terrace with views over the gateway to the Khumbu. In the afternoon we visit a school, the Buddhist monastery (gompa), the Pasang Lamu Foundation hospital and take a short walk round the locale. For anyone who’d like to stretch out a bit more we can direct you on a walk up to a nearby hamlet. (BLD)
YMH LuklaMeals: FB
Breakfast at the hotel and you will board a flight to Pokhara.
From Pokhara airport, a one hour drive through countryside road will get you to Lumle (1610m). On the way you can view the greenery of the forest and as the road reaches the top of Naudanda foothill, one can see a breathtaking view of Pokhara valley with Phewa Lake.
Our trekking crew meet us at the YMH Lukla after breakfast. We’ll spend a little time on introductions, getting to know each other and sorting the bags out before setting off. The trek start proper, the Khumbu ‘gateway’, is just meters from our lodge gate.
Passing through the whitewashed archway we head gently downhill on pitched stone trails through low rhododendron forest, past small ‘garden’ farms and old and new hamlets to the banks of the foaming Dudh Koshi river. There will be plenty of short stops to meet the locals, take photographs and just soak up the scenery and the clear mountain air as we meander along, the undulating trail glimpsing views of 6000m snow-capped peaks high above. Passing the enormous mani stone at Thado Kosi we meander up through the many chortens and prayer wheels of Sano and along to our destination of YMH Phakding in time for lunch. After soaking up the sun on the terrace we continue on to the village of Monjo. The gently undulating trail follows the right bank of the Dudh Koshi through Phakding village before the first of several river crossings today on wire suspension bridges. Continuing through pine forest and small villages we come to a break in the trees to catch sight of the mighty Thamserku (6623m) towering way above. A couple more hours of woodland trails and swaying bridges brings us to the small village of Monjo. Our lodge for the night is located above the village with spectacular views of Thamserku and KusumKangri. Gather again for pre-dinner drinks round the fire followed by evening meal. (B,L,D YMH Monjo)
A short walk from our lodge brings us to the gateway to the Sagamartha National Park. We stop to have a look at the interesting 3D map and information boards whilst our guide sorts out our permits and entry. From here we’ve another 40 minutes or so along the sides of the Dudh Khosi before crossing the Bhote Khosi, raging in form a side valley, and beginning our climb to the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar. The trail zig-zags up away from the river, gradually ascending to the tree line opening out into a high mountain bowl and the vibrant village of Namche.
We pass through the many tiny shops and colourful stalls picking our way slowly up hand cut stone steps to our wonderful Yeti Mountain Home Lodge. This is our first night above 3000m so it’s important to take it easy and let your body adjust. Relax with a tea or coffee and maybe even take a massage in our spa. (B,L,D YMH Namche)YMH Namche
Today it’s important to gain a little height to help our bodies’ acclimatize. And to see some magnificent views! The afternoon is free to explore the shops and cafes of this delightful little town.
Your guide will take you to a wonderful viewpoint to see the ‘rockstars’ of the mountain world spread out before you: Lhotse, Nuptse, Everest, Ama Dablam... they ring the deep valley sides in a magnificent arena. You should also be able to see the monastery at Tengboche and the trails to Everest. We leave the shimmering peaks to visit the Sherpa Cultural museum with its treasure trove of delights and intriguing insights into the lives, homes and loves of the Sherpa people.
After lunch you are free to head down to the Namche market to browse the shops, chat to the locals and maybe pick up a souvenir or two. You may also see the Tibetan traders who make a yearly journey over the high passes from the Tibetan plateau with their yaks laden with goods to sell at the markets. Late in the afternoon there’s an option to visit Namche Monastery. The monastery is about 80 years old and has beautiful Thanka paintings of Tibetan deities. You are most welcome to burn a butter lamp for your loved ones. (BLD YMH Namche)YMH Namche
Turning away from the main Everest trail we head out past Namche’s gompa to join a high alpine trail contouring Nepali flat style along and gently up through pine forest and meadows to the hamlet of Thamo. This trail forms part of the entry route to Tibet, which passes near the 8,012-metre peak of Cho Oyu, first climbed in 1954. It is also the historical route that the Sherpa’s migrated from eastern Tibet 800 years ago.
We’ll stop for lunch at Thamo, maybe in the nunnery to join the women devotees in their simple homes. Thamo is also the home Ang Rita Sherpa, who holds the record for scaling Mt Everest ten times without oxygen. From Thamo we continue our gradual ascent up through the hamlet of Samden. We drop down now to cross the Bhote Koshi river as it gushes through some high rock steps tumbling down falls and whirlpools. Standing on the bridge can be quite deafening! There’s a final half hour climb to reach Thame Village and our lodge. (BLD YMH Thame)YMH Namche
There are many options for our walk today – continuing up the valley towards the Nangpa La, the yak traders’ route; hiking up to a small peak or exploring the monastery and village… talk with your guide and decide. Thame is a wonderful high mountain village, with its gentle pastures, rambling alleys, small artists’ community and even a yak farm. The village is overlooked by the 14th century monastery 200m along a rocky ridge.
The hike up is definitely worth doing, to touch the ancient mani stone walls, admire the fragile thankas and timeless wall paintings. If you wish to climb higher ask your guide to take you up the slopes of Sumdur mountain. If you wish to stay low how about visiting the yak farm or some local homes or heading along the wide valley bottom towards the Tibet border for views of the Nangpa La and Cho Oyu. (BLD YMH Thame)
We return down the valley, most likely taking a slightly different route to that of the ascent some days earlier. Arriving in Namche we’ll have time for a wander round the bazaars and a light lunch before heading down through the pine forests to the valley warmth. Look out for Damche, our stunning national bird – a very colourful type of pheasant, sometimes found searching for food on the forest floor. And of course don’t forget to look around and enjoy the views from this new and very different perspective (BLD YMH Monjo).YMH Thame
Our last day trekking, with a bit of a sting in the tail!. Regaining the river side we are back and forth across the glacial torrent making our way back past Phakding. From here it’s around a three hour walk to Lukla, with the last hour or regaining 200m+ height – it’s uphill. On the way we’ll have some drink stops and a chance to visit Chaurikharka High School and Kyongma Monastery. On reaching Lukla we could take a quick stop for a congratulatory group photo at the ‘gateway’ arch then we’ll check-in to our lodge for lunch and a rest. We celebrate our success on the trail with a final dinner at YMH lodge. (BLD YMH Lukla)YMH Lukla
Wave goodbye to the Himalaya on a short, but spectacular flight back to Kathmandu! In clear weather this can be one of the highlights of your tour, with amazing views of the surrounding mountains.
On arrival in Kathmandu we’ll transfer to Gokarna Resort. Then you’ve free time to relax or head into the city. We find most people want to simply unwind and enjoy the hotel facilities – whatever you choose, we’ll help!
Gokarna Forest ResortMeals: BB
After enjoying a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, we'll be met by our guide for our day trip to a few of the Kathmandu valley's most spectacular and important sights and some vibrant, colourful markets.
With a blend of three ancient capitals and their associated palaces, temples and markets of Kathmandu has a lot to offer culturally and historically. However, we're mindful not to overload you on your first day so will ensure the day has a good balance between sightseeing, exploring and relaxation time.
The exact itinerary may change depending on the local conditions but we shall most likely visit:
Pashupatinath: It is one of the most important temples in South Asia to the Hindu God, Lord Shiva; One of the three Durbar (Palace) Squares , a complex of palaces and temples which was formally the social, religious and administrative focal point of the ancient city, Boudhnnanath Stupa, a wonderful Buddhist site centred on a huge Stupa topped with the all-seeing eyes. If possible we'll come here in the early evening to soak up the atmosphere of hundreds of Tibetan and Sherpa peoples walking their devotional khora.
Gokarna Forest ResortMeals: BB
We’ll transfer you to the airport in good time for your international flight or onward to your extension trip. YMH services end after breakfast.