Everest Sherpa Cultural + Luxury Annapurna Foothills Treks | Nepal

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A specially crafted 'Best of Nepal' trip, including a cultural trek with spectacular Himalayan panoramas in the Everest region, a luxury trek in the green middle hills of the Annapurna region, relaxation and spa time in Pokhara and some world class heritage sightseeing in Kathmandu. We've taken careful consideration of the altitude without skimping on amazing Himalayan + Everest views, while enjoying the comforts of locally run lodges.

Everest Sherpa Cultural Trek
Our Everest Sherpa Cultural Trek starts with a bang, an exciting flight to the Hillary Airstrip in Lukla, after which we stay at traditional Sherpa run boutique lodges in the Everest region, all the while enjoying the breathtaking Himalayan views and world renown Sherpa hospitality. This unique trek is a window into traditional life and culture of the high Sherpa villages, their Tibetan Buddhist gompas (monasteries) and the Sherpas' sacred peaks and valleys. Our Everest treks are led by qualified, local Sherpa guides who have called the Khumbu region their home for centuries, and with their local knowledge and good English will provide an enriching and safe experience in the mountains. Renown for the highest Himalayan peaks in the world, the Everest region is an incredibly spiritual region, where we can visit its many colorful Buddhist gompas, and chat with the monks of Pangboche, Namche, Khumjung, Khunde + Tengboche Gompas.

Early Spring or late Autumn are perfect times to trek in the Everest region, the Himalayan peaks accentuated by clear, blue skies, without the hoards of trekkers during the peak months. Wildlife such as the Himalayan thar, musk deer, danphe (Nepal's national bird), blood pheasant, Himalayan snow-cock, snow-pigeon and chukkar roam the mountain sides. Mountain views don't get any better than trekking in the Khumbu region of Nepal! Join us for this unforgettable trek through Nepal's spectacular Everest region ...

Annapurna Foothills Luxury Trek
This wonderful luxury Annapurna Foothills trek is the perfect introduction to the diversity, beauty and excitement of trekking in Nepal. The sub-tropical forests come alive with an immense variety of bird life, waterfalls thunder down from steep cliff sides and monkeys chatter from the tree tops. Trekking higher into the green, terraced hills we wander through ancient, mossy rhododendron forests to reach the cooler Buddhist and animistic middle hills, where Buddhist chortens and prayer flags send prayers out to the gods and the Gurung and Magar inhabitants are more Tibetan than Nepali. Terraced fields and tropical fruit trees surround the neat, white washed Gurung villages of the higher regions, leading the eye to vistas dominated by some of the Himalaya's most majestic peaks. The Annapurna region is truly the heart of the Nepal Himalaya. Accompanied by views of Annapurna South, Machhapuchhre, Hiunchuli and Lamjung Himal, we trek through the heart of the Annapurnas.

We stay at the wonderful Ker & Downey lodges, the premiere luxury lodges in the Annapurna region. The collection of lodges is spread out within the Annapurna Conservation Area, separated by picturesque terrain and a moderate half-day hike. Each lodge offers a unique view and new perspective on the region, overlooking its hidden villages and shadowed by its towering peaks. Private baths with hot running water come standard in all of the guest rooms, with cozy blankets and down bedding warmed nightly by a hot water bottle.

After the trek, indulge yourself in Pokhara with a spa day and infinity pool, paddle across Phewa Lake and hike up to Shanti Stupa for beautiful mountain and lake views, and enjoy eight days of idyllic, low altitude trekking in the foothills of the Annapurna region, staying at luxury Ker & Downey lodges, with spectacular Himalayan panoramas!

Chitwan National Park | Maruni Sanctuary Wildlife Safari
Chitwan National Park is home to the Bengal Tiger and Asian one-horned Rhino as well as a large variety of rare bird and wildlife, and a lovely national park surrounded by traditional Tharu villages. With an extra day, relax on the breezy deck with a book, rent bikes to explore the traditional thatched hut Tharu villages, where water buffaloes laze under tropical skies, or continue with the river paddles, spotting more varieties of Kingfishers!
NOTE: Kamzang Journeys doesn't encourage elephant safaris or elephant rids in Nepal National Parks.

Royal Treatment | Pokhara + Kathmandu
Treat yourself to a truly luxurious holiday, staying at  Temple Tree Resort + Spa or the Himalayan Front Resort in Pokhara, where you can spend the day at the infinity pool, having massages or indulging in various spa treatments. The Himalayan Front Resort is situated in Sarankot, and features some of the best Himalayan panoramas from the windows of your room. Temple Tree Resort + Spa is on Lakeside in town, close to shopping, paddling and restaurants, bars and cafes. Top of your trip in true style and luxury at Dwarika's heritage hotel in Kathmandu, with options to spend additional days at Dwarika's incredible Dhulikhel Resort.

Why trek with Kamzang Journeys in the Everest region?
The Kamzang Journeys team have 20 years of trekking experience in the Everest (Solu Khumbu) region. Kim (Kamzang Journeys) first trekked in the Everest region in the 90s, later teaching English in the Everest region. Lhakpa Sherpa (Khumbu Adventures) comes from Thame, his wife Doma's family is from Pangboche, and their relatives own many of the lodges in the Khumbu. We have numerous Sherpa friends + contacts in the region, lots of invaluable support throughout the Everest trek! Our staff all come from the Solu Khumbu region, along the Jiri to Lukla trail, now known as the Hillary + Norgay Everest Trek.


Kamzang Journeys has perhaps the safest acclimatization schedule in the Khumbu, with a local, qualified and friendly Sherpa guide leading your trek. Our Everest treks focus on cultural immersion as well as Himalayan peaks, and we often visit Sherpa houses for a cup of 'chang' or salt butter tea. We have a nearly perfect record of mountain safety, and back up support from Khumbu Adventures in case of any mishaps. Choose from the extensive lodge menus for all meals, which are accompanied by a choice of herbal teas, hot drinks and freshly brewed coffee. Our water is filtered using an MSR or Katadyn water filter.



Customize Your Journey
We are happy to customize your journey to include more days in Kathmandu, Chitwan National Park or Pokhara.
Inquire for HELICOPTER options!

Incredible Nepal!

Trip

Day 1 - Arrive Kathmandu | Kathmandu Guest House
         + Dwarika's, Hyatt, Shangri La + Yak & Yeti Upgrades
Day 2 - Kathmandu | World Heritage Sightseeing
Day 3 - Fly Lukla. Trek Monjo
Day 4 - Trek Namche Bazaar | Moonlight Lodge
Day 5 - Namche Bazaar | Sherpa Museum + Photo Gallery. Day Hike Everest + Himalayan Views
Day 6 - Trek Thame | Valley View Lodge
Day 7 - Trek Khunde | Khunde Guest House
Day 8 - Trek Phortse | Phortse Guest House
Day 9 - Trek Pangboche | Sonam Lodge
Day 10 - Trek Namche | Moonlight Lodge
Day 11 - Trek Chhuserma | The Beyul
Day 12 - Trek Lukla | Paradise Lodge
Day 13 - Fly Kathmandu | Kathmandu Guest House
Day 14 - Fly Pokhara | Lakeside Resort AC Cottage
          + Temple Tree Resort + Spa or Himalayan Front Resort Upgrades
Day 15 - Drive Naya Pul. Trek Birethanti | Sanctuary Lodge
Day 16 - Trek Gandruk | Himalayan Lodge
Day 17 - Trek Landruk | Bee Lodge
Day 18 - Trek Majgaun | Gurung Lodge
Day 19 - Trek Dhampus | Basanta Lodge
Day 20 - Trek + Drive Pokhara | Lakeside Resort AC Cottage
Day 21 - Fly Kathmandu | Kathmandu Guest House
Day 22 - Trip Ends

Chitwan Wildlife Safari Extension
Day 21 - Drive Chitwan Maruni Sanctuary Lodge. Afternoon Wildlife Safari
Day 22 - Chitwan Wildlife Safari
Day 23 - Chitwan Morning Wildlife Safari. Fly Kathmandu | Dwarika's
Day 24 - Trip Ends

    + Inquire for HELICOPTER options!

Add Ons | Per Person
+ Kathmandu World Heritage Sightseeing Tour | Pashupatinath, Boudhanath + Swayambunath (+$75)
+ Kathmandu Durbar Square Walking Tour | Durbar Square (+$50)
+ Bhaktapur Heritage Sightseeing Tour (+$100)
+ Patan Heritage Sightseeing Tour (+$50)
+ Extra Day Chitwan (+$125)
+ Everest Sightseeing Flight (+$250)
+ Everest Sightseeing Helicopter Tour (+ $Inquire)
+ Shivapuri Heights Cottage (+ $Inquire)
+ Cycling Trip in Kathmandu Valley (+Trip Price)

Chitwan National Park | Maruni Sanctuary Lodge
Chitwan + Tharu Villages Wildlife Safari
+ Upgrade to Tharu Lodge Chitwan (+$300 Per Room)

NOTE: We STRONGLY recommend scheduling an extra day in Kathmandu in case of flight delays or cancellations out of Lukla. Please make sure you have travel & travel medical insurance!

Highlights+Reviews

Trip Advisor Reviews

Client Comments
I really enjoyed my cultural trek in the Khumbu + Everest region. It was good to have a local guide in Tashi. He was such a quiet and gentle guy, and I was impressed with his respect for culture and Buddhist philosophy. I was able to learn about the way of life in the villages and about the gardens and crops. also it was interesting to visit the monasteries and hear about Buddhist practices and philosophy. The route chosen was great - away from the main trekking routes and very scenic. I could feel myself becoming more acclimatized and fitter after a few days above 3000m. Basanta was such a cheerful porter and always greeted us with a big smile.

All the flights and connections went smoothly thanks to Lhakpa and Doma in Kathmandu and Tashi and the host from Paradise Lodge at Lukla. Doma was very generous with her time and went with me to see Durbar Square. Kathmandu Guest House was lovely and the staff were so helpful, especially Binod. I was able to meet up with Celesta on the last day as she had just arrived in Kathmandu. So a very memorable trip. Thanks so much!
- Maureen H (Australia), Private Everest Cultural Trek

Kim and her colleages at Khumbu Adventures arranged a solo trek for me at very short notice in November 2013 - and did it even whilst most of them were leading another trek in Mustang! They made the complex easy. From a wonderful guide to helping me arrange evacuation when I got sick, I was always in knowledeable, kind, efficient hands. I recommend Kamzang Journeys without reservation and I'll be using them when I return to Nepal in September 2014!
- Nick A (UK), Private Everest Trek 2013

Tsering Sherpa is marvelous, extremely responsible, serious, devoted, very thoughtful, discreet and very pleasant to trek with. He is very helpful, well travelled, speaks good English, is well-mannered and has a good experience as a mountaineer and a climber.  He is very powerful, strong and quick, and smiles a lot! He seems to know everybody on the trail, is active in his community and is respected by other Sherpas. On trek he was a good counsellor on food, and of course respectful of tradition and of the Tibetan Buddhist faith. With him we felt very secure as he knows the trail and all the short cuts.
- Nan + Odette (France), Private Everest Base Camp Trek 2014

Viney was my private guide to trek to Everest base camp in October 2013.  I felt very secure with him the entire time.  He was always attentive to my wellbeing from the time we started in x (kim pls fill in) where we ended up slogging through rainfall and mud due to the cyclone left over from India, all the way through to the end of our trip in Lukla.  I could count on him without a doubt every day of the entire 3 weeks we spent together.  Thanks to Viney for an excellent trek!
- Lori C (USA), Private Everest High Passes Trek 2014

Last May I spent almost three weeks hiking with Mingma in the Khumbu region of Nepal and we explored the Gokyo lakes, Gokyo valley and we climbed Gokyo Ri. Mingma is an experienced mountain-guide, knows all the summits in the region, the Sherpas and routes.  He is responsive of the challenges, strong and kind, but he is very calm in case of difficult situations. While we walked together, he was attentive and he always tried to accommodate my phyisical condition and my spiritual eagerness. We spent wonderful time together and I immensely enjoyed every moment of the trek. I am planning to walk with him again in 2015!
 - Kati K (Hungary), Private Gokyo Lakes Trek 2014

Tashi was the perfect guide for me. I was going solo, and looking mostly for solitude; Tashi's temperament was the perfect match for mine. When he had something to say, it seemed eerily to come right when I was about to ask him a question about the very thing he started to speak about! He has a real passion for the natural world he lives in and for the Sherpa people and their traditions, too. I ended up falling ill with something and here again Tashi was the perfect guide - helpful but not smothering or overly-solicitous. I will be back, and with my family and I'm certain to request that Tashi accompanies us when we return.
- Nick A-H (UK), Private Everest Base Camp Trek 2013

Read More Testimonials
Trekkers' Comments

Trek Highlights

  • Kathmandu World Heritage Sites
  • Everest Cultural Trek - Sherpa Lodges
  • Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Amadablam Himalayan Views
  • Tengboche, Pangboche, Namche Bazaar & Khumjung Monasteries
  • Tibetan Buddhist Culture
  • Cozy Sherpa Lodges
  • The Beyul Hermitage Lodge
  • Namche Bazaar (Friday + Saturday Market)
  • Optional Everest Sightseeing Flight
  • Annapurna Foothills Trek (Luxury) - Kerr & Downey Luxury Lodges
    Spectacular Himalayan Panoramas + Traditional Villages
  • Private En-suite Bath Facilities
  • Hot Showers + Hot Water Bottles
  • Family Style Dining + Delicious Meals
  • Chitwan National Park + Wildlife Safaris
  • Chitwan Maruni Sanctuary Lodge
  • Pokhara + Phewa Lake
  • Temple Tree Resort + Spa or Himalayan Front Hotel
  • Spa + Massage
  • Rhododendron Season in the Spring
  • Himalayan Wildlife
  • The Best of Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya

Photo Gallery | Trip + Trek Photos
Kim Bannister Photography

Himalayan Photos
Wildlife
Himalayan Wildlife Photos

Birdlife
Himalayan Bird Photos

Flowers
Himalayan Flowers Photos

Travel Reading
Travel Books

Online Articles + Documentaries on Everest Region

Glacier Works - David Breshear's Interactive Site

1953: First Footsteps - Sir Edmund Hillary & Tenzin Norgay - National Geographic Adventure

Sherpas | The True Heroes of Mount Everest - Film

On Mount Everest, Sherpa Guides Bear the Brunt of the Danger - NPR

Lakes Expanding Dangerously in Everest Glacier - BBC

Rivers of Ice - Vanishing Glaciers - BBC

Everest - National Geographic Adventure

Climbing Everest Then & Now - National Geographic Adventure

Everest Revealed: Photos by Renan Ozturk - National Geographic Adventure

Flying a Drone at Everest - Himalayan Aerials

The Everest Avalanche 2014 - YouTube

Living Through the Himalayan Thaw - Himalayan Times

Nepal Quake Caused Minimal Damage to Everest Trails - Reuters

Nepal Before & After the Earthquake - New York Times

Jan Morris: No One Else Needs to Climb Everest - New Statesman

Airport Near Everest is its own Perilous Adventure - New York Times

Sherpa - They Die, We Go Home - New York Times

On Mount Everest - Surviving and Earthquake & an Avalanche - New York Times Lens Blog

Climate Model Suggests Glaciers Could Nearly Disappear - New York Times

Forty Years of Everest - YouTube

Date+Price

Dates
Custom Departures
22 Days
24 Days (+ Chitwan)

Trek Price
$3880

+ NO Single Supplement Kathmandu Guest House or Pokhara Lakeside Resort
+ Deluxe Single or Double Upgrade Kathmandu Guest House - $80 Per Night
+ Temple Tree Resort + Spa OR Himalayan Front Upgrade - $85 Per Night
+ Single Supplement Annapurna Foothills Luxury Trek - $650
+ Based on Double Occupancy

+ Chitwan Maruni Sanctuary - $550
+ Single Supplement Chitwan - $150
+ Dwarika's, Hyatt, Shangri La or Yak & Yeti
 Upgrades Available (Kathmandu)
+ Yeti Mountain Home Lodges Upgrades Available (Everest Trek)

Helicopter Options
Helicopter from Namche or elsewhere available. Price dependent on number of passengers. Inquire!

Includes

  • Kathmandu Guest House (or Upgraded Boutique + Luxury Hotel - Kathmandu)
  • Temple Tree Resort + Spa or Himalayan Front Hotel (Pokhara)
  • All Domestic Fights
  • All Trekking Permits
  • Local Expertise + 20+ Years of Experience in the Everest Region
  • Local Khumbu+ Kathmandu Support
  • Options for Helicopter Flights
  • Rescue Service (Cost Not Included)
  • Oxygen Saturation Meter
  • Airport Transfers
  • Kamzang Lodge Trekking
    Meals from lodge menu, French press coffee, selection of teas, hot drinks (hot chocolate, lemon tea, milk tea), filtered drinking water, double rooms at our Kamzang-approved Sherpa lodges, small medical kit + O2 monitor, Sherpa guide + porter(s), local support in the Khumbu with our network of Sherpa friends, office support in Kathmandu, local knowledge + 20+ years of experience in the Everest region!
  • Kerr + Downey Luxury Trekking
    Meals from Kerr & Downey menus, filtered drinking water, double en suite rooms at lodges, hot showers, hot water bottle at night, happy hour drinks, porters + qualified Nepali guide. Support via Khumbu Adventures in Kathmandu in case of emergency.

Excludes

  • International Flights
  • Nepal Visa
  • Trip Cancellation or Travel Medical Insurance
  • Rescue Service Cost
  • Helicopter Shuttle
  • Meals in Kathmandu
  • Equipment Rental
  • Beer, Wine, Bottled Drinks + Water or Packaged Snacks
  • Bakery Items
  • Showers, Laundry + Battery Charging
  • Hot Water Bottles or Boiled Drinking Water
  • Tips

Tips & Extra Cash
Allow approx $350 for meals (while not on trek), drinks + extras (see 'excluded items') on trek + tips. We recommend $200 per trekker thrown into the tips pool for the staff.

Kathmandu Guest House Single or Double Upgrades
Garden Single - $25 Per Night
Deluxe Single or Double - $80 Per Night

Kathmandu Guest House Extra Nights
Includes breakfast + 25% taxes
Book with Kamzang Journeys + save on room rates

Kathmandu Guest House | Room Prices
Standard Single - $80
Standard Double - $100
Garden Single - $120
Garden Double - $140
Deluxe Single - $200
Deluxe Double - $220

Kamzang Journeys | Room Prices
Standard Single - $55
Standard Double - $65
Garden Single - $75
Garden Double - $85
Deluxe Single - $135
Deluxe Double - $145

Contact+Details

Trekker's Comments
Travel Books

Trek Guide
Everest:Doma, Tshering or Phu Tashi Sherpa
Annapurnas: Kerr + Downey Guide

Kamzang Journeys Contact
Kim Bannister
kim@kamzang.com
Mobile: +(977) 9803414745
On-Trek Satellite Phone: +88216 21277980 (Nepal)
On-Trek Satellite Phone: +88216 21274092 (Tibet & India)

Kathmandu Contact
Khumbu Adventures
hiking.guide@gmail.com
Office: +(977) 01 4488352
Lhakpa Dorji Sherpa Mobile: +(977) 9841 235461, 9813 371542
Doma Sherpa Mobile: +(977) 9841 510833, 9803 675361

Follow Us on Facebook
Kamzang Journeys Facebook

Arrival Hotels
Kathmandu Guest House

Hyatt Regency
Yak & Yeti
Dwarika's
Shangri La

Kathmandu Guest House Single or Double Upgrades
Garden Single - $25 Per Night
Deluxe Single or Double - $80 Per Night

Kathmandu Guest House Extra Nights
Includes breakfast + 25% taxes
Book with Kamzang Journeys + save on room rates

Kathmandu Guest House | Room Prices
Standard Single - $80
Standard Double - $100
Garden Single - $120
Garden Double - $140
Deluxe Single - $200
Deluxe Double - $220

Kamzang Journeys | Room Prices
Standard Single - $55
Standard Double - $65
Garden Single - $75
Garden Double - $85
Deluxe Single - $135
Deluxe Double - $145

Extra Days in Kathmandu | Customize your Journey!
We have plenty of great suggestions for extra days, or weeks, in Nepal! See our Nepal & Kathmandu Modules | Customize Your Trip! to put together the perfect journey.

Mountain biking, rafting, vespa tours or yoga retreats around the Kathmandu valley or Pokhara, trips to Bhaktapur or Patan (Kathmandu Valley's other historic capital cities), a visit to the Newari temple of Changu Narayan and a night at the Fort Hotel in Nagarkot for sublime Himalayan panoramas, an Everest sightseeing flight, a luxurious stay at Temple Tree Resort & Spa, paragliding, hiking or zip-lining in Pokhara, a spa & wellness getaway at Dwarikas Resort in Dhulikhel, a relaxing excursion to Chitwan National Park Wildlife Safari & Tharu Villages (staying at Maruni Sanctuary Lodge) or Bardia National Park, a weekend of adventure, sauna and pampering at The Last Resort or five-star treatment in historic Dwarika's in Kathmandu.

Kamzang Journeys can customize any of these excursions for you, just inquire!

Kathmandu
Kathmandu Heritage + Happenings

Photo Gallery | Trip + Trek Photos
Kim Bannister Photography

Visas
You can get your Nepal visa either at the airport (or any land border) when you arrive in Nepal, or before you leave home.
Nepal Visa

Health Information
Nepal Health Information
CDC

Notes on Itinerary
Although we try to follow the itinerary below, it is ONLY a guideline based on years of experience trekking in the Himalaya. At times local trail, river or weather conditions may make a deviation necessary; rivers may be impassible, snow blocks passes, and landslides wipe out trails. The trekking itinerary and campsites may also vary slightly depending on the group's acclimatization rate or sickness.

The Himalaya are our passion, and we take trekking seriously. Although everyone is here on vacation, please come with a dollop of patience and compassion added to your sense of adventure ...

Arrival

Arrival
You'll be met at the airport by Lhakpa or Doma Sherpa (of Khumbu Adventures) or the Kathmandu Guest House van. They will bring you back to the wonderful Kathmandu Guest House, where your rooms have been booked for you.

NOTE: Let us know if you would prefer to book an alternative hotel for the start of the trip or instead of the Kathmandu Guest House We can also provide a range of boutique and luxury hotels, or budget hotels.

Arrival Hotels
Kathmandu Guest House
Hyatt Regency
Yak & Yeti
Dwarika's
Shangri La

Visas
You can get your Nepal visa either at the airport (or any land border) when you arrive in Nepal, or before you leave home.
Nepal Visa

Temperatures + Clothing
Kathmandu during trekking season, in the spring and autumn, is usually warm (t-shirt, sandals, light pants or skirts) during the day, and gets chilly (light fleece or windproof top) in the afternoon. Nights can be cold enough for a sweater or light jacket, or warm enough for t-shirts. Summer is hotter and wetter; you’ll need a rain jacket and umbrella. The winter months (November – March) are chilly in the mornings and evenings, cold enough that you might start the day in a down jacket, but often warms up enough to wear a t-shirt by mid-day. Nights get cold enough for a down jacket if you’re sitting outside in the spring and autumn, and much colder in the winter when you won’t leave the hotel without your down jacket. It never snows in Kathmandu, leave your snow boots behind. Keens or lightweight sandals great for wandering around Kathmandu, and for trekking in lower altitudes.

Trekking is a mixed bag of temperatures. LAYERS are the key as hot can change quickly to freezing crossing the passes and snowfalls are common. We often have some rain below 3000 meters in the spring and early autumn, and it can rain hard in the summer. Have a wide range of layer-able trekking clothes for summer to winter temperatures. Keep a lightweight down jacket or synthetic jacket with you at all times, available inexpensively in Kathmandu. A lightweight rain poncho and umbrella for trekking recommended spring and summer. Be prepared! See our GEAR LIST for full details on gear, shoes, clothing, electronics and meds for the trek.

There are lots of real gear shops (North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, Sherpa Gear) and of course many fake ones in Kathmandu, so if you don't think you have the right gear starting the trip it will be easy to pick-up stuff once in Kathmandu. We have sleeping bags, duffel bags down jackets to rent.

Dress conservatively in Kathmandu and on the trail as a rule. Shorts are okay if they aren't too short, mini skirts aren’t recommended. Sleeveless t-shirts are absolutely fine, but perhaps avoid tank-tops on the trail. Super tight doesn't go over so well with the village elders. Many of the younger generation in Nepal wear modern Indian or Western-influenced clothes, but remember that you haven't signed up for a beach or surf vacation. Use your good judgment, be an ambassador for western tourists! Please ask Kim or your guide if unsure about appropriate clothing.

Duffel Bags
We have North Face style duffel bags with Kamzang Journeys logos for sale (XL, orange). They are (mostly) waterproof, mid to lightweight (lighter than North Face) and good quality. Price 4000 NRP (about $40)

Cultural Issues
Nepalis are very open and welcoming, but there are a few issues you should be aware of to make your stay in Nepal more fulfilling. Use your right hand to pass things, shake hands or do most anything. Left hands are somewhat taboo. Nepali's often place their left hand on the right forearm when passing things to others, a sign of respect. Best not to pat kids on heads, or point feet ahead of you at monasteries. Don't walk over someone's legs or feet, but put your hand down in front of you to signal them to pull their legs to the side. Take off shoes and hats when going into Buddhist monasteries and Hindu temples, don't use flashes inside monasteries or temples in general, be respectful of a puja (prayer ceremony) if attending one. You can talk, all religious are very tolerant, but be aware of your level of voice.

Nepalis don't anger quickly, so try not to raise your voice if exasperated or angry as it only will make a situation worse. Do bargain at shops, with taxis and rickshaws, but don't fleece them. They are poor and making a living, generally.

Give small donations on the streets if you choose, but try not to encourage begging too much. Be aware of who you are giving money to, and please only give small amounts. If you do want to donate to a cause, ask about our Kamzang Fund or other responsible organizations.

Pampering Yourself in Kathmandu
We’re happy to book your rooms before or after the trek (or upgrade during the trek) at other boutique or luxury hotels in Kathmandu. We recommend Dwarika’s, Shangri-La, Yak & Yeti or Hyatt. We can also direct you to wonderful spa & massage centers in Kathmandu.

Tips for Staff
We recommend at least $200 per person to go into the tip pool for the staff. Please bring Nepali Rupees (NRP) with you on the trek for the tips. It’s nice to buy the staff drinks on the last night. Or any other night that you feel like getting them a bottle of Kukure Rum!

Tips in General
Tips are always appreciated but they don’t need to be extravagant. 100 NRP to carry bags to/from your room is fine. The women who clean your room will be happy with 100-200 NRP when you leave, and 100 NRP is good for drivers to/from the airport. Round up taxi fares. A larger tip would be expected for a daytrip in a car, perhaps 500 NRP. 10% is included in most restaurant and hotel bills in Nepal, and if it’s not included it’s still expected. Check your bills, and still round up at restaurants. Feel free to give out small change to the beggars in the streets (5, 10, 20 NRP) but try not to give it out to the street kids who use it for glue to sniff.

Cash + ATMs
You’ll want some cash with you on the trek for drinks, snacks, beer, sodas, etc. There are often  chances to during the trek, and usually local crafts to buy en route. (You’ll want your tip money in NRP as well). There are ATMs in KTM but they don’t dispense large amounts of cash (usually 10-20,000 NRP) so you’ll be best with currency or TCs to change.

International Medical Center Kathmandu
CIWEC

Kathmandu + Kathmandu Valley Information
Our personalized 'Insider' list of things to do, places to go, what to visit, the most happening restaurants + the best hotels in Kathmandu and the beautiful Kathmandu Valley.
Kathmandu Heritage + Happenings

Gear

Travel Photography Gear Guide
The Complete Guide to Gear for the Landscape Photographer

Gear List
This is a guideline, not a bible, for the gear you will need on the trek. Ask if you have questions! One 15 kg (33 lbs) maximum weight limit for the duffel bag for flights. 20 kg (50 lbs) weight limit for treks.

  • Duffel Bag
  • Day Pack (25-35 L)
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Light Down Jacket
  • Trekking Shoes or Boots
  • Crocs
  • Trekking Pants (2)
  • T-Shirts (2)
  • Long-sleeve Trekking Shirts (2)
  • Trekking Jacket
  • Fleece Top + Bottoms (evenings)
  • Socks (3)
  • Gloves
  • Hat + Sun Hat
  • Camp Towel
  • Trekking Poles (optional, recommended)
  • Sunglasses
  • Water Bottles | Nalgenes (2)
  • Toiletries, Sunscreen with SPF, Lip Balm with SPF
  • Battery Chargers
  • Head Lamp
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Book
  • Tissues
  • Electrolytes + Snacks
  • Personal Medical Supplies

Available in Namche Bazaar

  • Snacks, chocolate bars, energy bars (Western brands), dried fruit & nuts
  • ALL trekking gear (Sherpa Gear, Mountain Hardwear, Tsetang's Gear Shop all have real gear), real & knock-offs.
  • Batteries
  • Trekking Poles

Available in Namche Bazaar

  • Snacks, chocolate bars, energy bars (Western brands), dried fruit & nuts
  • Laundry Detergent
  • ALL trekking gear (Sherpa Gear, Mountain Hardwear, Tsetang's Gear Shop all have real gear), real & knock-offs.
  • Lemon Tang (for water if you want)
  • Batteries
  • Trekking Poles
  • Micro Spikes

Medical Supplies
We strongly suggest bringing Western meds with you as there are a lot of Indian fakes on the market!

Suggested: Diamox, Azithromyacin, Ciprofloxacin, Tinidazole or Flagyl & Augmentin. Bring COMPEED for covering blisters & good tasting electrolytes &/or rehydration salts (Emergen-C is a good American brand). The local versions aren’t very appealing.

We also recommend bringing strong knee & ankle supports & braces, ACE bandages for sprains & strains, Tegaderm &/or other would coverings. Duct tape is always useful. We're happy to take excess medical supplies off your hands when you leave if you won't need them and pass them on to others. We use lots of the large amount we have with us to treat locals we meet when trekking.

Comments on Gear
Layers are essential for trekking. Quality is more important than quantity. It’s worth investing in the great, newer lightweight trekking gear available in all gear shops, online or in Kathmandu.

Kim's Gear Suggestions: I generally wear a trekking t-shirt, light trekking pants, a mid-weight shirt, a lightweight synthetic jacket (instead of a fleece) and carry a lightweight wind jacket and pants for wind and rain. If the weather looks stormy, or if it's a pass day, I carry a lightweight down jacket and a storm-weight jacket. I always have a pair of lightweight gloves (heavier ones additionally for pass days), a hat, a baseball cap and an extra pair of socks in my day-pack. I generally trek in low Merrill hiking shoes or Salomon running shoes, and wear Keen boots on very cold days and over passes. I always carry Crocs with me in case of river crossings and to give feet a break at lunch. I carry a 35-40 L Black Diamond or Osprey day pack. On pass days I carry Yak Trax and trekking poles, and I always have an extra pair of sunglasses, electrolytes, my camera, a medical kit, a SteriPen, snacks and water in my day pack. My favorite gear brands available in Kathmandu are Sherpa Gear, Mountain Hardwear and Marmot. I wear a lot of Patagonia gear although it's not available in Kathmandu.

Good trekking boots are essential. High boots are best, but you don’t need climbing or plastic boots (for mini-crampons or micro-spikes). You can also get away with low, sturdy trekking boot. Trekking poles are not required but strongly recommended, especially for going down passes which are often steep and icy and for treks with river crossings. Bring gators if you tend to use them but they’re not required if you don't own a pair. Micro-spikes (mini-crampons) or YakTraxs are almost always useful (or essential) for the pass crossings. We will have at least one ice ax with us. It’s also good (possibly essential) to have a pair of plastic Crocs for washing and to wear in the lodges in the evenings. Tevas take a long time to dry and are relatively heavy.

Good, polarized sunglasses are essential. Do bring an extra pair. Don’t forget a sun hat and/or a baseball cap, an extra headlamp and have plenty of sunscreen and lip balm with SPF! Bring extra large plastic bags or stuff-sacks in case of rain. You can pack electronics in them or stash your sleeping bag and clothes. The weather is very changeable in the Himalaya! We supply covers that go over the duffel bags to protect them from rain, dirt & rips.
 
Nights (in the rooms) are cold, so a down jacket and a WARM sleeping bag are essentials. Quits are usually provided as well. For your sleeping bag, we recommend a DOWN bag of 0 to -20 F (-18 to -28 C). Mine is -20 F. At lower altitudes I open it and sleep under it like a quilt and up higher am toasty warm during the cold nights. Rentals available.

Inside the lodge dining rooms, the wood or yak-dung stoves heat the room very well and you'll often strip down to a t-shirt!

Nights (in the rooms) are cold, so a down jacket and a WARM sleeping bag are essentials. Quits are usually provided as well. For your sleeping bag, we recommend a DOWN bag of 0 to -20 F (-18 to -28 C). Mine is -20 F. At lower altitudes I open it and sleep under it like a quilt and up higher am toasty warm during the cold nights. Rentals available.

Inside the lodge dining rooms, the wood or yak-dung stoves heat the room very well and you'll often strip down to a t-shirt!

Day Pack
We recommend a 25-35 liter day pack (ask at your gear shop if you’re not sure of the capacity). Most have internal water bladders built in, which are good for ensuring that you stay hydrated. Make sure it fits and is comfortable before purchasing!

In your day pack you will carry your camera, water, snacks, lightweight wind & rain pants, hat, light gloves, sunscreen, electrolytes. hand sanitizer, a pack-cover and sometimes your lightweight down jacket. Recommended to carry your Crocs to give feet a break mid-day. Water purifying tablets, filter or SteriPen optional. Go as light as possible with your day pack.

Water
We bring MSF water filters along on the trek for fresh drinking water, ecologically the best way to get water in the Himalaya’s fragile trekking regions. Bring your own filter pump, SteriPen or iodine tablets for fresh water while trekking. NOTE: To be extra safe with your drinking water, you can drop one purifying tablet into your water bottle after filling with our filtered water. Make sure you wait the required amount of time before drinking, and don’t add anything with Vitamin C as this negates the iodine.

Please bring at least TWO Nalgene, Sigg or other unbreakable plastic or metal water bottles. Camelbacks and other bladder systems are good for trekking but can leak, so as a back-up it’s best to also bring a Nalgene or water bottle.

NOTE: We do not provide boiled water for drinking on either our tea-house | lodge or camping treks although there is endless hot water for herbal, milk and green teas, hot chocolate and hot lemon.

Snacks
You body needs snacks hiking at altitude, even if you don't generally snack between meals. We burn more calories at altitude, as well as in the cold, and you will crave certain foods at altitude. Energy or nutrition bars, ‘GU’ gels, chocolate, dried fruits, nuts and jerky work well for immediate energy. Emergen-C, Nuun and electrolytes are important for daily re-hydration.

Rentals
We have Western down jackets to rent for $1.50 per day.  We also have good super-down sleeping bags to rent (0 to -10F) for $2.50 per day.

Packing & Storage
Packing and unpacking is easy from a duffel bag, and easy for a porter to carry.Inexpensive duffel bags are also available in Kathmandu. You can store extra gear in Kathmandu in your hotel's storage room free of charge. You can drop a bag for Pokhara at the hotel before setting off for the trek.

Shopping
Almost all gear is now available in Kathmandu, from real (North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Sherpa Gear, Marmot - all in Thamel) to inexpensive knock-offs. The real gear shops take credit cards!

Everest

The Everest | Solu Khumbu Region

Nepal’s Solu Khumbu, widely known as the Everest region, is a diverse region of spectacular Himalayan panoramas, diverse flora including blue pine, juniper and silver fir, rare wildlife and some of the highest mountains on the planet. The Khumbu is the original Sherpa homeland, a region of Nyigma-pa Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, ancient chortens, lung-ta (prayer flags), glaciers, Himalayan passes, high pasture lands and once traditional villages which are now often (but not always) crowded with trekking lodges and colorful shops. The region is dominated by the sacred Khumbila peak, which rises above Khumjung and Kunde, two of the larger villages in the area, with Mount Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam towering over the village from the opposite side. The elevation of the Khumbu ranges from 2840 meters to the 8,848 meter summit of Mount Everest.

There are several ways to enter the Khumbu, the most commonly trekked part of the Everest region. Most people fly into the Hillary Airstrip in Lukla (2840 meters), and the second most popular route is via Jiri, a diverse trek of 7-8 days crossing numerous smaller passes and ridges, and trekking through traditional Hindu, Rai and Tamang villages. The third route is via the old mountaineering trail of Shipton, Hillary and all of the original mountaineers starting in Tumlingtar (or before that, way back when), following the Aun River for a few days before veering west and trekking in very hilly, beautiful country through sprawling Rai villages until the Jiri route is intersected. The last route is via the Rolwaling Tashi Laptsa Pass, a challenging six day trek from Barabise and Chariot, through the realm of the goddess Tashi Tseringma (according to Sherpa mythology), which crosses the somewhat treacherous Tashi Laptsa Pass (5755 meters) to reach the Thame valley. The last route is from Tibet, a trail not open to Westerners and often closed even for Nepalis and Tibetans. From the Tibetan side traders cross the Nangpo La (5710 meters) and trek down several days through a glacial valley where Sherpas have their ‘doksas’, or seasonal herding villages, to reach Thame and Namche Bazaar.

The Everest (Khumbu) region is entered through the Sagarmatha National Park at the top end of Monjo (where Kim taught school in 2001). The Sagarmartha National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site since 1979, an area of 1148 square meters which ranges from 2840 - 8840 meters. The buffer zone was established in the late 90s to give some income to the villages between Lukla and Monjo. Namche Bazaar is a bustling old trading village at the fork of three valleys, situated in an amphitheater of peaks. The far left valley leads to Thame valley and Tibet, the middle valley leads to Gokyo Lake and the far right valley leads to the Khumbu Glacier, formed during the last great Ice Age approximately 500,000 years ago, and Everest Base Camp. This valley branches off to the right about half way up and leads to the Chhukhung Valley and the base of the Island Peak climbing route.

The Khumbu region, with a population of about 4000, gets from 10-20,000 Western trekkers per year, and probably double that amount of Nepali staff and local porters coming to the markets at Lukla and Namche with their goods to sell.

Mount Everest, also referred to in Sherpa and Tibetan as Chomolungma, was recognized as the highest peak in the world in 1856 by the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India (it was until then known as Peak XV). Everest was named after Sir George Everest, the British Surveyor General of India, by the Royal Geographical Society in 1865.

The first mountaineers to attempt to climb Everest were British, and the first attempt made in 1921 from the Tibetan side as Nepal was then closed to foreigners. This 1921 expedition reached 7000 meters on the North Col, the 1922 expedition climbing on the North ridge reached 8320 meters but tragically 7 porters were killed in an avalanche while descending. George Mallory & Andrew Irvine attempted to climb Everest on 8 June, 1924, perhaps even submitting before disappearing. Mallory’s body was discovered in 1999 on the North Face of Everest, at 8155 meters; the question of whether or not they summited Everest still remains a mystery.

Nearly 30 years later Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary succeeded in making the first official ascent of Everest, climbing on the southeast ridge route in 1953 to reach the summit of Chomolungma together!

Notable Himalayan peaks include Everest (8848m), Lhotse (8516m), Nuptse (7861m), Makalu (8462m), Cho Oyu (8201m), Ama Dablam (6812m), Mera Peak (6476m), Island Peak (6189m), Cho Polu (6735m), Khumbutse (6640m), Kwongde Ri (6187m), Thamserku (6623m), Kang Guru (6981m), Kusum Kanggaru (6367m), Changtse (7580m) & Cholatse (6440m).

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Annapurnas

Annapurna Foothills Trek
The beautiful Lower Annapurnas (Annapurna foothills) trek starts just 25 kilometers north of Pohara, and is often referred to as the Poon Hill trek because of the incredible sunrise Himalayan panoramas from this viewpoint above Ghorepani. Macchapuchare (Fish Tail Peak) is the most renown mountain in this region, an unmistakable peak which rises above the clouds. Views from Poon Hill are awe inspiring, and include the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges: Annapurna South, Annapurna I, Annapurna II, III, + IV, Dhaulagiri, Lamjung Himal, Gangapurna and Manaslu!

Our Annapurna Peaks & Villages Trek features terraced slopes, green rice paddies, rhododendron forests, local cultures and traditional Gurung and Magar villages, Ghorepani and Gandruk being two of the largest Gurung villages in the Annapurna region. It's a wonderful, shorter low altitude trek in the lower Annapurna region is the perfect introduction to the diversity and excitement of trekking in Nepal. We start the Nepal trek in steamy Hindu villages, where water buffaloes wallow in the rivers, colorful, sari-clad women sit and weave by thatched huts, and villagers perform ancient rituals to appease their local deities. The sub-tropical forests come alive with an immense variety of bird life, waterfalls thunder down from steep cliff sides and monkeys chatter from the tree-tops.

Trekking higher into the green, terraced hills we wander through ancient, mossy rhododendron forests to reach the cooler Buddhist and animistic middle hills, where chortens and prayer flags send prayers out to the gods and the Gurung and Magar inhabitants look more Tibetan than Nepali. Terraced fields and tropical fruit trees surround the neat, white-washed Gurung villages of the higher regions, leading the eye to vistas dominated by some of the Himalaya's most majestic peaks. The Annapurna region is truly the heart of the Nepal Himalaya.

Chitwan

Royal Chitwan National Park

History
Royal Chitwan National Park has long been one of the country’s treasures of natural wonders. The park is situated in south central Nepal, covering 932 square kilometers in the subtropical lowlands of the inner Terai. The area comprising the Tikauli forest, from Rapti river to the foothills of the Mahabharat, extends for an area of 175 square kilometers and was declared Mahendra Mriga Kunj (Mahendra Deer Park) by the late King Mahendra in 1959. In 1963, the area south of Rapti River was demarcated as a rhinoceros sanctuary. The area was gazetted as the country’s first national park in 1973. Recognizing its unique ecosystems of international significance, UNESCO declared RCNP a World Heritage Site in 1984. In 1996, an area of 750 square kilometers surrounding the park was declared a buffer zone which consists of forests and private lands. The park and the local people jointly initiate community development activities and manage natural resources in the buffer zone. The government has made a provision of plowing back 30-50 percent of the park revenue for community development in the buffer zone.

Features
The Chitwan valley consists of tropical and subtropical forests. Sal forests cover 70 percent of the park. Sal leaves are used locally for plates in festivals and religious offerings. Grasslands cover 20 percent of the park. There are more than 50 different types of grasses, including the elephant grass (Saccharum spp.), renowned for its immense height, growing up to 8 meters in height. The shorter grasses (imperata) are used for roof thatching as well as mats, rope and paper making.

A total of 68 species of mammals, 56 species of herpeto fauna and 126 species of fish have been recorded in the park. The park is especially renowned for its protection of one-horned rhinoceros, gaur, royal Bengal tiger, wild elephant, four-horned antelope, pangolin, gangetic dolphin, gharial crocodile, golden monitor lizard and python. The park harbors not only the world’s largest terrestrial mammal (wild elephant) but also the world’s smallest terrestrial mammal (pygmy shrew). A total of 544 species of birds has been recorded so far including 22 globally threatened species including critically endangered Bengal florican, slender-billed vulture, white rumped vulture and red headed vulture.

The park houses a diversity of ecosystems, including the Churia hills, ox-bow lakes, and the flood plains of the Rapti, Reu and Narayani Rivers. The Churia hills rise slowly towards the east from 150 meters to more than 800 meters. The western portion of the park is comprised of the lower but more rugged Someshwor hills. The park shares its eastern boundary with the Parsa Wildlife Reserve.

Tharus are the main indigenous ethnic groups in Chitwan. They are well known for their resistance to malaria. Traditionally they are farmers and practice their own unique tribal culture. A stroll or a ride through the Tharu village will provide an opportunity to see their traditional farming and relics. Traditional Tharu stick dance gives an insight into their culture

Climate
Conditions are subtropical with a summer monsoon from mid-June to late-September, and a relatively dry winter. Mean annual rainfall is 2400mm with about 90% falling in the monsoon from June to September. Monsoon rains cause dramatic floods and changes in the character and courses of rivers. Temperatures are highest (maximum 38°C) during this season and drop to a minimum of 6°C in the post-monsoon period (October to January), when dry northerly winds from the Himalaya and Tibetan Plateau are prevalent.

Trip Photos
Chitwan National Park

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive Kathmandu 1340m/16,350' | Kathmandu Guest House | Upgrade Sangri La, Hyatt, Yak & Yeti + Dwarika's
Welcome to Nepal! You'll be met at Tribhuvan International Airport by Lhakpa or Doma of Khumbu Adventures (or a representative from your hotel) who will have a sign with your name on it. Transfer to your hotel where your rooms have been booked for you. We'll need your travel medical insurance, a copy of your passport and Nepali visa and one (or more) visa-sized photo, so please have them ready to give to Lhakpa or Doma.

The Kathmandu Guest House is one of Kathmandu's first guest houses, originally a Rana Palace. Located in the tourist hub of Thamel, it's a beautiful hotel with a large garden and a lovely outdoors cafe. Options to upgrade to one of Kathmandu's other world class hotels: Dwarika's, Kathmandu's premier hotel built and decorated with traditional Kathmandu valley architecture, is an oasis of calm located near the airport, where you can relax by the pool, visit the award-winning spa, enjoy the serene, historic surroundings and dine at one of their world-class restaurants. Yak & Yeti is one of Kathmandu's historic hotels, with a lovely pool and garden, located just off Durbar Marg, a tree-lined, upscale road of shops and hotels. Shangri La is in Lazimpat (a few kilometers outside Thamel), and features a beautifully landscaped garden with a small pool, Asian decor in the rooms and an outdoor cafe, as well as great restaurants. The Hyatt is a wonderful, world class hotel located near Boudhanath, with a large pool, a great buffet breakfast, a gym and a mix of Buddhist and Hindu decor in the lobby and rooms.

Drink plenty of water to hydrate after your flight, and enjoy your first evening in Kathmandu ...

Day 2 - Kathmandu | World Heritage Sightseeing Boudhanath, Pashupatinath + Swayambunath
After breakfast at the hotel, explore Kathmandu's many World Heritage sites with a qualified guide, a full day of sightseeing. The itinerary includes Pashupatinath Temple and Boudhanath Stupa in the morning. Stop for a lovely lunch overlooking Boudhanath, and enjoy a tour of Swayambunath (the Monkey Temple) in the evening.

After your heritage tour, decompress at the hotel at one of the lovely cafes, by the pool, or indulge yourself with a spa treatment or massage!

Kathmandu | World Heritage Sightseeing Tour - Pashupatinath, Boudhanath + Swayambunath
Kathmandu is filled with World Heritage sites and sacred destinations, crowded with traditional neighborhoods and colorful festivals. Spend a few days exploring Nepal's exotic capital and the history-laden Kathmandu valley.

Your tour will begin with Hindu Pashupatinath in the early morning, moving on to the Buddhist Boudhanath stupa later in the morning. Hindu Pashupatinath on the sacred Bagmati river and its sacred temple complex is one of Nepal's most important sites, a powerful cremation site and Nepal's most important Hindu temple. Monkeys run up and down the steps of the burning ghats, and trident-bearing saddhus draped in burnt-orange and saffron sit serenely meditating, when they’re not posing for photos-for-rupees. Local guides will explain the significance of the complicated Hindu ceremonies. Please be respectful when taking photos.

Boudhanath, in the midst of traditional monasteries (gompas) and hung with long strings of multi-colored prayer flags, attracts Sherpas, Tibetans and tourists alike for daily circumambulations (koras) of the iconic stupa. The striking Buddha eyes of Boudhanath Stupa watch over a lively and colorful Tibetan community and attract pilgrims from all over the Himalayan Buddhist realm. There are wonderful spots for lunch at Boudhanath (Roadhouse Cafe has wood-oven pizzas and a breathtaking view of the stupa and colorful Nepals circling it), and it's a good place to learn the technique of thanka painting and purchase a thanka (Buddhist mural). See also Bhaktapur for more options for shopping for thankas.

After lunch at Boudnanath, climb the many steps to the gilded Swayambhunath stupa (known as the monkey temple) which rises from the Kathmandu valley floor at 1420 meters and is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal. Swayambunath, the 'self created’ stupa, was founded over 2000 years ago at a time when the Kathmandu valley was filled by a large lake, with a single lotus in the center. Mythology says that Manjusri, a bodhisvatti, drained the lake with one cut of his sword and the lotus flower was transformed into the stupa. From its commanding views of Kathmandu, circumambulate Swayambunath's white-washed stupa, painted with distinctive Buddha eyes, the complex a unique synthesis of Buddhism and Hinduism. Another interesting time to visit Swayambunath is in the mornings, when Nepalis visit the temple dedicated to the God of Smallpox to with colorful offerings for the goddess.

Day 3 - Fly Lukla 2850m/9350'. Trek Monjo 2835m/9300'
Lhakpa or Doma Sherpa will transfer you to the domestic airport, and just after sunrise you'll embark on a spectacular 30-minute flight over the Kathmandu valley and along snow-capped Himalayan peaks to the well-known Lukla airstrip. You will meet your Sherpa guide at the Lukla Airport, and have breakfast at Eco-Paradise Lodge at the other side of the airstrip.

Your Everest trek begins! Leaving the bustling village of Lukla, packed with colorful shops, restaurants and bars and still a bit of Sherpa character, we trek north, with snow-capped Karyolung peak in the distance. The quaint village of Chaunrikharka lays below us. The trail takes us above a rhododendron-choked forest, over the school and gompa and past the checkered fields of barley, spinach and potatoes of the village. We are trekking along the Dudh Kosi (river) on a centuries-old trading trail from Nepal to Tibet. It is well traveled by stout, heavily loaded Nepali porters and Tibetan traders (Khampas, most distinguishable by the length of red or black tassel wrapped around their heads) conducting business between the weekly markets of Lukla and Namche with Chinese and Tibetan goods brought over the 5700m Nangpa La (pass) from Tibet.

Half an hour out of Lukla we reach the idyllic hamlet of Chheplung. Up valley rises the sacred peak of Khumbila, a black triangle that dominates the valley. From the small hamlet of Thado Kosi, while crossing the metal bridge, we have our first view the three sister peaks of Kusum Khangkaru to the east. Half an hour of lovely trekking over cobbled trails brings us to Ghat and the best-maintained cluster of mani stones and prayer flags in the Khumbu. The local lama, owner of the Lama Lodge in Ghat, is responsible for this magical setting. Once at Phakding, a lively village a half hour's walk from Ghat, we will stop for lunch at Ang Sani and Jangbu's Shangri La Lodge. Their son, Nawang, has just opened a stylish cafe with great cappuccinos from an Italian coffee maker!

Hiking by the small tea-houses servicing the locals and workers in Phakding, we cross a long suspension bridge over the Dudh Kosi and trek above the river, climbing through evergreen forests to reach the first lodge of Benkar. Look up on the protruding rocks for Himalayan thar. Continuing over a small bridge, we continue through larger Benkar, the first village to attend the Monjo school. Another suspension bridge, several small tea houses serving local fare and another climb, and you reach Chumoa, with apple and peach trees which bloom in the springtime. One more small bridge and a last climb on uneven stone steps to reach Monjo, where you will stop at Top Hill Lodge, owned by Domey and Pasang Dawa, for the night.

Monjo is a small Sherpa village tucked away in the forests high above the Dudh Kosi where Kim taught English years ago, only the newer part of the village visible from the trail. There is a newly reconstructed gompa above the school, and above than a steep drop off and good view of tomorrow's hike. (6 hrs)

Day 4 - Trek Namche Bazaar 3465m/11,365'
After a short walk past the school with Khumbila (or Khumbu Yul La) looming majestically ahead of us, you enter the gateway to the Sagarmatha National Park. Descending steeply on a stony trail to the river, cross a long suspension bridge to reach the hamlet of Jorsale, and then cross one more long bridge before continuing along the sandy riverside trail, still amongst the pine forest, the shores peppered with large, rounded river rocks. Continue to trek along the river for about 45 minutes, with two large ascents on steep, stone staircases. Hike carefully as these steps are a bit precipitous.

Bring your five-colored Tibetan prayer flags to hang on the long (new in 2013) suspension bridge over the confluence of the Dudh Kosi (milk river) and the Bhote Kosi (river from Tibet) and send prayers out into the Everest region! The steep hour and a half climb to Namche on a dusty, rocky, switch-backing trail is broken half-way up the hill by our first view of Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse. Local women sell delicious oranges at this resting point, which you'll share for sure with other trekkers. Another 45 minutes of climbing, mostly off the main trail amongst the evergreens, we arrive at the old trading village of Namche Bazaar, now a thriving trekking metropolis. Have a short wander through the maze of shops and bakeries in Namche before heading up steep stone steps to the guest house, Natang & Pemba's idyllic Moonlight Lodge, scenically situated at the top of Namche.

Namche Bazaar, once called Nauje and now the most prosperous trading village on the old trade route with Tibet, sits in an amphitheater surrounded by mountains. From Namche we have perfect views of Kongde Ri in front of us, Kangtega, Thamserku and Kusum Khangkuru to the east and Khumbila to the back. Down-valley the hills and valleys along the route from Solu to Khumbu from Jiri sit shrouded in hazy shades of steely-grey and blues. (3 1/2 hrs)

Day 5 – Namche Bazaar | Day Hike Everest + Himalayan Views!
This is your acclimatization day in Namche. If you're feeling good in the morning, your Sherpa guide will take you on a hike above Namche, past the Syangboche Airstrip, for unforgettable views of the Himalayan chain of peaks which includes Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Kangtega, Kusum Khangkuru, Tarboche + more! The hike will take about 1 1/2 hours of ascent, and another half an hour (or hour slowly) back down to the lodge, with as much time for Himalayan peak gazing as you'd like!

If you are in Namche Bazaar for the lively Saturday (or Friday) Market, take the morning to explore the bustling market, a feast of colors, smells (not all of them appealing), and colorfully-clad Sherpa women up from their villages for the weekly event. The market is as much a social gathering as a produce, meat and essential goods market, so the atmosphere is spirited and lively.

People are free to relax and explore the crowded main streets of Namche, the Sherpa Cultural Center (photographic museum, fantastic), the reconstructed traditional Sherpa house (next door), the National Park Headquarters Museum (where you'll have easy views of Everest, Lhotse & Nuptse+), colorful Namche Gompa with its own new museum and the Tibetan market. The Tibetans are often encamped in the center of town in a muddy bazaar (potato fields in the summer) touting their goods from China. Indulge yourself at one of the many bakeries, shop for some yak bells or hand-woven Himalayan hats, chat with the sociable Sherpas in the village, or just relax in preparation for the trek. There are now new Mountain Hardwear and Sherpa Gear shops as well as Tsedam's Gear Shop with a great variety of real trek gear if you find that you're missing warm clothes. All often have gear on sale, bonus! Watch out for dzobkios and cows wandering the narrow streets.

For some wonderful Everest and Himalayan peak spotting at sunset, hike up 15 minutes from the lodge, take the intersection to the right of the trail just past the National Park headquarters. Moonlight Lodge has a great hot shower, a large library, beer and wine in the cabinet and delicious home-cooked food so there is really no reason to leave at all if you're feeling lethargic, or enjoying basking in the sunny dining room.

Day 6 - Trek Thame 3805m/12,480'
It's a lovely four to five hour hike along the Bhote Kosi to the traditional Sherpa village of Thame. Heading back down to Namche, take the route to the left of Namche Gompa high up above the village to the old mani stone hill, now being excavated to build Namche's new lodges. Continue north on this relatively flat trail, contouring around several old Sherpa villages, past many mani walls and around white-washed chortens with Buddha eyes until you reach the lively village of Thamo. There is a newly-renovated ani gompa (nunnery) above the village, worth a visit. Another few hours of contouring with small ascents and descents brings us to the Thame bridge high over the river.

You will probably also share the trail with Tibetan yak caravans, trading en route to and from Namche and Tibet with the villagers. Thame is an old village of snaking rock walls, paddocks and traditional slate-roofed Sherpa houses. Thame Gompa, perched up to the north of the village, is one of the oldest in the Khumbu, and one of the gompas that celebrates the Dunche festival in the summertime. You will stay the night at Dr. Kami (of Khunde Hospital) and his wife Dawa Dolma's Valley View Lodge, a newly renovated lodge with en suite rooms, a wonderful wood dining room and the best tongba (fermented millet beer, served in a bamboo container with a long straw and hot water) in the Khumbu. Take the afternoon to climb to the gompa and wander around the walled village. (5 hrs)

Day 7 - Trek Khunde 3855m/12,638' + Khumjung 3800m/12,465'
Re-crossing the bridge over the Bhote Kosi, trek back along the trail to Namche until you reach a large intersection leading to Khunde and Khumjung. Heading up, we ascend a hundred meters to the airstrip at Syangboche. On the ridge just above the airstrip, still used for cargo, there are great views of Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse, and a yak-breeding center. We may see some Himalayan Tahr en route, as there is a large herd living in the vicinity. Stone steps lead us to the chorten above Khunde, which looks out over Ama Dablam, and we descend back down to this green-roofed village. Once in Khunde, you will stay at the lovely, personal Khunde Guest House right next to the hospital.

Khunde's hospital was founded by Edmund Hillary and treats many cases of AMS along with the local Sherpas. You can visit the local gompas of both villages, Khumjung's gompa housing a Yeti scalp. These adjoining villages are some of the original villages in the Khumbu region, both about 600 years old, and are wonderful examples of local Sherpa architecture with their winding stone walls, yak paddocks and wood and slate houses. If you're lucky your guide will run into Sherpa friends who will invite you in for some salt-butter tea, climbing up a wooden ladder over the straw-lined manger to get into the main house on the first floor. Both villages sit below Khumbila, the sacred Sherpa peak, and near a famous rock-mural of Guru Rimpoche. The views of Ama Dablam from Khunde and Khumjung are breathtaking.

Hillary Memorial
The side trip to Hillary Memorial (4200m), locally referred to as Gong Ri, is a relatively easy hike (approximately 45 minute) along a gradually ascending through a hillside lightly wooded with fir and juniper above Khunde Monastery. Just before reaching the monastery, take the intersecting trail heading left to a scenic ridge with a nearly 360 degree view of Himalayan peaks. The dramatic ridge top setting was dedicated as a memorial to Edmund Hillary’s wife, Louise, and his 16 year old daughter, Belinda, who died tragically in a plane crash just outside of Kathmandu in 1975. The plane was heading to Phaplu Airstrip. Just above the memorial to Louise and Belinda Hillary is a chorten built by local Khunde inhabitants to honor Sir Edmund Hillary.

Views from the memorial include Everest, Lhotse, Nupte, Tabuche, Ama Dablam, Kangtega, Thamserku, Kusum Kangkaru, Kwongde and Pharchamo, as well as the twin villages of Khunde and Khumjung just below Khunde Gompa, Shyangboche, Namche and Monjo down valley, and Tengboche and Pangboche to the north. From the ridge, look to the west to the Thame valley leading to the Nangpa La, once an important Tibetan trade route. The narrow valley before the Thame valley is rumored to be the home of several yetis. Descend from the memorial along the same trail, or head straight down the ridge towards Shyangboche, cutting back towards Khunde to meet the main trail back to Namche as well as the trail leading west towards Thame. You can bushwack your way directly down to Namche but it takes some work, and the trails are only for wood cutters or musk deer. On the plus side, you’ll encounter the many colorful Danphe en route! (5+ hrs)

Day 8 - Trek Phortse 3780m/12,398'
You'll have a wonderful walk through the walled villages of Khunde and Khumjung before leaving the villages along the high trail, soon meeting the main route from Namche. Continuing along the main trail, veer left at the intersection to Gokyo and take the steep trail up to the bridge which intersects with the old trail from Khumjung, and climb gradually for another hour of so to Mong La, where you will have a well-deserved lunch (with fantastic views) at the small Boudha Lodge, perched spectacularly on this 4000 meter pass.

You'll have a steep descent to Phortse Tenga followed by a short but steep climb up to Phortse, one of the first villages of the Khumbu region, at 3800 meters. On the way up, keep your eyes open and cameras out as there are many musk deer, danphe and blood pheasants hiding in the rhododendron forests bordering the trail and the village. The danphe dig for potatoes in the lower fields of the village in the mornings and evenings. You will stay for the night at a lovely guest house, the Phortse Lodge, which boasts a wonderful dining room, great views and good electricity for re-charging and perhaps watching a movie. The lodge is run by a lovely Sherpa couple, the husband a many-time Everest climber and one of the main participants in the Phortse Climbing School, founded by Conrad Anchor and his wife. Enjoy some local Sherpa and Nepali food at this local lodge. (4 hrs)

Day 9 – Trek Pangboche 3900m/12,792'
You have a breath-taking hike in store for you this morning, leaving Phortse on the northeastern side heading towards Tengboche Gompa across the deep river gorge below. The trail skirts the high ridges of Tarboche Peak, often precipitous but always safe, and offering fantastic views around every corner. Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse dominate the northern skyline, while Ama Dablam is close enough to touch to the east and our old friends Kangtega and Thamserku grace the valley below us. Climb a small pass and eventually reach Upper Pangboche, where we you can wander the old alleys and take a peek inside one of the four oldest gompas (monasteries), approximately five hundred years old, in the Khumbu.

Contouring high above the newer (Lower) Pangboche, you will pass a high mani wall, some memorial chortens and the school before dropping down to the lodge in Lower Pangboche. It's a lovely village to stop in for the evening, with views across the river to the trail to Ama Dablam Base Camp and the old airstrip at Mingbo. You will stay at Sonam lodge right at the end of the village and will be treated to a glowing sunset over Ama Dablam, Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse. (3 1/2 hrs)

Day 10 - Trek Namche Bazaar
Continuing back down the valley, you leave Pangboche by passing by the numerous trekking lodges and shops of Lower Pangboche and exiting the town through the open chorten (kane). You'll descend, on a beautiful and well-worn trail lined with ancient mani walls and whitewashed chortens with Bouddha eyes, down to the Imja Khola far below. After crossing the river on a new metal bridge (look below to see the old bridge), you hike on wide yak-trails through the hamlet of Devoche, passing ancient, moss-covered mani stones and the ani gompa (nunnery) of Devoche on the right. Stop for a peek into this old monastery, the equally ancient looking nuns often perform mid-day pujas. Soon after passing the nunnery you will pass the few small lodges of Devoche and then ascend a relatively steep, switchbacking trail through a dense rhododendron forest for a good half an hour to reach Tengboche (4000 meters), backed by the massive wall of Kangtega and well-known for its large monastery, Tengboche Gompa. Tengboche is the largest monastic community in the Everest region and one of the Khumbu's most important monasteries.

Take some time to visit Tengboche Gompa before the steep, hour-long descent on a dusty, hill-side trail to Phunki Tenga. From here, you will cross the Dudh Koshi on a new bridge and head back up steeply through pine forests, and past small local settlements to Tashi and Lhakpa's Amadablam Lodge at Kyangjuma. You will probably stop for a scenic lunch on the terrace, gazing out on the majestic Ama Dablam. Don't miss the shopping; Tashi is famous for her jewelry which she also sells in Colorado in the summertime. From here, it's an easy hour and a half contour around many brushy hillsides to reach Namche, the Tibetan market, the Moonlight lodge, hot showers, good food and a glass of wine or a cold beer. (5 1/2 hrs)

Day 11 - Trek Chhuserma | The Beyul 2660m/8725'
Leaving Namche along the same trail that you hiked up over a week ago, you will hike down that big hill to Phakding from where you'll cross the bridge over the river and hiking along the opposite side of the river, well away from other trekkers. Your destination is Nima & Caryl's charming new Beyul & Hermitage Lodge where you will enjoy Himalayan views on their terrace, sit around the stove with the welcoming family, eat an organic meal from their own garden and enjoy true peace. This is a unique lodge and a chance to get to know Sherpa culture with some Western amenities! (5 hrs)

Day 12 - Trek Lukla
Trekking down to the river, you'll again cross on the bridge and start your hike uphill through Chharikharka. You will finish the trek back at Dawa Phuti & Ang Pasang's Eco-Paradise Lodge where everyone stays in the new en-suite rooms. In the evening you will have yet another Sherpa feast (after hot showers) and perhaps try some of Dawa's famous Sherpa tongba. This cozy dining room is one the nicest in the Everest region, so it's always an added treat to return there after the trek. Ang Pasang works for the airport, so you are in good hands for your flight out the next morning. (2 hrs)

Day 13 - Fly Kathmandu
Bags packed and ready to go before the sun rises as you fly out of Lukla to Kathmandu early; taking off from the Hillary Airstrip is just as exciting as landing!

You will be transfered back to the Kathmandu Guest House (or your upgraded hotel) where you can relax for the afternoon, and get ready for tomorrow's flight to balmy Pokhara.

Day 14 - Fly Pokhara 830m | Lakeview Resort AC Cottage
Transfer to the domestic airport for the scenic flight to beautiful Pokhara, Nepal's second largest city 198 kilometers west of Kathmandu. En route, look down on rivers flowing towards the Terai from the Himalaya and Tibet, over a patchwork of terraced villages and green hills with the Ganesh, Langtang, Manaslu and Annapurna ranges in the distance, to balmy, sub-tropical Pokhara.

One in Pokhara you will be met by a representative of Lakeside Resort, Temple Tree Resort + Spa or the Himalayan Front Resort and transferred to your hotel. There is endless opportunity to spend extra time in Pokhara, so at least one day in this balmy town is a must. Options including a stroll part-way around Phewa Lake, paragliding or zip-lining from Sarankot, paddling on the lake, a morning hike up to Shanti Stupa via a short canoe trip or a day of shopping for the creative locally-produced crafts along Lakeside.

Meet guide for Annapurna Foothills trek at 5 pm at hotel, and afterwards enjoy a dinner at the hotel or out in Pokhara. We highly recommend Moondance Cafe, down the road from Lakeside Resort.

+ Option to Upgrade to Temple Tree Resort + Spa or Himalayan Front Hotel

Day 15 - Drive Naya Pul. Trek Birethanti 1150m | Sanctuary Lodge
A private vehicle will transfer you, with your guide and porter, to Naya Pul, from where you will start the trek into the wonderful, green central Annapurna region. Naya Pul lies at the confluence of the Modi Khola and the Bhurungdi Khola, where you wil check into the Annapurna Conservation Area. Your walk will follow a ridge line in the lower foothills of the Annapurnas with surrounding views of the green Pokhara valley. The trail then drops to the Modi River Valley, where Ker & Downey's beautiful Sanctuary Lodge is located.

From its vantage overlooking the Modi River, the Sanctuary Lodge is also afforded stunning views of the sacred Fishtail Mountain in the distance. This stylish lodge was handcrafted by local artisans and enjoys a prime location on a promontory with half a mile of river front views. Travel to the nearby village of Birethanti to visit the local school and to watch mule trains journey across the river via suspension bridge. Hearty meals are served family-style in the lodge's traditional dining rooms, inviting spaces to relax and recall the sights of the day’s trek. Spacious terraces plus a large fireplace and lounge area complete the shared spaces in the lodges, with Sanctuary Lodge also including a cozy library. A picnic lunch is provided with a late afternoon arrival at the lodge. (1 hr driving, 3 hrs trekking)

Day 16 - Trek Gandruk | Himalayan Lodge 2015m
After breakfast, you will start trekking from the lodge, hiking through the outlying farms following the Modi River Valley. You will hike straight up stone steps through a dense forest first thing in the morning, afterwards contouring less steeply along paddy fields, past slate roof houses and a few small tea-houses. Soon you begin to climb out of the valley and up towards the Himalayan peaks ahead. The trail passes through small hamlets, terraced rice fields and forests with spectacular views of the surrounding valley. A short descent brings you to Tolka (1750m), another large and scenic Gurung village. The grassy trail lined with ferns and sub-tropical trees ascends after the village, and after crossing a few small streams and contouring around terraced hillsides we reach the hillside village of Gandruk. Lunch will be served on arrival at Himalayan Lodge, in the early afternoon.

Ker & Downey’s Himalaya Lodge overlooks the slate-roofed village of Gandruk, once a popular recruitment location for the Gurkha soldier regiments. Villagers today craft traditional hand-woven rugs as they have for generations, and also participate in ecological endeavors via the Annapurna Conservation Area Project. Spend the afternoon exploring this fascinating and bustling Gurung village, a labyrinth of narrow alleyways, white-washed, slate-roofed houses with porches and traditionally-carved windows, water buffaloes in thatched huts and open slate patios. Enjoy the magnificent views of the Annapurnas from the lodge, or hike up a bit along the cobbled steps for sunset views in the evening. Annapurna South and Hiunchuli dominate the horizon while Macchupucchre resembles a fish tail. Annapurna I and Gangapurna are just visible in the distance if the weather is clear.

Experience the unique Gurung culture and cuisine of Gandruk and visit some of the local Hindu temples above the village. There is lots to keep one busy in this picturesque village, and the villagers are friendly, always ready for a laugh or a chat. Gandruk is perhaps largest and most prosperous village in the Annapurna foothills region, with two interesting museums, local restaurants featuring their unique Gurung cuisine and many guest houses. Wander through Gandruk’s stone paths, returning to the Himalayan Lodge for a traditional lunch, and enjoy a rosy Himalayan sunset in the late afternoon, pure heaven! (5 - 6 hrs)

Day 17 - Trek Landruk 1565m | Bee Lodge
After enjoying a relaxing breakfast and the glorious views from the Himalaya Lodge, you start our trek to to Lhandruk, a classic Himalayan day of trekking through green, textured fields along wonderful village-lined trails ahead. Leaving the village of Ghandruk, the trail descends steeply to the banks of the Modi River. Here, you’ll be at the base of the cliffs where the famed honey hunters of Nepal climb on ropes to collect the honey. Cross a suspension bridge to the opposite banks of the Modi, from where it's about a hour’s trek up switch backs and steps to reach the village of Landruk, where you stay in Ker & Downey’s Bee Lodge. Take advantage of the 'chautara' or stone resting spots, along the way. Landruk is a hillside and sprawling Gurung village painted in pastels, worth a bit of exploration through its narrow, slate alleys. The lodge offers more wonderful views of the Annapurna range.

You will arrive in Landruk in time for lunch, and afterwards your guide will take you on a exploration hike of this mountain village. Watch the local Gurung women weaving with their wooden looms, drying vegetables to make a spicy 'achar', sorting lentils for dal or involved in the morning's washing at the village taps. (4 hrs)

Day 18 - Trek Majgaun 1400m| Gurung Lodge
Wake to a misty morning of Himalayan peaks, with Machhapuchhre and Annapurna South rising majestically out of the shrouded valley, an awesome sight. Another wonderful day of trekking, starting with a gentle wander through the extensive village of Landruk, endlessly interesting. Today’s trek contours the side of the hill, with small ups and downs, passing through villages and farmland. You’ll reach Kerr & Downey's Gurung Lodge in time for lunch with optional afternoon hikes to the surrounding villages. Tribal-style houses and manicured gardens comprise Gurung Lodge on the edge of the village of Majgaun with incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys and wonderful photographic opportunities. Enjoy the vivid colors at sunset over the Annapurna peaks at sunset. (4 hrs)

Day 19 - Trek Dhampus 1525 m| Basanta Lodge
This morning we start out trekking through the unspoiled village of Patlekhet. Our walk takes us through sub-tropical forests that include tree orchids, rhododendrons and magnolias. Along the way, we will stop at the village of Pothana where many Tibetan traders live and sell their souvenirs. Continue to climb through lovely rhododendron forests and you soon reach the small hamlet of Pothana, a possible stopping point for the night. The wonderful views continue at Deurali, with quaint, Himalayan villages opening up below us. Soon we reach Dhampus and Kerr & Downey’s Basanta Lodge, from where we’ll enjoy sweeping views of the entire Annapurna Range, including  the Phedi and Mardi Valleys. After lunch at the lodge there will be an optional walk through the old village of Dhampus. Afternoon activities include nature walks through thick forests of bamboo, conifer and rhododendron, as well as farming demonstrations on the steep hillside terraces. (3 1/2 hrs)

Day 20 - Trek + Drive Pokhara 830m | Lakeview Resort AC Cottage
After breakfast, we depart along the ridge and descend through the wooded hillside and terraced farmland to the valley floor. We then transfer by vehicle to the Temple Tree Resort + Spa or Himalayan Front Hotel in Pokhara (depending on whether you want to be in town, or up on a ridge with Himalayan views). On the way back to Pokhara, the vehicle can stop on request at the Tibetan refugee camp where you will have time to explore the temple complex. We’ll arrive at the centrally located Temple Tree Resort in time for lunch. The rooms at the Temple Tree are filled with ethnic touches. Surrounding the rooms are landscaped gardens, water features, a swimming pool and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. You’ll have a chance to enjoy lunch and dinner at local restaurants. The afternoon is free to explore the lakeside where most of Nepal’s Tibetan shops are located. (1 1/2 hrs trekking, 1/2 hour drive)

+ Option to Upgrade to Temple Tree Resort + Spa or Himalayan Front Hotel

Day 21 - Fly Kathmandu
After breakfast, board the morning flight back to Kathmandu (with options to take an afternoon flight or stay extra days in Pokhara). Enjoy the afternoon at Dwarika's, and do treat yourself to a massage or a spa treatment if you didn't before the trek! Dine at one of their wonderful restaurants in the evening.

Optional World Heritage Sightseeing Tour | Kathmandu Durbar Square
Another wonderful sightseeing tour through the endlessly fascinating Kathmandu. You will be picked up by your sightseeing guide at the hotel after breakfast, and driven to the Kathmandu Durbar Square. Wander through the many temples, pagodas, courtyards and the museum at Kathmandu Durbar Square, a timeless gathering spot and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Kathmandu Durbar Square, including the old royal palace, is Kathmandu's 'Palace Square', a showcase for the world renown artisans and craftsmen of Kathmandu and a synthesis of Hindu and Buddhist palaces, temples, stupas and statues. The Malla and Shah kings ruled over the Kathmandu Valley during the centuries of the building of the layers of this Durbar Square. Along with their opulent palaces, the square surrounds numerous courtyards and temples, all works of art with intricate and often erotic carvings. Kathmandu Durbar Square is known as Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square, a name derived from a statue of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Ram, at the entrance of the palace. The social, religious and urban focal point of the city, Durbar Square is often the site of festivals, marriages and other ceremonies such as Teej. Some important structures are Hanuman Dhoka Palace, Kumari Ghar (Abode of the Living Goddess), Taleju Temple, built between the 12th and 18th centuries, the 17th century stone inscription set into the wall of the palace with writings in 15 languages.

Perhaps stop to photograph reflections in Kathmandu's many pokhari's, or ponds, including the beautiful Rani Pokhari (queen's bath) near New Road, and the Naga Pokhari (pond of the snake gods of the underworld) just beyond the palace gates. The many bathing ghats, square enclosures with steps leading down to water spouts, often decorated with naga heads, are also interesting and colorful gathering spots. (+$50 Per Person)

Day 22 - Trip Ends
Transfer to the airport for your international flight. Namaste + Tashi Delek!

NOTE: We suggest you leave an extra day in Kathmandu on your itinerary if you don't have an evening flight out of Kathmandu. Flights out of Lukla are sometimes delayed or cancelled. We can book the extra nights at Dwarika's or the Yak & Yeti for you.

Everest Heli Tours

Everest Helicopter Tour Kwondge | Lunch Overlooking Everest
An option for your last day in the Khumbu region is lunch overlooking some of the best Himalayan views on the planet! Board your private helicopter from Namche for the quick flight to Kwongde YMH, and enjoy lunch overlooking this vast panorama of peaks. Views include some of the highest peaks on the planet, including Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Gyajung Khang (the higest peak under 8000m) and the majestic Ama Dambam. From the YMH lodge you can look down on Kwonde Lake, generally hidden, and up the awe inspiring Khumbu valley. The Kwongde YMH is a 'boutique' lodge, one of the world's highest hotels.
+ Price Per Helicopter

Everest Mountain Helicopter Sightseeing Tour - Everest, EBC, Lhotse, Nuptse, Cho La Pass (Gokyo Valley) + Renjo La Pass (Thame Valley)
A once in a lifetime helicopter tour of the Everest region's spectacular peaks, glaciers and Himalayan passes! The helicopter pick you up in Pangboche (or wherever you choose), from where you will fly over the Khumbu Glacier and to Everest Base Camp and the sublime Everest ice fall. You will have a chance to stop at Everest Base camp for photos of this spectacular setting! Back in the helicopters, your flight path takes you over Dzongla Lake, the glaciated Cho La pass and into the stunningly beautiful Gokyo valley, flying low over the turquoise Gokyo Lake, with another touh down to splash some sacred lake on yourself before crossing the Renjo La pass to the traditional Thame valley, the old trade route to Tibet. Your epic helicopter tour will finish back in Namche Bazaar.
+ Price Per Helicopter

Everest Mountain Epic Sightseeing Tour from Kathmandu
The full deal, all the way from Kathmandu to Everest Base Camp + much more! A once in a lifetime helicopter tour of the Everest region's spectacular peaks, glaciers and Himalayan passes! Your private helicopter pick you up at Tribhuvan Airport in Kathmandu, from where you will fly up to the fabled Tenzin Norgay airport in Lukla. After a cup of tea in Lukla, you will reboard you helicopter and fly over the Khumbu Glacier and to Everest Base Camp and the sublime Everest ice fall. You will have the unique chance to stop at Everest Base camp for photos of this spectacular setting!

Back in the helicopters, your flight path takes you over beautiful Dzongla Lake, the glaciated Cho La pass and into the stunningly beautiful Gokyo valley, flying low over the turquoise Gokyo Lake, with another touh down to splash some sacred lake on yourself before crossing the Renjo La pass to traditional Thame valley, the old trade route to Tibet. Your epic helicopter continues by flying back over Namche Bazaar, and back through Nepal's lush middle hills to Kathmandu.
+ Price Per Helicopter

Kathmandu Tours

Kathmandu | Bhaktapur  Sightseeing Tour
One more day in Kathmandu, with a sightseeing excursion by private vehicle to Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur which translates as 'Place of Devotees’ and is also known as Bhadgaon, is an ancient Newar city approximately 15 kilometers east of the Kathmandu Valley. Bhaktapur is one of three ancient capitals of the Kathmandu valley, the capital of the Newar Kingdom and a city of artisans and craftspeople famous for its art and architecture: intricate carvings, sculptures, paintings, thankas, pottery, statues and temples, or pagodas. Bhaktapur has a well-preserved ‘durbar square’, or palace square, and has been named a World Heritage site by UNESCO because of its incredible temples, pagodas, wood carvings, stone carvings and metalwork. Bhaktapur is also famous for its yogurt, called curd in Asia, a taste which hasn’t been duplicated anywhere.

Spend a full day exploring Bhaktapur and its rich cultural heritage, where a majority of enthnic Newaris live in traditional ways, and life seems to stand still. There are many great restaurants and cafes to rejuvenate, and it's possibly the best spot in Kathmandu for purchasing a thanka after watching the technique, as well as shopping for endless other locally produced crafts. Bhaktapur is home to countless local festivals, so if you are lucky and arrive on a festival day, enjoy the timeless and colorful events unfold.

+ Kathmandu World Heritage Sightseeing Tour | Bhaktapur (+$100)
+ Entrance Fees not Included for Single Person

Kathmandu | Patan Sightseeing Tour
Visit the third of Kathmandu's ancient capitals, known as 'The City of Fine Arts', best if you have an extra day in hand as Patan is also rich in cultural heritage, has many lovely roof-top cafes for lunch and world-class museums. Some of the highlights of Patan are its Durbar Square, the Krishna Temple within the palace complex of Patan (entirely made of stone, with 21 distinctive spires), and Hiranya Varna Mahavir, or the Golden Buddha Temple.

+ Kathmandu World Heritage Sightseeing Tour | Patan (+$50)
+ Entrance Fees not Included for Single Person

Kathmandu | World Heritage Sightseeing Tour
Kathmandu is filled with World Heritage sites and sacred destinations, crowded with traditional neighborhoods and colorful festivals. Spend a few days exploring Nepal's exotic capital and the history-laden Kathmandu valley. We can arrange sightseeing guide, vehicles and guides as required. See Kathmandu Heritage + Happenings for more details.

We recommend beginning with Pashupatinath in the early morning, and moving on to Boudhanath mid-morning. Hindu Pashupatinath on the sacred Bagmati river and its sacred temple complex is one of Nepal's most important sites, a powerful cremation site and Nepal's most important Hindu temple. Here, monkeys run up and down the steps of the burning ghats, and trident-bearing saddhus draped in burnt-orange and saffron sit serenely meditating, when they’re not posing for photos-for-rupees. Local guides can explain the significance of the complicated ceremonies. Please be respectful when taking photos.

Boudhanath, in the midst of traditional monasteries (gompas) and hung with long strings of multi-colored prayer flags, attracts Sherpas, Tibetans and tourists alike for daily circumambulations (koras) of the iconic stupa. The striking Buddha eyes of Boudhanath Stupa watch over a lively and colorful Tibetan community and attract pilgrims from all over the Himalayan Buddhist realm. There are wonderful spots for lunch at Boudhanath (Roadhouse Cafe has wood-oven pizzas and a breathtaking view of the stupa and colorful Nepals circling it), and it's a good place to learn the technique of thanka painting and purchase a thanka (Buddhist mural). See also Bhaktapur for more options for shopping for thankas.

Wander through the many temples, pagodas, courtyards and the museum at Kathmandu Durbar Square, a timeless gathering spot and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Kathmandu Durbar Square, including the old royal palace, is Kathmandu's 'Palace Square', a showcase for the world renown artisans and craftsmen of Kathmandu and a synthesis of Hindu and Buddhist palaces, temples, stupas and statues. The Malla and Shah kings ruled over the Kathmandu Valley during the centuries of the building of the layers of this Durbar Square. Along with their opulent palaces, the square surrounds numerous courtyards and temples, all works of art with intricate and often erotic carvings. Kathmandu Durbar Square is known as Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square, a name derived from a statue of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Ram, at the entrance of the palace. The social, religious and urban focal point of the city, Durbar Square is often the site of festivals, marriages and other ceremonies such as Teej. Some important structures are Hanuman Dhoka Palace, Kumari Ghar (Abode of the Living Goddess), Taleju Temple, built between the 12th and 18th centuries, the 17th century stone inscription set into the wall of the palace with writings in 15 languages.

In the evening (take the interesting back streets from Durbar Square) climb the many steps to the gilded Swayambhunath stupa (known as the monkey temple) which rises from the Kathmandu valley floor at 1420 meters and is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Nepal. Swayambunath, the 'self created’  stupa, was founded over 2000 years ago at a time when the Kathmandu valley was filled by a large lake, with a single lotus in the center. Mythology says that Manjusri, a bodhisvatti, drained the lake with one cut of his sword and the lotus flower was transformed into the stupa. From its commanding views of Kathmandu, circumambulate Swayambunath's white-washed stupa, painted with distinctive Buddha eyes, the complex a unique synthesis of Buddhism and Hinduism. Another interesting time to visit Swayambunath is in the mornings, when Nepalis visit the temple dedicated to the God of Smallpox to with colorful offerings for the goddess.

Stop to photograph reflections in Kathmandu's many pokhari's, or ponds, including the beautiful Rani Pokhari (queen's bath) near New Road, and the Naga Pokhari (pond of the snake gods of the underworld) just beyond the palace gates. The many bathing ghats, square enclosures with steps leading down to water spouts, often decorated with naga heads, are also interesting and colorful gathering spots.

+ Kathmandu World Heritage Sightseeing Tour | Pashupatinath, Boudhanath + Swayambunath (+$75)
+ Kathmandu Durbar Square Walking Tour | Durbar Square (+$50)
+ Entrance Fees not Included for Single Person

Everest Sightseeing Flight
An hour long extravaganza of the world's 8000 meter peaks, including airport transfers. (+$270)

Everest Sightseeing Helicopter Tour
Inquire for prices + options. Cost per helicopter.

Shivapuri Heights Cottages
A wonderful get away 20 km north of Kathmandu, Shivapuri Heights Cottages are stylishly designed and personal cottages built around a 'common house', where you can breakfast overlooking the stunningly beautiful Kathmandu valley. Massages available on request. (+$Inquire for Options)

Cycling Trip Kathmandu Valley
Many options for day trips, or extended trips, in the Kathmandu Valley. We can customize a cycling trip for you in partnership with one of our knowledgeable partners in Kathmandu. (+$Inquire for Option)

Extra Days in Kathmandu | Customize your Journey!
We have plenty of great suggestions for extra days, or weeks, in Nepal! See our Nepal & Kathmandu Modules | Customize Your Trip! to put together the perfect journey.

Mountain biking, rafting, vespa tours or yoga retreats around the Kathmandu valley or Pokhara, trips to Bhaktapur or Patan (Kathmandu Valley's other historic capital cities), a visit to the Newari temple of Changu Narayan and a night at the Fort Hotel in Nagarkot for sublime Himalayan panoramas, an Everest sightseeing flight, a luxurious stay at Temple Tree Resort & Spa, paragliding, hiking or zip-lining in Pokhara, a spa & wellness getaway at Dwarikas Resort in Dhulikhel, a relaxing excursion to Chitwan National Park Wildlife Safari & Tharu Villages (staying at Maruni Sanctuary Lodge) or Bardia National Park, a weekend of adventure, sauna and pampering at The Last Resort or five-star treatment in historic Dwarika's in Kathmandu.

Kamzang Journeys can customize any of these excursions for you, just inquire!

Namaste & Tashi Delek!

© Kim Bannister

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