Day 1-3: Lukla to Namche Bazaar

DAY 1: Lukla to Monjo, 5 hours

 Finally, after days of bartering and buying gear & 1 dodgy mountain flight we were trekking! The first few days were full of “Oo’s and Ahh’s” at the beauty around us. The turquoise river running wild with homey cottages dotted along the trail at the foot of lush green peaks. Starting out of Lukla (the town we flew into) we hiked 5 hours and stopped for the night at a place called Monjo. The hike to Monjo goes up and down following along the beautiful Dudi Kosi River the whole way. We passed by teams of yaks strapped full of supplies, slowly making their way down the rocky trail. Sherpas with TOWERING loads pushed their way on. FYI: Sherpas are hard-core. I counted 11 CASES OF BEER in one of the their baskets. 11 CASES OF BEER. Think about how heavy 1 case is to carry from your car to your house, now times that by 11 & walk up a mountain! Plus the Sherpas are the same size as me… insanity! 


Nepal Sherpa

I can't believe how MUCH they carry!


The first few days of the hike required us to cross over the river a few times. Long, swaying, wobbling, bouncy suspension bridges are your only option. Yaks, donkeys, horses, dogs, Sherpas, & hiking groups, all passing by each other on these one lane bridges. The bridges offer incredible views of the river rushing far below, but I wasn’t a fan of the swaying & passing of people on the narrow walkway. I stuck to singing Disney’s, “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” to keep my mind off the bouncing and wobble.  Rhys had no worries, half hanging over the bridge to take a photograph of the lines of prayer flags blowing in the wind off the bridge’s side. By the 4th and 5th suspension bridge, I was a pro at walking on the suspension bridges.. but admittedly still singing The Lion King.

Everest Region Suspension Bridge

THe 1st Suspension Bridge.. of many


Our night in Monjo was filled with lots of hot lemon tea & card games. We played cards all night with a sherpa who SUMMITED Mt. Everest 4 times! That’s what makes travel so worthwhile to me. The people we’ve had the pleasure of meeting, whom I’d never have a chance to meet otherwise. Namgyn told us all about the Hillary Step, the dangers of the Khumbu icefall, and the endless work of a Sherpa catering to whining and dazed rich western clients for the 75 days they all live & breathe on Everest. He said the view from the top of the world is so beautiful, an endless array of white mountains in every direction. (Can I at least mention that I beat him in cards all night long?!)

Day 2: Monjo to Namche Bazaar, 3 hours 45 minutes 

We had an early rise the next morning, a bowl of hot muesli, and were ready to hit the trail. A hard hike UP to Namche Bazaar, where we ascended 2,000ft/600m in 3 hours. A very steady climb and up, up, up, the whole way. I felt like a pansy when porters with humongous baskets filled with 30kg of food, drinks, and random supplies to deliver at the next town were going up the same pace as me! Finally, after a tiring 3 hour uphill battle.. I was the winner. Namche Bazaar rested at our feet.


Namche Bazaar

Namche Bazaar rests just under the clouds


 Day 3: Acclimatization Day in Namche Bazaar

Namche Bazaar is the main stop off point for all hikes going up and down the mountain. It sits at 11,286ft/3,440m with white peaked mountains surrounding it. There are bars, bakery’s, souvenir shops, internet cafes, a Tibetan flea market, book stores, and lots of tea houses. Most hikers, and all smart hikers spend an extra day acclimatizing to the change in altitude here. Golden rule #1: go up slow! Going up slow and having acclimatizing days helps aid your body with the change in altitude, and lowers your chances of succumbing to altitude sickness. These so-claimed “rest days” are far from actual resting. In order to properly acclimatize you must push your body, golden rule #2: climb high, sleep low. On our ‘rest day’ in Namche we decided to take the popular hour hike straight up to the highest hotel in the World, Everest View Hotel (13,000ft/3,900m). The hotel offers a 360 degree panoramic view of the mighty Himalayas, surrounding you from all directions. It was absolutely breathtaking. In the middle of all these white giants, peeking out from far behind them was the one and only, Mt. Everest. We sat at the world’s highest hotel, feeling lost in the clouds, sipping a hot cup of Joe, mesmerized by our first glimpse of the goddess mother of the Earth. 


Everest View Hotel

Everest is the littlelooking peak far in the back!

 You Might Also Like:

  1.  Everest Eve
  2.  Everest Base Camp: Preparation & Tips
  3. Mountain Flight: Kathmandu to Lukla
  4.  Photo Friday: Sunset on Mt. Everest
  5. Photo Friday: Yak in Black 
6 Responses to “Day 1-3: Lukla to Namche Bazaar”
  1. Beautifully written and great photos. I love the area and the Sherpas. I worked with them in 1990 to create the first hut-to-hut system in Nepal. I have been dismayed at how little credit they get for the services they provide. They are often treated as pack animals.
    You may enjoy reading an intimate view of their culture and the work they do on Everest.
    Before foreigners began climbing Everest, Sherpas had no desire to trespass on the sacred mountains. Their language didn’t even have a word for summit. Now they work on expeditions to help sustain themselves, but every time someone steps foot on Everest, the lives of Sherpas are at risk.In 1990, I helped create the first hut system in Nepal–The Sherpa Guide Lodges. Two years later, I began leading treks to the Base Camp.Present during the worst storm in their history, I was appalled at world press coverage of the deaths of foreigners with little mention of the Sherpas who also perished. I returned home to write their story so others would understand their culture and appreciate their contributions to Everest mountaineering.
    In Beyond the Summit, details of Sherpa culture and religion are interwoven in a tale of romance and high adventure. The story has something for everyone: a love affair between an American journalist and Sherpa guide, conflict between generations as the modern world challenges centuries of tradition, an expedition from the porter’s point of view.

    Below are selections from reviews. To read the complete ones and excerpts go to

    Beyond the Summit, is the rare gem that shows us the triumphs and challenges of a major climb from the porter’s point of view. The love of two people from diverse cultures is the fiery centerpiece of a novel that leads its readers through harshly beautiful and highly dangerous territory to the roof of the world. Malcolm Campbell, book reviewer

    A gripping, gut-twisting expedition through the eyes of a porter reveals the heart and soul of Sherpas living in the shadows of Everest.

    LeBlanc is equally adept at describing complex, elusive emotions and the beautiful, terrifying aspect of the Himalayan Mountains. Boulder Daily Camera

    This is the book to read before you embark on your pilgrimage to Nepal. The author knows and loves the people and the country, and makes you feel the cold thin air, the hard rocks of the mountains, the tough life of the Sherpa guides, and you learn to love them too. This is a higly literate, but also very readable book. Highly recommended.”
    – John (college professor)

    Such vividly depicted images of the Everest region and the Sherpa people are the perfect scenario for the romance and adventure feats narrated. It’s a page-turner, so engrossing you end up wanting to visit Nepal! Not just novel, but perfect for those seeking to get acquainted with the culture of this country.
    By Claudia Fournier (América, Bs. As., Argentina)

    • Nicky says:

      It sounds like a fantastic book, thanks for sharing! I will dedicate a post to the Sherpas and Porters later on, because their work and dedication to the Himalayas is endless and so many people fail to realize this. They are amazing people, always with a smile on their faces & ready to help point us in the right direction and offer help if we ever needed it.

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