Our cornerstone expedition—honed to perfection since 1969!
In a land where the greatest peak is almost six miles high, everything below it seems miniscule in comparison. But it is here in the quiet, Sherpa villages of Nepal where one hears the heartbeat of the Himalaya. Since 1969, MTS has pioneered trekking in Nepal, establishing local ties in the Khumbu region. This classic trek is perfect for first-time travelers, showcasing the high mountain villages, the solitude of ancient Buddhist monasteries, and the warmth and hospitality of the people. Lodge-to-lodge travel allows for extra comfort and relaxation at the end of a long day’s hike and tasty, nourishing meals. From the famed Tengboche Monastery, soak in views of Everest, the Titan among titans. We will also see a stunning panorama of other Himalayan icons as well— from Kangtega (22,340') to Thamserku (22,208') and the obelisk of Ama Dablam (22,494')—a veritable outdoor cathedral of soaring peaks. Allow us to share our decades of experience in the land worshipped by mystics and explorers alike.
9 days moderate to strenuous hiking at medium elevation (max. 15,091')
- The perfect trip for first-time travelers to the legendary Khumbu with MTS—the experts in the Himalaya since 1969
- Trek along the foothills of the Himalaya’s iconic giants with MTS’ exclusive expert guides
- Overnight in some of the best hotels & lodges in charming, high mountain villages captured in time
- Immerse yourself in the quiet beauty of Nepal’s Buddhist culture and explore ancient monasteries
Duration: 14 days Start Location: Kathmandu End Location: KathmanduDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal
In order to arrive in time for our briefing, you'll need to arrive in Kathmandu by 2:00 p.m. today. A Mountain Travel Sobek representative will meet you outside the customs and immigration area at the airport, where he or she will answer questions, brief you on the immediate arrangements, and escort you to your hotel. The trip leader will hold a short briefing in the hotel around 4:00 p.m. regarding trek arrangements and a general orientation to Kathmandu. Most flights from the U.S. require three days of travel and overnight en route (you arrive in Kathmandu on the third day). More specific details will be sent to you with your pre-trip information. Dinner this evening will be on your own.
Day 2 : Touring the Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu (4,445') is one of three former medieval city-states in the Kathmandu Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with Bhaktapur and Patan. We will take a morning tour of Bhaktapur, which has preserved its ancient character and is an enchanting display of medieval Nepalese town life. A highlight is Durbar Square, with its many temples, remains of an ancient palace, and intricate Sun Dhoka (“Golden Gate”), a gilded copper gate crafted in 1753. In the afternoon, Kathmandu is yours to explore. By western standards, the city is intimate. You can visit the many interesting sights, shrines, and markets, or stroll in Kathmandu's fascinating Asan Tole bazaar. Don't miss Durbar Square, Thamel, Swayambhunath (the “Monkey Temple,” overlooking the entire Valley; go at sunrise or sunset!) and the King's Palace. You could also hire a driver to take you to the nearby ancient city of Patan. Lunch and dinner will be on your own.
Day 3 : Mountain flight to Lukla (9,200')
Transfer to airport for the mountain flight to Lukla airstrip (weather permitting). During the short but spectacular flight we will leave the Kathmandu Valley and head into the Himalaya, the world’s highest mountains rising before us. Our destination is Lukla, perched high on a mountainside above the Dudh Kosi (River of Milk), where we make an unforgettable landing on its 1,729-foot-long, 65-foot-wide runway. After we disembark, we'll collect our gear and walk over to our lodge. If our flight is on time, we’ll have the option of a warm-up hike up to Kharka. Kharka is on a trail that leads to Mera Peak. On the way, we’ll pass small hamlets and shepherds who live in the area. (3 hours hiking)
Day 4 : Monjo (9,317')
From Lukla, the trail descends 1,500 feet down to the Dudh Kosi. The local people look quite different than the people of Kathmandu. The inhabitants of the Khumbu are Sherpas, people who migrated from Tibet over 500 years ago and still practice evolved forms of Tibetan Buddhism and dress in much the same Tibetan style. As we follow the trail to the village of Phakding, we will pass mani walls (boulders with carved Buddhist prayer inscriptions), a number of small villages, and well-terraced hillsides. Looming above us, in the distance, is Khumbila (18,800'), the sacred peak of the Sherpa people, our sentinel to the spiritual and geographic heart of the Khumbu. Khumbila remains unclimbed (sacred peaks may not be climbed) and it represents the “protector” deity of Tibetan Buddhists. We’ll arrive at our lodge in Monjo (9,317') in the early afternoon, provided our flight is on schedule. The afternoon is free to rest and relax while we acclimatize to our new altitude. (8 miles, 6 hours hiking.)
Day 5 : Trek to Namche Bazaar (11,286')
Today, we’ll follow the forested trail north up the Dudh Kosi valley to Jorsale, where we officially enter Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) National Park, established in 1976 as the first national park in the Himalaya to help protect an area of great environmental, religious, and cultural importance. (Sagarmatha National Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.) We’ll continue along the trail, crossing the Dudh Kosi and begin the steep climb up “Namche Hill,” amidst lovely forests of rhododendron, fir, and magnolia, to the Sherpa market town of Namche Bazaar. As we climb the steep hillside, we’ll catch our first glimpse of Everest and the snowcapped panorama of Himalayan giants to come. Namche Bazaar is the unofficial capital of the Khumbu, the local center for trading and supplies. The town is filled with numerous homes, trekker's inns, shops, and a small monastery. It is beautifully situated in a terraced amphitheater facing the hanging glacier below Kwangde (20,293'). We’ll check in to our lodge and have the afternoon free to explore Namche Bazaar. (3 miles, 4.5 hours hiking)
Day 6 : Trek to Tashinga (11,800')
We’ll have some time in the morning to visit the Sagarmatha National Park Visitors Center and Museum, where there are terrific views of the Everest region and numerous educational displays on the culture, geography, geology, climatology, and wildlife within the park and the Khumbu. Our trail follows the classical route to Everest on a winding, almost level trail. After about three hours of hiking, we’ll take a slight detour off the main path and hike 15 minutes further before arriving at our comfortable lodge. After check in, we’ll have the rest of the afternoon free to rest and relax. There's no place like the peaceful Himalaya to relax! (6 miles, 4 hours hiking)
Day 7 : Tengboche (12,680') – Pangboche (13,107')
Today, we’ll descend into the deep Dudh Kosi Gorge—one of the most beautiful valley walks on earth—and come to a fir forest where we’ll begin with a steep climb to the site of the famous Tengboche Monastery (12,680'). Destroyed by a fire in early 1989, the monastery has been completely rebuilt. Tengboche monastery is the spiritual center of the Khumbu and a training center for new monks. The Rimpoche of Tengboche resides here and the area is considered holy; nothing may be hunted or killed. Expeditions to the world's highest peaks have traditionally stopped here to receive the blessing of the High Lama. After lunch at Tengboche, we continue our trek on to Pangboche. The hike along the Imja Drangka River is very scenic. Arriving at the top of the ridge, Ama Dablam (22,494') and the great massif of Mount Everest (Sagarmatha in Nepali or Chomolungma in Tibetan, at 29,028') hover majestically above us. The tangible spirituality and stunning scenery of this place is always impressive. Our lodge in Pangboche is located right along the trail to Everest and almost at the base of Ama Dablam. (7 miles, 5-6 hours hiking)
Day 8 : Pangboche and day excursion to Highend Ama Dablam Base Camp (15,091')
Ama Dablam (22,349') is one of the most beloved and celebrated mountains in the Khumbu. After crossing the Imja Drangka River, followed by a gradual ascent until Lhabarma, we will suddenly be standing right in front of the mountain ridge. We can walk to its foothills and absorb the enormity of the mountain. Ama Dablam Base Camp sits at 15,013 feet on an open yak pasture beneath the west face. The climbing route follows the southwest ridge (the right hand skyline as we look at it), moving onto the face above the hanging glacier three-quarters of the way up. Base Camp affords particularly fine views of Kan Tega (22,254'), Thamserku (21,712') and Tawoche (21,463'). Our trek coincides with the main climbing season and it is more than likely that we will find climbing groups at Base Camp either acclimatizing or fixing the route. With a pair of binoculars it may well be possible to see climbers descending the 50/60 degree ice slopes from the summit. Return to our lodge. (8 miles, 6-7 hours hiking)
Day 9 : Trek to Tashinga (11,800')
Today we cross the Mengbo and the Imja Rivers to get to a quiet trail on the other side. The panoramic vista is complemented by charming old stone houses, and the absence of other trekkers along the way is positively blissful. When we arrive in Tashinga we will check into the lodge and have the remainder of the day free to rest and relax. Maybe a siesta is calling or, if you are feeling more energetic, you might want to explore the surrounding area. (7 miles, 5-6 hours hiking)
Day 10 : Monjo (9,317')
Today we will trek by the villages of Khumjung, across the top of Namche Bazaar and then up the Nangpo Dzangpo. Leaving Tashinga Lodge, we’ll contour on a small path to reach the main trail leading to Khumjung, approximately a one-hour hike. The path leads gently up the shallow valley to Khumjung, built into a mountain bowl and surrounded by patterned, terraced fields. It has the best bakery in the Everest region and a stop for coffee and cakes is a must! The village of Khunde is a short walk further on and contains the famous medical center established by the Sir Edmund Hillary Trust. We will also take time to visit the Edmund Hillary School. The Monastery of Khumjung has the infamous Yeti Skull on display.
Day 11 : Return to Lukla (9,200')
Today we'll return to Lukla along the Dudh Kosi, retracing our steps from Day 4. Overnight at the lodge in Lukla. (8 miles, 6-7 hours hiking)
Day 12 : Return to Kathmandu
Today we'll bid a fond, if somewhat hesitant, farewell to the Khumbu as we board our return flight from Lukla to Kathmandu (weather permitting). Upon arrival in Kathmandu we'll transfer to our hotel.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Because the weather in the Khumbu is unpredictable. Flights in and out of this tiny mountain airstrip are commonly delayed and we have no way of predicting the length of the delay. As a result, the next day will be spent either in Kathmandu or Lukla, depending on the Lukla flight. With luck we’ll get out the first day. All lodging and meals at Lukla are at your expense while waiting. We cannot overemphasize the unreliability of these flights, which are operated as a scheduled service by various airlines. We have no control over their operation or schedules, and while we devote an enormous amount of time, money and energy into securing reservations and obtaining replacement reservations when flights are cancelled, you should be ready for disappointments, delays, and cancellations of Lukla flights. For this reason we have scheduled an extra day at the end of the trek so as not to interfere with your homeward bound flights.
Day 13 : Kathmandu
If our flight from Lukla is not delayed, we’ll have a morning tour of the Hindu shrines and ghats at Pashupatinath on the Bagmati River and the large Buddhist stupa at Bodhnath, center of the Tibetan Buddhist culture in Kathmandu. The afternoon is free to relax or do some last minute shopping or sightseeing on your own. In the evening the group will gather for a farewell dinner with the group at a local restaurant.
Day 14 : Fly home
Transfer to the airport and depart Kathmandu on homeward-bound flights. Please note that most flights require an overnight en route.
If you'd like to extend your stay in Asia we offer a number of wonderful extensions in India, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Ask our Regional Specialist for details!
DATES: Best time to go: April - May, September - December Departures: Oct 4 - 17, 2014 Oct 20, 2014 - Nov 2, 2014 Nov 1 - 14, 2014 Nov 17 - 30, 2014 Dec 23, 2014 - Jan 5, 2015 Apr 13 - 26, 2015 May 4 - 17, 2015 Sep 29, 2015 - Oct 12, 2015 Oct 16 - 29, 2015 Oct 25, 2015 - Nov 7, 2015 Nov 9 - 22, 2015 Nov 22, 2015 - Dec 5, 2015 Dec 21, 2015 - Jan 3, 2016
Yak & Yeti HotelKathmandu, Nepal
A 5-star deluxe oasis in the heart of Kathmandu, the Yak & Yeti is the perfect blend of contemporary international standards and time-honored Nepali tradition. Guests will find refuge among antique fountains, gilded temples and emerald gardens, while enjoying a state-of-the-art gymnasium, spa, shopping arcade, atrium, tennis courts and swimming pools.
Lukla LodgeLukla, Nepal
This lodge lies at the very gateway to Mount Everest. Spacious, comfortably furnished rooms with en-suite facilities, a lovely sunny garden and traditional interiors make for a very warm welcome to arriving guests.
Monjo LodgeMonjo, Nepal
Located at an altitude of 2,850 meters in the quaintly picturesque valley of Monjo, this lodge overlooks the village and the narrow Dudh Koshi valley. Thamserku Himal rising high up behind the lodge serves as a dreamlike backdrop.
Sherpa Land LodgeNamche Bazaar, Nepal
This local tea house lodge offers comfortable accommodations in the heart of Namche Bazaar. Surrounded by some of the highest mountains in the world, yet close to shopping and local culture in the village center, Sherpa Land offers guests a unique experience amidst the majestic grandeur of the Himalayas.
Tashinga LodgeTashinga, Nepal
Situated amidst pine forests overlooking the Dudh Koshi valley, this lodge offers breathtaking views of Ama Dablam, Thamserku, the Tabouche Peak and Khumbila. Comfortable rooms and local hospitality make for a wonderful stay at one of the most beautiful locations along your trek.
Pangboche LodgePangboche, Nepal
Pangboche is located literally at the lap of Ama Dablam, often described as one of the most beautiful mountains on earth. With Everest to the north, Thamserku and Kangtaiga to the east, the Kongde range to the south, and the Imjatse River flowing through the wide fertile valley, this quaint lodge rests in the midst of abundant natural glory.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Lhakpa Norbu Sherpa
Lhakpa Norbu Sherpa was born in Namche Bazaar to a mountaineering family. (His father was a climbing Sherpa and went to the South Col on several expeditions, including the 1963 American Everest expedition.) After completing his education, Lhakpa tried mountaineering on Kanchenjunga (the world’s third highest peak), but decided that he prefers trekking and now limits his climbing to trekking peaks like Mount Mera. Lhakpa has a deep interest in environmental issues and has been associated with Mountain Travel Sobek since 1983, first as sirdar and now as a trekking guide. He speaks Nepali, Sherpa, and Tibetan as well as English.
Pranoy Rai was born in Nepal, studied in Darjeeling, India, and is a travel enthusiast who has always been keen on adventure. Working as a trekking leader since 1999, he has an enormous experience in the field, having led numerous treks and tours to Nepal, Tibet and India. Pranoy successfully completed his basic mountaineering course from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute of Darjeeling with grade 'A' certificate. He has been trained in wilderness medicine by Dr. Jim Duff, an expert in wilderness first aid and co-author of “First Aid and Survival in Mountain and Remote Areas.” In addition to being fluent in English, Nepali, and Hindi, he speaks basic Tibetan and Chinese. Pranoy is very keen on birds, plants, and flowers, and has acquired a very good knowledge in them that he looks forward to sharing with you on trek.
Sanjeev Chhetri is a graduate of Delhi University, India, and has been leading treks in Nepal, Tibet, India and the Alps since 1990. He is an avid bird-watcher and very well traveled, with time spent in India, Tibet, China, England, Ireland, France, Thailand, USA and Switzerland. He lives with wife and son in Kathmandu. Sanjeev is very knowledgeable of the cultures, religions, and traditions of the countries he leads trek for and enjoys sharing his experiences with you.
Gyamcho Wangdi has led treks for Mountain Travel Sobek since 1988. A Bhutanese, he grew up in the small hill town of Kalimpong in the Darjeeling District of India and received his schooling from a Scottish missionary school. He studied botany and zoology and was a naturalist at Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge in Nepal for eight years. While working at the park, he greeted VIPs and other celebrities such as Princess Anne, the late Rajiv Gandhi (former Prime Minister of India), King Gyanendra (present King of Nepal), Bjorn Borg (former #1 tennis player), Reinhold Messner (Everest summiteer), and actors James Coburn, Robert Redford, Goldie Hawn, and Carrie Fisher. Gyamcho’s passions are seeing new places, off-road driving, interior design, and drawing cartoons (he has published a cartoon book on the Yeti called "Mysterious Mystical Yeti," which became a hit among Nepal trekkers). His gentle, courteous manner, amusing anecdotes, and overall knowledge of Bhutan and Nepal are the key to the success of your trip. He is fluent in English, Hindi, Nepali, and Bhutanese.