Duration: 19 days
Travel style: Hikinh Focused
Activity Level: 5
Trip Start: Kathmandu
Trip Ends: Kathmandu
Arrive in Kathmandu
Your trip starts in the lively and bustling city of Kathmandu with an explosion to the senses – take a deep breath! You will be met at Kathmandu Airport by a friendly face from Active Adventures Himalayas, who will accompany you to our hotel. If you arrive early, you can head out to explore the city’s labyrinth of back streets, courtyards, colourful market stalls and ancient temples for your first taste of Nepal’s culture and friendly people. This afternoon, your guide will meet you at our hotel and run through what to expect from the days ahead. Tonight, they’ll take you out for dinner at a local restaurant, for your first experience of Nepalese dining – a culinary crossroad between the influences of China, India and Europe which makes for some really interesting flavour combinations.
Visit Swayambhunath Temple
Today we’ll head a short distance out of town to an ancient stone pilgrim stairway that leads to the Swayambhunath Temple. Keep an eye out for macaque monkeys as they often join us on the walk up the stairway – they’ve even been known to steal hats on occasion, so stay alert! According to local legend, Swayambhunath (meaning ‘self-arisen’), was said to have risen up from a lake that once covered the land where Kathmandu now stands. Up on the hilltop temple, the smell of incense and butter lamps will follow you as you gaze out over the sprawling city of Kathmandu below. Local devotees come here daily to make a ritual circumnavigation of the centre piece stupa (a dome-shaped Buddhist shrine) and spin the prayer wheels set into its base. Later, we’ll make our way back down into town and make preparations for our journey to Lukla and the Everest region tomorrow.
Journey to Lukla
This morning we’ll take a short flight to the mountain settlement of Lukla. This small town high in the Himalayas is the gateway to the Everest region and an important base for mountaineering expeditions. After a last gear check with our guides, we’ll lace up our boots and start with a local hike around Lukla. The aim of today is to give you a gentle introduction to the altitude change, everyone’s body can react differently, and so easing ourselves into this new environment is really important. This gentle start will lay the foundations to make the coming days more easily manageable for us on our journey towards Base Camp.
Hike to Phakding
Today we hit the trail, hiking down to the village of Phakding on the banks of the Dudh Kosi River. It’s an undulating trail ending up around 250 metres (820 feet) lower than our start point in Lukla. For the most part we’ll be amongst the trees, and we’ll get regular glimpses across the fertile valleys of the region. These valleys are refreshed and replenished annually during the monsoon season, and so are rich with plant life, especially the colourful rhododendron, Nepal’s national flower. We’ll pass by local porters, other trekkers, and pack animals along our trek to Phakding today, this trail form part of an important trade route, used to move supplies around the region, and so is a well established track.
Hike from Phakding to Namche Bazaar
This morning, we’ll set off through a narrow valley divided by the Dudh Kosi River, passing terraced crop fields, small villages and ever-present prayer wheels (always pass on the left and spin them clockwise). As we approach the entrance to Sagarmatha National Park, we’ll be greeted with sensational views of massive snow-capped Himalayan peaks with names you’ll soon become familiar with such as Thamserku and Kangtega. Sagarmatha National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to a wide range of plants and animals. Himalayan tahr (a type of wild goat), musk deer and Himalayan monals (an extremely colourful member of the pheasant family) are known to frequent this area, so keep your eyes peeled and a camera handy if you’re a keen photographer. After lunch, we’ll begin our ascent to the village of Namche Bazaar, home to the world’s highest marketplace and incredible 360° views.
Acclimatisation day, Namche Bazaar, hike to view Mt Everest
With its remote alpine setting and outlook across to Kongde Ri at 6187 metres (20,298 feet) and surrounding peaks, Namche Bazaar is one of the most beautiful villages in the Himalayas – a great place for a relaxed, acclimatisation day. Namche Bazaar is a fairly small town, so you can wander its narrow, cobbled streets to explore the monasteries and tea houses without worrying too much about getting lost. The town was historically an important stopping point for trading expeditions across the Nangpa La to Tibet and is still an important supply point for mountaineers and trekkers today, so the local market is definitely worth a look. This afternoon we’ll hike above Namche Bazaar for a great panorama. It’s a steep trail, but the views of Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam are mind blowing and make the effort thoroughly worth it! Look out for Himalayan tahr and the Danphe pheasant (Nepal’s national bird).
Hike to Deboche and visit a Monastery
This morning, we’ll set off early with fantastic views of Everest and head back down to the Dudh Kosi River. We’ll stop at a local Sherpa tea house for a lunch, take a few moments to soak in the surroundings and then carry on along the trail. As we draw closer to Tengboche, we’ll be greeted with even closer perspectives of Ama Dablam 6856 metres (22,493 feet) and Nuptse 7861 metres (25,791 feet) until finally, upon our arrival at Tengboche, Mt Everest and Lhotse begin to loom ahead in the distance. Looking south, we’ll have a view of numerous other peaks such as Kangtega, Thamserku and the jagged ridgeline of Kongde Ri. We’ll then carry on to Deboche and stay at Rivendell Lodge.
Hike from Deboche to Dingboche
We’ll begin our day’s hike by passing through a dense forest of dwarf conifers where musk deer and monal pheasants are often seen. Our trail then drops steeply through the forest until we cross over the surging waters of the Dudh Kosi River, before beginning our ascent to Dingboche. Today, we’ll leave the forest for the last time until we return from Everest Base Camp. From here, it’s a much more austere landscape of boulders and alpine meadows. The final stretch of the day’s trek takes us alongside the fast flowing Imja Khola River, which drains directly from the snows of Lhotse, before we spend the night in Dingboche.
Acclimatisation day in Dingboche, hike to Nangkartshang
The golden rule of acclimatising slowly is ‘climb high, sleep low’, and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing today. Just outside Dingboche is a small peak called Nangkartshang. It’s a steep climb up the ridge, but we’ll be taking it slow and steady. We’ll be looking straight at Makalu, Lhotse and Cho Oyo – three of the six highest mountains in the world – it’s an incredible vista (and there’s more to come over the next few days). It’s your holiday and nothing is compulsory, so if you’d prefer not to do this side hike, you can hang out, rest up, read and chat with fellow trekkers in Dingboche instead.
Hike from Dingboche to Lobuche
We’ll set off in the morning up the Khumbu valley, passing yak herders’ shacks along the way. From here, the views of the twin peaks of Taboche and Cholatse, as they rise steeply above the open alpine valley, are outstanding. Arakam Tse appears steadily closer as we continue ascending to the village of Dughla. We’ll take a breather at this little streamside town before the final stretch up over the Thokla Pass to Lobuche, our home for the night and the last stop before our trek to Everest Base Camp tomorrow.
Everest Base Camp
Today is the day! We’ll make our way up the trail in between the Khumbu glacial moraine and the mountain walls. We’ll pass massive boulders before reaching the town of Gorak Shep, where we’ll stop for a well-earned lunch. Recharged, we’ll make our way past the moraine wall of the Khumbu Glacier; slow and steady is the name of the game as we weave our way up the path which leads us to Everest Base Camp at 5364 metres (17,598 feet). Situated at the base of the Khumbu Icefall, the camp is the stuff of legends, having been the launching point for numerous expeditions by the world’s greatest mountaineers for many years. Mountaineers have the best chance of reaching the summit of Mt Everest using what’s known as ‘siege’ techniques, where they’ll spend weeks establishing a series of high camps stocked with food and oxygen cylinders ready for a push to the summit when the conditions are right. During the climbing season, Everest Base Camp becomes a village of brightly coloured tents and there’s an incredible atmosphere in the air. After taking in this awesome experience, we’ll leave Everest Base Camp and return to Gorak Shep for the night. Congratulations!
Hike to Kala Patthar, descend to Pheriche
We’ll don our headlamps and set off before sunrise this morning to the ridgetop of Kala Patthar. At 5550 metres (18,208 feet), this is the highest point we’ll reach during the trip and the location of one of the most dramatic views anywhere in the Himalayas – an amazing accomplishment! From the summit of this rocky knoll, you’ll have a panoramic view of Mt Everest and the surrounding peaks – the view from this place is simply off the charts! After lunch at Lobuche, we’ll descend to Pheriche and spend a cosy night at the Edelweiss Lodge – hot showers, yak steaks and cold beers await!
Hike from Pheriche to Deboche
With Mt Everest behind us, and Ama Dablam ahead, we’ll descend with the Dudh Kosi. As you descend into more oxygen-rich air, you’ll feel like you could run a marathon (in fact, today’s walk is part of the world’s highest marathon). With this in mind, we’ll be able to make good progress all the way to Deboche, once again getting low enough to see rhododendron and pine forests across the valley.
Hike from Deboche to Khumjung
This morning we’ll make our way down through beautiful forest, where we’re sure to hear the now familiar bells of yaks grazing nearby. As we head through the forest keep an eye out for musk deer that are often seen here. As
we descend, the air becomes richer, the air temperature warmer and the sounds of raging rivers louder. We’ll stop for tea beside the Dudh Kosi River, before winding our way up towards the picturesque village of Khumjung and past a tree nursery established by Sir Edmund Hillary’s Himalayan Trust. As proud Kiwis, we’ll be sure to tell you all about Sir Ed! After arriving in Khumjung, we may get the chance to visit a local monastery and then it’s time to rest our legs
in a comfortable lodge before enjoying dinner. Khumjung is famous for its potatoes and green roofs. It’s also a bit quieter than Namche Bazaar, and a favourite overnight stop amongst our hikers.
Hike from Khumjung to Jorsalle
After a leisurely start, we’ll pass the largest school in the area, also established by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1961. After crossing a small hill with great views back to Mt Everest, we’ll pass Syangboche Airport, one of the world’s highest, used to fly in supplies and equipment for the expedition climbers tackling the surrounding peaks. We’ll then take on the switchbacks that descend down the valley back to the Dudh Kosi River and from here, the trail follows the river to Jorsalle. This attractive village sits near the boundary of the Sagarmatha National Park and is one of the lesser-known stopping points on the trekking trail so we’ll often have this place virtually to ourselves.
Hike from Jorsalle to Lukla
This is our final full day on the mountain trails of the Khumbu region so it’s time to put our boots on one last time. We’ll stop for tea in Phakding village before making the climb back up to Lukla. We’ll share a final meal with our local team of porters and cooks to celebrate our incredible achievements and experiences on the trek, and to thank the team that helped make it all happen.
Return to Kathmandu
This morning we’ll take our last look at the Himalayas from Lukla, before the short flight back to Kathmandu. For those who are keen this afternoon, we’ll walk to Durbar Square, the place where Nepal’s kings were crowned in past times. The square is in the centre of old town Kathmandu, and is the city’s greatest example of traditional architecture, so much so that it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. Dinner this evening will be yours to explore and experiment at one of the many great restaurants in town.
Free day in Kathmandu
Today you’re free to explore the winding streets, atmospheric temples and markets of Kathmandu. Every now and then, flights out of Lukla can be delayed due to the weather, so there’s a chance we may be flying back into Kathmandu today instead. Either way, you can take the time to soak up the sights and sounds of this energetic, colourful culture. Tonight, we’ll meet at a local restaurant for our final dinner together to celebrate our achievements and adventures in the Himalayas.
Today is the final day of your Himalayas trekking trip with us amongst the highest mountains in the world. If you have extra time after your trip, we’re happy to make suggestions on how to make the most of it. On the other hand, if you’re on your way home today, we’ll send you back refreshed and invigorated from the great hiking adventures you’ve had with us in Nepal!
The accommodation varies from trip to trip and day-to-day – you’ll stay in a variety of places from jungle lodges to mountain huts, local motels and friendly lodges. Active Adventures focuses on getting you out into amazing places in the most stunning parts of the world, so this isn’t a tour of the world’s fanciest hotels! Another focus of Active Adventures is having a good place to rest and rejuvenate at the end of a busy day, and to make sure you are fully charged for the next day’s activities, so you’ll always find yourself in a clean, comfortable room, quite often with a spectacular view.
Below is a sample of some of the amazing places you’ll stay in:
Lukla, once a quiet farming village, is now the gateway to Mount Everest and the homeland of the famous Sherpa people. A stunning flight from Kathmandu, Lukla lies on a mountain ridge at 2.700m/9.000 ft. and is the starting point for trekkers who want to walk the famous trails of Everest. Everest Summit Lodge is most conveniently located right next to Lukla Airport and provides an unmatched level of service in Lukla. Everest Summit Lodge offers spacious double rooms with heated beds, hot showers, a lovely sunny garden and great comfort and hospitality. Our lodge is recognized for its traditional Sherpa interiors and unmatched service in our charming heated restaurant and sunny garden.
Breathtaking views of the formidable Khumbu glacier and the striking snow capped peaks welcome guests at Everest inn, Gorakshep. Situated at an altitude 5180m, Everest Inn is the byword for rest and relaxation in a fascinating mountain world.
Hotel Everest Inn is Situated in Gorak Shep, at an altitude 5180m, Everest Inn is the byword for rest and relaxation in a fascinating mountain world. Breathtaking views of the formidable Khumbu glacier and the striking snow capped peaks welcome guests at Everest inn, Gorakshep.
All prices are per person twin share and unless otherwise stated, are in Australian dollars, are correct at the time of publication and subject to change without notice.
Please contact us for available dates.
Walking: 2-3 hours per day on gentle-gradient trails.
Other activities: On these trips, you’ll be taking part in a range of other activities that focus less on building up a sweat and more on enjoying the finer things in life.
Walking: 2-4 hours per day on gentle to moderate gradient trails. No multi-day hikes.
Biking: 1-3 hours, cruisy rides achievable by anyone, even first-timers
Kayaking: 1-3 hours, entry-level sea kayaking with specialist guides and stable boats
Other activities (e.g. snorkelling): Always optional and very little exertion required. A highlight for many!
Hiking: Typically 3-6 hours per day on well-formed back country trails. Expect some significant gradient inclines and declines.
Altitude: Your trip may include some moderate altitude areas, though these don’t form the focus of the trip and are generally manageable.
Biking: 1-3 hours, cruisy rides achievable by anyone, even first-timers
Kayaking: 1-3 hours, entry-level sea kayaking with specialist guides and stable boats
Other activities (ie caving): Always optional and very little exertion required. A highlight for many!
Hiking / Trekking:This is an Active trip with a capital ‘A’. Most of our signature adventures are a level 4. Typically 4-6 hour hikes with options for more, sometimes with limited or no vehicle support and nearly always with ascents and descents.
Altitude: Some trips at this level will reach a significant altitude. We are here to help you manage that and make your experience one to cherish for a lifetime.
Biking & Kayaking: If one, or both, of these activities are ‘your thing’ There are trip options in this range to specialise, allowing you to be on two wheels or with a paddle in your hand for most of the day.
Trekking & Altitude: This is classic trekking, at altitude. Some might even call it ‘expedition-style’. We’ve had folks from all walks of life achieve their dreams on our grade 5 trips, so if you’re in for a challenge get in touch to find out if this is for you.
In the event you need to cancel your trip, the following cancellation charges will apply:
Any deposits not transferred to future trips are non-refundable and will be forfeited. All refunds are less any non-refundable expenses incurred by Active Adventures.
Requested changes to your trip and/or date must be made prior to 90 days before your departure. In the event you need to change your trip and/or date, the following will apply:
A cancellation or postponement will take effect from the date which Active Adventures receives written notification of the cancellation or postponement. This cancellation policy includes voluntary or involuntary early departure from a trip. No refunds will be given for missed or unused services such as accommodation, activities or meals. We strongly recommend travel insurance which covers cancellation fees at the time of booking.
*Cancellation and postponement terms and conditions may differ for certain group trips, as well as Cruises, Private Journeys, and Extensions. These exceptions are clearly indicated in the detailed itineraries for each of these trips.
We occasionally may have to cancel any trip at any time before departure for commercial reasons beyond our control, including if the minimum numbers required to operate the trip are not reached. If we do have to cancel your trip, you can transfer the fare to an alternate departure date for no additional fee or alternatively opt for a refund, including your deposit.
In circumstances where the cancellation is due to any conditions or event outside our control, including but not limited to natural disasters, pandemics, border restrictions, terrorism or political instability, Active Adventures will re-book you on an alternative trip or will offer you a future trip credit valid for 24 months.
If you’re re-booked to a new departure, as a result of your booking being cancelled by us or force majeure, the cancellation terms in effect on the date when your booking was changed will apply for your new booking.
All credits and refunds resulting from cancellations for any reason will be less any non-refundable expenses incurred by Active Adventures. Active Adventures is not responsible for any additional expenses you may have incurred as a result of your booking, including but not limited to visas, vaccinations, medical expenses, clothing, equipment, testing, quarantine, travel insurance excess or non-refundable flights.