Namche is the largest settlement in the region and a fascinating place; the perfect choice for a rest day. It has a few decent cafes and bakeries, and its shops sell all manner of goods, from second-hand books and local handicrafts to medicine and trekking gear. Internet cafes abound; they give relatively fast connection speeds, but can be expensive. This is the last place to change money on the trail, but the rate will be far less favourable than in Kathmandu, so it’s a facility of last resort. On a similar note it is worth remembering that everything on sale here will be more expensive than in Kathmandu but this is the final chance to buy anything you need for the rest of the trek. If you’re short on warm gear, remember: whilst it may feel warm here the temperature will drop as you start climbing higher – especially at night.
Most people spend the day on a morning walk – helping with the acclimatisation process – and then just relax, chat to fellow trekkers from all over the world and soak in the atmosphere of this incredible place.
There are numerous trails to choose from heading away from the village. The main choices are either to the north, or west.
To the north - Kunde and Khumjung
This route climbs steeply for the first 45 minutes, passing the small airstrip at Shyanboche, before rising again to Kunde and Khumjung.
In Kunde you will find the Edumund Hilary Health centre and further on, in Khumjung, the monastery (with the Yeti’s Head!) and the famous Edmund Hillary School.
Everest View Hotel
A shorter route leads to the Everest View Hotel, where you can gaze at the peak from the hotel’s granite terrace (cloud allowing) whilst supping a hot chocolate or coffee and pick out Khumb Yui Lha (a sacred mountain), Taboche, Cholatse, Lhotse and the impressive Ama Dablam, which will dominate the skyline on many of the days on the trail.
The hotel is the highest luxury hotel in the world at 3880 metres. It was built in the late 1960s and opened in 1973 by a Japanese tour company.. Guests flew in to the nearby Syngboche airport but the altitude gain from sea level was too high and the guests became ill very quickly with headaches and nausea. Now, only trekkers willing to walk in from Lukla have the pleasure of visiting this amazing place.
Walk directly up from Namche on a good but steep path, past Syanboche airstrip, then up to the Panorama Hotel, which you will see on the skyline. Pause there for a few moments to take in the first of the stunning views.
One of the great things about the Everest View Hotel is that you cannot see it until you are almost there, as it’s tucked away in the trees. If you go up the steps and in through the front door you will quickly see through to the terrace, where you can sit with a drink of tea or coffee and look across at the stunning views of all the mountains you have come here to see: Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and the amazing Ama Dablam, which looks so close.
Just the walk up to the hotel is wonderful. It takes you high above the walking trail for tomorrow, has unbelievable views, and is a great place for seeing Lammergeiers and Himalayan Griffons.
If you head to the west of Namche, this leads to a quieter part of the region, along the Bhote Khosi river valley towards Thame. The monastic village of Thame is too far away at three-plus hours, but taking a stroll for a couple of hours along the well-trodden trail, and then heading back on yourself, is still a good acclimatisation option.
If you have the inclination in the afternoon Namche has a few attractions that are worth a visit, such as the Museum of Sherpa Life, the National Park Visitor Centre, the Museum of Local Medicinal Plants and Tibetan Herbal Medicine, and the Namche Monastery. All give a good flavour of the treasures that this region has to offer.
The maze of streets in Namche.
Enjoy your time here.