Have you ever wanted to get away from the usual city madness and going for a month long walk in the Himalayas? Maybe, once again, it’s time to pack the bags. The journey begins from Nepal, the land of mountains. Kathmandu is a city usually full of utter chaos. Roads are full of traffic, dust, and animals. Just spend a day or two, packing you bag with necessities. I suggest you stay in a small hotel in Thamel, which is the tourist area. This area is very much safe and have plenty of small hotels to suit your pocket. Get ready for the trip. Make sure you have enough warm clothes with you. Get a thermos and some Chlorine tablets. If you need, get some basic medicines such as antibiotics, plasters, stomach problem tablets and painkiller tablets. Unless you are accustomed to greater heights, I suggest you take a tablet for quick acclimatization too. You ought to get a dust cover for your camera and for your nose. Up in the mountains are covered with a very soft dust that could create a bad cough and ruin the lenses. Make sure you have a rain cover for your bag and camera. Also, you must keep extra camera batteries and a charger as up in the mountains, charging a camera or a phone for one hour will cost you few dollars. Have enough memory cards as most little villages doesn’t have much shops and things could be very expensive.
So, if everything is ready, book your ticket to Lukla and hop in to one of those small planes and get ready to land at one of the most dangerous airports in the world: The Lukla Airport.
This is where the journey starts. Lukla is the closest town to Lukla airport. The place is filled with narrow roads, small lodges and shops selling anything and everything to tourist at an exorbitant price. Have a hot meal before you start your trek. Fill your thermos with hot water or black tea, get your walking sticks and lets, start the walk. You are already at an altitude of 2,860 meters. So, take your time and walk slowly enjoying the extreme beauty that surrounds the place. Stop at Phakding for the night. Another small village with too much hustle and bustle for a mountainous area. Get some rest and start trekking the next day.
You will cross the Dud Khosi river several times on the way. This river is one of the biggest rivers in Nepal and absolutely a natural beauty with its ice blue water and curvy rapids. Water is ice cold so do not hope to get a dip in there. Maybe you can spend the second night at Monju and have dhal rice and a hot lemon for dinner. If you need, most lodges here have hot water facilities so could use to refresh yourself.
This is the last big village you will get on the way. It is a perfect tourist village for a couple of days’ rest. You probably will need this rest as the trek to Namche is very steep and hard. Altitude at Namche is 3,440 meters and this will make you really exhausted. So, you deserve a full day’s rest here in a cozy little lodge. Namche is an amazing place with its weekend market, bakeries, and people. Roam around and you will be able to capture some beautiful photos of lifestyle in rural Nepali families. Young men herding Yak cows, women washing clothes by the river, small kids playing with dirt and mud, men just sitting aside the road and wait for some work can tell a bigger story about the lifestyle.
After Namche bazaar, the look and feel of the trek changes significantly and becomes harder and steeper. You will notice more Yaks and cows carrying lots of goods to shops and lodges up in the hills. You will hear the bells even from afar. That is the notice asking to move to a side and let the Yaks to move. Path is mostly serene and calm except when you hear those Yak bells. You may stop once at places and get a little rest and hydrate yourself with a cup of black tea or hot lemon.
There are places where you will see the far away snow-capped mountains. But nothing is more glamourous as seen Mount Everest. You will stop for a moment at the very first place you view the top of that majestic mountain. Have a stop at the Tengboche monastery and spend the night at a lodge there. Participate for the early morning spiritual prayer at the temple and get the blessings from monks who stay there. This monastery is a beautiful milestone in the trek and ideal for photographic capturing. You will take stops at Dingboche, Lobuche and Gorakshep in next few days before you start walking up to the Everest Base Camp. Take a day off at Gorakshep before you trek to Everest Base Camp. Maybe you can go to Kalapathar which is located at the south ridge of Mount Pumori. This small black rock is about 5,643 meters in altitude and provides the perfect view of Mount Everest. You can trek to Everest Base Camp which from Gorakshep which is about 2-3-hour trek but be careful of altitude. Walk high and sleep low is the law in the mountains. Do not hurry yourself and get caught up with deadly altitude sickness as it can literally kill a person. You must spend at least a couple of hours at the Everest Base camp and photograph the story of those mountain guides who risk their lives every day to take overly eager mountaineering tourist to the summit of Everest. Everest Base Camp has become a small village of tents nowadays.
This is the peak of our Everest Base Camp trek in the Himalayas. Of course, there are million and one other treks which you can take and spend the rest of your life wandering in the Himalayas. Because the beauty of this place is unmatchable and serenity will make you forget all the madness in your usual city life. You walk back the same way. Maybe you can do a little D-tour and go to Island Peak (20,305 feet or 6,189 meters) which is another beautiful trekking peak.
Come back to Kathmandu and spend a couple of days roaming around this busy city before you head back home. Visit the Swayambhunatha temple also known as the Monkey Temple in Kathmandu valley. Go to Patan Durbar square and Mangal bazaar where you can capture faith, religion, and culture of Nepal in one place. Killing of goats, colourful gods and romance of youth can be seen and will be objects for some memorable photographs.
Nepal is one country that you need another life time to explore and Himalayas is the heaven of mountains. I know this trip would have given you just the glimpse of it and you are badly want to go back to the mountains once again. So, do I.
Adios, until we meet again in the great Himalayas.