Depart London by the scheduled services of Gulf Air for the overnight flight to Kathmandu.
Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to our hotel. Those on Land Only arrangements will join us in the afternoon at the Royal Singi Hotel. There will be a full trek briefing this evening.
We fly to the mountain airstrip of Lukla (2800m), and begin our trek northwards up the valley of the Dudh Kosi (or 'milk river'). We then descend from the small plateau down into the forested valley. The trail crosses several tributary streams and we have some tantalising views before reaching the small settlement of Phakding (2652m), where we will spend our first night.
We follow the Dudh Kosi north. Heading out of Phakding, we first cross to the west bank, climbing high above the river. The walking takes us through magnificent forests of rhododendron, giant fir and magnolia trees, and both in spring and autumn the ground is bright with flowers. After Jorsale (2805m) the trail climbs to cross the river, and start the steep climb to Namche Bazaar. Soon we should have the first view of the summit of Everest appearing behind the great ridge of Nuptse-Lhotse. Another 300m of climbing brings us to Namche Bazaar, administrative centre of the Khumbu region and headquarters for the Mount Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park. Namche is an important trading centre with a weekly market at which fresh foodstuffs are sold.
We climb steeply out of Namche Bazaar to the villages of Kunde and Khumjung with excellent views of Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse and many other magnificent peaks. We may even stop for tea at the spectacularly situated Everest View Hotel. We will also have the opportunity to visit the Edmund Hillary hospital in Kunde. Passing through the village of Khumjung, we visit the monastery where, for a small donation, we can see the only Yeti scalp in the world! We then descend to join the main trail at Kyanjuma high above the Dudh Kosi, with excellent views of Ama Dablam across the valley.
We descend gradually to the village of Teshinga, after which the trail drops more steeply to the river, crossing it at the little settlement of Phunki Thangkha (3250m). Climbing steeply we enter the forest and continue to the saddle of a hill where we come to Thyangboche at 3867m. From here we have a fantastic panorama of the surrounding mountains including Everest, Lhotse and Ama Dablam. Thyangboche has long been a sacred spot. The Lama Sange Dorje, who first brought Buddhism to the region, is said to have flown from his monastery in Tibet over the Himalaya, landing here at Pangboche. Visitors should be careful to respect the spirit of this special place. From Thyangboche we descend through rhododendron forests before the trail climbs slowly to Pangboche (3900m). There are stunning views of Ama Dablam ahead.
Ama Dablam Base Camp
We spend the day in Pangboche with various options for daywalks. The energetic can take a packed lunch and make the full-day excursion to Ama Dablam Base Camp (4570m). The trail descends to a bridge across the Dudh Kosi and then climbs up onto lower slopes of this stunning mountain. It's about 3.5 hours walk to the base camp from where we can pick out the route climbers take and in both spring and autumn we may well see climbers at base camp and on the mountain. It was also in this area a Sherpa girl reported having seen a Yeti! For those wanting a less energetic day a visit to Upper Pangboche village and monastery (one of the oldest in the region) is recommended.
Day 8 - 10
We descend back down to the river and climb up to Thyangboche for one of our last panoramic views of Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse. The trail then drops down to Phunki Tenga and then climbs through Teshinga to Kyanjuma, where we spend a night. The walk back from here to Namche Bazaar is along a beautiful undulating trail high above the Dudh Kosi. Descending through Namche Bazaar, we follow the Dudh Kosi, past Jorsale and Monzo to Phakding, where we spend another night. On the last day we trek back to Chaunrikhara, where we leave the main trail and climb the short distance to Lukla.
We fly back to Kathmandu, transfer to our hotel and have the rest of the day at leisure.
A free day in Kathmandu for last minute shopping or sightseeing. See The Optional Excursion section for sightseeing tours that can be booked locally.
The trip ends after breakfast. Those on the group flight will be transferred to the airport after breakfast. For those on group flights, these usually depart in the morning and arrive in the UK the same day.