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Top Things To Do In Namche Bazaar

namche-bazar

Namche Bazaar is one of the most popular stops on the Everest Base Camp trail. The settlement carved on the side of a mountain looks more like a town. Namche is known as the capital of the Sherpa homeland, as it is the economic heart of the Khumbu Valley. Except for roads, this mountain town has all the amenities needed by a traveler: shops, hotels, restaurants, cafes, good internet and phone connectivity, pharmacies, banks, ATM kiosks, and great Himalayan viewpoints. The town also hosts the largest weekly open-air market in Khumbu, where villagers from as far as Tibet come to trade and shop for goods.

Trekkers and mountaineers usually stay an extra day at Namche Bazaar to acclimatize and rest. The town offers several options to keep oneself engaged while staying here. Here you will find museums, pubs, internet cafes, snooker halls, spas and wellness centers, bakeries, etc. The villages and hills surrounding Namche are great spots for day hikes and short excursions.

While Namche Bazaar is a popular stop for treks in the Everest Region, it is also a destination in itself. Here, people can enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Himalayas as well as immerse themselves in its rich culture. So what can one do in Namche? Listed below are some of the top things to do in Namche Bazaar.


1. Hike to Shyangboche Hill

EBC Trek in 2019

Shyangboche offers panoramic views of Mount Everest and other mountains. To reach Shyangboche, one needs to climb a winding staircase above Namche. Shyangboche is set in a flat grassy pasture and has an STOL airport. Except for helicopter landings, the airport isn't in much use. However, since 2008, the site has been used for the Everest Skydive event. The Shyangboche airport came into the spotlight in 2008 when Everest Skydive, touted as the highest skydiving adventure in the world, was held at this site. The site is still used for commercial skydiving events.

2 Visit the Sherpa Museum

The Sherpa Museum lies right above the settlement. Here you will get to see ancient artifacts and traditional costumes of the Sherpas. A section of the museum is dedicated to the documentation of climbers who have scaled Mount Everest. The Sherpa Culture Gallery and Sherpa Himal Art feature old photographs of Sherpa villages, the people, and their traditional Buddhist art. The museum has a wide collection of Thanka paintings, which are a delight to see.

The museum is housed in a traditional Sherpahome, and one gets to observe traditional architecture while visiting this museum.

3. Learn about Sustainable Tourism at Sagarmatha Next

One of Namche Bazaar's newest attractions Sagarmatha Next is a museum, art gallery, and waste management center. The center promotes sustainable tourism and works towards introducing an environment-friendly solution to waste management and disposal in the mountains. The center has a visitor learning center, an art gallery, a waste lab, a shop, and a café.

There are digital exhibits, sculptures, and art created from waste materials sourced from the Everest trails. Carry Me Back is the center's crowd-sourced initiative where people can take back apre-packed 1 kg of waste with them on their way out of Khumbu.

The center offers a space for creative artists and innovators to create works of art from junk collected from Mount Everest and the trekking trails of Khumbu. It's surely a must-visit place for people who are concerned about the environment and seek to improve it. Sagarmatha Next is located at an elevation of 3775 meters in Shyangboche, above Namche Bazaar.

4. Day Hikes to Sherpa villages

The neighboring villages of Khumjung, Kunde, and Thameserveas great destinations for short hikes. These villages are located quite close to Namche Bazaar and can be reached within a few hour's walk.

The village of Khumjung is well known for having the first school in the Solu Khumbu Region. The school in Khumjung was established by Sir Edmund's Hillarys' trust, the Himalayan Trust. The school was established in 1961 with just two classrooms and a handful of Sherpa students. Now the school has about 300 students and 17 buildings, including a hostel for students who live in distant villages. While many schools have opened in other villages of Khumbu, the school in Khumjung remains the only one offering higher education (up to the matriculation level).

Since it was first established, the school has seen a lot of transformations. International aid organizations as well as foreign donors have helped develop the school's infrastructure. The original school building, which was built to accommodate the first batch of Sherpa students, now houses the Sir Edmund Hillary Visitors Center.

Another attraction of the village is the Khumjung Monastery, where a scalp believed to be that of the Yeti, the Abominable Snowman, is showcased in a glass box. One can have a look at the scalp by paying some amount to the monastery's caretaker.

The village of Kunde lies close to Khumjung. Kunde was chosen as the site for the first health center in Khumbuby Sir Edmund Hillary. After his historic ascent to Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary wanted to help the poor Sherpas, who were leading a difficult life without access to basic healthcare and education. So he decided to build a school in Khumjung and a healthcare center in Kunde. The healthcare center was manned by volunteer healthcare professionals from New Zealand and Canada. But after 2013, locals have taken over the management of the hospital. The hospital has two resident doctors, nurses, lab technicians, etc. The Kunde Hospital, with 12 beds, is the largest in the area, offering medical services to the villagers of Namche, Kunde, Khumjung, Phortse, Thame, etc.

Thame, one of the least explored Sherpa villages in the Khumbu, lies hidden from the popular trekking routes. Not many trekkers walk past the traditional village; thus, the village has retained its rustic charm. Quieter and smaller than Namche Bazaar, the village of Thame is calm and peaceful. There's a monastery above the village that is worth visiting.

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5. Excursion to Hotel Everest View

EBC Trek in 2019

Hotel Everest View is a must-visit site if you are in Namche Bazaar. Most trekking groups hike to the hotel to enjoy panoramic views of Mount Everest, Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse, and other peaks. Established by a Japanese (who later gave up his Japanese citizenship to become a Nepali citizen) traveler and entrepreneur Takashi Miyahari in 1971, the hotel at that time received the Guinness World Record of being the highest luxury hotel in the world. Built using stones, glass, and timber, the elegant and simple design of the hotel blends in perfectly with the beautiful nature.

The hike to Hotel Everest View from Namche takes around two or three hours. One has to take an upward ascent to Shyangboche and then follow a gentle upward trail past a grassy meadow to the hotel. Surrounded by fir and pine trees, the hotel offers grandiose views of Ama Dablam, Khumbila, Kantega, Thamserku, Mount Everest, Nuptse, Lhotse, etc. One can enjoy a hot cup of coffee while taking in the views from the hotel's porch.

6. Visit the Local Market

The Saturday Market at Namche Bazaar is a big thing. It is the biggest market held in this region, where traders from the lower villages and as far as Tibet come to sell and trade. Tibetans from across the border make a difficult journey past the Nangpa La to come to this market. They bring with them Chinese goods and other handmade items that they can barter for or sell to the Sherpas.

As most of the Khumbu villagers congregate at this market to buy and sell, this is a great place to observe the local people and learn more about the local economy. You will find all sorts of items on sale at this market: organic vegetables, fresh meat, utensils, clothes, shoes, grocery items, yak meat, cheese, etc. The market is held only on Saturday. So if you wish to explore this local market, you will have to time your visit to Namche during the weekend.

While the Saturday market is held only on Saturday, the main Namche market is open seven days a week. Shops at the daily market sell trekking gear and equipment, clothes, paintings and souvenir items, groceries, etc. But remember, the items are much more expensive here than in the cities, as everything has to be flown in or transported by mules or porters.

7. Chillout at pubs and cafés

Namche Bazaar is home to some of the best pubs, bakeries, and cafes that you will ever find at 3,000 meters above sea level. It is the last place where you can truly enjoy a good cup of coffee and a delicious meal before you venture further into the high-altitude wilderness. So while in Namche, you can hop into cafes, restaurants, and pubs and have your fill of your 'feel-good' meal.

The town offers some of the best apple pies, brownies, cakes (carrot cake, cheesecake, etc.), and muffins in Khumbu. The German Bakery (Hermann Helmar's), Namche Bakery and Café, IllyEspresso Bar, Sherpa Barista, and Tomodachi Japanese Restaurant aresome of the most populareating jointsin Namche that are frequented by trekkers.

While drinking alcohol is surely not recommended if you are en route to EBC or another high-altitude destination, you can certainly enjoy a couple of drinks to celebrate the success of your trip on your way out. Available at the Irish Pub are Jameson Whiskey and Guinness, the national beer of Ireland. There is also a pool table where you can enjoy a game of snooker. Café Danphe is another great place to chill out in Namche. The café offers a wide array of food and drinks with free wi-fi and charging ports. The café is decorated with T-shirts signed by Mount Everest expedition groups. Documentaries and movies on Everest are screened for free at this cafe.

8. Things to do before leaving Namche Bazaar

If you are heading towards Everest Base Camp, Gokyo Valley, the Three High Passes, or any other high-altitude destinations, you should not forget to do the following:

  • Check your supply of life-saving medicines (Diamox, anti-cold pills, etc.) and stock up.
  • Get cash from the ATM if you are running low.
  • Buy or rent warm gear if you have made it up to Namche without carrying essential gear.
  • Stock up on your snacks.
  • Contact your family and friends and send that important email. Once you leave Namche, the phone and internet connection are going to get sketchy.

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Where is Namche Bazaar?

Namche Bazaar is a Sherpa settlement situated high in the mountain of the Solu Khumbu, or Everest Region of Nepal in South Asia. Namche Bazaar lies about 13 kilometers north of Lukla. It is located inside the Sagarmatha National Park and is flanked by soaring Himalayan peaks like Thamserku, Kongde Ri, Kantega, Kusum Kanguru, and Khumbila, which the Sherparegard as their guardian deity. The town, known as the Sherpa capital, lies on a bowl-shaped mountain face. The geographical coordinates of Namche Bazaar are 27.8069° N latitude and 86.7140° E longitude, The town resembles a giant amphitheater, and one has to ascend and descend stone staircases to walk around the town. The distance between Namche and Everest Base Camp is about 36 kilometers.

How do I reach Namche?

There are no roads in Namche. So one either has to trek or fly to reach the Sherpa capital. To get to Namche Bazaar, trekkers usually take a flight to Lukla and hike from there. It takes around one to two days to reach Namche Bazaar from Lukla. The villages between Namche and Lukla include Cheplung, Thado Koshi, Ghat, Phakding, Toktok, Jorsale, and Monjo. Those who don't want to trek can take a chartered helicopter flight to Namche. It takes about an hour to fly to Namche from Kathmandu via helicopter.

One can also take the classic route and start the trek from Jiri or fly to Phaplu from Kathmandu and commence one's trek. This route covers the culturally rich middle hills of Solu Khumbu and is much longer. It takes about five or six days to reach Namche if one starts the trek from Shivalaya (Jiri) and about four days from Phaplu. There's a road connecting Kathmandu to Jiri, and it usually takes around six to eight hours' drive to reach Jiri from the capital city.

Accommodation Options

While Namche lies in a remote mountainous region, the amenities that it offers to tourists are some of the best and most modern in the Nepal Himalayas. Here, you will find low-budget teahouses as well as high-end mountain lodges. Teahouses offer rooms with en-suite bathrooms, hot showers, wi-fi, etc. Luxury resorts offer clients a premium experience complete with heated rooms, electric blankets, and a fine dining experience.

Conclusion

Namche Bazaar is an amazing place to explore in the Khumbu Region. Unlike other villages on the Everest trail, there's so much more to see and experience in Namche. From breathtaking views of Mount Everest and other gigantic Himalayan peaks to an immersive Sherpa cultural experience, the town's many attractions will keep you engaged and occupied during your stay. Namche Bazaar, while an ideal place to acclimatize for a couple of days before you head to a higher altitude, is a destination in itself. It is a place where you can experience the beauty and magic of the high Himalayas while enjoying modern comforts.





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