The remarkable town of Namche is the largest and most prosperous in the Khumbu region, Nepal, a historical trading centre where grain from the south was exchanged for salt from Tibet. It is situated on the slopes of an arch-shaped mountain, with astounding views of the giant Himalayan peaks. Light pollution is also very low in this remote region so on a clear night it is possible to see the range illuminated by stars.
Devasted and flattened in the 2015 earthquake, Namche has painstakingly rebuilt itself to its former glory. The town is the main hub of the local Sherpa community where they come to buy and sell their goods. Whilst trekking in this region it is most likely that you will spend one if not two nights here. It is a good place for acclimatisation and rest stops as there are short circuits close by. It can also be a place for some retail therapy as there are a range of shops selling hiking gear and more traditional Nepalese goods. Although it is best to keep your shopping until the end of your trek – you don’t want to be carrying woven jackets at 4,000 metres! It also contains several bakeries selling apple pie, a firm favourite amongst hungry mountaineers. Sending postcards from the local post office is a popular pastime. There is even a pub where signed photographs of past customers adorn the walls. Everest beer is served, and pool tables can provide a welcome break from trekking.
Sherwi Khangba Centre, which translates as Sherpa’s home, is a traditional Sherpa house which is wholly dedicated to the preservation of this Himalayan culture. It has a Mount Everest documentation centre that keeps a record of all Sherpa climbers – the silent heroes so often forgotten in the world of mountaineering. There is a fascinating gallery and library filled with photographs, videos and books about this wonderful mountain culture and the international world of mountaineering.
Exiting Namche is a gruelling task (particularly if your tea house is at the bottom); seemingly never-ending steep steps lead hikers up and out of the village and the oxygen levels slowly begin to peter out. It is also a firm signal that comfort is coming to an end. From here on, teahouses become a little simpler and food less seasoned, but should your route permit it, Namche will be waiting for you on your return.
Features in the following itineraries
- Leslie Siben, India
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka