Namche Bazaar ,Nepal – Gateway to Mt. Everest
Namche Bazaar (3,500 m) is the staging point for expeditions to Mt Everest and other Himalayan peaks in the area. A historic trading hub, famous for its homemade yak cheese and butter, Namche is situated on the slope of an arch-shaped mountain, with amazing views of giant Himalayan peaks from anywhere in the valley, night and day.
It has developed into a small, colourful market town selling everything from Tibetan artefacts to trekking and climbing equipment and everything you might need during your trip. The visitor center at park headquarters has detailed information on various climbs in the area, memorabilia from different mountaineering expeditions, and information on the lifestyle and culture of the Sherpa people.
Once a major trading centre of the Khumbu region, Sherpas from neighboring villages and traders from Tibet would gather to barter goods displaying exotic traditional arts and crafts. Namche Bazaar despite its prosperity, still maintains its ancient culture, traditions and heart warming hospitality.
Now a major gateway to Everest, Namche Bazaar has become a busy tourist hub where climbers and trekkers can do last minute shopping for essentials.
The trek from Lukla to Namche can be done in one full day, but unless you are experienced at trekking at high altitude and extremely fit, taking two days over the journey is strongly recommended. Many people who rush to Namche suffer altitude sickness and have to be brought down again the following day.
Places to visit in and around Namche
A visit to Syangboche or some Sherpa villages such as Thame, Khumjung and Khunde just a few hours walk from Namche are good options for whiling away your time, which also help you to acclimatize.
One of the popular stops along the Everest route, this Sherpa dominated settlement seems to have it all. Besides the usual collection of hotels, restaurants and equipment stores, one can even find a regular pub, cyber cafe and a place to play pool. It is wise to halt here for a couple of days to get acclimatized by walking up and down in the vicinity as acclimatization is a slow process.
Every Saturday morning, Namche Bazaar gears up for the weekly market fair which lights up the place. This fair puts the spotlight on the middle of the town, where traders from Tibet and other villages display their artefacts and essential goods to attract potential customers.r puts the spotlight on the middle of the town, where traders from Tibet and other villages display their artefacts and essential goods to attract potential customers.
- Sagarmatha National Park Visitor’s Centre, located at the top end of the village off the Tengboche trail (right side of village when looking up). Offers information on the wildlife of the area. There are some interesting photographs
- Museum of Sherpa Life, located above the village off the Tengboche trail. An introduction to Sherpa culture and the fauna and flora of the region –
- Museum of local medicinal plants and Tibetan herbal medicine at the Healing Centre offers an introduction into the world of Tibetan medicine through posters and artifacts. It also has a small gift shop, the profit from which help maintain the clinic up stairs.
- Namche Library. A small library with a big heart – good selection of English books, though they cannot be taken off the premises.
- Namche Monastery, located off the Thame trail (left side of village when looking up). A small monastery in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. It has pleasant courtyard and some traditional frescoes on wall of the main shrine