Day 5 to Gokyo and Cho La Pass – Khumjung to Mongla

Sometimes First Impressions of a Place Are Not the Best

Mongla stupa September 2018
The small settlement of Mongla with its newly painted stupa.

The Sherpa woman was squatting on the side of the trail on the path looking over the edge of the hill. Yelling. She wasn’t hysterical but she was very animated. Nepalese people are very calm and yelling just doesn’t fit with their character. They are very accepting and you don’t see them getting angry. As we got closer I could see she was yelling into her mobile phone. Bad reception perhaps? Finally we were close enough to see the problem. The woman was yelling at two teenage girls way down on the slope, maybe one of the girls was on the other end of the phone, although she could probably have her heard without the phone. She was directing them to round up a yak who was eating in a cultivated area where it obviously should not have been. The young girls where having some difficulty catching the yak because of the slope. It was quite funny but then again it wasn’t.

Mongla the Second Time Around

We were almost into the very small village when we witnessed the escaped yak scene and the scene is seared into my memory.

Mongla on the hill September 2018
the view of the small village of Mongla from the Khumjung side

When my husband, The Trainer was planning our itinerary for our 2018 trek to Gokyo he decided we should stay in Mongla if we were going to stick with our altitude rule. Before we left Australia when he told me would be staying the night I was unimpressed. In 2015 on our trek to EBC we had stopped for a breather and a cup of tea and the view in Mongla before walking down to the river and across and up to Phortse. I clearly remember the falling down stupa, the tiniest of places, no lodge of any significance that I would want to stay in and a lot of fog.

Mongla in cloud late september 2015

The Trainer who is the researcher for our treks knew we were on a point on the mountain path where there should be a good view. We had a cup of tea, resting and waiting for the cloud to lift. But the weather was not in our favour and would not be for a few more days.

Fast forward three years to 2018 and although also the end of September and the tail end of the rainy season, we were much luckier with the weather. It was a beautiful clear day and we had a view. And is often the case when you travel, the weather, how well you are feeling and who you meet can influence how you feel about a place you are visiting. And we really enjoyed our night in small Mongla.

We checked out the two of the four lodges on the small point and decided on Snow Land Lodge behind the restored and newly painted stupa. The eyes hadn’t been painted in properly yet, they were still covered in plastic, I’m not sure why.

A room with our own bathroom is always our preference but the lodge didn’t have one. As we were the only people in our section of the building we had exclusive use of the shower and toilet for the stay. With the exception of Namche, I had one of the few showers I had on the trek here, after we arrived.

We turned out to be the only people staying the night apart from a couple from Indonesia who arrived after us.

We met them as they arrived, on their return journey from having climbed Renjo Pass, feeling tired but also glad they had managed the climb. We ate with them in the dining room that evening. The Trainer was learning Indonesian at university so he was pleased that he could practice his Indonesian. I stuck with talking in English and also learning some more Nepalese from our porter guide Dilip.

The walk from Khumjung to Mongla

The weather had made for great walk we had seen some lovely green valleys and spied a few eagles or vultures riding the thermals.

Trekking Khumjung for mongla september 2018
Leaving Khumjung on a perfect morning. and becasue we had slept at the top of Khumjung the bonus was we didn’t have a huge climb to get out. We had done the hard climb up the day before.
The growth was green with touches of red
View from trail from Khumjung to Mongla september 2018
A lodge it would seem in the middle of “nowhere”
Large birds flying overhead.

Again we were thankful for the amount of stair training we had factored into our training before we left Australia because we had quite a few steep lots of stairs to navigate on this part of the track. What am I talking about. They are everywhere along the track.

Stairs on the Everest Base Camp trail trek
Always celebrate at the top of a good staircase! You made it.

Oh and that naughty yak here he was after he meandered up and tried to sneek through the village …

The feature photo in the header is the view setting out the next morning of Phortse on the other side of the valley. A pretty perfect view, in my opinion. The small settlement of Mongla was worth the second visit.

Have you visited somewhere you were unimpressed but changed your opinion when you revisited ?

20 thoughts on “Day 5 to Gokyo and Cho La Pass – Khumjung to Mongla

  1. Yes it is good to give things a second shot. The Yak ? A while later the yak finally came up, he snuck in around the back of the lodge on the point and came sheepishly in. If he could have whistled he surely would have. Like trying to act as if nothing was wrong. The yelling woman threw a small rock at him. Then he stopped and looked lost. I don’t think it was her yak. It was really odd to a have “stray yak” on the track like that.


  2. I always enjoy reading about your various EBC treks. It seems such harsh country to me, there above the tree-line, but I get the sense of achievement, and the promise, and reward, of spectacular views. Those sunny days are always a mood lifter too.


  3. Alison above the tree line is my favourite part. I thought it looked stark before I went too. To the point of maybe being ugly in parts. Well not ugly, but beautiful. when I was there my whole appreciation of it changed. One more post and I’m at the two favourite days of the trek. Stay tuned. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember having lunch at Mongla at one of the lodges. It felt right on the edge of a steep incline. My travel companion found the loo, the floor of which was a hole cut in plywood and a long drop to a pile of leaves and goodness knows what below. When it was my turn I did not have faith in my footing, trying to find some sort of joist to support me. I felt for sure I would fall through the floor with my pants down and land in a pile of poop. Thankfully all was ok. Then on the way back to the lodge dining room the owner told me I could have used the loo in the accommodation. I know for next time 😊

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  5. I couldn’t agree with you more about how the weather, your health, people you meet etc. influences the way you feel about a place. I think I’ve become a bit better with age about “digging deep” when things are a little rough. But wow…I’ll take those blue skies with the dramatic views!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh boy what a view! Watching the lady screaming about the loose yak sounds hysterical and yet….not! 😂 I’m trying to think where I’ve been that I didn’t think was nice but liked it after the second time. It may have been the other way around. A couple of years ago we went to Charleston, South Carolina and I was there once before when I was still a flight attendant. I remember how much I loved it and told myself to be back someday. That someday was 20 years later and Charleston has been written up many times in magazines as a must-see destination. Well perhaps tourism ruined it and when I went back I was very disappointed.

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  7. The view in that first photo, wow. And those stairs! I tried to think of a place I had a better opinion of on a second visit, but none came to mind. I think if I’m not impressed the first time, I avoid going back. There are too many other places to see.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love your first photo of Mongla – beautiful!
    I’m always amazed at how fit locals are from these mountain regions but growing up in this environment is the key…


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