We Are Off for Trek Number 3 in Nepal

We’re off to Trek in Nepal. Again.

Above Dingboche Everest Base Camp trek

Above Dingboche Everest Base Camp trek

Yes, I am in love. In love with the Nepalese landscapes and with the simplicity of the trekking in Nepal. A colleague asked me what’s the attraction, she knows it is my third trek.

Why Go to Trek In Nepal?

If you ask The Trainer (aka my husband) he’d say he’s doing it to keep me fit! In fact, the need to keep up a general level of fitness and then to train four times a week for two or three months before we leave for Nepal, is a big side benefit. But I really liked the feeling of achievement after taking on the challenge of trekking to Everest Base Camp. And feeling so incredibly fit from the simple days, sustained walking, fresh air and fresh food walking through magnificent landscapes. It felt amazing. And I was glowing when I returned home.

Good Planning is Important for a Successful Trek

Signage in the Khumbu

Although we have to the Everest Base Camp region twice before or maybe, because we have been before, I am conscious to not become blasé about what we are about to do.

  1. We have kept up the training.
  2. We (that would be the Trainer) have researched the route and itinerary options
  3. We are reviewing what we are taking. I have bought a new Osprey day back pack.
  4. We are reviewing the packing list
  5. We reviewed the drug list – the Trainer bought out the chemist
  6. We checked in with our contact in Kathmandu that everything is on track with flights to Lukla, organising our Porter and getting our TIMS Card
  7. We have booked our hotel in Kathmandu

So, we fly to Nepal in two weeks. I am very excited to be staying at the Kathmandu Guest House when we arrive and when we leave. If it is good enough for Ricky Martin, it’s good enough for us too.

We are trekking independently again but will be taking a porter/ guide, like on our second trek.

Trekking to Gokyo Ri and the Gokyo Lakes

We are going back to the Khumbu, the Everest Base Camp region but we are trekking to Gokyo. The trek is marketed as Gokyo and the Glacial lakes. If you read the trekking tour blurbs this is what they list as the highlights.

  • Stand at the shores of a chain of six turquoise, glacial-fed lakes
  • Hike along Ngozumpa Glacier, the largest glacier in the Himalaya
  • Avoid the Everest crowds, but enjoy the selection of great views
  • Climb Gokyo Ri (5,357 m) for spectacular views of Everest, Lhotse, and Cho Oyu
  • Trek through the Sherpa town of Khumjung, home of a ‘real’ yeti skull
  • From ‘Scoundrel’s viewpoint’ near the fifth lake, peer over the vast Ngozumpa Glacier a wasteland of rock and ice
Khumjung Everest Base Camp trek September 2015

Walking into Khumjung

In fact the view from Gokyo Ri is meant to be better than the view from Kala Pattar on the Base Camp trek. Also, weather permitting, we will be crossing over Cho La Pass. We haven’t done that before. Climbed a pass. This will be a hard a long day. Easily the hardest.  But we will only go if the weather is good otherwise it can be treacherous. We have a day and a buffer day at Gokyo to help with this. We have been told that the walk to Fifth Lake is well worth while.

And in true Nervous Nelly style I am anxious about it. Again. This time I am anxious about the pass. However, the Trainer is talking me up. Cho La Lou he is calling me. Cho La Lou, Queen of the High Passes. Sort of has a nice ring to it doesn’t it ?

Everest Base Camp trek

 

Any advice on the Cho La Pass an Gokyo, comments are very welcome.

Eat, Heat, Recharge and Sleep on the Everest Base Camp Trail

Main trail Lukla to Kala Patthar at Phakding

The Shangrilla Lodge in Phakding in 2015. We stayed here on the first night and the second last nights of Everest Base Camp trek.

Our First Lodge Experience

I remembered the lodge pictured above from our first 2013 trek. We didn’t stay there then. Our flight from Kathmandu to Lukla was delayed about four hours due to fog. We were trekking solo, without a guide or porter and had no accommodation booked.

We arrived in the late afternoon in Phakding and wanted to look at some lodges before we decided on one. Our main focus was getting our own bathroom.

The small villages are generally along the trail going up the hill. Exhausted on that first day of our trek the last thing we wanted was to walk up and down checking out lodges. All I wanted was a shower and bed. We only had the energy to check out two. I remember walking past the Shangrila Lodge (pictured above) lots of young people were listening to music, talking and sitting on the terrace. Party central, I thought. Not for me, I wanted to go to bed and sleep. Early. So we walked on past.

We decided on a lodge at the lower end of the trail. Our room had a western toilet and a shower however there was no hot water left. So we got wet and froze drying off in our room. Lodge rooms have no heating.

I was falling asleep at the table waiting for our food. I was in bed and asleep by 6:30.

Accommodation Along the Everest Base Camp Trail

Upper Phakding Lodge EBC Trek Trail

Lodge in Upper Phakding

Phakding

Sleep – The Bedrooms

  1. Accommodation is basic with the exception of Namche Bazaar where you can pay for more a reasonable room and bathroom. However there are some very expensive hotels in the lower part of the track, see the bottom of the post.
  2. Rooms are very basic. Two beds, a window and not a lot of room.  I did see double beds in some rooms but generally it was single beds.
  3. If you are lucky there may be some sort of window sill or small table for small things you want at hand during the night. Sometimes there are hooks on the wall.
  4. There is no heating in the rooms.
  5. Most rooms don’t have a mirror. There are no power points. Forget the hair dryer.
  6. Mattresses are thin and hard just like hotel beds in South East Asia.
  7. We were always provided with an extra blanket for each bed.

Room With a View

The view from our lodge /hotel in Namche Bazaar. Our hotel in Namche was a lot more upmarket. We had power points in our rooms, electric blankets, chairs etc. Obviously this accommodation was more expensive than the majority of the accommodation.

Lodge in Nepal

Bathrooms

  1. We had western style toilets in all the hotels we stayed in.
  2. I have read blog posts about only having squat toilets but we never stayed in lodges where this was the only option.
  3. Plumbing can be problematic.
  4. The toilet, shower and basin in the lodge in the first photo  was shared by a lot of rooms. We were the only guests on our outbound trek and there were only two guests heading back to Lukla. If we had to share with a lot of guests we may not have stayed there.

Heat – The Dining Room

Lodge in Monjo EBC Trek Nepal

The dining room in Monjo Guest House

The main room of the lodges is the dinning room where there will heat. A dung fueled fire will be the centre of the room and be the sole source of heat.

People sit in the room, chat, read, write up notes, swap stories,  if there is wifi you will access it from here. This is the place where you will meet people coming in the opposite direction and tell you about the weather and conditions ahead. Most lodges will have a small supply of chocolates, chips, bottles water, toilet paper etc you can buy.

You will charge your phones, camera batteries etc in this room, too. This will be charged to your bill.

Monjo Lodge EBC trek Nepal

Monjo Guest House had a second beautiful sunny eating area.

Food

DSC07591

  1. You must eat where you stay. The owners make their money from the food.
  2. You pre-order food before dinner and for breakfast the next morning.
  3. Avoid meat. I would say don’t eat meat.
  4. Lodges often grow their own vegetables. Eating organically grown veggies on the trail was great.
  5. If you are a tea drinker and take milk rethink that. I drank black tea on the trek.

The Menu

  1. The menus can seem quite large but more than likely you will find things you like and stick with the same food.
  2. Popular meals are Dhal Blat and Sherpa Stew.
  3. Remember to try some apple pie. Apples are grown along the trail.

Neplese food on the EBC trek

Tips

There are no ATMs along the trail. Take enough cash for your entire trek.

Get your room ready for bed before you eat your evening meal. The light probably won’t be great in your room and it will be cold. So you will want to jump into your sleeping bag really quickly.

The Yeti Lodge EBC Trek Nepal

There are limited nice lodges. The Yeti Mountain Home group is one group, very nice but expensive in comparison to other lodges. We didn’t stay in any. If  you wanted to sample the Everest Base Camp trail and maybe climb to Namche Bazaar and check out Khumjung and Khunde, Thame structuring your trek around their accommodation.

Yeti Mountain Lodge Phakding

Monju Guest House EBC Trek Trail Nepal

We enjoyed staying our night in Monju Guest House. The garden setting is a bonus. Most people walk through Monjo but on our first trek, wanting to start off slow we stayed here and then walked to Namche Bazaar the next day ( day 3 of our trek ).

Paradise Lodge Lukla

Paradise Lodge Lukla