We have been in Nepal for nearly a month and by reading this you will find out some of the best places to stay at and visit when trekking.
I would recommend walking to Namche Bazaar in four days with children, two days with an adult and maybe three days with a big group. Good places to stay at would be Tok Tok (with its cozy guesthouse and pretty views of the forest and a river). Chheplung would also be a nice place place to stay. It’s very close to Lukla if you have booked a flight the next day or something like that. In Benkar, there is a waterfall which is great for your children to play in.
Namche itself has a lot of lovely bakeries. I recommend Herman Helmer’s Bakery. It has great apple pie, beautiful pizza but very small sandwiches that aren’t worth the money. The pizza has nak cheese on (it’s nak cheese not yak cheese because yaks are boys and naks are girls). If you want to write a diary or something like that then Herman Helmer’s is often a quiet place to sit. The Everest Bakery is also very nice and it does pasta which Herman’s does not. Apple pie at Everest is more cinnamony that Herman’s.
In Pangboche, they have a Herman’s Bakery (different to Herman Helmer’s Bakery) which does the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted. It was called chocolate trefoil and was proper English chocolate.
At Gokyo, it all quite expensive and I would recommend taking a down jacket which you can hire in Namche Bazaar. You cannot hire children’s down jackets.
Gokyo Ri is nearly always worth the climb to the top except when it is cloudy. The view is undoubtedly the best one I have ever seen. You can see a glacier from above. It’s amazing.
In Tengboche, you can go and see an amazing monastery but you have to be very quiet. In the monastery, you can pay Rs. 25 to light a butter lamp even if you are a child. A butter lamp is a sort of little candle and if you light one, Buddhists believe that Buddha will pray for you. There was a bakery right next to the monastery.
To keep safe, you must always get out of the way of yaks which you often meet on the way to Gokyo. You must also get out of the way of donkeys. If you didn’t, you could get pushed off the edge of a mountain!
Sitting in a little internet cafe in Namche Bazaar, paying by the minute for the 1980’s style computer, I thought I’d just give you a few highs and lows of our first trip into the Himalayas. I’m the proudest mum in the World of three 8 year old girls who can now say that they have had breakfast at 5370m above sea level, looking out over the biggest mountains in the World, having walked for 10 days to get there.
We have overcome episodes of altitude sickness, episodes of what shall politely be called ‘traveller’s tummy’ and episodes of thinking we are crazy to be taking our children so far away from civilisation (as we know it). My personal battle with basically not having enough T shirts (or rather not having enough access to running water to cope with just 2 T-shirts) has been overcome by the rental of a simple en suite room in Namche. Never has a hot shower felt so good.
So, would I do it all again? Well, our plan is to walk the next 4 days back to Lukla, fly to Kathmandu, bus it to Pokara and… you guessed it (if you know Nepal)… trek the Annapurna region! I think we are hooked.
Just a quick entry today as we’re paying by the minute in a cybercafe but this morning we saw Mount Everest!
We arrived in Namche Bazaar yesterday afternoon after a scary twin-prop flight into Lukla and four days of walking only to meet some young brits who had done the same journey in one day. Still, they hadn’t had to shepherd three children who were passing a tummy bug between them. And taking it slowly has been fun. We’ve stopped in some quieter villages and had the afternoon to explore most days.
And our guide taking us to his home was fascinating. The girls could hardly believe that their whole family live in one room but I think it brought it home to them how different life here is. That and the constant diet of dahl baat.
And even taken slowly, the trek was great. At first it was just like a rather exaggerated Lake District (rain included) but by yesterday I felt like I was walking in some kind magical mountain kingdom from Monkey. The path hugs the valley all the way here, gradually climbing higher and higher as the peaks grow around you until there’s an enormous drop below and the peaks above strain your neck to look at. And then you get to the suspension bridges. Suffice it to say that Scarlett had a fear of bridges when she arrived here. She doesn’t any more.
And then today… Everest! Sure it was only in the distance but it was still a powerful experience. And definitely worth the trekking, diarrhea and deadly flights to see.