NAMCHE - The Amphitheatre.

  • 3460 meters

Welcome to the Heart of Khumbu. This village which is built on an ancient cirque is the largest of all Sherpa settlements. It is also the hub for two trails, one along the valley of the Dudh Koshi River to the east and another along the Bhote Koshi to the west. It is also the first settlement to offer expansive views of the mountains, and make no mistake you are in the mountains now. At 3,460 meters you will feel the altitude. Hence, it is extremely important that you stay two nights here for acclimatization.

An early morning visit to the National Park Headquarters at the top of the village will yield some rewarding mountain views. You could also take a quick jaunt to the picturesque twin villages of Khumjung and Khunde. Whatever you do, do not doze off during the day. There is a lot to see and afternoon naps aren't good for acclimatization. Closer at home, there is the Nauche Gumba at the western edge of the village. 'Nauche' which means 'big dark forest' is actually the old name of the village before it was deformed into Namche. And there is still a small patch of forest around the monastery, though by no means big or dark.

Namche also has fully equipped trekking equipment outlets so it is a good idea to go around shopping for items you might have forgotten. It is also a good place to buy souvenirs but of course do this on your way down. If it is Saturday, you might want to check out the farmer's market here. Or you might just want to patronize some of the lively watering holes here. A fair word of warning though, alcohol dehydrates and dehydration isn't good for acclimatization. Drinking Responsibly has an added dimension at higher altitudes. Those that seem to be drinking like there is no tomorrow here are either on their way down or are Sherpas.