Things to do in Namche Bazar While Trekking to Everest
Namche Bazar, the gateway to Mt. Everest is a tiny vibrant town where modernization meets up with ancient culture preservation. Namche lies on the slope of an arch-shaped mountain tucked within the soaring Mahalangur range. This mountain city has gorgeous alleys where you can see local Sherpas selling literally anything from Yak meat to antique jewelry and trekking gear and even medicinal herb.
Namche is the historical capital of the Khumbu Region which traditionally was a trading hub for the locals and the Tibetans where they would exchange Yak cheese and butter for agricultural goods or other products. But this town totally transformed into the tourist hub it is today after the first Everest Summit in 1953. Now, tourists from all around the world wish to visit this famous city and it is swarmed with trekkers starting their Everest Region Trekking Journeys.
Namche Bazar is an absolute delight that seems to have it all. Good hotels, restaurants, Irish pubs, even cyber cafes, equipment stores, clothing stores, antiques, and souvenir shops, similarly, monasteries, museums, you name it, everything is hoarded in this small town. But it is the last stop before the trek which has all the modern facilities. Once you start the trek, you will be trekking in remote valleys and experiencing a traditional lifestyle.
Hence, we highly recommend trekkers and climbers purchase everything they require for further trips in Namche. Likewise, Namche Bazar also is the last place where you can officially exchange currency so we recommend you do that if needed.
Without any further ado, for the trekkers/climbers who are heading for Everest Base Camp Trek and have one to few extra days in Namche for acclimatization or just visiting there, then, we have prepared a list of things you could do in Namche that would make your stay more memorable.
1. Sherpa Museum
Sherpa Culture Museum is one of the major attractions of Namche. This museum is significant for preserving all the ancient and lost Sherpa artifacts in their original form that represents the old Sherpa lifestyle before modernization arrived in this place. The museum is built in traditional Sherpa architecture and the interior is designed according to Sherpa culture.
Lakpa Sonam Sherpa is the founder of the Sherpa Museum. The museum is similar to a traditional Sherpa home as it consists of a family room where the artifacts are reserved and besides it is a separate room dedicated to the praying chapel of Buddhist culture. Similarly, downstairs lies a cow shed with yak dung, hay, and a wood storage unit. There also is a great sculpture of Tenzing Norgay on the museum premises.
The museum is preserved very systematically by the community and is a great opportunity to learn about traditional Sherpa culture and lifestyle for enthusiasts. All travelers can visit the museum after paying a small fee which is used by the community to preserve the artifacts in the museum.
2. Side trip/ short hike: Syangboche Hill, Thame Village, Khumjung, and Khunde Village,
If you have some extra days in Namche, then the best way to utilize them will be by going on short hikes around Namche Bazar. Short hikes will not only allow you to walk to mesmerizing landscapes and witness new places but also are great for acclimatization purposes.
1- Syangboche Hill
Syangboche Hill is located at 3,450 meters above sea level. This hike takes approximately 2 hours and provides a stunning view of the entire Namche Bazar with the backdrop of Nuptse, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, and Everest from the top. You walk along a steep trail through the beautiful Rhododendron and pine forests and if you are lucky enough, you could witness some of the endangered species. This hill station is one of the best viewpoints around Namche and the view seen from the hilltop makes the sheer hike worth it. This hill is also an uncommercial airport with an unpaved airfield often known as Syangboche Airport. The Airport welcomes the rescue helicopter landings, and the Everest Helicopter Tour landings.
2- Khumjung and Khunde
Khumjung and Khunde are twin Sherpa villages located nearby Namche Bazar. These villages according to Sherpa tradition are twins and are divided by rock walls. These villages have stony fields and are surrounded by mesmerizing vistas from all sides. Khumjung is the largest village in the Khumbu region. It also is a sacred village situated on the base of the sacred mountain Khumbila.
Khunde Hospital is located in Khunde village. This hospital was built by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1966 and now is managed by Himalayan Trust. The main motto for the formation of this hospital was to treat locals but it also provides emergency care to the trekkers.
3- Highest Luxury Hotel: Everest View Hotel
Everest View Hotel is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest places hotel in the world. It is located at 13000ft above sea level and serves a sublime view of the highest mountains in the world. It is a very luxurious hotel situated amongst the Himalayas and experiencing your relaxed time here can be amazing. But you also do not have to stay in the hotel to witness the view seen from the courtyard of the hotel. There is a courtyard here which allows everyone to enter and relish the view.
Likewise, this hotel was built back in the 60s when there was no access to roads in this region. All the materials to construct the hotel were imported and they were transferred either by helicopter or by strong Sherpa porters and mules. This hotel welcomed its first guests in 1971 and has been a pioneer ever since. It was established with the main motto of allowing people to experience luxury in the Everest.
4- Thame Village
Hike to Thame Village is one of the best side trips from Namche Bazar. This Himalayan village is located 9 kilometers away from Namche, hence, proper exercise and acclimatization for the upcoming further trekking. Thame is a traditional Sherpa village surrounded by transcending rock faces. It is located very close to Tibet making it the trade route between Nepal and Tibet since ancient times.
Thame is also the home of legendary Sherpas Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, Ang Rita Sherpa, and Appa Sherpa. It also is the home to the oldest monastery of Khumbu region i.e. Thame monastery. This monastery is a major attraction among foreigners and locals and holds great importance in Theravada Buddhism. Every year several hundred pilgrims gather in the monastery to offer their prayers during the Mani Rimdu festival. The locals here will welcome you with a delight on their faces and warm hospitality. This is one of the best villages to visit to experience ancient Sherpa culture and lifestyle.
3. Stroll Around the Market
Namche Bazar is very famous for its Sanibar Haat Bazar (Weekend Farmer's Market). Locals from surrounding villages gather here to sell and purchase locally-made goods. This practice has been performed for centuries and is a crucial sustenance for the locals. The Bazar happens during the morning and is finished by noon. Here, people can buy local vegetables, grains, clothes, yak products, and many more.
The locals stand small stalls in the town and it is very interesting to watch the locals gather around making it a very lively market. Strolling around the vibrant market and watching the hustles and activities of the local Sherpas might be a good way to start your Saturday morning in Namche.
4. Visit the World's Highest Irish Pub
Namche is home to the highest Irish Pub in the world. It is quite interesting to see a local town collide with the International culture without losing its natural and traditional essence. If you are interested in experiencing the nightlife of the Himalayas, then the Irish Pub is the place for you.
The ambiance of this pub is amazing having both a Western and Nepali feel to it. As a matter of fact, this pub is described as the only pub having Yak on its menu by The Guardian magazine. The music here is great and so is the booze and food. This place is a great celebratory spot to celebrate the commencement of your trek.
5. Visit Mt. Everest Documentation Centre
Mt. Everest Documentation Centre is a very important museum located in the Namche Bazar. We suggest that travelers visit here if they are keen to learn about the history and events of the Khumbu region, Mt. Everest and its surrounding, the Sherpa culture, and also the trekkers in this region. Each piece here has a story of its own and we believe you will be fascinated taking a stroll in the museum.
The documentation center contains photographs and videos of the first-time submitters Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Sir Edmund Hillary. It also has a complete collection of the memoirs of other legendary Sherpas like Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, Ang Rita Sherpa, and many more. The not-very-long mountaineering history and the experience of the Sherpas are all documented here which makes it an archive of historic memoirs.
6. Last Minute Shopping
As mentioned above, Namche Bazar is jam-packed with vibrant shops that sell everything you might need. It is the last place for the trekkers to buy necessary items before the trek. You could buy medicines, first aid, trekking gear you may have forgotten, snacks, toilet paper, hygiene belongings, water purification tablets, and any other things that might be of great use during the trek as well as peak climbing.
We highly suggest the trekkers purchase the goods they need for the trek in Namche Bazar as this is your last chance. The trek further will be happening in remote regions of the Himalayas where you cannot find anything more than basic meals and water.
7. Banking and ATMs
Namche Bazar is also the last place where you can withdraw cash before the trek. They do not accept credit/visa cards or online payment on the trek further, hence, it is important to draw the necessary cash for the trek. All kinds of banking facilities including ATMs are available in Namche Bazar.
However, most ATMs in Namche charge additional withdrawal fees, and some of the ATMs also have a withdrawal limit. Hence, we would suggest you withdraw or change to local currency while in Kathmandu unless it's an emergency.
Conclusion about the Namhe Bazar
Namche Bazar is one of the most beautiful towns in the world. Nepalese are filled with pride to announce that it is also one of the fastest developing towns in the world, despite its geographical factor and distant location. Although this Sherpa town is thriving, the local essence, customs, history, and traditions are preserved in each nook and cranny of Namche Bazar. It is one of the must-visit towns recognized by several travel magazines and media and we believe that a visit to Namche Bazar and experiencing this lively town will definitely live up to the name and fame.