Entering Namche Bazaar
It’s dark when we round the corner and spot the glistening lights of Namche Bazaar. They twinkle through the mist which swathes the properties perched on the top of the village. A Buddhist pagoda signals the entrance to the village and a row of prayer wheels line the stairway like sentinels in formation. Water cascades beneath them, slowly turning the wheels which ring on each turn. Even though we can barely see, it’s a beautiful sight, and I’m already excited at the prospect of seeing the town during the day. What a wonderful end to our Everest Base Camp Trek day two.
Ten hours of trekking
The town is a sight for sore eyes after ten hours of trekking from Cheplung to Namche Bazaar. Today we traverse numerous metal bridges strung high above raging glacial waters. Colourful prayer flags in blue, white, red, yellow and green drape from steel girders and represent the elements of air, space, fire, earth and water. As they flutter merrily in the breeze, we stop countless times to photograph them against backdrops of misty mountains and river gorges.
Earlier that morning: Cheplung to Padking (2 hours)
We awoke to our first views of the mountains during the daytime. As the morning progressed, we rejoiced at verdant mountains peaking through the mist and prayer flags swaying in the breeze. The tinkling of yak bells warned of an arriving yak train and we scurried to get out of the way. Whilst generally placid, these crossbreeds of cows and yaks lumber along the tracks with little regard for direction. It is best to give them a wide berth to avoid being inadvertently pushed from the mountain or squashed against the rocks.
One particularly curious yak sauntered over to ogle us while the rest of the group waited patiently for our backpacks. Meanwhile, we set off on the trek to Padking. We passed quaint villages with stone houses decorated in the colours of prayer flags. Children with stern faces stared curiously from doorways, and we marvelled at the views of the valley and the endless religious carvings. Etched in mammoth boulders, it is tradition to navigate these in a clockwise direction for good luck.
In Padking we joined the rest of our group. Sadly, one group failed to hitch a helicopter ride the previous day and had to spend the night in Manthali. Reunited, and after a short rest, we continued on to our lunch stop.
Morning: Padking to Manjo (2 hours)
From Manjo we entered Sagarmatha National Park, the gateway to Everest. We descended a steep incline passing endless prayers to the gods carved into the veritignous cliffs. Eventually we reached the riverbed and traversed another metal bridge adorned with prayer flags. We followed the opposite bank upwards before we crossed the highest bridge yet. A double-decker strung precariously across a deep ravine where waters tumble angrily through the ravine below. I could barely look but made it safely across to start the long incline through the forest.
It is a brutal climb up a woodland path as the light starts to gradually fade. But then, we round the corner and traipse under the archway which signals our arrival into Namche. Finally, we have arrived into Namche Bazaar, a buzzing town on the Everest Base Camp trail.
Why Everest Base camp?
Our trek to Everest Base Camp was a challenge we signed up for to raise money for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice. The hospice cares for ill children and needs to raise £11,000 a day to keep its doors open. For anyone who would like to sponsor us our justgiving page is here.
This post is part of a series capturing our daily experiences and if you’d like to follow our trip please sign up to travel the globe 4 less newsletter to be notified when new posts go live.
Day two route:
Here’s the route we followed on day two.
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Cheplung (2,800 metres) to to Namche Bazaar (3,443 metres)
Hotel Sherpaland with en-suite bathroom and proper bedding. The bathroom is a western-style bathroom and towels and toilet roll are provided. Bring your own toiletries however as there are no other amenities. That said, this is one of my top two places to stay on the trek.