Trip of the Year!
Our Everest Lodge to Lodge Trek was named one of the ten 2011 best trips of the year by Outside Magazine!
- See stunning vistas of Everest and its surrounding peaks on a 14-day trek
- Stay in simple, rustic lodge accommodations along the way
- Explore the famous sites of Khumjung and Tengboche Monastery, rich in history
- Follow local, expert guides along with a full support staff
The incomparable beauty of the Himalayas has long beckoned the world's adventurers to Nepal. Our classic route combines simple, rustic accommodations with must-see sites while still allowing time to venture to secluded villages seldom visited by most trekkers.
Explore Khumjung, whose monastery houses a mysterious relic said to be the skull of a Yeti. Trek onward to Thame, home to one of the region's oldest monasteries, seemingly growing out of the mountainside. We pass through vast rhododendron forests and enter Tengboche Monastery, the largest and most active in the region, where evening brings the strange and hypnotic sounds of the traditional chant, thundering drums, and resounding horns of the Buddhist monks who live here.
Throughout our trek we encounter spectacular views of Mount Everest and other Himalayan peaks before returning to Kathmandu, where we have more time to discover the rich Buddhist and Hindu cultures of this ancient city. Soak in the magic of Nepal on this unique and unforgettable lodge to lodge trek with REI.
Extend your Everest adventure by experiencing more of Nepal's varied terrain and unique wildlife. Join our Chitwan Jungle Safari – Nepal Extension—or explore even more of Asia on our Angkor Wat extension!
- Day 1 - Namaste and welcome to vibrant Kathmandu!
- Day 2 - Explore Swayambunath Temple, Boudhanath Temple, and Durbar Square.
- Day 3 - Fly to Lukla where our trek begins and hike to Phakding village.
- Day 4 - Journey along the Dudh Koshi River to Namche Bazaar.
- Day 5 - Day hike to our first spectacular views of Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse.
- Day 6 - Ascend further to Tengboche Monastery, with spectacular Everest views.
- Day 7 - Descend to the historic and quaint Sherpa village of Khumjung.
- Day 8 - Trek off the beaten path through remote villages to secluded Thame.
- Day 9 - Explore Thame's hillside monastery and return to bustling Namche Bazaar.
- Day 10 - Descend the Dudh Kosi River valley to Phakding through.
- Day 11 - Complete the descent to Lukla and celebrate with your trekking crew.
- Day 12 - Return flight from Lukla to Kathmandu, weather permitting.
- Day 13 - Free day to explore more highlights of the Kathmandu Valley.
- Day 14 - Our Everest lodge to lodge trekking adventure ends today in Kathmandu.
Trip Itinerary and Details
Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
Day 1 - Namaste and welcome to vibrant Kathmandu!
Our trip begins today in Kathmandu. After clearing immigration and customs, you are greeted by our outstanding staff. We transfer to the hotel and the afternoon is left open to rest and explore. Today, you'll have time to settle into the hotel, explore the bustling streets of Thamel on your own, or inquire with our host in Kathmandu about an optional walking tour. Meals are on your own.
Day 2 - Explore Swayambunath Temple, Boudhanath Temple, and Durbar Square.
On your first full day in Kathmandu, enjoy a day long guided tour of the ancient cities of the Kathmandu valley. Nepal is rich in religious diversity and exploring numerous significant Buddhist and Hindu shrines and temples is an excellent introduction to the area. At Swayambhunath (or "the Monkey Temple") gilded Buddhist and Hindu shrines perch atop cliffs overlooking the valley where monkeys and local dogs exchange chatter and pilgrims come to pay respect. Durbar Square in Patan boasts some of the most spectacular palace temples and pagodas in the valley and teems with significance to local Hindus. We'll also visit Boudhanath, the largest and perhaps most impressive Buddhist temple in Kathmandu, along with the adjoining monastery. Time allowing, we'll visit a very interesting Tibetan Refugee Carpet center in Jawalakhel before returning to our hotel in Thamel.There will be time for a short rest before dinner, which is on your own tonight, then look forward to a thorough orientation meeting this evening. Breakfast included.
Day 3 - Fly to Lukla where our trek begins and hike to Phakding village.
Near or before dawn today (around 6:30 a.m.) your group will transfer together to the airport where we board a Twin Otter plane flight to Lukla (9,300'). While having lunch, gear and supplies for the next 10 days will be loaded onto our support animals. The trek begins with a leisurely and scenic three-hour hike down to the riverside village of Phakding. Along the route we enjoy our first views of ornate Mani stones, onto which devout Sherpas have inscribed prayers often accented in bright contrasting paint. Repeatedly reciting this prayer, "Om mani padme hum" is a virtuous deed believed by Sherpa people to positively influence the next life. Prayer flags stream in the breeze as we cross sturdy suspension bridges over the roaring Dudh Kosi river to arrive at our first lodge this evening in Phakding at around 8,600'. Our Phakding lodge rooms have large windows and attached baths. We also enjoy a spacious stove-heated dining room that floods with morning sunlight. Relax on the patio with a beverage and enjoy the sounds of the river below. All rooms on our trek are furnished with twin beds. All meals included on trek days 3-11.
Trekking: 3-4 hours; about 4.5 miles. From Lukla (9,320'/2,840m) we lose 920'/280m over the first 3 miles of our hike, then hike a relatively flat final 1.5 miles to arrive in Phakding (8,560'/2,610m).
Day 4 - Journey along the Dudh Koshi River to Namche Bazaar.
As we continue trekking today, expect the air to be cool and the trail to be shaded for a couple of hours before the sun reaches the bottom of the Dudh Kosi river valley. The trail occasionally wanders past farmhouses and crop fields, through small villages and past giant prayer wheels, and criss-crossing the river on sturdy suspension bridges. Long needle pine trees and stunning views of massive Himalayan peaks like Kangtega and Thamserku line the route as we approach the entrance to Sagarmatha National Park. An early lunch today prepares us for a steep ascent to the village of Namche Bazaar, a good day's workout of about 6 hours. Namche is the world's highest marketplace, the largest Sherpa village in the Khumbu and the jumping-off point for many Everest expeditions. Our lodge rooms in Namche Bazaar have private bathrooms.
Trekking: 6 hours; about 5.6 miles. We gradually gain 920'/280m over the first 4.2 miles, then quickly gain an addition 2,000'/610m in the final1.4 miles for a total of 2,920'/890m of gain to reach Namche Bazaar (11,285'/3,440m).
Day 5 - Day hike to our first spectacular views of Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse.
Awaken to yak bells and a sunrise illuminating the 20,000'/6,000m mountains that surround us! Our neighbors include Kwangde (20,930'/6,380m), Thamserku (21,680'/6,608m), and Kangtega (21,932'/6,685m). Though this is a layover day, excitement is in the air, as a slow-ascent day hike to the world's highest hotel, the Everest View, will help us acclimatize and provide our first breath-taking views of Mt. Everest (29,035'/8,850m) and other legendary Himalayan peaks, including Nuptse (25,790'/7,861m), Lhotse (27,605'/8,414m), Ama Dablam (22,493'/6,856m). We can enjoy afternoon tea and snacks at the hotel's outdoor patio as we gaze out at the panorama, then we'll return to Namche Bazaar for one more night before continuing higher into the Himalayas.
Trekking: 4-5 hours; about 3-3.5 miles. Elevation gain and loss is 1,250'/380m.
Day 6 - Ascend further to Tengboche Monastery, with spectacular Everest views.
Hiking out of Namche Bazaar, we traverse the lower slopes of Khumbi Yulha, a mountain held sacred by the Sherpa people. We'll descend to the river once again then ascend to Tengboche Monastery. Tengboche is surrounded by views of the snowy Himalayas and hosts the main and most impressive Tibetan Buddhist temple in the Khumbu region with an exceptional view of Everest's pyramid summit. Everyone living at the gompa is in some way associated with the operations of this very important religious center. Along the way, we'll keep an eye out for the Impeyan pheasant, Nepal's national bird, which is easily one of the most beautiful birds in the world with over two dozen different iridescent colors shining from its plumage. Tonight we visit the monastery for an opportunity to experience this unique and remote monastic life before retiring to our nearby simple lodge. While it is perhaps the most primitive of the lodges used on our trek, with shared bathroom facilities, this lodge is ideally situated adjacent to the monastery – an impressive and truly memorable high point on our trek that is not to be missed!
Trekking: 5 hours; about 5 miles. From Namche Bazaar, we gradually ascend 360'/110m over 2 miles to reach Kyangjuma (11,645'/3,550m). Then we descend 985'/300m in 1.75 miles to the Imja Khola River (10,660'/3,250m) where we cross the river by bridge, then ascend 2,005'/610m in 1.25 miles from the river to reach Tengboche (12,665'/3,860m). Total elevation gain: 2,365'/720m. Total elevation loss: 985'/300m.
Day 7 - Descend to the historic and quaint Sherpa village of Khumjung.
Relax around Tengboche in the early hours of day as the morning sun slowly creeps across the high ridgeline where our lodge and the monastery are situated, illuminating the ancient building and shrines along with the massive snow-covered peaks that surround us. After breakfast, we'll begin our descent of the route we followed here earlier as we return to the Dudh Kosi River, then climb again before heading west into the Sherpa village of Khumjung, nestled into the slopes of the sacred mountain Khumbi Yulha on a small but spacious plateau. Sir Edmund Hillary, credited with Everest's first ascent, helped build the first school in the Khumbu region in this picturesque Sherpa village and Khumjung's monastery houses a famed and mysterious relic of the Khumbu, a dome-shaped object covered in hair believed by some to be the skull of a Yeti. We'll spend one night at a small lodge here off the beaten path, where few other trekkers stay overnight. Here, Sherpa life endures as it has for ages beneath the picturesque green roofs and inside the white hand-carved stone walls of this very traditional village. Water conservation is critical in this remote settlement, so please use water wisely.
Trekking: 3.5-4 hours; about 3.75 miles. From Tengboche (12,665'/3,860m), we descend 2,000'/610m in 1.25 miles to reach the river, then we cross by bridge and climb 1,735'/530m in 2.5 miles to reach Khumjung (12,400'/3,780m).
Day 8 - Trek off the beaten path through remote villages to secluded Thame.
Leaving Khumjung, we travel west beneath the rock spires and massive boulders of Khumbi Yulha en route to the unspoilt hidden village of Thame. Thame is home to one of the oldest monasteries in the region which appears to grow directly out of the mountain behind it. This day is mostly a gentle uphill grade as we pass through a number of small villages rarely visited by trekkers, then cross the thundering Bhote Kosi river as it bursts through the narrow gorge. Our final hour of trekking is a steep uphill section. Jahrl or Tahr mountain goats are frequently spotted on the mountain slopes above the trail. Few trekkers stray far enough from the main trekking routes of the Khumbu to experience this picturesque place, an important waypoint on the former salt trade route between India, Nepal and Tibet and the childhood home of Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, who accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary on the first ascent of Everest. We'll spend the night at a lodge in Thame, again off the standard trekking route where we'll see even fewer foreign visitors. In Thame our lodging is very basic, without private bathrooms.
Trekking: 5-6 hours; 6 miles. From Khumjung (12,400'/3,780m), we descend 1,100'/335m to Thamu over 3.5 miles, then climb 815'/250m over the next 1.5 miles to reach the Bhote Koshi River. Crossing the river by bridge, our final mile of hiking gains 285'/85m to reach Thame (12,400'/3,780m). Total elevation gain and loss: 1,100'/335m.
Day 9 - Explore Thame's hillside monastery and return to bustling Namche Bazaar.
We awake in Thame to glorious views of Thamserku and Kangtega. Thame offers very few services for trekkers aside from a few lodges and campgrounds; this provides a unique glimpse into life in the Khumbu region prior to the influx of adventure travelers that began decades ago. After exploring Thame's very old cliff-side monastery we begin trekking down to Namche Bazaar. Passing through the villages of Somde, Thamo, Tscheso, and Phurte, we'll arrive back in Namche Bazaar and stay at a lodge with private bathrooms.
Trekking: 4-5 hours; 6 miles. From Thame (12,400'/3,780m) we descend 285'/85m to the Bhote Koshi River, then, crossing by bridge, we descend an additional 815'/250m over 1.5 miles of hiking to reach Thamu. From Thamu, we begin climbing again, gaining 350'/105m over 3 miles before our final half-mile descent of 365'/110m to reach Namche Bazaar (11,285'/3,440m). Total elevation gain: 350'/105m. Total elevation loss: 1,465'/445m. Optional morning hike to Thame Monastery adds about 1.5 hours round trip.
Day 10 - Descend the Dudh Kosi River valley to Phakding through.
Departing Namche today, we retrace our route back to Phakding. We will descend more than 1,300' today, passing through small villages and fields along the way and enjoying our final views of the big peaks from the trail. The setting in Phakding is serene along the Dudh Koshi river, nestled beneath the cliffs with high rugged mountains rising from the valley floor. We'll rest by the warm stove in the dining room and enjoy another great dinner prepared fresh by our cooks. In our Phakding lodge we'll once again enjoy private bathrooms.
Trekking: 4-5 hours; about 5.6 miles. We descend 2,000'/610m in the first 1.4 miles of today's hike, then gradually descend an additional 920'/280m over the final 4.2 miles to arrive in Phakding (8,560'/2,610m).
Day 11 - Complete the descent to Lukla and celebrate with your trekking crew.
Our final day of trekking brings us to Lukla. Tonight we'll have a real celebration at our final lodge and enjoy music and dancing, great food, local drink and the companionship of our support staff, who by now have become familiar faces and friends as well. Our lodge here also has private bathrooms. Additionally, the bar/dining room is ideal for celebrating, dining and dancing. We'll bid farewell to our amazing trekking crew before turning in for a good night's sleep.
Trekking: 3-4 hours; about 4.5 miles. From Phakding (8,560'/2,610m) we hike a relatively flat first 1.5 miles before ascending 920'/280m over the final 3 miles of our trek to reach Lukla (9,320'/2,840m).
Day 12 - Return flight from Lukla to Kathmandu, weather permitting.
Very early this morning we will check out of our lodge and board a flight to Kathmandu. Upon our arrival in Kathmandu, we are met by our staff and transferred to our hotel in the Thamel District. The remainder of the day is free. There are many more opportunities for exploration, souvenir shopping and sightseeing. Breakfast is included.
Note about flights: Most treks run during the best weather conditions of the year and there is an extra day at the end of the trek to allow for poor weather, sightseeing and shopping. Flights to and from Lukla are not always dependable; weather conditions may cause flight cancellations. Delays are possible any time of year but are more typical on the summer departures. Costs of any evacuation are in addition to any previously paid air/land costs and are billed to trip members upon return to the States; thus we highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance.
Day 13 - Free day to explore more highlights of the Kathmandu Valley.
Enjoy a free day exploring on your own or join us for an optional city tour. The tour is likely to feature Kathmandu Durbar Square or the ancient city of Bhaktapur. The reminder of the day is at your leisure to shop or relax before your journey home. Breakfast included. (Note: Reserve day for return flight from Lukla in case of inclement weather).
Day 14 - Our Everest lodge to lodge trekking adventure ends today in Kathmandu.
This morning we transfer to the airport for departures back to the US. Breakfast included.
Explore even more with an optional Chitwan Jungle Safari – Nepal Extension.
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control including unexpected weather and terrain conditions.
Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.
National Park fees, 4 nights hotel in Kathmandu, meals as noted on the itinerary, guides and porters, cooks and commissary crew, rustic lodge accommodations or home-stays, community cooking gear, baggage portage, and airport transfers.
Air transportation to/from Nepal, flights within Nepal (mandatory internal flight), meals as noted on the itinerary, visas, any necessary emergency evacuation flight, optional tips to guides and staff, additional sightseeing options in Kathmandu, airport taxes, cost of obtaining a passport or medical immunizations, insurance, and items of a personal nature such as liquor or laundry fees.
Lodges in the Everest region are very basic stone structures with unheated rooms, two small beds with simple foam mattresses, a small window, primitive bathrooms (sometimes shared) and very little in the way of amenities. Hot showers are not typically available at our lodges, but are available in some villages along our route at a small additional cost. Our lodging is best described as very rustic and minimal, presenting an alternative to camping for those not wishing to stay in tents, not a luxury trekking experience.
This trip is rated Moderate Plus [3-4]. Trekking in Nepal is for active people in good health who enjoy hiking. Nepal has an "up and down" topography, there is very little level walking. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, you should be comfortable hiking between 5-8 hours on most days over uneven, rocky and occasionally steep terrain with cumulative daily elevation gains/losses of 1,000-3,000 feet. We expect participants to be fit, experienced hikers in good physical condition. Gear and supplies will be carried by porters or yaks, leaving members free to carry only a daypack containing food, water, fleece jacket/raingear and camera (if desired). No technical climbing or other special abilities are required. However, each person should be equipped with a "spirit of adventure" and be familiar with the physical demands of trekking and travel in undeveloped areas. This trek spends considerable time at altitudes between 11,000' and 13,000'. The trails themselves are only moderate, but at these altitudes hiking will feel more strenuous. A good physical conditioning program should begin prior to departure.
There are two ideal "weather windows" for Nepal. In the spring (from the latter half of March until the first part of May) temperatures are relatively warm; 10° to 15° warmer than in the fall (the latter half of October to December). Spring mornings are bright and clear with the air slowly becoming hazier as the day progresses. The rhododendron forests in springtime are spectacular, with color displays that are "Himalayan" in beauty. May is warm and green with far fewer people – the sense of solitude is much greater than other seasons. However, it is more likely to include rain showers, wet trail conditions, and possible flight delays. The fall season is an ideal time for the best mountain views. The days are typically sunny and clear with moderate temperatures, and the evenings are usually quite cold. Most of our trek takes place between 11,000' and 13,000' in elevation, and we expect spring daytime temperatures from the mid-40s to mid-60s, with nighttime and early morning temperatures in the 30s. We expect fall daytime temperatures from the mid-30s to mid-40s, with nighttime and early morning temperatures below freezing. There is also a chance of snow occurring at high altitude. Your body is typically taking in much less than its normal supply of oxygen, so you might expect temperatures to feel colder than you are accustomed to at home. Also, because lodges in the Everest region are commonly very rustic, your lodging in some villages may only be 10-20° F warmer than the temperature outside. Please note seasonally specific suggestions on our gear list.
If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the single supplement fee. There is no single supplement fee for those willing to share accommodations, and we will assign you a roommate of the same gender if possible. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single accommodations available.General Information
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
Everest Lodge to Lodge Trek Gear List
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary.
Flights to Lukla have a weight restriction of 30 pounds – please pack light and adhere to this list.
- Cooking and eating utensils
- Trip leader first aid kit
- Valid passport
- Copy of first page of passport
- Airline tickets
- Visa form for Nepal (or obtain at Kathmandu airport)
- 4 passport photos
- Duffel bag, extra-large (5,500 - 9,500 cu. in.)
- Small soft-sided suitcase or duffel to store non-trek items left at the hotel in Kathmandu
- Daypack to carry your camera, water bottles, extra clothing
- Luggage tags and locks, 2 sets
- Pillow (travel-size that can fit easily into your duffel)
- Sleeping bag with stuff sack rated for the season as follows: Spring departures: 35°F or less, Fall departures: 20°F or less
- Bring a few lightweight, easily washable items for travel and daily wear
- Comfortable shoes
- Rain jacket with hood, waterproof, breathable and with room for warm layers underneath
- Rain pants (full side zips are convenient)
- Insulated parka/ski jacket (REQUIRED), down or synthetic, able to fit over other warm layers
- Hiking boots, sturdy, ankle-support, water-resistant, well broken-in
- Comfortable shoes for evenings at the lodges
- Midweight fleece or wool sweater
- Fleece pants or tights (see "Optional Field Gear")
- Thermal underwear tops and bottom, synthetic or wool, appropriate for the season as follows...
- Spring: midweight (1 set)
- Fall: midweight (1 set) and expedition weight (1 set)
- Hiking pants/skirt (1)
- Hiking shorts (recommended for men only during Spring departures only)
- Long-sleeve shirts (2)
- T-shirts, synthetic are best
- Hiking socks (5 pair), wool or synthetic
- Liner socks
- Sun hat
- Wool or fleece hat (covers ears)
- Wool or fleece gloves
- Thin liner gloves
- Snow gaiters (Fall departures only)
- Two 1-quart water bottles or one 1-quart water bottle and a hydration system (such as a Camelback). You must bring at least one water bottle, even if you plan to primarily use a hydration pack.
- Flashlight or headlamp (with spare batteries/bulb)
- Pocket knife or multi-tool (in your checked luggage)
- Ear plugs
- Small quantity of favorite energy snacks and electrolyte drink mix
- Sunglasses with strap (side-shields or glacier glasses recommended)
- Sun block and lip balm – SPF 30+
- Toiletry kit
- Medium quick-dry towel
- Personal first aid kit / personal medications
- Hand sanitizer gel or hand wipes
- Several Ziploc plastic bags
- Large, heavy duty plastic trash bags (2)
- Trowel and a full roll of toilet paper in a Ziploc bag
- Feminine health supplies (can be difficult to obtain in Nepal)
- Camera, film/memory cards, spare batteries
- Down or synthetic-filled pants (a wise addition for Fall treks)
- Down booties (Fall treks at night)
- Trekking poles (very highly recommended)
- Knee supports
- Spare contact lenses or glasses
- Games and toys: Frisbee, cards, etc.
- Reading and writing materials
- Passport pouch or money pouch
- Neck pillow for travel
Things to Consider
- Culturally sensitive dressing tips: For women, pants (or Capri length pants) and/or a skirt (mid-calf) is recommended. Tights, hiking shorts and sports tops are not advised unless worn under other clothing. For men, pants are best. Men may wear hiking shorts, but they should be longer, near the knees. Men should never go shirtless.
- Your duffle bag should be able to accommodate all of your trekking gear and clothing. You may want to consider using an extra large duffel so that you have space to carry home all the great gifts and souvenirs you may be purchasing. Be sure to adhere to your airline's baggage size and weight restrictions. Additional charges may apply if you exceed their parameters.
- Cotton is wonderful in warm weather. However, once it becomes wet, it will drain your body heat. Bring wool or synthetics such as Capilene, MTS and Thermax.
- You may find that you will not use every piece of clothing that is on this gear list. However, the list has been created to provide for the full range of weather conditions that you MAY encounter during your trek. Should the weather be unseasonably cold or wet, you will appreciate having this gear and please not seasonally specific suggestions in relation to the departure date you've selected.
- Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding or bunching up.
- Make sure boots are broken-in. Bring moleskin for foot treatment. Thin liner socks worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters. The liner sock should be synthetic, not cotton. Test your sock combination before you go on the trip.
- It may be difficult to obtain feminine health supplies while in Nepal. Women are advised to bring these items from home.
- Travel clothes, extra gear, and purchases will be left in a storage room at our Kathmandu hotel. Please bring a small bag, luggage tag, and a lock for this purpose.
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.