#3 Hiking Town – Namche Bazaar, Nepal

UPDATE.  BAD NEWS.  As of April 1, 2023 the Nepal government required that major treks can no longer be done independently.  Hiring a guide is mandatory.  The obvious alternative for independent hikers is the Indian Himalaya.    

Every hiker dreams of trekking in the footsteps of Hillary and Norgay. Climbing to Mt. Everest Base Camp Qomolangma (Tibetan), Sagarmāthā (Nepali) should be on your bucket list.

Here is the finest alpine scenery in the world, we reckon.

Namche Bazaar … at 3,440 metres (11,286 ft) … is the main trading center for the Khumbu region with many Nepalese officials, a police check post and a bank. …

Namche has a permanent population of around 800.

Almost everyone trekking in the Khumbu region will visit Namche Bazaar, as it is the gateway to the high Himalaya.

More interesting photos tagged Namche Bazaar.

Want more information? Check WikiTravel – Namche.

Everest Base Camp – Khumbu Ice Fall

Our favourite hike hikes out of Namche are:

• Everest Base Camp / 3 Passes
• Everest Base Camp / Kala Pattar
• Everest Gokyo

Everest seen from Kala Pattar

Many consider the mountain people and Tibetan culture an even bigger highlight than the peaks.


Best months are from October to early-December, cold but normally with clear views of the world’s highest mountains.

Spring is also a good time to visit the Everest region, though the skies may be hazy. Some argue that pastures are greener in the Spring.

Check the trip report posted by besthike editor Rick McCharles, Nov. 2009 – Everest Base Camp / 2 Passes

Or start on our Nepal information page.

Peak of the Balkans Trail

Accursed Mountains. Three nations.

This 192km circuit will take you through the mountains of northern Albania, eastern Kosovo and southern Montenegro.

The ancient routes were cut during the cold war when tensions were high between Yugoslavia and Albania.

The German Development Agency through a project to support the communities of these three countries restricted the trail and turned it into an amazing touristic offer. The route offers a diversity of landscapes and cultural experiences. …

10 day Guided Hike

Read Peter Elia‘s trip report.

Best Hikes in Mexico

The S.W. USA one or our favourite destination in the world for hiking — but Mexico is not nearly as good, in our opinion.

Lonely Planet did choose 6 great hikes:

  1. Pico del Águila
  2. Volcán Paricutín
  3. Bacajipare Trail 
  4. Pueblos Mancomunados 
  5. Pueblo Fantasma 
  6. Cerro Don Lauro

The 6 best hikes in Mexico to explore volcanoes, canyons and ghost towns

Photo by Felipe Perez on Pexels.com

See our list of best hikes in North America.

#8 – Everest Base Camp / 3 Passes, Nepal

Everest Base Camp via 3 Passes is one of our top 10 hikes in the world.


Of dozens of fantastic treks in Nepal, the 3 Passes route is best of the best.

  • October to November best months
  • beginning of March to mid-May next best
  • 16-18 days minimum for 3 Passes. 21 days would allow for rest / illness / sidetrip / and other unanticipated delays.
  • if you don’t have time, it’s recommended 14 days just to get to Base Camp and back safely.
  • wonderful photographic opportunities
  • it’s fun to leave the main trails, take to the paths less traveled
  • very little gear is needed
  • you can easily get pack weight down to 10kg (22lbs)
  • walk with no tent, stove or food. Stay in lodges, eat in simple restaurants. Books are often available for rest days.
  • safe and easy to hike solo
  • no need to speak Nepali, only English
  • food is good and quite safe (compared with Kathmandu)
  • Everest is the goal. But our favourite peak is Ama Dablam, much more visible en route.

World → AsiaNepalEverest Base Camp

Ama Dablum

Click PLAY or watch a 1 minute preview on YouTube. 

For details click over to our EVEREST BASE CAMP / 3 PASSES information page.

Va’ Sentiero – 7000 km through Italy

Va’ Sentiero is a grassroot project, thanks to the spontaneous contribution of thousands of people.

Three friends — Yuri, Sara, Giacomo — invented the route.

Today they are documenting the adventure with a team of seven.

So far, at least 1500 hikers have joined them at various stages. It’s open to all.

details – asentiero.org/en

Click PLAY or watch a promotion on Vimeo.

Thanks Jeff.

WHAT happened to Nepal’s Royal Trek?

trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

The Royal Trek was named because Prince Charles and his 90 person entourage followed this route in 1981 shortly before he married Princess Diana.

It was once a BIG DEAL. Mick Jagger did it too, for example.

Some walked a loop to and from Pokhara. It was jungle.

But by 2019 (during the dry season) you could drive most of this route. Take a taxi to any of these villages. Buses run to each, in fact.

Road building has degraded the experience to the point where very few hikers now visit.

That’s a shame because it’s a great way to see three of the highest peaks in the world from one spot: Manaslu 8,156m, Annapurna 8,091m, Dhaulagiri 8,167m.

Companies will still guide you. 9 days for $600 and up.

We did it independently in 2 days. Walked no more than 35 km.

A taxi from Lakeside, Pokhara to Kalikasthan cost $26.

It’s almost entirely a road walk now. Dusty at times.

Do not go unless the weather is clear. You want to see the big mountains including Machapuchhre (Fishtail).

The highlight for us was not the mountains, however, but learning about Gurung village life in the foothills.

You’ve heard of the Gurungs. They’ve been prominent soldiers in Nepalese, British and Indian armies.

Winter is coming. They were bringing in firewood.

Every village now has water pipes. But in the old days it was carried up from far below. Rain collected in giant concrete cisterns.

Our plan was to hike to Syaklung where I assured the guys there should be plenty of guest houses and restaurants.

Despite having 3 online map apps and a hard copy of the Around Pokhara Valley map, our main method of navigation was to ask people ‘which way to the Royal Trek?’

Eventually … we were lost.

Backtracking to the village of Lipeyani, we were incredibly fortunate to meet a gentleman named Rishi who had come up to the family farm for the Diwali festival. We met his people too.

Moma is age-71, but still works the farm. Her eyes have been damaged from decades of cooking smoke.

She picked fresh ginger and chilies. Their small, hard oranges were excellent too.

Rishi’s brother brought fresh buffalo milk for our coffee (Nescafe).

For Diwali, Nepalis clean and decorate their homes.

Fresh coats of mud applied.

They illuminate the interior and exterior of their homes with diyas (oil lamps or candles), electric lights, etc. .

They offer puja (worship) to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth. Many homes have a trail into the house.

Rishi suggested we stay in his village instead of Syaklung Danda, our intended stop. We were very happy we did.

It was Dal Bhat for dinner, of course. The staple. But for an appetizer we were offered a special treat — dried, smoked, spicy goat meat from the high Himalaya. They call it sukuti.

That night we were welcomed into the annual Diwali festivities. Much dancing, chanting and singing. And a bit of drinking. I had the local boiled rice wine called roxy.

We slept well on hard mattresses. And dreamed of having the big vistas early morning.

It dawned not as clear as the previous day, but we did see the three big peaks from one vantage.

Mission accomplished, we decided to walk out as directly as possible to Begnas Lake. Our Royal Trek route ended.

It was mostly downhill on dirt or paved roads.

Rice looks to be the most important crop.

Rishi is a specialist in rural development. He told us these village are in trouble. The young people leave for the cities, India or the Middle East, and those who remain have trouble making ends meet. He consults on new initiatives for the foothill farmers.

Begnas lake is impressive, but I prefer Lakeside, Pokhara as a tourist destination.

We took lunch at a local restaurant in Begnas Tal Bahar, then caught the Lakeside bus.

It’s only 30km back to town, but the local bus is SLOW. If I did it again, I’d taxi back to Pokhara.

Other highlights:

  • hillside rice terraces
  • no permits required
  • a good first Nepal hike to start acclimatization
  • low risk of altitude sickness

Best months for the Royal trek are March – May and September – December. It can get cold at night.

Annapurna: A Trekker’s Guide by Sian Pritchard-Jones and Bob Gibbons might still include the Royal Trek. Lonely Planet Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya (2016) does not.

If you like this vista, do the Royal Trek on your own. You’ll be unlikely to see any other foreigners.

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