If you ever do a trek in Nepal’s Khumbu region – the Everest Base Camp route or the Gokyo Lakes trek for example – it’s likely you’ll spend a few days in Namche Bazaar.
This mountain village in Nepal has been transformed by the trekking industry, with satellite TV dishes and cyber cafes springing up almost as you gaze at Kongde Ri, the local mountain.
Namche Bazaar is a good place to address any deficiencies in your trekking equipment, get a hot shower and work on your acclimatization when trekking in the Khumbu. Enjoy the attempts at pizza and croissants while walking higher and then dropping back down to the village each day.
One such acclimatisation day trip from Namche Bazaar is to the Everest View Hotel, Namche’s version of fancy accommodation. Guests are helicoptered in here (suffering altitude-induced headaches) to stay in rooms with views up both the Gokyo and Lobuche valleys. But you can have a drink on the verandah and enjoy the view for the price of a cup of tea.
On another day I wandered above the village in the other direction, into the crop-growing area above Namche Bazaar, passing a colourful Buddhist Monastery and a series of Stupas.
Pint-sized Sherpas struggle manfully and womanfully up and down the steep trails around Namche Bazaar, couriering all sorts of equipment from food supplies to building materials.
One afternoon I met eight laughing men negotiating an industrial-sized oven down from Syangboche airfield above the town.
The more traditional Bazaar part of the name comes into its own on Saturdays, when Nepalis arrive from miles around for the weekend market in Namche Bazaar. People, animals, produce and goods make for a colourful cacophony.
When the sun slips away at the end of the day the temperature plunges and beside the warm fireside of the guesthouse kitchen there is a happy buzz of multi-cultural trekker discussion in the air.
By Natasha von Geldern
Have you been trekking in Nepal? What did you think of Namche Bazaar?