Asking other backpackers on the route, which part of the Everest Base Camp trek they think is the hardest, most of them will point out the stretch between Monju and Namche Bazaar. As we did stay overnight in Phakding, it took us about 90 Minutes to get to Monju first, where we had a small rest before the steep ascent.
The steepest climb
And yes, this was a very steep path winding up the mountain for about 5 kilometers. This short distance took us about four hours.
However, arriving in Namche Bazaar was rewarding. This place is a major transport hub for local sherpas and tourists. It is the last stop to indulge in pizzas, café latte, and comfy hotel beds – before setting off another fortnight on the trek.
Being located at an altitude of 3400 meters, Namche Bazaar also serves as an “acclimatization rest stop” on the way up. Upon arriving, we first organized a stay in a small hotel and then decided to splurge on a sunny terrace of a local pizza shop.
Avoiding altitude sickness
As this was the hangout for other travelers, we did exchange some information with people returning from the “top” of the trek. This helped us to validate both our planned itinerary and whether our gear was good enough for the conditions to encounter.
There are numerous things to do during the rest day. In fact, in Namche Bazaar are a few small to mid-size round-trip walks which are very scenic. We did explore them during while waiting for our bodies to adjust to the climate on the third day of our trek.
Visiting monasteries and watching the never ending influx of sherpas carrying goods to the market in the village kept us busy for the better part of the day. Tired of doing nothing we went early to bed, anticipating an early morning start for the next leg from Namche Bazaar to Tengboche.