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Three Passes Trek

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Duration

19 Nights/ 20 Days

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Tour Type

Daily Tour

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Group Size

2-15 people

Overview

On the doorstep of Mount Everest, the Three Passes route is certainly one of the most challenging treks in Nepal. Your hard work will be compensated with breathtaking high country scenery thanks in part to three different valley systems linked by steep passes, and a trip to Gokyo—a series of six lakes that are the world’s highest freshwater system. You’ll also visit traditional villages and Buddhist monasteries offering insight into the culturally vibrant Sherpa lifestyle.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Trek a circuit around the entire Everest region
  • Amazing views of the highest mountains in the world
  • Cross three challenging 5,000 m passes: Renjo La, Cho La and Kongma La
  • Leave the crowds of the Everest Base Camp trek behind

Itinerary

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Welcome to Kathmandu
Welcome to Kathmandu

Flying into Kathmandu, you'll have views over the valley, the Himalaya, and the terraced fields below. After completing customs, a representative will be waiting to greet you outside the airport and to guide you through the initial culture shock of Kathmandu’s narrow, winding streets to your hotel.

Explore Kathmandu. Evening Trek Briefing
Explore Kathmandu. Evening Trek Briefing

Kathmandu has a special atmosphere during the early morning hours when the city is slowly coming to life yet not too chaotic. It's a great time to walk and explore the streets or have a chai overlooking one of the local courtyards or durbar squares.

After breakfast, there are then a number of ways you can spend your day given the numerous famous sights around the Kathmandu Valley. You can use this as a free day or we can provide a local English-speaking guide who knows the city well and can explain the history and significance of the sights (along with a private jeep to take you around).

Fly from Kathmandu to Lukla, Trek to Phakding (8,563 feet / 2,610 m)
Fly from Kathmandu to Lukla, Trek to Phakding (8,563 feet / 2,610 m)

After breakfast, you'll fly to Lukla (30 minutes) and land on a steep mountain runway, which brings you to the start of your trek. Try to get a window seat on the left-hand side of the plane and keep your camera close: the flight takes you between mountains and through valleys, with great views of the Himalaya on clear days.

You'll then trek a short distance today through local villages where you'll likely encounter fellow trekkers, locals, and yaks with their tinkling bells. (Having an easy first day is intentional, allowing you time to get used to the higher elevation.)

Continue through the Dudh Koshi Valley on a well-marked trail and stay overnight in Phakding.

Trekking time: 3-4 hours (4.7 miles / 7.5 km)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Phakding

Trek from Phakding to Namche Bazaar (11,290 feet / 3,440 m)
Trek from Phakding to Namche Bazaar (11,290 feet / 3,440 m)

After breakfast in Phakding, you'll start a steady and steep incline towards Namche. This is a challenging day as you'll start to feel the altitude. The route also consists of a number of high suspension bridges over the Dudh Kosi River that you need to cross.

Just beyond the village of Monjo is the entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park, which was set-up in order to protect and preserve the fragile mountain environment (your guide will cover your permit fees here). The trail gets steeper along the way, and if the weather is clear, you will get the first glimpses of Mount Everest.

When you arrive at Namche, settle into your accommodations and explore the town. Namche is a great place to stock up on supplies as there are numerous small shops selling snacks and trekking gear, as well as restaurants and bars. If here on a weekend, check out the Saturday market—a meeting place for the Hindu traders from the lowlands and the Tibetan yak caravans that have crossed the glaciated Nangpa La.

Trekking time: 5-6 hours (4.6 miles / 7.4 km)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Namche Bazaar

Acclimatization day in Namche Bazaar
Acclimatization day in Namche Bazaar

Today is a rest day so take time to relax and sleep in. Namche is tucked away between two ridges amid the giant peaks of the Khumbu and has an abundance of lodges, tea shops, and souvenir markets. It is an ideal place to spend a day acclimatizing to the higher altitude.

To speed up the acclimatization process, you can also head to the Khunde Hospital set-up by Sir Edmund Hillary, or take a highly-recommended one-hour walk up to the Everest View Hotel above Namche for views of notable peaks like Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse, and Everest. There are also good views from the Sherpa Culture Museum just above town.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Namche Bazaar

Trek from Namche Bazaar to Tengboche (12,687 feet / 3,867 m)
Trek from Namche Bazaar to Tengboche (12,687 feet / 3,867 m)

After breakfast in Namche, you'll follow the trail along the side of the valley high above the Dudh Kosi River. You'll get your first views of the Khumbu region's giant peaks: Mount Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, and Ama Dablam. Pass by several villages and numerous tea shops, and descend steeply to a bridge over the river at Phunki Tenga. The village is an ideal stopover for lunch and you can rest before making the steep climb to Tengboche.

Although this next zigzag path is tiring, your views will include beautiful rhododendron forests, colorful birds, and superb mountain scenery. Tengboche is famous for its legendary monastery, the largest in Khumbu, and a spectacular panorama of the aforementioned peaks can be seen from where you'll stop for the night.

Trekking time: 4-5 hours (5.7 miles / 9.2 km)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Tengboche

Trek from Tengboche to Dingboche (14,304 feet / 4,360 m)
Trek from Tengboche to Dingboche (14,304 feet / 4,360 m)

After breakfast, take some extra time to enjoy the scenery around Tengboche Monastery before you start today's journey. With mountains in the background, the monastery looks even more beautiful in the morning sunlight.

Once you set out, choose the upper trail for better views on the way to Pangboche village where you'll pass several stupas, Mani walls, and small villages. Stop for lunch at a place that serves delicious food with a fantastic close-up view of Mount Ama Dablam.

In the afternoon, walk north to Pheriche or take the eastward trail beneath the towering north face of Ama Dablam. From here, the walk is fairly moderate as you enter the Imja Valley, which gradually unfolds as you approach the confluence of the Lobuche River. Descend towards the river and begin the last and steepest climb of the day up to Dingboche.

On arrival, you will see a stunning set of fields enclosed by stone walls to protect barley, buckwheat, and potatoes from the cold winds and grazing animals.

Trekking time: 3-4 hours (6.7 miles / 10.8 km)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Dingboche

Acclimatization day in Dingboche (14,304 feet / 4,360 m)
Acclimatization day in Dingboche (14,304 feet / 4,360 m)

Today is your second acclimatization day of the trip, so sleep in and relax. Enjoy breakfast with great views of Ama Dablam to the south.

To better appreciate numerous other peaks visible from Dingboche, you can climb the ridge behind the village. This is an ideal (and easy) acclimatizing excursion allowing you to see three of the world's six highest peaks: Mount Lhotse, Mount Makalu, and Mount Cho Yu. Meanwhile, look west to see the peaks of Lobuche, Cholatse, and Taboche.

In the afternoon, you can relax in the village checking out the lodges, a bakery, a handful of shops, and even an internet café.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Dingboche

Trek from Dingboche to Chukhung (15,580 feet / 4,750 m)
Trek from Dingboche to Chukhung (15,580 feet / 4,750 m)

After breakfast in Dingboche, you'll have time to enjoy the views of Ama Dablam, Tawache, Chalotse, and the ridge of Nuptse-Lhotse as you start the trek to Chukhung. In fact, this trail passes through stone-walled fields and Imja Khola valley before entering glacier moraines amid towering Himalayas.

The trail then continues to Bibre, a yak herdsman place. Directly across the valley are Ama Dablam and the Amphu Labsa mountains, while the trail ahead is intersected by icy streams.

When you arrive, you can also choose to hike further to a rocky knoll off Chukhung Ri, which offers memorable views of Lhotse, Island Peak, Ama Dablam, Makalu, and others.

Trekking time: 2-3 hours (3.1 miles / 5 km)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Chukhung

Trek from Chukhung to Lobuche (16,210 feet / 4,940 m) via Kongma La Pass
Trek from Chukhung to Lobuche (16,210 feet / 4,940 m) via Kongma La Pass

After a pre-sunrise breakfast in Chukhung, you'll set out early and begin today's trek to reach the highest part of the entire trip: Kongma La pass. You can either take a trail over a hill which is to the northwest of Chukhung to get to the Nuptse Glacier moraines, or walk back to Bibre and hike on the trail above the Niyang Khola. The top of the pass is marked by cairns and Buddhist prayer flags, so it's easy to spot.

The final descent from the pass is the most difficult part of today’s journey. After climbing the moraine on the far side, the trail turns north through Khumbu Glacier, which then takes you to Lobuche where you'll stay the night.

Trekking time: 7-8 hours (6.6 miles / 10.6 km)
Accommodation: Teahouse

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Lobuche

Trek from Lobuche to Gorak Shep (17,594 feet / 5,364 m), Hike to Everest Base Camp
Trek from Lobuche to Gorak Shep (17,594 feet / 5,364 m), Hike to Everest Base Camp

After breakfast, you'll trek along the moraine of the Khumbu Glacier. Ahead, you'll see the crest of the north ridge of Everest along with Pumori, Mahalangur, Lingtern, Khumbutse, and Nuptse. A small ascent takes you to Thangma Riju where you can admire panoramic views and then ascend on a steep trail to the top of Changri Glacier.

When you reach Gorak Shep, you'll be surrounded by the Himalaya. Take some time to rest and enjoy the views before you continue toward Everest Base Camp. Once you get to the starting point of the world’s tallest mountain, take photos, explore the camps and surroundings, and then trek back to Gorak Shep for the night.


Trekking time: 6-7 hours

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Gorak Shep

Trek from Gorak Shep to Lobuche (16,207 feet / 4940 m), Sunrise from Kala Patthar
Trek from Gorak Shep to Lobuche (16,207 feet / 4940 m), Sunrise from Kala Patthar

After an early morning breakfast in Gorak Shep, you'll begin the trek to Kala Patthar with enough time to catch views of the first rays of sunlight on Mt. Everest. Prepare for trekking in the dark and cold morning air and chill winds (temperatures vary according to the season). Look for familiar peaks such as Lingtren, Khumbutse, Changtse, Everest and Nuptse towering above you.

After several hours of ascent, you'll be on the top of Kala Patthar. The close-up views of Mt. Everest and other Himalayan peaks from this spot are amazing. You'll have more chances to enjoy the vistas as you descend to Lobuche where you'll stay the night.

Trekking time: 8-9 hours

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Lobuche

Trek from Lobuche to Dzongla (15,850 feet / 4830 m)
Trek from Lobuche to Dzongla (15,850 feet / 4830 m)

After breakfast in Lobuche, it's time to trek downhill alongside the Khumbu Glacier. The trail splits into two and you'll choose the path on the right-hand side. Along the way, you can better admire the view of the looming Awi Peak as you pass by a stupa with tombstones visible in the distance.

You'll eventually begin to ascend with views of Chola Tsho Lake nearby. Continue further and pass another much smaller lake before you cross the Chola Khola on a bridge. This leads to Dzongla where you'll stop for the night.

Trekking time: 3-4 hours (4.1 miles / 6.6 km)
Accommodation: Teahouse

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Dzongla

Trek from Dzongla to Gokyo (15,584 feet / 4750 m) via Cho La Pass
Trek from Dzongla to Gokyo (15,584 feet / 4750 m) via Cho La Pass

After breakfast in Dzongla, you'll begin to gain height quickly on a steep incline with boulders. Look for Cho La Lake as well as the Ama Dablam presiding over a range of mountains to the south. The final ascent to Cho La can be a little tricky as the trail curves around a crevasse, but the top of the pass—marked by prayer flags and cairns—offers breathtaking scenery with majestic peaks in all directions.

You'll then take a long but easy path leading down to Thangnak. The trail continues to the edge of the Ngozumpa Glacier, which is the longest glacier in Nepal. Reaching the other side of the glacier, you'll see the second Gokyo Lake, belonging to a series of six lakes. A short distance away is the third Gokyo Lake, and on the edge stands Gokyo Village where you'll spend the night.

Trekking time: 7-8 hours
Accommodation: Teahouse

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Gokyo

Acclimatization day in Gokyo (Climb Gokyo Ri or Visit Gokyo Lakes)
Acclimatization day in Gokyo (Climb Gokyo Ri or Visit Gokyo Lakes)

Today is a rest day in Gokyo with a few options on how to spend the day. You can take an easy climb to Gokyo Ri and enjoy views of the incredible mountain vista. You can also tour the fourth Gokyo Lake, which is just under two miles north of the Gokyo Village. If you're up for a more challenging day, you can continue trekking to the fifth lake. At the edge of the lake is a spot called "Scoundrel's Viewpoint" for astonishing views of Cho-Oyu, Gyachung Kang, Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, and the Makulu mountains, as well as the massive Ngozumba Glacier. From here, trek back to Gokyo and spend the night.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Gokyo

Trek from Gokyo to Marlung (17,585 feet / 5360 m) via Renjo La Pass
Trek from Gokyo to Marlung (17,585 feet / 5360 m) via Renjo La Pass

After your final meal in Gokyo Village, you'll start the morning early in order to complete the long day’s trek ahead. The trail moves alongside Dudh Pokhari (another lake) and you'll walk for a few hours before descending towards the Renjo La pass. Views from the Renjo La pass are similar from Gokyo Ri with the third Gokyo Lake and Gokyo Village visible beneath the Ngozumpa Glacier. You'll also get outstanding views of Mt. Everest from the top of the pass.

Continuing from here, the trail winds down a stone staircase and over a loose scree to reach the south bank of Angladumba Tsho Lake. The presence of ice on the trail while descending down can make this portion of the trek a bit hazardous so be careful. Along the way, you'll see Relama Tsho and Renjo Lake, and then walk down a narrow valley clogged with giant boulders to Lumde. You'll then walk for almost an hour to get to Marlung on the east bank of the Bhote Koshi River.

Trekking time: 7-8 hours
Accommodation: Teahouse
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Marlung

Trek from Marlung to Namche Bazaar (11,319 feet / 3450 m)
Trek from Marlung to Namche Bazaar (11,319 feet / 3450 m)

Start the day with breakfast in Marlung before you descend to Thame along a route that follows a traditional path used for centuries by Tibetan traders. From here, you'll cross the Bhote Koshi River and descend to Taranga and continue moving downwards while crossing two bridges before reaching Thame.

Overlooking Thame is the village's famous Gompa situated on a hill to the west. From here, you'll descend gradually on a trail that passes through a few small villages before reaching Namche Bazaar. This is the biggest hub in the Everest region with plenty of shops, bars, and cafés as well as fellow trekkers passing through.

Trekking time: 5-6 hours
Accommodation: Teahouse
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Namche Bazaar

Trek from Namche Bazaar to Lukla (9,186 feet / 2,800 m)
Trek from Namche Bazaar to Lukla (9,186 feet / 2,800 m)

Wake up for an early breakfast in Namche, then retrace your steps back to Lukla following the Dudh Kosi river valley. It's a long day, but it won't be too difficult as it's downhill and you'll be in good shape from all the previous days of trekking.

You'll make your way through villages like Chumoa, Benkar, Phakding, and Chuthawa, eventually reaching the Pasang Lhamu Memorial Gate signifying the end of the trek. Though most of the route is an easy downhill slope, the last section of trail before arriving takes you uphill—a fitting way to finish.

With Lukla’s handful of shops, bars, and cafes—and even a faux Starbucks!—there are plenty of things to occupy your time as you reflect on your experience.

Trekking time: 6-7 hours (11.1 miles / 17.9 km)
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight: Lukla

Flight from Lukla to Kathmandu
Flight from Lukla to Kathmandu

After breakfast in Lukla, pack up early and head for the airstrip to hop on a flight back to Kathmandu.

Upon arrival, you'll be transferred to your hotel and will be able to enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening at your leisure. Explore Kathmandu's streets on foot, bicycle, or rickshaw, perhaps shopping for souvenirs or seeing anything you may have missed at the beginning of your trip.

Other ideas include rewarding your muscles after the trek with a massage service at Seeing Hands (services are offered from the visually impaired), or the more upscale Kinjalla Spa. You can also take an early evening yoga class at Pranamaya Yoga, with two locations in Thamel and Patan.

In the evening, choose from a selection of Nepali, French, Vietnamese, and Middle Eastern dishes in Kathmandu.

Overnight: Kathmandu
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight: Kathmandu

Depart Kathmandu
Depart Kathmandu

It's time to say farewell to Nepal! Enjoy your last moments in Kathmandu with breakfast in a café, a city stroll, and/or souvenir shopping. A representative will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the airport for your return flight home.

Included/Excluded

  • International arrival and departure transfer in a private vehicle.
  • 3 nights accommodation in 3 star hotel on BB basis in Kathmandu.
  • Kathmandu to Lukla and return airfare and airport transfer in a private vehicle.
  • Experienced english-speaking guide
  • Porter during the trek
  • Meals on full board basis( Breakfast, Lunch and dinner) during the trek.
  • 16 nights accommodation during the trek
  • Required trekking permits, National Park fees, and taxes
  • Kit bags( Duffle bag)
  • Salary and insurance for the staff.
  • International flights and visa fee
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu
  • Entrance fees for monasteries and museums
  • Hot showers and hot drinking water during the trek
  • Travel insurance and emergency rescues
  • Personal expense like phone calls bills, bar bills, Wi-Fi, gadget charging, laundry, gratitude, trekking gears
  • Other items not mentioned

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