Namche is one of those places we’ve all heard about, but until you visit, you don’t really get a sense of the place. Perched high atop a mountain at 3440 meters (11,286 feet), it seems an unlikely place to go gear shopping. But Namche’s very narrow streets are lined with various shops selling all manner of outdoor equipment, some of which can be had at rock bottom prices, although you might not want to look too closely, as it might be a knock off too.
The village is quite a challenge to reach, as you’ll spend 3 or 4 hours climbing a rather large, and tiring, hill just to get there. It is also the first time that you really start to feel the effects of altitude as well, which is why most visitors end up spending two nights there in an effort to acclimatize further. Your “rest day” in Namche can be spent exploring the gear shops, eating in the bakeries, or getting in touch with friends and family back home, as there are a plethora of Internet cafes and even international phone service.
I do put “rest day” in quotations however, as most groups who stay in Namche still spend the day trekking in the region, and it isn’t necessarily all that restful. In my case, we actually went up about 400 meters (1312 feet) that day, although we returned to our lodge in time for lunch. That acclimatization trek was well worth it however, as we climbed up to a nearby teahouse that sits atop a mountain ridge, and got our first real views of Everest, Lhotse, and the beautiful Ama Dablam.
After Namche, the villages definitely get smaller, especially the higher you go. The costs of goods also goes up as you go higher as well, so if you’re trekking the region, definitely stock up on supplies before continuing on. Even the price of bottled water rises significantly as you climb. You’ll also want to take advantage of the hot showers and relatively comfortable conditions tha are available in the teahouses in Namche. Accommodations also get a bit more spartan as you go higher as well.
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