Day 2 of Three Passes Trek – Manjo to Namche Bazaar
Today’s goal was to reach Namche Bazaar and possibly climb a bit higher to work on the acclimatisation. The first thing we noticed after waking up was the weather – no rain! We had a breakfast with the American couple and shortly after we set off for the steep climb to Namche. The trail is surrounded by a rododendron forest and crosses the river once with the probably most spectacular hanging bridge along the whole EBC trail. We took the opportunity to shoot some cool pictures on the bridge with water some 80m below us. On our way we stopped twice to pay an entrance fee, which was 3200 +2000 NPR per person.
Arriving at Namche was a shock. This place feels like a temple of commerce. It looks like every mountain country has to have its hyper-touristic mountain capital – Poland has Zakopane, France has Chamonix and Nepal has Namche Bazaar. It boasts half a dozen of really well equipped gear shops, cafes with freshly – ground Lavazza or illy coffee, tens of lodges and obviously an Irish Pub where you can enjoy the highest pint of Guiness in your life. Awesome. NOT. I wish we came to this place 20 or 30 years ago. It must have been truly beautiful back then. I am sure it acts as a magnet to those tourists who came to Nepal just because it appeared on some Lonely Plannet top 100 list. For real hikers it’s just a necessary stop before leaving to wilder and nicer areas of Solokhumbu.
Day 3 of Three Passes Trek – Namche Bazaar to Thame
We walked for about 4 hours and were finally welcomed in Thame by high mountain views and improving weather. Despite being exhausted, we decided to walk about 200m up from the village and check the monastery overlooking the valley. It was a spot on decision. On the way up we started hearing monks prayings and mantra singing. When we got to the monastery, we asked a care-lady if we can stay there. They had 3 rooms and very basic amenities, probably the most basic on the entire 3 Passes Trek path. That was a day without a shower (Yay). After eating some momos we headed to another prayings session with monks. This was mind-blowing. No pictures were allowed, but the level of praying engagement, meditation, mantra songs and different instruments will stay in our minds forever.