TO EVEREST - Chola Circuit Trek, Ep One - Hotel Everest View
Mother of the world - Mother Goddess Long before it was called Mount Everest or Sagarmatha the locals who lived near it called it Chomolungma or Mother Goddess with reverence. The world's highest mountain. Millions of foreign and local tourists visit Solukhumbu annually to see this mountain.
Some do the base camp trek while some opt for several circuit treks available. There is a popular trek route that lets us see Everest up close from Kalapatthar, then goes via Chola pass to the pretty Gokyo Lakes. The Chola Circuit trek. In this Episode we are doing the Chola Circuit Trek in association with Honey Guide Apps and co-sponsored by Everest Hardwear and Luminaid Nepal. We bring to you our journey into the most popular place of Nepal - an unexpected visit for us who prefer travelling to unknown locations of Nepal. A rare and happy coincidence that arose due to Global pandemic situation.
The one answer of why visit Nepal? Welcome to another exciting adventure of Ghumante. We are set for another trekking. Since winter is already here we need few more warm clothes. As you all are familiar by now, Everest Hardwear is our gear partner. So we're here at Everest Hardwear which is located at this inner junction of Thahiti. "Can I recognize me through the mask?" "Dai, how're you doing?" "Everything's good."
"We are headed to a winter trek so we have to add some more winter gears." "Ok let's look at what you need." "Ok dai, this one and this one." After equipping ourselves with warm clothes, we headed to the Tribhuvan Airport early the next day. To overcome the threat of COVID, Summit Air has left no room for operation. We are operating our flights with the highest safety standards.
In the first counter, we check thermal and process forms and other things only after that is OK. As you also saw, we disinfect the baggage even before they are processed. We then measure their weights, shift them to trolley and once again disinfect them before loading onto planes. I will give a brief about safety inside the airplane. Please do not remove the face mask and face shield during the entire flight duration. Since the virus is airborne, please kindly follow that precaution.
We are now finally at Lukla. Although it's often known as world's most dangerous airport, our landing was very smooth. Wonderful. Yes, Lukla here we are. Unlike in most videos that we see, Lukla is very quiet and deserted right now. It's partly due to Corona and partly because trekking season is almost at an end since it's December already. So it feels completely different that what we were used to seeing about Lukla.
In Lukla, we had our lunch in our famous photographer Chungba dai's Khumbu resort. Now, we officially begin our Everest Base Camp Chola circuit trek. Our destination for today is Monjo. "Dai, where did you say you were headed?" "Upto Gorakshep Everest Base Camp." "Did you start from Lukla?" "Yes" "How much are you carrying?" "118 kg" "OMG, hard or easy?" "Umm it's neither hard nor easy." "Is this your usual quantity?" "Yes, this is my usual load."
This is our first rest stop after 45-50 minutes walk from Lukla - Nachipang. Since this is the Everest route, the trail is excellent. Add the fabulous sceneries to that. I always love trekking in Solukhumbu.
Even though I'm doing Everest base camp trek for the first time, this place is so famous and I've seen it so many times that I felt like I've been here before. When you search Everest base camp, this place comes up very often. I'm here right now and I feel very happy for that. We are at Phakding now. Normally this is camping place for people coming from Lukla. But since we are early today, we'll have some tea and snacks here and go upto Monjo. Everything's amazing really. I'm repeating myself but since this is Everest area, the infrastructure everything looks so good here.
I'm getting some Thamel walk vibe. I don't know if it's become our tradition or if it's just our luck, even today it's getting dark. We don't have any flashlight with us this time.
A friend of ours gave us these Luminaid lights. You've already seen it in our Gosaikunda trek as well. It's charged by solar and the light is also really soft and bright. So, we'll use this to reach upto Monjo. It's 6 in the evening and we're finally at Monjo. A big thanks to Honeyguide who have brought us here at Everest. During this Corona time when there are zero international tourists, they have created travel packages solely focused on Nepali tourists. We are doing the Chola circuit package of theirs so everything's already booked.
I too was scared in the morning because the tag "world's most dangerous airport" was on the back of my mind. It provoked me. While flying into Lukla, once we crossed Lamajura pass there was a lot of fog.
Inside the fog, it's windy and the plane shakes and normally there are some free falls. Today I didn't feel it that much. Just one time. The boys have found a good time pass in the morning.
Good morning from Monjo everyone. We've had our breakfast. Now we are ready to set off. Like I said yesterday, this is Everest. There are so many facilities. We spotted a cafe here. Not just any cafe, a cafe equipped with deluxe coffee machines.
So we are having cafe latte before moving. We are eager to welcome Nepali and promote internal tourism. Based on some practices and stories of 20-25 years ago, during which times our hotels also had limited and small rooms Nepali tourists still think that they won't get rooms in Everest. In peak seasons of October, November and April, March, it might be a little busy. But even then if Nepali groups call us one day ahead and ask to reserve rooms, we will certainly do that.
Even in December, it's a little cold but the weather is fantastic. If you come at this time, you will get to stay at any hotel that you choose. Thank you so much Dai for your warm hospitality. And your message to everyone right? Everybody is welcome in Everest. Yes. Welcome.
People come from all corners of the world to see Everest so Nepalis should definitely come and see it upclose once. We are at Jorsalle checkpoint after a short walk from Monjo. Whether Nepali or foreigner, everyone has to pay an entry fee. For domestic tourists, its Nrs. 100 right now. In Jorsalle, we had just crossed a bridge and come to the other side. In just a minute, there's another bridge and we will cross the river again.
Interesting trail. Here the trail design is to block mules and horses from using this route. For mules, there's another route over there which meets at the bridge. This one here is specially for trekkers. We've arrived at another iconic place of Everest- Hillary bridge. There are two bridges here. The lower one is out of use but still there which makes for a good photo, good shot.
While doing this Everest trek, I noticed something very remarkable. A very good thing. In almost every resting spot, there's a waste collection place like this so that there's no waste in the trail. According to NB, this are by Sagarmatha National Park. I think almost all of our trekking routes need this kind of structure. It helps people who want to keep the trail clean. We can even collect waste by others and dispose off it conveniently. During Everest trek, your first sight of Mt. Everest after the Lukla flight is from this place.
Unfortunately the view is clouded right now. We couldn't see it right now. But if it clears while we return, we'll show you how Everest looks from here. Sadly, this also looks like a waste dumping place. Everest base camp lies within Sagarmatha National Park. It is strictly prohibited to kill, scare off wild animals. So they are not scared of humans. There is a big herd of Jharal (Himalayan Tahr) just behind us
we are so close to them but they haven't run off. The last one is so big looks like the alpha male. Oh it looks so beautiful. We read about it since we were kids. We watched it a lot in Nepal Television's documentaries that Namche is gateway to Everest. During my many journeys across Nepal, I always thought I would get to Namche one day. And finally I'm here. So welcome everyone of you to Namche - Gateway to Everest.
Oh there's also some light snowing. We had also seen a Daphne on our way. And there's some light snow right now. So it's a very warm welcome for us in Namche. The experience in Namche is same as in Lukla. First it's off season and second due to Corona, everything is eerily silent.
This area is almost pin drop silence. We entered Sherpa Barista Cafe after arriving in Namche. This is our travel summary for today. Very short distance but we gained 711m elevation and 61m descent.
It took us 4 hours 15 minutes and total distance was 6.4km. We had gotten a chance to experience for real the things we had heard about Namche. We first ordered Cappuccino. Then ordered other items to our heart's content. This luxury is seldom available in other mountain treks. Jhol momo, tenderloin steak, pizza and lasagna. The taste was on par with any high-end Kathmandu restaurant. The lasagna here might even be better.
Awesome. Just awesome. After having delicious lunch at Sherpa Barista, we were supposed to spend the night at Khumbu lodge. But since it's closed, we are heading to its apartment which was built for long term stays. According to what we heard, this is built for people who wants to spend a longer amount of time in Namche. We again went to Sherpa Barista for dinner.
After delicious dinner, we had a long talk with Pasang dai. What's up guys? Everything's OK. The bed is so warm. While it is so cold outside.
I've done Everest Base Camp more than 30 times. This one is the best and most luxurious trek so far. Good morning to everyone from Namche. The weather day before was very gloomy but today it's wonderful. The sun shone brightly since morning. It's very warm. Our destination for today is not that far. It's Everest View Hotel. So we'll explore Namche a bit and head above. This place used to be so vibrant. After Corona, it's now dead quiet. I feel sad.
The thing is this Khumbu area is totally dependent on tourism. There's no alternative. During this time, a few local tourists are helping the local economy to some extent. So for that I'm very grateful to our Nepali travelers. Don't ignore Everest because of things you may have heard. What used to happen 15-20 years ago is not true anymore. If Nepalis come, all of us are happy. When Nepalis visit, its our own brothers. We can converse, know each other. People have changed now. Just think, a gas cylinder costs Rs. 6000, a sack of rice 5000, cement 3500.
Even with that expense, we are trying to provide best and cheap service to all of our guests. The thing we as Nepali travellers have to understand is the geographical difficulty of this area. Most of the things are flown in. Even when transported by vehicles, they still have to be carried for days.
So the price you've quoted on menu is considerable due to that. And another thing is, when you are born as a Nepali, it's not enough that you hear the name Everest. If you see it for yourself, there's no greater joy than that.
Only thing is when you come, please plan properly. But if incase anything goes wrong, Sherpa Barista is here, I'm here. If you are in dire situation, I will do my best to help you from my side. "Thank you for the great food."
"Thank you sir. Have a great trip. Please visit again." "We'll be here on our way back as well. Bye." With this our Namche stay comes to an end. A big thanks to Pasang dai for making us feel at home here. And a big thanks to Khumbu lodge as well who managed our accommodation. "Ok dai, see you when we return." "OK bye."
We are some 20-25 minutes above Namche. Kiran and Nb has gone to National Park office. We are waiting for them as the paperwork took some time. "Oho what's up!" Now the uphill stretch has finished. There's a hotel here. Even though the weather was sunny in the morning, it's very gloomy now. There's also some light drizzle. Weather forecast shows sunny from tomorrow so feeling hopeful. Where we are staying tonight is Hotel Everest View. Don't know if you are familiar, but this hotel used to hold Guinness World Record for highest altitude hotel.
It's been broken by another. Still it's a very high end hotel. A big thanks to Soniya maam for the invitation. We will rest and acclimatize there tonight. The walking duration today is also very short. After a very leisurely walk of about 2 hours from Namche, we are at Hotel Everest View.
It already looks so grand. It's such an unexpected place for us. We were ravenous by the time we had reached there. We had lunch even before going into our rooms. We remember reading that Everest View was the highest altitude hotel in the world when we were kids.
Our hearts were soaring to be a guest of this place on that day. It was freezing cold outside but our rooms were very warm. Hot water, hot commode, bath tub and electric heated blanket.
For us who have already trekked so much in Nepal, we don't thihk we'll have this level of luxury anywhere else. As dusk approached, we went back to the dining. In the enormous dining hall, we sat cozily around the equally enormous firepit.
Due to COVID, we were the only guests at the moment. There were 8 staff of the hotel. And we were only 5. So we got even more special treatment. "Let's see your oxygen level at this height."
"His is usually good." "Yes even higher than mine." "He is the mountain man." "Oxygen level is 90." Our dinner was very interesting.
Apparently Soniya maam had already instructed staff to prepare Japanese cuisine for us. For some of us, this was our first experience having authentic Japanese cuisine. As we slept, the clouds and mountains kept playing hide-n-seek outside. A very good morning to all of you from Hotel Everest View. And even though we are doing Everest trek, except for a brief glimpse from Namche yesterday we hadn't seen Everest that much. This is the first time we are seeing the mountains.
And it's pretty special. Just have a look. At first, it just amazes us to see such a lavish hotel in such a place. What's even more amazing is that it was built 50 years ago. Takashi Miyahara, a mechanical engineer by profession, started this hotel in 1971. The story behind starting this hotel here is also interesting. When Miyahara who loved climbing mountains came to Nepal in 1962 to climb Mukut mountain, he fell in love with Nepal.
He came back again about 4 years later. When he had gone to Everest area to rescue a fellow Japanese, he was bitten by a dog. As he went to Khunde health clinic for treatment, he meta New Zealander doctor John Mckinon. As they talked tourism along with treatment, Mckinon suggested this site to Miyahara. Miyahara was mesmerized by the view of this place on very first visit. And then he promised himself that he would make an international level hotel in that place.
The hotel construction soon began in 1968 in collaboration with local Sherpa community. The hotel was designed by Japanese architect Yasunobu Kumagaya. Every item used in construction was either flown in by heli or carried by people. Most of the materials were imported from Japan.
After 5 years of rigorous work, the Hotel Everest View finally came into operation. Nepal was at nascent stage of tourism at that time. This hotel was a milestone in Nepal's tourism scene. Of significance is that Sagarmatha National Park was established only after 5 years of the hotel opening.
In 2004, it was enlisted in Guiness Book of World record as hotel situated in highest altitude. And with this, another identity of Nepal was set in the map of world tourism. And with that wonderful breakfast, it's time for us to leave Hotel Everest View. We have to reach over there, just below that monastery. And thank you so much to Hotel Everest View team and Soniya maam.
Normally people don't come here during Everest trek. This is situated a little higher and is also a bit luxury place. But I am told yesterday that there's a 50% discount for Nepalese. So, if you guys want to check out this place and need some details, the link will be in the description below. And good place to spend your special time like honeymoon or big big things. It's pretty spectacular. There's mountain everywhere you look. Every room has view of Mt. Everest. Even in the breakfast corner.
I don't want to leave this place. Which phone networks work around here dai? The NTC network doesn't work that well in some places but NCELL network works well even upto Basecamp. Oh that's reassuring to know. "So long everyone." "Bye bye. Safe journey. Thank you." In next episode, we make our way from Everest View Hotel onwards to Tyangboche, Dibuche, Lobuche and to Gorakshep. From Gorakshep, we return back even though Everest Base Camp is so close.