Namche Bazaar is a popular stopover for people who are trekking or climbing Mt. Everest. It is situated 3,440 meters above sea level. The way to Namche village is not an easy one. On the contrary, trekkers and climbers need to go through a challenging trail that will increase their elevation by 800 meters. Yet, it provides a good resting place for those who are gearing up for higher altitudes in Mt. Everest.
The village used to be a trading post where the residents bartered butter and cheese in exchange for farm produce from lower altitude villages. When Mt. Everest was climbed successfully in 1953, climbers began to pour in from different parts of the world, and this change affected the village a lot. With so many tourists coming in, the village’s strategic location ushered it into a busier reality and helped boost its local economy.
Because Namche is the first stopover along the Khumbu trek that goes beyond the altitude sickness threshold, climbers stay here for two or more days to acclimatize. Aside from this, they get some of their needed supplies in Namche Bazaar. The money coming in from the tourists has made Namche the most prosperous village in Nepal. Its income is double that of Kathmandu and even seven times higher than Nepal’s average income. Namche is very unlike other villages in Nepal. It has a bank, a moneychanger, an internet café, and even a karaoke bar.
Namche Bazaar has many items that trekkers and climbers need. There are a lot of gear shops in the place. You can buy warm clothes, sleeping bags, hiking boots, and other things you need for the climb.
There are many teahouses in the village where tired mountain climbers can stay. The accommodation rates range from Rs 200 for very basic rooms with common toilet to Rs 1,000 for a more modern twin room. Some teahouses offer low accommodation rates but require their guests to eat in. When off-season approaches, the number of tourists going to Namche dwindles. Because of this, some teahouses are closed during off-season.
There is a lot more to buy in Namche Bazaar than hiking gear. You will see shops on the main street selling handicraft prodcts. Besides these, you will find some shops selling books. Buying books is a good idea specially if you will stay in the village for more than two days. Toiletries, medicines, and other basic necessities are sold in some shops, although they can be expensive. You will find two bakeries, Namche Bakery and Herman Helmer’s Bakery, where you can buy fresh pastries and even pizza.
The entire Namche Bazaar is like a convenience store situated almost 3,500 meters above sea level. The shops, teahouses, restaurants, and bakeries in the village are a relief to tourists. Climbers suffering from altitude sickness are brought down to the village and taken to Tibetan Medical Clinic where they will be given natural treatments. Porters who encounter health problems along the trail can also be brought to this medical clinic where they are given free treatment.