For treks in the Everest Valley we recommend flying to Phaplu Airport (2,410m) and spending a very pleasant three days hiking up to a point past Lukla (2,860m). This trek is relatively under-utilized by trekkers and takes us through a lovely green landscape and across some impressive, if lower altitude, las (passes). Not only is this trek highly attractive but it’s a good way to start getting fitter and adjusting to altitude for the adventures ahead.
The disadvantage of this trek is effectively time, it adds three days to your journey and, should the weather be bad, highly unlikely in the peak trekking season of October/November, then flights to Lukla (full of tourists) take precedence over flights to Phaplu (full of locals) and your flight stands a greater chance of delay. Though in our book if you can’t fly to Phaplu you probably can’t fly to Lukla.
|Day 1||Kathmandu via Phaplu to Ringmo (2,720m) Your trekking guide will come to your hotel and, after breakfast, we fly from Kathmandu to the airport close to the regional administrative capital of Phaplu. We then proceed to hike, greeting the friendly locals with a ‘namaste’, through Nepal’s green and pleasant land to the Sherpa settlement of Ringmo set amidst apricot, apple and peach orchards, and yes you can try the cider, apricot brandy, non-fermented apple juice, yak cheese etc in this gorgeous village. (½ hour flight and 5 hour trek)|
|Day 2||Ringmo to Khari Khola (2,010m) The trek ascends and descends through pine and rhododendron forest, past stupas (Buddhist religious monuments), through the stunning Trakshindu La (pass), which separates the Solu and Khumbu valleys, past a gompa (monastery), through the village and fields of Timbu and on to Nunthala. From here we hike through a Rai area (you can’t miss the heavy jewellery worn by the women), cross the Dudhi Kosi (river) and eventually trek into the village of Khari Khola. Here is our turn off point if we’re looking to hike in the Hinku Valley and/or climb Mera Peak. (6 hour trek).|
|Day 3||Khari Khola to Puiyan (2,770m) We hike over the river on a long suspension bridge before making a steep trek up to Bupsa (2,360m), a village set amongst cascading wheat and maize terraces beneath a dense oak forest. From here we hike up through forest to Kharte and on to the spectacular Khari La (2,840m). Our trek down takes us through primordial oak forest to a metal bridge across the Puiyan Khola, from which we make a short hike up to Puiyan, (where those coming from Lukla to the Hinku Valley may be turning off). (6 hour trek).|
|Day 4||Puiyan to Phakding (2,650m) After Puiyan we get our first views of the Dudh Kosi canyon as it carves its way down from the Everest massif. We trek up to Paiya La (2,800m), hike along the ridge, before trekking sharply down through forest to the pretty village of Surkhe (2,290m). Soon after here we take the lower path, avoiding the busier upper route through Lukla and its airport, hike our way through streams and boulders, past stupas and mani walls and on to the villages of Mushe and Chaurikharka (2,650m). We rejoin the main trek at Cheplung, from where we hike on through small villages and terraced hillsides to Phakding. This hike brings us up to the point we would have reached on Day 1 of a trek if we’d flown into Lukla. (6 hour trek).|