Mt. Everest — Among Mountains, Monasteries, & Markets with Ariel Estulin

Starting From

$3,360/person

Number of days

14

Start Location

Kathmandu

End Location

Kathmandu

Group Size

4-10

Difficulty

3/5

Operated by

Moment Travel

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This isn't the harrowing Everest you've read about — our trek below the base of the mountain is doable for a wide range of physical abilities, and you'll be supported the whole way. Immerse yourself in the traditions of ancient Sherpa culture and witness mind-blowing panoramic mountain views unlike anywhere else in the world. Go back in time to historic monasteries and traditional street markets. Experience an epic sunset over Mt. Everest, up close and personal. A once-in-a-lifetime adventure awaits!

Operated by:

Moment Travel

Unforgettable adventures with photographers whose feeds you follow (or should be following). Discover their hidden spots, capture insane photos, and sharpen your photograph...

Additional Information

Meet Your Guide: Ariel Estulin

I’ve been teaching photography for years, seeking out beauty in the wild and remote places that still remain untouched by civilization. My never ending search for off-beat adventures has led me to explore the Himalayas of Nepal and Ladakh, along with South America's Patagonia. I’ll share with you my years of experience, and show you how to make — not just take — great images.


Day 1: Kathmandu

Summary:
We’ll explore the street life of Kathmandu in all it’s chaos and wonder. We’ll end the first day visiting Durbar Square and it’s ancient monuments.

Photo Spots:
The famous Thamel district

Activities:
Explore the hustle and bustle of the vibrant, culture-rich streets of Kathmandu

Morning:
Arrival in Nepal

Afternoon:
Meet and greet along with full workshop briefing

Evening:
Visit Durbar square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for it's ornate wood carvings, terraced structures, palaces, and temples. Afterward, we'll have our first traditional Nepalise dinner together.

Lodging:
Hotel in Kathmandu

Food:
Traditional local Nepali dal bhat (steamed rice and lentil soup)

Day 2: Boudhanath Stupa & Swayambhunath

Summary:
We’ll visit one of the most important Buddhist sites in Nepal - Boudhanath Stupa. The magic happens here before sunrise and the best opportunity for photography is early in the morning. Later we’ll head to Swayambhunath, aka Monkey Temple, that sits high atop a hill overlooking the Kathmandu valley.

Photo Spots:
Boudhanath Stupa and Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple)

Activities:
Exploring the city, visit historic Buddhist sites

Morning:
Early morning shoot at Boudhanath Stupa, one of the largest stupas in the world.

Afternoon:
Visiting Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple). The temple sits atop a hill, overlooking most parts of the valley. This is a fantastic place to catch panoramic views of the city.

Evening:
Taking in the sights on the streets of Kathmandu, and final packing for our flight the next day.

Lodging:
Hotel in Kathmandu

Food:
Breakfast at hotel, lunch, and group dinner

Day 3: Flight to Lukla & Hike to Phakding

Summary:
An epic 45-minute flight to the village of Lukla. From Lukla we start our trek northward on the meandering but well-marked trail into the Khumbu, land of the Sherpa people. A gentle climb brings us to our first overnight stop in the village of Phakding.

Photo Spots:
Lukla airport, village life, iconic bridge crossings along trek

Activities:
Flight to Lukla, hiking, photography along the way

Morning:
Early morning flight to Lukla with spectacular views of the eastern Himalayas.

Afternoon:
4-5 hours of hiking through lush valleys and beautiful suspension bridges.

Evening:
Our first evening in the Himalayas, in the village of Phakding. Shops, restaurants, lodges, bars, and homes line the streets of this village, and the offerings of Phakding include everything from supplies and lodging to pool and reggae.

Lodging:
Lodge in Phakding

Food:
Breakfast at hotel, lodge menu for lunch & dinner

Day 4: Namche Bazaar

Summary:
Namche Bazaar is the Sherpa capital of the Himalayas and the most important trading village in the region. It’s situated in a crescent amphitheater above two great valleys offering a stunning view of the surrounding mountains. Our walk today crosses suspension bridges galore that overlook the turbulent river below.

Photo Spots:
Weather permitting, we encounter our first sight of Mt. Everest and Lhotse. Village of Namche Bazaar.

Activities:
Trekking 4-5 hours to Namche Bazaar

Morning:
Breakfast and packing to begin our hike for the day

Afternoon:
Hiking with ample time to rest and acclimatize to the altitude.

Evening:
Photograph the sunset and the darkest, most starlit skies you’ll ever see.

Lodging:
Lodge in Namche Bazaar

Food:
Lodge menu for breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 5: Kongde Ri & Khumjung Village

Summary:
Today is an acclimatization day to allow our bodies to adjust to the higher altitude. We’ll use this day to explore and experience Namche’s local market bazaar. For those feeling acclimatized, we’ll hike up to the village of Khumjung and visit the 500 year-old monastery.

Photo Spots:
Kongde Ri at sunrise, Sherpa museum, Khumjung Gompa, Namche Gompa

Activities:
Visit the colorful Namche bazaar, optional daytrip hike to village of Khumjung

Morning:
We'll wake up early for sunrise shoot below Kongde Ri, one of Nepal's most awe-inspiring mountains. Then, we'll relax and stroll along Namche’s vibrant local market bazaar.

Afternoon:
For those feeling up to it, we'll take a short daytrip to Khumjung village and Khumjung Gompa, an ancient Buddhist temple.

Evening:
Visit another monastery, Namche Gompa, and spend time shooting the sunset over the mountains from Namche bazaar.

Lodging:
Lodge in Namche bazaar

Food:
Lodge menu for breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 6: Trek to Phortse Tenga

Summary:
Today the trail climbs steeply as we leave Namche before dropping again down to the river. A stunning climb follows to the Mong La (mountain pass) where we’ll stop for lunch and admire the stunning views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains. The trail then drops back down to the river where we reach the village of Phortse Tenga, our stop for the night.

Photo Spots:
Mong La pass chorten, river shore at Phortse Tenga

Activities:
Trekking 3-4 hours to Phortse Tenga

Morning:
Eat a hearty breakfast, pack up and prepare for the hike.

Afternoon:
We'll spend the afternoon hiking to Mong La mountain pass. There will be plenty of time for photographing and relaxing in this stunning mountain paradise.

Evening:
Once we get to Phortse Tenga, we'll take time to explore and photograph the river valley below.

Lodging:
Lodge in Phortse Tenga

Food:
Lodge menu for breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 7: Lhabarma

Summary:
It's a short day today, so we’ll take our time. We follow the river towards it’s source, the Ngozumpa Glacier. The landscape has changed from lush forest to the more desolate landscape of the upper Khumbu, with only low lying shrubs and plants. We follow along the ridge line arriving in Lhabarma, our first evening above the 4000m barrier.

Photo Spots:
Yaks, mountains, Khumbu desolate landscape, village life, sunset/sunrise

Activities:
Trekking 2-3 hours to Lhabarma

Morning:
Early wake up call for a sunrise shoot of the mountains around Phortse Tenga. Eat a hearty breakfast and pack up for the hike.

Afternoon:
Make our way toward Ngozumpa Glacier, the longest glacier in the Himalayas. Photograph the surrounding mountains and landscape, and hopefully see some yaks!

Evening:
Relax and watch the sun disappear behind the Himalayan mountains.

Lodging:
Lodge in Lhabarma

Food:
Lodge menu for breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 8: Marchermo

Summary:
We ascend gently up the Gokyo valley today. It’s another short day of hiking due to the altitude gain. The magnificent Mt. Cho Oyu, one of the 14 great eight-thousanders, now looms before us. On passing the sand spurs we reach Machhermo. A local legend has it that in 1974 a Yeti attacked and killed three yaks here.

Photo Spots:
Views of Cholatse mountain, the desolate Khumbu landscape, village life, sunset/sunrise

Activities:
Trekking 2 hours to Machermo, talk at rescue post

Morning:
Breakfast and packing to begin our hike for the day

Afternoon:
Make a stop in Machhermo, known for it’s international volunteer-run Porter Shelter and Rescue Post. Every afternoon they provide information to passing trekkers on the dangers of altitude sickness, its prevention, and treatment.

Evening:
If you're feeling up to it, there is an optional climb of a small peak offering incredible panoramic views.

Lodging:
Lodge in Machermo

Food:
Lodge menu for breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 9: Third Lake & Gokyo

Summary:
Today we are treated to tremendous views up the valley, and pass three stunning lakes. We see breathtaking snow capped peaks along with turquoise waters. Our final destination is Third Lake, where Gokyo village lies on its shores. The Himalayan mountain scenery today is the most impressive we’ll witness so far.

Photo Spots:
Ngozumpa Glacier, surrounding mountains, Turquoise waters of the Gokyo valley lakes

Activities:
Trekking 4-5 hours to Gokyo

Morning:
We'll begin the gorgeous trek to Third Lake, stopping often for photo spots along the way.

Afternoon:
Arrive in Gokyo and explore the area. The village is located at an elevation of 4,750 meters, making it one of the highest settlements in Nepal and in the world.

Evening:
In the evening, we'll take an excursion to the see the Ngozumpa Glacier.

Lodging:
Lodge in Gokyo

Food:
Lodge menu for breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 10: Gokyo Ri

Summary:
Today’s highlight will be the sunset from Gokyo Ri. The views on the way up are incredible, but in no way prepare you for the 360 degree panoramic at the summit. It’s one of the best views in the world, and some would say the best in Nepal. In front of you are Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Cho Oyu, four of the fourteen 8000 meter peaks in Nepal. Below us, Ngozumpa Glacier stretches down the valley below.

Photo Spots:
Sunset at Gokyo Ri, Everest/Lhotse, Ngozumpa Glacier, Third Lake

Activities:
Sunset hike to Gokyo Ri

Morning:
Early wake up call for a sunrise photo shoot of the many surrounding peaks.

Afternoon:
We'll take a leisurely midday lunch, and in the afternoon walk up to Third Lake and the surrounding glaciers.

Evening:
Arguably one of the best highlights of the trip: hiking to Gokyo Ri for sunset. Seriously, look up this view right now.

Lodging:
Lodge in Gokyo

Food:
Lodge menu for breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 11: Descent to Phortse

Summary:
We begin our descent back to Lukla. Instead of retracing our steps, we’ll cross the river and continue down the eastern banks. Here the trail is mostly unused and the only people we’ll come across are locals going on about their daily chores – a throwback to an earlier time in Nepal. Our final destination is Phortse – a traditional Sherpa village and farming community.

Photo Spots:
Banks of the Dudh Koshi valley, First Lake, Second Lake, Phortse

Activities:
Trekking 6-7 hours to Phortse

Morning:
Breakfast and packing to begin our hike for the day

Afternoon:
We'll be hiking for most of the afternoon, but we'll make plenty of stops for photos along the way.

Evening:
Experience the local life in Phortse, an authentic and untouched farming village.

Lodging:
Lodge in Phortse

Food:
Lodge menu for breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 12: Syangboche & Namche

Summary:
Before we reach the village of Namche Bazaar, we’ll stop in Syangboche – home to the world’s highest airstrip. A hot meal and cold drink awaits as we settle in once again in this ancient but now familiar village.

Photo Spots:
World highest airstrip, Namche Bazaar, Everest View Hotel

Activities:
Trekking 4 hours to Namche

Morning:
Eat a hearty breakfast and begin the day's hike.

Afternoon:
Stop to photograph the Syangboche airstrip and the iconic Everest View hotel.

Evening:
Relax with the group and enjoy a well deserved cold drink.

Lodging:
Lodge in Namche

Food:
Lodge menu for breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 13: Phakding & Lukla

Summary:
Our final day on the trail as we retrace our steps to Lukla. Time to relax and reflect on a truly magnificent workshop in the awe-inspiring Himalayas. We’ll have a lunch stop in the village of Phakding before moving on to Lukla.

Photo Spots:
River valleys, mountains and suspension bridges

Activities:
Trekking 6 hours to Lukla

Morning:
Final morning of packing up for the day's hike.

Afternoon:
Take a quick break to rest our legs in the beautiful and familiar village of Phakding for lunch

Evening:
Enjoy a well deserved cold drink in The Irish Pub

Lodging:
Lodge in Lukla

Food:
Lodge menu for breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 14: Flight to Kathmandu

Summary:
A morning flight back to Kathmandu. On your return to Kathmandu, your time is free to further explore the city and its shops or simply chill out in the cafe. A final celebratory dinner with the group on our last evening together.

Photo Spots:
Lukla airport, Kathmandu

Activities:
Flight back to Kathmandu

Morning:
Morning flight back to Kathmandu, revisiting the incredible aerial views of the Himalayas.

Afternoon:
Your choice! Go out and explore city or chill, reflecting on an incredible trip.

Evening:
One last group dinner, relishing the time with our newfound friends!

Lodging:
Hotel in Kathmandu

Food:
Lodge menu for breakfast, group dinner

Day 15: Catch Flights Home

Summary:
Depart from Kathmandu in the morning.

WHERE WE'RE GOING
Kathmandu
Himalayas
Lukla
Phakding
Namche Bazaar
Phortse Tenga
Lhabarma
Machermo
Gokyo
Phortse
Nepal


WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
At the end of our trip together I want you to come away with not just amazing images, but a better understanding of photography, composition, and most importantly skills you can use on future rad adventures, such as:

Using your camera to its full potential
How to capture landscapes and natural portraits of local life
Develop your photographic technique, composition and storytelling skills
Travel photography techniques
Night and star photography
Post-Processing with Lightroom
Don't have a camera besides your smartphone? No problem. Shoot & edit on whatever device you want!

WHAT'S INCLUDED
3 nights hotel (prices based on double occupancy)
11 nights in lodges (prices based on double occupancy)
Entrance to all activities
Transportation to/from airports
Transportation around Nepal
Photography and editing lessons
Discount on Moment Gear
20% off listed price for first 4 travelers
Return Airfare from Kathmandu to Lukla (~$200-$300 USD RT)
3 great meals per day (except breakfast on day 1)

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
Airfare to and from Kathmandu (~$1,000-$2,000 USD RT)
Alcoholic beverages
Guide gratuities
Insurance of any kind
Breakfast on Day 1

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