Our second day is a short one, from Monjo (2835 m) it is only about 7 km to our destination, Namche Bazar (3440 m). However, it is a significant increase in elevation and most of this comes towards the end with a steep hike into the town. Just after setting off we enter the Sagarmartha National Park. The park was formed in 1976 to preserve the ecological, cultural and geographical nature of the region. Today you have to pay a park entry fee and register your trekking route, we were also required to show our research permit from the Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) in Kathmandu.
Once inside the Park we follow the river again before winding up the hillside. Half way up you get the first glimpse of Everest (weather permitting) and meet some very astute women selling satsumas to tired and dusty trekkers.
Namche Bazaar is the commercial and administrative centre of the Khumbu region and it is by far the largest permanent settlement. The town has banks, shops, cafes, bars, hotels and lodges, a health post and a dentist clinic as well as the weekly market. We discovered it even has a cash point now! Namche is our first night above 3000 m and so we stay two nights to acclimatise. During our acclimatisation day it is good to climb to a higher elevation, in addition to frequenting the numerous bakeries and cafes.