The small villages of Khumjung and Kunde are located in the Khumjung Valley at the foot of Khumjung Khumbi Yul Lha, the sacred mountain of the Sherpas. Notable stops include Kunde Hospital, founded by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1966, Khumjung School (also known as Hillary School) founded in 1961, and several small Buddhist monasteries including one that very proudly displays (what it claims is) the scalp and hair of a Yeti.
A popular base from which trekkers start their climb to Everest Base Camp, or even Everest itself, Lukla is a town that is completely devoid of roads and vehicles of any type – even motorbikes. While there is an airport in town, named after Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the first two men to summit Everest, most transportation relies on yak. In addition, the Tenzing-Hillary Airport is home to a deep drop of 6,600 feet (2,011 meters) at the southern end of the runway – making Lukla one of the world’s most exciting (and hair-raising) airports.
A bustling village of about 1,500 residents, mostly Tibetans, Namche is located at 12,303 feet (3,750 meters) on the main trekking route up to Mount Everest. Namche is one of the last villages on the way to Everest, and is filled with shops, restaurants, and lodges. Visitors should note that, while Namche does have its own airport that operates charter flights, flying straight into Namche is not recommended – simply because acclimatization is required, and ideally should take place over a matter of days.
At 12,687 feet (3,867 meters), Tengboche is the next stop after Khumjung and Khunde on the trek to Everest Base Camp. Best known for its eponymous gompa, or Buddhist monastery, Tengboche is also famous for being the birthplace of Tenzing Norgay, who, in his youth, was a monk here. While Tengboche was originally built in 1923, it still stands today, and is home to over 60 monks.
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