Once the preserve of hardy adventurers and brave explorers, the route to Everest is no walk in the park. Yet, with enough training and the right guide, 'ordinary' people really can grace the paths up to its base camp and along its foothills.
And with it being the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hilary's pioneering ascent next year, what better time to plan your Everest pilgrimage than today?
Everest Base Camp
Few sights are more awe-inspiring than that of Everest jutting into the brilliant blue sky like a giant tooth. And while taking on the Sagamartha herself is too tough a challenge to ask of most ordinary folk at 8,848m, tackling the classic route to base camp is one of the world's top treks. Reaching a very respectable 5,545 metres, it shouldn't be taken lightly, but with enough pre-trip training, the right gear and ever-dependable Sherpas, it really can be within your reach.
After a brief stopover in the hustling hub of Kathmandu, you'll leave this unusual cityscape for the serenity of the Himalayas. Your trekking odyssey begins almost immediately after landing at Lukla airport, just a 25-minute flight from the capital.
Passing blooming magnolia, iridescent rivers, pine forests and incense-burning Buddhist Monasteries, you'll eventually arrive at the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar within the first few days. Give yourself time to acclimatise here before heading onwards and upwards to the tip of Kala Pattar. At 5,545m it's the gateway to the top of the world and the ultimate point of one of the world's best trekking trails.
Everest Teahouse Trails
For those keen to hike the foothills of Everest without the challenging altitudes of the base camp trek, why not try an alternative: trekking by day, while staying in teahouses by night, for the chance to meet and greet the local Nepalese people? Before you land in the Himalayan hinterland, explore the city of sensory overload - Kathmandu - with its higgledy-piggledy streets and monks offering spiritual enlightenment.
Beyond this, the land of mountains, markets and monks awaits. Walking in the shadow of peaks Kusum Kangru (6,369m) and Thamserku (6,608m), you'll follow paths lined with fragrant pine and fir forest, before the first tough ascent to the village of Namche Bazaar and your first awe-inspiring views of Everest herself. Don't miss its lively market and museum before moving on to Deboche, at 3,860m, for day trips to the intriguing and sacred monasteries at Pangboche and Thyangboche.
For full details, see our Everest Teahouse Trails tour page.
Want to dig a little deeper into the land of pagodas and panoramic views? While Everest is undoubtedly Nepal's crowning glory, a trip travelling across this enigmatic country is unforgettable, from gilded Hindu temples to fort palaces. Arise for pre-dawn walks to marvel at sunrise over the Himalayas; glimpse palaces of a bygone era while adrenalin comes in the form of white-water rafting on the thrilling Trisuli River.
Often ignored, yet an unmissable highlight is its Chitwan National Park, home to rhino, honey badgers, golden jackals and the elusive tiger. While sightings are never guaranteed, hop on the back of an elephant for a safari, Nepalese-style, guided by your very own mahout.
Away from these gentle giants, a silent trip down the Rapti River in a canoe is a must, for fleeting glances of animals as they paddle in the shallows.
For full details, see our Discover Nepal tour page.
For more information on trekking in Nepal see our Trekking in Nepal information page.