Along with the reconstruction, Namche has also upgraded its market area with new trekking shops, bars, bakeries, cafes, lodges and trekkers’ stores. International brands like Sherpa Adventure Gear and North Face as well as the local store Sonam have opened outlets giving the town a cosmopolitan look.
Namche has always been a bustling stopover for trekkers and mountaineers going up to Mt Everest, Gokyo, or doing the Renjo La and Cho La traverses. At a time when even Kathmandu had only a few good bakeries, Namche already had three: Herman Helmers, Everest Bakery and Namche Bakery catering to tired trekkers.
Some have unkindly dubbed Namche ‘Thamel on the Hill’, which does justice neither to Namche nor Thamel. Indeed, with newer additions such as Himalayan Java and a Japanese restaurant called Tomodachi, Namche is fast becoming more than just an acclimatisation stop, but a place to linger and enjoy the town’s unique ambience and setting. You can literally get high in Namche at the Daphne Bar, Irish Pub and Liquid Bar.
(Health Warning: Stay off alcohol on the way up.)
After a tough trek to Base Camp there is nothing like lounging about at the Sherpa Barista, Café De 8848, Café Nirvana, Trek Away Café, Italian Lavazza and Illy for coffee and breakfast. Tourists also have a choice of over 50 lodges catering to all budget categories.
More than the shops and cafes what is really remarkable about Namche is its strong sense of community, and the way the Sherpa people have adapted seamlessly to modern ways while keeping their traditions intact. The dynamics of the service industry have honed the legendary hospitality of the Sherpas.