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A Local's Guide to Namche Bazaar, Nepal

Describe who you are in 3 sentences:
My name is Vicknes Ganeshan, I am an avid traveller who has travelled to more than 70 countries. I am also the founder of the hiking tour company VX Tours Nepal. I created this company to help improve working conditions and access to education in the Himalayan region of Nepal.

What is your relation to this city?
I fell in love with Namche Bazaar when I was hiking to Everest Base Camp. This town is one of the key stops on the way. As VX Tours Nepal organises hiking tours in this region I always visit Namche Bazaar as it is a great pit stop.

Best experience?
I had just completed my first hike to Everest Base Camp and had returned to Namche Bazaar to celebrate. Our group was celebrating in a pub on the side of a mountain, when a scruffy looking man approached me. He said he was on his way to climb Everest so I invited him to join our group. Our other friend joined our group late and was surprised to see that we were partying with UK celebrity Ant Middleton! I hadn't recognised him because of his overgrown beard. What a nice bloke!

Weirdest experience?
Namche Bazaar is generally quite a weird experience. It is full of contradictions. On the one hand you have access to remote and isolated hiking paths and stunning scenery, but on the other there are so many trendy cafes and bars.

Your top 3 hangout spots?
1. The Thame Monastery is a secluded and peaceful monastery that is located a couple hours hike from the main area. This monastery is worth seeing, not only because of the architecture and backdrop but also because you get a glimpse into the lives of Nepalese monks.
2. The cafes on the main strip provide a great place to hang out, rest your feet and really appreciate the scenery.
3. The Namche Bazaar museum itself is not particularly informative. However, it is on a great vantage point and you can see glimpses of Mt Everest and other notable mountains.

Favourite restaurants?
All of the tea houses serve 'dal bhat' (traditional Nepalese rice and curry) and 'momos' (traditional Nepalese dumplings). However, if you are looking for a slice of home before you head up the mountain, "Sherpa Barista Bakery, Food & Coffee Shop" and "Café De 8848" are pretty good (especially considering you are 3,400 meters high!).

Best date place?
The vantage point outside the Namche Bazaar museum is stunning at sunrise. It is a scenic and magical place for any special occasion.

Best Sunday spot?
Any vantage point or café on the main strip is a great place to relax, read a book and unwind. 

If you were to live in another place, where would that be and why?
I currently live in New Zealand because it has amazing beaches. I like to alternate between the breathtaking beaches of New Zealand and the epic mountains of the Himalayas. I can't choose between the two!

Where is your escape place from this city?
Kathmandu is a great escape place from Namche Bazaar. The facilities can sometimes be a bit limited at Namche Bazaar, thus going back to Kathmandu for creature comforts every now and then is always welcomed.

Best 5 local advices?
1. If you are using Namche Bazaar as a pit stop on the way to Everest Base Camp, be sure to party on the way down (after you have completed your hike). A lot of travellers have big nights out in Namche Bazaar and then have to cancel their hike because they have partied too hard.
2. Spend a few days in Namche Bazaar. This will help you acclimatise for your hike and also allow you to relax and really enjoy the scenery.
3. Nepalese culture is incredibly rich and interesting. Take advantage of your time here to get to learn some of the customs and traditions.
4. Withdraw money while you are in Kathmandu as ATMs in Namche Bazaar often do not work.
5. If you forgot some of your hiking gear, there are a lot of cheap stores you can buy gear from in Namche Bazaar. However, if you are looking for quality there is a Sherpa store and even an Ice Breaker one.

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