Day 13: Namche Bazaar - Phortse Tenga
The following description assumes you are trekking to Gokyo.
We took the trail on the left/western side of Namche Bazaar (3450 meters) passing the local Gompa, agricultural project, & long mani walls to Khumjung (3780 meters). There we stopped for a late breakfast & coffee at the delicious Everest Bakery, which makes incredible apple strudel, Dal Bhat, & Thukpa. If heading towards Tengboche & eventually Kala Pattar you will take the more direct "main" trail on the right/eastern part of Namche Bazaar passing Kyangjuma.
Continue on the the main trail out of Khumjung (3780 meters) for about 5 minutes before you come to a junction where you take the left path/trail towards Mong (3970 meters). Go straight if heading to Sanasa & Tengboche.
After going left towards Mong you descend almost 200 meters on a clearly marked trail that winds its way, then begins winding up & around the mountain. After the 20 minute descent you then round the ridge, climbing about 300 meters to Mong, which took us around 75 minutes. About 30 minutes out of Khumjung, the trekking becomes more difficult due to the numerous stone stairs & altitude however the amazing views of Ama Dablam & other Himalayan Giants make up for the effort. About 45 minutes from Mong the trail divides again (left side to Mong, right side to Tashinga). Take the left & larger path to Mong. The trail narrows as you pass other trekkers guides, porters, yaks & Dzogo's (cross between yak & cow). Mong will be viewable high on a mountain pass and you may need to stop to catch your breath a few times. Mong is identifiable by it's large white Chorten. This hamlet is famous for being the birthplace of the Khumbu saint, Lama Sangwa Dorje. You can have tea or lunch in Mong, enjoying the stunning views of surrounding peaks, or choose to spend the night in one of the few lodges. We decided to begin the nearly 300 meter descent to Phortse Tenga, traversing for about 30-45 minutes with great views of Phortse, across the river. There were 3 lodges in Phortse Tenga, which sits near the Dudh Kosi River, in October 2013. We chose to stay in the River Resort Lodge, which had good food & a large dining room however the rooms were musty. River Resort seemed to be the main choice for large groups. I suggest viewing the first two lodges accommodation (Phortse Tenga & Himalayan Lodge) before making a decision. Our friends stayed at the Phortse Tenga Lodge and said it was clean and comfortable.