Lonely Planet ranked Khumbu region – also known as the Mt Everest region – among the 10 best regions to explore in 2015.
The Australia-based world’s largest travel guide publisher, cautioning the would-be visitors about recent mishaps in Nepal, has placed Nepal in the sixth spot after Gallipoli in Turkey, Rocky Mountain National Park in the US, Toledo in Belize, Tasmania in Australia and Norway Arctic in Norway.
"Mt Everest was a classic journey following in the footsteps of Tenzing and Hillary into the planet’s most jaw-dropping mountain arena, home to the world’s highest peak," it wrote, adding that trekkers are rediscovering the region’s remoter trails, with Nepal’s Maoist uprising firmly behind it. "We don’t really need to sell one on the mountain glories of the Khumbu region; just a whisper of the word ‘Everest’ and everyone in the room snaps to attention."
The travel guide publisher has also asked to try the high-altitude Three Passes trek or adventurous Mera Peak expedition. "And since 2015 marks a half-century since Major Jimmy Roberts organised the first commercial trek in Nepal, it might be time to dust off those trekking boots,” the guide book further said, suggesting to tread the old-school approach routes to Mt Everest from Jiri and Tumlingtar, along parts of the 1,700-km-long Great Himalaya Trail, if one wants something more authentic. "Already popular, the trails to Mt Everest are only going to get busier in future seasons."
Why trek to Everest, Lonely Planet elaborates, "Well, as Mallory famously quipped, ‘Because it’s there’."
This month’s tragic events in Annapurna region, which killed dozens of trekkers have pushed mountain safety to the top of the agenda. "Extreme weather can occur in the Himalaya at any time, and it is essential to monitor local weather conditions and seek shelter if conditions deteriorate," it suggested, asking the trekkers to be properly equipped – on any trek – and "inform people of where you are going and when you will be back, and seek local advice as you trek.”
Fans of the bizarre will want to hike up to Khumjung Monastery to get a peek at its yeti scalp," it said, adding, "nearby Pangboche Monastery had its famous yeti hand stolen in 1991, but a replica is now on display."
With 60 flights daily at the Lukla airport – the airport at the highest part of the world – in the peak season and 200 people queuing up to attempt Mt Everest on a good day, overcrowding on the trails is an ever-pressing issue. The crowd has also increased waste dumped around. Finding a sustainable way to deal with the waste produced by so many trekkers and porters in such a remote region is a complex problem, though solar-powered technology is making a difference in many trekking lodges, it added.
However, each Mt Everest climber is required to carry eight-kg of waste off the mountain – to clean the garbage – from this year. "Likewise, air safety in Nepal is yet another concern, after air crashes in 2010, 2011 and 2012 killed dozens of trekkers and Nepali staff en route to or from the region," it added.
The Mt Everest region receives around 36,000 trekkers and mountaineers annually. Many of the lodges one stays in will be run by retired summiteers, and most families have at least one member employed as a climbing porter or trekking guide," Lonely Planet wrote.