I spent seventeen days in the Everest region in November 2015 and here are some updates from the area:
In addition to Tara Air, Sita Air and Simrik Air, Goma Air is flying to Lukla with two Czech planes every day. The planes are new and that makes a big difference from the old Twin Otter Aircrafts.
There is a Herman Helmers branch now operating in Phakding just after you cross the suspension bridge on the way to Benkar and Monjo. It has all the apple pies, doughnuts, premium coffee and breads that are available in Namche! The prices are the same.
The last suspension bridge below Namche has been replaced by a new bridge which is about 50 feet higher so there are presently two suspension bridges over the river the lower one not being in use.
The bridge over the Imja Khola below Devoche and on the way to Pangboche has collapsed in the earthquake and a new bridge has been built further down on the east bank of the Imja river.
The Chukung Resort in Chukung has been totally renovated and there is also a new swanky Khangri Resort with plenty of rooms. The popularity of the Island Peak climb has possibly been the reason for the lodge boom in Chukung.
There is a new lodge in Lobuche with 35 rooms located right next to the Eco Lodge. The lodge is called Oxygen and was open for just a month when I visited on November 14th 2015. The young and energetic owner who also works at the Pyramid research station is trying to attract trekkers and given the number of clean bathrooms he should get good business for the next season. However the dining hall was like an ice box as the heating was not working too well. He hopes to fix this for the coming year.
There are five lodges in Dzongla now as well as a number of permanent tents so accommodation in the peak autumn season should not pose a problem. The new lodge which we stayed in was Mountain Home.
In addition to the old and trusted Yak Lodge at Dugla, we now have the new and swanky Kala Pattar lodge. So with two good lodges accommodation should not be an issue in Dugla any more.
Some of the lodges in the Khumbu have a wifi internet card , Everest Link which allows you to use wifi. It is a prepaid card with an expiry in terms of time or capacity whichever is earlier. However I found that the card only worked in the lodge which had sold it, possibly linked in some way to the router which the lodge was using.
The Gokyo Resort which was earlier being run by S D Sharma has now being leased by Maya Sherpa who runs the ever efficient Hotel Namche at Namche Bazar. The lodge is being run by Maya,s brother Nima and is back to the same levels of friendly and efficient service.
South Col Expeditions runs treks to the Everest region every year. For more information do visit www.southcol.com