Mt. Everest Tours from Kathmandu
Standing 29,030 feet (8,848 meters), the iconic Mt. Everest, which sits on the Nepal-Tibet border, is the tallest mountain in the world. Catching a glimpse is a high priority for many travelers to Nepal, and you can do so several different ways from Kathmandu. From easy to strenuous, here are a few options.
The only way to see Everest on a day trip from Kathmandu is to take a scenic flight. Sightseeing airplanes run when the weather is good, and offer beautiful views of a large sweep of the Nepali Himalaya. For safety reasons, though, you can’t fly too close to Everest in a plane. For a real close-up, take a helicopter tour, some of which stop for breakfast on the way in small settlements in the Everest region.
No vehicular roads lead to Everest on the Nepal side of the border—the only way to reach the mountain is to trek there on foot. The most popular route is the Everest Base Camp trek: fly from Kathmandu to Lukla, then trek for about 12 days there and back. On the way, you’ll stop at Sherpa villages such as Namche Bazaar and Khumjung. Quieter alternatives are the Three Passes trek and the Gokyo Lakes trek, both of which offer views of Everest. If you’re short on time, you can trek one way, then hop in a helicopter back to Kathmandu.
Things to Know
- Everest is called Sagarmatha in Nepali, and Chomolangma in Sherpa.
- As the crow flies, Everest is only about 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Kathmandu; however, many hills and mountains sit in between. It’s rare but sometimes possible to see a sliver of Everest from Kathmandu on clear days.
- The most common ethnic group in the Everest region are the Sherpa people, Buddhists who originated in Tibet. You’ll see Buddhist monasteries, stupas, and prayer walls along the trekking route to Everest Base Camp.
- If trekking to Everest—or taking a helicopter that stops en route—know the symptoms of altitude sickness. Be prepared to turn back at any point, as altitude sickness can turn deadly.
- Although it’s not mandatory, it’s a good idea to trek with a guide in Nepal. They can keep you safe, secure your accommodation along the way, and tell you about what you see.