Mount Everest doesn’t need an introduction, It is the highest mountain in the world and the most famous one.
Everest is located on the border between Tibet and Nepal and is accessible from both countries.
The Northern side of the peak is located in Tibet. The peak is called Qomolangma. The southern slope is in Nepal and Nepalese call the mountain Sagarmatha.
Below you will find an infographic with key information about visiting Everest from Tibet and Nepal. Scroll down for detailed information about:
- Everest View from Tibet and Nepal
- The ways to visit: driving, trekking, helicopter
- Cultural Experience on the way to Everest Base Camp
- Safety concerns: altitude and road conditions
- Weather and the best time to visit
- Visa and Permit requirements
- Accommodations and meals on the way
- Climbing Everest from Tibet and Nepal
THE EVEREST VIEW FROM TIBET VS NEPAL
The view of Everest is undoubtedly spectacular from its Northern side in Tibet.
About 70% of the mountain is in Tibet. Additionally, Everest crowns the horseshoe-shaped valley and dominates the landscape. When you reach the Qomolangma reserve park, you have no doubt that you are witnessing something very special.
In the Nepalese side, Everest is tacked in the mountain range with several other prominent peaks, including Lhotse only a little lower than Everest itself. The view on the mountain range is impressive, however, Everest is not as prominent as on the Tibetan side.
TRAVELING TO EVEREST IN TIBET
There are 2 ways to reach Everest in Tibet: by driving either with a group tour or privately with a guide or by trekking. With trekking, you have another 2 options: trekking to a more popular North Face of Everest or to a lesser-known but more remote East Face.
DRIVING TO EVEREST IN TIBET
In Tibet, most of the travelers drive from Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, to visit Everest. It is the fastest and the most convenient way to reach the Northern side of the mountain. Travelers can arrange a private tour with Tibetan guide or join one of the classic group tours such as 8 days tour from Lhasa to Everest, 7 days Tibet to Nepal overland tour or 15 days Mount Kailash tour.
Qomolangma Natural reserve is a protected area and tourists are allowed to stay near the Rongbuk monastery. Rongbuk is the highest monastery on the planet at 5,050 meters. Most of the visitors spend a night with a view on magnificent Everest in the Rongbuk monastery guesthouse or in a tent camp nearby.
It takes approximately 7-8 hours to drive from Shigatse, the second-largest city in Tibet, to the Rongbuk monastery. On the way to Everest, you can see a panoramic view of several eight-thousanders including Everest from high mountain passes when the weather is clear. However, many visitors prefer to spread the drive into more days to better acclimatize to high altitude.
TREKKING TO EVEREST NORTH FACE IN TIBET
The second option to reach the Everest region is to drive from Lhasa to Old Tingri and from there, trek 60 km for 3 days to reach the Rongbuk monastery. Although the trekking route is not as impressive as in the Nepalese side, you will be rewarded by a splendid view of the Himalayan range and Everest. The path near the Everest region goes through dry landscape and greenery is scarce.
TREKKING TO EVEREST EAST FACE IN TIBET
The lesser-known trekking route in Tibet takes you to the Kharma valley where you can see the East Face (Kangshung) of Everest. These challenging trek usually takes around 14 – 16 days depending on the itinerary and takes you far from touristy routes. Unlike the route to the Northside, this area is famous for lush vegetation with splendid valleys with juniper and rhododendron. You will also see many magnificent peaks, including Makalu (8,475 m), Chomo Lonzo (7790m), Lhotse (8,383 meters) and many other peaks along the way.
The trek offers an incredible experience as you reach the foot of Everest and see the near-vertical wall rising over 3,000 meters above the Base Camp.
TRAVELING TO EVEREST IN NEPAL
There are two options to reach Everest Base Camp in Nepal: by trekking or by taking a Helicopter. Trekking is a budget option but it will take you about 2 weeks to complete the trek. Helicopter prices can be steep, especially if you take it from Kathmandu. However, you will only need 1 day to see the Everest.
TREKKING TO EVEREST IN NEPAL
The most popular way to reach Everest in Nepal is following 2 weeks in and out trek. Hikers start in Lukla, the nearest city with a small airport with the most impressive and sometimes scary reputation. The classic route takes 14 days, however, there are several gorgeous detour options.
There are many guesthouses on the way, and most lodges are not expensive, making this way to reach Everest the cheapest option if you travel independently. If you join one of the tours offered by travel agencies, especially some of the high-end ones, the price can increase steeply going into several thousand dollars per person.
Trekking passes through gorgeous areas, including spectacular Gokyo valley, Namche Bazaar, Rongbuk glacier, and magnificent Ama Dablam peak.
TAKING A HELICOPTER TO EVEREST IN NEPAL
The fastest and the most convenient way to reach Everest in Nepal, but also the most expensive one. You can take a helicopter straight from Kathmandu with a short stop at Lukla. Price can go as high as USD 10,000 per person. Keep in mind that because of the rapid elevation gain when traveling from Kathmandu to Everest Base Camp, you can only spend a few minutes in a camp to avoid altitude sickness. You will also enjoy great views along the way.
Another option is to take a helicopter from Lukla. The price per person will be lower. Additionally, if you have already spent some time trekking in the area and acclimatized to high altitude, you can spend more time at the base camp before heading back to Lukla airport.
CULTURAL EXPERIENCE WHEN VISITING EVEREST
As impressive as Everest is, it will only be a part of your journey to either Tibet or Nepal. What can be equally or more important is what you will see on your way, all the cultural experiences and other landmarks and sights. Below is the information about highlights in both countries that you can visit on your Everest endeavor.
CULTURAL EXPERIENCE IN TIBET
Most of the people traveling to Everest in Tibet side visit not only for mountain view but also for an extraordinary cultural experience.
The typical tour starts in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. You will need to spend some time in Lhasa to acclimatize to high altitude. During that time most explore the highlights of the city such as Potala Palace – the winter residence of the Dalai Lama, 7th century Jokhang Temple, and important Buddhist monasteries. From there the road trip to Everest begins. You travel through gorgeous mountain ranges with passes over 5,000 meters high, stop by magnificent lakes, the most famous one is Yamdrok lake, visit Buddhist monasteries and enjoy the surrounding scenery.
On the way, you will pass two other important cities in Tibet: Gyantse and Shigatse. In the first, you can visit Pelkor Choede monastery and Kumbum – the largest stupa in Tibet. An ancient fort stretching along the mountain ridge protects Gyantse. The highlights of Shigatse is Tashi Lhunpo monastery with a 26-meter high statue of Maitreya Buddha. If you wish to spend more time exploring Tibet and acclimatizing to high altitude, you can spend a day visiting Sakya monastery. Sakya is built in a defensive style with watchtowers at its corners.
Finally, when you reach Everest you spend a night in the valley with a view on the highest mountain on the planet.
After that many continue traveling to the West to another important mountain Kailash. Raising just above 6,600 meters it cannot compete with Everest in height, but it is sacred for 4 different religions and pilgrims come to visit it from all over the world. In this remote area, towns are scarce and it is not uncommon to see some wildlife.
All the various experiences, landmarks and landscapes on the way to Everest will enrich your travel experience in Tibet far beyond simply seeing the mountain. In fact, most of the visitors come to Tibet for different reasons and spending a night by the Everest is a cherry on top of a sundae.
CULTURAL EXPERIENCE IN NEPAL
Most visitors arrive in Nepal through an international airport in Kathmandu. Some arrive via overland routes through India or Tibet. Depending on where you are coming from, you might travel through Kathmandu or hire a jeep to drive to Lukla.
Here you can find information about highlights of Kathmandu:
The capital of Nepal is a great place to start your tour. I highly recommend spending at least 2 full days in Kathmandu, better 4-5 if you want to explore it at a relaxed pace or travel outside of the capital.
From Kathmandu, you can fly to Lukla or take a jeep to it. Flying into Lukla airport is an experience by itself. Being one of the most dangerous airports in the world, it rewards travelers with stunning mountain views. Taking a car is a cheaper option and will suit those on a tight budget.
The trekking adventure starts in Namche Bazaar (3,440m/ 11,280 ft), the famous Sherpa settlement. Most visitors spend a couple of days here to acclimatize to the high altitude before continuing the trek. Doing worry about being stuck in a small town. You can never get tired of the view on surrounding mountain ranges. You can also find lodgings for any budget as well as cafes, bakeries, shops, etc.
SAFETY CONCERNS: ALTITUDE AND ROAD CONDITIONS
There are 2 major concerns when traveling to Everest Base Camp in both countries: altitude and road conditions. The Everest Base Camp in Tibet is located by the Rongbuk monastery, the highest monastery in the world at the height of 5,050 meters. Southern EBC in Nepal is even higher at 5,364 meters. To visit both of them you will need to acclimatize to high altitude. Details about acclimatizing and road conditions on the way are below.
ACCLIMATIZING TO HIGH ALTITUDE IN TIBET
Everest Base Camp is located at an altitude of 5,050 meters in Tibet. The highest pass on the way from Lhasa to Everest is in Gyatso-la pass (5248 m). It takes several days for most people to acclimatize to such altitude.
When traveling to Tibet, most people join a group tour to visit Everest. During the classic tour, you start your adventure in Lhasa at an altitude of 3,650 meters, where you spend the first 3 days exploring the capital of Tibet. On the next day, you travel to Shigatse via incredibly beautiful landscapes and cross some high passes. The next night you spend in Shigatse at an altitude of 3,800 meters.
On the following day, you travel to Everest. On the way, you will cross a Gyatso la pass (5220m)
At the end of day 5, you reach Everest. At Everest, you spend a night at the Rongbuk monastery area. Rongbuk is the highest monastery in the world at an altitude of 5,050 meters.
This itinerary follows the “saw” principle of traveling to high altitudes when you go up to higher altitudes and descent to lower altitudes. For most visitors, this itinerary gives enough time to acclimatize well enough to spend a night in the Everest area.
However, it is impossible to reliably predict how you will feel at high altitudes unless you already traveled to high areas before.
If you would like to ensure comfortable acclimatizing, you can add a day or two in Lhasa. Another option is to choose one of the easy acclimatizing tour options.
ACCLIMATIZING TO HIGH ALTITUDE IN NEPAL
Everest base camp is located at an altitude of 5,364 meters in Nepal. There are two ways to reach Everest: by trekking in and out for approximately 2 weeks or by helicopter in one day. The highest altitude on the trekking route is 5545 meters at Kala Patthar. From Kala Patar you can see the Nuptse Lotse ridge and Mount Everest.
If you don’t trek in high altitude areas, a helicopter can only stop for 5-7 minutes (also depending on weather conditions and how crowded is the base camp) before taking you back to the Lukla airport. Trekking to the base camp gives you enough time to acclimatize to high altitude and spend more time at the camp. However, you still need to spend a couple of days in Namche Bazaar (3,400) to acclimatize before heading towards Everest.
In Nepal, the helicopter rescue service is available for trekkers. Keep in mind that helicopters can only fly at certain weather conditions and up to a certain height (depending on the heli).
ROAD CONDITIONS ON THE WAY TO EVEREST IN TIBET
The newly built road from Lhasa to Everest is a high-quality asphalt road. Keep in mind, that road zigzagging through mountain ranges. Consider taking motion sickness prevention medication to make your trip more enjoyable. Approximately 20km from the Qomolangma National Reserve gate to the Rongbuk monastery the road is a little rough. Here, visitors leave their tourist cars and move to the green buses that drive everyone to the monastery area.
ROAD CONDITIONS IN NEPAL
Road conditions in Nepal depend on the season when you are visiting. In summer southwest wind from the Indian Ocean brings a lot of rainfall in Nepal. Peaks are often covered with clouds and fog. The best time to trek in Nepal is in March-May and October-November when it is dry. That’s when the trek also becomes very crowded. You should also be aware of yaks traveling the route carrying heavy loads and always step aside when they are approaching.
There is a good helicopter rescue system in Nepal and it is recommended to have travel insurance covering it.
However, you should assess your physical abilities and weather carefully before trekking alone or in unfamiliar areas. Avalanches claimed the lives of many trekkers in Nepal even on the established routes, including the recent tragedy in 2020.
WEATHER IN EVEREST REGION AND THE BEST TIME TO VISIT
WEATHER IN TIBET
There are 4 seasons in Tibet. Winter is cold in the Everest region. However, winter is a lot milder in Lhasa and Central Tibet. That comes as a surprise, but you might be quite comfortable exploring the city.
Since you are traveling to Everest in a car, you won’t have to freeze on a trekking route. Of course, we spend a night with an Everest view. In the region, we only have very simple accommodation. In winter we stay in the Rongbuk monastery guesthouse. There is no heat but electric heating pads are available for beds when there is electricity. Most of the days in winter are sunny and the colors are vivid. That’s why some travelers prefer to visit in winter to enjoy a stunning view of Everest. Very few people come to the Everest region in Tibet in colder months and you might have the entire scene just for yourself.
In spring and fall weather is getting warmer. It is still usually clear and rains are very rare, making it a good time to visit.
Still, summer is the most popular and busy season because the temperatures are at their highest. In Lhasa and Central Tibet, it gets hot during the daytime. While thermometers might not show high numbers the sun radiation is very strong. Bring sunscreen or a long sleeve shirt to protect you from the sun. Sunglasses are a must in Tibet.
WEATHER IN NEPAL
Weather in Nepal varies depending on the season. Winter can be bitterly cold especially when you ascent to high altitude areas. It is not the best time to trek to Everest Base Camp.
In Summer, mostly from July to August is the rainy season in the Himalayas. It is best to avoid trekking during that time. Mudslides are very common, you most likely won’t see many of the peaks because it is cloudy.
Spring and Fall are the best seasons to travel in the region. The most popular months are May and October-November. October is one of the peak seasons in Nepal. Hotels and guesthouses become very crowded. Be prepared to spend a night on the floor in the dining area. However, don’t let it stop you from witnessing some of the landscapes of the Himalayas.
VISA AND PERMITS TO VISIT EBC IN TIBET
You need a valid passport, Chinese visa, Tibet travel permit, and Alien permit to travel to Everest in Tibet. Although it might sound complex, you only need to take care of your passport and Chinese visa and your travel agency in Tibet will arrange everything else. However, you need to plan your vacation in advance as applying for permits takes 15-20 days.
Planning your trip at least 1 month in advance is ideal to arrange everything on time.
There are 2 ways to travel to Tibet: though China by air, train or overland and through Nepal by air or overland.
When you travel from China, you apply for a Chinese visa in your country. When you travel through Nepal, your Chinese group visa is arranged in Kathmandu.
Citizens of some countries such as Japan, Singapore and a few more can travel to China without a visa for a limited time. Travelers holding passports of the USA, most European countries, and Australia need to apply for a Chinese visa. Even if you can travel in Tibet visa-free, you still need Tibet permits. Please, contact your local Tibetan travel agency in advance to arrange it for you.
In the articles listed below, you will find detailed information on the visa process for citizens of different countries.
VISA AND PERMITS TO VISIT EBC IN NEPAL
For visiting Nepal, most visitors need a visa. You can get this visa on arrival. It is also possible to fill out the visa application online prior to traveling to Nepal to speed up processing in your point of entry.
Trekking in the Everest region also requires permits. You will need Everest Regional Area Permit called Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality (issued in Lukla) and Sagarmatha National Park permit issued in Kathmandu or in Monjo, near the park’s entrance gate. You have to bring a passport size photo for the permit and fill out a simple form.
If you are trekking from Jiri, in addition to the above-mentioned permits, you need a TIMS card issued in Kathmandu. Some areas in Jiri require additional Gaurishankar Conservation Area permit. Check the permit requirements before heading a trek and enjoy your adventure!
HOTELS AND MEALS ON THE WAY TO EVEREST
For most visitors traveling to Everest in Tibet starts in Lhasa. In the capital of Tibet, you will find accommodations ranging from comfortable 3-star hotels to luxurious 5-star accommodations.
With so many options to choose from, we recommend focusing on hotels in or near the Old Town – the central part of Lhasa. Some nice Tibetan hotels in Lhasa are Yak hotel, Tashi Choeta, House of Shambhala, Gang Gyan, and newly reopened Banak Shol.
The next stop on the way to Everest is in Shigatse, the second-largest city in Tibet. Accommodations here are also comfortable with 3-5 star hotels.
Once you reach Qomolangma National Reserve, the choices are limited to Rongbuk monastery guesthouse and tent camp during the warm months. Both guesthouses are very simple with dormitory rooms and public shared toilets outside. The reward is an unobstructed view of Mount Everest, and a starry sky at night when the weather is clear.
There are many great restaurants in Lhasa and Shigatse, serving different cuisines. In simple local tea houses, you can order Tibetan noodles served with soup and meat or vegetables, vegetable, potato or meat momos, fried rice, and tea. In larger restaurants, you can find Tibetan, Western, Indian and Nepalese dishes.
When you travel to Everest, there are only small restaurants on the way. The menu is usually similar to tea houses. You can order fried rice, fried noodles or Tibetan noodles with soup, Tibetan dumplings – momos, tea, bread, and yogurt.
Vegetarian options are always available in all restaurants. You can also buy snacks in Lhasa or along the way.
If you start your journey in Kathmandu, you can choose between budget cheap and luxurious and still not very expensive hotels.
Most travelers after that head to Lukla. In Lukla choices are limited, however, you still have options. The most popular high-end guesthouses are a network of Yeti Mountain Home lodges nestled between Lukla and Namche Bazaar. These are not exactly 5-star hotels, but very comfortable simple options with bathroom and hot water. That means you won’t give up comfort too soon. Another famous hotel near Namche Bazaar is the Everest View Hotel, the highest hotel in the world.
However, when you head further past Namche Bazaar, you will have to stay in more simple guesthouses. Most have rooms with 2 twin beds. The guesthouses become crowded during the busy season. You will have to give up some privacy, but what a great opportunity to make new friends!
In Kathmandu, you will enjoy a range of great restaurants with delicious meals, both Himalayan cuisines, and European staples. There are lots of cozy coffee shops serving not only coffee but also pastries and light meals. You can also find some party places.
When you go on a trekking route, you will find fewer choices but still a good variety of dishes. Guesthouses serve breakfast. For dinner, you can have local dishes and some Western food such as pizza, soups, and French fries. You can also bring snacks or buy them on the way. The common snacks include nuts, chocolate, cookies, and fresh fruit.
CLIMBING MT EVEREST FROM SOUTH AND NORTH ROUTES
To begin with, there are several routes that climbers can take to reach the Everest summit. However, the most popular ones are the South route from Nepal and the North route from Tibet. There are more challenging routes on the Eastside (also from Tibet) and on the Westside (from Nepal), however, they are used by professional mountaineers seeking adventurous routes. All commercial climbing groups approach the summit following the well-established routes where Sherpa, the local guides hang the ropes for climbers. There are advantages and disadvantages on both routes.
The southern route is more popular and better developed (and more comfortable during the long acclimatizing periods). However, it is also very crowded. The photos of a huge line going to the top of Everest are all from the Southern side. The route is shorter but a little more dangerous than on the Northside.
SOUTH ROUTE FROM NEPAL
Same as trekkers, climbers start in Lukla from where they trek to the first Base Camp.
No roads mean that everything is delivered by yaks to the Base Camp. Still, you can expect your stay there to be reasonably comfortable.
From EBC, climbers have to cross a dangerous zone on the Kumbum ice fall that claimed many lives. After the EBC everything is delivered to the climber’s camps by Sherpas. That limits how many items can be brought to the advanced camp and above. Additionally, going up and down the icefall necessary for acclimatizing can be dangerous.
Helicopter rescue can go up to the Base Camp in Nepal, but a lot depends on the weather conditions.
NORTHERN ROUTE FROM TIBET
The Northern route has strict permit requirements and the amount of permits is limited, that’s why it is not as crowded but acquiring all permits can become a hassle. Also, unlike in Nepal, climbing is now allowed only in May. The Northern route is slightly safer. But keep in mind that statistics don’t always reflect reality. Climbers without proper experience trying to conquer Everest are less likely to summit the mountain successfully. That’s why even commercial group leaders often request climbers to have at least 1 or 2 successful summits of other 8,000 meters high mountains prior to tackling Everest.
In Tibet, climbers can drive to the Base Camp on the Northside. To acclimatize to high altitude, they follow the “saw” principle and go up and down during the preparation period. It is a really nice change of scene when they return to nearby towns and rest for a couple of days before returning to the tent camp. It is probably the main advantage of the Northside. There is no dangerous icefall and going up to the Advanced camp and down to the Base camp and even driving below to the valley is much easier and safer.
Yaks in Tibet can go to the Advanced Camp and deliver all necessary supplies. Because it is easy to deliver supplies to the ABC, it is possible to arrange a quite comfortable stay in the camp.
However, the wind is almost always stronger on the Northern side. It poses difficulties at the Advanced camp and above. At the same time, a climbing window is sometimes longer than in Nepal. It allows groups to spread their attempts into several days and prevents the mountain from being overcrowded.
There is no helicopter evacuation on the Northside, mostly because of very strong wind. If climber or any member of the team needs immediate attention, they have to bring brought down to the Base Camp. From there, they can evacuate by a car.
SUGGESTED EVEREST TOURS IN TIBET
8 Days Everest Group Tour
The classic tour taking you from Lhasa to Everest. Regular group tour departures.
10 Days Easy Acclimatizing Tour
Private tour itinerary that allows easy acclimatizing to high altitude.
15 Days Mount Kailash Group Tour
The journey from Lhasa to Western Tibet including trekking around Mount Kailash.
MORE ABOUT TRAVELING IN NEPAL
Travel to Tibet and Nepal: Essential Guide
Complete guide on how to plan your visit to both Tibet and Nepal: when to visit, where to start, how to plan your tour and best places to visit.
Overland Tibet and Nepal Tours
Traveling to both gems of the Himalayas: Nepal and Tibet: overland tours in both directions and tours including Mount Kailash
Kathmandu: The Gateway to Tibet
Tips on what to see in Kathmandu, how to get there, visa requirements and ways of getting around.