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How to Visit Mount Everest without Climbing?

Climbing Mount Everest is not a goal for everyone. Luckily, you can reach out to Mount Everest by other ways as an ordinary tourist. So, in this article, we’ll tell everything about how to visit Mount Everest without climbing.

1. Visit Mount Everest by car

Located within Qomolangma National Nature Reserve in Tibet, the Mount Everest Base Camp is at an elevation of 5,200m (17,060ft) above the sea level, from where you will be able to see the top of the Mount Everest. A paved road to Everest Base Camp is a magnificent feat of engineering, the asphalted part actually goes right to base camp ending at Rongbuk Monastery – the highest monastery in the world, at 5,017m above the sea level. Just the last 5.4km are unpaved road leads to a campsite on the highest mountain in the world, that is used by expeditions climbing Everest from the north. 

The travel usually starts from Lhasa, and it takes 5 to 7 days to reach the Everest sightseeing zone and back. The road to the base camp is along the popular Friendship Highway, which is an excellent route to take with lots of scenic spots to see, including the holy lake Yamdrok-tso, the legendary town Gyantse, and the seat of Panchen Lama-Tashilhunpo Monastery. The drive also offers great views of the Himalayas.

Note: There is a guesthouse and tent hotels to stay overnight near the North Everest Base Camp. Simple food like noodles, pancakes, eggs are available to buy from local vendors.

Read more: The best time to visit the Everest Base Camp in Tibet
Tourists at the North Everest Base Camp for photography
Tourists at the North Everest Base Camp for photography

2. Visit Mount Everest by trekking

Straddled the border of Tibet (China) and Nepal, Mount Everest is the dream destination for many travelers. So, base camps are available on both sides of Everest, which provide you the options to have a trekking tour in the Mount Everest areas, and this is another way to have great views of the Mount Everest from the ground.

Mount Everest trek in Tibet
There are two trekking routes to the base camp in the Mount Everest Natural Reserve in Tibet. Among them, the easiest one is the popular trekking from Tingri to Everest Base Camp. It takes 4 days to complete the 70km trekking tour, and most trekkers choose to drive back to Lhasa after reaching the Everest Base Camp. The scenery en route is amazing, as you’ll encounter a herd of yaks and alpine lakes occasionally, Mani stones and windhorse prayer flags are everywhere, which will definitely bring you an exotic delight. To avoid the monsoon rains and frigid winter, so the best months of year for this trekking are May to June, September and early October.

Trekking from the east slope of the Mount Everest in Tibet is another option, which is known as the Gama Valley Trek. The average elevation of the trekking route is over 4,000m, which brings pleasure of efforts and challenges to hikers. Besides the Everest, you would also come across the other famous peaks over 8,000m like Makalu, Lhotse, Gyanchung and Cho Oyu. The Gama Valley trek takes 8 days, and it will give you a very surprising view of the Everest region - it has not only vast mountain ranges and barren soil, but also dense vegetation and green valleys. It's hard to imagine that ferns can grow up to 2 meters at altitude of above 4,000 meters.
Views of Gama Valley with vegetation and snow-capped mountains
Views of Gama Valley with vegetation and snow-capped mountains

Mount Everest trek in Nepal
The South Base Camp is located about 150km from Kathmandu at 5364m (17,598ft) above sea level. The Everest trek in Nepal doesn’t come easy due to the alpine terrain and the dramatic altitude changes. 

It starts from Lukla, and you’ll need 12 to 14 days to complete this 130km adventurous round trip. Besides, this high-altitude trek requires additional days for a good acclimatization to avoid the risk of Acute Mountain Sickness.

Though, the overall vision of the southern slope of Mount Everest is far less spectacular than the northern slope, as most part of the Everest is hidden behind the world's fourth highest mountain-Lhotse, the 2 weeks EBC loop trekking is called the “Himalayan ladder”, it’s indeed a feast of super snow mountains. The world's top snow mountains are gathered here, which is definitely eye-catching and worth trying.

3. Visit Mount Everest by plane

Taking a small plane to see Mount Everest is a classic tourism project in Nepal. Small planes can enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Himalayas, especially Mount Everest. The 19 seat twin engine turboprop aircraft is manufactured by the famous Hawker Beech Company. In addition to two pilots in the cockpit, there is also a stewardess. Beechcraft 1900 aircraft. Small planes usually have 19 seats. The space inside the plane is very narrow. All seats are near the window, and the middle is the aisle. Before getting off the plane, everyone received a flight certificate signed by the airline owner and the captain. It says: "A life time await to see Mount Everest!" But many people prefer another sentence they see online - "I did not climb Mt. Everest, but I touched it by heart!" 

The flight duration is usually between 50 minutes up to an hour. The planes take off either from TIA, Kathmandu. During the flight, you will catch a glimpse of 20 of the highest peaks to the East of Nepal starting from the Langtang Lirung peak which is the closest peak to Kathmandu, then move towards Mt. Everest in the East and finally fly to Chamlang peak. From there, the plane takes a turn and the passengers get a second look at the view while they make their way back to Kathmandu.

The mountain plane not only allows you to enjoy fantastic views but also helps you to understand the geography of Nepal. Although mountain flights do not have a long history, it has gained popularity among tourists for the beauty that it promises. Buddha Air, Yeti Airlines and Simrik Airlines provide mountain flights every day, early in the mornings, when the Himalayas views are the best. Lastly, it only costs around 200 USD.
A panoramic view of the Mount Everest from the plane
A panoramic view of the Mount Everest from the plane

4. Visit Mount Everest by helicopter

Want something more fancy and exciting than a mountain flight? Charter a Helicopter for the flight to Everest from Kathmandu and back. The helicopter flies from Kathmandu to Lukla, Pheriche, Base Camp, Kalapathar, Gokyo, Syangboche, Namche, Lukla and back to Kathmandu. The 3 to 4 hours flight even lands at Everest Base Camp for the most enthralling view of the Everest. But the cost for such a helicopter tour is very high.

Note: the weather needs to be appropriate for the flight, the best season for Heli flight to Mount Everest is from March to May and September to December.  

5. View Mount Everest from Nagarkot, Kathmandu Valley

If you are short on time and budget while still want to enjoy amazing views of the Mount Everest, then Nagarkot is your best choice. This beautiful village is 32 kilometers from Kathmandu, famous for the panoramic view of Himalayas. Don’t miss the sunrise view that makes the mountain glitter. Though the place is far from Mount Everest and only a small portion of it could be seen, it’s among the best place to capture a glimpse from the capital.

Note: Nagarkot has cozy hotels and is a peaceful village to spend a day. There is a Nagarkot view tower for tourists, and we suggest you carry a pair of binoculars.
Nagarkot in Nepal is known for a sunrise view of the Himalayas
Nagarkot in Nepal is known for a sunrise view of the Himalayas

There are several additional ways to visit the world’s tallest mountain-Mount Everest without climbing. The road trip from Lhasa to Everest Base Camp in Tibet is the easiest way to accomplish the once-in-a-life time dream. While, if your physical condition allows, the second option is to trek to the base camp either from Tibet or Nepal side. Lastly, flying over the Roof of the World and take in the view of the Mount Everest by plane or helicopter in Nepal is also an exciting way to experience the magnificent natural wonder. 
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