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The Ultimate Guide about Everest Base Camp Trekking

Last Update: June 4, 2024

Everest, the world’s highest mountain. For a large number of people, the reason why they go to Tibet is to view Mt. Everest, and see the amazing views of its peak from the famous north face. The view from the Tibet side is much better than that from Nepal’s Everest Base Camp (EBC), and it gives a clear and sweeping view of the world’s highest mountain. A trip to the highest mountain at the roof of the world is the ultimate in self-challenge, being able to reach the base camp which is situated at over 5,000 meters above sea level.

Despite the stricter requirements for getting into Tibet to see Everest, with its better views and interesting culture it is much better to visit the mountain from the Tibet side. All visitors require an organized tour with a Tibet travel agency, who will arrange your permits, provide a vehicle and driver and a guide for your entire trip. While there is no hiking required to actually visit EBC - the road now runs all the way there from Lhasa - a good way to get there is to trek from Old Tingri, to experience the exhilaration of trekking in this high altitude.

Tibet Travel Documents

Before you can even get into Tibet, you need to book your tour with a recognized tour operator. This is the only way to see the region, due to China’s strict controls. Once you have your visa for China, which is available from the Chinese Embassy in your home country, you should contact a reputable tour operator, such as Tibet Tour, who can arrange your other permits.

To get into Tibet, you first need the Tibet Travel Permit, which the tour operator can obtain once you have your Chinese visa. Send them the copies of your passport and visa, and they will arrange the Tibet Travel Permit, which normally takes around three days.

Tibet Travel PermitTibet Travel Permit

However, as this only allows you to travel direct to Lhasa, and nowhere else, you will also need an Alien’s Travel Permit. This is needed when traveling to places outside Lhasa, such as Mt. Everest or Shigatse. It is obtained by your tour operator using your Passport and Tibet Travel Permit once you get to Lhasa, and takes a few hours. It is useful to remember that the Alien’s Travel Permit cannot be obtained on its own by any travel agent.

Alien’s Travel PermitAlien’s Travel Permit

Tibet Packing List

Anyone wishing to tour this region is going to need some very specific items that they would not normally take on a vacation, to make sure they are well prepared for the trip. The main things to pack for any trip to Tibet include:

Thick woolen sweaters Thick, warm pants
Warm, fleece or down jacket
Waterproof Jacket
Warm hat or hooded jackets

Sturdy hiking boots, thick, warm socks, windproof jacket and sunglasses are also a good idea for those going to EBC, or any place in Tibet where you will be trekking.

Travel from Lhasa to EBC

The route to take when trekking from Old Tingri to EBC is an arduous one. While there is a trail that leads to EBC, trekking at this high altitude is strenuous, and you will cover a total of 70km over the course of four days. Tibet Tour has the best itinerary for this trek to EBC, which begins in Lhasa and takes you to many beautiful places on the road to Mount Everest.

Gyantse KumbumGyantse Kumbum

The route starts at Lhasa, and travels along the scenic roads to Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet. There are two roads you can take, but it is better to follow the road through Gyantse, as you can also visit the Gyantse Kumbum and the holy Lake Yamdrok along the way. In Shigatse you will get the chance to visit the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama and home of Tibetan Tsang Buddhism.

Lake YamdrokLake Yamdrok

When you leave Shigatse, you will travel to Old Tingri, via the Sakya Monastery, which is renowned for its huge collection of Thangkas, murals and scriptures. It is the principal monastery of the Sakyapa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and is almost 1,000 years old. There are two monasteries, north and south, although the original, the north monastery, is now just a ruin.

Sakya MonasterySakya Monastery

In Tingri , there are numerous sights you can take in before the trek to Everest. The world’s highest primary school, Basum Primary, sits at an elevation of 4,700 meters, and the gate faces Everest. As your route trekking to EBC will take you first to the world’s highest monastery, Rongbuk, it is essential to pay a visit there. Lying against the stark contrast of the mountain, it is one of the best places to view Everest. If you are not up to trekking the 70km from Tingri to Rongbuk, you can travel by car, and trek the last part from Rongbuk to EBC, which is just 8km.

Rongbuk MonasteryRongbuk Monastery

At the base camp itself, you will be able to get an idea of what the early mountaineers were thinking as they prepared to scale this monster. Locally known as Mt. Quomolangma, it means “third goddess”. It has four peaks that are above 8,000 meters, as well as 38 smaller peaks that are above 7,000 meters. Expeditions first started here in the early 1920s, but the mountain was not climbed to it’s summit until 1953, when Sir Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reached it’s highest peak, at 8,848.13 meters above sea level.

Mt. QuomolangmaMt. Quomolangma

For those who will be camping overnight, there is a camp site at EBC where you can set up tents, and you are permitted to light bonfires to cook hot food. While the temperatures can drop at night, it is an amazing adventure to be lying under the stars at the top of the world.

There is a camp site at EBC where you can set up tentsThere is a camp site at EBC where you can set up tents

For those who do not wish to camp, there are small villages that offer some basic accommodations, or you can stay in the tent guest houses at the Rongbuk Monastery, or at the very basic Rongbuk Everest hotel nearby.

There are small villages that offer some basic accommodationsThere are small villages that offer some basic accommodations

Best Time to Trek Mt.Everest

The best times to visit Mt.Everest are from April to June and September to October, when the skies are clearest and views of the summit are most possible. You can also tour Mount Everest in summer, but the chance to see the peak through the dense clouds is much lower for it’s the monsoon season. Landslides are more likely to happen in summer, although it is the time when the landscape is at its lushest and greenest. And it would closed in February and March.

Photography of Mount Everest

For those who love photography, there are a few places where you can get the best shots of this impressive peak. At Geu La Pass you can get a great panoramic view of the Himalayan range, with Mt. Everest in the center. From this view you can clearly see five of the 15 highest peaks in the world.

The hill by Rongbuk Monastery is also a great place to get good shots of the mountain, and if you get up early, you can watch and shoot the sunrise glinting on the side of the mountain.

hill by Rongbuk Monasteryhill by Rongbuk Monastery

From Dregura Mountain Pass you can get the best shots of the four major peaks, Everest, Cho Oyu, Makalu, and Lhotse, and there is a viewing platform in Old Tingri, which gives a beautiful panoramic view of the Himalayan Range.

Dregura Mountain PassDregura Mountain Pass

Of course, there is always EBC itself. You can get a perfect view of the mountain, but you might want to think of the angle of your shot, and the composition. Try using the prayer flags and other on-site props to give the backdrop of the mountain some foreground perspective.

People take pictures to souvenir the day they get to Mt. EverestPeople take pictures to souvenir the day they get to Mt. Everest

Altitude Sickness

It is a good idea to remember that you will be trekking at the highest altitude in the world. There is a big risk of altitude sickness at this elevation, so particular care needs to be taken to ensure you are not affected.

You must be fully acclimatized before attempting this trek, and while on the route, do not move too fast or exert too much effort. You will lose energy quickly in the high altitude of EBC, so it is best to bring along some high-energy snacks to replace lost energy quickly.The symptoms of altitude sickness are:

Persistent headache
Loss of appetite

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should take a rest and inform your guide, so he is aware of your condition. While medications are available that can sometimes help, the only sure way to remedy altitude sickness is to descend to a lower elevation. Continuing to climb or trek with altitude sickness will make it worse, and can result in severe illness and death.

For anyone wishing to visit Mt. Everest, Tibet Tour can help to sort out your permits and documents, and arrange all the details of the tour, and are also able to customize it to meet your exact requirements.

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