How to Get to Mount Everest
The Everest Base Camp, the protection zone built for protecting the core area of Qomolangma with altitude of 5,200 meters, is one of the must-sees for any of trip to Tibet.
Driving to the World's Highest Peak from Lhasa - Mount Everest
Where is Mount Everest
The world’s highest peak Mount Everest is located on the border between China (Tibet) and Nepal in the Roof of the World – Himalayan Mountains. The summit is shared by China and Nepal, while the North Pole is situated in Tingri County, Shigatse Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, and the South Pole is in the Sagarmatha National Park in the Solukhumbu District, Nepal. Searching on a map, Mount Everest is on the southern edge of Tibet (605km from Lhasa), and northern edge of Nepal (about 375km from Kathmandu).
How to get to Mount Everest (North Pole in Tibet)
Currently there is no airport on or near Mount Everest, as well as no railway built to Mount Everest. China and Nepal are said to be discuss building a railway connecting Lhasa with Kathmandu which will pass by Mount Everest. The only way to get to Mount Everest of Tibet side is driving. In 2015, a well-paved road was put into usage. It is connected with the National Road 318, which makes it very convenient to drive to Mount Everest, and also save a lot of time.
Lhasa to Everest
Lhasa is usually the starting place of a Mount Everest Adventure. Why? Firstly there is no flight and train to Mount Everest, one has to get to Lhasa first, then transfer to Mount Everest. Today it is very easy to get to Lhasa no matter you take flights or trains. There are nearly 30 flights to Lhasa each day from many cities in China, such as Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Xian, Kunming, etc. You can also take a train to Tibet from Chengdu, Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, etc. Secondly traveling from Lhasa to Mount Everest is good for high altitude acclimation (from 3700m to 5200m). You can spend several days exploring Lhasa, then travel to Everest, which will cut down the risk of suffering from altitude sickness a lot. Thirdly, driving (traveling) from Lhasa to Mount Everest itself is a classic travel route. You can see the blue diamond Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier, Gyantse Kumba, Tashilhunpo Monastery, Sakya Monastery, etc. Currently there are two driving routes you can take to drive to Mount Everest as following.
Lhasa to Mount Everest Driving Route
Route A: Lhasa – Gyantse - Shigatse – Everest
This route is the most popular driving route to Mount Everst as well as the most classic tour itinerary in Tibet. It connects the most cultural destination Lhasa with the most natural destination Mount Everest together. The route needs 2 or 3 days to complete – days 1 is to drive from Lhasa to Shigatse, via Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier, Palcho Monastery， and spend a night in Shigatse City; day 2 is to drive from Shigatse city to Mount Everest. If you want to slow down your pace, you can even stay one more night in Gyantse where you can visit Gyantse Dzong, Pala Manor and watch a night show.
Route B: Lhasa – Shigatse – Everest
This route also uses Shigatse as middle transfer. It follows the National Road 318 from the capital city Lhasa, via the second largest city in Tibet – Shigatse, directly to a fork in the road near Tingri Town, where you will leave the 318, and go along a well-paved road. The vehicle can directly escort you to Rongbuk Monastery area. To get to Mount Everest by Route B, you will need two days – day 1 from Lhasa to Shigatse. After arrival, you will have some time to visit Tashilhunpo Monastery; day 2 is to drive from Shigatse heading to Rongbuk Monastery. It is along driving around 7~9 hours. So you’d better pack some food and drink with you.
Kathmandu to Everest
Mount Everest is about 375km away from Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. It is very popular to travel to Mount Everest from Kathmandu by land and flight.
Road was built to connected to Zhangmu Border which is near to Zhangmu County of Tibet. You can firstly use a local taxi, bus or vehicle of travel agencies to get to Zhangmu Border (Nyalam Port). Passing the customs, then you will enter into the land of Tibet. You will be picked up by your tour operator in Tibet, then be escorted to Mount Everest. Usually it needs two days to get to Mount Everest from Kathmandu – day 1 is for you to transfer to pass Zhangmu Border and get to Zhangmu Town; day 2 is for you to transfer from Zhangmu Town to Mount Everest. But if you leave very early from Kathmandu, you may have chance to get to Mount Everest in a single day.
Unfortunately, Zhangmu Border is closed for tourists because the terrifying earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.8Mw or 8.1Ms hit Nepal in and around the Kathmandu Valley on 25 April, 2015, which also affected Mount Everest area. The earthquake extensively collapsed the roads to Zhangmu from Nepal. Currently the restoration of the roads is still ongoing. The border may be reopened to tourist in the end of 2017 when travelers can travel to Mount Everest by land again.
Flying directly to Mount Everest is impossible because there is no airport on the Mount Everest. Besides, constructing an airport on the world’s highest peak seems to be infeasible due to the harsh environment and extreme weather. Furthermore, it is too difficult to land and take off planes. But you can take flights to Lhasa firstly. So far, there is only one international air line connecting Lhasa: Kathmandu – Lhasa. During summer days, there are daily direct flights operated, sometimes two flights and sometimes just one flight. Only Air China and Sichuan Airlines are operating the Kathmandu - Lhasa flights. To take a flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa, one will need a Group Visa, Tibet Travel Permit and Tibet Border Pass.
Transfer in Mount Everest - Park Bus
Since May 1st, 2019, all private cars and tourist buses are not permitted to enter the scenic area of Mount Everest any longer. Travelers can only be escorted to the Parking Lot which is about 20km (12.5 miles) away from Rongbuk Monastery - the nearest place to Mount Everest you can reach and the perfect platform for viewing Everest. There are environment-friendly park bus (energized by electricity) running between the Parking Lot and Rongbuk Monastery. Within 30 minutes’ driving, you can reach Rongbuk Monastery for sightseeing and accommodation.
The cost for the park bus is 120 CNY per person.
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