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Everest Base Camp Heli Tour See Everest Region in 4 hours

Now that holidays are definitely on the cards in the near future, we are taking a look at an old favourite – Nepal.  Whether you went there in your youth or whether you are still in your youth and thinking about it, Nepal now has some new tours on offer.

Helicopter Tours to Everest Base Camp

Everyone has heard of Mt Everest, and some may be aware that the 70th anniversary of the first summit of the world’s highest mountain took place in May of this year.  Not everyone of course is a mountaineer, nor wants to be one.  Since that epic climb in 1953, more people have gone to trek around Everest than to climb it.  Every year thousands of trekkers, young and not so young, make their  way to Everest Base Camp. 

Now Nepal, has opened up helicopter tours to the most iconic locations in the Everest Region as well as combining shortened treks with a helicopter flight.

The most popular, a 5 hour trip starting at Kathmandu, takes passengers into the mountains and lands them at locations guaranteed to get the best views of the mountains.

On this epic adventure, the helicopter pilot is your guide.  If you decide to charter the private helicopter to Everest Base Camp, you could even hire a guide for more in-depth information.  Even if you don’t charter the whole helicopter, as there are only 5 or 6 places (depending on the passenger’s weight!) on the high altitude heli, this trip still feels a bit like flying business class. 

Departing Kathmandu in the early morning, the first stop is at the high altitude airstrip known as the Hilary Tenzing Airport in Lukla, gateway to the Everest Region.  This is a refuelling stop but gives passengers the opportunity to see planes making their way carefully onto the narrow and exceedingly high airstrip.  

Entering the Sagarmatha National Park – Sagarmatha being the Nepalese name for Everest – the landscape changes from pine forests, rivers, suspension bridges, yak pastures and farming villages to a more rugged landscape.  There are well known settlements too – Namche Bazaar for one and Tengboche for another.  At Namche there are many pubs, restaurants, and hotels to welcome the arriving and departing trekkers and climbers.  At Tengboche there is the highest monastery in the region with its clutch of robe clad monks and Tibetan icons.

As for Everest Base Camp itself, there are actually two base camps.  One which houses climbing expeditions, and which is situated on the constantly moving ice of the Khumbu Ice Falls, and one where trekkers can gather and view the expedition camps ahead without disturbing them.  

Under these circumstances, while you get  great views from the helicopter of the two base camps below, it is at Kalapattar the helicopter actually lands.  From here, on this high ridge sitting 5,645m above sea level, you get the best views of Everest and its neighbouring mountains. While base camp will always raise the spirits and excitement level, the views from Kalapattar are much better.  The landing here is not particularly long given it is at such an altitude.  The helicopter cannot turn off its engine and unacclimatized humans should not stay long at altitudes above 3,500m.  But it is long enough for  Insta worthy pictures and memories to pass on to children and grandchildren.

The third landing on this tour is at a suitably place hotel with again amazing views.  In this region it is hard to go wrong as far as views are concerned.  Facing Everest, eating breakfast on the terrace and having a moment to digest what you have and are experiencing is one of the highlights of the tour.

Safely back in Kathmandu you can perhaps plan your next epic journey.  If trekking is your thing, the same agency offers the Classic Everest Base Camp Trek or a combination of trek and helicopter ride for those who want to trek but not for the whole 14 days required to complete the whole base camp circuit.  Prices range from USD 1,175 for the five hour helicopter tour to 2457 for a 9 day trek with return by helicopter.


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