Fly to Mount Everest By Helicopter

5th August 2023

Everest is on many bucket lists but often the time involved in getting there is prohibitive to those of us with a mere two weeks annual leave.  How can we then see the world’s highest mountain within our (bosses) given timeframe?

The answer can be found by taking a five hour helicopter tour to Everest Base Camp. 

From Kathmandu to Mt Everest

On arrival in Kathmandu there are a few ‘must see’ sights in the city itself which will keep you busy for two or three days while you recover from your jet lag.  Nowadays there are several good hotels, such as the Marriott and Hyatt, in town, as well as the more budget variety and everything in between.  Then its off to the mountains!

Naturally, you will have booked your Everest Base Camp helicopter flight before arriving in the country and will have been given details of what to expect, what to wear, etc by the agency.  On the day itself, they will collect you from your hotel for an early morning lift off from Tribhuvan International Airport.  First order of the day is to be introduced to your pilot for unless you charter the whole helicopter (something worth looking into), your pilot is your guide for this journey.  

Flying out of the Kathmandu Valley you can see the urban sprawl give way to small settlements and farmland before you fly over the foothills and into the Himalayas proper.  Second order of business is to refuel at the airport that Sir Edmund Hillary helped establish way back in the 1960s. Known today as the Tenzing Hillary Airport, this high altitude airstrip lies in the town of Lukla, the gateway to the Everest Region.

You will find that this tour is briming with iconic places which you fly over in comfort, rather than trek through, to reach base camp.  Namche Bazaar, Tengboche Monastery, the Khumbu Ice Falls, and some of the highest mountains in the world are within view.  Just some of these magnificent mountains are Thamserku, at 6,608m / 21,679 ft, Ama Dablam at 6,812m /  22,349  ft, Lhotse at 8,516m / 27,939 ft, and Pumori at 7,161m /  23,494 ft.  While Lhotse is the fourth highest mountain in the world, the others are known for their beauty and skyline dominance. 

Everest View Point

While the tour advertises itself as a helicopter tour to Everest Base Camp, and while it certainly does fly over base camp, it lands at a place called Kalapattar rather than at the base of the mountain itself.  

This is for two reasons: the land at base camp is the ever moving icebound and notorious Khumbu Ice Falls, unsuitable for helicopters to land on.  The second reason is that the views from Kalapattar, which stands at a 5,645m / 18,520 ft, are far superior to those you get at base camp.  From Kalapattar there is a panorama of stunning Himalayan mountains. Standing here, you are able to disembark from the helicopter, you feel as if you are almost on the top of the word.  No climbing experience required! 

Another stunning view point which you are taken to on this tour is the aptly named Everest View Hotel.  Here, after landing, there is a long stairway up to the hotel (please advise the agency if mobility issues would prevent you from climbing the stairs and they will discuss the alternative, equally as stunning, hotel also available).  Breakfast is served on the terrace overlooking Mt Everest and the surrounding mountains.  You don’t get better than this! 

Before You Go

This magnificent adventure takes you to the heart of the Himalayan mountains and returns you to Kathmandu in a matter of hours.  Yet you see all the scenery and grandeur of the mountains that it would take you two whole weeks to see by foot. And there is, as mentioned, plenty of time to explore the ancient parts of Kathmandu or party in the tourist hotspots as well.  

This tour is available all year round.  Spring and autumn are the best times in terms of clear skies and are extremely popular.  Booking ahead is a must and details of your trip can be discussed with the Nepal agent who organises these tours.  It is possible to purchase a seat on a group tour or to charter the whole helicopter.  Please note, high altitude helicopters seat only 5 or 6 people (depending on weight) plus the pilot.  Should you wish to charter the heli, you have the option to pay for a specialist guide and/or photographer to accompany you, or to adjust the itinerary a little if there is something you particularly want to see. 

Then, when you return to work after your two weeks leave, imagine your colleagues’ surprise to know you have been to the top of the world and back!