If you have heard about Nepal, then you probably have also heard about Mount Everest. Being the tallest mountain in the world, Nepal boasts this peak as its crown jewel. Nestled amidst a fabulous region adorned with immense natural and cultural fascinations, the beauty of Everest rises unparalleled.
To witness the greatness of Mount Everest (8848m), we can explore the region via various trekking options. One of the most famous treks available is the Everest Base Camp Trek. With this journey, travelers get to explore the beautiful region of Khumbu (Everest) as well as reach the foot of the world’s tallest mountain. So what makes this trek an outstanding option? Here are a few attractions of the Everest Base Camp Trek:
Tenzing Hillary Airport, Lukla
The very first opening of the journey begins with a thrilling flight to one of the world's most dangerous airports. The short airstrip that is the Tenzing Hillary Airport is built with a slight tilt on a hill. Surrounded by towering mountains and hills around, passengers may get mixed feelings of fear and fascination as they proceed to touch down at this airport. The airport itself is at a high altitude of 2,860 meters. The cold touch of the Himalayan air will give rise to goosebumps all over your skin. To top it off, the mountains dominating the skyline will be the perfect opening scenery welcoming you to the Khumbu region.
Everest National Park
The route of the Everest Base Camp Trek traverses across the Everest National Park. It is also known as the Sagarmatha National Park. The park is a haven of Himalayan biodiversity. A UNESCO world heritage site, the park's total area is about 1,148 km², and the elevation ranges from 2,845 to 8,848 meters. Within this range, there lies lush green forest to barren alpine lands. The park is filled with a diverse array of flora and fauna, and you can also find several rare species. Some species you might come across are the Himalayan Thar, Snow leopard, Danphe, Himalayan Black bear, etc.
If you are in the Khumbu region, you must visit Namche Bazaar. Namche Bazaar is also known as the gateway to Everest as all visitors of the Everest have to pass through this town. Namche Bazaar once used to be a major marketplace of the Himalayan trade route. Now, it is a lively town with a happening atmosphere that is very much suitable for visitors to enjoy. One can also witness magnificent views of the Khumbu peaks from this town.
Everest View Hotel
The Everest View Hotel is one of the most iconic places in the world. It once used to be the highest located hotel in the world situated at an elevation of 3,880 meters. Even at such an extreme altitude, the hotel manages to provide high standard service for a price that is worth it. Visitors to this hotel can enjoy some mesmerizing views of the Everest and nearby mountains while having a delicious breakfast.
Further up from Namche, travelers come across a beautiful valley known as Khumjung valley. Trekkers usually take a hike to this valley while acclimatizing at Namche Bazaar. The valley gives you an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with the local people. The Sherpa people densely populate the valley. Following this fact, you can get a deep insight into the Sherpa lifestyle, cuisine, and, most importantly, their culture. The valley also gives you a new angle to view the massive snow-clad peaks.
The Tengboche Monastery, also known as Thyangboche or Dawa Choling Gompa, is another iconic attraction of the EBC trek. This Tibetan Buddhist monastery is located at an altitude of 3,867 meters and is the largest monastery in the entire Khumbu region. The monastery lies atop a hill that is perched above the confluence of Dudh Koshi and Imja Khola. Moreover, Mt. Ama Dablam gives a stunning background to the view.
Dingboche village, a few miles ahead of Tengboche, is a small but beautiful valley of the Khumbu region. The village is located at an altitude of 4,410 meters. Dingboche is also known as the summer valley. The area of the village experiences summer/monsoon rain throughout the seasonal months giving lush life to the village’s farms. You can enjoy some ravishing views of the mountains and the glacial rivers flowing right from the peaks.
Most trekkers traveling around this route visit Dingboche and stay here an additional night to acclimatize. While you are here, you can hike up to the Nangkartshang peak. At an altitude of 5083m, you can get beautiful views of mountains such as Tawache, Ama Dablam, Island Peak, Lhotse, Everest, and Pumori.
If you are heading for the Everest, Gorakshep is the last village you will reach. The village lies at an altitude of 5,146 meters beside a frozen lake. This will be your last stop before you make your way towards Everest Base Camp. Trekkers spend a night here before ascending towards Kala Patthar via Everest Base Camp. What once used to be nothing but plain rocks, glaciers and snow have now turned to a camp for trekkers to gain the last bit of rest before they reach their ultimate destination.
Everest Base Camp
The Everest Base Camp might just be the most exciting part of the trek. Most trekkers head out for this journey just to experience standing at the foot of the world's tallest mountain. Although this might not be the best place to view Everest, it surely has its way of rewarding trekkers with the importance it serves. The Everest Base Camp is situated at an altitude of 5,364 meters. While you bask in the sun's golden rays in the snow-covered rocks of the base camp, you may also come across several trekkers opting for the Everest expedition. You can view glaciers, icefalls, and nearby mountains from the base camp.
For some people, Kala Patthar may be more exciting than reaching the Everest Base Camp. For strong reasons, this argument can’t be easily denied. Kala Patthar is famously known as the best place to view Everest. Most famous pictures of Everest and the peaks surrounding it have been taken from this spot. At 5,545 meters, Kala Patthar provides a stunning panoramic view of the Everest. This is also the highest point of the trek. If you make it at the right time for sunrise, you will witness one of the most heartwarming views of nature. As the sun rises over and the rays hit the snowy peaks, the beauty of Everest, Nuptse, and Changtse leaves you breathless.
There are several high passes in the Everest region, and Chola Pass isn't one you want to miss when talking about passes in the Khumbu. Although crossing the pass may not be included in most standard Everest Base Camp trek, this pass adds a considerable contribution to the adventure factor for traveling in the Everest Region. Standing tall at 5,420 meters, the Chola Pass is one of the tallest passes in the Everest region. For those willing to step further into challenging themselves, including the pass in the trek is a great option. When you approach the top of the pass, a surreal view of the Gokyo lakes and the gorgeous Gokyo valley awaits you.
Another major attraction of the Khumbu region is Gokyo Lake. Again, although it is not a mainstream route for the standard Everest Base Camp trek, most often, people combine these incredible journeys. Gokyo Lake is one of the highest freshwater systems on the planet. It is located at an altitude of about 5,000 meters. The azure lake of Gokyo provides a chilling scenery, along with the Himalayas decorated on the backdrop. This lake is considered as a very important symbol in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Thus, you may find a number of devotees heading here to fulfill their religious deeds.
Alongside Gokyo Lake, there stands a tall peak, the Gokyo Ri. At the height of 5,357 meters, the Gokyo Ri provides a stunning backdrop to the Gokyo Lakes. If this peak is included in your trial, then you are up for a real challenge. Nevertheless, mounting this peak will provide you with some mind-blowing rewards. The 2-3 hour climb to the summit awards you with the splendid panoramic view of Everest, Cho Oyu, Lhotse, Makalu, Cholatse, and many more peaks, along with the Ngozumpa glacier, the longest glacier in Nepal.
The Everest region is populated mostly by the Sherpa people. Believed to have descended from Tibet, the Sherpas are unique people of the mountains who have lived their life adapting to the harsh climate of the Himalayas. The Sherpas have their own unique culture and traditions. Their lifestyle is heavily influenced to suit the cold climate. Almost all Sherpas follow Buddhism (especially Tibetan Buddhism). Exploring the rural local villages of the Khumbu region allows you to gain a deep insight into the Sherpa culture. As unique as it is, you can learn a lot about this famous mountainous tribe.
Summing up the attractions of the Everest Base Camp Trek in words isn't possible. The beauty that exists in the region goes beyond human imagination. Thus, it is one of the most beautiful journeys one can go on. Nevertheless, the attractions mentioned above are enough to draw your attention. So, get ready to witness the bewitching beauty of the journey to the Everest Base Camp.