See Everest Base Camp in a B3 Helicopter!

a helicopter on the snow

Even if you have trekked in the Nepal Himalayas, you have never witnessed anything like this; Imagine seeing, in just a few hours, a journey that takes trekkers 14 days to see?

If you’ve always dreamt of seeing the highest place on earth but know you do not have the skills and training for this strenuous trek, seeing Everest Base Camp by helicopter is one of those unbeatable bucket list experiences to try.

Perfect for celebrating milestone occasions, 18th birthday gifts, retirement celebrations, or simply getting a tick on your bucket list, here’s exactly what you can expect on a tour to the highest point on earth.

This post is part of our series Discover Asia

Highlights of an Everest Base Camp Tour

  • Take off from the Kathmandu Valley and fly into the Sagarmatha National Park, home to Mount Everest.
  • See the major sights from the comfort of the helicopter: Lukla, Namche Bazaar, Tengboche Monastery, glaciers, the Khumbu Ice Falls, and, of course, Everest Base Camp.
  • Get a first-class seat to the best aerial views ever.
  • Land at Kalapattar, which at 5,545m, provides the best views of Everest you can get.
  • Enjoy breakfast at a high-altitude hotel with stunning views of the mountains, including Everest, from your breakfast table.

How to Book An Everest Base Camp Helicopter Tour

Available from September to July, you can book a seat on a group tour from Kathmandu. Since these special B3 helicopters only seat 5 or 6 passengers (depending on weight), a group tour shouldn’t be a crowded experience. However, you do have the option to book the whole helicopter for just your group or even just yourself!

a helicopter flying in to Everest base camp

Flying into the Land of the Sherpa and Yeti

While Yeti is a fable (we believe!), Sherpa people are very real. They live in the high Himalayas, having migrated from Tibet around 600 years ago. As a result, they are hardy people, well adapted to living at altitude. They are also very friendly and welcoming.

Once you have been collected from your hotel in the early morning, boarded your helicopter and left Kathmandu far behind you, the scenery changes as you come to the Land of the Sherpa, also known as the Everest Region, or the Khumbu in the local Sherpa language. Here, at the entrance to the region, you land briefly to refuel.

The Beauty of Sagarmatha National Park

Mt Everest sits in Sagarmatha National Park. Sagarmatha is, in fact, the local name for this majestic mountain. At the lower levels, you fly over fast-flowing rivers, pine forests and villages. By the time the helicopter reaches the market town of Namche Bazaar, the landscape is visibly changing to a more rugged one, with shrubs rather than trees.

With over 208 species of birds in the park, this would be one of the highlights for any bird watcher if trekking. Others may be more interested in trying to spot the Snow Leopard – something particularly hard to do due to its stealth and the fact its habit is at high altitude.

From your aerial view in the helicopter, you are more likely to see trekkers and mountaineers down below than any animals or bird life. But the mountains will grab your attention as they dominate the skyline.

The Wonder of Everest Base Camp

While Everest Base Camp is the ultimate destination of this tour and of the majority of treks in this region, the reality may be somewhat disappointing. For trekkers, they do not access the same base camp as those intrepid mountaineers and those on the helicopter tour cannot land there.

The ‘real’ base camp is situated on a glacier known as the Khumbu Ice Falls, which moves constantly, so it is not a suitable place to land a helicopter.

Flying over base camp, however, is a thrill never forgotten. Flying over glaciers, rough terrain, snow, and ice cannot be compared to anything else in this world.

Getting Close to Everest

But don’t get too disappointed! On this tour, two opportunities exist to get close to Mount Everest.

One is when the helicopter lands on Kalapattar. Translated as ‘black rock’, Kalapattar provides an ideal place to set down a helicopter and, at over 5,500m, gives a stunning panoramic view. Everest and neighbouring mountains seem incredibly close at this location.

The second opportunity to get close to Everest is when the helicopter lands at an excellent high-altitude hotel with fantastic Everest views from its outside terrace. You will get the opportunity to enjoy breakfast while witnessing the views.

Conclusion

This tour takes around 5 hours from Kathmandu and returns to Kathmandu. It is the latest way to easily and comfortably see the world’s highest mountain. It is suitable for most people, excluding small children.

If you want to fly in a helicopter or visit Everest Base Camp, why not combine these two aspirations into one dream?

FAQ of Everest Base Camp Tours in a Helicopter

What do I wear on the heli tour?

Dress warmly and wear sturdy shoes. You will be disembarking from the helicopter onto potentially slippery ground. A hat and gloves will keep you warm on board and outside the helicopter. Even if it is warm in Kathmandu, it will be cold in the mountains!

What happens if the tour is cancelled due to bad weather?

It is rare for helicopter tours to be cancelled due to bad weather. Should this happen, you will be offered a second date. Should this not be suitable, your money will be refunded.

Is it safe? What about altitude sickness?

Safety is a priority, and there is oxygen on board. But with such limited time at high altitude, it is unusual for anyone to suffer from altitude sickness on this tour.

How much does the tour cost?

Depending on the season, a seat on a group tour helicopter tour to Everest Base Camp costs USD 1,175. You will need to speak to an agent experienced in Nepal tours about the cost of chartering a helicopter.

How long does the tour take?

Each tour takes around 4 to 5 hours, including pick up from your Kathmandu hotel and landing time at Kalapattar for breakfast.

Should I bring a camera on this tour?

Most definitely! This is a photographer’s dream. If you have a professional camera, do bring this with you. Otherwise, you will also get the most impressive pics and videos from your iPad or phone. Remember, you are going to see some of the world’s highest, most impressive, and most beautiful mountains


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