Mount Everest, the World’s Highest Mountain and the destination of hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. Lying on the edge of the high Tibetan plateau, in the middle of the mighty Himalayas, the summit of this massive mountain actually lies right on the borderline between Nepal and China. And for almost 100 years, this massive peak has been the ultimate in mountaineering, prompting the construction of two major base camps at the foot of the mountain. One in Tibet and one in Nepal. And while the base camp in Nepal may have been the one where the first successful summiting of the mountain began, the base camp in Tibet is the original Everest Base Camp (EBC) and is preferable for many people traveling to view this amazing mountain peak.
Advantages of visiting EBC in Tibet
As one of the most popular options for traveling to Everest Base Camps, the base camp on the northern side of the mountain, within Tibet, has some distinct advantages over the southern base camp. And in most cases, it can be an easier and cheaper way to get to EBC, rather than traveling to the base camp in Nepal.
More suitable for most tourists to trek
One of the most popular ways to get to Everest is to trek to the base camps, and this can be done in both Nepal and Tibet. However, while both camps have a trekking route that ends at them, there are many advantages to trekking the route to EBC in Tibet. The main reason for being preferable is increased safety when trekking in Tibet than in Nepal. The route from Lukla to Gorak Shep is a 9-day arduous hike that takes you through some rough and rugged terrain. While the trail is well-trodden, it is not the safest place in the world for hiking.
The trail to EBC in Nepal can be hit by mudslides and landslides in the monsoon season and by avalanches in the winter season, and even in spring and autumn, you are not guaranteed to not have some trouble along the route. In contrast, the trek from Old Tingri to EBC in Tibet is a straightforward route that has no chance of avalanches or landslides and is much safer in general. You are also required to have a guide with you that knows the route well, so are safer than ever.
Secondly, distance is the key here. The route in Nepal takes 12 days to hike in total, both ways. This includes two separate days for acclimatizing to the higher latitudes, as you are hiking on an increasingly ascending trail the whole time. The hike in Tibet to EBC takes just four days, takes you through some amazing countryside on the plateau, and is relatively level, with only a small increase in altitude from start to finish. As a shorter and easier route to take to get to EBC and the best views of the summit of Mount Everest, the trek to EBC in Tibet is preferable for many people.
Better road conditions in Tibet
Road conditions for traveling to the base camps are a major concern for tourists wanting to view Mount Everest. In Nepal, there is no road that can take you anywhere near the start of the trekking trail, let alone a road that can take you all the way to the base camp. In fact, the closest road to EBC in Nepal is more than 70 kilometers to the southwest of the base camp, and from there on, you walk.
In Tibet, the roads run all the way to EBC, although the tourist base camp is now closer to Rongbuk Monastery, another two kilometers from the actual climber’s base camp. For anyone visiting the Everest base camp in Tibet, you do have to walk if you are not into hiking. You can actually drive all the way to the base camp itself.
The roads are very good for most of the journey from Lhasa, with paved highway all the way to Old Tingri in Tingri County of Shigatse Prefecture. From there, most of the route south to EBC in Tibet is a paved road, though with some gravel sections along the way. In the latter part, just running up to Rongbuk, the road is merely gravel and dirt, but is still even and not too rough to drive along.
No expensive trip just to visit EBC
Visiting EBC in Nepal can be done by trekking or by flight on a helicopter, which can be very expensive. Either way, you will need to get a flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, the airport on the side of the mountain that serves the trekkers heading for Mount Everest and the mountaineers that are aiming for the summit. If you do not want to trek for 12 days to get to EBC and back, then your only other option is the helicopter trip, which takes you to the base camp for a very short time, and then stops off at a more convenient location further away to get views of the mountain’s high summit.
In Tibet, the cost is kept to a minimum. Almost all the tours that head to the west of Tibet, whether to head on into Nepal or travel further to Mount Kailash, stop at the World’s Highest Mountain. And the cost of the trip to EBC in Tibet is always a part of the overall cost of the tour that you book with us, so there are no additional costs to get there.
Can spend the night at EBC
Contrary to EBC in Nepal, at EBC in Tibet you can actually stop for the night, and sleep in the base camp itself. In Nepal, the base camp is located far from the nearest accommodations, and few people ever stay there for more than a short period of time, despite only being a hundred meters above the altitude of the Tibetan base camp. With no option to camp and no views of the mountain from anywhere nearby with teahouses or hostels, visits to EBC in Nepal are short-lived and un-dramatic.
In Tibet, however, you have two options for somewhere to stay. The first, and often the most popular, is the Rongbuk Monastery guesthouse. While basic, it does have comfortable beds and great views of the summit of Mount Everest, just 12 kilometers from the monastery itself. You also have the tent guesthouses, which are available from April to November. These are nomadic yak-hair tents that are used by local Tibetan nomads, which have been set up for the peak season for tourists to the base camp. They are basic, with no normal facilities except beds and plenty of hot sweet Tibetan tea. However, it is an experience you should not miss out on if you are staying at EBC for the night.
Enjoy better views of Mount Everest
In Nepal, even if you do get to the base camp, you cannot see the summit or slopes of the great mountain. Mount Lhotse blocks the view of Everest from that side, so you are obliged to hike to a different place to get views of the summit, such as Gorak Shep.
In Tibet, you have an unhindered view of the mountain from the base camp, and the view of the summit from the gravel-covered ground around the marker stone is one of the most iconic photos of Mount Everest on the internet today. And if that is not enough, you can also get some of the world’s greatest views of the mountain from further away. Almost the whole length of the drive to the base camp, you can see the massive peak getting closer by the mile.