Everyone loves to send postcards from the places they visit. This has been a tradition for explorers and travelers since postal services first began. Postcards are the old-style of proof that you actually went somewhere else in the world, and served as souvenirs to your friends and family back home. Since the picture postcard was first invented in the early 1800s, postcards have been sent from some of the most amazing places, and you can also send one from the Roof of the World to your loved ones at home. As if all the millions of photos are not already enough, you can send a postcard to your friends and family from the office of the China Post at Mount Everest Base Camp, the highest post office on the planet.
Tibet’s China Post Office at EBC
The post office for China Post is located right in the middle of the Everest Base Camp (EBC), at an altitude of around 5,100 meters above sea level. The modern post office at the site is a world of difference from the original tent post office and has a lot more to sell for tourists looking for the best in souvenirs.
A pre-fabricated office unit that was put together in sections on the site, the post office is decorated in traditional Tibetan styles, both inside and out. Cabinets and displays showcase the items you can buy there, from postcards and letter paper with envelopes to books and many other items. The post office also includes seats and tables for you to write and address your letters and postcards before you send them. It even has the classic “pen on a string” stuck to the tables for you to write your postcards with.
History of the EBC Post Office
Set up in 2001 to meet the needs of tourists who wanted to send postcards and letters to their families from the Roof of the World, the first China Post office was an old military tent next to the tent guesthouses. A simple post office that offered postage of postcards to countries around the world, this unique opportunity soon became very popular with the tourists that visited the base camp daily throughout the peak season for tourism in Tibet.
On April 18, 2008, a better temporary post office was set up to establish the post office as an official China Post office for the arrival of the Olympic Flame on its way to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. A small, green, container-type office, and much like those used on building sites as offices around the world, the post office lasted like this for almost ten years.
In 2017, it was upgraded to the Tibet Paradise Post Office, complete with all the modern facilities and information, as well as warmer and more comfortable amenities. Completed in a traditional Tibetan theme, the post office was inaugurated on 6 June 2017 and began its work making postage dreams come true.
Opening Hours and Postage Times
The post office at EBC is actually only open for certain times of the day at certain times of the year. The daily opening hours are generally from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm seven days a week.
However, you cannot send your postcards all year round. Due to the inclement weather conditions in the winter months on the plateau, the post office closes up for the low season. The post office opens for the tourist season on April 15th each year and runs daily until the closure for the winter on October 15th.
One of the common questions about sending a post from the EBC Post Office is “How long will it take to get to my home?” This is a matter of some consternation, actually, and the normal postal delivery times only apply here once the postcard gets off the plateau and down to mainland China. Post sent from the base camp is only removed to mainland China once a week. After being picked up from the EBC post office, it generally takes around 3-5 days to reach the relevant post office in mainland China, passing through the office of China Post in Lhasa first.
From China, postage to overseas destinations varies depending on the destination. According to the statistics from China Post, postage to Canada and the United States takes around 15 days, and to the UK and Europe, between 10 and 12 days. This means, on average, you can expect your friends to get your postcard around 3-4 weeks after you posted it.
How to Send a Postcard at EBC?
Sending the postcard from the EBC Post Office is easy, and you can do it in a few minutes, and get back out to continue admiring the world’s highest mountain. Postcards and stamps are available for sale at the post office. Postcards are normally around 5-6 yuan each, or you can buy a pack for around 60 yuan.
Once you have written your postcard and added the postage stamp, you can take it to the postmaster (or post-mistress) at the counter to have it stamped and sent. The staff will put two ink stamps on the postcard, one for the official stamp of the China Post and one for the official mark of the EBC Tibet Post Office.
Postage for your postcard does depend on where you are sending it, but it is not very high, considering the distance these postcards will travel. For a postcard to Beijing, the cost is around 3 yuan. International postage costs 10 yuan to Europe and 12 yuan to North America.
If you are worried about how long it will take for your family or friends to receive the postcards, you can send more than one card to the same recipient. However, this can be rather expensive. Another option is to have your postcards stamped with the official postage marks for both China Post and the EBC Post Office, and then take it with you instead of posting it.
The post office at EBC also sells a wide variety of souvenirs, postcards, and other postal products, including letter paper with an Everest watermark, printed letter paper, and lots more. Free drinking water is available in the post office for their customers, and a rest service is available if you need it. The post office also serves as a small tourist information office, with information on the natural scenery, historical culture, ecological protection, meteorological information, and environmental protection of the area.