Seeing Mount Everest, the highest point on planet earth is a dream shared by many. Among those, some have the time while others don’t, and some have the fitness while others don’t. So if you are looking for a way to see Mount Everest when you are in Kathmandu, you have come to the right place.
Mountain Flight – the easy option
Unknown to many, you don’t have to travel that long to see Mount Everest. A mountain flight from Kathmandu is the most accessible and most affordable way to see Everest for those short on time. The planes depart at 6:30 in the morning, seating 15-20 passengers, and the tour takes 50 minutes up to an hour.
One can enjoy a glance at the closest peak to Kathmandu, starting from the Langtang Lirung peak to some of the world’s highest mountains to the east of Nepal. Moreover, you get an opportunity to view Mt. Everest 20 miles away from the cockpit and go home with unbelievable pictures on the flight.
The only downside, of course, is that it doesn’t really feel like you are out there breathing the razor-sharp mountain air. But then again, that is the limitation of seeing mountains from a plane.
Helicopter Tour- the lavish option
For those pressed for time but willing to pay a little extra to get into the mountains, a heli tour to Everest is the best option. First, you will land at Kala Patthar, the iconic viewpoint from where you will get to see Mount Everest up-close. And then, you will cross the Chola Pass and land at Gokyo lakes. Finally, you will have breakfast at the famous Hotel Everest View. The whole heli tour will take around 4 hours total from Kathamandu to Kathmandu.
Also, along the way to Lukla, you will see numerous Himalaya peaks from Langtang to Gaurishankar.
Pikey Peak- the off-the-beaten-trail option
(Good part starts at 4 minutes mark. Thank us later)
Pikey Peak (4,065m) lies about 65 kilometers to the southwest of Mount Everest instead of the 10 odd kilometers for Kala Patthar. As such, while the view isn’t a close-up, it is very expansive. And when we say expansive, we mean Edmund Hillary’s favorite viewpoint kind of expansive.
On a good day, you will see mountains from as far as Langtang to Chamlang. On a perfect day, you will see mountains from as far away as Annapurna to Kanchenjunga! Mount Everest, while visible, isn’t the most salient feature. Gaurishankar, Numbur, and Karyolung dominate the view from Pikey.
The walking trail before and after the peak is, however, something to write home about. The trail, mostly empty, still retains an authentic charm around it, and the forest and wildlife are quite something in their own right.
How to get there:
Day 1 Drive to Pattale Dhap, Trek to Jhapre (2920 m) 4 hours
Day 2 Trek from Jhapre to Pikey Base Camp (3640 m) 6-7 hours
Day 3 Sunrise at Pikey Peak, Trek to Loding (2515 m) 8-9 hours
Day 4 Trek from Loding to Junbesi 4-5 hours
Day 5 Trek from Junbesi to Chiwong Gompa and Phaplu 5-6 hours
Day 6 Flight from Phaplu to Kathmandu (1400 m)
Nagarkot- the family option
Just 27 kilometers from Kathmandu is the famous hill station of Nagarkot. While it is frequently debated if Mount Everest is actually visible from Nagarkot, let us assure you that it is visible. However, we would also like to inform you that it is a teeny tiny speck and requires a very clear day to be visible.
However, as we know by now, the epicness of the view is directly proportional to the effort you are willing to take. And given that Nagarkot doesn’t really ask for more than a short drive, you cannot possibly ask it to provide you with a stellar view.
Trek to Kala Patthar- the adventurer’s option
Regardless of all the other options, nothing beats the trek to Everest Base Camp and Kala Patthar. It will hurt, and you will suffer. But you will forget all about it when you see Mount Everest in front of you from Kala Patthar. And when it is done and dusted, that sense of accomplishment stays with you forever.
However, you will have to devote at least twelve days of your time to this pilgrimage. You will also have to be ready to give up material comforts for at least a week!