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The best Helicopter day tour in Nepal

best Helicopter

Whether it’s a pilgrimage with the family, a business trip with colleagues or a fun getaway with friend, there is a  wonderful add-on to your visit to Nepal which will give you tons of thrills, yet only take a little of your time.

Helicopter Tour to Everest Base Camp 

Even if you have trekked around the Himalayas and even maybe made the long hike to Mt Everest, you most likely have never seen the mountains from this angle.  This five hour helicopter trip to Everest Base Camp is gaining popularly among people from all walks of life.  Not too expensive, not too energetic, and short enough to fit into any itinerary, this thrilling experience gives a birds-eye view of the best of the Everest Region.

Best time for Everest Helicopter Tour

With spring and autumn being the most popular time for trekkers and climbers around the Everest Region, it is highly recommended to book well in advance.  You can make an enquiry and ask questions of the Nepal agent  who will help you decide when to come and give you pointers on the finer details.  

For those of us who rarely have the luxury of planning ahead, you can also make contact once in the country and hope for the best.  This works best if you are travelling alone!  Reservations are made either on a seat bases in a group tour – which may be easier if you are only one or two travellers, or you can reserve the whole helicopter.  Keep in mind the helicopters only seat 5 or 6 passengers and are not suitable for small children due to their configuration.  

What Will Be Seen 

Naturally, the number one thing is the mountains, Mount Everest in particular.  But there are plenty of other things to marvel at on this journey.

Starting in the early morning, after you have been collected from your hotel in Kathmandu, you will be introduced to your pilot and other passengers.  Flying over the Kathmandu Valley and the low hills, you soon enter the mountainous region knows locally as the Khumbu, or more widely known as Everest Region.  It is also the Sagarmatha National Park which is home to various species of wildlife on its lower, forested areas.  Its highly unlikely you will see any substantial wildlife from the helicopter, but one never knows! What you will see is gorgeous scenery and stunning mountains.

There are three landing points on this tour.  The first is at Lukla, a small town known mainly for its airport.  Here the helicopter refuels, and passengers get their first breath of mountain air. Named after the first two people who successfully summited the world’s highest mountain, the Tenzing Hillary Airport is a short landing strip which is at its busiest in the early morning when the weather tends to be at its best.

The tour then takes you over the market town of Namche Bazaar.  Here expeditions of various kinds gather any last supplies or celebrate their success on the return journey.  Like the airport, this town also has strong ties to Sir Edmund Hillary, as does the nearby smaller settlement of  Khumjung in which he set up a school for Sherpa children, and a health post for everyone. 

By now you will be aware of the stupas, chortens and prayer flags dotted below.  People in this is area follow the Tibetan Buddhist religion and there are several monasteries to mark this fact.  Tengboche is perhaps the most famous and sits high up giving an outstanding view of the mountains to visitors and resident monks alike.

As the views change below and become more rugged, the pilot will point out, as well as the mountains, glaciers, which make up a good deal of the topography of the area.  In particularly the Khumbu Ice Falls is where climbing expeditions set off from in their hope of summiting Everest.  This area is also where base camp is located.  On shifting ice.  The helicopter cannot land here because of the land, or should be say, lack of land, conditions.  Instead, you are taken up over 5,500m to land on Kalapattar nearby.

Kalapattar is a ridge which fabulous 360 degree views of Everest and surrounding mountains.  Here you disembark and have time to take in the view, the icy cold, and click a few pictures.  Nothing can really describe the views from here – they must be seen for yourself.

Tea on Everest 

The icing on the cake, or the tea on Everest, is landing at a high altitude hotel for breakfast! Once again the views are magnificent and very close to hand.  We can think of no better way to spend a morning than drinking hot tea while staring mesmerized at the Himalayas. 

Do remember to plan ahead if possible, wrap up warming, wear firm walking shoes and bring your camera!  

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