Everest Base Camp Trekking – 13 days

Everest Base Camp Trekking – 13 days

Witness the spectacular north face of the highest peak on the earth along with the exploration of Tibetan culture and architecture.

Trip Overview

Duration: 13 days( 8 days travel/ 5 days trekking)

Best season: April – October

Grade: moderate

Trek starting point: Old tingri

Trek ending point: EBC

Max altitude: 5200m

Trekking trail: 5-6 hrs trekking per trekking day

Program type: Guided trekking

Group size: Min-2

Trip Highlights

  •  Enjoy harsh but beautiful high plateau landscapes that can only be seen in Tibet Plateau.
  • Explore the beautiful monastery and the palaces in Lhasa, Scenic beauty of meadows and high passes.

Mount Everest, also named as Mount Quomolangma in Tibetan Language (means the Third Goddess in Tibetan), is the highest mountain in the world. With an elevation of 8,848 meters (29,029 feet), it is also renowned as the Third Pole of the World. Located at the border between China and Nepal, central region of Himalaya Range, the north ridge (in China) of Everest in Tibet has a gentle slope than the south ridge in Nepal, therefore the north ridge route is more chosen by mountaineers. The main body of Mount Everest shapes like a giant pyramid, along with a large glacier stretching more than 26km. It forms an amazing mountain waves, together with other peaks around. The summit capped with the layer of snow varied year to year, is the dreamland of mountaineering adventurer. Meanwhile, it is also a lifetime destination for tourists to gaze out the iceberg from the Everest Base Camp (EBC).In this trekking package commence with a spectacular flight over the Himalayas followed by a comprehensive insight into Tibetan culture with visits to all the famous sights and monuments within Lhasa and its surroundings. Moreover we offer an overland journey by Land Cruiser to the famous Monastery at Rongbuk and an excursion to the Base of Everest visiting number of important sights of historical interest on the way. Viewing the Everest from the north base in Tibet is and awesome experience. With the sunrise and sunset views along with the night star view from the base camp this trekking is one of the best to do in Tibet.

Outline Itinerary

Day 01: Fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa
Day 02-03: Lhasa
Day 04: Drive to Gyantse – about 5 hrs. drive ( 261 KMS. )
Day 05: Drive from Gyantse to Shigatse – about 2 hours’ drive (90 KMS.)
Day 06: Drive from Shigatse to old Tingri- about 6 hrs. drive.
Day 07: Trek to Lungja – about 5-6 hrs. trek
Day 08: Trek to camp before Lamna-La pass – about 6 hrs. trek
Day 09: Trek across Lamna-La to camp near Rongbuk river
Day 10: Trek to Rongbuk monastery – about 4 hrs. trek
Day 11: Trek to Everest base camp – about 3-4 hrs. trek
Day 12: Drive from EBC to Kyirong – about 8 hrs. journey. 370 Km
Day 13: Drive Kyirong to Kathmandu – about 7 hours’ drive (140 KMS)

Day 01: Fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa
With an approximately 1 hr. 10 minutes scenic flight over the high Himalayan range, you will arrive Gonggor Airport in Lhasa. Upon arrival meet our Tibetan representative with 2 hours’ drive to hotel. Check in hotel and take the rest of the day for acclimatization. Overnight stay in the hotel.

Day 02-03: Lhasa
For two days, you will proceed through the guided sightseeing tour of Lhasa. The sightseeing tour includes the visit to Sera Monastery, Drepung Monastery, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Bazaar, Potala palace and Norbulinka palace. Visit the Sera Monastery, home to several hundred monks from different part of Tibet is one of the biggest monasteries, located in the northern foothills of Lhasa. This magnificent monastery comprises of big halls, colleges and dormitories.  Setting against a backdrop of mountains, it makes for a good photographic experience by climbing the halfway mountain behind. Noted for its debate session, Sera Monastery stored many precious relics, arts, scriptures for monks to learn Buddhist knowledge. The daily Buddhism debating is a truly spiritual “class” to practice and test their mastery of Buddhism. Similarly another highlight is Deprung Monastery. As the largest monastery of Tibet constructed in 1416, there was a totally 10,000 monks once lived here in the peak times, Drepung Monastery plays an important role in Tibet Buddhism. The monastery is especially known as the site of the annual Shoton Festival, during which a giant thangka painting will be unfurled on the hillside. Visit the Jokhang Temple -Tibet’s holiest temple which contains a jeweled image of the Buddha in the Centre of the Old Lhasa city. This four stored temple is the fusion of Nepali and Tibetan architectural style. Walk around the Bakhor Street which is one of the most devotional circuit as well as crowded central market of Lhasa. It is about a kilometer and the devotees make circumambulation of the temple through this street. As a busy public square, the street gives you a closer look at the day to day life of Tibetans. Visit the famous Potala Palace, the masterpiece of Tibetan architecture. As the symbol of Tibet, Potala Palace has many things worth seeing, the architecture of the entire construction, the splendid well-preserved artworks and various kinds of religious treasures and etc. Another great palace to observe is Norbulinka, which means “Treasure Park” in the local language, is a palace. It was the summer palace of Dalai Lama till 14th Dalai Lama’s exile. The palace consists of several complexes, and gardens; and is considered the biggest one of its kind in Tibet. Overnight, stay at the hotel in Lhasa.

Day 04: Drive to Gyantse – about 5 hrs. drive ( 261 KMS. )
After breakfast in the morning drive to Gyantse, the drive leads to the scenic highway past the Khamba-la at 4,800m and towards the Yamdrok Thso (The Torquoise lake) and towards the Karo-La 5,050m overlooking great view of the Nazong-Khangtsa peak and its massif ice fall just by the road. Karola Glacier features with its approachability, brightness and grotesque in shape. Stretching from the sky with wispy cloud and mist to the road closely, it shapes like a big frozen fall preparing to flow down from the high peak. Karola Glacier really endears itself to people that is once was be toughed when the people standing on the road. Because of being close to the highway, the lower layer of the glacier is colored to black by the dust, while the upper glacier takes on bright, glittering and translucent in the sun, resembling a big Thangka hanging on the cliff. When the climate gets warm, the snow covered the glacier will melt on the ice layer and then form fabulous serac pillars. In the serac pillars, where snow meets earth, there are rolling ices, like delicate patterns made by skillful craftsman.  Arrive Gyantse with time for a visit of Phalkor Monastery, Kumbum Stupa and the local market. The high red-walled compound in the far north of town houses Pelkor Chöde Monastery, founded in 1418. The main assembly hall is the main attraction but there are several other chapels to see. There’s a small but visible population of 80 monks and a steady stream of prostrating, praying, donation-offering pilgrims doing the rounds almost any time of the day. Commissioned by a Gyantse prince in 1427 and sitting inside the Pelkor Chöde complex, the Gyantse Kumbum is the town’s foremost attraction. The 32m-high chörten, with its white layers trimmed with decorative stripes and its crown-like golden dome, is awe-inspiring. But the inside is no less impressive, and in what seems an endless series of tiny chapels you’ll find painting after exquisite painting (kumbum means ‘100,000 images’). Overnight stay in the hotel in Gyantse.

 

Day 05: Drive from Gyantse to Shigatse – about 2 hours’ drive (90 KMS.)
After breakfast in the morning, drive to Shigatse. This is about two hours driving. Shigatse (or Xigaze) is a famous prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region which is full of wonderful travel destinations. Its capital Shigatse City is the second largest city in Tibet, lying about 250km southwest from Lhasa, and 90km northwest from Gyantse. The world’s highest mountain, “the third pole of earth” – Mount Everest is dominating in Tingri County of Shigatse Prefecture. Every year, thousands of travelers come from all over the world to Shigatse to challenge the utmost limits of human beings and appreciate the spectacularity of – Mount Everest. Shigatse, means “the fertile land” in Tibetan, has played an important role in Tibetan history. It is the granary of Tibet, the second culture center of Tibet. In Shigatse we visit the very large complex of Tashilumpo monastery. This is the traditional residence of the Panchen Lama and contains a 27m high gold plated Buddha known as Matria (the future Buddha). Tashilhunpo Monastery as one of the six Gelug monasteries is the seat of successive Panchen Lamas. Founded by the First Dalai Lama in 1447, it is an important monastery in Tibetan history and culture. It means “all fortune and happiness gathered here” or “heap of glory” in Tibetan. From the entrance to the monastery, visitors get a grand view. Above the white monastic quarters is a crowd of ochre buildings topped with gold – the tombs of the past Panchen Lamas. To the right, and higher still, is the Festival Thangka Wall, hung with massive, colourful thangkas during festivals. Circumnavigating the exterior of the compound is a one-hour kora that takes you into the hills behind the monastery. Overnight, stay in the comfortable hotel in Shigatse.

Day 06: Drive from Shigatse to old Tingri- about 6 hrs. drive.
After the breakfast in the morning travel from Shigtse to Tingri. Again we cross two high passes, one at 4,500m and 5,200m. En-route visit the Sakya monastery -built in 1073 by Khon Khonchong Gyalpo, on the hill side with gray earth surrounded, it means the “Grey Soil” in Tibetan. Divided by river, this monastery is consists of the northern part (in the hillside) and the southern part (lies in the valley). Different from other monasteries in Lhasa, its wall painted in red, white and grey strips, which represent Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani, as a special architecture to distinguish from other Buddhist schools, which is easily to find out from a distance. As the first temple of Sakyapa with over 900 years history, it kept many historical relics, including numerous stupas, Buddhist scriptures, magnificent surviving artwork, Tibetan Thangkas and more. Continuing driving through the town of Lhatse where the road to Mt. Kailash joins, after Lhatse the drive climbs to the highest pass at Gyatso la Pass, 5,220m. After the pass reaching the Xegar and then to Old Tingri, we will meet our camping crews from Nepal. From Tingri you can have view of Mt.Everest (8,848m) & Cho-Oyu (8,201m). Tingri, a wind-blown village with more than hundreds of houses grouped along the base of an isolated hill. Its original name used to be Ganggar. Most of the good lodge and restaurants available are on the roadside, where it’s a must stop for all the Trucks and other vehicle drivers and passengers for lunch and overnight halt. Depending upon the time of arrival and if the road condition is good we drive further from Tingri towards Lungja village, this short drive on route makes it easier for the next day trek. Overnight camp on the grassy field near the barley and buckwheat field where there is a clean flowing stream or creek.

Day 07: Trek to Lungja – about 5-6 hrs. trek
After breakfast in the morning, get yourself ready for the trekking. From here onwards we will be having pack lunch, as every equipment and baggage goes with the herds of Yaks it will be difficult to load and unload and most of the days walk will be on the open valleys and it will certainly disrupt the cooking in this windblown country, our walk passes through the farm fields, despite its harsh terrain somehow barley are grown in this condition. The trail are quite wide as the villagers cart track passes through this road, after a 3 hours of pleasant walk arriving at Lungja a large settlement, the only village from here onwards to Rongbuk Monastery. After a brief break here we continue for another 2-3 hours to camp further from this village, the walk continues on the gradual path for sometimes passing through the rocky crag topped with ruins, which may be an old dzong or fort. An hour farther from Lungja the gorge forces the track turning left into the scrubby hills, after half hour climb to a ridge and then descending to our overnight camp, at the base of these hills on the grassy meadow.

Day 08: Trek to camp before Lamna-La pass – about 6 hrs. trek
The journey continues on around the mystical valleys after an hour walk from the camp descending to a stream, wading across chilly river, the path leads gradual uphill on the wide pasture field as the valley opens out but shortly divides into two separate drainages, In the early 1960’s Chinese Army had tried to build the truck road through this area for the 1st Chinese Expeditions to Everest, but unfortunately due to unforeseen reason and the difficulty they had to divert the road on the other side of the Rongbuk River, where we will be walking after two days’ time. Walk follows on the gradual uphill to cross another glacial river, if lucky we will cross with the help of few stepping stones, or just wade through the river on bare feet and sandals, after finally getting across walking on the gradual path towards both Lamna La and Pang La (Lamna La is also known Zommug La) we take the shortcut instead of following the long winding cart track, slowly ascending the higher ridge of Lamna La after an hour climb then descending towards the valley in between Pang-la & Lamna-la at 4,850m where there is some few herders camps. Overnight camp in the grassy meadows nearby Drog-pa’s camp.

Day 09: Trek across Lamna-La to camp near Rongbuk river
Today after breakfast in the camp catch the scenic view around the camp and start the trek. From here the walk gets easier for a while crossing number of spread out creeks on the soft grassy meadow after getting on the bottom of the Pang-la, two hours ascend to reach the top ridge of Pang-la at 5,210m, during summer high altitude blue poppies (Meconopsis) and Gentian Violet dot these rocky slopes and gowa, the Tibetan gazelle, may be grazing along the high ridges near the pass. After an hour and half of steady climb reaching the top of the pass where the prayer flags or lung-ta are hung, at the top of the ridge we will have a break to marvel the great views of the snowcapped mountains and the valleys down below, a steep descend leads through number of drogpa (herders) camps, as the walk gets pleasant after an hour of straight downhill walks the gradual path ends to a descend towards Rongbuk River, the walk now follows downhill tracks from where we can see the Truck road way down below near the Rongbuk River. After few hours of descent, depending upon the time we either cross the bridge over Rongbuk river or camp just 40 minutes before the bridge where there is nice clearing to pitch our overnight camps. Just by this campsite views of Everest, Nuptse and Pumori can be seen.

Day 10: Trek to Rongbuk monastery – about 4 hrs. trek
Today walk progress head towards Everest northern base camp, after half an hour of gradual walk we cross a short wooden bridge to join on the main motor able road, from here following the wide winding dirt road with few ups and down, the main road continues its slow ascent, twisting away from the river through arid landscapes of rocky hills and plains, throughout this area are hundreds of small rock piles erected by devout Tibetans who have made the pilgrimage journey to Rongbuk Monastery and the abode of Mother Goddess. On reaching at Rongbuk Monastery, witness the superb full view of the massive North Face of Mount Everest that dominates the entire head of this valley. Overnight camp is made near the Monastery area with time to visit this ancient monastery. Rongbuk Gompa and its many hermitage retreats were introduced to the world in the 1920’s through the account of the 1st British expedition’s teams of George and Irving Mallory and from the well-known novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton. At present most of the retreat cells are abandoned and only few small monasteries scattered at this end of the valley is in function. According to the Rimpoche of this area, the monastery was first established as a religious site around 250 to 350 years ago. Situated in the north side of Mt. Everest, it is a perfect site to view the highest Everest. Only several buildings remains, Rongbuk is simply and has a sense of untouched beauty not only for its quietness, but also the experienced history as a temple to witness the first person to conquer the Mount Everest.

Day 11: Trek to Everest base camp – about 3-4 hrs. trek
Wake up early in the morning and witness the sunrise view in the Everest. Today’s final day of the trek and is a short walk of less than 3-4 hours, from here by-pass the main road for short while taking the east high path passing through number of isolated ruin monuments, then descending to the main road after 30 minutes walks to a fresh running stream(the local pilgrims considers as a holy water), after being on the main track the walk continues on this easy wide trail coming to the ruins of Sherab Chholing, just above the road from the Stupa with piles of prayers stones we will have time for a short visit to these old hermitage caves on route our destination at Everest Base Camp. After a visit to the hermit cave, walks continues for another hour and half on the gravel, rocky track with the last climb over the rocky dunes for 20 minutes, after the climb coming towards Everest Base Camp, on top of the moraine hill near the bunch of prayer flags with majestic views of Mt. Everest behind. Everest Base Camp is the highest place in Mount Everest that tourist could reach. From here you can either spend the day strolling around the base camp or visit the Rongbuk glacier. As the biggest glacier in Everest, Rongpuk Glacier is located at the high altitude area between 5,300 to 6,300 meters, about 3-4 hours hiking from EBC. With a total length of 22.4 km, about 85.4 square kilometers, it is one of the magnificent landscapes. There are many best preserved glacial wonders, such as the ice pagodas, ice bridges, ice towers, ice cliff and more spectacles, which makes Rongpuk Glacier become the Largest Park on the High Mountain by those climbing pathfinders. Once getting to the splendor world, you may feel like walk in the heaven. Besides, Rongpuk River flowing along the Rongpuk Monastery comes from the melt water from the glacier. After the sunset view of Everest stroll around and overnight stay in the Tibetan Tents Camp in EBC. No matter in daytime or at night, Mount Everest will never fail to give tourists a pleasant surprise. In clear weather, you must be shocked by such a shining pure sky if you can stand the really low temperature at night. The sky is embellished with countless twinkling stars which weave a dreamlike veil with diamonds. This splendid scenery will free all your anxiety and sorrow, and make you admire this magical nature. Sometimes, you are able to appreciate the shooting stars if you are a real luck dog.

Day 12: Drive from EBC to Kyirong – about 8 hrs. journey. 370 Km
After a great time here at EBC, morning drive leads past to the trail that we have trekked following the Rongbuk River for some time, then driving past number of isolated settlements and villages and through the farm fields of barley and yellow mustard fields. You will continue following the Friendship Highway to the town of Kyirong near the Nepal border. Along the drive, you will pass by the stunning lake of Peiku Tso, which offers a spectacular view of Shisha Pangma and many other giant Himalayan peaks. Shisha Pangma is the 14th highest peak on the planet. Kyirong is not a very pleasant town and doesn’t have much to see or do, but serves as a good place to spend the night before crossing into Nepal.

Day 13: Drive to Kathmandu – about 7 hours’ drive (140 KMS)
The border crossing from Tibet to Nepal is not actually located in the town of Kyirong, but about 20 kilometers further south. The border opens at 9:30am Tibet time. Your driver and guide will lead you to the border crossing. After the custom formality it’s time to say good bye to the Tibetan guide and driver. On the other side of the border you have arrived in Rasuwagadhi, the first village in Nepal. Most foreigners can obtain a visa-on-arrival in Rasuwagadhi. After the visa formality proceed towards the Kathmandu. You can hire a jeep or other private vehicle to reach Kathmandu which is about 140 kilometers/88 miles from here. Upon arrival to Kathmandu, check in to hotel for overnight stay.

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Rongbuk monastery

Rongbuk Monastery was initially built in 1899 and made a reconstruction in 1902 for a large scale extended subordinate temples to Nepal and once there were about 500 monks and nuns lived. With a severe destruction, there are only some small temples and a nunnery left. Leaning on the mountain side with over 100 years, this monastery seems a little bit dilapidated with several small buildings left and the stupa, standing prominently as a landmark in the scene of tourist photography along with the Mount Everest. Unlike other incense-filled temples in Tibet, Rongbuk Monastery is seldom for a special visit and often skipped by most tourists with some unrepaired walls and steps. On the other hand, thanks to the high location, it is far away from the bustling activity and over-commercialized scene. Standing as a single architecture here, it likes a natural background along with the Mt. Everest.

Highlights of Rongbuk

Survived Buildings
Rongbuk kept the original landform of simply multiple-layers building and a courtyard in the center. After the severe destruction, some buildings still survived luckily. Unlike those grand buildings in monasteries of Lhasa City, these buildings are not magnificent but plain and small. Nevertheless, Rongbuk Monastery is a monastery worthy of your visit. In the middle red building, there are two doors. Climbing the steps in front of the left door and entering the hall, you will see the walls with superb murals painted. They are old but exquisite. Climbing steps up to the second floor, there are two halls – the outside one for monks and nuns to chant sutras every single day and the inside one housing a big statue of Padmasambhava. It is said that Padmasambhava once practiced here. Walk further along the road to EBC, you can see a pool with hot spring, and legend has say it that this water was used by Padmasambhava.

Mt. Everest Observation Deck
For those who want to get to the Everest Base Camp, Rongbuk Monastery is a ideal place to pass by and make a stop to view Mt. Everest. You could also take very nice photos from the Observation Deck. By standing the monastery and facing south, the Everest is like a giant white pyramid with magnificent summit coming out, making a perfect match with the white stupa in Rongbuk Monastery. The hill nearby the temple is an ideal shooting site to take a stunning picture of Everest and meet the peculiar flag clouds and golden summit with sunrise or sunset, especially in the days with clear sunny weather. Best months include April, May, September, and October.

Tibetan Festival Performances
Each year during the April 15th of Tibetan calendar, there is a big dancing ceremony held in the courtyard of Rongbuk Monastery, called Saka Dawa Festival to celebrate the birth of Sakyamuni. Decorated with prayer flags and colorful ornaments, the monastery will welcome the Tibetans from nearby regions to view this performance. The monks disguise themselves and portray different characters by dressing in different clothing to perform the Tibetan dances. This festival will last for three days, quiet Rongbuk Monastery will become quite lively and busy in this time.

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