Everest Base Camp Trek is one of the best treks in the world and thousands of trekkers do this trek every year. Walk in the shadows of towering mountains, get an insight into mountain culture, and experience warm local hospitality. Here are 14 major attractions of EBC trek and the blog will give you reasons to add this trek in your bucket list if you have not already!
1. A Thrilling Flight to Lukla Airport
Thinking, why a flight to Lukla makes it to the list of major attractions of Everest Base Camp Trek? Well, the Tenzing-Hillary Airport of Lukla has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous airports in the world. Lukla Airport is perched on a mountainside. If one end of the airport is a mountain wall another end has a dramatic valley plunge of around 2,000 feet.
A short and only runway is sloped upwards to the mountainside. The upward slope helps to slow down an aircraft while landing and acts as a speed booster during take-off. Once an aircraft runs out of the runway, it free falls into the valley and rises back up. Moreover, pilots have to land and take off depending only on the line of sight. The weather in the mountains is unpredictable and thick fog obstructing visibility is common. Further, flights are canceled or delayed due to bad weather.
The airport of Lukla is named after first Everest summiteers Sir Edmund Hillary & Tenzing Norgay and is called Tenzing-Hillary Airport. An exciting flight of around 35 minutes from Kathmandu will take you to Lukla, the gateway of Everest treks. Sit on the right-hand side of the aircraft while flying to Lukla to savor the stunning views of the Himalayas and verdant hills. Upon landing at Lukla, the awesome views of mountain villages nestled on the lap of snowy mountains will greet you.
Luka flight is one of the most popular flights in Nepal and experienced pilots fly in and out of Lukla. Most trekkers take a flight to Lukla for trekking in the Everest region. If you are already thinking about the alternative of Lukla Flight, then you can drive from Kathmandu to Phalpu or Jiri and trek to Phakding.
2. Namche Bazar – The Sherpa Capital
Enjoy your day in the bustling Sherpa town, Namche Bazar. The town caters to the needs of trekkers and features a range of mountain lodges, budget, and high-end hotels. It also is filled with shops selling trekking and climbing gears. You can also relax in restaurants, cafes, and bakeries. It is a good idea to splurge on a good meal before heading deeper into the mountains or after returning from the trek. The Sherpa capital is one of the major attractions of any trek in the Everest region including EBC Trek.
Namche is the economic hub of the Khumbu region. Do visit the weekly market fair which is held every Saturday. The market is lively where traders come to Namche Bazar put up stalls where different goods are put on display. Trader from Tibet sells wares mostly Chinese goods while different Nepali and Indian food and goods are sold that are brought from Lukla. Interact with the friendly locals and you might find something which you might take back home as a souvenir.
A trek to Hotel Everest View is popular as an acclimatization hike near Namche Bazar. The hotel is situated at a height of 13,000 feet or 3,880 meters. Savor the panoramic view of mountains like Mount Everest, Ama Dablam, Tawache, and Khumbu Himal from the hotel.
3. Visit the Everest View Hotel at 13,000 feet
Everest view hotel of Syangboche is a famous place to visit during Everest Base Camp Trek. The hotel was awarded the title of Guinness Book of World Record for being the Highest Placed Hotel in the world in 2004. The hotel lies at an elevation of 13,000 feet. Marvel at the awe-inspiring 360-degree view from the hotel and see mountains like Everest, Ama Dablam among others. The scenic spot is one of the popular touristy places of Everest Base Camp Trek.
Japanese born Nepalese tourism entrepreneur Takashi Miyahara dreamt of building Everest View Hotel overlooking the panoramic view of mountains including Everest. The hotel’s design is by Japanese architect Yoshinobu Kumagaya. It was a challenging task to build a hotel in the 1960s with no roads to bring necessary materials. Porters carried building materials and helicopters were used as well. Local Sherpas helped in constructing the hotel. Moreover, in 1971, Everest View Hotel opened its door for visitors.
4. Visit Khumjung and Khunde Villages
Hike to neighboring villages of Namche Bazar, Khumjung and Khunde. You will see stony farms divided by rock walls against stunning vistas in these villages. Visit Khumjung School, the first school of the Everest region, which was established by the Himalayan Trust of Sir Edmund Hillary in 1960. The top of the Kunde village has Kunde Hospital which was also built by Sir Edmund Hillary’s trust in 1966. The hospital treats locals and gives emergency care to trekkers. You will get to interact with warm and friendly locals and also get an insight into their daily lifestyles.
Pay a visit to Khumjung Monastery which houses the 400 years old scalp of an abominable snowman called Yeti. A glass-fronted box contains a scruffy hair dome scalp believed to be of a big-footed beast, Yeti. Sir Edmund Hillary and a journalist Desmond Doig found the scalp in 1960 when they were on an expedition to find proof of Yeti. The mystery of the existence of Yeti continues! Some believe in their existence while others don’t and some are skeptical. Nevertheless, the Yeti scalp is a touristic attraction of a trek to the base camp.
5. Tengboche Monastery – The Largest Monastery of Khumbu Region
The largest monastery of the Khumbu region, the Tengboche monastery is one of the major attractions of Everest Base Camp Trek. The most prominent monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery set against the backdrop of stunning Himalayas. Savor the gorgeous panoramic views of mountains including Everest, Ama Dablam, and Lhotse from the monastery.
One of the festivals in the Himalayas, Manid Rimdu is celebrated grandly in Tengboche Monastery. The festival honors the foundation of Buddhism by Padmasambhava or Guru Rimpoche in Tibet. It is celebrated in the 10th month of the Tibetan Lunar calendar and mostly falls in October or November.
Among the 19 days long festival only 3 days are open for the public. Sacred mask dances performed by monks during the festival attracts local devotees and tourists. Monks wear colorful costumes depicting deities and perform sacred dances with Buddhist teaching. Rituals of the festival symbolize impermanence and are also a reminder that creation and destruction are part and parcel of life.
6. Popular Viewpoint of Nagarjun Hill
Taking a hike to the scenic spot Nagarjun Hill is a must on your EBC Trek. The viewpoint of Nagarjun Hill lies near Dingboche village and is taken as acclimatization hike too. You will notice a change in the landscape during the hike; vegetation will turn sparse, trees disappear and the landscape will become barren. Nagarjun Hill is one of the best viewpoints to enjoy the panoramic beauty during your EBC Trek. You will be ascending the steep hill and it could be tough for some, so walk slowly but steadily. The view from the top of the hill 5,100 meters is rewarding. Marvel at the amazing 360-degree view of snow-capped mountains including Ama Dablam, Makalu, Lhotse, and Island Peak.
7. Everest Base Camp – Your Dream Destination
The base camp of the tallest mountain on Earth, Everest invariably is the major attraction of Everest Base Camp Trek. EBC trek makes it to the bucket list of many people and an increasing number of people add it every year. If you trek in the climbing season, you will meet climbers preparing for the summit, and interacting with them will enrich your journey. Those preparing to summit Mount Everest set up their tent at the base camp. The climbers spend 4 to 5 weeks acclimatizing and horning their climbing skills before their Everest summit.
The route to Everest Base Camp is filled with stunning views of mountains including Everest, Pumori, and Nuptse. Be cautious while trekking to the base camp as the trail passes through loose rocks and moraine from the glacier. Also, you will see huge boulders laying on your way and the base camp is on a field of ice and rock. Everest Base Camp is situated at the foot of Khumbu Glacier at an elevation of 5,364 meters. Savor the marvelous view of Khumbu Icefall and towering mountains like Lhotse and Nuptse.
8. Kala Patthar with Best View of Everest
Kala Patthar is the highest point of Everest Base Camp trek and it is situated at a height of 5,550 meters. It is also the maximum height one can achieve without a climbing permit and any technical climbing skill.
Since the summit of Everest isn’t visible from Everest Base Camp trekkers hike to the vantage point of Kala Patthar. It offers the best close up view of the highest mountain on Earth, Everest which makes it the major attraction of EBC trek. Moreover, Kala Patthar is encircled by towering mountains including Lhotse, Nuptse, Pumori, and Everest among others.
Most people wake up early in the morning and hike to Kala Patthar to catch a mesmerizing sunrise over Everest and neighboring mountains. The best time to enjoy the view of mountains shining like gold is the afternoon when the sunsets. Unfortunately, the weather might not be on your side to see the sight. Clouds mostly start rolling in during the afternoon and it’s much safer to see the sunrise than a sunset over Everest and neighboring mountains.
9. Suspension Bridges – An Integral Part of Everest Treks
Suspension bridges form an indispensable part of Everest Base Camp trek and you will be crossing many bridges during the trek. Also, you will be crossing the famous Hillary Suspension Bridge on your trek from Phakding to Namche Bazaar. It is a long bridge festooned with colorful prayer flags and if it looks familiar then you must have seen it in the movie ‘Everest’.
If you have fear of heights then EBC trek is a great opportunity to overcome your fear. Here is a tip for you that might help you to cross long and high bridges. When crossing a bridge don’t look down instead look ahead, walk and savor an amazing landscape of the Everest region.
Bridges have one-way-traffic. Let herds of donkeys and yaks pass ahead. Be thoughtful and make way for the porters carrying big loads. During high season, the bridges may see traffic jams so take turns to cross bridges.
10. Mani walls, Prayer Wheels, Prayer Flags
You will come across Mani walls, prayer wheels, and prayer flags during your Everest trek which are important elements of Buddhism. These will be one of the most attractive aspects of your trek.
Mani walls or stones are walls or stones which are painted or engraved with Tibetan mantras. The six-syllable mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ of Avalokiteshvara is written on Mani stone or walls. These are intentionally kept alongside rive and road as an offering to spirits of place. Show respect to the local culture by circumventing the Mani walls in a clockwise direction.
Prayer wheels hold special importance in Buddhism. It is cylindrical hollow metal attached on a rod handle and contains a scroll with mantras. Prayer wheels were created to facilitate illiterates’ with the benefits of chanting mantras as chanting mantras and spinning wheels have the same effect.
Colorful prayer flags are printed with sutras and flags swaying in the wind are deemed to send positive energy and bring happiness to all beings. Various colors in prayer flags signify different elements of the environment and the physical body. Blue stands for the sky, while means air, red symbolizes fire, green is for water and yellow represents earth.
11. Sherpa Cultural Museum
If you want to know more about Sherpa culture then visit the Sherpa Culture Museum of Namche Bazar will appeal to you. It is one of the popular tourist attractions as well. The museum is constructed with traditional Sherpa design and architecture to give you a holistic view of a traditional Sherpa house. It contains ancient Sherpa artifacts and also closely resembles the Sherpa way of living in olden days. The museum house features a family room and a separate praying chapel on the first floor. The house has a stable for cow/s, along with a storage area below the first floor similar to a traditional Sherpa house. The store area is used to keep yak dung, wood, etc.
12. Khumbu International Library
Visit Khumbu International Library of Namche Bazar which draws the attention of many tourists. It is a part of Sherwi Khangba Center. It is filled with books, magazines, and videos regarding all aspects of mountains in Nepal and the world. You will find books on expeditions, guides, historical accounts, biographies, historical accounts, early explorations, flora and fauna, etc. If you wish to learn about cultures around the world then you will find books regarding those too. The library has over 800 books and magazines. You can use the library for a small fee or become a member as well. You can donate books to the library.
13. UNESCO Listed Sagarmatha National Park
You will be trekking in UNESCO listed Natural World Heritage Site, Sagarmatha National Park on your Everest Base Camp trek. It is spread across the area of 1,148 km2 or 443 sq. miles. The national park is rich in flora and features dense forest with pine, juniper, birch, fir, bamboo, oak, and rhododendron trees. You will come across lichen, mosses and dwarf shrubs in the higher altitude. When trekking in the spring season, colorful rhododendron blooms make the trail beautiful.
Moreover, the national park is home to more than 118 species of birds. It is home to birds like Himalayan Monal, Yellow-billed cough, Snowcock, and Blood pheasant. Animals like langur monkeys, Himalayan Thar, ghoral, wolves, and lynx live here. Rare species of animals like Himalayan black bear, musk deer, red panda, and snow leopards are also spotted in the national park. The national park with exotic flora and fauna & scenic mountain views is the chief attraction of Everest treks.
14. Monasteries or Gompa En-route Everest Base Camp Trek
The mountain culture of the Everest region is one of the biggest attractions of Everest Base Camp trek. Tibetan Buddhism is predominant in the region and is filled with ancient monasteries or Gompa.
A small gompa of Namche Monastery is more than 300 years old and features a golden image of Tibet a Bodhisattva, Avalokiteshvara. The monastery of Namche also features statues of Guru Rimpoche, his 8 manifestations, and 21 idols of Tara. Visit Khumjung monastery which is over 400 years old and houses the only scalp of Yeti. Moreover, pay a visit to the biggest monastery of the Khumbu region, Tengboche Gompa. Mani Rimdu festival is grandly celebrated in the Tengboche monastery around October or November every year.
The best time to visit the Phakding monastery is in the morning when resident monks and nuns are offering prayers. A fearsome vision of Guru Rimpoche holding vajra or Dorje, the mace of skulls and vase-like object is placed in the main building. Two of his consorts accompany the idol of Guru Rimpoche. Also, you will see the idols of Sakyamuni Buddha and Chenresig.