Traveling to see Mt. Everest
September 10, 2011 7:52 PM   Subscribe

Recommendations for a trip to Tibet and/or Nepal?

I am currently living in China and have decided that I'd like to take a trip out to tour the Tibet/Nepal region.

My main goal is just to be able to view a glimpse of Mt. Everest. Where can you view Everest from? Seems a bit silly I guess, I would imagine though that you could see the mountain from some of the surrounding cities.. Llhasa, Gyantse, Lhatse (?) and even the Friendship Highway?

Has anyone made the trip before and could recommend amount of days needed/tour company/places they visited?

I will have 7 days in October, which I hear is a great time to visit with less tourists and warm days still. I am aware there are various visa fees, permits, etc and I am going alone so I will without a doubt be going with a guided tour group.
posted by melizabeth to Travel & Transportation around Lhasa, China (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Hmm, I've been to Gyantse and Lhasa (and Shigatse) and don't recall being able to see Everest from anywhere except the airplane (from Chengdu to Lhasa or Lhasa to Kathmandu, I don't remember). My memory could be bad, though.
posted by wintersweet at 8:15 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you are not a Chinese citizen, I think you are required to stay in an organized trip while in Tibet. Maybe Nepal is better if you don't want to do group tours.
posted by xmts at 8:36 PM on September 10, 2011

You'll get more sophisticated answers than this but the default approach would be : Fly to Kathmandu; Fly to Lukla.

From Lukla you can walk to Namche Bazaar in less than a day.

From Namche (or near environs) you can get fine views of Everest and the other remarkable scenery of the area.

What you need to bear in mind is this.

First and most important, you'll be getting very high, very quickly and I'm not sure how good an idea that is. Altitude sickness should not be taken lightly. Many do fly into Lukla but you would need to consider if that was the best approach for you given your health etc.

Secondly if Lukla gets clagged in (weather wise) the planes will stop flying and your only way out is to walk to the road head (five days away) and by that time the weather will have cleared. In short trying to fit this trip into seven days could be a bit problematic if the weather doesn't run in the right direction.

It's a marvellous country with so many beautiful things to see and whilst the Everest region is beauiful there are other things you could do which might fit your available time more easily.

BTW I'm not quite sure how October gets to be described as a time with 'less tourists'. As far as I'm concerned it would be prime post-monsoon trekking season. That doesn't mean it's intolerable I'm just saying I'm surprised it's described that way.
posted by southof40 at 9:38 PM on September 10, 2011 [3 favorites]

Seven days is tight, because you need to go where the roads don't: the only itinerary on the Nepal side that really fits is to fly from Kathmandu to Lukla, trek for two days to Namche Bazaar, then trek back to Lukla for the return flight. If you want to see it from long distance, a clear day in Nagarkot may sort you out.
posted by holgate at 9:40 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

My wife, son and I traveled to Tibet from Beijing via the sky Train. (It was a life changing trip!) The internal visas and permits were a little difficult to arrange, but we did so in about 10 days or 2 weeks with the help of a Chinese travel agent. For us, the requirement to remain in the company of an organized trip just meant we had to hire a licensed guide to accompany us on our travels within Tibet. We pushed for a Tibetan rather than a Chinese guide and he was an immense enhancement to our experience. (and we never use guides). Ditto on not underestimating the time you will require to acclimate to the altitude...the experience is intense. Have a great trip!
posted by txmon at 11:00 AM on September 11, 2011

I went on an organized trip in Tibet with Wind Horse Adventure Tours when I was studying in China. They were terrific in every respect. You can't see Everest from any major Tibetan cities, but one of our itinerary options included a trip out to see the mountain, so it's definitely something they can do.

One thing to remember about Tibet is that you will be completely helpless when you arrive. A group of 40-some-odd able-bodied college students had to rely on local assistance to get our luggage up a single flight of stairs to our hotel rooms.
posted by zjacreman at 7:31 PM on September 11, 2011

I went to both Tibet and Nepal last year; we spent a week in Nepal, flew from Kathmandu to Lhasa, and spent just under two weeks road-tripping (with driver and guide) through Tibet back to Nepal. Our trip included a night at the tent camp close to Everest (we walked the last few kilometers to base camp). The view and the experience were spectacular.

My travel buddy and I were the entire group; you can even get a so-called group permit for a group of one. We went with Tibet Namchen travel, and they were fabulous to work with. It's a Tibetan-owned company, and both our guide and driver were Tibetan. This was important to us. The company was awesome about customizing our itinerary for us, so you could definitely ask them what they'd recommend for you.

You could go through Tibet in less time, but you'd miss a lot – and there's so much to see. And, as txmon says, don't underestimate the time it takes to get used to the altitude. I was useless the first couple of days and struggled with stairs and hills (of which Tibet has no shortage) most of the trip.

I'd be glad to share my itinerary or any other info with you; feel free to MeMail me.
posted by bassjump at 11:33 AM on September 12, 2011

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