I fulfilled a bucket list item of seeing Mt. Everest up close via helicopter while in Kathmandu, Nepal. What a majestic sight!
Must Do: Mt. Everest Helicopter Tour
One of my primary reasons for visiting Nepal was to take a helicopter ride up to Everest Base Camp. We chose Kailash Helicopter Services for the tour, based upon a recommendation of a pilot who flew with us on the Nepal Airlines Bangkok – Kathmandu flight.
On a rather smoky morning, we departed early from Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM).
First, we stopped at Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla to refuel. This airport is commonly labeled “the most dangerous airport in the world” because of the short runway and steep slope.
Here, we changed helicopters and continued our journey upwards.
The highlight was Kala Patthar (18,192 feet/5,545 meters), with clear views of Mt. Everest and other peaks.
A note on oxygen. Yes, it was available. No, we did not need it. I can only surmise that Sam Chui used it for dramatic effect, not actual need, when he did a similar trip…
We then stopped at Gokyo River (15,583 feet / 4,750 meters), which is like a mirage amongst the rocks and snow.
Next, we flew to Hotel Everest View (12,730 feet / 3,880 meters) for brunch.
Our Swiss pilots were named Philipp and Laurenz and absolutely phenomenal…professional and impeccably skilled in operating the helicopter.
We then returned to Lulka and switched helicopters again before returning to Kathmandu.
I’ll have many more details and photos plus video when I publish my trip report, but cannot help but smile in looking at these pictures. This is truly an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is not cheap (we chartered our own helicopter, which I will explain in my full report) but it is worthwhile: there is a certain indescribable majesty in seeing this mountain range and the peak of Mt. Everest up close.
I saw many things in Kathmandu, but nothing like this…what a joy.