Its not often you find a real adventure tour that you can take your children and parents on. But this could be it.
Nepal has in recent years expanded its adventure tourism to include helicopter tours in various parts of the country. The most popular of these tours is to Everest Base Camp. It’s relatively easy to organise and spectacular to do. One oddity I should point out is that the helicopter tour to Everest does not actually land at base camp. It does fly over it so you can say that you have seen it, but it is not physically possible for helicopter to land there. Naturally, the name of the tour is such because base camp is recognised by people around the world and it does attract visitors.
There are three landing points on this tour, two with unmatched views of the mountains, including Everest, so its not as if you are missing out.
While researching this tour you might also see that it is sometimes called Everest for Breakfast. A much sexier name for the same thing. Everest for Breakfast because one of the landings is at a high altitude hotel where you breakfast. Champagne may even be included in this breakfast if your tour is a very special one, otherwise you can always buy it yourself. But regardless as to whether you are drinking hot tea or bubbly, you still feel on a high on this trip. Literally!
Departure from Kathmandu
This tour starts and ends in Kathmandu and takes 4 to 5 hours. You are picked up in the early morning from your hotel and introduced to your pilot at the airport. He will give you a safety briefing and explain what is going to happen. You should pay close attention to him, particularly if you are taking younger children with you, to ensure everyone enjoys the trip in safety.
The first landing is at Lukla airport in the Everest Region. This is only a short stop to refuel but it gives you time to stretch your legs and get the first sights and sounds of the Khumbu, as the Everest Region is called by the locals.
Close Up Views of Mt Everest
I was very happy to see we fly over well know names such as Namche Bazaar, Tengboche Monastery, and other settlements as well as base camp itself. At lower altitude there were forests and rivers below us. At higher altitude the trails became rocky and rough and we could see trekkers making their way up the mountain sides. At base camp we got glimpse of the tents set up by expeditions who were about to start their ascent of the mountain. Then we landed at our second stop.
Kalapatthar is a well know location where trekkers and helicopter passengers alike can get very close to Everest. I was relieved that we didn’t have to scramble up for a couple of hours to reach the top. Leave that for the trekkers. We simply landed and alighted. On top of this ridge is a panoramic view of the Himalayas, with Mt Everest centre stage. I got some amazing photographs here and I recommend you bring the best photographic/ recording equipment you can get your hands on. Although it is not possible to stay here long because of the logistics of having the helicopter at such high altitude (over 5,500m) it was enough time to store the awesome beauty in my memory forever.
I was extremely happy that the final stop was for breakfast. By then I was beginning to feel a bit hungry. I hadn’t felt hungry earlier because of the excitement but now I was ready to eat. We landed just below the hotel and walked up the steps to what is correctly called the Everest View Hotel. Breakfast was taken on the terrace. It might have been in the cold, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way as the views were spectacular. Mount Everest was there and many other mountains. I can honestly say I had breakfast with Mount Everest. I think the only others that can say that are those intrepid mountaineers who must have several breakfasts on Everest.
Helicopter tour to Everest can be booked through Magical Nepal from USD 900 per person. And if you really must dust off your trekking boots and hike up the mountains, the same company can provide you with details of that too.
But honestly, the helicopter to Everest Base Camp is one of the best things I have done, and I suggest leaving those trekking boots in the cupboard and dusting off your flying jacket!
This article was written in cooperation with Tedfuel